Is anyone qualified to talk about marketing?Marketing is everything. - Talk Marketing 023 - Warren Cass

Is anyone qualified to talk about marketing? Marketing is everything. – Talk Marketing 023 – Warren Cas

Martin Henley 0:00  

Good morning, Mr. Cass

Warren Cass 0:02  

Good morning, Mr. Henley. How the devil are you, sir?

Martin Henley 0:04  

I am extraordinarily well, thank you. And man, thank you so much for doing this. I don’t really understand why people do do this anymore. We know why you’re doing this. You’re doing this, because Robert told me to speak to Barnaby, who told me to speak to you. And because you’re all brilliant people, you just agree to do it.

Warren Cass 0:22  

I have FOMO and Martin, so you know, if I’m seeing people I like and respect. Doing something, I want a piece of the action too. So it was pure FOMO.

Martin Henley 0:31  

Excellent. God bless FOMO. Good. Okay. So what that means, of course, is that I don’t know you at all. This is the first conversation we’ve ever had, we’ve been chatting already for 15 minutes. But this is the first conversation we’ve ever had so I’m really interested to find out more about you and what it is that you’re up to. I don’t know if you are aware, but there are only five questions. So the first question is, how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing? The second question is, who are your clients and what is it that you do for them? And the third question is, how do you feel about marketing? The fourth question is, what is your recommendation for people who are investing in this current climate? And then the fifth question, you have to line up another couple of victims for this process.

Warren Cass 1:18  

All sounds great.

Martin Henley 1:20  

Excellent, cool. All right. So let’s start at the beginning. I’m interested to know how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing?

Warren Cass 1:27  

Now, I don’t mean to be the rebel. Okay. But how is anybody qualified to talk about marketing, marketing is everything. You know, if you’re a human being having a human experience, and you’ve got an opinion on marketing, probably, whether you’re at the receiving end, or whether you’re a business owner, who’s, you know, had to get out there and manage the perception of their brand, find ways of engaging with an audience. So yeah, I could trot out that I wrote a book on Influence, which was a best seller, I could trot out that I’ve been running my own businesses for 30 years and all of that, but I think that type of question is a broader question, which is, you know, if you’ve been a consumer, or if you’ve run a business, you’ve had to take that brand to market, then you’re qualified, at least to have the conversation, whether you’re qualified to receive people’s money in order to manage strategy, and all of those kinds of things that’s a different question, but we’re all qualified to talk about marketing, because we’ve all experienced it at one end, and have you know, if you’ve run your own business, then you’ve had to at least give it consideration or the other. Because my personal belief is everything is marketing.

Martin Henley 2:33  

Okay, good. You are a rebel. You’re the first person who said that, but I think that as well, I think everything is, like I used to do a sales presentation, I’m in the Mood for Selling it was called, now at the end, they had to dance to I’m in the mood for dancing. But the point I always made whenever I spoke to people about sales, or whenever people were resisting being salespeople was you’re selling all the time, you know, if you are convincing people or motivating them to do things for you or, you know, if you’re engaging with the world, you’re effectively selling, I think so that’s interesting. That’s a great answer.

Warren Cass 3:08  

That’s not even something which is reserved for adults, right? You know, as a kid, there were persuasion techniques, because you want that extra biscuit or you want a sweet or, you want to go to the park, right? Where they’re learning how to position a concept in order to influence somebody to move from A to B, right? 

Martin Henley 3:26  

Yes.

Warren Cass 3:27  

I want you to be bothered to get off the couch dad in order to take me to the park. So what do I have to do in order to achieve that goal, right? So we’re all selling all the time. We’re all marketing all the time. And it’s actually ridiculous to think it any other way. And I’ve seen some of your previous interviews, by the way, and as we know, Barnaby and Robert are good friends of mine too. But it seems we’re quite aligned philosophically around the fact that there are very blurred lines between sales and marketing today and as I say, you know, I think we’ve all been conditioned from very young ages and some of us very naturally put our best foot forward and you know, understand the environment I mean, you know, if I just look at my niece and nephew actually, my nephew is an introvert and doesn’t necessarily speak up, my niece is a sales genius at like three years old, she knows how to manipulate and to position and to get what she wants, you know, this is not even necessarily learned behavior. This is natural and instinctive, you know, the art of getting what you want, ultimately,

Martin Henley 4:31  

Okay, that’s cool. I’ve got an issue with this currently, like you brought out philosophy, so can we be a little bit philosophical for like five minutes?

Warren Cass 4:40  

I’ll try and keep up with you. 

Martin Henley 4:42  

Okay, so for fun, what I like to do is surf photography. So I spend an inordinate amount of my time in the water swimming like a mother, trying not to drown in front of quite big waves taking photos of surfers, so that’s what I like to do for fun. So this is the thing I do in my life for fun. The other people are there for fun, they’re on the waves, they’re having fun, I’m getting smashed up by the waves, I’m taking photos, I’m having fun. But what happens is these surfers would like me to give them these photographs. And that’s okay, because I spent an inordinate amount of my time in the water getting smashed up taking these photographs, you can only imagine how much time I actually spend sorting these photographs and editing these photographs, and making them beautiful. So actually, I don’t feel compelled to give these people my photographs is what I want to say. And I don’t know if it’s a generational thing. But I kind of feel like if they were more important, this is what I actually feel like is if they were more invested in me, then I would feel compelled to do it for them. Do you know what I mean? But because I just wonder like without sounding like an old fogy, using the words old fogy, how can I not sound like an old fogy. I want to swear.

Warren Cass 6:07  

We’ve already established we’re both, you know, approaching the wrong side of 50 anyway, so.

Martin Henley 6:12  

Yes, well, one of us has passed the wrong side of 50. So the point is, is there a generational thing going on? Where these people just haven’t done what we’re talking about, where they’ve learnt to get what they want or need from people? 

Warren Cass 6:30  

Well, I would push back a little on what you said, because actually, regardless of it being your hobby, right, you’re still looking for some sort of exchange, some sort of reciprocation, right?

Martin Henley 6:42  

Yes.

Warren Cass 6:43  

You’re putting time and effort into something which you enjoy. 

Martin Henley 6:46  

Yes.

Warren Cass 6:47 

And for you, it’s about creating beautiful action, capturing a moment, creating beautiful action orientated photographs. And the reason they want a copy of it is because it’s them looking good in it. And you know, they’d love to have that without the appreciation for how much work goes into the edit, the touch up the, you know, the print, etc,

Martin Henley 7:06  

But not drowning.

Warren Cass 7:07  

But listen, like with any of these types of things, whether it be hobby or whether it be a business focus thing, like there’s an objective at the start of it, yours is to create beautiful things with seemingly just for you. I don’t know whether there’s ego involved, and you want your picture seen by a wider audience. And of course, the way to achieve that is to give it to the surfers who’ve probably got some sort of social following, and amplify your name on the photo in some way, shape, or form. And therefore, there’s something in it for you. So what you can do is create a reciprocation that serves you that suits you. It’s just how you look at any kind of situation. It’s funny, from a speaking point of view, we get asked for freebies all the time. And in the UK, certainly, amongst the kind of professional speaker circuit, there’s a phrase that’s used, which is fit, fee or flee. So you either do it for a fee in which is obviously, you’re there in service of the client, or you do it for some sort of fit. And the fit is a reciprocation, might be that the audience is your perfect audience for you know, the business services that you sell, it could be a charity, something you’re doing because of a kind of philanthropic need or urge. It could be a favor for a mate, whatever, there’s some sort of fit, could be just that you want to show reel footage that’s been videoed, or there’s decent photography, and you want the stage shots, whatever, there’s something in it for you. And the flee is if there’s no fee, and there’s no fit that you say no thank you and you politely decline the opportunity. But it seems to me here, you’re just looking for your fit, you’re looking for the reciprocation. And you know, what do you want out of it?

Martin Henley 8:43  

Yes. Okay, well, you’ve nailed it completely. You’ve nailed it. Except one thing, which I mean, the thing you’ve nailed is I just want to make beautiful photos. So actually, you know, I have friends that I go with, because they are good surfers, and they look good on the wave, and they get on the better-looking waves and they do better stuff. But I think their frustration with me is that if it’s more aesthetically beautiful than it is technically good them on the wave, then I’m always much more excited about it because I want to make beautiful things, 100%. But there are probably several kinds of surfers. But there are two kinds of surfers that I’m dealing with people who know what they’re doing and look good on a wave and everybody else. And so that everybody else is an issue because they are imagining that they look like Mighty Mouse on this wave. But the truth is they pretty much often look like a scarecrow falling over. So it’s not doing my goal which is making a beautiful thing and it’s not even doing theirs which is looking good on a wave. So this is an issue. But you’re right I am looking for some fit, I would like to find a broader audience. I would like maybe for people to invite me to take photos professionally and fly me around the world doing that, that would be awesome. So if they were liking and commenting and sharing my pictures and doing all those things, then I would feel 100% compelled to give them these photos, but they’re not doing that. So they haven’t.

Warren Cass 10:08  

Make it conditional, so like any marketing strategy, you’d start with an objective in mind or multiple objectives in mind, and you build this strategy/campaign from the back of that, so I work with a model around deep influence and it’s the title of my next book, and it’s something I’m working on at the moment. But it starts with objectives, you then look at the kind of relationship with the person you’re looking to influence and to have that with, and then you really apply the context, what’s in it for them? What’s important to them? What do they want to get out of it? What’s important to you, you know, coming back to the relationship, and you build the content and the strategy around those objectives. So if what you’re looking for is amplification, you know, get your name known, make it conditional. So we do something called a Fireside Chat every two weeks.

Martin Henley 10:57  

Okay, wait, wait, wait. So you’ve gone from counseling me on my issues.

Warren Cass 11:01  

I was going to give you an example on the conditional campaigns.

Martin Henley 11:06  

Okay, cool. We’re gonna give you counseling. 

Martin Henley 11:08  

But you already rebelled on question number one, you can’t just run away with this whole process. There has to be some order here.

Warren Cass 11:14  

One of my mantras in life is “rules are for the guidance of the wise and the obedience of falls.” So I’ll always try and get outside of the framework if I can.

Martin Henley 11:21  

Okay, cool. Well, good luck today.

Warren Cass 11:25  

Challenge accepted, sir. 

Martin Henley 11:28  

Okay, good. So you had an example for us. 

Warren Cass 11:31  

The example from a campaign point of view, we do something called a fireside chat every couple of weeks. And it’s basically a cross between a TED talk and a clubhouse but on video, right. So we have somebody come and give 10 minute insight to an idea that they have, more micro, the better. And what follows is a 15-minute discussion, which we facilitate on zoom. And so the external speakers that we bring in to share the 10 minute insight, we build a whole campaign around it, we take an article, we amplify that to you know, 1000s of people, we have an Insta, Twitter, visual campaign that follows etc, etc. But with the conditional thing is that they show up with some good content, they write a good article to be used as part of that amplification, but they promote it to their database. So what they get seen as is the kind of expert in their field, and they have the spotlight on them and we make them feel and look important for the two weeks, and they are typically very impressive people anyway. But we get amplified too, so when people register for the fireside chat, everybody’s database grows, hopefully, it’s a solid experience for everybody who comes and therefore everybody’s elevated, right? And all I’m saying is, if you’ve got objectives, because you’ve been thinking as a hobby, rather than as something, which serves a need for you too just start to think a little bit more marketing strategy with it and figure out your objectives, what you want to do and make that conditional. So I’m happy to give you this photo that makes you look amazing. But it must carry my name, I returned the copyright and it must carry my name on the bottom, so people can find me and look at my other pictures. And I’d love it if you amplified it through your social channels, etc, etc. So at least there’s something in return there.

Martin Henley 13:18  

Well, was I was quite happy being bitter and imagining that millennials just hadn’t learned how to influence people can I not just carry on with that strategy?

Warren Cass 13:25  

So interestingly, I’ve got to be really careful what I say because I firmly believe millennials are teaching us right now whole loads of new ways of doing stuff, right. But there is a sense of entitlement, there is a sense of, you know, this has come. So we’ve had all of these tools, we’ve not had to fight and learn and do all of the other stuff that people like you and I have had to do, we’re the nomads. You know, they’re born into this stuff, right? And so sometimes we have to be a little bit prescriptive. And that’s true in marketing, too, right? If you’re creating campaigns where you’re putting lead magnets in place, you’re least being prescriptive, here’s the process on how you get the goodies, it’s about managing expectations. I’m a firm believer in upfront contracts and managing expectations of people. This is what I’m looking to get from this relationship, as long as you’re happy, then great. And the thing is, the reason why they’ll want to uphold their end of the bargain is because they like your shots so much, and they want them the next time they go surfing too, you know so actually, if they don’t fulfill their end of the bargain, you just won’t do it again.

Martin Henley 14:38  

Yes. Good, thank you. I’m feeling resolved. And the thing is that this is my most quality time do you know I mean, so this isn’t like this time where it’s kind of work or this isn’t where I’m working for a client or I’m standing up in front of a group, that time is packaged and priced and that’s the value of that time. And all of that work that I do is about being in front of waves looking at surfers so I have that quality. So this must be worth 10 times any one of those minutes or seconds that I’m getting paid for. Do you know what I mean?

Warren Cass 15:14  

I’m totally envious, right? Because my downtime is playing guitar and playing golf, and I’m hopeless at both of them, right? Really crap, at both of them. Nobody wants to pay to see that shit. Nobody wants to reciprocate anything with me, right? So the fact that you’ve got a hobby in demand, in fact, I’ve got an ex-business partner who’s gotten the photography route as a hobby. But he goes to Premiership football matches and rugby matches and does pitch side photography, and has actually managed to make his hobby a paid for thing. You know, he’ll get the occasional front page of a newspaper, which funds his hobby for several months. So, you know, he’s managed to do what he enjoys doing action shots in a different context, but he’s managed to make it pay for itself.

Martin Henley 15:55  

Okay, good. You’ve fixed me, I feel completely counselled now. That’s, brilliant. Thank you. 

Warren Cass 16:01  

My work here’s done.

Martin Henley 16:02  

Almost, we’ve still got another three and a half questions. 

Warren Cass 16:05  

Okay. Okay. 

Martin Henley 16:07  

So good. So I think you’re the first person that has demonstrated how you are qualified to talk to us about marketing, you obviously understand this subject deeply.

Warren Cass 16:15  

Well, I’d say it’s all subjective, right. And so this isn’t just false modesty, by the way, I didn’t do a formal marketing qualification. I spent a decade and a half, two decades, my qualifications were in technology really. And I spent a decade and a half speaking on stages, and my gentle introduction to marketing was much more about how we influence people. So you know, the networking scene exploded early 2000 in the UK, even though it was a bit more established in the US for a bit longer. And it was that how do we motivate somebody to take you seriously in a face-to-face context. And then the kind of psychology behind persuasion, became something much, much bigger for me as a subject. And before you knew it, that’s where I was studying. That’s where I was developing content. And that’s where I focus my attention. 

And so my book didn’t come out till 2016. But I wasn’t even seeking to write a book, I was approached by a couple of publishers. And the first question I asked myself was, you know, what qualifies me to do this? So, you know, when asked that question, we have to do that kind of self-validation too, and then the conclusion I came to is that there’s a couple of really good books on the topic, you know, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and the Psychology of Persuasion by Cialdini, right? And both of those books were written in the 1930s, in the 1980s, prior to the internet. And so all of those brilliant, proved, tried and tested methods of influence hadn’t been contextualized for a digital age at all. And so when I agreed it was because I thought, okay, I can do something with this, I can take established learning, and I can just let it be seen through a modern lens. And, of course, you know, the book was written in 2016-2017, it was released, and the world has already moved on so far since, you know, and so even people who I see, as you know, established marketeers, some of them have got stuck in the practices of five years ago. And now they’re out of date already. Right? So if you haven’t been continuously looking at how the world is changing, and understanding how to apply old systems to a new context, then you’re falling behind, too. So I think for me right now, people who are qualified to talk about marketing, or at least are appropriate to be taking people’s money for marketing services are the people who are always thinking future.

Martin Henley 18:49  

Wow. Good. Okay, it’s like you know me. My situation is between what I’ve just told you but prior to us recording, my situation is that I kind of went on the run in 2014. So I am in the unenviable position of having burned. I think, like burned, destroyed, finished completely over three, perfectly or two and a half perfectly serviceable audiences. So when I was running the Effective Marketing Company, we were doing all of this stuff all day, every day, you know, we took it seriously. M.O was essentially to produce the kind of marketing that people would want. So literally people would come to us and say we want marketing like yours, so we were all over this stuff. And then in 2014 when I decided to go and have adventures, I don’t know. And then in 2014, I produced a video called Killer LinkedIn Profile, it’s now had 600,000 views. Now whilst it was getting those 600,000 views, I was off having adventures. So all of those audiences also have no use to me whatsoever. But I arrived in New Zealand and I built like a website, a New Zealand Travel Review website, and I made lots of videos, and then I built an audience for that and then I stopped. I was in New Zealand from 2015 onward so I didn’t do that either. And now where I am, is I haven’t got I mean, I burnt those three really good opportunities, and I really don’t now, in 2021, understand how to get that back, because it has moved since 2014.

Warren Cass 20:36  

And so do you still have the relationships?

Martin Henley 20:40  

I mean, we’re talking about social media audiences. So we’re talking about, so I’ve still got 60,000 followers on Twitter. But, you know, there’s no, I’ve tested it a little bit, and there’s no engagement there, you know, so the New Zealand audience was on, I mean, that did really well. And maybe I could bring that back to life, if I had a relevance for it. You see, now I’m on this YouTube mission again. So, you know, I’m doing well with the content. And I really need to work out how to do YouTube well, so that all this great content gets the number of people or the amount of people that I would like to see benefit from it.

Warren Cass 21:22  

So this is part of this kind of very adaptive society we’re living in, particularly under the lens of the last couple of years, fascinate me, right? Because, the changes taking place right now I think was inevitable. I just think it’s accelerated because of the pandemic, and, you know, all the other kinds of things that we’ve particularly hear, Brexit and everything else that’s going on. We’ve all had to adapt quicker than the change was perhaps expected. Right? And what I find quite fascinating is, as a speaker, my work was traveling, keynoting events and doing stuff. However, pandemic hit, all gigs were canceled, okay. And then the world started to think, Okay, well, we still need to engage with our audiences, even if we’re not bringing them together, face to face. And so then the kind of virtual landscape took place now just, I know you’ve got a future guest coming on tomorrow night, who’s a business partner of mine, and a bloody good buddy too, you’ll all enjoy him. 

But with Warren, we met just before the lockdown happened, when the first lockdown happened in the UK. And he was fascinated with the work I’d been doing the year prior, which was masterminding other speakers, I was bringing thought leaders together who were wanting to build a better personal brand, get out there and win kind of commercial opportunities off the back of their knowledge. And so we looked at what he was doing in the kind of digital marketing space and digital transformation space and the stuff that I was doing, which was much more around the psychology of influence and, you know, people. And we thought, okay, let’s combine forces. And our idea back then was to create an environment in five-star hotel rooms, bringing people together for, you know, really kind of intimate, masterminding once a month. And of course, lockdown happened, and that stopped too that idea. But we adapted, right? And we ended up working with last year, over 150 different businesses in 14 different countries. And I don’t just mean a light touch, we spent proper intimate time with these businesses, helping them create their personal brands, or create their business brands, really nail their value propositions, get their positioning right on all environments. Think about strategies for partnership and, you know, building methodology/models, so they’ve got clarity and explanatory power around what they do. 

And then even through that kind of that sales, customer acquisition journey, that nurturing phase, we’ve worked with them on all of those things, right? Over 15 months. And all I’m saying to you is that in the type of work that we do, because everybody’s adapted to virtual, I don’t think any single consultative business now cannot be done through a camera. You know, your work can be done from Bali just like anybody else, if you’ve got an audience, then design something which serves them just virtually. And in fact, for many people now it’s the preference. 

You know, a really good buddy of mine is a very highly regarded IFA. And so similar thing, right? His job was going into the houses of high net worths in order to manage portfolio and to give them investment strategies and the world change so everything was done via zoom. I just had a conversation with him recently and a recent poll of his customer base, only two out of the whole portfolio, want face to face meetings moving port forward, the rest of them all one virtual, so his whole business has changed from driving to lots of different parts of the country and spending a lot of dead time in the car, she had just a switching on to zoom. And in fact, the meetings go better because they’re short, sharp, and sweet. But if there were several family members involved in the content, they’re all sat around the screen looking at the figures. So it’s rather than across the living room in different parts where they can’t see the numbers. It’s more attuned to actually being focused and getting an getting an outcome quicker. So all I’m saying is that industry, in particular consultative industries, they can adapt, it’s absolutely possible. And if you’ve got an audience in two different countries, you can still serve them, your content, your YouTube channel, if you’re commercializing it might be one thing, but you can still serve them and design the kind of service that gives them value and in return gets you paid.

Martin Henley 25:53  

100%. Yeah. And that’s kind of what is going on. And this process kind of started also as part of the lockdown and the pandemic thing, I suppose. So the question is, so we’ve got you rebel, you didn’t let me ask the second question, you just started answering it. So we’ve got to the point where the question should be, you know, who are your customers? How do you win your customers? And what is it that you do that delivers value from your customers, but you’re kind of giving us a sense of that already. 

Warren Cass 26:27  

Sorry. 

Martin Henley 26:31  

So I’m just wondering if there’s any part of that question that you didn’t answer already. So your customers are in how many different countries?

Warren Cass 26:38  

So right now, we have about 150 people we’ve been working with in about 14 different countries.

Martin Henley 26:44  

44-0

Warren Cass 26:46  

1, 4

Martin Henley 26:46  

1, 4. Okay.

Warren Cass 26:50  

Mind you, that’s just gone up, because we’ve just got a gig in Ghana, which is running an accelerator for a telecoms company in Ghana and actually doing a lot of work in places like Saudi now in the Middle East through basic Warren’s brilliance, actually, we’re developing a whole client base in the Middle East at the moment, which is really cool.

Martin Henley 27:13  

Okay, good. Right. So how did you do that, that’s interesting, that’s useful.

Warren Cass 27:22  

So what the broader 14 countries, you know, it’s marketing 101, right. It’s have some form of value add content that engages people, we started actually doing webinars, we’re brilliant at the start of lockdown, because if everybody was confined, what they were looking for were some sort of human intervention, and typically, they had strategies for a bit of personal and professional development. So we got involved with getting people on very interactive webinars, which then moved them to, our product staircase, it started with that, but we then took them to a one day workshop, which was all focused on identity. So anybody that’s starting a business, we helped them to understand where their values were, what their purpose was, you know, what their objectives were for their business. So they really got clarity. And then you build the brand around that, you think about the marketplace you serve and how to construct a value proposition that serves that marketplace. And there’s actually, we use things like Ikiguide, you know, just to have quite philosophical conversations at that stage. So people get a sense of where it is they want to go. 

When you’ve got that you can start putting a strategy in place, until you’ve got that sense of priority and objective, it’s really hard to give people strategy. So we started doing those workshops as a result of the webinars. And then the next step was we had an eight-week accelerator, we worked with people. And that was really transformational, you know, for many people. And then beyond that, we run a community which people stay in every single month, they do masterminding, there are master classes and a whole load of things that we do with them, one to one coaching. So you’re working with a whole load of different businesses from lots and lots of different sectors and helping them get a better sense of where they’re going, but then put the strategy in place to get there. That was essentially what we did. 

Martin Henley 29:26  

Okay, fantastic. And how did you get them on the webinar in the first place?

Warren Cass 29:32  

A mixture of you know, creating content that’s shareable, that adds value, asking for the shares and the likes, using our own databases using our own social followings, like you are and I’ve got pretty decent following across several different platforms. And sometimes you have to reengage and wake those people up again, right. And as you’ve just said, you know, you’ve got one list that’s slightly more engaged than the other. You know, what can you do to reawaken, and add value to those people, and it you know, it’s slowly but surely, it’s picked up, even with the fireside chat, which is one of our latest things we’ve done, maybe I don’t know, eight or nine of them. And we only do it every two weeks. And actually, it’s a more of a facilitation exercise than it is for kind of prepared remarks. Even though we do the campaign creation thing, it doesn’t actually take that long. But every single week, or every single time we do it, we have even more people register, and even more people attend. So it’s just growing and growing and growing. And the idea is that what’s good for us is that we’re shining the light on other people, it’s just kind of like what you’re doing, you know, bringing people on to this format, and having a conversation is absolutely shining the spotlight on other people, one of the principles I talked about in my book is the principle of credibility by association. 

So two reasonably intelligent guys having a reasonably intelligent conversation in this context, actually, we both come off better for it. And we’re both demonstrating values actually, just by the conversation that we’re having, you know, you express something where you wanted to be appreciated for your work, I wanted to help you know there’s values at play in every conversation you ever have with people, and people are either drawn to that or they’re not. And, you know, typically, those people who go out with vanilla marketing campaigns trying to capture everybody are the ones who typically the least successful. Some of the best marketers I know, are completely polarizing and they don’t care. They’re being authentically themselves and working to their values. And they only want to work with the people who get them and understand them. And I’ve kind of respected that more. In my past, I confess, I’ve been too vanilla, I’ve been trying to please everybody, rather than actually just focus on attracting people who get me, like me, want to work with me and think that this would be the right style to work with.

Martin Henley 32:02  

Okay, wow. Right. So I’m thinking lots of things. I’m thinking lots of things. I mean, my situation is I’m doing something quite different. Like previously, I wanted people to like me and my company and want to work with us. And you know, we were full time on that. Now, what I’m looking to do is I just want to share what I’ve got, and as much as I can get from other people like yourself, that’s kind of my mission. And I kind of feel like because of my conspiratorial outlook, if I can get Google to pay for that through YouTube, that would be like, perfect poetic justice. So, I’m doing something different, I think, and it’s okay. I’m thinking, I mean, there’s two things I’m really intrigued about, like the first is, there’s this thing, I think, I don’t know, if it’s particular to digital marketing, but digital marketing seems to concentrate, the feeling of like you said, at the beginning, this fear of missing out thing. Like I’m telling you, I’ve burned these audiences, when actually if I were my client, I’d be telling myself to back up and engage those audiences, you know, I mean, they’re all still there, probably, or some of them are still there, you know, I’m starting with something. But I feel like if I got carried on with the videos in 2014, I could have been Casey Neistat, you know, but I didn’t, so I missed out. So that’s something that I’m really interested to get your perspective on. And then the other thing is like for me Cialdini’s Influence is the Bible when it comes to marketing, like if you’re in sales and marketing, and you haven’t read that book, then you’re just not doing it right, you can’t be doing it right. You know, so I’m interested to know how you have evolved that. So I’m interested in those two things. The first one is probably much less interesting. Or maybe the same thing.

Warren Cass 33:51  

The first one was an extension of the values conversation, really, but, you know, people like you, myself, you know, Barnaby, with bigger brands, typically, Robert Craven, very specifically with digital agencies, you know, whether they’ve identified a niche audience or whether they, you know, generalists like Barnaby is a self-confessed generalist, he’s worked pretty much in every industry at a very high level, really, really good brands, right? These are still my go to people when I need feedback and insight. Right? So, you know, often the role that we do in our work with businesses is a facilitation role, right? We don’t come professing to have all of the answers. But what we ask is great questions in order to get further clarity on what it is the client actually wants to achieve from their business. What it is they actually do for their marketplace, whether their marketplace is prepared to pay for that, of course, and then building the strategies in order to try and get that into their hands. I mean, it’s pretty conceptually easy, an easy thing to get your head around. 

And actually, you come across as a really humble guy, Martin right? So I’m sure you’re awesome at what you do, because you’re approachable. You can have these kinds of conversations where people feel at ease with you, and tell you the stuff that you need to know in order to help them, is much easier to do that looking at somebody else’s position than it is to look at your own sometimes, right? And that’s also because we all internalize things, and therefore we’re running them through our filters, and our conditioning and our biases, and all of those things, which stops us necessarily from seeing things clearly. So it’s that third party perspective, that objective perspective which helps. So I don’t know if that answered question one. But the way I see it is, you know, we all need that kind of facilitator to help us take whatever the idea is, make it a really clear vision, and therefore put the strategies in place to achieve that. That’s essentially what we do.

The second thing around, our books, I’ve got behind here, I’ve got a bookcase full of well, marketers, business gurus, you know, I’m a big fan of Seth Godin, he’s probably my go to person, but really, what they share is old, old knowledge, you know, many of the philosophies that exist today, you can still find some resemblance of them from Aristotle, Confucius or whatever it is, it’s always old ideas reimagined and recontextualize for the age that we live in, this is old knowledge applied today. And my point to you around those books, the psychology of persuasion was written in the 1980s right now, whereas the principles are absolutely intact, still today, right? There’s still a context to how we deliver something, you know, even if you look at any good communication has an element of feedback at the end, which enables marketers to recalibrate and you know, refine the message or make the kind of acquisition journey easier, or whatever it is, that feedback loop is really important. But as technology changes, so does the method of feedback. And so we always need to be evolving our thinking to be contextual, for the age that we live in. And that was my point from it, right? And it’s one of many good marketing books that I read, it just has to be applied through the context of yourself, the context of the audience that you serve, and the kind of technology available to you today in order to properly leverage it.

Martin Henley 37:37  

Okay. Okay, 100%. So, I would say I teach digital marketing. So that’s what I do, is I teach digital marketing, that’s how I make my money now. So and the reason we do digital marketing is because of the amazing feedback. So, you know, prior to digital marketing, we might have sent a direct mail piece, we might have put something up on a billboard, we might have stuffed things through people’s letter boxes, we might have been telemarketing, cold calling people. The issue with what went on before, we might have been advertising on the television or on radio, the issue with all of that is that you are kind of throwing stuff into the ether, without any real sense of what the impact of that might be, like John Wanamaker said, You know, I know 50% of my advertising is effective, I just don’t know which 50%. Well, with digital media, we are supposed to know. And I know there are some challenges coming up with this now but we are supposed to know. What differences has that made? Has that made the difference that it should have made?

Warren Cass 38:54  

Which bits sorry, the ability to analyze and track, has that made a difference?

Martin Henley 39:00  

The transparency, the feedback, the fact that we know if we put out a direct mail campaign, then the Direct Mail Institute will tell us that maybe 0.1% will get opened. Whereas if we put out an email campaign, we can see exactly what percentage opened it, how long they had it open, what they clicked on, you know, then onto the website, how long they spent on the website, all of this stuff. So the question I’m asking you is because you told me that How to Win Friends and Influence People was in the 30s.

Warren Cass 39:33  

Psychology of persuasion.

Martin Henley 39:34  

Psychology of persuasion, was in the 80s. So that is now 90 years old and 40 years old. But how much has digital marketing changed? Or not?

Warren Cass 39:50  

It massively has and you’ve just expressed one of the points beautifully which is the kind of analytics, the feedback mechanism is so much more sophisticated now. If you think back to both of the two books referenced, they’re really about face to face conversations and persuasion techniques, which I think is actually quite superficial, it’s quite surface level, right? And the difference between whether you need a surface level engagement in order to buy some sort of commoditized low-price product, or whether you need actually a deeper resonance with people in order to go on a much more profound journey with you, right? So, the work that we do requires a much deeper convictions, you know, a much deeper sense of confidence, or certainty in order to take that next step with us, right? If they need to be sure. It’s funny, I heard a speaker called James Ashford in the UK. He’s the founder of GoProposal, which is the kind of instant proposal. He does this specifically for the accounting marketplace, but he’s very good marketeer, very good, creative, in fact, would be somebody I’d recommend for your podcast, even though he’s niche focused, he’s very, very good. 

And he, as a throwaway comment, talked about this kind of quest for certainty in the buying process, and didn’t think any more of it. But honestly, it started spiraling for about three days, I was thinking about what are the building blocks of certainty? What constitutes certainty, in the mind’s eye of your target marketplace? And, you know, I came up with lots and lots of building blocks for certainty. And sometimes it might be the credibility by association, you know, who did they hang out with? Let’s have a look at the content, how do they demonstrate their expertise? That might be one of the aspects? Let’s do our due diligence. What are people saying about them? What’s the testimonials, where are the case studies, you know, , what’s the reviews on Google, just as one aspect of it is the social proof. And certainty looks different for different types of businesses. And there are different levels required depending on what the purchase is. But even if I go and buy a five-pound product on Amazon, now, I’m still reading the reviews. And seeking out the ones which are four or five star and above. Now there is a deeper level of certainty I need for anything that (a) costs more, but (b) if there needs to be some sort of chemistry match with the person I’m going to go and work with. 

So this quest for certainty is really important today, because I believe we have younger demographics coming through who actually crave more meaning they actually crave a kind of deeper resonance for most of the people they serve. Even coming back to the investment circles that I referenced earlier on with my friend, there’s a real trend amongst younger people who are only investing in opportunities, which have at least some sort of conscious capitalism at their core, right? You know, they want to make ethical investments, not just wear the normal capitalist hat and go for maximum profit. It’s not how they’re wired. And I actually believe whilst that charge, I think, is being led by younger generations, actually, we’re all catching up, you know, so nowadays people are looking for a little bit more meaning in the things that they do. And I think that has to be translated into marketing. If you’re a brand today that’s not articulating your values, and articulating the kind of broader societal impact that you have, then you’re missing a trick and you’re probably going to get left behind by those that are because that’s what wins hearts and minds. It’s not just superficial persuasion. It’s a deeper resonance. It’s deep influence, which is the title of my next book.

Martin Henley 43:47  

Good. I’m going to read both of your books.

Warren Cass 43:50  

Drop me your address, my friend and I’ll pop you one in the post.

Martin Henley 43:53  

Okay, I’m in Indonesia, it’s far.

Warren Cass 43:57  

I don’t care. I post internationally anyway, for my members so it’s fine.

Martin Henley 44:00  

Oh, fantastic. Okay, cool. Brilliant. Thank you. Okay, good. I’ve got an issue with this. Warren. I’ve really got an issue with this. I’m kind of conflicted. I think lots of people, marketing people, especially are talking about this stuff, this purpose, this meaning, this ethics? I think they are. But I wonder how when it actually comes down to how much people really do care. And this came up in one of these conversations I had recently. So for example, I’m an Apple user and, you know, we know that there’s part of it, I don’t use them for my phone, for example. So when I don’t have to use them, I don’t use them, but my computer will always be an Apple computer. 

But we know about the conditions that people who are producing these computers are working under but it doesn’t stop the iPhone being the most popular brand of phone in the world. And I don’t know if that’s particular, I stopped using an iPhone, because Somebody once told me it was a mom’s phone. So that was enough to convince me I didn’t want it anymore. It’s like everyone’s mom’s got an iPhone. So is it? Here’s the challenging question, Is this purpose, ethics, all of this stuff? Is this just marketing fluff? Or are people genuinely deeply interested in these issues? And sorry, just to make it more complicated and maybe not, I don’t know, like when I was a kid, like, I knew I wouldn’t grow up to work in the weapons industry. And nobody I knew that had morals would do that, you know, I mean, but it seems to me now that almost whichever industry you look at, they’re not behaving in a particularly ethical or responsible way. So, my question is surface level, and marketers are very interested in this idea of values and purpose and ethics. And underneath that is just a sea of desperation. You know, it’s a horrible mess. If you spend too long looking at the news. So is that a surface level thing? And how would we know?

Warren Cass 46:25

So I share your cynical nature, sir. 

Martin Henley 46:29

Good. Thank you. 

Warren Cass 46:30

However, you know, there’s no denying we are hugely emotional creatures, right. So when a charity video posts, the beneficiary of the charity, both in their plight, and in the kind of transformation aspect after they’ve received the funding, they are pulling on heartstrings, right? So, you know, the reason why Barnaby is very, very good. For example, he’s worked with a number of charities, and he absolutely, you know, transformed monies received because he knew how to tell the story. He knew I had to be a storyteller for that charity, and to build campaigns around that storytelling. Right? And sure enough, he more than paid for himself as a marketeer. Because they raised far more funding and had a much more polished brand at the end of it. That’s an example when you tell stories and you demonstrate values, you win hearts and minds. To come back to your Apple point, I think most people are completely ignorant of those working conditions. I personally, I don’t know what the actual detail is, I would have thought they would have sorted it out by now. And it was probably something of the past. But I would equally cynically believe that every other technology brand was working with the same practices doesn’t make it right. 

But if I was an activist, I would be doing more if it was something that was really important to me, I’d be an activist, and I’d be doing more to change that, right? But I bet you one thing, if Apple had a competitor, which was the same ergonomics, the same intuitive kind of design and user interface, but highly ethical, I guarantee you, they would be market dominant. Because people would always make that choice. I believe they would always make that choice. So whatever the current, the kind of criteria comes, if you believe in a cause, if you believe that something is, serving the greater good, and not just out and out profit making machine, I believe you’ll make that decision. And the same is true because it’s about the relationship you have right with the brands that you deal with. Again, you know, talking about millennials earlier on, millennials are much more fickle, less brand loyal, you know, if the brands that they use day in day out, disappear tomorrow, they will just go and find a replacement, no problem at all. But they’ll do that based on social proof recommendation and what’s being talked about right, and certainly something that appeals to and some minds will win over something that’s just transactional, I believe.

Martin Henley 49:07

Okay, good. And I really hope so as well, I really hope so. But I think what you’re saying is absolutely true, is that they are all as bad as each other. And the truth is you can’t produce a mobile phone without using resources, minerals that are reportedly I mean, God, this got depressing.

Warren Cass 49:30  

But actually, it won’t be the exploitation of people it will be to the detriment of people because it will be robots doing it, you know, moving forward, and I’m sure they are already a dominant part of any production line. 

Martin Henley 49:41

Yes.

Warren Cass 49:42  

But, you know, that’s, where it’s going. Right? 

Martin Henley 49:46

Yeah, yes. 

Warren Cass 49:47  

You know, what I also believe is that for lots and lots of places, they would still rather have the injection of revenue and employment of people rather than them just you know, starving without jobs, right? The key is how do we upskill and actually improve the lives of everybody in the kind of distribution chain, or production chain? How do we do that as a brand? And if you’re demonstrating those values and putting initiatives in place, and beyond just getting your stuff made cheaply, then I think you’ll still win hearts and minds, people will see you’re striving for better. 

Martin Henley 50:29

I really hope so. I really, really hope so.

Warren Cass 50:30

Just a personal opinion but, I am also as cynical as you. So you know, I can see where you’re coming from.

Martin Henley 50:36  

Yeah. And even when he talked about Barnaby doing the work for these charities, the outcome was that they had much more compelling stories, a much more compelling brand, and much more polished brand, and better revenues. That just hurts me a little bit, that shouldn’t be the objective of the charity. If we said so many more children fed or so many more people housed or, you know, I don’t know, I do worry about that.

Warren Cass 51:02  

It’s a means to an end. It’s a means to an end. There are so many different charitable causes now. Where do you spend your time or where do you give? Well, if you’re competing for people’s support, know that they’ve got, you know, hundreds of other things they could be supporting? So how do you make something important to somebody? You tell them stories, you activate them a little bit around that cause and then they become a supporter, because it’s all about the outcome? It’s all about the people that would serve in the charity space, but you’ve still got to activate them to be to give a shit about the cause in the first place. Right?

Martin Henley 51:38  

Yes. And giving a shit I think is really important. Like I don’t, we’ll end this now. But I just want to make one point that I just always really amuse me, I’m going to make two points, because I’m going to bring up game shows. So I think, firstly, this isn’t at all relevant. So we’ll get this out of the way. I think peace in the Middle East could be achieved if they had game shows that included all of the people from all of the different factions. 

So I think for example, you know, when you’re watching a game show, and you’re thinking like the guy standing there, you’re thinking he’s a bit of a dick. But then he says, Oh, this is my name. This is who I’m from, this is something else about me. All of a sudden, you really care about that person, you understand they’re a person. So that’s my resolution for the Middle East, the conflict in the Middle East is have game shows with everyone on them that they all watch. So they all start to see it’s a humanizing effect. That was the first thing that was completely not relevant. The second thing about gameshows, Family Fortunes, celebrity Family Fortunes, where you’ve got, I don’t know, this family from Coronation Street and this family from EastEnders. And basically, the family from Coronation Street are in favor of the Donkey Sanctuary. So if they win the Donkey Sanctuary, get some money. And the people from the other one EastEnders care about cats, stray cats or something. And then they go all the way through this process half an hour, and then the stray cats get the money. No one gives a shit about the donkeys anymore. I mean, it’s like, and what effect does that have on us as a society where, and I mean, this is this, I’m giving you the completely fabricated family fortune story, but it feels like we’re in, like, because we’re so like, all of these stories are so compounded, and they’re landing on us all day, every day, like actually 100%, what you’re saying is, right. And mission as marketers, certainly at the level that you’re operating and Barnaby is operating at where you’re talking about brands, is to make yourselves stand out and be better because of all of this noise. But all of the noise is just so confusing.

Warren Cass 53:42  

I won’t say what came into my head when you were talking about those poor donkeys. But I would argue that awareness was raised in that scenario for both charities, and they would have probably had viewers if they watch in their 1000s, if not millions, clicking through and supporting. Even as a result of not necessarily winning, there might be a sympathy vote, you know, people will vote from that perspective. So the awareness of the charity was maybe one of the bigger objectives there. But I guarantee you both charities would have got something right?

Martin Henley 54:16

I hope so. It’s money. It’s like 10 grand.

Warren Cass 54:23

It’s awareness and but you know, it all comes down to the storytelling, you know, telling the story and celebrities like it because they seem to be doing something for a cause. It’s all values driven stuff. They’re still marketing by appearing on a show like that. It’s just marketing. And it’s all it is. It’s a PR exercise.

Martin Henley 54:40  

Robert says it’s getting harder.

Warren Cass 54:45  

Which particular aspect, what did Robert say is getting harder?

Martin Henley 54:50  

He says marketing is getting harder, running a successful business is getting harder, because like the barrier to entry is so much lower and there are so many more people in it. Whereas pre-digital marketing, pre-social media, the barrier to entry was higher if you wanted to run a business.

Warren Cass 55:12  

So I agree and I disagree with Mr. Craven. I agree it’s become more complex. And by the very nature, if something’s more complex, it’s potentially harder. However, I don’t think we’ve ever had as many channels and as many opportunities to analyze whether something lands or misses, in marketing ever, and it will only even get more complex. But even more data and more information at our disposal, I think what’s happened is the consumer has become a lot more sophisticated, not only around what’s going on in the process, you know, the process of marketing and how they’ve served information. And, you know, there’s a sense of whether you’re being manipulated, but actually, the consumer wants to know the backstory, they want to know the values, they want to know what they stand for, before they invest their time and effort and money. So I think there’s a level of sophistication from the consumer, I think there’s a complexity, particularly with the technology, but that gives us a lot more analytics for better feedback for, you know, therefore, we can recalibrate and tweak our message. But the one thing that I think has made it harder and the bit I agree with Mr. Craven, is the fact that people have also become quite cynical. And actually, we are bombarded with so many messages today, we are all suffering from attention deficits. And therefore, we’re automatically filtering now, you know, there’s just too much information. So we’re having to filter in order to focus. So it’s much harder to get through. I mean, if anybody who receives a ton of email marketing knows they probably never read the email, you can see what HTML email coming through and the chances are, you’re deleting out of your inbox and not reading it in detail. The only way you get your email marketing read today is by having already built a relationship with the with the target for email marketing.

Martin Henley 57:16  

Nice to see you again, Warren, are we going to pretend that their technology didn’t fall apart yesterday, and we agreed to come back 24 hours later to try and do this again?

Warren Cass 57:24  

I think we should confess. And then that way, if there’s a lack of continuity of what I was saying, when we left off to what we started to talk about now then that’s obvious, right? Sometimes shit goes south.

Henley 57:36  

Sometimes it goes south. Yeah. And sometimes dirty people are still wearing yesterday shirt. Whereas I’ve got two of this shirt. So.

Warren Cass 57:45  

So just to confess, right, I thought we were going to try and do the continuity thing. So I made sure I came in the same shirt again, just to be mindful of your audience, and they would have a seamless experience. But we would have been more inauthentic. Right?

Martin Henley 57:59  

Okay let’s try and be honest, let’s pretend we’re not marketers for a second and just be completely honest and open.

Warren Cass 58:04  

Actually, that’s kind of an extension of what we were talking about yesterday, because I think the marketers who are getting the most success now are the ones that are actually managing to be that little bit more authentic in their communication, which probably leads us quite nicely on to the challenges you’ve been having with Riverside, doesn’t it?

Martin Henley 58:25  

I think it does. So. I think it does. I think it’s weird. And I think it’s kind of like, I’m glad it fell apart yesterday, because I was kind of running out of steam. I was challenging you. And I knew what I was trying to say. But I wasn’t conveying it to you. So you weren’t having the opportunity to answer that question. That what I want to know is like what we were talking about is like the last question I asked you is about how Robert Craven thinks it’s more difficult now? And you answered that we’ve got that full answer. So they will have heard that answer. But what I’m interested to know is this really what marketing are supposed to be doing? Is it really what marketing is supposed to be doing to be taking a shit thing, and trying to present it as a good thing? Because I am hugely cynical, but I kind of have like an idealistic view of what an effective marketer does is understand the market, understand the needs of the market, produce a solution that meets those needs, or desires, and then communicates the value that is available to that market. 

But I think and that’s what goes on I think at our level, you know, when we are dealing with our customers, that has to be what goes on. We don’t have to make an investment in trying to look better than we are. Because we stand up and we present ourselves and people will make a judgement. This is a good person or a bad person and they’re representing a good business or a bad business. So those are kind of the two things that I’m interested in, which are, you know, clearly big businesses have to engage in PR, because they’re typically not as nice as we would like them to be. And they have to try and convince us that they are. And secondly, do small businesses have to worry about that too, especially when they’re small businesses and they’re new businesses, and they have more pressing requirements, I would say, like not trying to suppress people or having issues with your software, like the people at Riverside are. So this is kind of tied in, this is how I think about this thing. Is it not just enough to do a stand-up job and stand up if it doesn’t quite meet the needs of your market and work with them until it does? That’s kind of what I’m thinking now.

Warren Cass 1:00:52  

It’s a lovely question. And I have a couple of different aspects to this as part of my answer, right. And I think once upon a time, many, many years ago, if you were a marketer, then your job was to sensationalize, whatever the product is, and it would sell. And if it was a bad product or a bad service, there was very little comeback on you because we didn’t have the channels to amplify our grievances, you know, like we do today, right? I think today, you get found out very, very quickly if the product or service isn’t right. And I think you hit the nail on the head. And literally your first sentence to that question, which was around, yesterday, you asked me what I thought marketing was, and I said, I think marketing is everything, right? And so in a small business, it’s every experience that a prospect or customer has with you is essentially marketing. But a business is only successful if it has a value proposition, which actually adds value. And if it doesn’t do that, today, you get found out very, very quickly. 

So you can dress something up as nicely as you want to with marketing fluff. But if the product or service doesn’t do what it’s built to do, you get found out. So it’s about working on our value propositions as much as anything else today and then telling our stories, but it starts with the value proposition. And I like the simple kind of value proposition canvas for that, right, which is that and I think it’s particularly appropriate in terms of rapid change that we find ourselves in now. Because the premise is that it starts by looking at your marketplace, and looking at the pain that they’re in or looking at the potential gain that you can you can help them with, right, so looking at pains and gains, and that’s an observation exercise. And then on the other side, it’s about, you know, designing products and services that solve those problems, right. And then the marketing aspect is how we then tell everybody about it. And we raise awareness of the potential for gains or the solutions to pains right. Now, when the marketplace changes on a regular basis, that observation has to happen frequently, you can’t just rest on your laurels that once upon a time, this was a product fit for task. We, you know, technologies completely disrupting so many industries, we have to continuously be looking at our products and services and just making that judgment, is this still fit for tasks? Is this stuff fit for purpose? Or has the world moved on and we need to adapt? 

And, you know, this is the reason why so many big household brands have fallen by the wayside in just the last 20 odd years. I mean, my favorite case study years ago when I was talking on stage was, you know, Yellow Pages started in 1956 in the UK in Brighton and Hove right, and they were just a local directory, which spread all across the UK. And then before you knew it onto four continents where they owned search. So this little thing called the internet came along, and there was nobody saying how is this going to disrupt our business? How can we own search in this new age, and of course, they didn’t react and the rest is history with Google and Bing. But that’s the reality. They fail to innovate, and everybody’s had the same Kodak examples trotted out over the last God knows how many years, have been written in ton of books, you know, people who invent technology, and then don’t actually go and capitalize on it and realize, you know, that’s how it’s going to become mainstream. And the challenge for small businesses, we don’t have the deep pockets for R&D, we don’t have lots and lots of people to bounce ideas off in teams. 

And therefore, it’s still quite important for us to find that sense of community that can be the sounding block that can you know, can be the incubator for ideas, can be the critical feedback on the issues that we face. And that’s actually why Warren Knight and I founded Hivemind, because it was a community of people who could actually come and be that resource for each other and help develop those concepts and ideas. So, you know, when you said yesterday, what gives me the authority to talk about marketing. My push back on that was genuine, I don’t necessarily consider myself a marketer. Marketing is something I’ve had to do. It’s something I enjoy doing, all communication where you have to understand who the message is directed at, and then give a contextual message for them. I read and fascinated by all of that stuff, context is hugely important. But I don’t necessarily consider myself a marketer, I consider myself somebody who also looks at the value proposition and the business as a whole, and how you actually go and really properly get deep influence with people, how you engaged with people. And for me, that’s beyond the traditional definition of what marketing was.

Martin Henley 1:05:51  

Okay, good. So let’s take this case in point then. So these people Riverside, this service that we’re using a game right now have come up with a brilliant, brilliant concept, because what was going on previously, and I mean, especially in the last 18 months, was an abomination. You know, it really was, when they are presenting Sky Sports on zoom, and the image is a mess. And you know, Riverside’s marketing is right, it sounds like I can’t remember exactly what they say. But they say basically, it looks like a toilet and it sounds like a toilet. And that is entirely true. So 100%, they found a real need in the market. And when I found this, I was hugely excited. Now, and technologically, this is a brilliant thing, but it’s not anywhere near perfect. And I’m having this issue with the syncing, we had an issue that it crashed yesterday, the real issue is that I am voicing this on their Facebook community, because that’s where they send you once you’re a customer, and they’re deleting my posts. Now, I don’t believe they’re deleting my posts because they are evil, I believe that they are deleting my posts because they don’t know how to cope with this situation. So I don’t know how many users they’ve got. They’ve got some corporations on their front page, who are supposedly customers of theirs, I don’t know what’s going on. But this is almost the biggest danger for this type of company is that you’re just catapulted into the ether. And that’s really difficult because now exactly like you say, we are marketers, we’re really good at telling stories about how bad customer service is, and they’re upsetting us. And we have the platforms to now go out and diss their business. So their business, the wheels could come off not because they haven’t got a good product, not because they haven’t gotten it to market, but because actually, it’s too much of those things, you know, it’s too good. And there’s too much market for it. What do you think?

Warren Cass 1:07:51  

I think it’s worse than that in this particular case. I’ve only had five minutes to get upset about this, right? Because you already talked about this just before we got on the call. But they’re clearly deleting the same post over and over again. Because you posted what, three, four times and now they’ve got you on moderated comments, right?

Martin Henley 1:08:13

Yes.

Warren Cass 1:08:14

You weren’t going on and calling them names and being overly derogatory, you were saying there’s a problem with the lip synching? Can you help me with the problem?

Martin Henley 1:08:20

Yeah.

Warren Cass 1:08:20

And just to reiterate the context, their site sends you to the Facebook group for customer support. You know, if you just think about the user journey there, they’ve sent you to a place for customer support, you ask the question from customer support. And they delete you four times. 

Martin Henley 1:08:35

Yeah.

Warren Cass 1:08:35

Because they don’t want anybody to see anything negative about the platform, particularly the user community. 

Martin Henley 1:08:41

Yes. 

Warren Cass 1:08:41

Now what that tells you is that your support query isn’t important, that they’re more concerned about the perception of their product than they are about the reality of it. It shows that they’re not necessarily focused on fixing what’s broken. And, more importantly, to me the biggest sin is they are motivating you to go and amplify your grievance somewhere else where they’re not in control of the conversation, which is just stupidity. So, coming back to being in control of the kind of brand message or communication, the first Golden Rule of a customer experience, if someone’s got a problem, you acknowledge the problem, right? That diffuses them almost immediately. 

Martin Henley 1:09:26

Yes.

Warren Cass 1:09:26

I mean, just to give you an example of this. There’s a product called review, I think it’s review filter, but it’s a hotel, booking system/review system, for any kind of hotel and the idea is that if you’re guests in a hotel and you come along and you have a great experience, they’re the first ones to ask you whether you had a great experience. They sent you an email Did you enjoy your stay with us rate us out of five. If you rate a four or a five, it immediately flips to TripAdvisor, that says great that you’ve had a great experience, wonder if you wouldn’t mind just publishing that here. And you’re auto logged in so all you have to do is publish them and your review is there as a four or five. If the review is a three or less, what it does is immediately respond and acknowledges the problem and says, I’m sorry, you’ve had a bad experience, we’ll be in touch to see what went wrong and see how we can make it right. Which completely diffuses any motivation for somebody to go to TripAdvisor to complain, because they feel like they’ve been heard, and that their issues being addressed. So what that does, is it helps hotel work on their customer service and customer experience, because they’re understanding what the issues are. And that’s a good thing, you know, it also means that they almost controlling the publicity and the press that goes out to the marketplace, which is clever. But the integrity behind being interested in the problem so they can solve the problem is the bit that counts. But to motivate marketeers who arguably know how to use these platforms, to say, I’m really pissed off with this, because and, you know, and they’re not in control of the message, for me is a massive cardinal sin. And I’d be interested in the context of the organization whether they’re based in a certain culture, where you know, pride and ego, different cultures have different levels of controlling perceptions, right? And whether that’s the case in this in this example, I don’t know, but somebody needs a good talking to.

Martin Henley 1:11:32  

Yes. Okay, so I’ve got the best example of this ever, I think. So between 99 and 2005, late 2004, I was based in South Africa, and I was working in South Africa, and I had a lot of South African friends. And this was about the time that all the offshoring was going on, you remember, so all the banks were shipping their customer services out to India, and directory enquiries, or 118, 118, or whatever it was, at that time that also, now defunct search function. They decided to outsource their work to South Africa. So a few people that I knew went to work for these new organizations, answering the calls, not answering the calls, but managing teams of people who are answering calls from the UK for directory inquiries or 118. And so I was interested in this because culturally, South Africa and the UK are quite different. So I said to them, you know, what are they telling you about the culture? And my friend said to me, Well, the one thing they have told us is that if an English person asks you for a number, and you can’t find the number, what you must do is apologize and tell them that But please, you know, if you’re looking for a number again, in the future, remember 118, 118, or directory inquiries, or whatever it was. Now what I know culturally about South Africa, because I lived there for five years, I have never heard a South African apologize about anything, they don’t apologize. And this is true of the South African culture. 

So if it’s a black person, or an Indian person, an English South African, or a Dutch or African South African, I’ve never heard one of them apologize. So I said to my friend, but you don’t apologize. So what do you do? And he said, Oh, we just give them the wrong number. So that is how, and this was sometime between, well, this is probably 2003-2004. So that goes to show you how, you know, culturally, you could just miss entirely. Like, the last thing you can ever do is give an English person bad service, because they will go ballistic, you know, and they will be phoning up 10 times tomorrow to speak to a supervisor to find out why they’ve been given the wrong number. But the last thing you can expect a South African to do is apologize because they just don’t culturally, they don’t apologize, you know. So it’s interesting like that. And this is interesting, because, you know, for me, like the other thing that came out yesterday was, you know, you and Warren put together this new business and you went out and you did business in all these new countries. But it never. And when I pressed you on it, you tell us, tell me but it’s because we had these databases in advance.

Warren Cass 1:14:16

One of the aspects for sure.

Martin Henley 1:14:17

One of the aspects. Yes. So the other, a component of you and Warren putting this business together during this pandemic is the fact that you had been marketing yourselves for however many years you’ve been marketing yourselves. And so what I’m interested in, what I’m really interested in, is why people don’t trust marketers, because they don’t, why small business people don’t understand what marketing is and see the necessity for marketing and are these things connected? And should I just get over it because you know, I’ve wanted to be the small businesses marketing champion for nearly 20 years, and they clearly don’t deserve one.

Warren Cass 1:14:52  

I think you touch on a larger societal problem today and that is, we live in an age of huge misinformation. And so I think it’s making us all become a lot more cynical, and feel the need to do a lot more due diligence than we ever did before. I mean, listen, I’ve been I’ve been running my own businesses for quite a few years now and on at least two occasions, I’ve employed a private investigator before putting my neck on the line with a business deal, which I thought something’s not quite right here and I’m nervous. And on both of those two occasions, my instincts were correct. And that was a, you know, con artist or whatever, said all the right things in all the right places. But my intuition served me in those particular examples. The problem with scams today and misinformation is it’s so sophisticated, you know, it’s not just, it, there’s websites, and social proof and all of these things to back it up, or at least the perception of it. So the thing that I think we’re all becoming a little bit more as critical thinkers, and questioning everything, although not everybody. But we also have, you know, very polarizing points of view, too. So it’s creating more conflict. And again, more reason why people are fitting into tribes when they find like-minded people is because, actually, you know, if you look at everything in the news today, or even on social media, they’re amplifying the extreme points of view, which normalizes them, and therefore, we become even more polarized. 

So it’s, it’s fascinating times, this is a societal problem, not just a marketing problem. If people are more skeptical, if people are more resistant to ideas, or concepts, whatever, because of the way we’re being conditioned, our environment is conditioning that behavior. Then, as a marketer, your emphasis needs to be on demonstrating value, demonstrating expertise, demonstrating good quality customer experiences, demonstrating, you know, perhaps more in depth case studies, the journey that you take customers on from A to B, demonstrating maybe the framework that you work with, so they can understand what the journey is going to look like, if they work with you. All of that’s important, you’ve got to reassure people. And coming back to the point I was making yesterday, we’re trying to create certainty in the mind’s eye, of the prospect. So if we want them to make that decision to work with us, we’ve got to tick all of those different boxes, which could be on certainty. And so I think it’s a broader problem today, marketing isn’t just about a tagline or a good image, marketing is about actually demonstrating value, demonstrating values. And, telling the story of the business so people feel completely reassured and more inclined to buy. 

Martin Henley 1:17:45  

Okay, good. I’m 100% with you, I’ve also got a great instance of this, I think, where I used to run these half day workshops, and they were open to anyone to come to, and I run them in four or five locations across the southeast. So there’s one of these things happening every week. And I’ve lost two people from those, like two people have walked out of the hundreds of people who came, one of them really didn’t like the Mexican wave. So I used to make them do a Mexican wave at the beginning. And they would go one way, and everyone would go away. And then they go the other way, and everyone go away. And I used to follow them on my phone to get the video for my social media. And as I went back, this guy was literally packing up his stuff and leaving. So that’s one thing, there’s one person I lost, the other person that I lost was an architect. And he left I think he left it halfway. Because you know, this was 2008 to 2011, somewhere around there. So one of the courses was social media. And I was talking about one of the effects of social media being the democratization of knowledge. 

So actually now if you wants something to be true, historically, you’d have to get it published in encyclopedia. Now you put it up on Wikipedia. And if enough people believe you, it’s true, you know, so this was my argument. And he resisted that saying, but I was at college for seven years but I know the truth, or I my knowledge is more valuable, and he left at half time. But the fact is that, that was entirely true. And Trump blew the lid off it because he basically came out and said, the newspapers are lying to you, it’s fake news. And of course, they’re hugely bipartisan, and they decide what they want to say and how they want to say it. So the very nature of truth, like we touched on philosophy at the beginning, yesterday, but the very nature of truth is, you know, completely blown apart. It’s like, what on earth do you believe? And it has forced everyone out to these two extremes. And we’re carrying on here, we’re doing a podcast about marketing, like governments aren’t being ridiculously over demanding in terms of the way they expect people to behave and what they expect them to do. That’s an aside. We don’t need to get into that today.

Warren Cass 1:19:57  

Well, the interesting part is governments still have marketing and PR, right? You know, they need re-election. So everything they deliver to you every single piece of information is cushioned and maybe embellished or slightly distorted to present the best possible side of any one situation. So it’s still all marketing, it doesn’t have the kind of commercial element to it. That’s all.

Martin Henley 1:20:21  

Okay. And so this is interesting, I don’t know, five or six of these chats ago, I spoke to Melanie Farmer who works for an agency that is advising the Australian Government on what’s going on currently and health authorities on how they should be behaving and stuff. And then what’s gone on since that conversation in Australia is just mind boggling, unbelievable what’s going on there. The point is, this is probably the biggest, and depending on where you sit on the scale, the most necessary marketing campaign in human history. And 20 or 30% of people are just saying, No, we don’t believe you. We’re not doing it. And we don’t believe you.

Warren Cass 1:21:01  

Yeah, I don’t think that’s the fault personally of the marketing aspect, I think it comes back to this societal problem that you’ll always have an outsize but the batshit crazy extreme points of view in any discussion or argument, are the ones that are amplified, and therefore normalized. Right? So there’s a much bigger distance on the two extremes now, I think, than there ever was, I firmly believe common sense still lives in the middle. And, the problem is, you know, cliche common senses, and common practice is kind of what we have right now. You know, without getting drawn into COVID too much, you only have to have a look at the rates of people who are dying in hospitals and the percentage of those which are unvaccinated right now. But if you can just then call it fake news, and diminish the whole, all of the evidence. And for those that don’t want to dig deeper and do their due diligence, they’re satisfied with that very superficial throwaway comment, then you’ve got a challenge, because it’s okay to want to educate but if people don’t want to be educated, if they’re not going to ask the questions, if they don’t have the curiosity, then how do you give them the necessary knowledge, they need to make an informed decision. And it’s a real problem. 

And you know, bringing it back to marketing, you know, your architect, delegate, who packed up and left was missing the point altogether. Because had he realized, actually, there is misinformation, and I know the truth. And so therefore, I’m going to make my platform about telling people where the misinformation is, and really giving them the correct knowledge and information and therefore I’ll be the trusted resource, there’s a way he could frame and position that in order to solve the problem. And he chose not to, he chose to pack up his things go away and bury his head in the sand, right, which is, you know, typical of a lot of people who either can’t be bothered to learn or are resistant to the change. And so, you know, I find that kind of fascinating, and I think there’s also been one massive paradigm shift when it comes to knowledge, right? Once upon a time, the people who held positions of power, or at least had longevity in organizations, were the people who held the cards close to their chest and retained all the knowledge for themselves so they were indispensable. And what’s happened now, today is organizations value, the people who bring the cards out and upskill everybody around them, they’re the people who are valuable in an organization, not the ones that try and guide all of that information for themselves. It’s a very old way of thinking. 

And in marketing way that’s translated to is certainly in the professional services arena, where people are selling knowledge and consultancy skills, etc. They’re giving away a whole load of knowledge upfront to demonstrate they know what they’re talking about. Because most of the time, people still want their hand held through the process. They don’t necessarily want to take a bit of knowledge shared on a website or in a presentation and go and implement it themselves. They just want to be reassured that the person knows what they’re talking about. And so it’s okay if one person leaves from a Mexican wave. Because they probably weren’t a valued match, you know, and that’s fine. You can’t please everybody, work with the people that want to work with you and like your style and like your way of doing things. That’s the best we can do be really attractive to them.

Martin Henley 1:24:34  

Yes. And 100%. And the thing about the democratization of knowledge, is what I was saying to people then, I don’t know if I would say it now, obviously the world’s changed. But I was saying like, here’s the opportunity, you know, if knowledge is becoming so much more vague, or truth essentially is becoming so much more vague, people are going to be looking for authority and if you can be the authority in your market, I suppose this is coming towards where you guys are, then there is a huge opportunity, exactly like you’re saying, put the considerations and the answers in front of people. So they are much better equipped to make the right decisions about what they buy. I just worry. And I do worry. And I was having this conversation with my dad a couple of days ago about that, if there were to be an election in the UK now, like the Conservative Party, you know, irrespective of what your politics might be, have shown themselves to be hideously corrupt. You know, they’re essentially like all their mates made 10s of millions like this time last year, and they’re all in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and they all had us out applauding on our doorstep so the NHS that they’ve underfunded for the last 10 years. So by any sane measure, there is no way that they should be reelected. But anyone who knows anything about British politics know that they will be reelected, and probably by a landslide, you know, so I think this is the, this is the, what’s the word? This is the paradox it seems to me of marketing is that actually you don’t have to present as being the nicest or even the best. If there’s something else going on, then that also works for you. So we are far down this rabbit hole? 

Warren Cass 1:26:20  

Well, no, no, I’m perfectly happy with it, it’s whether you are. I personally think that actually, when you get people together, and certainly give them any kind of sense of power, your start to get distortion or corruption. So whatever party is in power, there’s probably going to be some level of corruption. Right?

Martin Henley 1:26:43

Right. 

Warren Cass 1:26:44  

How much it is, is a different thing. And you only have to look at US politics, which is arguably one of the most corrupt political systems on the planet, arguably. Just to you know, when people can buy votes, there’s a problem, right? And for me, it’s much about, what I can’t stand is the hypocrisy, right? You know, if you’re somebody who values truth, and you’re an anti-vaccer, for example, in the US and it’s because you don’t trust what you’re being told about what the vaccine can do. And you only care about truth, but in the next breath, you’re going take a cattle de-wormer tablet, because somebody on Facebook said it’s good for you, or how do you whatever Trump I can’t pronounce it hydro, what’s the what’s the name?

Martin Henley 1:27:39  

Hydroxychloroquine or something like that.

Warren Cass 1:27:41  

Something like that, yeah, I can’t pronounce it. But if you’re going to go and take that, just because someone said that might do something for you, your level of evidence was always low, you’re just choosing a side, right? And that’s the problem, it’s the hyprocrisy, you know, we care about truth and then the next breath, you’re gonna do this. Or the anti-masker, who cares about freedom, but in the next breath, is trying to rip somebody else’s mask off their face, so clearly doesn’t care about other people’s freedom. You know, it’s the hypocrisy and all of these things, which is the challenge. And the problem for you and I right, is because we, by just having this conversation, we are probably expressing, we’re definitely expressing our values, but we’re probably expressing what side of the fence that we fall. And that in its own right, in today’s day, and age will polarize a little bit, because some people will have a different point of view. And they might see that you don’t lean conservative, and probably lean more to Lib Dem, or labor if you were voting in the UK.

Martin Henley 1:28:45

God help me.

Warren Cass 1:28:46  

They would see that I’m vaccinated and quite opposed to wearing masks, you know, they can see where we fall. So we will just in our everyday conversations, will give a flavor of who we are, and will polarize to some extent, and that’s life. You can’t please everybody. And if you spend your time pleasing people who aren’t a good match for you, I guarantee they won’t have the best customer experience and you will spend more time and energy trying to make them happy, than you do the people who genuinely like working with you and become the advocates. So the key I think, is really identifying who works well with you and putting your attention and focus on them. And for me, marketing is about creating the conditions where the right people buy from you.

Martin Henley 1:29:32  

Good 100% now I’ve got a quote which will be the title on YouTube. Where are we? What minute of day two, are we on? We’re on minute 32, cool. I’m really interested. What I’m interested in is kind of, it seems to me that there are, what do we call them? I want to call them platitudes that are just kind of rolled out. You know, and everyone kind of accepts them. And I just wonder how much of it actually is? Well, when we’re talking about marketing, because you brilliantly brought it back to marketing. Thank you for that. So but like, for example, like, What does Seth Godin say? Seth Godin, I tell you, who says, What’s his name, the mouthy New Yorker guy? Gary Vaynerchuk. Yeah. So he says, or he is cited as quoting, give them value, give them value, give them value and close the sale or something. Now, the issue might be, well, there’s two issues with that, potentially, is one, what if by the time you’ve given them value three times, they don’t need any more value from you. So whatever amount of time you’ve invested, or energy or product you’ve invested in satisfying that value three times might have satisfied their need for value entirely, and they go away and you don’t make the sale. So that’s the first issue. And then secondly, it seems to me, because this comes back to Cialdini’s Influence. And one of the six whatever he calls them, keys is reciprocity. So if somebody feels like they owe you then they’re more likely to do what you’re hoping to influence them to do. But it seems to me and I don’t know if this has changed, because obviously, I’ve only lived my life. But it seems to me that people have quite a different capacity to accept now in 2021, like without reciprocating, than they might have done 10 or 15, or 20 years ago. What do you think?

Warren Cass 1:31:42  

So there’s several points in there. I’ll start actually, though, with the one around the give value, give value, give value, close, right? And, what’s kind of interesting, we talked yesterday about how there was blurred lines between marketing and selling, right? And there were some really good stats came out, I think it was Garner that produced them, but I’m happy to share them with you for footnotes on the page, I’ve got to dig out the research. But essentially, it talks about the amount of touch points you need to have with a prospect before they buy. And the fact that the vast majority of sales people give up after four or five interactions, and an 80% of people buy after the 11th interaction. So loads of people leaving work on the table, because they’re just not seeing through. And that touch point isn’t necessarily value, but it’s a demonstration of care. You know, just wanted to check in with you, have you got everything you need? Are there any other questions you need me to answer, while you’re making your decision, I’m not pushing you just want to make sure that you’ve got everything you need. So expressing a duty of care and having that conversation, again, just pushes people towards that certainty. And so, you know, different products and services, as I say, some things are just commoditized. And, you know, I don’t have to think about a telephone case. Although I might look at the reviews on Amazon, but it’s not really much of a considered purchase. 

However, if I was going to go book a consultant to kind of work in the business, I would definitely be making sure they had the credentials and the experience and the you know, at least a knowledge of the industry operate in a professional operating so that, you know, there’s different levels of considerations depending on what you’re buying. And as far as reciprocity is concerned, I actually do have a chapter on this in my book, which, I call it the law of reciprocity. And I still think it holds true, but it’s certainly more of an issue for people, the deeper your relationship with them. So if you’ve got a first level superficial relationship, you know, in one of those early touchpoints, they’re less likely to reciprocate. But if you’ve, you know, if you’re at the stage where you know people’s names, and you’ve had an exchange of ideas of conversations, you’re more likely to get reciprocity. And I also put it down to, because this gets kind of that obligation to work with the people that have done something nice for us. You know, those professions which give you a 15-minute free consultation, are more likely to be the ones that get the business because not only are they giving them some initial free advice, but they’re taking the time to ask the question, so they can give a contextualized answer. Or they’re taking the time to build rapport, which means you’ve got now a bit of a sense of obligation to work with them. So it’s how as marketeers, we give them that sense of who we are and start to build that sense of obligation with them so they then do honors with their business.

Martin Henley 1:34:38  

Brilliant, cool. Okay, so I’m going to believe that. This is a great example that you’ve given me, which is one that I’ve always, not always but I came to a point where I questioned it, which is this thing about persistence with the amount of touch points that might be required to win a customer and people give up too easily as there is always the moral of that story. And the most famous example of this, like those public speakers roll out all the time is Colonel Sanders. And whether it was the 87th door that he knocked on, accepted that he really had delicious fried chicken. And so he came, he went on to become the, you know, so, you know, we know, because we’re marketers in 2021, but very often, and this is kind of what I think is probably they desired for small businesses. But we know because we buy things with one touch point, you know, I will go to Google, I’ll Google the thing that I need. And if it’s at the top, either of the ads, or of the search, and I click through, and it’s easy to do, I will do that. I won’t have any sense of the business, I won’t have any relationship with the business, I won’t do any due diligence, necessarily, you know, I won’t know if they’re relying on child slave labor, or, you know, any of these horrible things, because I’m just getting what I want and what I need. And for me and Robert, historically, but not so much more recently, it seems, you know, for me, marketing is about cost of customer acquisition, and customer lifetime value. And that’s what brings the objectivity that small businesses and businesses need to really understand marketing and drive marketing effectively. So, telling people, like, you might get lucky on the 87th attempt. For me, I’d say, you haven’t understood the market, you haven’t understood what they need, you’re not presenting it in the right way. You know, don’t persist. Have a look at what you’re doing, maybe and try and do something a bit differently. Do you know what I mean? so that’s one about those touchpoints.

Warren Cass 1:36:43  

It’s funny, actually, you mentioned Robert, because I’ve got a lovely story by Robert as an example for how he has understood the audience and then tailored something for them. In fact, here you go, this is his book. This is one of Robert Cravens books, right? Grow your Service Firm. Okay, so on this side, is a list of different professional service type of organizations. I’m missing the camera, you might be able to see if you’re watching, right, so a whole lot of different types. So this is a book written a bit as a generalist book for how to grow a service firm. I think Robert won’t mind me saying it did only okay. 

Martin Henley 1:37:26

Okay. 

Warren Cass 1:37:27

He then took this whole of the contents of this book, and he specifically changed the word service firm for digital agency, one of the aspects on the book. And as a result of that kind of niche positioning, or repositioning to focus on one audience, and to be highly relevant to that one audience. He now gets flown all over the world by Google to train digital agencies on how to grow their practice, because they’re clever enough to know, if a digital agency grows their business, chances are they’ve got more customers spending more money on adspend and therefore they grow their business alongside. And, for me, it’s a brilliant story for Robert, he sold more copies with it being specific than he has been generalist, and it created much, much bigger opportunities which see him travel the world, you know, but it’s honing in on that audience rather than trying to be a generalist. 

Martin Henley 1:38:24  

Exactly. And so this is my, we’re on the same page, we’re not even arguing at this point, which is refreshing. So the thing is, absolutely. So let’s not tell Robert, when he puts out his how to be a good service business to keep persisting, he needs 11 touch points, so he might need to produce 11 books for this market. Let’s tell Robert, think about what you’re doing, niche down, if there’s an opportunity to do it get more targeted, get more focused, you know, that is much better than saying well just persist. Because I think the danger of that is that businesses are going out of business, because they’re being told to persist when probably they shouldn’t. I mean, that’s the danger. The other end of that danger is that people aren’t persisting, and they’re leaving, like you say, work on the table, because they’re not chasing things hard enough. And the other thing I think about that is that the harder you have to work to win a customer to convince them to buy from you, the harder is going to be to retain that customer. So really, however many touch points there might need to be probably the fewer touch points there are, the better the fit or the relationship or something. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Warren Cass 1:39:35  

Yeah. I mean, the more that you show an understanding of their particular circumstances, I mean, let’s face it, contextual marketing has been around for many, many years, right? And typically, it was in the kind of digital space and just for anybody watching, who doesn’t know what contextual marketing is, it’s the simple premise that every time we make a buying decision, there’s a context to it. So I might go out and buy and by the way, I believe, context is important in any communication, not just digital engagement. So for example, I could go out and buy a new car. And it could be that I’m having a midlife crisis and I want a convertible, it could be that there’s a new child in the family, God forbid, mom have left home. But we need more space. It could be that I’ve had a crash and I need a quick replacement, because I’ve got somewhere to be, whatever, there’s a context to my buying decision. So the key thing for any decent marketeer or salesperson even, is to ask great questions and really actually understand the context of the people they serve. Because then they can match features and benefits and tell stories and give examples. And really hone in on fulfilling their need, you’ve got much more chance of making the sale. And so for me context is just everything in that buying decision. So if you are specializing, operating in a niche, or multiple niches, by the way, but what you’re doing is you’re selecting aspects of your audience, and you’re talking directly to them with examples directly to them. That’s the stuff that’s important.

There’s a book or a beautiful example of this, there’s a chap who died in 2012, called Jim Slater. And he was an investor and investment thought leader, right. But his whole philosophy on investing was to go and take a really small industry, and learn that industry, inside and out. So you know, all of the movers and shakers, all the activities, all the things that are happening, because you’re more likely to make a good informed investment decision if you know all of the moving parts of one specialist area of industry, as opposed to being a generalist and investing everything, you’re more likely to not have decent specialist knowledge and therefore make the one or two bad decisions. Right. So that was his philosophy, was to focus on one area and concentrate on that. And there’s a lovely story, he had a book called the Zulu Principle. And it’s a lovely story of him sat in his conservatory one Sunday afternoon in Surrey, reading the Sunday Times. And his wife is sat next to him reading the supplement magazine for the Sunday Times. 

And in there was a four-page spread on Zulus. And so she’s reading this article with real interest. And she finishes the article, she ponders and she interrupts him. And she starts telling him about what she’s just read now, because she’s fascinated by it. And the way he articulates it in the book is, I was in that moment, I was fascinated that she was the biggest expert on Zulus in our household. And had she probably walked to the local library and got a book out on the subject, chances are, she’d be the biggest expert on Zulus in the town. And, you know, had she gone to a university or Flint, South Africans spent some time on a Zulu reserve or in the university there and studied for a couple of months, chances actually be one of the foremost experts on Zulus in the world. Right. And I liked how that was illustrated, because from a business point of view, too many people spend their time being generalists, when actually, it doesn’t take much to demonstrate to a subset of your audience that you have specialist knowledge and you understand them. 

And even going back a few years back, I ran a business community in the UK, and we had a member in Berkshire, who was an IT support company. And they were generalists. So anybody who had a computer, they would profess to be able to support and, their marketing was just always generalist month after month after month. And then one month, they did a case study where they just did an example with a veterinary surgery that they’d signed up. And what astounded them was in the month that followed, they signed up two or three other veterinary surgeries, because suddenly they saw content that was highly contextual and relevant to them. So it got their attention. And a year later, they had 19 veterinary surgeries on the book and a whole part of their website dedicated to that specialist IT support and what they would demonstrate to them is we know, the proprietary software used to manage your practice, we know you know, the pressures you’re under, if the appointment system goes down, etc, etc, they demonstrated that they knew exactly the type of support they needed. And therefore, they grew that aspect of the business. And no surprising a year after that they had another niche part of the business, which was dentist practices, which are very similar to veterinary practices and the way they’re organized and run. And that’s how they built actually really good business by specializing in one or two areas and demonstrating to them they knew and understood them.

Martin Henley 1:44:29  

Exactly. And when you go down the road with that style of business, then you do get more specialized knowledge, you know, and you do become more experienced. So 100% I agree with that. And 100% I agree with what you’re saying about what I tell my students, my digital marketing students is that being an effective digital marketer or any kind of marketer is just an exercise of knowing your market and your customers better and better and better. And, you know, the more effectively you can do that. The more Effectively you will be marketing and the more successful you will be. And so I think, I don’t know, I don’t set out with an agenda. But what I’m kind of taking away from this conversation is that there is a real question that should be asked, which is, no I’m not going to ask the question, I’m going to say, if you are an effective marketer, if you’re really good at understanding your market, your customers, and delivering the things they need, and giving them a good experience, then really this whole, communicating your purpose and your ethics and trying to make, convince people that you’re a good company, certainly for a small or medium sized business isn’t necessary, because, you know, it’s like people who put out content, like the last conversation I had was with a small business SEO guy targeting small businesses specifically, but he was he’s telling his customers to produce content to answer the questions that people have. So that yeah, I don’t know, we’re gonna have to draw a line, because we’ve gone almost again for another hour, but I’m gonna let you obviously. 

Warren Cass 1:46:03  

Okay, so I just I’m gonna have one last word, though. So I don’t agree with what you’ve just said at the end there, which is around even if you are a small business today, I think you have to be demonstrating values, in your marketing and your communication. I think it’s really important because I think there’s a whole generation who look for people who have values aligned with them. But I do think, Barnaby Wynter and put this really lovely on an event that we did recently where he said, the problem today that there are thresholds, values that every business must adhere to, because actually, you know, people are thinking more and more values driven, whether they’re the brand or the consumer, people are thinking more and more brand driven. So there are threshold values that we all must have. But you must also give a bit about who you are individually. And that’s my slight pushback. I may have misunderstood you, by the way. But it has been a laugh, my friend really enjoyed it.

Martin Henley 1:47:00  

It has been fun, isn’t it? Everyone says it’s been fun. But I, because I think people don’t trust us. So what I’m hoping to achieve in this process, is to get people who know a lot about marketing and really challenge them so people can see actually, this is their experience that they believed, you know, I mean, this is their, you know, it’s not just marketing faff, do, you know what I mean? Because marketing is guilty of that. And I want small businesses, particularly because I’m on the side of small businesses to understand and value and invest in marketing and sales, because there is no other way to be successful in business, you know. So that’s what I’m trying to achieve with this. And I love that everyone says at the end that it was really good fun, because I feel like I’m being a bit of an eyesore most of the time, but everyone seems to enjoy it.

Warren Cass 1:47:50  

This type of kind of real conversation as opposed to you know, this is the type thing I could imagine having a pint in the pub with you, Martin. So that’s for me, that’s a good podcast interview when you feel like you’ve just been sat in a pub, chewing the fat.

Martin Henley 1:48:07  

Excellent. Thank you so much, man. So thank you for this. I don’t feel like we’ve come to the end. We might have to have another conversation in the future.

Warren Cass 1:48:13  

Always, willing to come back. There’s a load of other stuff I’m opinionated on as well, so.

Martin Henley 1:48:18  

Excellent, fantastic. Okay, so I’ve just got to remind you don’t let this close until it’s fully uploaded. Don’t close this window. Warren. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, man. Thank you so much for this. I’ve really enjoyed it also. It’s been really good fun, and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Warren Cass 1:48:33  

Likewise, buddy. Take care.

Martin Henley 1:48:35  

Thanks, man. Bye

Martin Henley 0:00  

Good morning, Mr. Cass

Warren Cass 0:02  

Good morning, Mr. Henley. How the devil are you, sir?

Martin Henley 0:04  

I am extraordinarily well, thank you. And man, thank you so much for doing this. I don’t really understand why people do do this anymore. We know why you’re doing this. You’re doing this, because Robert told me to speak to Barnaby, who told me to speak to you. And because you’re all brilliant people, you just agree to do it.

Warren Cass 0:22  

I have FOMO and Martin, so you know, if I’m seeing people I like and respect. Doing something, I want a piece of the action too. So it was pure FOMO.

Martin Henley 0:31  

Excellent. God bless FOMO. Good. Okay. So what that means, of course, is that I don’t know you at all. This is the first conversation we’ve ever had, we’ve been chatting already for 15 minutes. But this is the first conversation we’ve ever had so I’m really interested to find out more about you and what it is that you’re up to. I don’t know if you are aware, but there are only five questions. So the first question is, how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing? The second question is, who are your clients and what is it that you do for them? And the third question is, how do you feel about marketing? The fourth question is, what is your recommendation for people who are investing in this current climate? And then the fifth question, you have to line up another couple of victims for this process.

Warren Cass 1:18  

All sounds great.

Martin Henley 1:20  

Excellent, cool. All right. So let’s start at the beginning. I’m interested to know how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing?

Warren Cass 1:27  

Now, I don’t mean to be the rebel. Okay. But how is anybody qualified to talk about marketing, marketing is everything. You know, if you’re a human being having a human experience, and you’ve got an opinion on marketing, probably, whether you’re at the receiving end, or whether you’re a business owner, who’s, you know, had to get out there and manage the perception of their brand, find ways of engaging with an audience. So yeah, I could trot out that I wrote a book on Influence, which was a best seller, I could trot out that I’ve been running my own businesses for 30 years and all of that, but I think that type of question is a broader question, which is, you know, if you’ve been a consumer, or if you’ve run a business, you’ve had to take that brand to market, then you’re qualified, at least to have the conversation, whether you’re qualified to receive people’s money in order to manage strategy, and all of those kinds of things that’s a different question, but we’re all qualified to talk about marketing, because we’ve all experienced it at one end, and have you know, if you’ve run your own business, then you’ve had to at least give it consideration or the other. Because my personal belief is everything is marketing.

Martin Henley 2:33  

Okay, good. You are a rebel. You’re the first person who said that, but I think that as well, I think everything is, like I used to do a sales presentation, I’m in the Mood for Selling it was called, now at the end, they had to dance to I’m in the mood for dancing. But the point I always made whenever I spoke to people about sales, or whenever people were resisting being salespeople was you’re selling all the time, you know, if you are convincing people or motivating them to do things for you or, you know, if you’re engaging with the world, you’re effectively selling, I think so that’s interesting. That’s a great answer.

Warren Cass 3:08  

That’s not even something which is reserved for adults, right? You know, as a kid, there were persuasion techniques, because you want that extra biscuit or you want a sweet or, you want to go to the park, right? Where they’re learning how to position a concept in order to influence somebody to move from A to B, right? 

Martin Henley 3:26  

Yes.

Warren Cass 3:27  

I want you to be bothered to get off the couch dad in order to take me to the park. So what do I have to do in order to achieve that goal, right? So we’re all selling all the time. We’re all marketing all the time. And it’s actually ridiculous to think it any other way. And I’ve seen some of your previous interviews, by the way, and as we know, Barnaby and Robert are good friends of mine too. But it seems we’re quite aligned philosophically around the fact that there are very blurred lines between sales and marketing today and as I say, you know, I think we’ve all been conditioned from very young ages and some of us very naturally put our best foot forward and you know, understand the environment I mean, you know, if I just look at my niece and nephew actually, my nephew is an introvert and doesn’t necessarily speak up, my niece is a sales genius at like three years old, she knows how to manipulate and to position and to get what she wants, you know, this is not even necessarily learned behavior. This is natural and instinctive, you know, the art of getting what you want, ultimately,

Martin Henley 4:31  

Okay, that’s cool. I’ve got an issue with this currently, like you brought out philosophy, so can we be a little bit philosophical for like five minutes?

Warren Cass 4:40  

I’ll try and keep up with you. 

Martin Henley 4:42  

Okay, so for fun, what I like to do is surf photography. So I spend an inordinate amount of my time in the water swimming like a mother, trying not to drown in front of quite big waves taking photos of surfers, so that’s what I like to do for fun. So this is the thing I do in my life for fun. The other people are there for fun, they’re on the waves, they’re having fun, I’m getting smashed up by the waves, I’m taking photos, I’m having fun. But what happens is these surfers would like me to give them these photographs. And that’s okay, because I spent an inordinate amount of my time in the water getting smashed up taking these photographs, you can only imagine how much time I actually spend sorting these photographs and editing these photographs, and making them beautiful. So actually, I don’t feel compelled to give these people my photographs is what I want to say. And I don’t know if it’s a generational thing. But I kind of feel like if they were more important, this is what I actually feel like is if they were more invested in me, then I would feel compelled to do it for them. Do you know what I mean? But because I just wonder like without sounding like an old fogy, using the words old fogy, how can I not sound like an old fogy. I want to swear.

Warren Cass 6:07  

We’ve already established we’re both, you know, approaching the wrong side of 50 anyway, so.

Martin Henley 6:12  

Yes, well, one of us has passed the wrong side of 50. So the point is, is there a generational thing going on? Where these people just haven’t done what we’re talking about, where they’ve learnt to get what they want or need from people? 

Warren Cass 6:30  

Well, I would push back a little on what you said, because actually, regardless of it being your hobby, right, you’re still looking for some sort of exchange, some sort of reciprocation, right?

Martin Henley 6:42  

Yes.

Warren Cass 6:43  

You’re putting time and effort into something which you enjoy. 

Martin Henley 6:46  

Yes.

Warren Cass 6:47 

And for you, it’s about creating beautiful action, capturing a moment, creating beautiful action orientated photographs. And the reason they want a copy of it is because it’s them looking good in it. And you know, they’d love to have that without the appreciation for how much work goes into the edit, the touch up the, you know, the print, etc,

Martin Henley 7:06  

But not drowning.

Warren Cass 7:07  

But listen, like with any of these types of things, whether it be hobby or whether it be a business focus thing, like there’s an objective at the start of it, yours is to create beautiful things with seemingly just for you. I don’t know whether there’s ego involved, and you want your picture seen by a wider audience. And of course, the way to achieve that is to give it to the surfers who’ve probably got some sort of social following, and amplify your name on the photo in some way, shape, or form. And therefore, there’s something in it for you. So what you can do is create a reciprocation that serves you that suits you. It’s just how you look at any kind of situation. It’s funny, from a speaking point of view, we get asked for freebies all the time. And in the UK, certainly, amongst the kind of professional speaker circuit, there’s a phrase that’s used, which is fit, fee or flee. So you either do it for a fee in which is obviously, you’re there in service of the client, or you do it for some sort of fit. And the fit is a reciprocation, might be that the audience is your perfect audience for you know, the business services that you sell, it could be a charity, something you’re doing because of a kind of philanthropic need or urge. It could be a favor for a mate, whatever, there’s some sort of fit, could be just that you want to show reel footage that’s been videoed, or there’s decent photography, and you want the stage shots, whatever, there’s something in it for you. And the flee is if there’s no fee, and there’s no fit that you say no thank you and you politely decline the opportunity. But it seems to me here, you’re just looking for your fit, you’re looking for the reciprocation. And you know, what do you want out of it?

Martin Henley 8:43  

Yes. Okay, well, you’ve nailed it completely. You’ve nailed it. Except one thing, which I mean, the thing you’ve nailed is I just want to make beautiful photos. So actually, you know, I have friends that I go with, because they are good surfers, and they look good on the wave, and they get on the better-looking waves and they do better stuff. But I think their frustration with me is that if it’s more aesthetically beautiful than it is technically good them on the wave, then I’m always much more excited about it because I want to make beautiful things, 100%. But there are probably several kinds of surfers. But there are two kinds of surfers that I’m dealing with people who know what they’re doing and look good on a wave and everybody else. And so that everybody else is an issue because they are imagining that they look like Mighty Mouse on this wave. But the truth is they pretty much often look like a scarecrow falling over. So it’s not doing my goal which is making a beautiful thing and it’s not even doing theirs which is looking good on a wave. So this is an issue. But you’re right I am looking for some fit, I would like to find a broader audience. I would like maybe for people to invite me to take photos professionally and fly me around the world doing that, that would be awesome. So if they were liking and commenting and sharing my pictures and doing all those things, then I would feel 100% compelled to give them these photos, but they’re not doing that. So they haven’t.

Warren Cass 10:08  

Make it conditional, so like any marketing strategy, you’d start with an objective in mind or multiple objectives in mind, and you build this strategy/campaign from the back of that, so I work with a model around deep influence and it’s the title of my next book, and it’s something I’m working on at the moment. But it starts with objectives, you then look at the kind of relationship with the person you’re looking to influence and to have that with, and then you really apply the context, what’s in it for them? What’s important to them? What do they want to get out of it? What’s important to you, you know, coming back to the relationship, and you build the content and the strategy around those objectives. So if what you’re looking for is amplification, you know, get your name known, make it conditional. So we do something called a Fireside Chat every two weeks.

Martin Henley 10:57  

Okay, wait, wait, wait. So you’ve gone from counseling me on my issues.

Warren Cass 11:01  

I was going to give you an example on the conditional campaigns.

Martin Henley 11:06  

Okay, cool. We’re gonna give you counseling. 

Martin Henley 11:08  

But you already rebelled on question number one, you can’t just run away with this whole process. There has to be some order here.

Warren Cass 11:14  

One of my mantras in life is “rules are for the guidance of the wise and the obedience of falls.” So I’ll always try and get outside of the framework if I can.

Martin Henley 11:21  

Okay, cool. Well, good luck today.

Warren Cass 11:25  

Challenge accepted, sir. 

Martin Henley 11:28  

Okay, good. So you had an example for us. 

Warren Cass 11:31  

The example from a campaign point of view, we do something called a fireside chat every couple of weeks. And it’s basically a cross between a TED talk and a clubhouse but on video, right. So we have somebody come and give 10 minute insight to an idea that they have, more micro, the better. And what follows is a 15-minute discussion, which we facilitate on zoom. And so the external speakers that we bring in to share the 10 minute insight, we build a whole campaign around it, we take an article, we amplify that to you know, 1000s of people, we have an Insta, Twitter, visual campaign that follows etc, etc. But with the conditional thing is that they show up with some good content, they write a good article to be used as part of that amplification, but they promote it to their database. So what they get seen as is the kind of expert in their field, and they have the spotlight on them and we make them feel and look important for the two weeks, and they are typically very impressive people anyway. But we get amplified too, so when people register for the fireside chat, everybody’s database grows, hopefully, it’s a solid experience for everybody who comes and therefore everybody’s elevated, right? And all I’m saying is, if you’ve got objectives, because you’ve been thinking as a hobby, rather than as something, which serves a need for you too just start to think a little bit more marketing strategy with it and figure out your objectives, what you want to do and make that conditional. So I’m happy to give you this photo that makes you look amazing. But it must carry my name, I returned the copyright and it must carry my name on the bottom, so people can find me and look at my other pictures. And I’d love it if you amplified it through your social channels, etc, etc. So at least there’s something in return there.

Martin Henley 13:18  

Well, was I was quite happy being bitter and imagining that millennials just hadn’t learned how to influence people can I not just carry on with that strategy?

Warren Cass 13:25  

So interestingly, I’ve got to be really careful what I say because I firmly believe millennials are teaching us right now whole loads of new ways of doing stuff, right. But there is a sense of entitlement, there is a sense of, you know, this has come. So we’ve had all of these tools, we’ve not had to fight and learn and do all of the other stuff that people like you and I have had to do, we’re the nomads. You know, they’re born into this stuff, right? And so sometimes we have to be a little bit prescriptive. And that’s true in marketing, too, right? If you’re creating campaigns where you’re putting lead magnets in place, you’re least being prescriptive, here’s the process on how you get the goodies, it’s about managing expectations. I’m a firm believer in upfront contracts and managing expectations of people. This is what I’m looking to get from this relationship, as long as you’re happy, then great. And the thing is, the reason why they’ll want to uphold their end of the bargain is because they like your shots so much, and they want them the next time they go surfing too, you know so actually, if they don’t fulfill their end of the bargain, you just won’t do it again.

Martin Henley 14:38  

Yes. Good, thank you. I’m feeling resolved. And the thing is that this is my most quality time do you know I mean, so this isn’t like this time where it’s kind of work or this isn’t where I’m working for a client or I’m standing up in front of a group, that time is packaged and priced and that’s the value of that time. And all of that work that I do is about being in front of waves looking at surfers so I have that quality. So this must be worth 10 times any one of those minutes or seconds that I’m getting paid for. Do you know what I mean?

Warren Cass 15:14  

I’m totally envious, right? Because my downtime is playing guitar and playing golf, and I’m hopeless at both of them, right? Really crap, at both of them. Nobody wants to pay to see that shit. Nobody wants to reciprocate anything with me, right? So the fact that you’ve got a hobby in demand, in fact, I’ve got an ex-business partner who’s gotten the photography route as a hobby. But he goes to Premiership football matches and rugby matches and does pitch side photography, and has actually managed to make his hobby a paid for thing. You know, he’ll get the occasional front page of a newspaper, which funds his hobby for several months. So, you know, he’s managed to do what he enjoys doing action shots in a different context, but he’s managed to make it pay for itself.

Martin Henley 15:55  

Okay, good. You’ve fixed me, I feel completely counselled now. That’s, brilliant. Thank you. 

Warren Cass 16:01  

My work here’s done.

Martin Henley 16:02  

Almost, we’ve still got another three and a half questions. 

Warren Cass 16:05  

Okay. Okay. 

Martin Henley 16:07  

So good. So I think you’re the first person that has demonstrated how you are qualified to talk to us about marketing, you obviously understand this subject deeply.

Warren Cass 16:15  

Well, I’d say it’s all subjective, right. And so this isn’t just false modesty, by the way, I didn’t do a formal marketing qualification. I spent a decade and a half, two decades, my qualifications were in technology really. And I spent a decade and a half speaking on stages, and my gentle introduction to marketing was much more about how we influence people. So you know, the networking scene exploded early 2000 in the UK, even though it was a bit more established in the US for a bit longer. And it was that how do we motivate somebody to take you seriously in a face-to-face context. And then the kind of psychology behind persuasion, became something much, much bigger for me as a subject. And before you knew it, that’s where I was studying. That’s where I was developing content. And that’s where I focus my attention. 

And so my book didn’t come out till 2016. But I wasn’t even seeking to write a book, I was approached by a couple of publishers. And the first question I asked myself was, you know, what qualifies me to do this? So, you know, when asked that question, we have to do that kind of self-validation too, and then the conclusion I came to is that there’s a couple of really good books on the topic, you know, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and the Psychology of Persuasion by Cialdini, right? And both of those books were written in the 1930s, in the 1980s, prior to the internet. And so all of those brilliant, proved, tried and tested methods of influence hadn’t been contextualized for a digital age at all. And so when I agreed it was because I thought, okay, I can do something with this, I can take established learning, and I can just let it be seen through a modern lens. And, of course, you know, the book was written in 2016-2017, it was released, and the world has already moved on so far since, you know, and so even people who I see, as you know, established marketeers, some of them have got stuck in the practices of five years ago. And now they’re out of date already. Right? So if you haven’t been continuously looking at how the world is changing, and understanding how to apply old systems to a new context, then you’re falling behind, too. So I think for me right now, people who are qualified to talk about marketing, or at least are appropriate to be taking people’s money for marketing services are the people who are always thinking future.

Martin Henley 18:49  

Wow. Good. Okay, it’s like you know me. My situation is between what I’ve just told you but prior to us recording, my situation is that I kind of went on the run in 2014. So I am in the unenviable position of having burned. I think, like burned, destroyed, finished completely over three, perfectly or two and a half perfectly serviceable audiences. So when I was running the Effective Marketing Company, we were doing all of this stuff all day, every day, you know, we took it seriously. M.O was essentially to produce the kind of marketing that people would want. So literally people would come to us and say we want marketing like yours, so we were all over this stuff. And then in 2014 when I decided to go and have adventures, I don’t know. And then in 2014, I produced a video called Killer LinkedIn Profile, it’s now had 600,000 views. Now whilst it was getting those 600,000 views, I was off having adventures. So all of those audiences also have no use to me whatsoever. But I arrived in New Zealand and I built like a website, a New Zealand Travel Review website, and I made lots of videos, and then I built an audience for that and then I stopped. I was in New Zealand from 2015 onward so I didn’t do that either. And now where I am, is I haven’t got I mean, I burnt those three really good opportunities, and I really don’t now, in 2021, understand how to get that back, because it has moved since 2014.

Warren Cass 20:36  

And so do you still have the relationships?

Martin Henley 20:40  

I mean, we’re talking about social media audiences. So we’re talking about, so I’ve still got 60,000 followers on Twitter. But, you know, there’s no, I’ve tested it a little bit, and there’s no engagement there, you know, so the New Zealand audience was on, I mean, that did really well. And maybe I could bring that back to life, if I had a relevance for it. You see, now I’m on this YouTube mission again. So, you know, I’m doing well with the content. And I really need to work out how to do YouTube well, so that all this great content gets the number of people or the amount of people that I would like to see benefit from it.

Warren Cass 21:22  

So this is part of this kind of very adaptive society we’re living in, particularly under the lens of the last couple of years, fascinate me, right? Because, the changes taking place right now I think was inevitable. I just think it’s accelerated because of the pandemic, and, you know, all the other kinds of things that we’ve particularly hear, Brexit and everything else that’s going on. We’ve all had to adapt quicker than the change was perhaps expected. Right? And what I find quite fascinating is, as a speaker, my work was traveling, keynoting events and doing stuff. However, pandemic hit, all gigs were canceled, okay. And then the world started to think, Okay, well, we still need to engage with our audiences, even if we’re not bringing them together, face to face. And so then the kind of virtual landscape took place now just, I know you’ve got a future guest coming on tomorrow night, who’s a business partner of mine, and a bloody good buddy too, you’ll all enjoy him. 

But with Warren, we met just before the lockdown happened, when the first lockdown happened in the UK. And he was fascinated with the work I’d been doing the year prior, which was masterminding other speakers, I was bringing thought leaders together who were wanting to build a better personal brand, get out there and win kind of commercial opportunities off the back of their knowledge. And so we looked at what he was doing in the kind of digital marketing space and digital transformation space and the stuff that I was doing, which was much more around the psychology of influence and, you know, people. And we thought, okay, let’s combine forces. And our idea back then was to create an environment in five-star hotel rooms, bringing people together for, you know, really kind of intimate, masterminding once a month. And of course, lockdown happened, and that stopped too that idea. But we adapted, right? And we ended up working with last year, over 150 different businesses in 14 different countries. And I don’t just mean a light touch, we spent proper intimate time with these businesses, helping them create their personal brands, or create their business brands, really nail their value propositions, get their positioning right on all environments. Think about strategies for partnership and, you know, building methodology/models, so they’ve got clarity and explanatory power around what they do. 

And then even through that kind of that sales, customer acquisition journey, that nurturing phase, we’ve worked with them on all of those things, right? Over 15 months. And all I’m saying to you is that in the type of work that we do, because everybody’s adapted to virtual, I don’t think any single consultative business now cannot be done through a camera. You know, your work can be done from Bali just like anybody else, if you’ve got an audience, then design something which serves them just virtually. And in fact, for many people now it’s the preference. 

You know, a really good buddy of mine is a very highly regarded IFA. And so similar thing, right? His job was going into the houses of high net worths in order to manage portfolio and to give them investment strategies and the world change so everything was done via zoom. I just had a conversation with him recently and a recent poll of his customer base, only two out of the whole portfolio, want face to face meetings moving port forward, the rest of them all one virtual, so his whole business has changed from driving to lots of different parts of the country and spending a lot of dead time in the car, she had just a switching on to zoom. And in fact, the meetings go better because they’re short, sharp, and sweet. But if there were several family members involved in the content, they’re all sat around the screen looking at the figures. So it’s rather than across the living room in different parts where they can’t see the numbers. It’s more attuned to actually being focused and getting an getting an outcome quicker. So all I’m saying is that industry, in particular consultative industries, they can adapt, it’s absolutely possible. And if you’ve got an audience in two different countries, you can still serve them, your content, your YouTube channel, if you’re commercializing it might be one thing, but you can still serve them and design the kind of service that gives them value and in return gets you paid.

Martin Henley 25:53  

100%. Yeah. And that’s kind of what is going on. And this process kind of started also as part of the lockdown and the pandemic thing, I suppose. So the question is, so we’ve got you rebel, you didn’t let me ask the second question, you just started answering it. So we’ve got to the point where the question should be, you know, who are your customers? How do you win your customers? And what is it that you do that delivers value from your customers, but you’re kind of giving us a sense of that already. 

Warren Cass 26:27  

Sorry. 

Martin Henley 26:31  

So I’m just wondering if there’s any part of that question that you didn’t answer already. So your customers are in how many different countries?

Warren Cass 26:38  

So right now, we have about 150 people we’ve been working with in about 14 different countries.

Martin Henley 26:44  

44-0

Warren Cass 26:46  

1, 4

Martin Henley 26:46  

1, 4. Okay.

Warren Cass 26:50  

Mind you, that’s just gone up, because we’ve just got a gig in Ghana, which is running an accelerator for a telecoms company in Ghana and actually doing a lot of work in places like Saudi now in the Middle East through basic Warren’s brilliance, actually, we’re developing a whole client base in the Middle East at the moment, which is really cool.

Martin Henley 27:13  

Okay, good. Right. So how did you do that, that’s interesting, that’s useful.

Warren Cass 27:22  

So what the broader 14 countries, you know, it’s marketing 101, right. It’s have some form of value add content that engages people, we started actually doing webinars, we’re brilliant at the start of lockdown, because if everybody was confined, what they were looking for were some sort of human intervention, and typically, they had strategies for a bit of personal and professional development. So we got involved with getting people on very interactive webinars, which then moved them to, our product staircase, it started with that, but we then took them to a one day workshop, which was all focused on identity. So anybody that’s starting a business, we helped them to understand where their values were, what their purpose was, you know, what their objectives were for their business. So they really got clarity. And then you build the brand around that, you think about the marketplace you serve and how to construct a value proposition that serves that marketplace. And there’s actually, we use things like Ikiguide, you know, just to have quite philosophical conversations at that stage. So people get a sense of where it is they want to go. 

When you’ve got that you can start putting a strategy in place, until you’ve got that sense of priority and objective, it’s really hard to give people strategy. So we started doing those workshops as a result of the webinars. And then the next step was we had an eight-week accelerator, we worked with people. And that was really transformational, you know, for many people. And then beyond that, we run a community which people stay in every single month, they do masterminding, there are master classes and a whole load of things that we do with them, one to one coaching. So you’re working with a whole load of different businesses from lots and lots of different sectors and helping them get a better sense of where they’re going, but then put the strategy in place to get there. That was essentially what we did. 

Martin Henley 29:26  

Okay, fantastic. And how did you get them on the webinar in the first place?

Warren Cass 29:32  

A mixture of you know, creating content that’s shareable, that adds value, asking for the shares and the likes, using our own databases using our own social followings, like you are and I’ve got pretty decent following across several different platforms. And sometimes you have to reengage and wake those people up again, right. And as you’ve just said, you know, you’ve got one list that’s slightly more engaged than the other. You know, what can you do to reawaken, and add value to those people, and it you know, it’s slowly but surely, it’s picked up, even with the fireside chat, which is one of our latest things we’ve done, maybe I don’t know, eight or nine of them. And we only do it every two weeks. And actually, it’s a more of a facilitation exercise than it is for kind of prepared remarks. Even though we do the campaign creation thing, it doesn’t actually take that long. But every single week, or every single time we do it, we have even more people register, and even more people attend. So it’s just growing and growing and growing. And the idea is that what’s good for us is that we’re shining the light on other people, it’s just kind of like what you’re doing, you know, bringing people on to this format, and having a conversation is absolutely shining the spotlight on other people, one of the principles I talked about in my book is the principle of credibility by association. 

So two reasonably intelligent guys having a reasonably intelligent conversation in this context, actually, we both come off better for it. And we’re both demonstrating values actually, just by the conversation that we’re having, you know, you express something where you wanted to be appreciated for your work, I wanted to help you know there’s values at play in every conversation you ever have with people, and people are either drawn to that or they’re not. And, you know, typically, those people who go out with vanilla marketing campaigns trying to capture everybody are the ones who typically the least successful. Some of the best marketers I know, are completely polarizing and they don’t care. They’re being authentically themselves and working to their values. And they only want to work with the people who get them and understand them. And I’ve kind of respected that more. In my past, I confess, I’ve been too vanilla, I’ve been trying to please everybody, rather than actually just focus on attracting people who get me, like me, want to work with me and think that this would be the right style to work with.

Martin Henley 32:02  

Okay, wow. Right. So I’m thinking lots of things. I’m thinking lots of things. I mean, my situation is I’m doing something quite different. Like previously, I wanted people to like me and my company and want to work with us. And you know, we were full time on that. Now, what I’m looking to do is I just want to share what I’ve got, and as much as I can get from other people like yourself, that’s kind of my mission. And I kind of feel like because of my conspiratorial outlook, if I can get Google to pay for that through YouTube, that would be like, perfect poetic justice. So, I’m doing something different, I think, and it’s okay. I’m thinking, I mean, there’s two things I’m really intrigued about, like the first is, there’s this thing, I think, I don’t know, if it’s particular to digital marketing, but digital marketing seems to concentrate, the feeling of like you said, at the beginning, this fear of missing out thing. Like I’m telling you, I’ve burned these audiences, when actually if I were my client, I’d be telling myself to back up and engage those audiences, you know, I mean, they’re all still there, probably, or some of them are still there, you know, I’m starting with something. But I feel like if I got carried on with the videos in 2014, I could have been Casey Neistat, you know, but I didn’t, so I missed out. So that’s something that I’m really interested to get your perspective on. And then the other thing is like for me Cialdini’s Influence is the Bible when it comes to marketing, like if you’re in sales and marketing, and you haven’t read that book, then you’re just not doing it right, you can’t be doing it right. You know, so I’m interested to know how you have evolved that. So I’m interested in those two things. The first one is probably much less interesting. Or maybe the same thing.

Warren Cass 33:51  

The first one was an extension of the values conversation, really, but, you know, people like you, myself, you know, Barnaby, with bigger brands, typically, Robert Craven, very specifically with digital agencies, you know, whether they’ve identified a niche audience or whether they, you know, generalists like Barnaby is a self-confessed generalist, he’s worked pretty much in every industry at a very high level, really, really good brands, right? These are still my go to people when I need feedback and insight. Right? So, you know, often the role that we do in our work with businesses is a facilitation role, right? We don’t come professing to have all of the answers. But what we ask is great questions in order to get further clarity on what it is the client actually wants to achieve from their business. What it is they actually do for their marketplace, whether their marketplace is prepared to pay for that, of course, and then building the strategies in order to try and get that into their hands. I mean, it’s pretty conceptually easy, an easy thing to get your head around. 

And actually, you come across as a really humble guy, Martin right? So I’m sure you’re awesome at what you do, because you’re approachable. You can have these kinds of conversations where people feel at ease with you, and tell you the stuff that you need to know in order to help them, is much easier to do that looking at somebody else’s position than it is to look at your own sometimes, right? And that’s also because we all internalize things, and therefore we’re running them through our filters, and our conditioning and our biases, and all of those things, which stops us necessarily from seeing things clearly. So it’s that third party perspective, that objective perspective which helps. So I don’t know if that answered question one. But the way I see it is, you know, we all need that kind of facilitator to help us take whatever the idea is, make it a really clear vision, and therefore put the strategies in place to achieve that. That’s essentially what we do.

The second thing around, our books, I’ve got behind here, I’ve got a bookcase full of well, marketers, business gurus, you know, I’m a big fan of Seth Godin, he’s probably my go to person, but really, what they share is old, old knowledge, you know, many of the philosophies that exist today, you can still find some resemblance of them from Aristotle, Confucius or whatever it is, it’s always old ideas reimagined and recontextualize for the age that we live in, this is old knowledge applied today. And my point to you around those books, the psychology of persuasion was written in the 1980s right now, whereas the principles are absolutely intact, still today, right? There’s still a context to how we deliver something, you know, even if you look at any good communication has an element of feedback at the end, which enables marketers to recalibrate and you know, refine the message or make the kind of acquisition journey easier, or whatever it is, that feedback loop is really important. But as technology changes, so does the method of feedback. And so we always need to be evolving our thinking to be contextual, for the age that we live in. And that was my point from it, right? And it’s one of many good marketing books that I read, it just has to be applied through the context of yourself, the context of the audience that you serve, and the kind of technology available to you today in order to properly leverage it.

Martin Henley 37:37  

Okay. Okay, 100%. So, I would say I teach digital marketing. So that’s what I do, is I teach digital marketing, that’s how I make my money now. So and the reason we do digital marketing is because of the amazing feedback. So, you know, prior to digital marketing, we might have sent a direct mail piece, we might have put something up on a billboard, we might have stuffed things through people’s letter boxes, we might have been telemarketing, cold calling people. The issue with what went on before, we might have been advertising on the television or on radio, the issue with all of that is that you are kind of throwing stuff into the ether, without any real sense of what the impact of that might be, like John Wanamaker said, You know, I know 50% of my advertising is effective, I just don’t know which 50%. Well, with digital media, we are supposed to know. And I know there are some challenges coming up with this now but we are supposed to know. What differences has that made? Has that made the difference that it should have made?

Warren Cass 38:54  

Which bits sorry, the ability to analyze and track, has that made a difference?

Martin Henley 39:00  

The transparency, the feedback, the fact that we know if we put out a direct mail campaign, then the Direct Mail Institute will tell us that maybe 0.1% will get opened. Whereas if we put out an email campaign, we can see exactly what percentage opened it, how long they had it open, what they clicked on, you know, then onto the website, how long they spent on the website, all of this stuff. So the question I’m asking you is because you told me that How to Win Friends and Influence People was in the 30s.

Warren Cass 39:33  

Psychology of persuasion.

Martin Henley 39:34  

Psychology of persuasion, was in the 80s. So that is now 90 years old and 40 years old. But how much has digital marketing changed? Or not?

Warren Cass 39:50  

It massively has and you’ve just expressed one of the points beautifully which is the kind of analytics, the feedback mechanism is so much more sophisticated now. If you think back to both of the two books referenced, they’re really about face to face conversations and persuasion techniques, which I think is actually quite superficial, it’s quite surface level, right? And the difference between whether you need a surface level engagement in order to buy some sort of commoditized low-price product, or whether you need actually a deeper resonance with people in order to go on a much more profound journey with you, right? So, the work that we do requires a much deeper convictions, you know, a much deeper sense of confidence, or certainty in order to take that next step with us, right? If they need to be sure. It’s funny, I heard a speaker called James Ashford in the UK. He’s the founder of GoProposal, which is the kind of instant proposal. He does this specifically for the accounting marketplace, but he’s very good marketeer, very good, creative, in fact, would be somebody I’d recommend for your podcast, even though he’s niche focused, he’s very, very good. 

And he, as a throwaway comment, talked about this kind of quest for certainty in the buying process, and didn’t think any more of it. But honestly, it started spiraling for about three days, I was thinking about what are the building blocks of certainty? What constitutes certainty, in the mind’s eye of your target marketplace? And, you know, I came up with lots and lots of building blocks for certainty. And sometimes it might be the credibility by association, you know, who did they hang out with? Let’s have a look at the content, how do they demonstrate their expertise? That might be one of the aspects? Let’s do our due diligence. What are people saying about them? What’s the testimonials, where are the case studies, you know, , what’s the reviews on Google, just as one aspect of it is the social proof. And certainty looks different for different types of businesses. And there are different levels required depending on what the purchase is. But even if I go and buy a five-pound product on Amazon, now, I’m still reading the reviews. And seeking out the ones which are four or five star and above. Now there is a deeper level of certainty I need for anything that (a) costs more, but (b) if there needs to be some sort of chemistry match with the person I’m going to go and work with. 

So this quest for certainty is really important today, because I believe we have younger demographics coming through who actually crave more meaning they actually crave a kind of deeper resonance for most of the people they serve. Even coming back to the investment circles that I referenced earlier on with my friend, there’s a real trend amongst younger people who are only investing in opportunities, which have at least some sort of conscious capitalism at their core, right? You know, they want to make ethical investments, not just wear the normal capitalist hat and go for maximum profit. It’s not how they’re wired. And I actually believe whilst that charge, I think, is being led by younger generations, actually, we’re all catching up, you know, so nowadays people are looking for a little bit more meaning in the things that they do. And I think that has to be translated into marketing. If you’re a brand today that’s not articulating your values, and articulating the kind of broader societal impact that you have, then you’re missing a trick and you’re probably going to get left behind by those that are because that’s what wins hearts and minds. It’s not just superficial persuasion. It’s a deeper resonance. It’s deep influence, which is the title of my next book.

Martin Henley 43:47  

Good. I’m going to read both of your books.

Warren Cass 43:50  

Drop me your address, my friend and I’ll pop you one in the post.

Martin Henley 43:53  

Okay, I’m in Indonesia, it’s far.

Warren Cass 43:57  

I don’t care. I post internationally anyway, for my members so it’s fine.

Martin Henley 44:00  

Oh, fantastic. Okay, cool. Brilliant. Thank you. Okay, good. I’ve got an issue with this. Warren. I’ve really got an issue with this. I’m kind of conflicted. I think lots of people, marketing people, especially are talking about this stuff, this purpose, this meaning, this ethics? I think they are. But I wonder how when it actually comes down to how much people really do care. And this came up in one of these conversations I had recently. So for example, I’m an Apple user and, you know, we know that there’s part of it, I don’t use them for my phone, for example. So when I don’t have to use them, I don’t use them, but my computer will always be an Apple computer. 

But we know about the conditions that people who are producing these computers are working under but it doesn’t stop the iPhone being the most popular brand of phone in the world. And I don’t know if that’s particular, I stopped using an iPhone, because Somebody once told me it was a mom’s phone. So that was enough to convince me I didn’t want it anymore. It’s like everyone’s mom’s got an iPhone. So is it? Here’s the challenging question, Is this purpose, ethics, all of this stuff? Is this just marketing fluff? Or are people genuinely deeply interested in these issues? And sorry, just to make it more complicated and maybe not, I don’t know, like when I was a kid, like, I knew I wouldn’t grow up to work in the weapons industry. And nobody I knew that had morals would do that, you know, I mean, but it seems to me now that almost whichever industry you look at, they’re not behaving in a particularly ethical or responsible way. So, my question is surface level, and marketers are very interested in this idea of values and purpose and ethics. And underneath that is just a sea of desperation. You know, it’s a horrible mess. If you spend too long looking at the news. So is that a surface level thing? And how would we know?

Warren Cass 46:25

So I share your cynical nature, sir. 

Martin Henley 46:29

Good. Thank you. 

Warren Cass 46:30

However, you know, there’s no denying we are hugely emotional creatures, right. So when a charity video posts, the beneficiary of the charity, both in their plight, and in the kind of transformation aspect after they’ve received the funding, they are pulling on heartstrings, right? So, you know, the reason why Barnaby is very, very good. For example, he’s worked with a number of charities, and he absolutely, you know, transformed monies received because he knew how to tell the story. He knew I had to be a storyteller for that charity, and to build campaigns around that storytelling. Right? And sure enough, he more than paid for himself as a marketeer. Because they raised far more funding and had a much more polished brand at the end of it. That’s an example when you tell stories and you demonstrate values, you win hearts and minds. To come back to your Apple point, I think most people are completely ignorant of those working conditions. I personally, I don’t know what the actual detail is, I would have thought they would have sorted it out by now. And it was probably something of the past. But I would equally cynically believe that every other technology brand was working with the same practices doesn’t make it right. 

But if I was an activist, I would be doing more if it was something that was really important to me, I’d be an activist, and I’d be doing more to change that, right? But I bet you one thing, if Apple had a competitor, which was the same ergonomics, the same intuitive kind of design and user interface, but highly ethical, I guarantee you, they would be market dominant. Because people would always make that choice. I believe they would always make that choice. So whatever the current, the kind of criteria comes, if you believe in a cause, if you believe that something is, serving the greater good, and not just out and out profit making machine, I believe you’ll make that decision. And the same is true because it’s about the relationship you have right with the brands that you deal with. Again, you know, talking about millennials earlier on, millennials are much more fickle, less brand loyal, you know, if the brands that they use day in day out, disappear tomorrow, they will just go and find a replacement, no problem at all. But they’ll do that based on social proof recommendation and what’s being talked about right, and certainly something that appeals to and some minds will win over something that’s just transactional, I believe.

Martin Henley 49:07

Okay, good. And I really hope so as well, I really hope so. But I think what you’re saying is absolutely true, is that they are all as bad as each other. And the truth is you can’t produce a mobile phone without using resources, minerals that are reportedly I mean, God, this got depressing.

Warren Cass 49:30  

But actually, it won’t be the exploitation of people it will be to the detriment of people because it will be robots doing it, you know, moving forward, and I’m sure they are already a dominant part of any production line. 

Martin Henley 49:41

Yes.

Warren Cass 49:42  

But, you know, that’s, where it’s going. Right? 

Martin Henley 49:46

Yeah, yes. 

Warren Cass 49:47  

You know, what I also believe is that for lots and lots of places, they would still rather have the injection of revenue and employment of people rather than them just you know, starving without jobs, right? The key is how do we upskill and actually improve the lives of everybody in the kind of distribution chain, or production chain? How do we do that as a brand? And if you’re demonstrating those values and putting initiatives in place, and beyond just getting your stuff made cheaply, then I think you’ll still win hearts and minds, people will see you’re striving for better. 

Martin Henley 50:29

I really hope so. I really, really hope so.

Warren Cass 50:30

Just a personal opinion but, I am also as cynical as you. So you know, I can see where you’re coming from.

Martin Henley 50:36  

Yeah. And even when he talked about Barnaby doing the work for these charities, the outcome was that they had much more compelling stories, a much more compelling brand, and much more polished brand, and better revenues. That just hurts me a little bit, that shouldn’t be the objective of the charity. If we said so many more children fed or so many more people housed or, you know, I don’t know, I do worry about that.

Warren Cass 51:02  

It’s a means to an end. It’s a means to an end. There are so many different charitable causes now. Where do you spend your time or where do you give? Well, if you’re competing for people’s support, know that they’ve got, you know, hundreds of other things they could be supporting? So how do you make something important to somebody? You tell them stories, you activate them a little bit around that cause and then they become a supporter, because it’s all about the outcome? It’s all about the people that would serve in the charity space, but you’ve still got to activate them to be to give a shit about the cause in the first place. Right?

Martin Henley 51:38  

Yes. And giving a shit I think is really important. Like I don’t, we’ll end this now. But I just want to make one point that I just always really amuse me, I’m going to make two points, because I’m going to bring up game shows. So I think, firstly, this isn’t at all relevant. So we’ll get this out of the way. I think peace in the Middle East could be achieved if they had game shows that included all of the people from all of the different factions. 

So I think for example, you know, when you’re watching a game show, and you’re thinking like the guy standing there, you’re thinking he’s a bit of a dick. But then he says, Oh, this is my name. This is who I’m from, this is something else about me. All of a sudden, you really care about that person, you understand they’re a person. So that’s my resolution for the Middle East, the conflict in the Middle East is have game shows with everyone on them that they all watch. So they all start to see it’s a humanizing effect. That was the first thing that was completely not relevant. The second thing about gameshows, Family Fortunes, celebrity Family Fortunes, where you’ve got, I don’t know, this family from Coronation Street and this family from EastEnders. And basically, the family from Coronation Street are in favor of the Donkey Sanctuary. So if they win the Donkey Sanctuary, get some money. And the people from the other one EastEnders care about cats, stray cats or something. And then they go all the way through this process half an hour, and then the stray cats get the money. No one gives a shit about the donkeys anymore. I mean, it’s like, and what effect does that have on us as a society where, and I mean, this is this, I’m giving you the completely fabricated family fortune story, but it feels like we’re in, like, because we’re so like, all of these stories are so compounded, and they’re landing on us all day, every day, like actually 100%, what you’re saying is, right. And mission as marketers, certainly at the level that you’re operating and Barnaby is operating at where you’re talking about brands, is to make yourselves stand out and be better because of all of this noise. But all of the noise is just so confusing.

Warren Cass 53:42  

I won’t say what came into my head when you were talking about those poor donkeys. But I would argue that awareness was raised in that scenario for both charities, and they would have probably had viewers if they watch in their 1000s, if not millions, clicking through and supporting. Even as a result of not necessarily winning, there might be a sympathy vote, you know, people will vote from that perspective. So the awareness of the charity was maybe one of the bigger objectives there. But I guarantee you both charities would have got something right?

Martin Henley 54:16

I hope so. It’s money. It’s like 10 grand.

Warren Cass 54:23

It’s awareness and but you know, it all comes down to the storytelling, you know, telling the story and celebrities like it because they seem to be doing something for a cause. It’s all values driven stuff. They’re still marketing by appearing on a show like that. It’s just marketing. And it’s all it is. It’s a PR exercise.

Martin Henley 54:40  

Robert says it’s getting harder.

Warren Cass 54:45  

Which particular aspect, what did Robert say is getting harder?

Martin Henley 54:50  

He says marketing is getting harder, running a successful business is getting harder, because like the barrier to entry is so much lower and there are so many more people in it. Whereas pre-digital marketing, pre-social media, the barrier to entry was higher if you wanted to run a business.

Warren Cass 55:12  

So I agree and I disagree with Mr. Craven. I agree it’s become more complex. And by the very nature, if something’s more complex, it’s potentially harder. However, I don’t think we’ve ever had as many channels and as many opportunities to analyze whether something lands or misses, in marketing ever, and it will only even get more complex. But even more data and more information at our disposal, I think what’s happened is the consumer has become a lot more sophisticated, not only around what’s going on in the process, you know, the process of marketing and how they’ve served information. And, you know, there’s a sense of whether you’re being manipulated, but actually, the consumer wants to know the backstory, they want to know the values, they want to know what they stand for, before they invest their time and effort and money. So I think there’s a level of sophistication from the consumer, I think there’s a complexity, particularly with the technology, but that gives us a lot more analytics for better feedback for, you know, therefore, we can recalibrate and tweak our message. But the one thing that I think has made it harder and the bit I agree with Mr. Craven, is the fact that people have also become quite cynical. And actually, we are bombarded with so many messages today, we are all suffering from attention deficits. And therefore, we’re automatically filtering now, you know, there’s just too much information. So we’re having to filter in order to focus. So it’s much harder to get through. I mean, if anybody who receives a ton of email marketing knows they probably never read the email, you can see what HTML email coming through and the chances are, you’re deleting out of your inbox and not reading it in detail. The only way you get your email marketing read today is by having already built a relationship with the with the target for email marketing.

Martin Henley 57:16  

Nice to see you again, Warren, are we going to pretend that their technology didn’t fall apart yesterday, and we agreed to come back 24 hours later to try and do this again?

Warren Cass 57:24  

I think we should confess. And then that way, if there’s a lack of continuity of what I was saying, when we left off to what we started to talk about now then that’s obvious, right? Sometimes shit goes south.

Henley 57:36  

Sometimes it goes south. Yeah. And sometimes dirty people are still wearing yesterday shirt. Whereas I’ve got two of this shirt. So.

Warren Cass 57:45  

So just to confess, right, I thought we were going to try and do the continuity thing. So I made sure I came in the same shirt again, just to be mindful of your audience, and they would have a seamless experience. But we would have been more inauthentic. Right?

Martin Henley 57:59  

Okay let’s try and be honest, let’s pretend we’re not marketers for a second and just be completely honest and open.

Warren Cass 58:04  

Actually, that’s kind of an extension of what we were talking about yesterday, because I think the marketers who are getting the most success now are the ones that are actually managing to be that little bit more authentic in their communication, which probably leads us quite nicely on to the challenges you’ve been having with Riverside, doesn’t it?

Martin Henley 58:25  

I think it does. So. I think it does. I think it’s weird. And I think it’s kind of like, I’m glad it fell apart yesterday, because I was kind of running out of steam. I was challenging you. And I knew what I was trying to say. But I wasn’t conveying it to you. So you weren’t having the opportunity to answer that question. That what I want to know is like what we were talking about is like the last question I asked you is about how Robert Craven thinks it’s more difficult now? And you answered that we’ve got that full answer. So they will have heard that answer. But what I’m interested to know is this really what marketing are supposed to be doing? Is it really what marketing is supposed to be doing to be taking a shit thing, and trying to present it as a good thing? Because I am hugely cynical, but I kind of have like an idealistic view of what an effective marketer does is understand the market, understand the needs of the market, produce a solution that meets those needs, or desires, and then communicates the value that is available to that market. 

But I think and that’s what goes on I think at our level, you know, when we are dealing with our customers, that has to be what goes on. We don’t have to make an investment in trying to look better than we are. Because we stand up and we present ourselves and people will make a judgement. This is a good person or a bad person and they’re representing a good business or a bad business. So those are kind of the two things that I’m interested in, which are, you know, clearly big businesses have to engage in PR, because they’re typically not as nice as we would like them to be. And they have to try and convince us that they are. And secondly, do small businesses have to worry about that too, especially when they’re small businesses and they’re new businesses, and they have more pressing requirements, I would say, like not trying to suppress people or having issues with your software, like the people at Riverside are. So this is kind of tied in, this is how I think about this thing. Is it not just enough to do a stand-up job and stand up if it doesn’t quite meet the needs of your market and work with them until it does? That’s kind of what I’m thinking now.

Warren Cass 1:00:52  

It’s a lovely question. And I have a couple of different aspects to this as part of my answer, right. And I think once upon a time, many, many years ago, if you were a marketer, then your job was to sensationalize, whatever the product is, and it would sell. And if it was a bad product or a bad service, there was very little comeback on you because we didn’t have the channels to amplify our grievances, you know, like we do today, right? I think today, you get found out very, very quickly if the product or service isn’t right. And I think you hit the nail on the head. And literally your first sentence to that question, which was around, yesterday, you asked me what I thought marketing was, and I said, I think marketing is everything, right? And so in a small business, it’s every experience that a prospect or customer has with you is essentially marketing. But a business is only successful if it has a value proposition, which actually adds value. And if it doesn’t do that, today, you get found out very, very quickly. 

So you can dress something up as nicely as you want to with marketing fluff. But if the product or service doesn’t do what it’s built to do, you get found out. So it’s about working on our value propositions as much as anything else today and then telling our stories, but it starts with the value proposition. And I like the simple kind of value proposition canvas for that, right, which is that and I think it’s particularly appropriate in terms of rapid change that we find ourselves in now. Because the premise is that it starts by looking at your marketplace, and looking at the pain that they’re in or looking at the potential gain that you can you can help them with, right, so looking at pains and gains, and that’s an observation exercise. And then on the other side, it’s about, you know, designing products and services that solve those problems, right. And then the marketing aspect is how we then tell everybody about it. And we raise awareness of the potential for gains or the solutions to pains right. Now, when the marketplace changes on a regular basis, that observation has to happen frequently, you can’t just rest on your laurels that once upon a time, this was a product fit for task. We, you know, technologies completely disrupting so many industries, we have to continuously be looking at our products and services and just making that judgment, is this still fit for tasks? Is this stuff fit for purpose? Or has the world moved on and we need to adapt? 

And, you know, this is the reason why so many big household brands have fallen by the wayside in just the last 20 odd years. I mean, my favorite case study years ago when I was talking on stage was, you know, Yellow Pages started in 1956 in the UK in Brighton and Hove right, and they were just a local directory, which spread all across the UK. And then before you knew it onto four continents where they owned search. So this little thing called the internet came along, and there was nobody saying how is this going to disrupt our business? How can we own search in this new age, and of course, they didn’t react and the rest is history with Google and Bing. But that’s the reality. They fail to innovate, and everybody’s had the same Kodak examples trotted out over the last God knows how many years, have been written in ton of books, you know, people who invent technology, and then don’t actually go and capitalize on it and realize, you know, that’s how it’s going to become mainstream. And the challenge for small businesses, we don’t have the deep pockets for R&D, we don’t have lots and lots of people to bounce ideas off in teams. 

And therefore, it’s still quite important for us to find that sense of community that can be the sounding block that can you know, can be the incubator for ideas, can be the critical feedback on the issues that we face. And that’s actually why Warren Knight and I founded Hivemind, because it was a community of people who could actually come and be that resource for each other and help develop those concepts and ideas. So, you know, when you said yesterday, what gives me the authority to talk about marketing. My push back on that was genuine, I don’t necessarily consider myself a marketer. Marketing is something I’ve had to do. It’s something I enjoy doing, all communication where you have to understand who the message is directed at, and then give a contextual message for them. I read and fascinated by all of that stuff, context is hugely important. But I don’t necessarily consider myself a marketer, I consider myself somebody who also looks at the value proposition and the business as a whole, and how you actually go and really properly get deep influence with people, how you engaged with people. And for me, that’s beyond the traditional definition of what marketing was.

Martin Henley 1:05:51  

Okay, good. So let’s take this case in point then. So these people Riverside, this service that we’re using a game right now have come up with a brilliant, brilliant concept, because what was going on previously, and I mean, especially in the last 18 months, was an abomination. You know, it really was, when they are presenting Sky Sports on zoom, and the image is a mess. And you know, Riverside’s marketing is right, it sounds like I can’t remember exactly what they say. But they say basically, it looks like a toilet and it sounds like a toilet. And that is entirely true. So 100%, they found a real need in the market. And when I found this, I was hugely excited. Now, and technologically, this is a brilliant thing, but it’s not anywhere near perfect. And I’m having this issue with the syncing, we had an issue that it crashed yesterday, the real issue is that I am voicing this on their Facebook community, because that’s where they send you once you’re a customer, and they’re deleting my posts. Now, I don’t believe they’re deleting my posts because they are evil, I believe that they are deleting my posts because they don’t know how to cope with this situation. So I don’t know how many users they’ve got. They’ve got some corporations on their front page, who are supposedly customers of theirs, I don’t know what’s going on. But this is almost the biggest danger for this type of company is that you’re just catapulted into the ether. And that’s really difficult because now exactly like you say, we are marketers, we’re really good at telling stories about how bad customer service is, and they’re upsetting us. And we have the platforms to now go out and diss their business. So their business, the wheels could come off not because they haven’t got a good product, not because they haven’t gotten it to market, but because actually, it’s too much of those things, you know, it’s too good. And there’s too much market for it. What do you think?

Warren Cass 1:07:51  

I think it’s worse than that in this particular case. I’ve only had five minutes to get upset about this, right? Because you already talked about this just before we got on the call. But they’re clearly deleting the same post over and over again. Because you posted what, three, four times and now they’ve got you on moderated comments, right?

Martin Henley 1:08:13

Yes.

Warren Cass 1:08:14

You weren’t going on and calling them names and being overly derogatory, you were saying there’s a problem with the lip synching? Can you help me with the problem?

Martin Henley 1:08:20

Yeah.

Warren Cass 1:08:20

And just to reiterate the context, their site sends you to the Facebook group for customer support. You know, if you just think about the user journey there, they’ve sent you to a place for customer support, you ask the question from customer support. And they delete you four times. 

Martin Henley 1:08:35

Yeah.

Warren Cass 1:08:35

Because they don’t want anybody to see anything negative about the platform, particularly the user community. 

Martin Henley 1:08:41

Yes. 

Warren Cass 1:08:41

Now what that tells you is that your support query isn’t important, that they’re more concerned about the perception of their product than they are about the reality of it. It shows that they’re not necessarily focused on fixing what’s broken. And, more importantly, to me the biggest sin is they are motivating you to go and amplify your grievance somewhere else where they’re not in control of the conversation, which is just stupidity. So, coming back to being in control of the kind of brand message or communication, the first Golden Rule of a customer experience, if someone’s got a problem, you acknowledge the problem, right? That diffuses them almost immediately. 

Martin Henley 1:09:26

Yes.

Warren Cass 1:09:26

I mean, just to give you an example of this. There’s a product called review, I think it’s review filter, but it’s a hotel, booking system/review system, for any kind of hotel and the idea is that if you’re guests in a hotel and you come along and you have a great experience, they’re the first ones to ask you whether you had a great experience. They sent you an email Did you enjoy your stay with us rate us out of five. If you rate a four or a five, it immediately flips to TripAdvisor, that says great that you’ve had a great experience, wonder if you wouldn’t mind just publishing that here. And you’re auto logged in so all you have to do is publish them and your review is there as a four or five. If the review is a three or less, what it does is immediately respond and acknowledges the problem and says, I’m sorry, you’ve had a bad experience, we’ll be in touch to see what went wrong and see how we can make it right. Which completely diffuses any motivation for somebody to go to TripAdvisor to complain, because they feel like they’ve been heard, and that their issues being addressed. So what that does, is it helps hotel work on their customer service and customer experience, because they’re understanding what the issues are. And that’s a good thing, you know, it also means that they almost controlling the publicity and the press that goes out to the marketplace, which is clever. But the integrity behind being interested in the problem so they can solve the problem is the bit that counts. But to motivate marketeers who arguably know how to use these platforms, to say, I’m really pissed off with this, because and, you know, and they’re not in control of the message, for me is a massive cardinal sin. And I’d be interested in the context of the organization whether they’re based in a certain culture, where you know, pride and ego, different cultures have different levels of controlling perceptions, right? And whether that’s the case in this in this example, I don’t know, but somebody needs a good talking to.

Martin Henley 1:11:32  

Yes. Okay, so I’ve got the best example of this ever, I think. So between 99 and 2005, late 2004, I was based in South Africa, and I was working in South Africa, and I had a lot of South African friends. And this was about the time that all the offshoring was going on, you remember, so all the banks were shipping their customer services out to India, and directory enquiries, or 118, 118, or whatever it was, at that time that also, now defunct search function. They decided to outsource their work to South Africa. So a few people that I knew went to work for these new organizations, answering the calls, not answering the calls, but managing teams of people who are answering calls from the UK for directory inquiries or 118. And so I was interested in this because culturally, South Africa and the UK are quite different. So I said to them, you know, what are they telling you about the culture? And my friend said to me, Well, the one thing they have told us is that if an English person asks you for a number, and you can’t find the number, what you must do is apologize and tell them that But please, you know, if you’re looking for a number again, in the future, remember 118, 118, or directory inquiries, or whatever it was. Now what I know culturally about South Africa, because I lived there for five years, I have never heard a South African apologize about anything, they don’t apologize. And this is true of the South African culture. 

So if it’s a black person, or an Indian person, an English South African, or a Dutch or African South African, I’ve never heard one of them apologize. So I said to my friend, but you don’t apologize. So what do you do? And he said, Oh, we just give them the wrong number. So that is how, and this was sometime between, well, this is probably 2003-2004. So that goes to show you how, you know, culturally, you could just miss entirely. Like, the last thing you can ever do is give an English person bad service, because they will go ballistic, you know, and they will be phoning up 10 times tomorrow to speak to a supervisor to find out why they’ve been given the wrong number. But the last thing you can expect a South African to do is apologize because they just don’t culturally, they don’t apologize, you know. So it’s interesting like that. And this is interesting, because, you know, for me, like the other thing that came out yesterday was, you know, you and Warren put together this new business and you went out and you did business in all these new countries. But it never. And when I pressed you on it, you tell us, tell me but it’s because we had these databases in advance.

Warren Cass 1:14:16

One of the aspects for sure.

Martin Henley 1:14:17

One of the aspects. Yes. So the other, a component of you and Warren putting this business together during this pandemic is the fact that you had been marketing yourselves for however many years you’ve been marketing yourselves. And so what I’m interested in, what I’m really interested in, is why people don’t trust marketers, because they don’t, why small business people don’t understand what marketing is and see the necessity for marketing and are these things connected? And should I just get over it because you know, I’ve wanted to be the small businesses marketing champion for nearly 20 years, and they clearly don’t deserve one.

Warren Cass 1:14:52  

I think you touch on a larger societal problem today and that is, we live in an age of huge misinformation. And so I think it’s making us all become a lot more cynical, and feel the need to do a lot more due diligence than we ever did before. I mean, listen, I’ve been I’ve been running my own businesses for quite a few years now and on at least two occasions, I’ve employed a private investigator before putting my neck on the line with a business deal, which I thought something’s not quite right here and I’m nervous. And on both of those two occasions, my instincts were correct. And that was a, you know, con artist or whatever, said all the right things in all the right places. But my intuition served me in those particular examples. The problem with scams today and misinformation is it’s so sophisticated, you know, it’s not just, it, there’s websites, and social proof and all of these things to back it up, or at least the perception of it. So the thing that I think we’re all becoming a little bit more as critical thinkers, and questioning everything, although not everybody. But we also have, you know, very polarizing points of view, too. So it’s creating more conflict. And again, more reason why people are fitting into tribes when they find like-minded people is because, actually, you know, if you look at everything in the news today, or even on social media, they’re amplifying the extreme points of view, which normalizes them, and therefore, we become even more polarized. 

So it’s, it’s fascinating times, this is a societal problem, not just a marketing problem. If people are more skeptical, if people are more resistant to ideas, or concepts, whatever, because of the way we’re being conditioned, our environment is conditioning that behavior. Then, as a marketer, your emphasis needs to be on demonstrating value, demonstrating expertise, demonstrating good quality customer experiences, demonstrating, you know, perhaps more in depth case studies, the journey that you take customers on from A to B, demonstrating maybe the framework that you work with, so they can understand what the journey is going to look like, if they work with you. All of that’s important, you’ve got to reassure people. And coming back to the point I was making yesterday, we’re trying to create certainty in the mind’s eye, of the prospect. So if we want them to make that decision to work with us, we’ve got to tick all of those different boxes, which could be on certainty. And so I think it’s a broader problem today, marketing isn’t just about a tagline or a good image, marketing is about actually demonstrating value, demonstrating values. And, telling the story of the business so people feel completely reassured and more inclined to buy. 

Martin Henley 1:17:45  

Okay, good. I’m 100% with you, I’ve also got a great instance of this, I think, where I used to run these half day workshops, and they were open to anyone to come to, and I run them in four or five locations across the southeast. So there’s one of these things happening every week. And I’ve lost two people from those, like two people have walked out of the hundreds of people who came, one of them really didn’t like the Mexican wave. So I used to make them do a Mexican wave at the beginning. And they would go one way, and everyone would go away. And then they go the other way, and everyone go away. And I used to follow them on my phone to get the video for my social media. And as I went back, this guy was literally packing up his stuff and leaving. So that’s one thing, there’s one person I lost, the other person that I lost was an architect. And he left I think he left it halfway. Because you know, this was 2008 to 2011, somewhere around there. So one of the courses was social media. And I was talking about one of the effects of social media being the democratization of knowledge. 

So actually now if you wants something to be true, historically, you’d have to get it published in encyclopedia. Now you put it up on Wikipedia. And if enough people believe you, it’s true, you know, so this was my argument. And he resisted that saying, but I was at college for seven years but I know the truth, or I my knowledge is more valuable, and he left at half time. But the fact is that, that was entirely true. And Trump blew the lid off it because he basically came out and said, the newspapers are lying to you, it’s fake news. And of course, they’re hugely bipartisan, and they decide what they want to say and how they want to say it. So the very nature of truth, like we touched on philosophy at the beginning, yesterday, but the very nature of truth is, you know, completely blown apart. It’s like, what on earth do you believe? And it has forced everyone out to these two extremes. And we’re carrying on here, we’re doing a podcast about marketing, like governments aren’t being ridiculously over demanding in terms of the way they expect people to behave and what they expect them to do. That’s an aside. We don’t need to get into that today.

Warren Cass 1:19:57  

Well, the interesting part is governments still have marketing and PR, right? You know, they need re-election. So everything they deliver to you every single piece of information is cushioned and maybe embellished or slightly distorted to present the best possible side of any one situation. So it’s still all marketing, it doesn’t have the kind of commercial element to it. That’s all.

Martin Henley 1:20:21  

Okay. And so this is interesting, I don’t know, five or six of these chats ago, I spoke to Melanie Farmer who works for an agency that is advising the Australian Government on what’s going on currently and health authorities on how they should be behaving and stuff. And then what’s gone on since that conversation in Australia is just mind boggling, unbelievable what’s going on there. The point is, this is probably the biggest, and depending on where you sit on the scale, the most necessary marketing campaign in human history. And 20 or 30% of people are just saying, No, we don’t believe you. We’re not doing it. And we don’t believe you.

Warren Cass 1:21:01  

Yeah, I don’t think that’s the fault personally of the marketing aspect, I think it comes back to this societal problem that you’ll always have an outsize but the batshit crazy extreme points of view in any discussion or argument, are the ones that are amplified, and therefore normalized. Right? So there’s a much bigger distance on the two extremes now, I think, than there ever was, I firmly believe common sense still lives in the middle. And, the problem is, you know, cliche common senses, and common practice is kind of what we have right now. You know, without getting drawn into COVID too much, you only have to have a look at the rates of people who are dying in hospitals and the percentage of those which are unvaccinated right now. But if you can just then call it fake news, and diminish the whole, all of the evidence. And for those that don’t want to dig deeper and do their due diligence, they’re satisfied with that very superficial throwaway comment, then you’ve got a challenge, because it’s okay to want to educate but if people don’t want to be educated, if they’re not going to ask the questions, if they don’t have the curiosity, then how do you give them the necessary knowledge, they need to make an informed decision. And it’s a real problem. 

And you know, bringing it back to marketing, you know, your architect, delegate, who packed up and left was missing the point altogether. Because had he realized, actually, there is misinformation, and I know the truth. And so therefore, I’m going to make my platform about telling people where the misinformation is, and really giving them the correct knowledge and information and therefore I’ll be the trusted resource, there’s a way he could frame and position that in order to solve the problem. And he chose not to, he chose to pack up his things go away and bury his head in the sand, right, which is, you know, typical of a lot of people who either can’t be bothered to learn or are resistant to the change. And so, you know, I find that kind of fascinating, and I think there’s also been one massive paradigm shift when it comes to knowledge, right? Once upon a time, the people who held positions of power, or at least had longevity in organizations, were the people who held the cards close to their chest and retained all the knowledge for themselves so they were indispensable. And what’s happened now, today is organizations value, the people who bring the cards out and upskill everybody around them, they’re the people who are valuable in an organization, not the ones that try and guide all of that information for themselves. It’s a very old way of thinking. 

And in marketing way that’s translated to is certainly in the professional services arena, where people are selling knowledge and consultancy skills, etc. They’re giving away a whole load of knowledge upfront to demonstrate they know what they’re talking about. Because most of the time, people still want their hand held through the process. They don’t necessarily want to take a bit of knowledge shared on a website or in a presentation and go and implement it themselves. They just want to be reassured that the person knows what they’re talking about. And so it’s okay if one person leaves from a Mexican wave. Because they probably weren’t a valued match, you know, and that’s fine. You can’t please everybody, work with the people that want to work with you and like your style and like your way of doing things. That’s the best we can do be really attractive to them.

Martin Henley 1:24:34  

Yes. And 100%. And the thing about the democratization of knowledge, is what I was saying to people then, I don’t know if I would say it now, obviously the world’s changed. But I was saying like, here’s the opportunity, you know, if knowledge is becoming so much more vague, or truth essentially is becoming so much more vague, people are going to be looking for authority and if you can be the authority in your market, I suppose this is coming towards where you guys are, then there is a huge opportunity, exactly like you’re saying, put the considerations and the answers in front of people. So they are much better equipped to make the right decisions about what they buy. I just worry. And I do worry. And I was having this conversation with my dad a couple of days ago about that, if there were to be an election in the UK now, like the Conservative Party, you know, irrespective of what your politics might be, have shown themselves to be hideously corrupt. You know, they’re essentially like all their mates made 10s of millions like this time last year, and they’re all in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and they all had us out applauding on our doorstep so the NHS that they’ve underfunded for the last 10 years. So by any sane measure, there is no way that they should be reelected. But anyone who knows anything about British politics know that they will be reelected, and probably by a landslide, you know, so I think this is the, this is the, what’s the word? This is the paradox it seems to me of marketing is that actually you don’t have to present as being the nicest or even the best. If there’s something else going on, then that also works for you. So we are far down this rabbit hole? 

Warren Cass 1:26:20  

Well, no, no, I’m perfectly happy with it, it’s whether you are. I personally think that actually, when you get people together, and certainly give them any kind of sense of power, your start to get distortion or corruption. So whatever party is in power, there’s probably going to be some level of corruption. Right?

Martin Henley 1:26:43

Right. 

Warren Cass 1:26:44  

How much it is, is a different thing. And you only have to look at US politics, which is arguably one of the most corrupt political systems on the planet, arguably. Just to you know, when people can buy votes, there’s a problem, right? And for me, it’s much about, what I can’t stand is the hypocrisy, right? You know, if you’re somebody who values truth, and you’re an anti-vaccer, for example, in the US and it’s because you don’t trust what you’re being told about what the vaccine can do. And you only care about truth, but in the next breath, you’re going take a cattle de-wormer tablet, because somebody on Facebook said it’s good for you, or how do you whatever Trump I can’t pronounce it hydro, what’s the what’s the name?

Martin Henley 1:27:39  

Hydroxychloroquine or something like that.

Warren Cass 1:27:41  

Something like that, yeah, I can’t pronounce it. But if you’re going to go and take that, just because someone said that might do something for you, your level of evidence was always low, you’re just choosing a side, right? And that’s the problem, it’s the hyprocrisy, you know, we care about truth and then the next breath, you’re gonna do this. Or the anti-masker, who cares about freedom, but in the next breath, is trying to rip somebody else’s mask off their face, so clearly doesn’t care about other people’s freedom. You know, it’s the hypocrisy and all of these things, which is the challenge. And the problem for you and I right, is because we, by just having this conversation, we are probably expressing, we’re definitely expressing our values, but we’re probably expressing what side of the fence that we fall. And that in its own right, in today’s day, and age will polarize a little bit, because some people will have a different point of view. And they might see that you don’t lean conservative, and probably lean more to Lib Dem, or labor if you were voting in the UK.

Martin Henley 1:28:45

God help me.

Warren Cass 1:28:46  

They would see that I’m vaccinated and quite opposed to wearing masks, you know, they can see where we fall. So we will just in our everyday conversations, will give a flavor of who we are, and will polarize to some extent, and that’s life. You can’t please everybody. And if you spend your time pleasing people who aren’t a good match for you, I guarantee they won’t have the best customer experience and you will spend more time and energy trying to make them happy, than you do the people who genuinely like working with you and become the advocates. So the key I think, is really identifying who works well with you and putting your attention and focus on them. And for me, marketing is about creating the conditions where the right people buy from you.

Martin Henley 1:29:32  

Good 100% now I’ve got a quote which will be the title on YouTube. Where are we? What minute of day two, are we on? We’re on minute 32, cool. I’m really interested. What I’m interested in is kind of, it seems to me that there are, what do we call them? I want to call them platitudes that are just kind of rolled out. You know, and everyone kind of accepts them. And I just wonder how much of it actually is? Well, when we’re talking about marketing, because you brilliantly brought it back to marketing. Thank you for that. So but like, for example, like, What does Seth Godin say? Seth Godin, I tell you, who says, What’s his name, the mouthy New Yorker guy? Gary Vaynerchuk. Yeah. So he says, or he is cited as quoting, give them value, give them value, give them value and close the sale or something. Now, the issue might be, well, there’s two issues with that, potentially, is one, what if by the time you’ve given them value three times, they don’t need any more value from you. So whatever amount of time you’ve invested, or energy or product you’ve invested in satisfying that value three times might have satisfied their need for value entirely, and they go away and you don’t make the sale. So that’s the first issue. And then secondly, it seems to me, because this comes back to Cialdini’s Influence. And one of the six whatever he calls them, keys is reciprocity. So if somebody feels like they owe you then they’re more likely to do what you’re hoping to influence them to do. But it seems to me and I don’t know if this has changed, because obviously, I’ve only lived my life. But it seems to me that people have quite a different capacity to accept now in 2021, like without reciprocating, than they might have done 10 or 15, or 20 years ago. What do you think?

Warren Cass 1:31:42  

So there’s several points in there. I’ll start actually, though, with the one around the give value, give value, give value, close, right? And, what’s kind of interesting, we talked yesterday about how there was blurred lines between marketing and selling, right? And there were some really good stats came out, I think it was Garner that produced them, but I’m happy to share them with you for footnotes on the page, I’ve got to dig out the research. But essentially, it talks about the amount of touch points you need to have with a prospect before they buy. And the fact that the vast majority of sales people give up after four or five interactions, and an 80% of people buy after the 11th interaction. So loads of people leaving work on the table, because they’re just not seeing through. And that touch point isn’t necessarily value, but it’s a demonstration of care. You know, just wanted to check in with you, have you got everything you need? Are there any other questions you need me to answer, while you’re making your decision, I’m not pushing you just want to make sure that you’ve got everything you need. So expressing a duty of care and having that conversation, again, just pushes people towards that certainty. And so, you know, different products and services, as I say, some things are just commoditized. And, you know, I don’t have to think about a telephone case. Although I might look at the reviews on Amazon, but it’s not really much of a considered purchase. 

However, if I was going to go book a consultant to kind of work in the business, I would definitely be making sure they had the credentials and the experience and the you know, at least a knowledge of the industry operate in a professional operating so that, you know, there’s different levels of considerations depending on what you’re buying. And as far as reciprocity is concerned, I actually do have a chapter on this in my book, which, I call it the law of reciprocity. And I still think it holds true, but it’s certainly more of an issue for people, the deeper your relationship with them. So if you’ve got a first level superficial relationship, you know, in one of those early touchpoints, they’re less likely to reciprocate. But if you’ve, you know, if you’re at the stage where you know people’s names, and you’ve had an exchange of ideas of conversations, you’re more likely to get reciprocity. And I also put it down to, because this gets kind of that obligation to work with the people that have done something nice for us. You know, those professions which give you a 15-minute free consultation, are more likely to be the ones that get the business because not only are they giving them some initial free advice, but they’re taking the time to ask the question, so they can give a contextualized answer. Or they’re taking the time to build rapport, which means you’ve got now a bit of a sense of obligation to work with them. So it’s how as marketeers, we give them that sense of who we are and start to build that sense of obligation with them so they then do honors with their business.

Martin Henley 1:34:38  

Brilliant, cool. Okay, so I’m going to believe that. This is a great example that you’ve given me, which is one that I’ve always, not always but I came to a point where I questioned it, which is this thing about persistence with the amount of touch points that might be required to win a customer and people give up too easily as there is always the moral of that story. And the most famous example of this, like those public speakers roll out all the time is Colonel Sanders. And whether it was the 87th door that he knocked on, accepted that he really had delicious fried chicken. And so he came, he went on to become the, you know, so, you know, we know, because we’re marketers in 2021, but very often, and this is kind of what I think is probably they desired for small businesses. But we know because we buy things with one touch point, you know, I will go to Google, I’ll Google the thing that I need. And if it’s at the top, either of the ads, or of the search, and I click through, and it’s easy to do, I will do that. I won’t have any sense of the business, I won’t have any relationship with the business, I won’t do any due diligence, necessarily, you know, I won’t know if they’re relying on child slave labor, or, you know, any of these horrible things, because I’m just getting what I want and what I need. And for me and Robert, historically, but not so much more recently, it seems, you know, for me, marketing is about cost of customer acquisition, and customer lifetime value. And that’s what brings the objectivity that small businesses and businesses need to really understand marketing and drive marketing effectively. So, telling people, like, you might get lucky on the 87th attempt. For me, I’d say, you haven’t understood the market, you haven’t understood what they need, you’re not presenting it in the right way. You know, don’t persist. Have a look at what you’re doing, maybe and try and do something a bit differently. Do you know what I mean? so that’s one about those touchpoints.

Warren Cass 1:36:43  

It’s funny, actually, you mentioned Robert, because I’ve got a lovely story by Robert as an example for how he has understood the audience and then tailored something for them. In fact, here you go, this is his book. This is one of Robert Cravens books, right? Grow your Service Firm. Okay, so on this side, is a list of different professional service type of organizations. I’m missing the camera, you might be able to see if you’re watching, right, so a whole lot of different types. So this is a book written a bit as a generalist book for how to grow a service firm. I think Robert won’t mind me saying it did only okay. 

Martin Henley 1:37:26

Okay. 

Warren Cass 1:37:27

He then took this whole of the contents of this book, and he specifically changed the word service firm for digital agency, one of the aspects on the book. And as a result of that kind of niche positioning, or repositioning to focus on one audience, and to be highly relevant to that one audience. He now gets flown all over the world by Google to train digital agencies on how to grow their practice, because they’re clever enough to know, if a digital agency grows their business, chances are they’ve got more customers spending more money on adspend and therefore they grow their business alongside. And, for me, it’s a brilliant story for Robert, he sold more copies with it being specific than he has been generalist, and it created much, much bigger opportunities which see him travel the world, you know, but it’s honing in on that audience rather than trying to be a generalist. 

Martin Henley 1:38:24  

Exactly. And so this is my, we’re on the same page, we’re not even arguing at this point, which is refreshing. So the thing is, absolutely. So let’s not tell Robert, when he puts out his how to be a good service business to keep persisting, he needs 11 touch points, so he might need to produce 11 books for this market. Let’s tell Robert, think about what you’re doing, niche down, if there’s an opportunity to do it get more targeted, get more focused, you know, that is much better than saying well just persist. Because I think the danger of that is that businesses are going out of business, because they’re being told to persist when probably they shouldn’t. I mean, that’s the danger. The other end of that danger is that people aren’t persisting, and they’re leaving, like you say, work on the table, because they’re not chasing things hard enough. And the other thing I think about that is that the harder you have to work to win a customer to convince them to buy from you, the harder is going to be to retain that customer. So really, however many touch points there might need to be probably the fewer touch points there are, the better the fit or the relationship or something. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Warren Cass 1:39:35  

Yeah. I mean, the more that you show an understanding of their particular circumstances, I mean, let’s face it, contextual marketing has been around for many, many years, right? And typically, it was in the kind of digital space and just for anybody watching, who doesn’t know what contextual marketing is, it’s the simple premise that every time we make a buying decision, there’s a context to it. So I might go out and buy and by the way, I believe, context is important in any communication, not just digital engagement. So for example, I could go out and buy a new car. And it could be that I’m having a midlife crisis and I want a convertible, it could be that there’s a new child in the family, God forbid, mom have left home. But we need more space. It could be that I’ve had a crash and I need a quick replacement, because I’ve got somewhere to be, whatever, there’s a context to my buying decision. So the key thing for any decent marketeer or salesperson even, is to ask great questions and really actually understand the context of the people they serve. Because then they can match features and benefits and tell stories and give examples. And really hone in on fulfilling their need, you’ve got much more chance of making the sale. And so for me context is just everything in that buying decision. So if you are specializing, operating in a niche, or multiple niches, by the way, but what you’re doing is you’re selecting aspects of your audience, and you’re talking directly to them with examples directly to them. That’s the stuff that’s important.

There’s a book or a beautiful example of this, there’s a chap who died in 2012, called Jim Slater. And he was an investor and investment thought leader, right. But his whole philosophy on investing was to go and take a really small industry, and learn that industry, inside and out. So you know, all of the movers and shakers, all the activities, all the things that are happening, because you’re more likely to make a good informed investment decision if you know all of the moving parts of one specialist area of industry, as opposed to being a generalist and investing everything, you’re more likely to not have decent specialist knowledge and therefore make the one or two bad decisions. Right. So that was his philosophy, was to focus on one area and concentrate on that. And there’s a lovely story, he had a book called the Zulu Principle. And it’s a lovely story of him sat in his conservatory one Sunday afternoon in Surrey, reading the Sunday Times. And his wife is sat next to him reading the supplement magazine for the Sunday Times. 

And in there was a four-page spread on Zulus. And so she’s reading this article with real interest. And she finishes the article, she ponders and she interrupts him. And she starts telling him about what she’s just read now, because she’s fascinated by it. And the way he articulates it in the book is, I was in that moment, I was fascinated that she was the biggest expert on Zulus in our household. And had she probably walked to the local library and got a book out on the subject, chances are, she’d be the biggest expert on Zulus in the town. And, you know, had she gone to a university or Flint, South Africans spent some time on a Zulu reserve or in the university there and studied for a couple of months, chances actually be one of the foremost experts on Zulus in the world. Right. And I liked how that was illustrated, because from a business point of view, too many people spend their time being generalists, when actually, it doesn’t take much to demonstrate to a subset of your audience that you have specialist knowledge and you understand them. 

And even going back a few years back, I ran a business community in the UK, and we had a member in Berkshire, who was an IT support company. And they were generalists. So anybody who had a computer, they would profess to be able to support and, their marketing was just always generalist month after month after month. And then one month, they did a case study where they just did an example with a veterinary surgery that they’d signed up. And what astounded them was in the month that followed, they signed up two or three other veterinary surgeries, because suddenly they saw content that was highly contextual and relevant to them. So it got their attention. And a year later, they had 19 veterinary surgeries on the book and a whole part of their website dedicated to that specialist IT support and what they would demonstrate to them is we know, the proprietary software used to manage your practice, we know you know, the pressures you’re under, if the appointment system goes down, etc, etc, they demonstrated that they knew exactly the type of support they needed. And therefore, they grew that aspect of the business. And no surprising a year after that they had another niche part of the business, which was dentist practices, which are very similar to veterinary practices and the way they’re organized and run. And that’s how they built actually really good business by specializing in one or two areas and demonstrating to them they knew and understood them.

Martin Henley 1:44:29  

Exactly. And when you go down the road with that style of business, then you do get more specialized knowledge, you know, and you do become more experienced. So 100% I agree with that. And 100% I agree with what you’re saying about what I tell my students, my digital marketing students is that being an effective digital marketer or any kind of marketer is just an exercise of knowing your market and your customers better and better and better. And, you know, the more effectively you can do that. The more Effectively you will be marketing and the more successful you will be. And so I think, I don’t know, I don’t set out with an agenda. But what I’m kind of taking away from this conversation is that there is a real question that should be asked, which is, no I’m not going to ask the question, I’m going to say, if you are an effective marketer, if you’re really good at understanding your market, your customers, and delivering the things they need, and giving them a good experience, then really this whole, communicating your purpose and your ethics and trying to make, convince people that you’re a good company, certainly for a small or medium sized business isn’t necessary, because, you know, it’s like people who put out content, like the last conversation I had was with a small business SEO guy targeting small businesses specifically, but he was he’s telling his customers to produce content to answer the questions that people have. So that yeah, I don’t know, we’re gonna have to draw a line, because we’ve gone almost again for another hour, but I’m gonna let you obviously. 

Warren Cass 1:46:03  

Okay, so I just I’m gonna have one last word, though. So I don’t agree with what you’ve just said at the end there, which is around even if you are a small business today, I think you have to be demonstrating values, in your marketing and your communication. I think it’s really important because I think there’s a whole generation who look for people who have values aligned with them. But I do think, Barnaby Wynter and put this really lovely on an event that we did recently where he said, the problem today that there are thresholds, values that every business must adhere to, because actually, you know, people are thinking more and more values driven, whether they’re the brand or the consumer, people are thinking more and more brand driven. So there are threshold values that we all must have. But you must also give a bit about who you are individually. And that’s my slight pushback. I may have misunderstood you, by the way. But it has been a laugh, my friend really enjoyed it.

Martin Henley 1:47:00  

It has been fun, isn’t it? Everyone says it’s been fun. But I, because I think people don’t trust us. So what I’m hoping to achieve in this process, is to get people who know a lot about marketing and really challenge them so people can see actually, this is their experience that they believed, you know, I mean, this is their, you know, it’s not just marketing faff, do, you know what I mean? Because marketing is guilty of that. And I want small businesses, particularly because I’m on the side of small businesses to understand and value and invest in marketing and sales, because there is no other way to be successful in business, you know. So that’s what I’m trying to achieve with this. And I love that everyone says at the end that it was really good fun, because I feel like I’m being a bit of an eyesore most of the time, but everyone seems to enjoy it.

Warren Cass 1:47:50  

This type of kind of real conversation as opposed to you know, this is the type thing I could imagine having a pint in the pub with you, Martin. So that’s for me, that’s a good podcast interview when you feel like you’ve just been sat in a pub, chewing the fat.

Martin Henley 1:48:07  

Excellent. Thank you so much, man. So thank you for this. I don’t feel like we’ve come to the end. We might have to have another conversation in the future.

Warren Cass 1:48:13  

Always, willing to come back. There’s a load of other stuff I’m opinionated on as well, so.

Martin Henley 1:48:18  

Excellent, fantastic. Okay, so I’ve just got to remind you don’t let this close until it’s fully uploaded. Don’t close this window. Warren. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, man. Thank you so much for this. I’ve really enjoyed it also. It’s been really good fun, and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Warren Cass 1:48:33  

Likewise, buddy. Take care.

Martin Henley 1:48:35  

Thanks, man. Bye

Martin Henley 0:00  

Good morning, Mr. Cass

Warren Cass 0:02  

Good morning, Mr. Henley. How the devil are you, sir?

Martin Henley 0:04  

I am extraordinarily well, thank you. And man, thank you so much for doing this. I don’t really understand why people do do this anymore. We know why you’re doing this. You’re doing this, because Robert told me to speak to Barnaby, who told me to speak to you. And because you’re all brilliant people, you just agree to do it.

Warren Cass 0:22  

I have FOMO and Martin, so you know, if I’m seeing people I like and respect. Doing something, I want a piece of the action too. So it was pure FOMO.

Martin Henley 0:31  

Excellent. God bless FOMO. Good. Okay. So what that means, of course, is that I don’t know you at all. This is the first conversation we’ve ever had, we’ve been chatting already for 15 minutes. But this is the first conversation we’ve ever had so I’m really interested to find out more about you and what it is that you’re up to. I don’t know if you are aware, but there are only five questions. So the first question is, how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing? The second question is, who are your clients and what is it that you do for them? And the third question is, how do you feel about marketing? The fourth question is, what is your recommendation for people who are investing in this current climate? And then the fifth question, you have to line up another couple of victims for this process.

Warren Cass 1:18  

All sounds great.

Martin Henley 1:20  

Excellent, cool. All right. So let’s start at the beginning. I’m interested to know how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing?

Warren Cass 1:27  

Now, I don’t mean to be the rebel. Okay. But how is anybody qualified to talk about marketing, marketing is everything. You know, if you’re a human being having a human experience, and you’ve got an opinion on marketing, probably, whether you’re at the receiving end, or whether you’re a business owner, who’s, you know, had to get out there and manage the perception of their brand, find ways of engaging with an audience. So yeah, I could trot out that I wrote a book on Influence, which was a best seller, I could trot out that I’ve been running my own businesses for 30 years and all of that, but I think that type of question is a broader question, which is, you know, if you’ve been a consumer, or if you’ve run a business, you’ve had to take that brand to market, then you’re qualified, at least to have the conversation, whether you’re qualified to receive people’s money in order to manage strategy, and all of those kinds of things that’s a different question, but we’re all qualified to talk about marketing, because we’ve all experienced it at one end, and have you know, if you’ve run your own business, then you’ve had to at least give it consideration or the other. Because my personal belief is everything is marketing.

Martin Henley 2:33  

Okay, good. You are a rebel. You’re the first person who said that, but I think that as well, I think everything is, like I used to do a sales presentation, I’m in the Mood for Selling it was called, now at the end, they had to dance to I’m in the mood for dancing. But the point I always made whenever I spoke to people about sales, or whenever people were resisting being salespeople was you’re selling all the time, you know, if you are convincing people or motivating them to do things for you or, you know, if you’re engaging with the world, you’re effectively selling, I think so that’s interesting. That’s a great answer.

Warren Cass 3:08  

That’s not even something which is reserved for adults, right? You know, as a kid, there were persuasion techniques, because you want that extra biscuit or you want a sweet or, you want to go to the park, right? Where they’re learning how to position a concept in order to influence somebody to move from A to B, right? 

Martin Henley 3:26  

Yes.

Warren Cass 3:27  

I want you to be bothered to get off the couch dad in order to take me to the park. So what do I have to do in order to achieve that goal, right? So we’re all selling all the time. We’re all marketing all the time. And it’s actually ridiculous to think it any other way. And I’ve seen some of your previous interviews, by the way, and as we know, Barnaby and Robert are good friends of mine too. But it seems we’re quite aligned philosophically around the fact that there are very blurred lines between sales and marketing today and as I say, you know, I think we’ve all been conditioned from very young ages and some of us very naturally put our best foot forward and you know, understand the environment I mean, you know, if I just look at my niece and nephew actually, my nephew is an introvert and doesn’t necessarily speak up, my niece is a sales genius at like three years old, she knows how to manipulate and to position and to get what she wants, you know, this is not even necessarily learned behavior. This is natural and instinctive, you know, the art of getting what you want, ultimately,

Martin Henley 4:31  

Okay, that’s cool. I’ve got an issue with this currently, like you brought out philosophy, so can we be a little bit philosophical for like five minutes?

Warren Cass 4:40  

I’ll try and keep up with you. 

Martin Henley 4:42  

Okay, so for fun, what I like to do is surf photography. So I spend an inordinate amount of my time in the water swimming like a mother, trying not to drown in front of quite big waves taking photos of surfers, so that’s what I like to do for fun. So this is the thing I do in my life for fun. The other people are there for fun, they’re on the waves, they’re having fun, I’m getting smashed up by the waves, I’m taking photos, I’m having fun. But what happens is these surfers would like me to give them these photographs. And that’s okay, because I spent an inordinate amount of my time in the water getting smashed up taking these photographs, you can only imagine how much time I actually spend sorting these photographs and editing these photographs, and making them beautiful. So actually, I don’t feel compelled to give these people my photographs is what I want to say. And I don’t know if it’s a generational thing. But I kind of feel like if they were more important, this is what I actually feel like is if they were more invested in me, then I would feel compelled to do it for them. Do you know what I mean? But because I just wonder like without sounding like an old fogy, using the words old fogy, how can I not sound like an old fogy. I want to swear.

Warren Cass 6:07  

We’ve already established we’re both, you know, approaching the wrong side of 50 anyway, so.

Martin Henley 6:12  

Yes, well, one of us has passed the wrong side of 50. So the point is, is there a generational thing going on? Where these people just haven’t done what we’re talking about, where they’ve learnt to get what they want or need from people? 

Warren Cass 6:30  

Well, I would push back a little on what you said, because actually, regardless of it being your hobby, right, you’re still looking for some sort of exchange, some sort of reciprocation, right?

Martin Henley 6:42  

Yes.

Warren Cass 6:43  

You’re putting time and effort into something which you enjoy. 

Martin Henley 6:46  

Yes.

Warren Cass 6:47 

And for you, it’s about creating beautiful action, capturing a moment, creating beautiful action orientated photographs. And the reason they want a copy of it is because it’s them looking good in it. And you know, they’d love to have that without the appreciation for how much work goes into the edit, the touch up the, you know, the print, etc,

Martin Henley 7:06  

But not drowning.

Warren Cass 7:07  

But listen, like with any of these types of things, whether it be hobby or whether it be a business focus thing, like there’s an objective at the start of it, yours is to create beautiful things with seemingly just for you. I don’t know whether there’s ego involved, and you want your picture seen by a wider audience. And of course, the way to achieve that is to give it to the surfers who’ve probably got some sort of social following, and amplify your name on the photo in some way, shape, or form. And therefore, there’s something in it for you. So what you can do is create a reciprocation that serves you that suits you. It’s just how you look at any kind of situation. It’s funny, from a speaking point of view, we get asked for freebies all the time. And in the UK, certainly, amongst the kind of professional speaker circuit, there’s a phrase that’s used, which is fit, fee or flee. So you either do it for a fee in which is obviously, you’re there in service of the client, or you do it for some sort of fit. And the fit is a reciprocation, might be that the audience is your perfect audience for you know, the business services that you sell, it could be a charity, something you’re doing because of a kind of philanthropic need or urge. It could be a favor for a mate, whatever, there’s some sort of fit, could be just that you want to show reel footage that’s been videoed, or there’s decent photography, and you want the stage shots, whatever, there’s something in it for you. And the flee is if there’s no fee, and there’s no fit that you say no thank you and you politely decline the opportunity. But it seems to me here, you’re just looking for your fit, you’re looking for the reciprocation. And you know, what do you want out of it?

Martin Henley 8:43  

Yes. Okay, well, you’ve nailed it completely. You’ve nailed it. Except one thing, which I mean, the thing you’ve nailed is I just want to make beautiful photos. So actually, you know, I have friends that I go with, because they are good surfers, and they look good on the wave, and they get on the better-looking waves and they do better stuff. But I think their frustration with me is that if it’s more aesthetically beautiful than it is technically good them on the wave, then I’m always much more excited about it because I want to make beautiful things, 100%. But there are probably several kinds of surfers. But there are two kinds of surfers that I’m dealing with people who know what they’re doing and look good on a wave and everybody else. And so that everybody else is an issue because they are imagining that they look like Mighty Mouse on this wave. But the truth is they pretty much often look like a scarecrow falling over. So it’s not doing my goal which is making a beautiful thing and it’s not even doing theirs which is looking good on a wave. So this is an issue. But you’re right I am looking for some fit, I would like to find a broader audience. I would like maybe for people to invite me to take photos professionally and fly me around the world doing that, that would be awesome. So if they were liking and commenting and sharing my pictures and doing all those things, then I would feel 100% compelled to give them these photos, but they’re not doing that. So they haven’t.

Warren Cass 10:08  

Make it conditional, so like any marketing strategy, you’d start with an objective in mind or multiple objectives in mind, and you build this strategy/campaign from the back of that, so I work with a model around deep influence and it’s the title of my next book, and it’s something I’m working on at the moment. But it starts with objectives, you then look at the kind of relationship with the person you’re looking to influence and to have that with, and then you really apply the context, what’s in it for them? What’s important to them? What do they want to get out of it? What’s important to you, you know, coming back to the relationship, and you build the content and the strategy around those objectives. So if what you’re looking for is amplification, you know, get your name known, make it conditional. So we do something called a Fireside Chat every two weeks.

Martin Henley 10:57  

Okay, wait, wait, wait. So you’ve gone from counseling me on my issues.

Warren Cass 11:01  

I was going to give you an example on the conditional campaigns.

Martin Henley 11:06  

Okay, cool. We’re gonna give you counseling. 

Martin Henley 11:08  

But you already rebelled on question number one, you can’t just run away with this whole process. There has to be some order here.

Warren Cass 11:14  

One of my mantras in life is “rules are for the guidance of the wise and the obedience of falls.” So I’ll always try and get outside of the framework if I can.

Martin Henley 11:21  

Okay, cool. Well, good luck today.

Warren Cass 11:25  

Challenge accepted, sir. 

Martin Henley 11:28  

Okay, good. So you had an example for us. 

Warren Cass 11:31  

The example from a campaign point of view, we do something called a fireside chat every couple of weeks. And it’s basically a cross between a TED talk and a clubhouse but on video, right. So we have somebody come and give 10 minute insight to an idea that they have, more micro, the better. And what follows is a 15-minute discussion, which we facilitate on zoom. And so the external speakers that we bring in to share the 10 minute insight, we build a whole campaign around it, we take an article, we amplify that to you know, 1000s of people, we have an Insta, Twitter, visual campaign that follows etc, etc. But with the conditional thing is that they show up with some good content, they write a good article to be used as part of that amplification, but they promote it to their database. So what they get seen as is the kind of expert in their field, and they have the spotlight on them and we make them feel and look important for the two weeks, and they are typically very impressive people anyway. But we get amplified too, so when people register for the fireside chat, everybody’s database grows, hopefully, it’s a solid experience for everybody who comes and therefore everybody’s elevated, right? And all I’m saying is, if you’ve got objectives, because you’ve been thinking as a hobby, rather than as something, which serves a need for you too just start to think a little bit more marketing strategy with it and figure out your objectives, what you want to do and make that conditional. So I’m happy to give you this photo that makes you look amazing. But it must carry my name, I returned the copyright and it must carry my name on the bottom, so people can find me and look at my other pictures. And I’d love it if you amplified it through your social channels, etc, etc. So at least there’s something in return there.

Martin Henley 13:18  

Well, was I was quite happy being bitter and imagining that millennials just hadn’t learned how to influence people can I not just carry on with that strategy?

Warren Cass 13:25  

So interestingly, I’ve got to be really careful what I say because I firmly believe millennials are teaching us right now whole loads of new ways of doing stuff, right. But there is a sense of entitlement, there is a sense of, you know, this has come. So we’ve had all of these tools, we’ve not had to fight and learn and do all of the other stuff that people like you and I have had to do, we’re the nomads. You know, they’re born into this stuff, right? And so sometimes we have to be a little bit prescriptive. And that’s true in marketing, too, right? If you’re creating campaigns where you’re putting lead magnets in place, you’re least being prescriptive, here’s the process on how you get the goodies, it’s about managing expectations. I’m a firm believer in upfront contracts and managing expectations of people. This is what I’m looking to get from this relationship, as long as you’re happy, then great. And the thing is, the reason why they’ll want to uphold their end of the bargain is because they like your shots so much, and they want them the next time they go surfing too, you know so actually, if they don’t fulfill their end of the bargain, you just won’t do it again.

Martin Henley 14:38  

Yes. Good, thank you. I’m feeling resolved. And the thing is that this is my most quality time do you know I mean, so this isn’t like this time where it’s kind of work or this isn’t where I’m working for a client or I’m standing up in front of a group, that time is packaged and priced and that’s the value of that time. And all of that work that I do is about being in front of waves looking at surfers so I have that quality. So this must be worth 10 times any one of those minutes or seconds that I’m getting paid for. Do you know what I mean?

Warren Cass 15:14  

I’m totally envious, right? Because my downtime is playing guitar and playing golf, and I’m hopeless at both of them, right? Really crap, at both of them. Nobody wants to pay to see that shit. Nobody wants to reciprocate anything with me, right? So the fact that you’ve got a hobby in demand, in fact, I’ve got an ex-business partner who’s gotten the photography route as a hobby. But he goes to Premiership football matches and rugby matches and does pitch side photography, and has actually managed to make his hobby a paid for thing. You know, he’ll get the occasional front page of a newspaper, which funds his hobby for several months. So, you know, he’s managed to do what he enjoys doing action shots in a different context, but he’s managed to make it pay for itself.

Martin Henley 15:55  

Okay, good. You’ve fixed me, I feel completely counselled now. That’s, brilliant. Thank you. 

Warren Cass 16:01  

My work here’s done.

Martin Henley 16:02  

Almost, we’ve still got another three and a half questions. 

Warren Cass 16:05  

Okay. Okay. 

Martin Henley 16:07  

So good. So I think you’re the first person that has demonstrated how you are qualified to talk to us about marketing, you obviously understand this subject deeply.

Warren Cass 16:15  

Well, I’d say it’s all subjective, right. And so this isn’t just false modesty, by the way, I didn’t do a formal marketing qualification. I spent a decade and a half, two decades, my qualifications were in technology really. And I spent a decade and a half speaking on stages, and my gentle introduction to marketing was much more about how we influence people. So you know, the networking scene exploded early 2000 in the UK, even though it was a bit more established in the US for a bit longer. And it was that how do we motivate somebody to take you seriously in a face-to-face context. And then the kind of psychology behind persuasion, became something much, much bigger for me as a subject. And before you knew it, that’s where I was studying. That’s where I was developing content. And that’s where I focus my attention. 

And so my book didn’t come out till 2016. But I wasn’t even seeking to write a book, I was approached by a couple of publishers. And the first question I asked myself was, you know, what qualifies me to do this? So, you know, when asked that question, we have to do that kind of self-validation too, and then the conclusion I came to is that there’s a couple of really good books on the topic, you know, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and the Psychology of Persuasion by Cialdini, right? And both of those books were written in the 1930s, in the 1980s, prior to the internet. And so all of those brilliant, proved, tried and tested methods of influence hadn’t been contextualized for a digital age at all. And so when I agreed it was because I thought, okay, I can do something with this, I can take established learning, and I can just let it be seen through a modern lens. And, of course, you know, the book was written in 2016-2017, it was released, and the world has already moved on so far since, you know, and so even people who I see, as you know, established marketeers, some of them have got stuck in the practices of five years ago. And now they’re out of date already. Right? So if you haven’t been continuously looking at how the world is changing, and understanding how to apply old systems to a new context, then you’re falling behind, too. So I think for me right now, people who are qualified to talk about marketing, or at least are appropriate to be taking people’s money for marketing services are the people who are always thinking future.

Martin Henley 18:49  

Wow. Good. Okay, it’s like you know me. My situation is between what I’ve just told you but prior to us recording, my situation is that I kind of went on the run in 2014. So I am in the unenviable position of having burned. I think, like burned, destroyed, finished completely over three, perfectly or two and a half perfectly serviceable audiences. So when I was running the Effective Marketing Company, we were doing all of this stuff all day, every day, you know, we took it seriously. M.O was essentially to produce the kind of marketing that people would want. So literally people would come to us and say we want marketing like yours, so we were all over this stuff. And then in 2014 when I decided to go and have adventures, I don’t know. And then in 2014, I produced a video called Killer LinkedIn Profile, it’s now had 600,000 views. Now whilst it was getting those 600,000 views, I was off having adventures. So all of those audiences also have no use to me whatsoever. But I arrived in New Zealand and I built like a website, a New Zealand Travel Review website, and I made lots of videos, and then I built an audience for that and then I stopped. I was in New Zealand from 2015 onward so I didn’t do that either. And now where I am, is I haven’t got I mean, I burnt those three really good opportunities, and I really don’t now, in 2021, understand how to get that back, because it has moved since 2014.

Warren Cass 20:36  

And so do you still have the relationships?

Martin Henley 20:40  

I mean, we’re talking about social media audiences. So we’re talking about, so I’ve still got 60,000 followers on Twitter. But, you know, there’s no, I’ve tested it a little bit, and there’s no engagement there, you know, so the New Zealand audience was on, I mean, that did really well. And maybe I could bring that back to life, if I had a relevance for it. You see, now I’m on this YouTube mission again. So, you know, I’m doing well with the content. And I really need to work out how to do YouTube well, so that all this great content gets the number of people or the amount of people that I would like to see benefit from it.

Warren Cass 21:22  

So this is part of this kind of very adaptive society we’re living in, particularly under the lens of the last couple of years, fascinate me, right? Because, the changes taking place right now I think was inevitable. I just think it’s accelerated because of the pandemic, and, you know, all the other kinds of things that we’ve particularly hear, Brexit and everything else that’s going on. We’ve all had to adapt quicker than the change was perhaps expected. Right? And what I find quite fascinating is, as a speaker, my work was traveling, keynoting events and doing stuff. However, pandemic hit, all gigs were canceled, okay. And then the world started to think, Okay, well, we still need to engage with our audiences, even if we’re not bringing them together, face to face. And so then the kind of virtual landscape took place now just, I know you’ve got a future guest coming on tomorrow night, who’s a business partner of mine, and a bloody good buddy too, you’ll all enjoy him. 

But with Warren, we met just before the lockdown happened, when the first lockdown happened in the UK. And he was fascinated with the work I’d been doing the year prior, which was masterminding other speakers, I was bringing thought leaders together who were wanting to build a better personal brand, get out there and win kind of commercial opportunities off the back of their knowledge. And so we looked at what he was doing in the kind of digital marketing space and digital transformation space and the stuff that I was doing, which was much more around the psychology of influence and, you know, people. And we thought, okay, let’s combine forces. And our idea back then was to create an environment in five-star hotel rooms, bringing people together for, you know, really kind of intimate, masterminding once a month. And of course, lockdown happened, and that stopped too that idea. But we adapted, right? And we ended up working with last year, over 150 different businesses in 14 different countries. And I don’t just mean a light touch, we spent proper intimate time with these businesses, helping them create their personal brands, or create their business brands, really nail their value propositions, get their positioning right on all environments. Think about strategies for partnership and, you know, building methodology/models, so they’ve got clarity and explanatory power around what they do. 

And then even through that kind of that sales, customer acquisition journey, that nurturing phase, we’ve worked with them on all of those things, right? Over 15 months. And all I’m saying to you is that in the type of work that we do, because everybody’s adapted to virtual, I don’t think any single consultative business now cannot be done through a camera. You know, your work can be done from Bali just like anybody else, if you’ve got an audience, then design something which serves them just virtually. And in fact, for many people now it’s the preference. 

You know, a really good buddy of mine is a very highly regarded IFA. And so similar thing, right? His job was going into the houses of high net worths in order to manage portfolio and to give them investment strategies and the world change so everything was done via zoom. I just had a conversation with him recently and a recent poll of his customer base, only two out of the whole portfolio, want face to face meetings moving port forward, the rest of them all one virtual, so his whole business has changed from driving to lots of different parts of the country and spending a lot of dead time in the car, she had just a switching on to zoom. And in fact, the meetings go better because they’re short, sharp, and sweet. But if there were several family members involved in the content, they’re all sat around the screen looking at the figures. So it’s rather than across the living room in different parts where they can’t see the numbers. It’s more attuned to actually being focused and getting an getting an outcome quicker. So all I’m saying is that industry, in particular consultative industries, they can adapt, it’s absolutely possible. And if you’ve got an audience in two different countries, you can still serve them, your content, your YouTube channel, if you’re commercializing it might be one thing, but you can still serve them and design the kind of service that gives them value and in return gets you paid.

Martin Henley 25:53  

100%. Yeah. And that’s kind of what is going on. And this process kind of started also as part of the lockdown and the pandemic thing, I suppose. So the question is, so we’ve got you rebel, you didn’t let me ask the second question, you just started answering it. So we’ve got to the point where the question should be, you know, who are your customers? How do you win your customers? And what is it that you do that delivers value from your customers, but you’re kind of giving us a sense of that already. 

Warren Cass 26:27  

Sorry. 

Martin Henley 26:31  

So I’m just wondering if there’s any part of that question that you didn’t answer already. So your customers are in how many different countries?

Warren Cass 26:38  

So right now, we have about 150 people we’ve been working with in about 14 different countries.

Martin Henley 26:44  

44-0

Warren Cass 26:46  

1, 4

Martin Henley 26:46  

1, 4. Okay.

Warren Cass 26:50  

Mind you, that’s just gone up, because we’ve just got a gig in Ghana, which is running an accelerator for a telecoms company in Ghana and actually doing a lot of work in places like Saudi now in the Middle East through basic Warren’s brilliance, actually, we’re developing a whole client base in the Middle East at the moment, which is really cool.

Martin Henley 27:13  

Okay, good. Right. So how did you do that, that’s interesting, that’s useful.

Warren Cass 27:22  

So what the broader 14 countries, you know, it’s marketing 101, right. It’s have some form of value add content that engages people, we started actually doing webinars, we’re brilliant at the start of lockdown, because if everybody was confined, what they were looking for were some sort of human intervention, and typically, they had strategies for a bit of personal and professional development. So we got involved with getting people on very interactive webinars, which then moved them to, our product staircase, it started with that, but we then took them to a one day workshop, which was all focused on identity. So anybody that’s starting a business, we helped them to understand where their values were, what their purpose was, you know, what their objectives were for their business. So they really got clarity. And then you build the brand around that, you think about the marketplace you serve and how to construct a value proposition that serves that marketplace. And there’s actually, we use things like Ikiguide, you know, just to have quite philosophical conversations at that stage. So people get a sense of where it is they want to go. 

When you’ve got that you can start putting a strategy in place, until you’ve got that sense of priority and objective, it’s really hard to give people strategy. So we started doing those workshops as a result of the webinars. And then the next step was we had an eight-week accelerator, we worked with people. And that was really transformational, you know, for many people. And then beyond that, we run a community which people stay in every single month, they do masterminding, there are master classes and a whole load of things that we do with them, one to one coaching. So you’re working with a whole load of different businesses from lots and lots of different sectors and helping them get a better sense of where they’re going, but then put the strategy in place to get there. That was essentially what we did. 

Martin Henley 29:26  

Okay, fantastic. And how did you get them on the webinar in the first place?

Warren Cass 29:32  

A mixture of you know, creating content that’s shareable, that adds value, asking for the shares and the likes, using our own databases using our own social followings, like you are and I’ve got pretty decent following across several different platforms. And sometimes you have to reengage and wake those people up again, right. And as you’ve just said, you know, you’ve got one list that’s slightly more engaged than the other. You know, what can you do to reawaken, and add value to those people, and it you know, it’s slowly but surely, it’s picked up, even with the fireside chat, which is one of our latest things we’ve done, maybe I don’t know, eight or nine of them. And we only do it every two weeks. And actually, it’s a more of a facilitation exercise than it is for kind of prepared remarks. Even though we do the campaign creation thing, it doesn’t actually take that long. But every single week, or every single time we do it, we have even more people register, and even more people attend. So it’s just growing and growing and growing. And the idea is that what’s good for us is that we’re shining the light on other people, it’s just kind of like what you’re doing, you know, bringing people on to this format, and having a conversation is absolutely shining the spotlight on other people, one of the principles I talked about in my book is the principle of credibility by association. 

So two reasonably intelligent guys having a reasonably intelligent conversation in this context, actually, we both come off better for it. And we’re both demonstrating values actually, just by the conversation that we’re having, you know, you express something where you wanted to be appreciated for your work, I wanted to help you know there’s values at play in every conversation you ever have with people, and people are either drawn to that or they’re not. And, you know, typically, those people who go out with vanilla marketing campaigns trying to capture everybody are the ones who typically the least successful. Some of the best marketers I know, are completely polarizing and they don’t care. They’re being authentically themselves and working to their values. And they only want to work with the people who get them and understand them. And I’ve kind of respected that more. In my past, I confess, I’ve been too vanilla, I’ve been trying to please everybody, rather than actually just focus on attracting people who get me, like me, want to work with me and think that this would be the right style to work with.

Martin Henley 32:02  

Okay, wow. Right. So I’m thinking lots of things. I’m thinking lots of things. I mean, my situation is I’m doing something quite different. Like previously, I wanted people to like me and my company and want to work with us. And you know, we were full time on that. Now, what I’m looking to do is I just want to share what I’ve got, and as much as I can get from other people like yourself, that’s kind of my mission. And I kind of feel like because of my conspiratorial outlook, if I can get Google to pay for that through YouTube, that would be like, perfect poetic justice. So, I’m doing something different, I think, and it’s okay. I’m thinking, I mean, there’s two things I’m really intrigued about, like the first is, there’s this thing, I think, I don’t know, if it’s particular to digital marketing, but digital marketing seems to concentrate, the feeling of like you said, at the beginning, this fear of missing out thing. Like I’m telling you, I’ve burned these audiences, when actually if I were my client, I’d be telling myself to back up and engage those audiences, you know, I mean, they’re all still there, probably, or some of them are still there, you know, I’m starting with something. But I feel like if I got carried on with the videos in 2014, I could have been Casey Neistat, you know, but I didn’t, so I missed out. So that’s something that I’m really interested to get your perspective on. And then the other thing is like for me Cialdini’s Influence is the Bible when it comes to marketing, like if you’re in sales and marketing, and you haven’t read that book, then you’re just not doing it right, you can’t be doing it right. You know, so I’m interested to know how you have evolved that. So I’m interested in those two things. The first one is probably much less interesting. Or maybe the same thing.

Warren Cass 33:51  

The first one was an extension of the values conversation, really, but, you know, people like you, myself, you know, Barnaby, with bigger brands, typically, Robert Craven, very specifically with digital agencies, you know, whether they’ve identified a niche audience or whether they, you know, generalists like Barnaby is a self-confessed generalist, he’s worked pretty much in every industry at a very high level, really, really good brands, right? These are still my go to people when I need feedback and insight. Right? So, you know, often the role that we do in our work with businesses is a facilitation role, right? We don’t come professing to have all of the answers. But what we ask is great questions in order to get further clarity on what it is the client actually wants to achieve from their business. What it is they actually do for their marketplace, whether their marketplace is prepared to pay for that, of course, and then building the strategies in order to try and get that into their hands. I mean, it’s pretty conceptually easy, an easy thing to get your head around. 

And actually, you come across as a really humble guy, Martin right? So I’m sure you’re awesome at what you do, because you’re approachable. You can have these kinds of conversations where people feel at ease with you, and tell you the stuff that you need to know in order to help them, is much easier to do that looking at somebody else’s position than it is to look at your own sometimes, right? And that’s also because we all internalize things, and therefore we’re running them through our filters, and our conditioning and our biases, and all of those things, which stops us necessarily from seeing things clearly. So it’s that third party perspective, that objective perspective which helps. So I don’t know if that answered question one. But the way I see it is, you know, we all need that kind of facilitator to help us take whatever the idea is, make it a really clear vision, and therefore put the strategies in place to achieve that. That’s essentially what we do.

The second thing around, our books, I’ve got behind here, I’ve got a bookcase full of well, marketers, business gurus, you know, I’m a big fan of Seth Godin, he’s probably my go to person, but really, what they share is old, old knowledge, you know, many of the philosophies that exist today, you can still find some resemblance of them from Aristotle, Confucius or whatever it is, it’s always old ideas reimagined and recontextualize for the age that we live in, this is old knowledge applied today. And my point to you around those books, the psychology of persuasion was written in the 1980s right now, whereas the principles are absolutely intact, still today, right? There’s still a context to how we deliver something, you know, even if you look at any good communication has an element of feedback at the end, which enables marketers to recalibrate and you know, refine the message or make the kind of acquisition journey easier, or whatever it is, that feedback loop is really important. But as technology changes, so does the method of feedback. And so we always need to be evolving our thinking to be contextual, for the age that we live in. And that was my point from it, right? And it’s one of many good marketing books that I read, it just has to be applied through the context of yourself, the context of the audience that you serve, and the kind of technology available to you today in order to properly leverage it.

Martin Henley 37:37  

Okay. Okay, 100%. So, I would say I teach digital marketing. So that’s what I do, is I teach digital marketing, that’s how I make my money now. So and the reason we do digital marketing is because of the amazing feedback. So, you know, prior to digital marketing, we might have sent a direct mail piece, we might have put something up on a billboard, we might have stuffed things through people’s letter boxes, we might have been telemarketing, cold calling people. The issue with what went on before, we might have been advertising on the television or on radio, the issue with all of that is that you are kind of throwing stuff into the ether, without any real sense of what the impact of that might be, like John Wanamaker said, You know, I know 50% of my advertising is effective, I just don’t know which 50%. Well, with digital media, we are supposed to know. And I know there are some challenges coming up with this now but we are supposed to know. What differences has that made? Has that made the difference that it should have made?

Warren Cass 38:54  

Which bits sorry, the ability to analyze and track, has that made a difference?

Martin Henley 39:00  

The transparency, the feedback, the fact that we know if we put out a direct mail campaign, then the Direct Mail Institute will tell us that maybe 0.1% will get opened. Whereas if we put out an email campaign, we can see exactly what percentage opened it, how long they had it open, what they clicked on, you know, then onto the website, how long they spent on the website, all of this stuff. So the question I’m asking you is because you told me that How to Win Friends and Influence People was in the 30s.

Warren Cass 39:33  

Psychology of persuasion.

Martin Henley 39:34  

Psychology of persuasion, was in the 80s. So that is now 90 years old and 40 years old. But how much has digital marketing changed? Or not?

Warren Cass 39:50  

It massively has and you’ve just expressed one of the points beautifully which is the kind of analytics, the feedback mechanism is so much more sophisticated now. If you think back to both of the two books referenced, they’re really about face to face conversations and persuasion techniques, which I think is actually quite superficial, it’s quite surface level, right? And the difference between whether you need a surface level engagement in order to buy some sort of commoditized low-price product, or whether you need actually a deeper resonance with people in order to go on a much more profound journey with you, right? So, the work that we do requires a much deeper convictions, you know, a much deeper sense of confidence, or certainty in order to take that next step with us, right? If they need to be sure. It’s funny, I heard a speaker called James Ashford in the UK. He’s the founder of GoProposal, which is the kind of instant proposal. He does this specifically for the accounting marketplace, but he’s very good marketeer, very good, creative, in fact, would be somebody I’d recommend for your podcast, even though he’s niche focused, he’s very, very good. 

And he, as a throwaway comment, talked about this kind of quest for certainty in the buying process, and didn’t think any more of it. But honestly, it started spiraling for about three days, I was thinking about what are the building blocks of certainty? What constitutes certainty, in the mind’s eye of your target marketplace? And, you know, I came up with lots and lots of building blocks for certainty. And sometimes it might be the credibility by association, you know, who did they hang out with? Let’s have a look at the content, how do they demonstrate their expertise? That might be one of the aspects? Let’s do our due diligence. What are people saying about them? What’s the testimonials, where are the case studies, you know, , what’s the reviews on Google, just as one aspect of it is the social proof. And certainty looks different for different types of businesses. And there are different levels required depending on what the purchase is. But even if I go and buy a five-pound product on Amazon, now, I’m still reading the reviews. And seeking out the ones which are four or five star and above. Now there is a deeper level of certainty I need for anything that (a) costs more, but (b) if there needs to be some sort of chemistry match with the person I’m going to go and work with. 

So this quest for certainty is really important today, because I believe we have younger demographics coming through who actually crave more meaning they actually crave a kind of deeper resonance for most of the people they serve. Even coming back to the investment circles that I referenced earlier on with my friend, there’s a real trend amongst younger people who are only investing in opportunities, which have at least some sort of conscious capitalism at their core, right? You know, they want to make ethical investments, not just wear the normal capitalist hat and go for maximum profit. It’s not how they’re wired. And I actually believe whilst that charge, I think, is being led by younger generations, actually, we’re all catching up, you know, so nowadays people are looking for a little bit more meaning in the things that they do. And I think that has to be translated into marketing. If you’re a brand today that’s not articulating your values, and articulating the kind of broader societal impact that you have, then you’re missing a trick and you’re probably going to get left behind by those that are because that’s what wins hearts and minds. It’s not just superficial persuasion. It’s a deeper resonance. It’s deep influence, which is the title of my next book.

Martin Henley 43:47  

Good. I’m going to read both of your books.

Warren Cass 43:50  

Drop me your address, my friend and I’ll pop you one in the post.

Martin Henley 43:53  

Okay, I’m in Indonesia, it’s far.

Warren Cass 43:57  

I don’t care. I post internationally anyway, for my members so it’s fine.

Martin Henley 44:00  

Oh, fantastic. Okay, cool. Brilliant. Thank you. Okay, good. I’ve got an issue with this. Warren. I’ve really got an issue with this. I’m kind of conflicted. I think lots of people, marketing people, especially are talking about this stuff, this purpose, this meaning, this ethics? I think they are. But I wonder how when it actually comes down to how much people really do care. And this came up in one of these conversations I had recently. So for example, I’m an Apple user and, you know, we know that there’s part of it, I don’t use them for my phone, for example. So when I don’t have to use them, I don’t use them, but my computer will always be an Apple computer. 

But we know about the conditions that people who are producing these computers are working under but it doesn’t stop the iPhone being the most popular brand of phone in the world. And I don’t know if that’s particular, I stopped using an iPhone, because Somebody once told me it was a mom’s phone. So that was enough to convince me I didn’t want it anymore. It’s like everyone’s mom’s got an iPhone. So is it? Here’s the challenging question, Is this purpose, ethics, all of this stuff? Is this just marketing fluff? Or are people genuinely deeply interested in these issues? And sorry, just to make it more complicated and maybe not, I don’t know, like when I was a kid, like, I knew I wouldn’t grow up to work in the weapons industry. And nobody I knew that had morals would do that, you know, I mean, but it seems to me now that almost whichever industry you look at, they’re not behaving in a particularly ethical or responsible way. So, my question is surface level, and marketers are very interested in this idea of values and purpose and ethics. And underneath that is just a sea of desperation. You know, it’s a horrible mess. If you spend too long looking at the news. So is that a surface level thing? And how would we know?

Warren Cass 46:25

So I share your cynical nature, sir. 

Martin Henley 46:29

Good. Thank you. 

Warren Cass 46:30

However, you know, there’s no denying we are hugely emotional creatures, right. So when a charity video posts, the beneficiary of the charity, both in their plight, and in the kind of transformation aspect after they’ve received the funding, they are pulling on heartstrings, right? So, you know, the reason why Barnaby is very, very good. For example, he’s worked with a number of charities, and he absolutely, you know, transformed monies received because he knew how to tell the story. He knew I had to be a storyteller for that charity, and to build campaigns around that storytelling. Right? And sure enough, he more than paid for himself as a marketeer. Because they raised far more funding and had a much more polished brand at the end of it. That’s an example when you tell stories and you demonstrate values, you win hearts and minds. To come back to your Apple point, I think most people are completely ignorant of those working conditions. I personally, I don’t know what the actual detail is, I would have thought they would have sorted it out by now. And it was probably something of the past. But I would equally cynically believe that every other technology brand was working with the same practices doesn’t make it right. 

But if I was an activist, I would be doing more if it was something that was really important to me, I’d be an activist, and I’d be doing more to change that, right? But I bet you one thing, if Apple had a competitor, which was the same ergonomics, the same intuitive kind of design and user interface, but highly ethical, I guarantee you, they would be market dominant. Because people would always make that choice. I believe they would always make that choice. So whatever the current, the kind of criteria comes, if you believe in a cause, if you believe that something is, serving the greater good, and not just out and out profit making machine, I believe you’ll make that decision. And the same is true because it’s about the relationship you have right with the brands that you deal with. Again, you know, talking about millennials earlier on, millennials are much more fickle, less brand loyal, you know, if the brands that they use day in day out, disappear tomorrow, they will just go and find a replacement, no problem at all. But they’ll do that based on social proof recommendation and what’s being talked about right, and certainly something that appeals to and some minds will win over something that’s just transactional, I believe.

Martin Henley 49:07

Okay, good. And I really hope so as well, I really hope so. But I think what you’re saying is absolutely true, is that they are all as bad as each other. And the truth is you can’t produce a mobile phone without using resources, minerals that are reportedly I mean, God, this got depressing.

Warren Cass 49:30  

But actually, it won’t be the exploitation of people it will be to the detriment of people because it will be robots doing it, you know, moving forward, and I’m sure they are already a dominant part of any production line. 

Martin Henley 49:41

Yes.

Warren Cass 49:42  

But, you know, that’s, where it’s going. Right? 

Martin Henley 49:46

Yeah, yes. 

Warren Cass 49:47  

You know, what I also believe is that for lots and lots of places, they would still rather have the injection of revenue and employment of people rather than them just you know, starving without jobs, right? The key is how do we upskill and actually improve the lives of everybody in the kind of distribution chain, or production chain? How do we do that as a brand? And if you’re demonstrating those values and putting initiatives in place, and beyond just getting your stuff made cheaply, then I think you’ll still win hearts and minds, people will see you’re striving for better. 

Martin Henley 50:29

I really hope so. I really, really hope so.

Warren Cass 50:30

Just a personal opinion but, I am also as cynical as you. So you know, I can see where you’re coming from.

Martin Henley 50:36  

Yeah. And even when he talked about Barnaby doing the work for these charities, the outcome was that they had much more compelling stories, a much more compelling brand, and much more polished brand, and better revenues. That just hurts me a little bit, that shouldn’t be the objective of the charity. If we said so many more children fed or so many more people housed or, you know, I don’t know, I do worry about that.

Warren Cass 51:02  

It’s a means to an end. It’s a means to an end. There are so many different charitable causes now. Where do you spend your time or where do you give? Well, if you’re competing for people’s support, know that they’ve got, you know, hundreds of other things they could be supporting? So how do you make something important to somebody? You tell them stories, you activate them a little bit around that cause and then they become a supporter, because it’s all about the outcome? It’s all about the people that would serve in the charity space, but you’ve still got to activate them to be to give a shit about the cause in the first place. Right?

Martin Henley 51:38  

Yes. And giving a shit I think is really important. Like I don’t, we’ll end this now. But I just want to make one point that I just always really amuse me, I’m going to make two points, because I’m going to bring up game shows. So I think, firstly, this isn’t at all relevant. So we’ll get this out of the way. I think peace in the Middle East could be achieved if they had game shows that included all of the people from all of the different factions. 

So I think for example, you know, when you’re watching a game show, and you’re thinking like the guy standing there, you’re thinking he’s a bit of a dick. But then he says, Oh, this is my name. This is who I’m from, this is something else about me. All of a sudden, you really care about that person, you understand they’re a person. So that’s my resolution for the Middle East, the conflict in the Middle East is have game shows with everyone on them that they all watch. So they all start to see it’s a humanizing effect. That was the first thing that was completely not relevant. The second thing about gameshows, Family Fortunes, celebrity Family Fortunes, where you’ve got, I don’t know, this family from Coronation Street and this family from EastEnders. And basically, the family from Coronation Street are in favor of the Donkey Sanctuary. So if they win the Donkey Sanctuary, get some money. And the people from the other one EastEnders care about cats, stray cats or something. And then they go all the way through this process half an hour, and then the stray cats get the money. No one gives a shit about the donkeys anymore. I mean, it’s like, and what effect does that have on us as a society where, and I mean, this is this, I’m giving you the completely fabricated family fortune story, but it feels like we’re in, like, because we’re so like, all of these stories are so compounded, and they’re landing on us all day, every day, like actually 100%, what you’re saying is, right. And mission as marketers, certainly at the level that you’re operating and Barnaby is operating at where you’re talking about brands, is to make yourselves stand out and be better because of all of this noise. But all of the noise is just so confusing.

Warren Cass 53:42  

I won’t say what came into my head when you were talking about those poor donkeys. But I would argue that awareness was raised in that scenario for both charities, and they would have probably had viewers if they watch in their 1000s, if not millions, clicking through and supporting. Even as a result of not necessarily winning, there might be a sympathy vote, you know, people will vote from that perspective. So the awareness of the charity was maybe one of the bigger objectives there. But I guarantee you both charities would have got something right?

Martin Henley 54:16

I hope so. It’s money. It’s like 10 grand.

Warren Cass 54:23

It’s awareness and but you know, it all comes down to the storytelling, you know, telling the story and celebrities like it because they seem to be doing something for a cause. It’s all values driven stuff. They’re still marketing by appearing on a show like that. It’s just marketing. And it’s all it is. It’s a PR exercise.

Martin Henley 54:40  

Robert says it’s getting harder.

Warren Cass 54:45  

Which particular aspect, what did Robert say is getting harder?

Martin Henley 54:50  

He says marketing is getting harder, running a successful business is getting harder, because like the barrier to entry is so much lower and there are so many more people in it. Whereas pre-digital marketing, pre-social media, the barrier to entry was higher if you wanted to run a business.

Warren Cass 55:12  

So I agree and I disagree with Mr. Craven. I agree it’s become more complex. And by the very nature, if something’s more complex, it’s potentially harder. However, I don’t think we’ve ever had as many channels and as many opportunities to analyze whether something lands or misses, in marketing ever, and it will only even get more complex. But even more data and more information at our disposal, I think what’s happened is the consumer has become a lot more sophisticated, not only around what’s going on in the process, you know, the process of marketing and how they’ve served information. And, you know, there’s a sense of whether you’re being manipulated, but actually, the consumer wants to know the backstory, they want to know the values, they want to know what they stand for, before they invest their time and effort and money. So I think there’s a level of sophistication from the consumer, I think there’s a complexity, particularly with the technology, but that gives us a lot more analytics for better feedback for, you know, therefore, we can recalibrate and tweak our message. But the one thing that I think has made it harder and the bit I agree with Mr. Craven, is the fact that people have also become quite cynical. And actually, we are bombarded with so many messages today, we are all suffering from attention deficits. And therefore, we’re automatically filtering now, you know, there’s just too much information. So we’re having to filter in order to focus. So it’s much harder to get through. I mean, if anybody who receives a ton of email marketing knows they probably never read the email, you can see what HTML email coming through and the chances are, you’re deleting out of your inbox and not reading it in detail. The only way you get your email marketing read today is by having already built a relationship with the with the target for email marketing.

Martin Henley 57:16  

Nice to see you again, Warren, are we going to pretend that their technology didn’t fall apart yesterday, and we agreed to come back 24 hours later to try and do this again?

Warren Cass 57:24  

I think we should confess. And then that way, if there’s a lack of continuity of what I was saying, when we left off to what we started to talk about now then that’s obvious, right? Sometimes shit goes south.

Henley 57:36  

Sometimes it goes south. Yeah. And sometimes dirty people are still wearing yesterday shirt. Whereas I’ve got two of this shirt. So.

Warren Cass 57:45  

So just to confess, right, I thought we were going to try and do the continuity thing. So I made sure I came in the same shirt again, just to be mindful of your audience, and they would have a seamless experience. But we would have been more inauthentic. Right?

Martin Henley 57:59  

Okay let’s try and be honest, let’s pretend we’re not marketers for a second and just be completely honest and open.

Warren Cass 58:04  

Actually, that’s kind of an extension of what we were talking about yesterday, because I think the marketers who are getting the most success now are the ones that are actually managing to be that little bit more authentic in their communication, which probably leads us quite nicely on to the challenges you’ve been having with Riverside, doesn’t it?

Martin Henley 58:25  

I think it does. So. I think it does. I think it’s weird. And I think it’s kind of like, I’m glad it fell apart yesterday, because I was kind of running out of steam. I was challenging you. And I knew what I was trying to say. But I wasn’t conveying it to you. So you weren’t having the opportunity to answer that question. That what I want to know is like what we were talking about is like the last question I asked you is about how Robert Craven thinks it’s more difficult now? And you answered that we’ve got that full answer. So they will have heard that answer. But what I’m interested to know is this really what marketing are supposed to be doing? Is it really what marketing is supposed to be doing to be taking a shit thing, and trying to present it as a good thing? Because I am hugely cynical, but I kind of have like an idealistic view of what an effective marketer does is understand the market, understand the needs of the market, produce a solution that meets those needs, or desires, and then communicates the value that is available to that market. 

But I think and that’s what goes on I think at our level, you know, when we are dealing with our customers, that has to be what goes on. We don’t have to make an investment in trying to look better than we are. Because we stand up and we present ourselves and people will make a judgement. This is a good person or a bad person and they’re representing a good business or a bad business. So those are kind of the two things that I’m interested in, which are, you know, clearly big businesses have to engage in PR, because they’re typically not as nice as we would like them to be. And they have to try and convince us that they are. And secondly, do small businesses have to worry about that too, especially when they’re small businesses and they’re new businesses, and they have more pressing requirements, I would say, like not trying to suppress people or having issues with your software, like the people at Riverside are. So this is kind of tied in, this is how I think about this thing. Is it not just enough to do a stand-up job and stand up if it doesn’t quite meet the needs of your market and work with them until it does? That’s kind of what I’m thinking now.

Warren Cass 1:00:52  

It’s a lovely question. And I have a couple of different aspects to this as part of my answer, right. And I think once upon a time, many, many years ago, if you were a marketer, then your job was to sensationalize, whatever the product is, and it would sell. And if it was a bad product or a bad service, there was very little comeback on you because we didn’t have the channels to amplify our grievances, you know, like we do today, right? I think today, you get found out very, very quickly if the product or service isn’t right. And I think you hit the nail on the head. And literally your first sentence to that question, which was around, yesterday, you asked me what I thought marketing was, and I said, I think marketing is everything, right? And so in a small business, it’s every experience that a prospect or customer has with you is essentially marketing. But a business is only successful if it has a value proposition, which actually adds value. And if it doesn’t do that, today, you get found out very, very quickly. 

So you can dress something up as nicely as you want to with marketing fluff. But if the product or service doesn’t do what it’s built to do, you get found out. So it’s about working on our value propositions as much as anything else today and then telling our stories, but it starts with the value proposition. And I like the simple kind of value proposition canvas for that, right, which is that and I think it’s particularly appropriate in terms of rapid change that we find ourselves in now. Because the premise is that it starts by looking at your marketplace, and looking at the pain that they’re in or looking at the potential gain that you can you can help them with, right, so looking at pains and gains, and that’s an observation exercise. And then on the other side, it’s about, you know, designing products and services that solve those problems, right. And then the marketing aspect is how we then tell everybody about it. And we raise awareness of the potential for gains or the solutions to pains right. Now, when the marketplace changes on a regular basis, that observation has to happen frequently, you can’t just rest on your laurels that once upon a time, this was a product fit for task. We, you know, technologies completely disrupting so many industries, we have to continuously be looking at our products and services and just making that judgment, is this still fit for tasks? Is this stuff fit for purpose? Or has the world moved on and we need to adapt? 

And, you know, this is the reason why so many big household brands have fallen by the wayside in just the last 20 odd years. I mean, my favorite case study years ago when I was talking on stage was, you know, Yellow Pages started in 1956 in the UK in Brighton and Hove right, and they were just a local directory, which spread all across the UK. And then before you knew it onto four continents where they owned search. So this little thing called the internet came along, and there was nobody saying how is this going to disrupt our business? How can we own search in this new age, and of course, they didn’t react and the rest is history with Google and Bing. But that’s the reality. They fail to innovate, and everybody’s had the same Kodak examples trotted out over the last God knows how many years, have been written in ton of books, you know, people who invent technology, and then don’t actually go and capitalize on it and realize, you know, that’s how it’s going to become mainstream. And the challenge for small businesses, we don’t have the deep pockets for R&D, we don’t have lots and lots of people to bounce ideas off in teams. 

And therefore, it’s still quite important for us to find that sense of community that can be the sounding block that can you know, can be the incubator for ideas, can be the critical feedback on the issues that we face. And that’s actually why Warren Knight and I founded Hivemind, because it was a community of people who could actually come and be that resource for each other and help develop those concepts and ideas. So, you know, when you said yesterday, what gives me the authority to talk about marketing. My push back on that was genuine, I don’t necessarily consider myself a marketer. Marketing is something I’ve had to do. It’s something I enjoy doing, all communication where you have to understand who the message is directed at, and then give a contextual message for them. I read and fascinated by all of that stuff, context is hugely important. But I don’t necessarily consider myself a marketer, I consider myself somebody who also looks at the value proposition and the business as a whole, and how you actually go and really properly get deep influence with people, how you engaged with people. And for me, that’s beyond the traditional definition of what marketing was.

Martin Henley 1:05:51  

Okay, good. So let’s take this case in point then. So these people Riverside, this service that we’re using a game right now have come up with a brilliant, brilliant concept, because what was going on previously, and I mean, especially in the last 18 months, was an abomination. You know, it really was, when they are presenting Sky Sports on zoom, and the image is a mess. And you know, Riverside’s marketing is right, it sounds like I can’t remember exactly what they say. But they say basically, it looks like a toilet and it sounds like a toilet. And that is entirely true. So 100%, they found a real need in the market. And when I found this, I was hugely excited. Now, and technologically, this is a brilliant thing, but it’s not anywhere near perfect. And I’m having this issue with the syncing, we had an issue that it crashed yesterday, the real issue is that I am voicing this on their Facebook community, because that’s where they send you once you’re a customer, and they’re deleting my posts. Now, I don’t believe they’re deleting my posts because they are evil, I believe that they are deleting my posts because they don’t know how to cope with this situation. So I don’t know how many users they’ve got. They’ve got some corporations on their front page, who are supposedly customers of theirs, I don’t know what’s going on. But this is almost the biggest danger for this type of company is that you’re just catapulted into the ether. And that’s really difficult because now exactly like you say, we are marketers, we’re really good at telling stories about how bad customer service is, and they’re upsetting us. And we have the platforms to now go out and diss their business. So their business, the wheels could come off not because they haven’t got a good product, not because they haven’t gotten it to market, but because actually, it’s too much of those things, you know, it’s too good. And there’s too much market for it. What do you think?

Warren Cass 1:07:51  

I think it’s worse than that in this particular case. I’ve only had five minutes to get upset about this, right? Because you already talked about this just before we got on the call. But they’re clearly deleting the same post over and over again. Because you posted what, three, four times and now they’ve got you on moderated comments, right?

Martin Henley 1:08:13

Yes.

Warren Cass 1:08:14

You weren’t going on and calling them names and being overly derogatory, you were saying there’s a problem with the lip synching? Can you help me with the problem?

Martin Henley 1:08:20

Yeah.

Warren Cass 1:08:20

And just to reiterate the context, their site sends you to the Facebook group for customer support. You know, if you just think about the user journey there, they’ve sent you to a place for customer support, you ask the question from customer support. And they delete you four times. 

Martin Henley 1:08:35

Yeah.

Warren Cass 1:08:35

Because they don’t want anybody to see anything negative about the platform, particularly the user community. 

Martin Henley 1:08:41

Yes. 

Warren Cass 1:08:41

Now what that tells you is that your support query isn’t important, that they’re more concerned about the perception of their product than they are about the reality of it. It shows that they’re not necessarily focused on fixing what’s broken. And, more importantly, to me the biggest sin is they are motivating you to go and amplify your grievance somewhere else where they’re not in control of the conversation, which is just stupidity. So, coming back to being in control of the kind of brand message or communication, the first Golden Rule of a customer experience, if someone’s got a problem, you acknowledge the problem, right? That diffuses them almost immediately. 

Martin Henley 1:09:26

Yes.

Warren Cass 1:09:26

I mean, just to give you an example of this. There’s a product called review, I think it’s review filter, but it’s a hotel, booking system/review system, for any kind of hotel and the idea is that if you’re guests in a hotel and you come along and you have a great experience, they’re the first ones to ask you whether you had a great experience. They sent you an email Did you enjoy your stay with us rate us out of five. If you rate a four or a five, it immediately flips to TripAdvisor, that says great that you’ve had a great experience, wonder if you wouldn’t mind just publishing that here. And you’re auto logged in so all you have to do is publish them and your review is there as a four or five. If the review is a three or less, what it does is immediately respond and acknowledges the problem and says, I’m sorry, you’ve had a bad experience, we’ll be in touch to see what went wrong and see how we can make it right. Which completely diffuses any motivation for somebody to go to TripAdvisor to complain, because they feel like they’ve been heard, and that their issues being addressed. So what that does, is it helps hotel work on their customer service and customer experience, because they’re understanding what the issues are. And that’s a good thing, you know, it also means that they almost controlling the publicity and the press that goes out to the marketplace, which is clever. But the integrity behind being interested in the problem so they can solve the problem is the bit that counts. But to motivate marketeers who arguably know how to use these platforms, to say, I’m really pissed off with this, because and, you know, and they’re not in control of the message, for me is a massive cardinal sin. And I’d be interested in the context of the organization whether they’re based in a certain culture, where you know, pride and ego, different cultures have different levels of controlling perceptions, right? And whether that’s the case in this in this example, I don’t know, but somebody needs a good talking to.

Martin Henley 1:11:32  

Yes. Okay, so I’ve got the best example of this ever, I think. So between 99 and 2005, late 2004, I was based in South Africa, and I was working in South Africa, and I had a lot of South African friends. And this was about the time that all the offshoring was going on, you remember, so all the banks were shipping their customer services out to India, and directory enquiries, or 118, 118, or whatever it was, at that time that also, now defunct search function. They decided to outsource their work to South Africa. So a few people that I knew went to work for these new organizations, answering the calls, not answering the calls, but managing teams of people who are answering calls from the UK for directory inquiries or 118. And so I was interested in this because culturally, South Africa and the UK are quite different. So I said to them, you know, what are they telling you about the culture? And my friend said to me, Well, the one thing they have told us is that if an English person asks you for a number, and you can’t find the number, what you must do is apologize and tell them that But please, you know, if you’re looking for a number again, in the future, remember 118, 118, or directory inquiries, or whatever it was. Now what I know culturally about South Africa, because I lived there for five years, I have never heard a South African apologize about anything, they don’t apologize. And this is true of the South African culture. 

So if it’s a black person, or an Indian person, an English South African, or a Dutch or African South African, I’ve never heard one of them apologize. So I said to my friend, but you don’t apologize. So what do you do? And he said, Oh, we just give them the wrong number. So that is how, and this was sometime between, well, this is probably 2003-2004. So that goes to show you how, you know, culturally, you could just miss entirely. Like, the last thing you can ever do is give an English person bad service, because they will go ballistic, you know, and they will be phoning up 10 times tomorrow to speak to a supervisor to find out why they’ve been given the wrong number. But the last thing you can expect a South African to do is apologize because they just don’t culturally, they don’t apologize, you know. So it’s interesting like that. And this is interesting, because, you know, for me, like the other thing that came out yesterday was, you know, you and Warren put together this new business and you went out and you did business in all these new countries. But it never. And when I pressed you on it, you tell us, tell me but it’s because we had these databases in advance.

Warren Cass 1:14:16

One of the aspects for sure.

Martin Henley 1:14:17

One of the aspects. Yes. So the other, a component of you and Warren putting this business together during this pandemic is the fact that you had been marketing yourselves for however many years you’ve been marketing yourselves. And so what I’m interested in, what I’m really interested in, is why people don’t trust marketers, because they don’t, why small business people don’t understand what marketing is and see the necessity for marketing and are these things connected? And should I just get over it because you know, I’ve wanted to be the small businesses marketing champion for nearly 20 years, and they clearly don’t deserve one.

Warren Cass 1:14:52  

I think you touch on a larger societal problem today and that is, we live in an age of huge misinformation. And so I think it’s making us all become a lot more cynical, and feel the need to do a lot more due diligence than we ever did before. I mean, listen, I’ve been I’ve been running my own businesses for quite a few years now and on at least two occasions, I’ve employed a private investigator before putting my neck on the line with a business deal, which I thought something’s not quite right here and I’m nervous. And on both of those two occasions, my instincts were correct. And that was a, you know, con artist or whatever, said all the right things in all the right places. But my intuition served me in those particular examples. The problem with scams today and misinformation is it’s so sophisticated, you know, it’s not just, it, there’s websites, and social proof and all of these things to back it up, or at least the perception of it. So the thing that I think we’re all becoming a little bit more as critical thinkers, and questioning everything, although not everybody. But we also have, you know, very polarizing points of view, too. So it’s creating more conflict. And again, more reason why people are fitting into tribes when they find like-minded people is because, actually, you know, if you look at everything in the news today, or even on social media, they’re amplifying the extreme points of view, which normalizes them, and therefore, we become even more polarized. 

So it’s, it’s fascinating times, this is a societal problem, not just a marketing problem. If people are more skeptical, if people are more resistant to ideas, or concepts, whatever, because of the way we’re being conditioned, our environment is conditioning that behavior. Then, as a marketer, your emphasis needs to be on demonstrating value, demonstrating expertise, demonstrating good quality customer experiences, demonstrating, you know, perhaps more in depth case studies, the journey that you take customers on from A to B, demonstrating maybe the framework that you work with, so they can understand what the journey is going to look like, if they work with you. All of that’s important, you’ve got to reassure people. And coming back to the point I was making yesterday, we’re trying to create certainty in the mind’s eye, of the prospect. So if we want them to make that decision to work with us, we’ve got to tick all of those different boxes, which could be on certainty. And so I think it’s a broader problem today, marketing isn’t just about a tagline or a good image, marketing is about actually demonstrating value, demonstrating values. And, telling the story of the business so people feel completely reassured and more inclined to buy. 

Martin Henley 1:17:45  

Okay, good. I’m 100% with you, I’ve also got a great instance of this, I think, where I used to run these half day workshops, and they were open to anyone to come to, and I run them in four or five locations across the southeast. So there’s one of these things happening every week. And I’ve lost two people from those, like two people have walked out of the hundreds of people who came, one of them really didn’t like the Mexican wave. So I used to make them do a Mexican wave at the beginning. And they would go one way, and everyone would go away. And then they go the other way, and everyone go away. And I used to follow them on my phone to get the video for my social media. And as I went back, this guy was literally packing up his stuff and leaving. So that’s one thing, there’s one person I lost, the other person that I lost was an architect. And he left I think he left it halfway. Because you know, this was 2008 to 2011, somewhere around there. So one of the courses was social media. And I was talking about one of the effects of social media being the democratization of knowledge. 

So actually now if you wants something to be true, historically, you’d have to get it published in encyclopedia. Now you put it up on Wikipedia. And if enough people believe you, it’s true, you know, so this was my argument. And he resisted that saying, but I was at college for seven years but I know the truth, or I my knowledge is more valuable, and he left at half time. But the fact is that, that was entirely true. And Trump blew the lid off it because he basically came out and said, the newspapers are lying to you, it’s fake news. And of course, they’re hugely bipartisan, and they decide what they want to say and how they want to say it. So the very nature of truth, like we touched on philosophy at the beginning, yesterday, but the very nature of truth is, you know, completely blown apart. It’s like, what on earth do you believe? And it has forced everyone out to these two extremes. And we’re carrying on here, we’re doing a podcast about marketing, like governments aren’t being ridiculously over demanding in terms of the way they expect people to behave and what they expect them to do. That’s an aside. We don’t need to get into that today.

Warren Cass 1:19:57  

Well, the interesting part is governments still have marketing and PR, right? You know, they need re-election. So everything they deliver to you every single piece of information is cushioned and maybe embellished or slightly distorted to present the best possible side of any one situation. So it’s still all marketing, it doesn’t have the kind of commercial element to it. That’s all.

Martin Henley 1:20:21  

Okay. And so this is interesting, I don’t know, five or six of these chats ago, I spoke to Melanie Farmer who works for an agency that is advising the Australian Government on what’s going on currently and health authorities on how they should be behaving and stuff. And then what’s gone on since that conversation in Australia is just mind boggling, unbelievable what’s going on there. The point is, this is probably the biggest, and depending on where you sit on the scale, the most necessary marketing campaign in human history. And 20 or 30% of people are just saying, No, we don’t believe you. We’re not doing it. And we don’t believe you.

Warren Cass 1:21:01  

Yeah, I don’t think that’s the fault personally of the marketing aspect, I think it comes back to this societal problem that you’ll always have an outsize but the batshit crazy extreme points of view in any discussion or argument, are the ones that are amplified, and therefore normalized. Right? So there’s a much bigger distance on the two extremes now, I think, than there ever was, I firmly believe common sense still lives in the middle. And, the problem is, you know, cliche common senses, and common practice is kind of what we have right now. You know, without getting drawn into COVID too much, you only have to have a look at the rates of people who are dying in hospitals and the percentage of those which are unvaccinated right now. But if you can just then call it fake news, and diminish the whole, all of the evidence. And for those that don’t want to dig deeper and do their due diligence, they’re satisfied with that very superficial throwaway comment, then you’ve got a challenge, because it’s okay to want to educate but if people don’t want to be educated, if they’re not going to ask the questions, if they don’t have the curiosity, then how do you give them the necessary knowledge, they need to make an informed decision. And it’s a real problem. 

And you know, bringing it back to marketing, you know, your architect, delegate, who packed up and left was missing the point altogether. Because had he realized, actually, there is misinformation, and I know the truth. And so therefore, I’m going to make my platform about telling people where the misinformation is, and really giving them the correct knowledge and information and therefore I’ll be the trusted resource, there’s a way he could frame and position that in order to solve the problem. And he chose not to, he chose to pack up his things go away and bury his head in the sand, right, which is, you know, typical of a lot of people who either can’t be bothered to learn or are resistant to the change. And so, you know, I find that kind of fascinating, and I think there’s also been one massive paradigm shift when it comes to knowledge, right? Once upon a time, the people who held positions of power, or at least had longevity in organizations, were the people who held the cards close to their chest and retained all the knowledge for themselves so they were indispensable. And what’s happened now, today is organizations value, the people who bring the cards out and upskill everybody around them, they’re the people who are valuable in an organization, not the ones that try and guide all of that information for themselves. It’s a very old way of thinking. 

And in marketing way that’s translated to is certainly in the professional services arena, where people are selling knowledge and consultancy skills, etc. They’re giving away a whole load of knowledge upfront to demonstrate they know what they’re talking about. Because most of the time, people still want their hand held through the process. They don’t necessarily want to take a bit of knowledge shared on a website or in a presentation and go and implement it themselves. They just want to be reassured that the person knows what they’re talking about. And so it’s okay if one person leaves from a Mexican wave. Because they probably weren’t a valued match, you know, and that’s fine. You can’t please everybody, work with the people that want to work with you and like your style and like your way of doing things. That’s the best we can do be really attractive to them.

Martin Henley 1:24:34  

Yes. And 100%. And the thing about the democratization of knowledge, is what I was saying to people then, I don’t know if I would say it now, obviously the world’s changed. But I was saying like, here’s the opportunity, you know, if knowledge is becoming so much more vague, or truth essentially is becoming so much more vague, people are going to be looking for authority and if you can be the authority in your market, I suppose this is coming towards where you guys are, then there is a huge opportunity, exactly like you’re saying, put the considerations and the answers in front of people. So they are much better equipped to make the right decisions about what they buy. I just worry. And I do worry. And I was having this conversation with my dad a couple of days ago about that, if there were to be an election in the UK now, like the Conservative Party, you know, irrespective of what your politics might be, have shown themselves to be hideously corrupt. You know, they’re essentially like all their mates made 10s of millions like this time last year, and they’re all in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and they all had us out applauding on our doorstep so the NHS that they’ve underfunded for the last 10 years. So by any sane measure, there is no way that they should be reelected. But anyone who knows anything about British politics know that they will be reelected, and probably by a landslide, you know, so I think this is the, this is the, what’s the word? This is the paradox it seems to me of marketing is that actually you don’t have to present as being the nicest or even the best. If there’s something else going on, then that also works for you. So we are far down this rabbit hole? 

Warren Cass 1:26:20  

Well, no, no, I’m perfectly happy with it, it’s whether you are. I personally think that actually, when you get people together, and certainly give them any kind of sense of power, your start to get distortion or corruption. So whatever party is in power, there’s probably going to be some level of corruption. Right?

Martin Henley 1:26:43

Right. 

Warren Cass 1:26:44  

How much it is, is a different thing. And you only have to look at US politics, which is arguably one of the most corrupt political systems on the planet, arguably. Just to you know, when people can buy votes, there’s a problem, right? And for me, it’s much about, what I can’t stand is the hypocrisy, right? You know, if you’re somebody who values truth, and you’re an anti-vaccer, for example, in the US and it’s because you don’t trust what you’re being told about what the vaccine can do. And you only care about truth, but in the next breath, you’re going take a cattle de-wormer tablet, because somebody on Facebook said it’s good for you, or how do you whatever Trump I can’t pronounce it hydro, what’s the what’s the name?

Martin Henley 1:27:39  

Hydroxychloroquine or something like that.

Warren Cass 1:27:41  

Something like that, yeah, I can’t pronounce it. But if you’re going to go and take that, just because someone said that might do something for you, your level of evidence was always low, you’re just choosing a side, right? And that’s the problem, it’s the hyprocrisy, you know, we care about truth and then the next breath, you’re gonna do this. Or the anti-masker, who cares about freedom, but in the next breath, is trying to rip somebody else’s mask off their face, so clearly doesn’t care about other people’s freedom. You know, it’s the hypocrisy and all of these things, which is the challenge. And the problem for you and I right, is because we, by just having this conversation, we are probably expressing, we’re definitely expressing our values, but we’re probably expressing what side of the fence that we fall. And that in its own right, in today’s day, and age will polarize a little bit, because some people will have a different point of view. And they might see that you don’t lean conservative, and probably lean more to Lib Dem, or labor if you were voting in the UK.

Martin Henley 1:28:45

God help me.

Warren Cass 1:28:46  

They would see that I’m vaccinated and quite opposed to wearing masks, you know, they can see where we fall. So we will just in our everyday conversations, will give a flavor of who we are, and will polarize to some extent, and that’s life. You can’t please everybody. And if you spend your time pleasing people who aren’t a good match for you, I guarantee they won’t have the best customer experience and you will spend more time and energy trying to make them happy, than you do the people who genuinely like working with you and become the advocates. So the key I think, is really identifying who works well with you and putting your attention and focus on them. And for me, marketing is about creating the conditions where the right people buy from you.

Martin Henley 1:29:32  

Good 100% now I’ve got a quote which will be the title on YouTube. Where are we? What minute of day two, are we on? We’re on minute 32, cool. I’m really interested. What I’m interested in is kind of, it seems to me that there are, what do we call them? I want to call them platitudes that are just kind of rolled out. You know, and everyone kind of accepts them. And I just wonder how much of it actually is? Well, when we’re talking about marketing, because you brilliantly brought it back to marketing. Thank you for that. So but like, for example, like, What does Seth Godin say? Seth Godin, I tell you, who says, What’s his name, the mouthy New Yorker guy? Gary Vaynerchuk. Yeah. So he says, or he is cited as quoting, give them value, give them value, give them value and close the sale or something. Now, the issue might be, well, there’s two issues with that, potentially, is one, what if by the time you’ve given them value three times, they don’t need any more value from you. So whatever amount of time you’ve invested, or energy or product you’ve invested in satisfying that value three times might have satisfied their need for value entirely, and they go away and you don’t make the sale. So that’s the first issue. And then secondly, it seems to me, because this comes back to Cialdini’s Influence. And one of the six whatever he calls them, keys is reciprocity. So if somebody feels like they owe you then they’re more likely to do what you’re hoping to influence them to do. But it seems to me and I don’t know if this has changed, because obviously, I’ve only lived my life. But it seems to me that people have quite a different capacity to accept now in 2021, like without reciprocating, than they might have done 10 or 15, or 20 years ago. What do you think?

Warren Cass 1:31:42  

So there’s several points in there. I’ll start actually, though, with the one around the give value, give value, give value, close, right? And, what’s kind of interesting, we talked yesterday about how there was blurred lines between marketing and selling, right? And there were some really good stats came out, I think it was Garner that produced them, but I’m happy to share them with you for footnotes on the page, I’ve got to dig out the research. But essentially, it talks about the amount of touch points you need to have with a prospect before they buy. And the fact that the vast majority of sales people give up after four or five interactions, and an 80% of people buy after the 11th interaction. So loads of people leaving work on the table, because they’re just not seeing through. And that touch point isn’t necessarily value, but it’s a demonstration of care. You know, just wanted to check in with you, have you got everything you need? Are there any other questions you need me to answer, while you’re making your decision, I’m not pushing you just want to make sure that you’ve got everything you need. So expressing a duty of care and having that conversation, again, just pushes people towards that certainty. And so, you know, different products and services, as I say, some things are just commoditized. And, you know, I don’t have to think about a telephone case. Although I might look at the reviews on Amazon, but it’s not really much of a considered purchase. 

However, if I was going to go book a consultant to kind of work in the business, I would definitely be making sure they had the credentials and the experience and the you know, at least a knowledge of the industry operate in a professional operating so that, you know, there’s different levels of considerations depending on what you’re buying. And as far as reciprocity is concerned, I actually do have a chapter on this in my book, which, I call it the law of reciprocity. And I still think it holds true, but it’s certainly more of an issue for people, the deeper your relationship with them. So if you’ve got a first level superficial relationship, you know, in one of those early touchpoints, they’re less likely to reciprocate. But if you’ve, you know, if you’re at the stage where you know people’s names, and you’ve had an exchange of ideas of conversations, you’re more likely to get reciprocity. And I also put it down to, because this gets kind of that obligation to work with the people that have done something nice for us. You know, those professions which give you a 15-minute free consultation, are more likely to be the ones that get the business because not only are they giving them some initial free advice, but they’re taking the time to ask the question, so they can give a contextualized answer. Or they’re taking the time to build rapport, which means you’ve got now a bit of a sense of obligation to work with them. So it’s how as marketeers, we give them that sense of who we are and start to build that sense of obligation with them so they then do honors with their business.

Martin Henley 1:34:38  

Brilliant, cool. Okay, so I’m going to believe that. This is a great example that you’ve given me, which is one that I’ve always, not always but I came to a point where I questioned it, which is this thing about persistence with the amount of touch points that might be required to win a customer and people give up too easily as there is always the moral of that story. And the most famous example of this, like those public speakers roll out all the time is Colonel Sanders. And whether it was the 87th door that he knocked on, accepted that he really had delicious fried chicken. And so he came, he went on to become the, you know, so, you know, we know, because we’re marketers in 2021, but very often, and this is kind of what I think is probably they desired for small businesses. But we know because we buy things with one touch point, you know, I will go to Google, I’ll Google the thing that I need. And if it’s at the top, either of the ads, or of the search, and I click through, and it’s easy to do, I will do that. I won’t have any sense of the business, I won’t have any relationship with the business, I won’t do any due diligence, necessarily, you know, I won’t know if they’re relying on child slave labor, or, you know, any of these horrible things, because I’m just getting what I want and what I need. And for me and Robert, historically, but not so much more recently, it seems, you know, for me, marketing is about cost of customer acquisition, and customer lifetime value. And that’s what brings the objectivity that small businesses and businesses need to really understand marketing and drive marketing effectively. So, telling people, like, you might get lucky on the 87th attempt. For me, I’d say, you haven’t understood the market, you haven’t understood what they need, you’re not presenting it in the right way. You know, don’t persist. Have a look at what you’re doing, maybe and try and do something a bit differently. Do you know what I mean? so that’s one about those touchpoints.

Warren Cass 1:36:43  

It’s funny, actually, you mentioned Robert, because I’ve got a lovely story by Robert as an example for how he has understood the audience and then tailored something for them. In fact, here you go, this is his book. This is one of Robert Cravens books, right? Grow your Service Firm. Okay, so on this side, is a list of different professional service type of organizations. I’m missing the camera, you might be able to see if you’re watching, right, so a whole lot of different types. So this is a book written a bit as a generalist book for how to grow a service firm. I think Robert won’t mind me saying it did only okay. 

Martin Henley 1:37:26

Okay. 

Warren Cass 1:37:27

He then took this whole of the contents of this book, and he specifically changed the word service firm for digital agency, one of the aspects on the book. And as a result of that kind of niche positioning, or repositioning to focus on one audience, and to be highly relevant to that one audience. He now gets flown all over the world by Google to train digital agencies on how to grow their practice, because they’re clever enough to know, if a digital agency grows their business, chances are they’ve got more customers spending more money on adspend and therefore they grow their business alongside. And, for me, it’s a brilliant story for Robert, he sold more copies with it being specific than he has been generalist, and it created much, much bigger opportunities which see him travel the world, you know, but it’s honing in on that audience rather than trying to be a generalist. 

Martin Henley 1:38:24  

Exactly. And so this is my, we’re on the same page, we’re not even arguing at this point, which is refreshing. So the thing is, absolutely. So let’s not tell Robert, when he puts out his how to be a good service business to keep persisting, he needs 11 touch points, so he might need to produce 11 books for this market. Let’s tell Robert, think about what you’re doing, niche down, if there’s an opportunity to do it get more targeted, get more focused, you know, that is much better than saying well just persist. Because I think the danger of that is that businesses are going out of business, because they’re being told to persist when probably they shouldn’t. I mean, that’s the danger. The other end of that danger is that people aren’t persisting, and they’re leaving, like you say, work on the table, because they’re not chasing things hard enough. And the other thing I think about that is that the harder you have to work to win a customer to convince them to buy from you, the harder is going to be to retain that customer. So really, however many touch points there might need to be probably the fewer touch points there are, the better the fit or the relationship or something. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Warren Cass 1:39:35  

Yeah. I mean, the more that you show an understanding of their particular circumstances, I mean, let’s face it, contextual marketing has been around for many, many years, right? And typically, it was in the kind of digital space and just for anybody watching, who doesn’t know what contextual marketing is, it’s the simple premise that every time we make a buying decision, there’s a context to it. So I might go out and buy and by the way, I believe, context is important in any communication, not just digital engagement. So for example, I could go out and buy a new car. And it could be that I’m having a midlife crisis and I want a convertible, it could be that there’s a new child in the family, God forbid, mom have left home. But we need more space. It could be that I’ve had a crash and I need a quick replacement, because I’ve got somewhere to be, whatever, there’s a context to my buying decision. So the key thing for any decent marketeer or salesperson even, is to ask great questions and really actually understand the context of the people they serve. Because then they can match features and benefits and tell stories and give examples. And really hone in on fulfilling their need, you’ve got much more chance of making the sale. And so for me context is just everything in that buying decision. So if you are specializing, operating in a niche, or multiple niches, by the way, but what you’re doing is you’re selecting aspects of your audience, and you’re talking directly to them with examples directly to them. That’s the stuff that’s important.

There’s a book or a beautiful example of this, there’s a chap who died in 2012, called Jim Slater. And he was an investor and investment thought leader, right. But his whole philosophy on investing was to go and take a really small industry, and learn that industry, inside and out. So you know, all of the movers and shakers, all the activities, all the things that are happening, because you’re more likely to make a good informed investment decision if you know all of the moving parts of one specialist area of industry, as opposed to being a generalist and investing everything, you’re more likely to not have decent specialist knowledge and therefore make the one or two bad decisions. Right. So that was his philosophy, was to focus on one area and concentrate on that. And there’s a lovely story, he had a book called the Zulu Principle. And it’s a lovely story of him sat in his conservatory one Sunday afternoon in Surrey, reading the Sunday Times. And his wife is sat next to him reading the supplement magazine for the Sunday Times. 

And in there was a four-page spread on Zulus. And so she’s reading this article with real interest. And she finishes the article, she ponders and she interrupts him. And she starts telling him about what she’s just read now, because she’s fascinated by it. And the way he articulates it in the book is, I was in that moment, I was fascinated that she was the biggest expert on Zulus in our household. And had she probably walked to the local library and got a book out on the subject, chances are, she’d be the biggest expert on Zulus in the town. And, you know, had she gone to a university or Flint, South Africans spent some time on a Zulu reserve or in the university there and studied for a couple of months, chances actually be one of the foremost experts on Zulus in the world. Right. And I liked how that was illustrated, because from a business point of view, too many people spend their time being generalists, when actually, it doesn’t take much to demonstrate to a subset of your audience that you have specialist knowledge and you understand them. 

And even going back a few years back, I ran a business community in the UK, and we had a member in Berkshire, who was an IT support company. And they were generalists. So anybody who had a computer, they would profess to be able to support and, their marketing was just always generalist month after month after month. And then one month, they did a case study where they just did an example with a veterinary surgery that they’d signed up. And what astounded them was in the month that followed, they signed up two or three other veterinary surgeries, because suddenly they saw content that was highly contextual and relevant to them. So it got their attention. And a year later, they had 19 veterinary surgeries on the book and a whole part of their website dedicated to that specialist IT support and what they would demonstrate to them is we know, the proprietary software used to manage your practice, we know you know, the pressures you’re under, if the appointment system goes down, etc, etc, they demonstrated that they knew exactly the type of support they needed. And therefore, they grew that aspect of the business. And no surprising a year after that they had another niche part of the business, which was dentist practices, which are very similar to veterinary practices and the way they’re organized and run. And that’s how they built actually really good business by specializing in one or two areas and demonstrating to them they knew and understood them.

Martin Henley 1:44:29  

Exactly. And when you go down the road with that style of business, then you do get more specialized knowledge, you know, and you do become more experienced. So 100% I agree with that. And 100% I agree with what you’re saying about what I tell my students, my digital marketing students is that being an effective digital marketer or any kind of marketer is just an exercise of knowing your market and your customers better and better and better. And, you know, the more effectively you can do that. The more Effectively you will be marketing and the more successful you will be. And so I think, I don’t know, I don’t set out with an agenda. But what I’m kind of taking away from this conversation is that there is a real question that should be asked, which is, no I’m not going to ask the question, I’m going to say, if you are an effective marketer, if you’re really good at understanding your market, your customers, and delivering the things they need, and giving them a good experience, then really this whole, communicating your purpose and your ethics and trying to make, convince people that you’re a good company, certainly for a small or medium sized business isn’t necessary, because, you know, it’s like people who put out content, like the last conversation I had was with a small business SEO guy targeting small businesses specifically, but he was he’s telling his customers to produce content to answer the questions that people have. So that yeah, I don’t know, we’re gonna have to draw a line, because we’ve gone almost again for another hour, but I’m gonna let you obviously. 

Warren Cass 1:46:03  

Okay, so I just I’m gonna have one last word, though. So I don’t agree with what you’ve just said at the end there, which is around even if you are a small business today, I think you have to be demonstrating values, in your marketing and your communication. I think it’s really important because I think there’s a whole generation who look for people who have values aligned with them. But I do think, Barnaby Wynter and put this really lovely on an event that we did recently where he said, the problem today that there are thresholds, values that every business must adhere to, because actually, you know, people are thinking more and more values driven, whether they’re the brand or the consumer, people are thinking more and more brand driven. So there are threshold values that we all must have. But you must also give a bit about who you are individually. And that’s my slight pushback. I may have misunderstood you, by the way. But it has been a laugh, my friend really enjoyed it.

Martin Henley 1:47:00  

It has been fun, isn’t it? Everyone says it’s been fun. But I, because I think people don’t trust us. So what I’m hoping to achieve in this process, is to get people who know a lot about marketing and really challenge them so people can see actually, this is their experience that they believed, you know, I mean, this is their, you know, it’s not just marketing faff, do, you know what I mean? Because marketing is guilty of that. And I want small businesses, particularly because I’m on the side of small businesses to understand and value and invest in marketing and sales, because there is no other way to be successful in business, you know. So that’s what I’m trying to achieve with this. And I love that everyone says at the end that it was really good fun, because I feel like I’m being a bit of an eyesore most of the time, but everyone seems to enjoy it.

Warren Cass 1:47:50  

This type of kind of real conversation as opposed to you know, this is the type thing I could imagine having a pint in the pub with you, Martin. So that’s for me, that’s a good podcast interview when you feel like you’ve just been sat in a pub, chewing the fat.

Martin Henley 1:48:07  

Excellent. Thank you so much, man. So thank you for this. I don’t feel like we’ve come to the end. We might have to have another conversation in the future.

Warren Cass 1:48:13  

Always, willing to come back. There’s a load of other stuff I’m opinionated on as well, so.

Martin Henley 1:48:18  

Excellent, fantastic. Okay, so I’ve just got to remind you don’t let this close until it’s fully uploaded. Don’t close this window. Warren. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, man. Thank you so much for this. I’ve really enjoyed it also. It’s been really good fun, and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Warren Cass 1:48:33  

Likewise, buddy. Take care.

Martin Henley 1:48:35  

Thanks, man. Bye

Martin Henley 0:00  

Good morning, Mr. Cass

Warren Cass 0:02  

Good morning, Mr. Henley. How the devil are you, sir?

Martin Henley 0:04  

I am extraordinarily well, thank you. And man, thank you so much for doing this. I don’t really understand why people do do this anymore. We know why you’re doing this. You’re doing this, because Robert told me to speak to Barnaby, who told me to speak to you. And because you’re all brilliant people, you just agree to do it.

Warren Cass 0:22  

I have FOMO and Martin, so you know, if I’m seeing people I like and respect. Doing something, I want a piece of the action too. So it was pure FOMO.

Martin Henley 0:31  

Excellent. God bless FOMO. Good. Okay. So what that means, of course, is that I don’t know you at all. This is the first conversation we’ve ever had, we’ve been chatting already for 15 minutes. But this is the first conversation we’ve ever had so I’m really interested to find out more about you and what it is that you’re up to. I don’t know if you are aware, but there are only five questions. So the first question is, how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing? The second question is, who are your clients and what is it that you do for them? And the third question is, how do you feel about marketing? The fourth question is, what is your recommendation for people who are investing in this current climate? And then the fifth question, you have to line up another couple of victims for this process.

Warren Cass 1:18  

All sounds great.

Martin Henley 1:20  

Excellent, cool. All right. So let’s start at the beginning. I’m interested to know how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing?

Warren Cass 1:27  

Now, I don’t mean to be the rebel. Okay. But how is anybody qualified to talk about marketing, marketing is everything. You know, if you’re a human being having a human experience, and you’ve got an opinion on marketing, probably, whether you’re at the receiving end, or whether you’re a business owner, who’s, you know, had to get out there and manage the perception of their brand, find ways of engaging with an audience. So yeah, I could trot out that I wrote a book on Influence, which was a best seller, I could trot out that I’ve been running my own businesses for 30 years and all of that, but I think that type of question is a broader question, which is, you know, if you’ve been a consumer, or if you’ve run a business, you’ve had to take that brand to market, then you’re qualified, at least to have the conversation, whether you’re qualified to receive people’s money in order to manage strategy, and all of those kinds of things that’s a different question, but we’re all qualified to talk about marketing, because we’ve all experienced it at one end, and have you know, if you’ve run your own business, then you’ve had to at least give it consideration or the other. Because my personal belief is everything is marketing.

Martin Henley 2:33  

Okay, good. You are a rebel. You’re the first person who said that, but I think that as well, I think everything is, like I used to do a sales presentation, I’m in the Mood for Selling it was called, now at the end, they had to dance to I’m in the mood for dancing. But the point I always made whenever I spoke to people about sales, or whenever people were resisting being salespeople was you’re selling all the time, you know, if you are convincing people or motivating them to do things for you or, you know, if you’re engaging with the world, you’re effectively selling, I think so that’s interesting. That’s a great answer.

Warren Cass 3:08  

That’s not even something which is reserved for adults, right? You know, as a kid, there were persuasion techniques, because you want that extra biscuit or you want a sweet or, you want to go to the park, right? Where they’re learning how to position a concept in order to influence somebody to move from A to B, right? 

Martin Henley 3:26  

Yes.

Warren Cass 3:27  

I want you to be bothered to get off the couch dad in order to take me to the park. So what do I have to do in order to achieve that goal, right? So we’re all selling all the time. We’re all marketing all the time. And it’s actually ridiculous to think it any other way. And I’ve seen some of your previous interviews, by the way, and as we know, Barnaby and Robert are good friends of mine too. But it seems we’re quite aligned philosophically around the fact that there are very blurred lines between sales and marketing today and as I say, you know, I think we’ve all been conditioned from very young ages and some of us very naturally put our best foot forward and you know, understand the environment I mean, you know, if I just look at my niece and nephew actually, my nephew is an introvert and doesn’t necessarily speak up, my niece is a sales genius at like three years old, she knows how to manipulate and to position and to get what she wants, you know, this is not even necessarily learned behavior. This is natural and instinctive, you know, the art of getting what you want, ultimately,

Martin Henley 4:31  

Okay, that’s cool. I’ve got an issue with this currently, like you brought out philosophy, so can we be a little bit philosophical for like five minutes?

Warren Cass 4:40  

I’ll try and keep up with you. 

Martin Henley 4:42  

Okay, so for fun, what I like to do is surf photography. So I spend an inordinate amount of my time in the water swimming like a mother, trying not to drown in front of quite big waves taking photos of surfers, so that’s what I like to do for fun. So this is the thing I do in my life for fun. The other people are there for fun, they’re on the waves, they’re having fun, I’m getting smashed up by the waves, I’m taking photos, I’m having fun. But what happens is these surfers would like me to give them these photographs. And that’s okay, because I spent an inordinate amount of my time in the water getting smashed up taking these photographs, you can only imagine how much time I actually spend sorting these photographs and editing these photographs, and making them beautiful. So actually, I don’t feel compelled to give these people my photographs is what I want to say. And I don’t know if it’s a generational thing. But I kind of feel like if they were more important, this is what I actually feel like is if they were more invested in me, then I would feel compelled to do it for them. Do you know what I mean? But because I just wonder like without sounding like an old fogy, using the words old fogy, how can I not sound like an old fogy. I want to swear.

Warren Cass 6:07  

We’ve already established we’re both, you know, approaching the wrong side of 50 anyway, so.

Martin Henley 6:12  

Yes, well, one of us has passed the wrong side of 50. So the point is, is there a generational thing going on? Where these people just haven’t done what we’re talking about, where they’ve learnt to get what they want or need from people? 

Warren Cass 6:30  

Well, I would push back a little on what you said, because actually, regardless of it being your hobby, right, you’re still looking for some sort of exchange, some sort of reciprocation, right?

Martin Henley 6:42  

Yes.

Warren Cass 6:43  

You’re putting time and effort into something which you enjoy. 

Martin Henley 6:46  

Yes.

Warren Cass 6:47 

And for you, it’s about creating beautiful action, capturing a moment, creating beautiful action orientated photographs. And the reason they want a copy of it is because it’s them looking good in it. And you know, they’d love to have that without the appreciation for how much work goes into the edit, the touch up the, you know, the print, etc,

Martin Henley 7:06  

But not drowning.

Warren Cass 7:07  

But listen, like with any of these types of things, whether it be hobby or whether it be a business focus thing, like there’s an objective at the start of it, yours is to create beautiful things with seemingly just for you. I don’t know whether there’s ego involved, and you want your picture seen by a wider audience. And of course, the way to achieve that is to give it to the surfers who’ve probably got some sort of social following, and amplify your name on the photo in some way, shape, or form. And therefore, there’s something in it for you. So what you can do is create a reciprocation that serves you that suits you. It’s just how you look at any kind of situation. It’s funny, from a speaking point of view, we get asked for freebies all the time. And in the UK, certainly, amongst the kind of professional speaker circuit, there’s a phrase that’s used, which is fit, fee or flee. So you either do it for a fee in which is obviously, you’re there in service of the client, or you do it for some sort of fit. And the fit is a reciprocation, might be that the audience is your perfect audience for you know, the business services that you sell, it could be a charity, something you’re doing because of a kind of philanthropic need or urge. It could be a favor for a mate, whatever, there’s some sort of fit, could be just that you want to show reel footage that’s been videoed, or there’s decent photography, and you want the stage shots, whatever, there’s something in it for you. And the flee is if there’s no fee, and there’s no fit that you say no thank you and you politely decline the opportunity. But it seems to me here, you’re just looking for your fit, you’re looking for the reciprocation. And you know, what do you want out of it?

Martin Henley 8:43  

Yes. Okay, well, you’ve nailed it completely. You’ve nailed it. Except one thing, which I mean, the thing you’ve nailed is I just want to make beautiful photos. So actually, you know, I have friends that I go with, because they are good surfers, and they look good on the wave, and they get on the better-looking waves and they do better stuff. But I think their frustration with me is that if it’s more aesthetically beautiful than it is technically good them on the wave, then I’m always much more excited about it because I want to make beautiful things, 100%. But there are probably several kinds of surfers. But there are two kinds of surfers that I’m dealing with people who know what they’re doing and look good on a wave and everybody else. And so that everybody else is an issue because they are imagining that they look like Mighty Mouse on this wave. But the truth is they pretty much often look like a scarecrow falling over. So it’s not doing my goal which is making a beautiful thing and it’s not even doing theirs which is looking good on a wave. So this is an issue. But you’re right I am looking for some fit, I would like to find a broader audience. I would like maybe for people to invite me to take photos professionally and fly me around the world doing that, that would be awesome. So if they were liking and commenting and sharing my pictures and doing all those things, then I would feel 100% compelled to give them these photos, but they’re not doing that. So they haven’t.

Warren Cass 10:08  

Make it conditional, so like any marketing strategy, you’d start with an objective in mind or multiple objectives in mind, and you build this strategy/campaign from the back of that, so I work with a model around deep influence and it’s the title of my next book, and it’s something I’m working on at the moment. But it starts with objectives, you then look at the kind of relationship with the person you’re looking to influence and to have that with, and then you really apply the context, what’s in it for them? What’s important to them? What do they want to get out of it? What’s important to you, you know, coming back to the relationship, and you build the content and the strategy around those objectives. So if what you’re looking for is amplification, you know, get your name known, make it conditional. So we do something called a Fireside Chat every two weeks.

Martin Henley 10:57  

Okay, wait, wait, wait. So you’ve gone from counseling me on my issues.

Warren Cass 11:01  

I was going to give you an example on the conditional campaigns.

Martin Henley 11:06  

Okay, cool. We’re gonna give you counseling. 

Martin Henley 11:08  

But you already rebelled on question number one, you can’t just run away with this whole process. There has to be some order here.

Warren Cass 11:14  

One of my mantras in life is “rules are for the guidance of the wise and the obedience of falls.” So I’ll always try and get outside of the framework if I can.

Martin Henley 11:21  

Okay, cool. Well, good luck today.

Warren Cass 11:25  

Challenge accepted, sir. 

Martin Henley 11:28  

Okay, good. So you had an example for us. 

Warren Cass 11:31  

The example from a campaign point of view, we do something called a fireside chat every couple of weeks. And it’s basically a cross between a TED talk and a clubhouse but on video, right. So we have somebody come and give 10 minute insight to an idea that they have, more micro, the better. And what follows is a 15-minute discussion, which we facilitate on zoom. And so the external speakers that we bring in to share the 10 minute insight, we build a whole campaign around it, we take an article, we amplify that to you know, 1000s of people, we have an Insta, Twitter, visual campaign that follows etc, etc. But with the conditional thing is that they show up with some good content, they write a good article to be used as part of that amplification, but they promote it to their database. So what they get seen as is the kind of expert in their field, and they have the spotlight on them and we make them feel and look important for the two weeks, and they are typically very impressive people anyway. But we get amplified too, so when people register for the fireside chat, everybody’s database grows, hopefully, it’s a solid experience for everybody who comes and therefore everybody’s elevated, right? And all I’m saying is, if you’ve got objectives, because you’ve been thinking as a hobby, rather than as something, which serves a need for you too just start to think a little bit more marketing strategy with it and figure out your objectives, what you want to do and make that conditional. So I’m happy to give you this photo that makes you look amazing. But it must carry my name, I returned the copyright and it must carry my name on the bottom, so people can find me and look at my other pictures. And I’d love it if you amplified it through your social channels, etc, etc. So at least there’s something in return there.

Martin Henley 13:18  

Well, was I was quite happy being bitter and imagining that millennials just hadn’t learned how to influence people can I not just carry on with that strategy?

Warren Cass 13:25  

So interestingly, I’ve got to be really careful what I say because I firmly believe millennials are teaching us right now whole loads of new ways of doing stuff, right. But there is a sense of entitlement, there is a sense of, you know, this has come. So we’ve had all of these tools, we’ve not had to fight and learn and do all of the other stuff that people like you and I have had to do, we’re the nomads. You know, they’re born into this stuff, right? And so sometimes we have to be a little bit prescriptive. And that’s true in marketing, too, right? If you’re creating campaigns where you’re putting lead magnets in place, you’re least being prescriptive, here’s the process on how you get the goodies, it’s about managing expectations. I’m a firm believer in upfront contracts and managing expectations of people. This is what I’m looking to get from this relationship, as long as you’re happy, then great. And the thing is, the reason why they’ll want to uphold their end of the bargain is because they like your shots so much, and they want them the next time they go surfing too, you know so actually, if they don’t fulfill their end of the bargain, you just won’t do it again.

Martin Henley 14:38  

Yes. Good, thank you. I’m feeling resolved. And the thing is that this is my most quality time do you know I mean, so this isn’t like this time where it’s kind of work or this isn’t where I’m working for a client or I’m standing up in front of a group, that time is packaged and priced and that’s the value of that time. And all of that work that I do is about being in front of waves looking at surfers so I have that quality. So this must be worth 10 times any one of those minutes or seconds that I’m getting paid for. Do you know what I mean?

Warren Cass 15:14  

I’m totally envious, right? Because my downtime is playing guitar and playing golf, and I’m hopeless at both of them, right? Really crap, at both of them. Nobody wants to pay to see that shit. Nobody wants to reciprocate anything with me, right? So the fact that you’ve got a hobby in demand, in fact, I’ve got an ex-business partner who’s gotten the photography route as a hobby. But he goes to Premiership football matches and rugby matches and does pitch side photography, and has actually managed to make his hobby a paid for thing. You know, he’ll get the occasional front page of a newspaper, which funds his hobby for several months. So, you know, he’s managed to do what he enjoys doing action shots in a different context, but he’s managed to make it pay for itself.

Martin Henley 15:55  

Okay, good. You’ve fixed me, I feel completely counselled now. That’s, brilliant. Thank you. 

Warren Cass 16:01  

My work here’s done.

Martin Henley 16:02  

Almost, we’ve still got another three and a half questions. 

Warren Cass 16:05  

Okay. Okay. 

Martin Henley 16:07  

So good. So I think you’re the first person that has demonstrated how you are qualified to talk to us about marketing, you obviously understand this subject deeply.

Warren Cass 16:15  

Well, I’d say it’s all subjective, right. And so this isn’t just false modesty, by the way, I didn’t do a formal marketing qualification. I spent a decade and a half, two decades, my qualifications were in technology really. And I spent a decade and a half speaking on stages, and my gentle introduction to marketing was much more about how we influence people. So you know, the networking scene exploded early 2000 in the UK, even though it was a bit more established in the US for a bit longer. And it was that how do we motivate somebody to take you seriously in a face-to-face context. And then the kind of psychology behind persuasion, became something much, much bigger for me as a subject. And before you knew it, that’s where I was studying. That’s where I was developing content. And that’s where I focus my attention. 

And so my book didn’t come out till 2016. But I wasn’t even seeking to write a book, I was approached by a couple of publishers. And the first question I asked myself was, you know, what qualifies me to do this? So, you know, when asked that question, we have to do that kind of self-validation too, and then the conclusion I came to is that there’s a couple of really good books on the topic, you know, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and the Psychology of Persuasion by Cialdini, right? And both of those books were written in the 1930s, in the 1980s, prior to the internet. And so all of those brilliant, proved, tried and tested methods of influence hadn’t been contextualized for a digital age at all. And so when I agreed it was because I thought, okay, I can do something with this, I can take established learning, and I can just let it be seen through a modern lens. And, of course, you know, the book was written in 2016-2017, it was released, and the world has already moved on so far since, you know, and so even people who I see, as you know, established marketeers, some of them have got stuck in the practices of five years ago. And now they’re out of date already. Right? So if you haven’t been continuously looking at how the world is changing, and understanding how to apply old systems to a new context, then you’re falling behind, too. So I think for me right now, people who are qualified to talk about marketing, or at least are appropriate to be taking people’s money for marketing services are the people who are always thinking future.

Martin Henley 18:49  

Wow. Good. Okay, it’s like you know me. My situation is between what I’ve just told you but prior to us recording, my situation is that I kind of went on the run in 2014. So I am in the unenviable position of having burned. I think, like burned, destroyed, finished completely over three, perfectly or two and a half perfectly serviceable audiences. So when I was running the Effective Marketing Company, we were doing all of this stuff all day, every day, you know, we took it seriously. M.O was essentially to produce the kind of marketing that people would want. So literally people would come to us and say we want marketing like yours, so we were all over this stuff. And then in 2014 when I decided to go and have adventures, I don’t know. And then in 2014, I produced a video called Killer LinkedIn Profile, it’s now had 600,000 views. Now whilst it was getting those 600,000 views, I was off having adventures. So all of those audiences also have no use to me whatsoever. But I arrived in New Zealand and I built like a website, a New Zealand Travel Review website, and I made lots of videos, and then I built an audience for that and then I stopped. I was in New Zealand from 2015 onward so I didn’t do that either. And now where I am, is I haven’t got I mean, I burnt those three really good opportunities, and I really don’t now, in 2021, understand how to get that back, because it has moved since 2014.

Warren Cass 20:36  

And so do you still have the relationships?

Martin Henley 20:40  

I mean, we’re talking about social media audiences. So we’re talking about, so I’ve still got 60,000 followers on Twitter. But, you know, there’s no, I’ve tested it a little bit, and there’s no engagement there, you know, so the New Zealand audience was on, I mean, that did really well. And maybe I could bring that back to life, if I had a relevance for it. You see, now I’m on this YouTube mission again. So, you know, I’m doing well with the content. And I really need to work out how to do YouTube well, so that all this great content gets the number of people or the amount of people that I would like to see benefit from it.

Warren Cass 21:22  

So this is part of this kind of very adaptive society we’re living in, particularly under the lens of the last couple of years, fascinate me, right? Because, the changes taking place right now I think was inevitable. I just think it’s accelerated because of the pandemic, and, you know, all the other kinds of things that we’ve particularly hear, Brexit and everything else that’s going on. We’ve all had to adapt quicker than the change was perhaps expected. Right? And what I find quite fascinating is, as a speaker, my work was traveling, keynoting events and doing stuff. However, pandemic hit, all gigs were canceled, okay. And then the world started to think, Okay, well, we still need to engage with our audiences, even if we’re not bringing them together, face to face. And so then the kind of virtual landscape took place now just, I know you’ve got a future guest coming on tomorrow night, who’s a business partner of mine, and a bloody good buddy too, you’ll all enjoy him. 

But with Warren, we met just before the lockdown happened, when the first lockdown happened in the UK. And he was fascinated with the work I’d been doing the year prior, which was masterminding other speakers, I was bringing thought leaders together who were wanting to build a better personal brand, get out there and win kind of commercial opportunities off the back of their knowledge. And so we looked at what he was doing in the kind of digital marketing space and digital transformation space and the stuff that I was doing, which was much more around the psychology of influence and, you know, people. And we thought, okay, let’s combine forces. And our idea back then was to create an environment in five-star hotel rooms, bringing people together for, you know, really kind of intimate, masterminding once a month. And of course, lockdown happened, and that stopped too that idea. But we adapted, right? And we ended up working with last year, over 150 different businesses in 14 different countries. And I don’t just mean a light touch, we spent proper intimate time with these businesses, helping them create their personal brands, or create their business brands, really nail their value propositions, get their positioning right on all environments. Think about strategies for partnership and, you know, building methodology/models, so they’ve got clarity and explanatory power around what they do. 

And then even through that kind of that sales, customer acquisition journey, that nurturing phase, we’ve worked with them on all of those things, right? Over 15 months. And all I’m saying to you is that in the type of work that we do, because everybody’s adapted to virtual, I don’t think any single consultative business now cannot be done through a camera. You know, your work can be done from Bali just like anybody else, if you’ve got an audience, then design something which serves them just virtually. And in fact, for many people now it’s the preference. 

You know, a really good buddy of mine is a very highly regarded IFA. And so similar thing, right? His job was going into the houses of high net worths in order to manage portfolio and to give them investment strategies and the world change so everything was done via zoom. I just had a conversation with him recently and a recent poll of his customer base, only two out of the whole portfolio, want face to face meetings moving port forward, the rest of them all one virtual, so his whole business has changed from driving to lots of different parts of the country and spending a lot of dead time in the car, she had just a switching on to zoom. And in fact, the meetings go better because they’re short, sharp, and sweet. But if there were several family members involved in the content, they’re all sat around the screen looking at the figures. So it’s rather than across the living room in different parts where they can’t see the numbers. It’s more attuned to actually being focused and getting an getting an outcome quicker. So all I’m saying is that industry, in particular consultative industries, they can adapt, it’s absolutely possible. And if you’ve got an audience in two different countries, you can still serve them, your content, your YouTube channel, if you’re commercializing it might be one thing, but you can still serve them and design the kind of service that gives them value and in return gets you paid.

Martin Henley 25:53  

100%. Yeah. And that’s kind of what is going on. And this process kind of started also as part of the lockdown and the pandemic thing, I suppose. So the question is, so we’ve got you rebel, you didn’t let me ask the second question, you just started answering it. So we’ve got to the point where the question should be, you know, who are your customers? How do you win your customers? And what is it that you do that delivers value from your customers, but you’re kind of giving us a sense of that already. 

Warren Cass 26:27  

Sorry. 

Martin Henley 26:31  

So I’m just wondering if there’s any part of that question that you didn’t answer already. So your customers are in how many different countries?

Warren Cass 26:38  

So right now, we have about 150 people we’ve been working with in about 14 different countries.

Martin Henley 26:44  

44-0

Warren Cass 26:46  

1, 4

Martin Henley 26:46  

1, 4. Okay.

Warren Cass 26:50  

Mind you, that’s just gone up, because we’ve just got a gig in Ghana, which is running an accelerator for a telecoms company in Ghana and actually doing a lot of work in places like Saudi now in the Middle East through basic Warren’s brilliance, actually, we’re developing a whole client base in the Middle East at the moment, which is really cool.

Martin Henley 27:13  

Okay, good. Right. So how did you do that, that’s interesting, that’s useful.

Warren Cass 27:22  

So what the broader 14 countries, you know, it’s marketing 101, right. It’s have some form of value add content that engages people, we started actually doing webinars, we’re brilliant at the start of lockdown, because if everybody was confined, what they were looking for were some sort of human intervention, and typically, they had strategies for a bit of personal and professional development. So we got involved with getting people on very interactive webinars, which then moved them to, our product staircase, it started with that, but we then took them to a one day workshop, which was all focused on identity. So anybody that’s starting a business, we helped them to understand where their values were, what their purpose was, you know, what their objectives were for their business. So they really got clarity. And then you build the brand around that, you think about the marketplace you serve and how to construct a value proposition that serves that marketplace. And there’s actually, we use things like Ikiguide, you know, just to have quite philosophical conversations at that stage. So people get a sense of where it is they want to go. 

When you’ve got that you can start putting a strategy in place, until you’ve got that sense of priority and objective, it’s really hard to give people strategy. So we started doing those workshops as a result of the webinars. And then the next step was we had an eight-week accelerator, we worked with people. And that was really transformational, you know, for many people. And then beyond that, we run a community which people stay in every single month, they do masterminding, there are master classes and a whole load of things that we do with them, one to one coaching. So you’re working with a whole load of different businesses from lots and lots of different sectors and helping them get a better sense of where they’re going, but then put the strategy in place to get there. That was essentially what we did. 

Martin Henley 29:26  

Okay, fantastic. And how did you get them on the webinar in the first place?

Warren Cass 29:32  

A mixture of you know, creating content that’s shareable, that adds value, asking for the shares and the likes, using our own databases using our own social followings, like you are and I’ve got pretty decent following across several different platforms. And sometimes you have to reengage and wake those people up again, right. And as you’ve just said, you know, you’ve got one list that’s slightly more engaged than the other. You know, what can you do to reawaken, and add value to those people, and it you know, it’s slowly but surely, it’s picked up, even with the fireside chat, which is one of our latest things we’ve done, maybe I don’t know, eight or nine of them. And we only do it every two weeks. And actually, it’s a more of a facilitation exercise than it is for kind of prepared remarks. Even though we do the campaign creation thing, it doesn’t actually take that long. But every single week, or every single time we do it, we have even more people register, and even more people attend. So it’s just growing and growing and growing. And the idea is that what’s good for us is that we’re shining the light on other people, it’s just kind of like what you’re doing, you know, bringing people on to this format, and having a conversation is absolutely shining the spotlight on other people, one of the principles I talked about in my book is the principle of credibility by association. 

So two reasonably intelligent guys having a reasonably intelligent conversation in this context, actually, we both come off better for it. And we’re both demonstrating values actually, just by the conversation that we’re having, you know, you express something where you wanted to be appreciated for your work, I wanted to help you know there’s values at play in every conversation you ever have with people, and people are either drawn to that or they’re not. And, you know, typically, those people who go out with vanilla marketing campaigns trying to capture everybody are the ones who typically the least successful. Some of the best marketers I know, are completely polarizing and they don’t care. They’re being authentically themselves and working to their values. And they only want to work with the people who get them and understand them. And I’ve kind of respected that more. In my past, I confess, I’ve been too vanilla, I’ve been trying to please everybody, rather than actually just focus on attracting people who get me, like me, want to work with me and think that this would be the right style to work with.

Martin Henley 32:02  

Okay, wow. Right. So I’m thinking lots of things. I’m thinking lots of things. I mean, my situation is I’m doing something quite different. Like previously, I wanted people to like me and my company and want to work with us. And you know, we were full time on that. Now, what I’m looking to do is I just want to share what I’ve got, and as much as I can get from other people like yourself, that’s kind of my mission. And I kind of feel like because of my conspiratorial outlook, if I can get Google to pay for that through YouTube, that would be like, perfect poetic justice. So, I’m doing something different, I think, and it’s okay. I’m thinking, I mean, there’s two things I’m really intrigued about, like the first is, there’s this thing, I think, I don’t know, if it’s particular to digital marketing, but digital marketing seems to concentrate, the feeling of like you said, at the beginning, this fear of missing out thing. Like I’m telling you, I’ve burned these audiences, when actually if I were my client, I’d be telling myself to back up and engage those audiences, you know, I mean, they’re all still there, probably, or some of them are still there, you know, I’m starting with something. But I feel like if I got carried on with the videos in 2014, I could have been Casey Neistat, you know, but I didn’t, so I missed out. So that’s something that I’m really interested to get your perspective on. And then the other thing is like for me Cialdini’s Influence is the Bible when it comes to marketing, like if you’re in sales and marketing, and you haven’t read that book, then you’re just not doing it right, you can’t be doing it right. You know, so I’m interested to know how you have evolved that. So I’m interested in those two things. The first one is probably much less interesting. Or maybe the same thing.

Warren Cass 33:51  

The first one was an extension of the values conversation, really, but, you know, people like you, myself, you know, Barnaby, with bigger brands, typically, Robert Craven, very specifically with digital agencies, you know, whether they’ve identified a niche audience or whether they, you know, generalists like Barnaby is a self-confessed generalist, he’s worked pretty much in every industry at a very high level, really, really good brands, right? These are still my go to people when I need feedback and insight. Right? So, you know, often the role that we do in our work with businesses is a facilitation role, right? We don’t come professing to have all of the answers. But what we ask is great questions in order to get further clarity on what it is the client actually wants to achieve from their business. What it is they actually do for their marketplace, whether their marketplace is prepared to pay for that, of course, and then building the strategies in order to try and get that into their hands. I mean, it’s pretty conceptually easy, an easy thing to get your head around. 

And actually, you come across as a really humble guy, Martin right? So I’m sure you’re awesome at what you do, because you’re approachable. You can have these kinds of conversations where people feel at ease with you, and tell you the stuff that you need to know in order to help them, is much easier to do that looking at somebody else’s position than it is to look at your own sometimes, right? And that’s also because we all internalize things, and therefore we’re running them through our filters, and our conditioning and our biases, and all of those things, which stops us necessarily from seeing things clearly. So it’s that third party perspective, that objective perspective which helps. So I don’t know if that answered question one. But the way I see it is, you know, we all need that kind of facilitator to help us take whatever the idea is, make it a really clear vision, and therefore put the strategies in place to achieve that. That’s essentially what we do.

The second thing around, our books, I’ve got behind here, I’ve got a bookcase full of well, marketers, business gurus, you know, I’m a big fan of Seth Godin, he’s probably my go to person, but really, what they share is old, old knowledge, you know, many of the philosophies that exist today, you can still find some resemblance of them from Aristotle, Confucius or whatever it is, it’s always old ideas reimagined and recontextualize for the age that we live in, this is old knowledge applied today. And my point to you around those books, the psychology of persuasion was written in the 1980s right now, whereas the principles are absolutely intact, still today, right? There’s still a context to how we deliver something, you know, even if you look at any good communication has an element of feedback at the end, which enables marketers to recalibrate and you know, refine the message or make the kind of acquisition journey easier, or whatever it is, that feedback loop is really important. But as technology changes, so does the method of feedback. And so we always need to be evolving our thinking to be contextual, for the age that we live in. And that was my point from it, right? And it’s one of many good marketing books that I read, it just has to be applied through the context of yourself, the context of the audience that you serve, and the kind of technology available to you today in order to properly leverage it.

Martin Henley 37:37  

Okay. Okay, 100%. So, I would say I teach digital marketing. So that’s what I do, is I teach digital marketing, that’s how I make my money now. So and the reason we do digital marketing is because of the amazing feedback. So, you know, prior to digital marketing, we might have sent a direct mail piece, we might have put something up on a billboard, we might have stuffed things through people’s letter boxes, we might have been telemarketing, cold calling people. The issue with what went on before, we might have been advertising on the television or on radio, the issue with all of that is that you are kind of throwing stuff into the ether, without any real sense of what the impact of that might be, like John Wanamaker said, You know, I know 50% of my advertising is effective, I just don’t know which 50%. Well, with digital media, we are supposed to know. And I know there are some challenges coming up with this now but we are supposed to know. What differences has that made? Has that made the difference that it should have made?

Warren Cass 38:54  

Which bits sorry, the ability to analyze and track, has that made a difference?

Martin Henley 39:00  

The transparency, the feedback, the fact that we know if we put out a direct mail campaign, then the Direct Mail Institute will tell us that maybe 0.1% will get opened. Whereas if we put out an email campaign, we can see exactly what percentage opened it, how long they had it open, what they clicked on, you know, then onto the website, how long they spent on the website, all of this stuff. So the question I’m asking you is because you told me that How to Win Friends and Influence People was in the 30s.

Warren Cass 39:33  

Psychology of persuasion.

Martin Henley 39:34  

Psychology of persuasion, was in the 80s. So that is now 90 years old and 40 years old. But how much has digital marketing changed? Or not?

Warren Cass 39:50  

It massively has and you’ve just expressed one of the points beautifully which is the kind of analytics, the feedback mechanism is so much more sophisticated now. If you think back to both of the two books referenced, they’re really about face to face conversations and persuasion techniques, which I think is actually quite superficial, it’s quite surface level, right? And the difference between whether you need a surface level engagement in order to buy some sort of commoditized low-price product, or whether you need actually a deeper resonance with people in order to go on a much more profound journey with you, right? So, the work that we do requires a much deeper convictions, you know, a much deeper sense of confidence, or certainty in order to take that next step with us, right? If they need to be sure. It’s funny, I heard a speaker called James Ashford in the UK. He’s the founder of GoProposal, which is the kind of instant proposal. He does this specifically for the accounting marketplace, but he’s very good marketeer, very good, creative, in fact, would be somebody I’d recommend for your podcast, even though he’s niche focused, he’s very, very good. 

And he, as a throwaway comment, talked about this kind of quest for certainty in the buying process, and didn’t think any more of it. But honestly, it started spiraling for about three days, I was thinking about what are the building blocks of certainty? What constitutes certainty, in the mind’s eye of your target marketplace? And, you know, I came up with lots and lots of building blocks for certainty. And sometimes it might be the credibility by association, you know, who did they hang out with? Let’s have a look at the content, how do they demonstrate their expertise? That might be one of the aspects? Let’s do our due diligence. What are people saying about them? What’s the testimonials, where are the case studies, you know, , what’s the reviews on Google, just as one aspect of it is the social proof. And certainty looks different for different types of businesses. And there are different levels required depending on what the purchase is. But even if I go and buy a five-pound product on Amazon, now, I’m still reading the reviews. And seeking out the ones which are four or five star and above. Now there is a deeper level of certainty I need for anything that (a) costs more, but (b) if there needs to be some sort of chemistry match with the person I’m going to go and work with. 

So this quest for certainty is really important today, because I believe we have younger demographics coming through who actually crave more meaning they actually crave a kind of deeper resonance for most of the people they serve. Even coming back to the investment circles that I referenced earlier on with my friend, there’s a real trend amongst younger people who are only investing in opportunities, which have at least some sort of conscious capitalism at their core, right? You know, they want to make ethical investments, not just wear the normal capitalist hat and go for maximum profit. It’s not how they’re wired. And I actually believe whilst that charge, I think, is being led by younger generations, actually, we’re all catching up, you know, so nowadays people are looking for a little bit more meaning in the things that they do. And I think that has to be translated into marketing. If you’re a brand today that’s not articulating your values, and articulating the kind of broader societal impact that you have, then you’re missing a trick and you’re probably going to get left behind by those that are because that’s what wins hearts and minds. It’s not just superficial persuasion. It’s a deeper resonance. It’s deep influence, which is the title of my next book.

Martin Henley 43:47  

Good. I’m going to read both of your books.

Warren Cass 43:50  

Drop me your address, my friend and I’ll pop you one in the post.

Martin Henley 43:53  

Okay, I’m in Indonesia, it’s far.

Warren Cass 43:57  

I don’t care. I post internationally anyway, for my members so it’s fine.

Martin Henley 44:00  

Oh, fantastic. Okay, cool. Brilliant. Thank you. Okay, good. I’ve got an issue with this. Warren. I’ve really got an issue with this. I’m kind of conflicted. I think lots of people, marketing people, especially are talking about this stuff, this purpose, this meaning, this ethics? I think they are. But I wonder how when it actually comes down to how much people really do care. And this came up in one of these conversations I had recently. So for example, I’m an Apple user and, you know, we know that there’s part of it, I don’t use them for my phone, for example. So when I don’t have to use them, I don’t use them, but my computer will always be an Apple computer. 

But we know about the conditions that people who are producing these computers are working under but it doesn’t stop the iPhone being the most popular brand of phone in the world. And I don’t know if that’s particular, I stopped using an iPhone, because Somebody once told me it was a mom’s phone. So that was enough to convince me I didn’t want it anymore. It’s like everyone’s mom’s got an iPhone. So is it? Here’s the challenging question, Is this purpose, ethics, all of this stuff? Is this just marketing fluff? Or are people genuinely deeply interested in these issues? And sorry, just to make it more complicated and maybe not, I don’t know, like when I was a kid, like, I knew I wouldn’t grow up to work in the weapons industry. And nobody I knew that had morals would do that, you know, I mean, but it seems to me now that almost whichever industry you look at, they’re not behaving in a particularly ethical or responsible way. So, my question is surface level, and marketers are very interested in this idea of values and purpose and ethics. And underneath that is just a sea of desperation. You know, it’s a horrible mess. If you spend too long looking at the news. So is that a surface level thing? And how would we know?

Warren Cass 46:25

So I share your cynical nature, sir. 

Martin Henley 46:29

Good. Thank you. 

Warren Cass 46:30

However, you know, there’s no denying we are hugely emotional creatures, right. So when a charity video posts, the beneficiary of the charity, both in their plight, and in the kind of transformation aspect after they’ve received the funding, they are pulling on heartstrings, right? So, you know, the reason why Barnaby is very, very good. For example, he’s worked with a number of charities, and he absolutely, you know, transformed monies received because he knew how to tell the story. He knew I had to be a storyteller for that charity, and to build campaigns around that storytelling. Right? And sure enough, he more than paid for himself as a marketeer. Because they raised far more funding and had a much more polished brand at the end of it. That’s an example when you tell stories and you demonstrate values, you win hearts and minds. To come back to your Apple point, I think most people are completely ignorant of those working conditions. I personally, I don’t know what the actual detail is, I would have thought they would have sorted it out by now. And it was probably something of the past. But I would equally cynically believe that every other technology brand was working with the same practices doesn’t make it right. 

But if I was an activist, I would be doing more if it was something that was really important to me, I’d be an activist, and I’d be doing more to change that, right? But I bet you one thing, if Apple had a competitor, which was the same ergonomics, the same intuitive kind of design and user interface, but highly ethical, I guarantee you, they would be market dominant. Because people would always make that choice. I believe they would always make that choice. So whatever the current, the kind of criteria comes, if you believe in a cause, if you believe that something is, serving the greater good, and not just out and out profit making machine, I believe you’ll make that decision. And the same is true because it’s about the relationship you have right with the brands that you deal with. Again, you know, talking about millennials earlier on, millennials are much more fickle, less brand loyal, you know, if the brands that they use day in day out, disappear tomorrow, they will just go and find a replacement, no problem at all. But they’ll do that based on social proof recommendation and what’s being talked about right, and certainly something that appeals to and some minds will win over something that’s just transactional, I believe.

Martin Henley 49:07

Okay, good. And I really hope so as well, I really hope so. But I think what you’re saying is absolutely true, is that they are all as bad as each other. And the truth is you can’t produce a mobile phone without using resources, minerals that are reportedly I mean, God, this got depressing.

Warren Cass 49:30  

But actually, it won’t be the exploitation of people it will be to the detriment of people because it will be robots doing it, you know, moving forward, and I’m sure they are already a dominant part of any production line. 

Martin Henley 49:41

Yes.

Warren Cass 49:42  

But, you know, that’s, where it’s going. Right? 

Martin Henley 49:46

Yeah, yes. 

Warren Cass 49:47  

You know, what I also believe is that for lots and lots of places, they would still rather have the injection of revenue and employment of people rather than them just you know, starving without jobs, right? The key is how do we upskill and actually improve the lives of everybody in the kind of distribution chain, or production chain? How do we do that as a brand? And if you’re demonstrating those values and putting initiatives in place, and beyond just getting your stuff made cheaply, then I think you’ll still win hearts and minds, people will see you’re striving for better. 

Martin Henley 50:29

I really hope so. I really, really hope so.

Warren Cass 50:30

Just a personal opinion but, I am also as cynical as you. So you know, I can see where you’re coming from.

Martin Henley 50:36  

Yeah. And even when he talked about Barnaby doing the work for these charities, the outcome was that they had much more compelling stories, a much more compelling brand, and much more polished brand, and better revenues. That just hurts me a little bit, that shouldn’t be the objective of the charity. If we said so many more children fed or so many more people housed or, you know, I don’t know, I do worry about that.

Warren Cass 51:02  

It’s a means to an end. It’s a means to an end. There are so many different charitable causes now. Where do you spend your time or where do you give? Well, if you’re competing for people’s support, know that they’ve got, you know, hundreds of other things they could be supporting? So how do you make something important to somebody? You tell them stories, you activate them a little bit around that cause and then they become a supporter, because it’s all about the outcome? It’s all about the people that would serve in the charity space, but you’ve still got to activate them to be to give a shit about the cause in the first place. Right?

Martin Henley 51:38  

Yes. And giving a shit I think is really important. Like I don’t, we’ll end this now. But I just want to make one point that I just always really amuse me, I’m going to make two points, because I’m going to bring up game shows. So I think, firstly, this isn’t at all relevant. So we’ll get this out of the way. I think peace in the Middle East could be achieved if they had game shows that included all of the people from all of the different factions. 

So I think for example, you know, when you’re watching a game show, and you’re thinking like the guy standing there, you’re thinking he’s a bit of a dick. But then he says, Oh, this is my name. This is who I’m from, this is something else about me. All of a sudden, you really care about that person, you understand they’re a person. So that’s my resolution for the Middle East, the conflict in the Middle East is have game shows with everyone on them that they all watch. So they all start to see it’s a humanizing effect. That was the first thing that was completely not relevant. The second thing about gameshows, Family Fortunes, celebrity Family Fortunes, where you’ve got, I don’t know, this family from Coronation Street and this family from EastEnders. And basically, the family from Coronation Street are in favor of the Donkey Sanctuary. So if they win the Donkey Sanctuary, get some money. And the people from the other one EastEnders care about cats, stray cats or something. And then they go all the way through this process half an hour, and then the stray cats get the money. No one gives a shit about the donkeys anymore. I mean, it’s like, and what effect does that have on us as a society where, and I mean, this is this, I’m giving you the completely fabricated family fortune story, but it feels like we’re in, like, because we’re so like, all of these stories are so compounded, and they’re landing on us all day, every day, like actually 100%, what you’re saying is, right. And mission as marketers, certainly at the level that you’re operating and Barnaby is operating at where you’re talking about brands, is to make yourselves stand out and be better because of all of this noise. But all of the noise is just so confusing.

Warren Cass 53:42  

I won’t say what came into my head when you were talking about those poor donkeys. But I would argue that awareness was raised in that scenario for both charities, and they would have probably had viewers if they watch in their 1000s, if not millions, clicking through and supporting. Even as a result of not necessarily winning, there might be a sympathy vote, you know, people will vote from that perspective. So the awareness of the charity was maybe one of the bigger objectives there. But I guarantee you both charities would have got something right?

Martin Henley 54:16

I hope so. It’s money. It’s like 10 grand.

Warren Cass 54:23

It’s awareness and but you know, it all comes down to the storytelling, you know, telling the story and celebrities like it because they seem to be doing something for a cause. It’s all values driven stuff. They’re still marketing by appearing on a show like that. It’s just marketing. And it’s all it is. It’s a PR exercise.

Martin Henley 54:40  

Robert says it’s getting harder.

Warren Cass 54:45  

Which particular aspect, what did Robert say is getting harder?

Martin Henley 54:50  

He says marketing is getting harder, running a successful business is getting harder, because like the barrier to entry is so much lower and there are so many more people in it. Whereas pre-digital marketing, pre-social media, the barrier to entry was higher if you wanted to run a business.

Warren Cass 55:12  

So I agree and I disagree with Mr. Craven. I agree it’s become more complex. And by the very nature, if something’s more complex, it’s potentially harder. However, I don’t think we’ve ever had as many channels and as many opportunities to analyze whether something lands or misses, in marketing ever, and it will only even get more complex. But even more data and more information at our disposal, I think what’s happened is the consumer has become a lot more sophisticated, not only around what’s going on in the process, you know, the process of marketing and how they’ve served information. And, you know, there’s a sense of whether you’re being manipulated, but actually, the consumer wants to know the backstory, they want to know the values, they want to know what they stand for, before they invest their time and effort and money. So I think there’s a level of sophistication from the consumer, I think there’s a complexity, particularly with the technology, but that gives us a lot more analytics for better feedback for, you know, therefore, we can recalibrate and tweak our message. But the one thing that I think has made it harder and the bit I agree with Mr. Craven, is the fact that people have also become quite cynical. And actually, we are bombarded with so many messages today, we are all suffering from attention deficits. And therefore, we’re automatically filtering now, you know, there’s just too much information. So we’re having to filter in order to focus. So it’s much harder to get through. I mean, if anybody who receives a ton of email marketing knows they probably never read the email, you can see what HTML email coming through and the chances are, you’re deleting out of your inbox and not reading it in detail. The only way you get your email marketing read today is by having already built a relationship with the with the target for email marketing.

Martin Henley 57:16  

Nice to see you again, Warren, are we going to pretend that their technology didn’t fall apart yesterday, and we agreed to come back 24 hours later to try and do this again?

Warren Cass 57:24  

I think we should confess. And then that way, if there’s a lack of continuity of what I was saying, when we left off to what we started to talk about now then that’s obvious, right? Sometimes shit goes south.

Henley 57:36  

Sometimes it goes south. Yeah. And sometimes dirty people are still wearing yesterday shirt. Whereas I’ve got two of this shirt. So.

Warren Cass 57:45  

So just to confess, right, I thought we were going to try and do the continuity thing. So I made sure I came in the same shirt again, just to be mindful of your audience, and they would have a seamless experience. But we would have been more inauthentic. Right?

Martin Henley 57:59  

Okay let’s try and be honest, let’s pretend we’re not marketers for a second and just be completely honest and open.

Warren Cass 58:04  

Actually, that’s kind of an extension of what we were talking about yesterday, because I think the marketers who are getting the most success now are the ones that are actually managing to be that little bit more authentic in their communication, which probably leads us quite nicely on to the challenges you’ve been having with Riverside, doesn’t it?

Martin Henley 58:25  

I think it does. So. I think it does. I think it’s weird. And I think it’s kind of like, I’m glad it fell apart yesterday, because I was kind of running out of steam. I was challenging you. And I knew what I was trying to say. But I wasn’t conveying it to you. So you weren’t having the opportunity to answer that question. That what I want to know is like what we were talking about is like the last question I asked you is about how Robert Craven thinks it’s more difficult now? And you answered that we’ve got that full answer. So they will have heard that answer. But what I’m interested to know is this really what marketing are supposed to be doing? Is it really what marketing is supposed to be doing to be taking a shit thing, and trying to present it as a good thing? Because I am hugely cynical, but I kind of have like an idealistic view of what an effective marketer does is understand the market, understand the needs of the market, produce a solution that meets those needs, or desires, and then communicates the value that is available to that market. 

But I think and that’s what goes on I think at our level, you know, when we are dealing with our customers, that has to be what goes on. We don’t have to make an investment in trying to look better than we are. Because we stand up and we present ourselves and people will make a judgement. This is a good person or a bad person and they’re representing a good business or a bad business. So those are kind of the two things that I’m interested in, which are, you know, clearly big businesses have to engage in PR, because they’re typically not as nice as we would like them to be. And they have to try and convince us that they are. And secondly, do small businesses have to worry about that too, especially when they’re small businesses and they’re new businesses, and they have more pressing requirements, I would say, like not trying to suppress people or having issues with your software, like the people at Riverside are. So this is kind of tied in, this is how I think about this thing. Is it not just enough to do a stand-up job and stand up if it doesn’t quite meet the needs of your market and work with them until it does? That’s kind of what I’m thinking now.

Warren Cass 1:00:52  

It’s a lovely question. And I have a couple of different aspects to this as part of my answer, right. And I think once upon a time, many, many years ago, if you were a marketer, then your job was to sensationalize, whatever the product is, and it would sell. And if it was a bad product or a bad service, there was very little comeback on you because we didn’t have the channels to amplify our grievances, you know, like we do today, right? I think today, you get found out very, very quickly if the product or service isn’t right. And I think you hit the nail on the head. And literally your first sentence to that question, which was around, yesterday, you asked me what I thought marketing was, and I said, I think marketing is everything, right? And so in a small business, it’s every experience that a prospect or customer has with you is essentially marketing. But a business is only successful if it has a value proposition, which actually adds value. And if it doesn’t do that, today, you get found out very, very quickly. 

So you can dress something up as nicely as you want to with marketing fluff. But if the product or service doesn’t do what it’s built to do, you get found out. So it’s about working on our value propositions as much as anything else today and then telling our stories, but it starts with the value proposition. And I like the simple kind of value proposition canvas for that, right, which is that and I think it’s particularly appropriate in terms of rapid change that we find ourselves in now. Because the premise is that it starts by looking at your marketplace, and looking at the pain that they’re in or looking at the potential gain that you can you can help them with, right, so looking at pains and gains, and that’s an observation exercise. And then on the other side, it’s about, you know, designing products and services that solve those problems, right. And then the marketing aspect is how we then tell everybody about it. And we raise awareness of the potential for gains or the solutions to pains right. Now, when the marketplace changes on a regular basis, that observation has to happen frequently, you can’t just rest on your laurels that once upon a time, this was a product fit for task. We, you know, technologies completely disrupting so many industries, we have to continuously be looking at our products and services and just making that judgment, is this still fit for tasks? Is this stuff fit for purpose? Or has the world moved on and we need to adapt? 

And, you know, this is the reason why so many big household brands have fallen by the wayside in just the last 20 odd years. I mean, my favorite case study years ago when I was talking on stage was, you know, Yellow Pages started in 1956 in the UK in Brighton and Hove right, and they were just a local directory, which spread all across the UK. And then before you knew it onto four continents where they owned search. So this little thing called the internet came along, and there was nobody saying how is this going to disrupt our business? How can we own search in this new age, and of course, they didn’t react and the rest is history with Google and Bing. But that’s the reality. They fail to innovate, and everybody’s had the same Kodak examples trotted out over the last God knows how many years, have been written in ton of books, you know, people who invent technology, and then don’t actually go and capitalize on it and realize, you know, that’s how it’s going to become mainstream. And the challenge for small businesses, we don’t have the deep pockets for R&D, we don’t have lots and lots of people to bounce ideas off in teams. 

And therefore, it’s still quite important for us to find that sense of community that can be the sounding block that can you know, can be the incubator for ideas, can be the critical feedback on the issues that we face. And that’s actually why Warren Knight and I founded Hivemind, because it was a community of people who could actually come and be that resource for each other and help develop those concepts and ideas. So, you know, when you said yesterday, what gives me the authority to talk about marketing. My push back on that was genuine, I don’t necessarily consider myself a marketer. Marketing is something I’ve had to do. It’s something I enjoy doing, all communication where you have to understand who the message is directed at, and then give a contextual message for them. I read and fascinated by all of that stuff, context is hugely important. But I don’t necessarily consider myself a marketer, I consider myself somebody who also looks at the value proposition and the business as a whole, and how you actually go and really properly get deep influence with people, how you engaged with people. And for me, that’s beyond the traditional definition of what marketing was.

Martin Henley 1:05:51  

Okay, good. So let’s take this case in point then. So these people Riverside, this service that we’re using a game right now have come up with a brilliant, brilliant concept, because what was going on previously, and I mean, especially in the last 18 months, was an abomination. You know, it really was, when they are presenting Sky Sports on zoom, and the image is a mess. And you know, Riverside’s marketing is right, it sounds like I can’t remember exactly what they say. But they say basically, it looks like a toilet and it sounds like a toilet. And that is entirely true. So 100%, they found a real need in the market. And when I found this, I was hugely excited. Now, and technologically, this is a brilliant thing, but it’s not anywhere near perfect. And I’m having this issue with the syncing, we had an issue that it crashed yesterday, the real issue is that I am voicing this on their Facebook community, because that’s where they send you once you’re a customer, and they’re deleting my posts. Now, I don’t believe they’re deleting my posts because they are evil, I believe that they are deleting my posts because they don’t know how to cope with this situation. So I don’t know how many users they’ve got. They’ve got some corporations on their front page, who are supposedly customers of theirs, I don’t know what’s going on. But this is almost the biggest danger for this type of company is that you’re just catapulted into the ether. And that’s really difficult because now exactly like you say, we are marketers, we’re really good at telling stories about how bad customer service is, and they’re upsetting us. And we have the platforms to now go out and diss their business. So their business, the wheels could come off not because they haven’t got a good product, not because they haven’t gotten it to market, but because actually, it’s too much of those things, you know, it’s too good. And there’s too much market for it. What do you think?

Warren Cass 1:07:51  

I think it’s worse than that in this particular case. I’ve only had five minutes to get upset about this, right? Because you already talked about this just before we got on the call. But they’re clearly deleting the same post over and over again. Because you posted what, three, four times and now they’ve got you on moderated comments, right?

Martin Henley 1:08:13

Yes.

Warren Cass 1:08:14

You weren’t going on and calling them names and being overly derogatory, you were saying there’s a problem with the lip synching? Can you help me with the problem?

Martin Henley 1:08:20

Yeah.

Warren Cass 1:08:20

And just to reiterate the context, their site sends you to the Facebook group for customer support. You know, if you just think about the user journey there, they’ve sent you to a place for customer support, you ask the question from customer support. And they delete you four times. 

Martin Henley 1:08:35

Yeah.

Warren Cass 1:08:35

Because they don’t want anybody to see anything negative about the platform, particularly the user community. 

Martin Henley 1:08:41

Yes. 

Warren Cass 1:08:41

Now what that tells you is that your support query isn’t important, that they’re more concerned about the perception of their product than they are about the reality of it. It shows that they’re not necessarily focused on fixing what’s broken. And, more importantly, to me the biggest sin is they are motivating you to go and amplify your grievance somewhere else where they’re not in control of the conversation, which is just stupidity. So, coming back to being in control of the kind of brand message or communication, the first Golden Rule of a customer experience, if someone’s got a problem, you acknowledge the problem, right? That diffuses them almost immediately. 

Martin Henley 1:09:26

Yes.

Warren Cass 1:09:26

I mean, just to give you an example of this. There’s a product called review, I think it’s review filter, but it’s a hotel, booking system/review system, for any kind of hotel and the idea is that if you’re guests in a hotel and you come along and you have a great experience, they’re the first ones to ask you whether you had a great experience. They sent you an email Did you enjoy your stay with us rate us out of five. If you rate a four or a five, it immediately flips to TripAdvisor, that says great that you’ve had a great experience, wonder if you wouldn’t mind just publishing that here. And you’re auto logged in so all you have to do is publish them and your review is there as a four or five. If the review is a three or less, what it does is immediately respond and acknowledges the problem and says, I’m sorry, you’ve had a bad experience, we’ll be in touch to see what went wrong and see how we can make it right. Which completely diffuses any motivation for somebody to go to TripAdvisor to complain, because they feel like they’ve been heard, and that their issues being addressed. So what that does, is it helps hotel work on their customer service and customer experience, because they’re understanding what the issues are. And that’s a good thing, you know, it also means that they almost controlling the publicity and the press that goes out to the marketplace, which is clever. But the integrity behind being interested in the problem so they can solve the problem is the bit that counts. But to motivate marketeers who arguably know how to use these platforms, to say, I’m really pissed off with this, because and, you know, and they’re not in control of the message, for me is a massive cardinal sin. And I’d be interested in the context of the organization whether they’re based in a certain culture, where you know, pride and ego, different cultures have different levels of controlling perceptions, right? And whether that’s the case in this in this example, I don’t know, but somebody needs a good talking to.

Martin Henley 1:11:32  

Yes. Okay, so I’ve got the best example of this ever, I think. So between 99 and 2005, late 2004, I was based in South Africa, and I was working in South Africa, and I had a lot of South African friends. And this was about the time that all the offshoring was going on, you remember, so all the banks were shipping their customer services out to India, and directory enquiries, or 118, 118, or whatever it was, at that time that also, now defunct search function. They decided to outsource their work to South Africa. So a few people that I knew went to work for these new organizations, answering the calls, not answering the calls, but managing teams of people who are answering calls from the UK for directory inquiries or 118. And so I was interested in this because culturally, South Africa and the UK are quite different. So I said to them, you know, what are they telling you about the culture? And my friend said to me, Well, the one thing they have told us is that if an English person asks you for a number, and you can’t find the number, what you must do is apologize and tell them that But please, you know, if you’re looking for a number again, in the future, remember 118, 118, or directory inquiries, or whatever it was. Now what I know culturally about South Africa, because I lived there for five years, I have never heard a South African apologize about anything, they don’t apologize. And this is true of the South African culture. 

So if it’s a black person, or an Indian person, an English South African, or a Dutch or African South African, I’ve never heard one of them apologize. So I said to my friend, but you don’t apologize. So what do you do? And he said, Oh, we just give them the wrong number. So that is how, and this was sometime between, well, this is probably 2003-2004. So that goes to show you how, you know, culturally, you could just miss entirely. Like, the last thing you can ever do is give an English person bad service, because they will go ballistic, you know, and they will be phoning up 10 times tomorrow to speak to a supervisor to find out why they’ve been given the wrong number. But the last thing you can expect a South African to do is apologize because they just don’t culturally, they don’t apologize, you know. So it’s interesting like that. And this is interesting, because, you know, for me, like the other thing that came out yesterday was, you know, you and Warren put together this new business and you went out and you did business in all these new countries. But it never. And when I pressed you on it, you tell us, tell me but it’s because we had these databases in advance.

Warren Cass 1:14:16

One of the aspects for sure.

Martin Henley 1:14:17

One of the aspects. Yes. So the other, a component of you and Warren putting this business together during this pandemic is the fact that you had been marketing yourselves for however many years you’ve been marketing yourselves. And so what I’m interested in, what I’m really interested in, is why people don’t trust marketers, because they don’t, why small business people don’t understand what marketing is and see the necessity for marketing and are these things connected? And should I just get over it because you know, I’ve wanted to be the small businesses marketing champion for nearly 20 years, and they clearly don’t deserve one.

Warren Cass 1:14:52  

I think you touch on a larger societal problem today and that is, we live in an age of huge misinformation. And so I think it’s making us all become a lot more cynical, and feel the need to do a lot more due diligence than we ever did before. I mean, listen, I’ve been I’ve been running my own businesses for quite a few years now and on at least two occasions, I’ve employed a private investigator before putting my neck on the line with a business deal, which I thought something’s not quite right here and I’m nervous. And on both of those two occasions, my instincts were correct. And that was a, you know, con artist or whatever, said all the right things in all the right places. But my intuition served me in those particular examples. The problem with scams today and misinformation is it’s so sophisticated, you know, it’s not just, it, there’s websites, and social proof and all of these things to back it up, or at least the perception of it. So the thing that I think we’re all becoming a little bit more as critical thinkers, and questioning everything, although not everybody. But we also have, you know, very polarizing points of view, too. So it’s creating more conflict. And again, more reason why people are fitting into tribes when they find like-minded people is because, actually, you know, if you look at everything in the news today, or even on social media, they’re amplifying the extreme points of view, which normalizes them, and therefore, we become even more polarized. 

So it’s, it’s fascinating times, this is a societal problem, not just a marketing problem. If people are more skeptical, if people are more resistant to ideas, or concepts, whatever, because of the way we’re being conditioned, our environment is conditioning that behavior. Then, as a marketer, your emphasis needs to be on demonstrating value, demonstrating expertise, demonstrating good quality customer experiences, demonstrating, you know, perhaps more in depth case studies, the journey that you take customers on from A to B, demonstrating maybe the framework that you work with, so they can understand what the journey is going to look like, if they work with you. All of that’s important, you’ve got to reassure people. And coming back to the point I was making yesterday, we’re trying to create certainty in the mind’s eye, of the prospect. So if we want them to make that decision to work with us, we’ve got to tick all of those different boxes, which could be on certainty. And so I think it’s a broader problem today, marketing isn’t just about a tagline or a good image, marketing is about actually demonstrating value, demonstrating values. And, telling the story of the business so people feel completely reassured and more inclined to buy. 

Martin Henley 1:17:45  

Okay, good. I’m 100% with you, I’ve also got a great instance of this, I think, where I used to run these half day workshops, and they were open to anyone to come to, and I run them in four or five locations across the southeast. So there’s one of these things happening every week. And I’ve lost two people from those, like two people have walked out of the hundreds of people who came, one of them really didn’t like the Mexican wave. So I used to make them do a Mexican wave at the beginning. And they would go one way, and everyone would go away. And then they go the other way, and everyone go away. And I used to follow them on my phone to get the video for my social media. And as I went back, this guy was literally packing up his stuff and leaving. So that’s one thing, there’s one person I lost, the other person that I lost was an architect. And he left I think he left it halfway. Because you know, this was 2008 to 2011, somewhere around there. So one of the courses was social media. And I was talking about one of the effects of social media being the democratization of knowledge. 

So actually now if you wants something to be true, historically, you’d have to get it published in encyclopedia. Now you put it up on Wikipedia. And if enough people believe you, it’s true, you know, so this was my argument. And he resisted that saying, but I was at college for seven years but I know the truth, or I my knowledge is more valuable, and he left at half time. But the fact is that, that was entirely true. And Trump blew the lid off it because he basically came out and said, the newspapers are lying to you, it’s fake news. And of course, they’re hugely bipartisan, and they decide what they want to say and how they want to say it. So the very nature of truth, like we touched on philosophy at the beginning, yesterday, but the very nature of truth is, you know, completely blown apart. It’s like, what on earth do you believe? And it has forced everyone out to these two extremes. And we’re carrying on here, we’re doing a podcast about marketing, like governments aren’t being ridiculously over demanding in terms of the way they expect people to behave and what they expect them to do. That’s an aside. We don’t need to get into that today.

Warren Cass 1:19:57  

Well, the interesting part is governments still have marketing and PR, right? You know, they need re-election. So everything they deliver to you every single piece of information is cushioned and maybe embellished or slightly distorted to present the best possible side of any one situation. So it’s still all marketing, it doesn’t have the kind of commercial element to it. That’s all.

Martin Henley 1:20:21  

Okay. And so this is interesting, I don’t know, five or six of these chats ago, I spoke to Melanie Farmer who works for an agency that is advising the Australian Government on what’s going on currently and health authorities on how they should be behaving and stuff. And then what’s gone on since that conversation in Australia is just mind boggling, unbelievable what’s going on there. The point is, this is probably the biggest, and depending on where you sit on the scale, the most necessary marketing campaign in human history. And 20 or 30% of people are just saying, No, we don’t believe you. We’re not doing it. And we don’t believe you.

Warren Cass 1:21:01  

Yeah, I don’t think that’s the fault personally of the marketing aspect, I think it comes back to this societal problem that you’ll always have an outsize but the batshit crazy extreme points of view in any discussion or argument, are the ones that are amplified, and therefore normalized. Right? So there’s a much bigger distance on the two extremes now, I think, than there ever was, I firmly believe common sense still lives in the middle. And, the problem is, you know, cliche common senses, and common practice is kind of what we have right now. You know, without getting drawn into COVID too much, you only have to have a look at the rates of people who are dying in hospitals and the percentage of those which are unvaccinated right now. But if you can just then call it fake news, and diminish the whole, all of the evidence. And for those that don’t want to dig deeper and do their due diligence, they’re satisfied with that very superficial throwaway comment, then you’ve got a challenge, because it’s okay to want to educate but if people don’t want to be educated, if they’re not going to ask the questions, if they don’t have the curiosity, then how do you give them the necessary knowledge, they need to make an informed decision. And it’s a real problem. 

And you know, bringing it back to marketing, you know, your architect, delegate, who packed up and left was missing the point altogether. Because had he realized, actually, there is misinformation, and I know the truth. And so therefore, I’m going to make my platform about telling people where the misinformation is, and really giving them the correct knowledge and information and therefore I’ll be the trusted resource, there’s a way he could frame and position that in order to solve the problem. And he chose not to, he chose to pack up his things go away and bury his head in the sand, right, which is, you know, typical of a lot of people who either can’t be bothered to learn or are resistant to the change. And so, you know, I find that kind of fascinating, and I think there’s also been one massive paradigm shift when it comes to knowledge, right? Once upon a time, the people who held positions of power, or at least had longevity in organizations, were the people who held the cards close to their chest and retained all the knowledge for themselves so they were indispensable. And what’s happened now, today is organizations value, the people who bring the cards out and upskill everybody around them, they’re the people who are valuable in an organization, not the ones that try and guide all of that information for themselves. It’s a very old way of thinking. 

And in marketing way that’s translated to is certainly in the professional services arena, where people are selling knowledge and consultancy skills, etc. They’re giving away a whole load of knowledge upfront to demonstrate they know what they’re talking about. Because most of the time, people still want their hand held through the process. They don’t necessarily want to take a bit of knowledge shared on a website or in a presentation and go and implement it themselves. They just want to be reassured that the person knows what they’re talking about. And so it’s okay if one person leaves from a Mexican wave. Because they probably weren’t a valued match, you know, and that’s fine. You can’t please everybody, work with the people that want to work with you and like your style and like your way of doing things. That’s the best we can do be really attractive to them.

Martin Henley 1:24:34  

Yes. And 100%. And the thing about the democratization of knowledge, is what I was saying to people then, I don’t know if I would say it now, obviously the world’s changed. But I was saying like, here’s the opportunity, you know, if knowledge is becoming so much more vague, or truth essentially is becoming so much more vague, people are going to be looking for authority and if you can be the authority in your market, I suppose this is coming towards where you guys are, then there is a huge opportunity, exactly like you’re saying, put the considerations and the answers in front of people. So they are much better equipped to make the right decisions about what they buy. I just worry. And I do worry. And I was having this conversation with my dad a couple of days ago about that, if there were to be an election in the UK now, like the Conservative Party, you know, irrespective of what your politics might be, have shown themselves to be hideously corrupt. You know, they’re essentially like all their mates made 10s of millions like this time last year, and they’re all in the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies and they all had us out applauding on our doorstep so the NHS that they’ve underfunded for the last 10 years. So by any sane measure, there is no way that they should be reelected. But anyone who knows anything about British politics know that they will be reelected, and probably by a landslide, you know, so I think this is the, this is the, what’s the word? This is the paradox it seems to me of marketing is that actually you don’t have to present as being the nicest or even the best. If there’s something else going on, then that also works for you. So we are far down this rabbit hole? 

Warren Cass 1:26:20  

Well, no, no, I’m perfectly happy with it, it’s whether you are. I personally think that actually, when you get people together, and certainly give them any kind of sense of power, your start to get distortion or corruption. So whatever party is in power, there’s probably going to be some level of corruption. Right?

Martin Henley 1:26:43

Right. 

Warren Cass 1:26:44  

How much it is, is a different thing. And you only have to look at US politics, which is arguably one of the most corrupt political systems on the planet, arguably. Just to you know, when people can buy votes, there’s a problem, right? And for me, it’s much about, what I can’t stand is the hypocrisy, right? You know, if you’re somebody who values truth, and you’re an anti-vaccer, for example, in the US and it’s because you don’t trust what you’re being told about what the vaccine can do. And you only care about truth, but in the next breath, you’re going take a cattle de-wormer tablet, because somebody on Facebook said it’s good for you, or how do you whatever Trump I can’t pronounce it hydro, what’s the what’s the name?

Martin Henley 1:27:39  

Hydroxychloroquine or something like that.

Warren Cass 1:27:41  

Something like that, yeah, I can’t pronounce it. But if you’re going to go and take that, just because someone said that might do something for you, your level of evidence was always low, you’re just choosing a side, right? And that’s the problem, it’s the hyprocrisy, you know, we care about truth and then the next breath, you’re gonna do this. Or the anti-masker, who cares about freedom, but in the next breath, is trying to rip somebody else’s mask off their face, so clearly doesn’t care about other people’s freedom. You know, it’s the hypocrisy and all of these things, which is the challenge. And the problem for you and I right, is because we, by just having this conversation, we are probably expressing, we’re definitely expressing our values, but we’re probably expressing what side of the fence that we fall. And that in its own right, in today’s day, and age will polarize a little bit, because some people will have a different point of view. And they might see that you don’t lean conservative, and probably lean more to Lib Dem, or labor if you were voting in the UK.

Martin Henley 1:28:45

God help me.

Warren Cass 1:28:46  

They would see that I’m vaccinated and quite opposed to wearing masks, you know, they can see where we fall. So we will just in our everyday conversations, will give a flavor of who we are, and will polarize to some extent, and that’s life. You can’t please everybody. And if you spend your time pleasing people who aren’t a good match for you, I guarantee they won’t have the best customer experience and you will spend more time and energy trying to make them happy, than you do the people who genuinely like working with you and become the advocates. So the key I think, is really identifying who works well with you and putting your attention and focus on them. And for me, marketing is about creating the conditions where the right people buy from you.

Martin Henley 1:29:32  

Good 100% now I’ve got a quote which will be the title on YouTube. Where are we? What minute of day two, are we on? We’re on minute 32, cool. I’m really interested. What I’m interested in is kind of, it seems to me that there are, what do we call them? I want to call them platitudes that are just kind of rolled out. You know, and everyone kind of accepts them. And I just wonder how much of it actually is? Well, when we’re talking about marketing, because you brilliantly brought it back to marketing. Thank you for that. So but like, for example, like, What does Seth Godin say? Seth Godin, I tell you, who says, What’s his name, the mouthy New Yorker guy? Gary Vaynerchuk. Yeah. So he says, or he is cited as quoting, give them value, give them value, give them value and close the sale or something. Now, the issue might be, well, there’s two issues with that, potentially, is one, what if by the time you’ve given them value three times, they don’t need any more value from you. So whatever amount of time you’ve invested, or energy or product you’ve invested in satisfying that value three times might have satisfied their need for value entirely, and they go away and you don’t make the sale. So that’s the first issue. And then secondly, it seems to me, because this comes back to Cialdini’s Influence. And one of the six whatever he calls them, keys is reciprocity. So if somebody feels like they owe you then they’re more likely to do what you’re hoping to influence them to do. But it seems to me and I don’t know if this has changed, because obviously, I’ve only lived my life. But it seems to me that people have quite a different capacity to accept now in 2021, like without reciprocating, than they might have done 10 or 15, or 20 years ago. What do you think?

Warren Cass 1:31:42  

So there’s several points in there. I’ll start actually, though, with the one around the give value, give value, give value, close, right? And, what’s kind of interesting, we talked yesterday about how there was blurred lines between marketing and selling, right? And there were some really good stats came out, I think it was Garner that produced them, but I’m happy to share them with you for footnotes on the page, I’ve got to dig out the research. But essentially, it talks about the amount of touch points you need to have with a prospect before they buy. And the fact that the vast majority of sales people give up after four or five interactions, and an 80% of people buy after the 11th interaction. So loads of people leaving work on the table, because they’re just not seeing through. And that touch point isn’t necessarily value, but it’s a demonstration of care. You know, just wanted to check in with you, have you got everything you need? Are there any other questions you need me to answer, while you’re making your decision, I’m not pushing you just want to make sure that you’ve got everything you need. So expressing a duty of care and having that conversation, again, just pushes people towards that certainty. And so, you know, different products and services, as I say, some things are just commoditized. And, you know, I don’t have to think about a telephone case. Although I might look at the reviews on Amazon, but it’s not really much of a considered purchase. 

However, if I was going to go book a consultant to kind of work in the business, I would definitely be making sure they had the credentials and the experience and the you know, at least a knowledge of the industry operate in a professional operating so that, you know, there’s different levels of considerations depending on what you’re buying. And as far as reciprocity is concerned, I actually do have a chapter on this in my book, which, I call it the law of reciprocity. And I still think it holds true, but it’s certainly more of an issue for people, the deeper your relationship with them. So if you’ve got a first level superficial relationship, you know, in one of those early touchpoints, they’re less likely to reciprocate. But if you’ve, you know, if you’re at the stage where you know people’s names, and you’ve had an exchange of ideas of conversations, you’re more likely to get reciprocity. And I also put it down to, because this gets kind of that obligation to work with the people that have done something nice for us. You know, those professions which give you a 15-minute free consultation, are more likely to be the ones that get the business because not only are they giving them some initial free advice, but they’re taking the time to ask the question, so they can give a contextualized answer. Or they’re taking the time to build rapport, which means you’ve got now a bit of a sense of obligation to work with them. So it’s how as marketeers, we give them that sense of who we are and start to build that sense of obligation with them so they then do honors with their business.

Martin Henley 1:34:38  

Brilliant, cool. Okay, so I’m going to believe that. This is a great example that you’ve given me, which is one that I’ve always, not always but I came to a point where I questioned it, which is this thing about persistence with the amount of touch points that might be required to win a customer and people give up too easily as there is always the moral of that story. And the most famous example of this, like those public speakers roll out all the time is Colonel Sanders. And whether it was the 87th door that he knocked on, accepted that he really had delicious fried chicken. And so he came, he went on to become the, you know, so, you know, we know, because we’re marketers in 2021, but very often, and this is kind of what I think is probably they desired for small businesses. But we know because we buy things with one touch point, you know, I will go to Google, I’ll Google the thing that I need. And if it’s at the top, either of the ads, or of the search, and I click through, and it’s easy to do, I will do that. I won’t have any sense of the business, I won’t have any relationship with the business, I won’t do any due diligence, necessarily, you know, I won’t know if they’re relying on child slave labor, or, you know, any of these horrible things, because I’m just getting what I want and what I need. And for me and Robert, historically, but not so much more recently, it seems, you know, for me, marketing is about cost of customer acquisition, and customer lifetime value. And that’s what brings the objectivity that small businesses and businesses need to really understand marketing and drive marketing effectively. So, telling people, like, you might get lucky on the 87th attempt. For me, I’d say, you haven’t understood the market, you haven’t understood what they need, you’re not presenting it in the right way. You know, don’t persist. Have a look at what you’re doing, maybe and try and do something a bit differently. Do you know what I mean? so that’s one about those touchpoints.

Warren Cass 1:36:43  

It’s funny, actually, you mentioned Robert, because I’ve got a lovely story by Robert as an example for how he has understood the audience and then tailored something for them. In fact, here you go, this is his book. This is one of Robert Cravens books, right? Grow your Service Firm. Okay, so on this side, is a list of different professional service type of organizations. I’m missing the camera, you might be able to see if you’re watching, right, so a whole lot of different types. So this is a book written a bit as a generalist book for how to grow a service firm. I think Robert won’t mind me saying it did only okay. 

Martin Henley 1:37:26

Okay. 

Warren Cass 1:37:27

He then took this whole of the contents of this book, and he specifically changed the word service firm for digital agency, one of the aspects on the book. And as a result of that kind of niche positioning, or repositioning to focus on one audience, and to be highly relevant to that one audience. He now gets flown all over the world by Google to train digital agencies on how to grow their practice, because they’re clever enough to know, if a digital agency grows their business, chances are they’ve got more customers spending more money on adspend and therefore they grow their business alongside. And, for me, it’s a brilliant story for Robert, he sold more copies with it being specific than he has been generalist, and it created much, much bigger opportunities which see him travel the world, you know, but it’s honing in on that audience rather than trying to be a generalist. 

Martin Henley 1:38:24  

Exactly. And so this is my, we’re on the same page, we’re not even arguing at this point, which is refreshing. So the thing is, absolutely. So let’s not tell Robert, when he puts out his how to be a good service business to keep persisting, he needs 11 touch points, so he might need to produce 11 books for this market. Let’s tell Robert, think about what you’re doing, niche down, if there’s an opportunity to do it get more targeted, get more focused, you know, that is much better than saying well just persist. Because I think the danger of that is that businesses are going out of business, because they’re being told to persist when probably they shouldn’t. I mean, that’s the danger. The other end of that danger is that people aren’t persisting, and they’re leaving, like you say, work on the table, because they’re not chasing things hard enough. And the other thing I think about that is that the harder you have to work to win a customer to convince them to buy from you, the harder is going to be to retain that customer. So really, however many touch points there might need to be probably the fewer touch points there are, the better the fit or the relationship or something. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Warren Cass 1:39:35  

Yeah. I mean, the more that you show an understanding of their particular circumstances, I mean, let’s face it, contextual marketing has been around for many, many years, right? And typically, it was in the kind of digital space and just for anybody watching, who doesn’t know what contextual marketing is, it’s the simple premise that every time we make a buying decision, there’s a context to it. So I might go out and buy and by the way, I believe, context is important in any communication, not just digital engagement. So for example, I could go out and buy a new car. And it could be that I’m having a midlife crisis and I want a convertible, it could be that there’s a new child in the family, God forbid, mom have left home. But we need more space. It could be that I’ve had a crash and I need a quick replacement, because I’ve got somewhere to be, whatever, there’s a context to my buying decision. So the key thing for any decent marketeer or salesperson even, is to ask great questions and really actually understand the context of the people they serve. Because then they can match features and benefits and tell stories and give examples. And really hone in on fulfilling their need, you’ve got much more chance of making the sale. And so for me context is just everything in that buying decision. So if you are specializing, operating in a niche, or multiple niches, by the way, but what you’re doing is you’re selecting aspects of your audience, and you’re talking directly to them with examples directly to them. That’s the stuff that’s important.

There’s a book or a beautiful example of this, there’s a chap who died in 2012, called Jim Slater. And he was an investor and investment thought leader, right. But his whole philosophy on investing was to go and take a really small industry, and learn that industry, inside and out. So you know, all of the movers and shakers, all the activities, all the things that are happening, because you’re more likely to make a good informed investment decision if you know all of the moving parts of one specialist area of industry, as opposed to being a generalist and investing everything, you’re more likely to not have decent specialist knowledge and therefore make the one or two bad decisions. Right. So that was his philosophy, was to focus on one area and concentrate on that. And there’s a lovely story, he had a book called the Zulu Principle. And it’s a lovely story of him sat in his conservatory one Sunday afternoon in Surrey, reading the Sunday Times. And his wife is sat next to him reading the supplement magazine for the Sunday Times. 

And in there was a four-page spread on Zulus. And so she’s reading this article with real interest. And she finishes the article, she ponders and she interrupts him. And she starts telling him about what she’s just read now, because she’s fascinated by it. And the way he articulates it in the book is, I was in that moment, I was fascinated that she was the biggest expert on Zulus in our household. And had she probably walked to the local library and got a book out on the subject, chances are, she’d be the biggest expert on Zulus in the town. And, you know, had she gone to a university or Flint, South Africans spent some time on a Zulu reserve or in the university there and studied for a couple of months, chances actually be one of the foremost experts on Zulus in the world. Right. And I liked how that was illustrated, because from a business point of view, too many people spend their time being generalists, when actually, it doesn’t take much to demonstrate to a subset of your audience that you have specialist knowledge and you understand them. 

And even going back a few years back, I ran a business community in the UK, and we had a member in Berkshire, who was an IT support company. And they were generalists. So anybody who had a computer, they would profess to be able to support and, their marketing was just always generalist month after month after month. And then one month, they did a case study where they just did an example with a veterinary surgery that they’d signed up. And what astounded them was in the month that followed, they signed up two or three other veterinary surgeries, because suddenly they saw content that was highly contextual and relevant to them. So it got their attention. And a year later, they had 19 veterinary surgeries on the book and a whole part of their website dedicated to that specialist IT support and what they would demonstrate to them is we know, the proprietary software used to manage your practice, we know you know, the pressures you’re under, if the appointment system goes down, etc, etc, they demonstrated that they knew exactly the type of support they needed. And therefore, they grew that aspect of the business. And no surprising a year after that they had another niche part of the business, which was dentist practices, which are very similar to veterinary practices and the way they’re organized and run. And that’s how they built actually really good business by specializing in one or two areas and demonstrating to them they knew and understood them.

Martin Henley 1:44:29  

Exactly. And when you go down the road with that style of business, then you do get more specialized knowledge, you know, and you do become more experienced. So 100% I agree with that. And 100% I agree with what you’re saying about what I tell my students, my digital marketing students is that being an effective digital marketer or any kind of marketer is just an exercise of knowing your market and your customers better and better and better. And, you know, the more effectively you can do that. The more Effectively you will be marketing and the more successful you will be. And so I think, I don’t know, I don’t set out with an agenda. But what I’m kind of taking away from this conversation is that there is a real question that should be asked, which is, no I’m not going to ask the question, I’m going to say, if you are an effective marketer, if you’re really good at understanding your market, your customers, and delivering the things they need, and giving them a good experience, then really this whole, communicating your purpose and your ethics and trying to make, convince people that you’re a good company, certainly for a small or medium sized business isn’t necessary, because, you know, it’s like people who put out content, like the last conversation I had was with a small business SEO guy targeting small businesses specifically, but he was he’s telling his customers to produce content to answer the questions that people have. So that yeah, I don’t know, we’re gonna have to draw a line, because we’ve gone almost again for another hour, but I’m gonna let you obviously. 

Warren Cass 1:46:03  

Okay, so I just I’m gonna have one last word, though. So I don’t agree with what you’ve just said at the end there, which is around even if you are a small business today, I think you have to be demonstrating values, in your marketing and your communication. I think it’s really important because I think there’s a whole generation who look for people who have values aligned with them. But I do think, Barnaby Wynter and put this really lovely on an event that we did recently where he said, the problem today that there are thresholds, values that every business must adhere to, because actually, you know, people are thinking more and more values driven, whether they’re the brand or the consumer, people are thinking more and more brand driven. So there are threshold values that we all must have. But you must also give a bit about who you are individually. And that’s my slight pushback. I may have misunderstood you, by the way. But it has been a laugh, my friend really enjoyed it.

Martin Henley 1:47:00  

It has been fun, isn’t it? Everyone says it’s been fun. But I, because I think people don’t trust us. So what I’m hoping to achieve in this process, is to get people who know a lot about marketing and really challenge them so people can see actually, this is their experience that they believed, you know, I mean, this is their, you know, it’s not just marketing faff, do, you know what I mean? Because marketing is guilty of that. And I want small businesses, particularly because I’m on the side of small businesses to understand and value and invest in marketing and sales, because there is no other way to be successful in business, you know. So that’s what I’m trying to achieve with this. And I love that everyone says at the end that it was really good fun, because I feel like I’m being a bit of an eyesore most of the time, but everyone seems to enjoy it.

Warren Cass 1:47:50  

This type of kind of real conversation as opposed to you know, this is the type thing I could imagine having a pint in the pub with you, Martin. So that’s for me, that’s a good podcast interview when you feel like you’ve just been sat in a pub, chewing the fat.

Martin Henley 1:48:07  

Excellent. Thank you so much, man. So thank you for this. I don’t feel like we’ve come to the end. We might have to have another conversation in the future.

Warren Cass 1:48:13  

Always, willing to come back. There’s a load of other stuff I’m opinionated on as well, so.

Martin Henley 1:48:18  

Excellent, fantastic. Okay, so I’ve just got to remind you don’t let this close until it’s fully uploaded. Don’t close this window. Warren. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, man. Thank you so much for this. I’ve really enjoyed it also. It’s been really good fun, and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Warren Cass 1:48:33  

Likewise, buddy. Take care.

Martin Henley 1:48:35  

Thanks, man. Bye

Martin Henley 0:01  

We’re recording. Good morning, Mr. Mould. 

Robbie Mould 0:06  

Morning, Mr. Henley. How are you? 

Martin Henley 0:09  

I’m extraordinarily well, thank you so much for agreeing to do this man. I’m really excited. It’s actually taken us about six months, because I had some weird tropical bug when we organized to do this first, back in March, and it’s taken us this long to put it back together. But here we are. So I’m really excited to be speaking to you. What’s interesting about this is, is I don’t really know much about you. We’ve had one conversation, I’m speaking to you on the recommendation of Jim. And Jim’s never given me a bad recommendation in his life. So I’m really excited to be speaking to you.

Robbie Mould 0:38  

There is a first for everything right?

Martin Henley 0:42  

There is a first for everything, but I don’t know, my gut says that you’re a good guy and you’ve got something really interesting and useful to share with us, that’s what I think. So thank you for agreeing to be here. As you know, there are only four or five questions and one of them is kind of like a supplemental question. The first question is how you’re qualified to talk to us about marketing. Second question is, what is it that you do and who do you do it for? What do you do to add value to the world? The third question is how do you feel about marketing? The fourth question is, what is your recommendation for people in this weirdness that we seem to be experiencing currently? And then the fifth question is, who should I speak to next? So those are the four, five questions. So where we start is, how are you qualified to talk to us about marketing?

Robbie Mould 1:35  

Well, so I’ve run two businesses now, this is my second venture, RJM Digital, which is a marketing company, a web design and SEO company. But running a company, you are in charge of marketing, you decide where your brand goes, you have to decide who your customer is, how you’re going to market to those customers, drive sales, etc. So I think actually doing it, and working with marketing agencies, and also then being a marketing agency to work with a lot of customers, I’d like to think I’m in a pretty good state, whether I do it right or wrong is a different matter, and probably something for someone else. But yeah, that’s kind of how I’ve ended up here. 

But my background isn’t really traditional marketing. So my background is a web developer at university. I’ve been in corporate sales for small startups, large corporates, etc. Run my business, before in the IT sector, but always kept up with the software development side of things, building websites, building online presence, building platforms, etc. And so now, as the sort of market evolved, where you’d have to say, arguably, the majority of marketing, the majority of sales, especially in this post-COVID world, blah, blah, blah, is that it’s all gone digital, and where I sit with that background of, in my sales and building platforms, building websites, etc, I like to think puts me in a pretty good state to help other companies, small business owners drive their marketing efforts. 

Martin Henley 3:16  

Okay, fantastic. Excellent, great answer. So you have two businesses, I’m only aware of the marketing agency, what is the other business? 

Robbie Mould 3:27  

Well, so they’re kind of both of the same thing. So my business is a company called Positive Impact Digital, so we’re only just starting it. And it helps build sustainable and low-carbon websites. So not a lot of people realize that the whole of the internet contributes to about 3% of the total carbon emissions. And that’s the same as the airline industry. And not a lot of people realize that the websites and digital platforms and stuff like that, majority of them are run on data centers, which are powered by renewable energy. And so you cater that into really inefficient, bloated websites using platforms like WordPress, Wix, Weebly. And considering the amount of billions of web sites that are out there, it is a huge contribution factor, so we’ve got some funding from the UK, also funding from the EU, we grabbed that before everything happened at the start of this year. And we’re just starting to launch that company now to build really efficient, but websites that are 100% powered by renewable energy.

Martin Henley 4:32  

Fantastic. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know it was 3%. I mean, I know that there are data centers, I know that they’re powered somehow. But that’s interesting, isn’t it? How did they manage to go under the radar like that? 

Robbie Mould 4:46  

Well, I think it’s because websites, you can’t touch it or feel it or anything like zoom. So this, you know what we’re recording on now, what we’re doing a podcast on, that is being powered by some infrastructure, somewhere in the globe that is obviously being powered. And so it’s very easy to say, Well, I’m driving a car or I’m doing this activity, I’m doing that activity, and you can attribute a carbon emission to that particular activity. But in this digital world, you kind of just go, Oh we are being powered by the cloud in some respect. But people don’t actually realize what your contribution or your website contributes to the carbon emissions. So that’s what my mission is now with this new company, alongside RJM digital is to say, Well, actually, look, you are trying to reduce your carbon emissions, you’re doing X, Y, and Z. But actually, this is some area that majority of people that I speak to, they’ve got no idea about, they have no idea about their websites, no idea how it’s powered, the data centers, etc. So it’s something a bit innovative and sort of different. 

Martin Henley 5:51  

Cool, innovative and different is good and reducing emissions is good, clearly. Okay, cool. The other part I like about your answer is that you say you are a business owner, and that qualifies you to talk about marketing. 

Robbie Mould 6:04  

Yeah. 

Martin Henley 6:05  

And I 100% believe that is the most important thing that qualifies you about marketing, you know, I get really upset. Do I get really upset? I do get a bit upset about academics who are very forthright with their opinions. But they’ve never developed a product, they’ve never taken that product to market. They’ve never used the money from those sales, to employ people, pay salaries and rents and taxes and all of those things. So I think for me that is the most important qualifier, if you have done that, if you have taken something to market, that for me qualifies you to talk about sales and marketing. And it’s interesting that you have like a sales background. Because that was my background before I was in marketing, I was in sales and the two kind of slotted together.

Robbie Mould 6:59  

Yeah, absolutely. I think also, with the likes of academics, obviously, they do great research and you can never doubt their work or anything like that. But actually spending your own money on marketing, worked in marketing agencies, doing the actual stuff, and then figuring out, after the results come in, even wasting a load of money, or, you know, just spend a bit of money going, Oh, that was amazing, that was great. You’re only really going to get experience or knowledge by doing it. You can do as many algorithms or modeling and all that kind of stuff as you want. But isn’t until you get into the field with anything in life, anything in life, unless you get out into the field, you don’t really have the experience.

Martin Henley 7:40  

100% and unless you’ve put some skin in the game, then you’re not qualified to talk about it as far as I’m concerned. Okay, good.

Robbie Mould 7:51  

Yeah, especially as a business owner as well, I think when you put your hope in a small business, and once you put your own money into it, you either can use that money to pay off your mortgage or whatever, or you’re actually invested in marketing, that’s when you really want to get the results, that’s when you really ultimately know if something is working. And that’s probably the best experiment that any business owner can do, is by putting your own money in because that’s when you know if it’s truly gonna work or not.

Martin Henley 8:19  

100%, 100%. So now we’re getting, because I think, and I tell people all the time, and whether they care or not, it’s another thing. But I think business is essentially sales and marketing. I define marketing as finding, winning and keeping customers profitably. And I wouldn’t define business very differently. You know, it doesn’t matter if you make great donuts or whatever, you got to got great IT solutions or whatever it is, if you aren’t very good at finding, winning and keeping customers profitably, you’re essentially not going to be very good at being in business. And I would argue not be in business very long. So we’re agreeing. And for me is kind of, but I don’t want to take you down what I think, I’m interested in what you think. So how long have you been running the marketing agency? 

Robbie Mould 9:17  

So we’ve run it for just over three years now. So well, if you include my freelancing, so for the past four or five years, I’ve been freelancing, just working with individual companies in London or across the globe or wherever it may be. But it wasn’t until February of 2020. When I thought, I know I’ve built a bit of capital, I’m going to move from freelancing to actually build a proper business. So I thought right really excited. This Coronavirus, I was passive guy, whatever it was, it’s February, launched RJM digital. I think I launched it on the 12th of March properly, started going to some networking pieces. And I think what, two weeks after that, we were in lockdown. So it was an interesting time. But yeah, I’ve been doing this for about four years or so, partly as a Freelancer, partly as the business brand. 

Martin Henley 10:11  

Okay, cool. And before that you were involved with, what were you busy with then? 

Robbie Mould 10:18  

So prior to that I was in corporate sales, working for an IT company, a data center management company over in London. And then prior to that, I had my first business called RJM technology, which I ran for about four or five years, which was selling data centers, servers, storage, all that kind of stuff to medium size to large corporates, that’s when I was 24. Yeah. 

Martin Henley 10:48  

Excellent. Okay, good. And I don’t want to paper over the fact that you started your business like 20 minutes before the global pandemic. So just give everyone a sense of how that feels. 

Robbie Mould 11:03  

Well, you know right, it sounds a bit scary, cries, well, How unlucky are you, but actually, it didn’t really impact me that much. Because having run a business before for this one, and that was literally, I’ve had enough, you know, I was 24, I was in a sales job or whatever, I’ve had enough of this, I want to start my business, and I literally just resigned and did it. So that was obviously lots of brilliant. You know because you just did it. But obviously, there was a lot of flaws and faults with that. So when I started setting up this next business, I actually had a business plan, I actually had a bit of an idea of when I may get sales and when I may bring on customers. And I actually had a bit of capital behind me to sort of kick things off. So I kind of did it in the right way. So in my forecasts and plan, I said between March and July, I probably won’t get much business. So I kind of forecasted nothing. And what was the interesting bit about it was that I started doing lots of networking, fortunately, was all over zoom so you could go to way more than what you could do back in the face to face days. 

And rather than going Oh shit, my business is up the wall, I may have to worry about putting people furlough and basically, business owners trying to protect their own business and their livelihoods. I was just out there prospecting. I was just going to every zoom meeting, I was quite positive, quite energetic, because ultimately, I knew I was gonna get new customers knew, I was going to get much revenue. So I just started building relationships, and just started doing some stuff for free for people, gaining the trust, you know, doing the usual sort of stuff you have to do, getting my name out there. And then it wasn’t until sort of the second half of the year when things started to get back to normal in the UK, before the second of lockdown in December, January. And actually, that’s when things started motoring along. So and because a lot of people, business owners had a lot of spare time because of the furlough and what have you and people were happy to do stuff on zoom. I was reaching out to so many more people and getting people’s attention for so much longer and so much more frequently. Had it not been Coronavirus, it worked out really well for me. So I really can’t complain in that respect.

Martin Henley 13:25  

Okay, and did you have, because, I mean, what do I think? I mean, I’m not in the game of having customers anymore. So I wasn’t as affected this time around. What I remember is 2007-2008, the last time the bottom fell out of everything. And I can remember I was being petrified, now I’d already been in business like two or three years. And that did have a huge impact on us because, you know, we were actively finding, winning, keeping customers, that’s what we were doing at that stage. So were you confident, comfortable, because you had a sense of what you were doing was going to be necessary valuable or just that you had a process?

Robbie Mould 14:18  

I didn’t have a choice, ultimately, because you start a business and no one’s employing during that time, so literally, you know, back against the wall in some respects so I think that 100% helped. It was a case of Look, I’ve started this, I’ve committed doing it. Even if I don’t get any customers for the next six months. No one was employing, especially marketing agencies because they’ve been putting people on furlough and it’s been a real shift and change in the market space for marketing agencies. I think they’ve come out better now. But yeah, it was a case of do it or, or don’t, ultimately on the main I don’t want to be too drastic by it, but that was ultimately what happened. 

Martin Henley 15:02  

Yes. Okay. So I think that’s interesting. I think that’s really interesting. I think, what I realized, I mean, I have a couple of clients and the two clients went both ways. Like one client went into overdrive, like it was coming out for Easter, the whole staff were in for Easter, you know, they went into overdraft and the other client, the first opportunity to start following people, they did it, you know, they literally opted out. And what I was saying to people, not very many people, because I wasn’t talking to that many people, was that this is either the biggest excuse you’re ever going to have, or is the best opportunity you’re ever going to have. And it’s not anything in between, because there’s all sorts of and this is what I did in 2008, I just stood up in front of groups of people. And I told them, you know, recessions are when the most millionaires become millionaires. Businesses that start in recessions are typically the most resilient because they can’t be lazy. So these things are always an opportunity. Okay, so it’s interesting. So, and I suppose now I’m thinking about, I kind of did have a choice, because I didn’t have to engage, you know, I didn’t have to engage. Okay, so it’s interesting. So, we’re talking a lot about your business and you and your situation, but I’m interested in what it is that you do with your business, who you do it for, and kind of how you add value to the world. That’s what this is about. It’s about marketing. 

Robbie Mould 16:35  

Sure, so we sort of, ultimately we build websites. And then we help manage the SEO of our websites and existing websites for our customers. So we predominantly work with smaller businesses, or business owners of companies with, say, four to five employees. So nothing too drastic. But the reason why we’ve targeted that level is one, from a personal preference, I’d much prefer speaking to business owners, because ultimately, once you get their buy in, they make a decision, it happens. So that’s what I’d like from a business level, but also the quality and the knowledge of the other marketing agencies that I compete with in this space is very far and few between so because most people want to go for the big ticket, a couple of grand a month, retainers with the medium to large corporate or medium sized businesses. And so what I did was when I looked at the marketplace and the type of customers that I look at, I go, Well, there are so many businesses in this space that marketing agencies don’t really target. But am I able to package the knowledge of what those agencies are able to give those larger customers, but package it and service the smaller companies in the same manner, but in a way that’s accessible financially, and also from a knowledge perspective and time perspective and all that kind of stuff.

Martin Henley 18:10  

Okay, good. So I don’t know when it stopped recording. So let me ask you that question again. Right, so what I’m interested to know about is the marketing agency, I’m interested to know who it is you do business with, what it is you do for them and kind of how you add value to the world.

Robbie Mould 18:30  

Okay, so you know, a marketing agency that focus predominantly on websites, building websites, and optimizing websites for our customers, and also building SEO strategies and get them ranking highly on Google. So the type of customers that we work with, as I mentioned previously, is small business owners, business owners with about four to five employees. And the reason why we decided to go down that route is that the majority of marketing agencies, they want the couple of grand, monthly retainers, you know, they go for the big ticket stuff. And naturally that falls with companies that have got a marketing manager, that have got maybe a marketing team, they’ve got more than sort of 10-15 employees. And so what we decided when we looked at the market was actually there are a bunch of these companies that are really ambitious, that do get marketing, but the majority of marketing agencies just aren’t accessible to them. So we’ve looked at how can we package the knowledge of a traditional sized marketing agency, how can we package that into building websites, SEO, all the other digital marketing stuff, package it, so it’s accessible financially for these type of businesses, and also give the knowledge and expertise but make sure that it’s not overwhelming them with all the marketing jargon that’s out there, you know as marketers, we find ourselves get into the habit of talking to and expecting that other people, especially business owners know what that’s about.

Martin Henley 20:11  

Okay, right, good. And this wasn’t a 100% conscious choice that you are going to work with these kinds of businesses?

Robbie Mould 20:23  

Absolutely, yeah. So when we looked at, what our competition is, about what we do, where our values are, etc, we just saw that, you know, putting our marketing hat on, that these type of businesses, these type of customers, they’re totally, completely underserved. And there’s so many opportunities to operate in this space, and also profitably, but you’ve got to make sure you pick your right customer, what we have to do is make sure that we pick customers that are at this level, but we can work with them to grow so that ultimately when we get sticky, for lack of a better phrase, sticky with them, that we grow with them, and then our monthly retainers or our value, our services can also grow as they grow their business as well. 

Martin Henley 21:11  

Okay, good. Right, this is a notoriously difficult market for marketing. And it kind of goes to the crux of what I’m about. I am hugely in support of small businesses. Small businesses are hugely beneficial to societies and to economies. But they are notoriously difficult to work with. Because I think there’s three things, one you’ve touched on already. So we’ll come back to that. The first is that small businesses are typically, like you say, you want to speak to the business owner, you want to engage with the business owner. But the trouble with that is that business owners of small, very small businesses are typically very egotistical. So they want to do what they want to do. And that makes it difficult. And also, if they’re having a shitty day, and you’re the person who turns up, then like you say, they have carte blanche to hire and fire. So, you know, there’s a risk associated with that. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is they’re not particularly well resourced, like you say. So, you know, they don’t have a huge amount to invest. The third thing is the thing that really interests me, is that they typically don’t get marketing. Now, for me, what this means is they don’t get business, they don’t understand that it doesn’t matter, like I say how good their donuts are, if they’re not finding, winning, keeping customers profitably, they’re essentially not in business and they don’t get that. So what I’m interested in is what you’ve said, is choosing the right customers, because these are the three huge pitfalls. I mean, any one of them are showstoppers. 

Robbie Mould 23:11  

Yeah, what is interesting in your last comment, so I would say business owners that don’t get marketing. I think that’s not just their fault. I think that’s an industry fault as well. And I think when you look at lots of marketing agencies is that we are very good at spouting out stats, you know, for example, from a Google Ads perspective, you know, click-through-rate and positioning and domain authority and all this kind of stuff but what the industry isn’t very good at and this is a marketing thing is having accountability, having accountability for our app, for our results, and that’s what drives business owners crazy is you spilled a load of marketing jargon and you produced a report, it’s got all these percentages and all this stuff. But ultimately, a business owner only cares about profit, customers and revenue obviously, so what I sort of pride myself on when I’m speaking to customers is that its result driven and return on investment. And so every pound that is spent with RJM, we look to try and have a profitable ROI on that because I think a majority of marketing agencies and marketing people, they love the creativity, they love the fluffy side of marketing and they love all the, you know, creating really good, pretty things but ultimately what they’re not very good at, and this is where my sales background comes in is, the bot helping with the top line, getting customers in, getting them to give them money and all that kind of stuff. So that’s, where I think there’s an industry problem and so I think that’s why business owners do get frustrated with marketers is because, Yes, we can’t be their sales director. But we can definitely give them solutions that will definitely help with their sales and drive revenue and guide the web where business owners want to be.

Martin Henley 25:17  

Okay, good. 100% this is an industry issue, a 100%. 

Robbie Mould 25:24  

Not all of it, but part of it is.

Martin Henley 25:27  

No I think a 100%. I don’t wanna be rude, but I do think a 100%. The thing is about sales and marketing. If what I’m saying is true, of course it is because I’m saying it, that sales and marketing is about finding, winning, keeping customers profitably, then why is marketing so bad at doing that? You know, in London, the average lifespan of a digital marketing customer is three months, you know, so if those agencies can’t sell themselves, and there is an issue here, it’s difficult to sell yourself, you know, there is a need for agency here, because there is a need for somebody to be outside of your business looking in and seeing what is attractive, necessary, required marketable. But sales and marketing is so bad at selling itself, like so bad, and sustaining itself. So I think a 100%, and you talk about jargon, but I think even beyond the jargon, like you know, I’ve got this series where I’m kind of supposed to be going through all the jargon. 

But even beyond the jargon, there’s like narratives that suggest that you shouldn’t really expect too much from your marketing, like you go back to john Wanamaker famously said, in the 1850s, I know that 50% of my advertising is effective, I just don’t know which 50%. That is kind of the thinking that persists throughout marketing, is that marketing is just this fluffy thing that you’ll probably do, if you’ve got money to burn, but immediately there’s a downturn, then or a recession, then you’ve just got to cancel that marketing spend. And that has kind of been borne out in this pandemic situation where you say marketing agencies just upped stakes, you know, sent everybody home, that’s insane. I had a conversation with a friend of mine, he is in the anxiety business, the addressing anxiety business, not causing anxiety business. And I said to him, Look, there are two things 100%, this was like three months in, there’s two things 100% that people are going to need, they’re going to need marketing, and they’re going to need support with their anxiety. Now, thankfully, you know, he wasn’t in my situation you know, but he did dig in. And you know, he’s doing really well, much better than he’s ever done previously. So that’s interesting. Clearly, everyone was going to need to look very closely at their market, and work out how they could support those people in this hugely changing situation. That’s what marketing is, you know.

Robbie Mould 28:10  

Yeah. 

Martin Henley 28:10  

And but marketing, it seemed to me, I mean, not the people I’m speaking to, but you’re saying, other people are saying, marketing agencies gave up, you know, straight out of the bat.

Robbie Mould 28:22  

Yeah. And I think the reason being as well, is not just like a marketing agency bashing, because obviously, I don’t want to completely just say that the industry is broken and those kind of stuff. But I think it’s just a mindset change that we need that we need to have as an industry. And I think we’re very good at telling companies that they need to do social media, that they need to do SEO, but we’re not very good at saying why they need to do it. And ultimately, business is business, it’s all about getting more leads, customers, and ultimately revenue and profitability. So I think that’s where the shift needs to happen, the shift that needs to happen is that, we’re not just that point before the sales team takes over. It’s not just we’re driving traffic, driving awareness and stuff like that, we need to work alongside the sales team, we need to be aligned with the sales team and be held accountable with whatever sales are doing so that we can then be contributing to revenue and to profitability. So that if there is another pandemic or everything’s sort of melts down again, the marketing agencies aren’t the first ones that’s stripped out because companies are never going to get rid of a sales agency or a sales person that is their top most performing sales person during a pandemic. They’re like, well, we need you, we need you to help us keep the company going. But marketing agencies, the ones that are just thrown under the bus straight away when the shit hits the fan, it demonstrates not providing enough value. And I think that’s probably should be the biggest wake up call for most people in the industry. 

Martin Henley 30:07  

Okay, good. I’m thoroughly agreeing with you, 100% agreeing with you, except I am prepared to say that this is a marketing industry, and it is a marketing agency issue. And if they are not delivering enough value, which I think if they’re losing clients every three months, then they’re not, you know, if that statistic is correct, or if they are delivering value, and they’re not actually able to present that value to the customers in the way that they actually value so they want to sustain them, then that, again, is really bad marketing. So I am happy to say that this is an industry issue, and where we’re going in this conversation because you are with SEO, I think SEO is the worst culprit for this. And what happens every time a marketing agency takes on a client and loses a client in three months, then they do a disservice to the entire industry. That doesn’t matter. They do a disservice. I mean, this sounds like, they do a disservice to business. Do you know I mean, it’s like, small business owners are probably the most courageous people I think in the world, you know, they don’t help themselves sometimes they don’t understand the right stuff sometimes. But what you can’t say is that they are nothing other than courageous, you know, they are doing probably the most difficult thing you can do in your career, you know, let’s just say that. And the amount of sharks out there who will undermine that by taking up their resources, their time, their energy, their confidence, their money, by bullshitting them is just frightening. And this, to me starts like right at the very bottom with whoever it is, might find you out from a local rag and demand you pay 35 quid for an advert that no one’s ever going to see. All the way to the very top of the chain, where you look at Facebook and Google, where they are taking money from people and not delivering value. And anywhere that happens, I think, in marketing, they’re doing a disservice to the industry, and they’re doing a disservice to the market. Good. 

Robbie Mould 32:31  

Well, okay, yeah, that’s fine. So let me catch up. So business owner can certainly be to blame, I think well considering they don’t have some accountability. Because yes, you can put 35 quid into Facebook and Google or whatever you want. But I think also there’s need of a bit of education from business owners, about customers, who do you want to be your customer. What is that profile look like. Because business owners in this space that we operate in or I operate in, they’ve very good technical people. And I’m sure we’ve heard all about this from business coaches, and all that kind of stuff, but very good technical people with doing what they do. So whether they’re a good accountant or electrician or marketer or what have you, but they’re not very good at all the other business stuff, so there does need to be some education there. Because I think a lot, Facebook makes it very easy to spend money and say, right, you can target everyone in London, anyone that might be female, between the age of 25 or 35. And then you just go and push out your advert without actually understanding who are the demographics, what are their interests, what are their profile, and all that kind of stuff, so I think that yes, Facebook, you could be saying are doing a disservice, but then a lot of people using these tools without any real education, or being informed how to use it effectively. And it’s the same with SEO and any other digital marketing strategy out there.

Martin Henley 34:04  

Good. 

Robbie Mould 34:05  

And then they blame the tool, and not actually because of they don’t know how to use it.

Martin Henley 34:12  

Right, this is going to be a really good conversation, I think, because I don’t agree with you.

Robbie Mould 34:19  

Perfect.

Martin Henley 34:19  

It’s like if you go to a doctor and you suffer malpractice, then you can sue that doctor. And nobody says Oh, it’s the patients that aren’t educated enough. If you go to a dentist, if you go to an accountant, if you go to, whoever you go to, if you don’t get a good service, then you can sue those people. And I’m going to push back on your idea that the business owners aren’t accountable. They could not be more accountable. You know, if their business fails, then potentially their life fails. You know, they go bankrupt, they lose their house, the effect that might have on their relationships, their family is huge. Business owners could not be more accountable. And here’s the reality of what we’re saying here is that those business owners that do get it, and put their hands up and say, I need some help, more often than not end up getting ripped off. So that has to be an industry issue. And I don’t know. I mean, I’m doing my bit, I’m trying to educate people, I’m not doing enough. But I’m trying to do much more. And like you, when I was a year into my business, I think, it took me six years to realize, I wanted to be the small businesses’ marketing champion. And it kind of took me six years to realize that they don’t really deserve one but that’s probably not fair. Because everything I’m saying now is that they do deserve one, I didn’t do the thing that it sounds like you’re doing, which is being very particular about the business, the customers that I took on, because I didn’t do as well as you, I didn’t realize that actually, running a successful business takes an investment of time, energy, and money. I gave it a shit ton of time, a shit ton of energy. But I didn’t have any capital behind me when I did that. So I was running from behind all the way through. That’s what I think.

Robbie Mould 36:16  

That’s fine. So in terms of the accountability side, is not necessarily, yeah, you’re absolutely right. As a business owner myself, yeah, I’m accountable to my employees, to my customers, to everyone. What I’m saying about accountability is about accountability of knowing, or up skilling knowledge, up skilling training, whatever it is, into something before they commit to a load of cash or commit to partnering up with someone. That’s why I say about the accountability side is that, you can’t just go into something, anything in business, whether it’s marketing or business development, whatever it is, I’m trying to think off the top my head without truly understanding all the levels, all the nuances of it, you can’t be an expert in these things. But I think you’ve got to have a decent enough knowledge of something and it takes a little bit of time before you commit to something because if you don’t, then you can’t just blame the agency, you can’t just blame the tall, you have to take accountability that I didn’t prep, that I didn’t use the tool effectively enough, or I didn’t prep the agency enough, or I haven’t truly understood who my ideal customers are, I don’t know truly the profile of my customers enough to brief the tools and these agencies effectively to get the results that I want.

Martin Henley 37:43  

Okay, I’m not rolling over. Because the thing is, like my experience was, I did this for nine years. Like I say, it took me six years to realize that I need bigger clients, with bigger budgets, with bigger commitments, with management, like marketing management, because then they had a list of objectives that they needed to get achieved. And as long as we help them to achieve those, then we were delivering value. So it took me a long time to realize this. But what I saw in the nine years that I was running my business is that so few business owners actually understand that marketing and sales is what being in business is. Yeah, and those few that do understand that and realize that they need some help with that, get ripped off, like I said before, so I go to an accountant, because I can’t possibly, like by the time I know everything an accountant knows, I might as well be in accountancy. By the time I know everything that a marketing agency should know. I might as well be a marketing agency. Do you see? So, I mean, I do think there’s issues with the small business owners. I do think they run their businesses very egotistically, very subjectively. That’s what I think. And it needs to be about what they fancy and what they don’t fancy, which isn’t the way you should, that’s not what marketing is about, marketing is about serving a market. So I do think that they have issues, they could know more. But where are they going to go? You know, who’s like you could do a degree in marketing. And I’ve had people turn up and do my half-day marketing strategy course and tell me they learnt more in that half day than they did in the four years than they did a marketing MBA, you know, so the academic stuff isn’t useful. The stuff that the industry is providing, isn’t useful, I don’t know, I think we’re gonna have to agree to disagree.

Robbie Mould 39:43  

It’s at the balance. I think, ultimately. So I’m not disagreeing with what you’re saying. It’s a balance, right? I’m saying that the marketing agencies out there, there are lots of them, as you say, do any of this disservice to the industry, but also there are business owners that are just blindly going into these things, without really sort of just having a bit of background knowledge and maybe just almost maybe trusting people too much with these things. You know, you mentioned about the accountant, you can’t possibly know everything about it. Well, if you ask Jimmy Carr, you know, his accountant said, you want to pay less tax and look what happened to him. So he’s definitely here. He’s the pinnacle as to why you should understand why, about something you’re going into that you need to understand, you need to have a good knowledge, a good balanced knowledge about every part of business, sales, marketing, accountancy, whatever, because there are stories like I’ve mentioned about Jimmy Carr that, they love bottom dollar type thing that he knows a lot more about accountancy than when he first got started. So yeah, that’s that’s how I will counter that.

But I just sort of focus and pick up on the point as well about, especially in the SEO world, that there are so many sharks out there. And SEO is in particular, that we all, I’m sure, we all get messages, emails from people saying that I can get you to the top of Google, I can do this and I can do that. And actually, this is one of the reasons why I’ve got into SEO, because you have all of these 10 terrible agencies that have got a terrible reputation, that really do the industry a disservice. If you can look different and if you can actually demonstrate some value and getting my first couple of customers was really tough, then you’re almost like this knight in shining armor. And it becomes really easy to keep your customers, to get referrals from customers, because I think ultimately, in my world, SEO, ironically, the best marketing tool that I have is referrals and word of mouth, because I’ve built that trust, its very results driven. And actually, all of those 10 terrible agencies that are out there, if the one out of 10, that’s completely different. That actually does demonstrate value, it’s a great thing for your business. If you’ve ever dealt with estate agents, you know, it’s easy to paint a broad brush and say, they’re all useless. They’re all this and the other, but that one, that estate agent that appears different that you can actually trust, you’re probably going to sell your house through them or via them or whatever it is multiple times, you’re probably got to buy out the house with them. So it can be a benefit operating in an industry that has got a terrible reputation if you do it, obviously, if you are different and actually do it right. 

Martin Henley 42:36  

Bless you, you are hugely optimistic, hugely, hugely optimistic. I absolutely love it. That’s cool. And I mean, I’m just like getting flashbacks now for times when I’ve pitched and you know, one guy said to me, we were pitching for an SEO thing. And the guy said to me, You know what, Martin, you will slide further on bullshit, then you will glass. And he was essentially saying like everyone else’s pitch for this has lie to me. So and that’s very exciting, very intriguing, you know, very enticing lie to me is what he was essentially saying. So in that case, it was probably his fault that he didn’t engage us and he probably got some, some shysters. Okay, good. Right. So you said what we’re good at is telling people that they need to do these things, but not why they need to do these things. So interestingly, why in 2021, does a business even need a website?

Robbie Mould 43:34  

Well, okay, so they ultimately don’t, not every business needs a website. Okay, that is the ultimate truth of it. 

Martin Henley 43:46  

We are dealing exclusively in the ultimate truth now, that’s good. 

Robbie Mould 43:50  

Yeah. Yeah. Ultimately, that is the truth. I mean, you don’t need, looking from a marketing perspective, you don’t need social media don’t need SEO, you don’t really need anything, you know, it’s only what your customers do, okay? If you are someone, like I would say, Okay, I’m just trying to talk about customers that really don’t need a website. I think if you’re a solicitor helping with someone’s divorce, no one is going on people’s web or multiple solicitors’ websites, and going Oh, that looks pretty or this, that they do this, or they do that. Because ultimately, you want someone that’s going to help win your advantage or whatever it is. And so you’re going to get referrals, you’re going to be looking for word of mouth, I’m going to be looking for whoever it is to say, right, Kenny, I’m in a bit of a sticky position here. Can you help me out? I’m not going to be searched on Google for divorce lawyers or what have you because it’s going to be very difficult to build that level of trust. However, the people that do need websites, I would say are consumer led businesses, potentially trades people as well. People that can provide really valuable information that can help build trust with their customers. So, you know, blogging is a bit of an old school thing, but providing online resources, whether in forms of eBooks or long format information, checklists, videos, whatever it may be, if you’re in an industry that can that can provide that level of knowledge and resources, then they’re the people that need websites.

Martin Henley 45:37  

Good. Okay, that’s interesting. That’s really interesting. Okay, so what do I say? I say, I think the reason, like because you can do all of this stuff in lots of different ways now, you know, even if you’re selling consumer stuff you can sell on Etsy, or Shopify or whatever it might be, you can sell through Amazon, you can do all sorts of things. So the reason I think people need websites is because it gives them the opportunity to do the search engine marketing thing, which is PPC, and SEO, which we’re coming to. And so I think if you are interested in growing your business, and you’re interested in doing marketing as effectively as possible, then you’d have to understand how PPC or SEO, my deliver, you know what the cost of customer acquisition might be through those platforms if you’re interested to do that.

Robbie Mould 46:31  

Only for customers are actually engaging with those with those platforms. So if you’re set up, for example, someone like this, have a look at like, handbags, for example, Louis Vuitton comes off the mind, of the top of my head. Now, if you’re flogging a couple of Grand handbag, it’s probably unlikely that you’re going to be driving your sales through the website. Now, I could be completely wrong about this. But I imagine that most people, they’ll try to buy a couple of 1000 pound Bespoke handbag or whatever it may be, your Prop, you got to have probably a website, or to showcase the latest things. But I would say probably the majority of people that go into a store, a bit like with Apple, right, its still people still love to go into store, they love to test the iPad, love to touch it and feel it and all that kind of stuff. And so that making sure that you’ve got to look at what your brand, your shopping experience is like and your brand’s experience is like. And so if you find that majority of your customers are preferring that because of your product, that’s what it needs, they still go into store, and they want to be loved by your sales people and have a great customer experience, then focus on that. But if it’s the opposite, if you’re like a coach, for example, other brands are available, blah, blah, is that you probably are going to be selling online. So actually, you need to make sure that you do have the right marketing strategies to sell a 100 pound handbag, for example. And so your website is super important. And maybe your shopping experience is less important, if that makes sense. 

Martin Henley 48:11  

That makes sense. And it’s interesting when people think of handbags that people very often think of Louis Vuitton, it’s like they did some really effective marketing or something, isn’t it? Okay, right. Good. Okay, that’s interesting. So, are you saying then I’m hearing what you’re saying? I’m finding what you’re saying, it’s interesting, because it’s not what a lot of SEO people or marketing agencies would even say, every SEO company will say you need a web presence. You need search engine optimization, you need websites. So that’s good, what you’re saying really good and true. But are you saying that divorce lawyers shouldn’t be marketing themselves?

Robbie Mould 48:51  

Well, okay, not marketing themselves, because you can market yourself in different ways. Referral marketing is key, word of mouth marketing is really important. I think this is the thing is that market is, we say, Well, everything is marketing. So we’ve got to do everything and anything and actually, that’s not as I’ve mentioned before about two examples of Louis Vuitton and coach there is you don’t have to do everything if that’s not the most profitable way of getting your customer. So when it comes from an SEO perspective, where I’ve had most success in this small business world, our trade’s people, for example, because or people that have photographers, for example, because we’ve something like trades. People will type in electrician, London or builder London or what have you. And a website is really good way of demonstrating your portfolio, demonstrating your customers, demonstrate your credibility with online reviews, you link into your Checkatrade accounts and all of that kind of stuff. So if you can appear at the top of Google for that type of service, where it’s not completely exclusive, that is not built a 100% on trust, you can build a little bit of trust automatically, digitally by appearing at the top of Google. So and there are certain industries that is more effective than others. So I would say trade that’s effective, because quite a lot of people do use, do type in electrician, London, or what have you, then say divorce lawyer, divorce lawyer, London, so that should give an indication of what people’s behavior should dictate whether you should do something or not, in my opinion.

Martin Henley 50:52  

Brilliant. Yeah. Yeah. I really like what you’re saying, because it’s what I believe. Okay, so then, okay, so I want to repeat the question now, because you do the two things, SEO and web sites. So now I need you to tell me is why people need SEO in 2021.

Robbie Mould 51:14  

So with whenever I do like a presentation for like the FSB, or whatever, demystifying SEO, the reason why I am more passionate about SEO than say social media, is that social media has now become and it’s quite a recent thing, projecting something that maybe you are or probably not or what you project, how you want to look like, how you want to be perceived. And obviously as a marketer, it’s probably ironic, I say that, but with SEO, for me, it’s about so with social media, I’ve recently become a dad in the last six months. So I’m posting pictures of me, my daughter, and we’re all me and my daughter and wife, all happy families, you know, all smiling. Everything looks like a fantastic time. But when I was tired, I’d go into Google, I was typing, why won’t this baby fucking sleep at 2am? So actually, in social media, it’s all about projecting what you want to be perceived. But when it comes to SEO, or Google, that is actually the real behaviors, or the real truth actually comes out, because I’m not saying that I was up at 2am, trying to feed her or trying to stop her crying, but I’m typing into Google, how can I stop my baby crying. So social media is about how you want to come across, and how you want to be perceived. But when people use Google, you actually get the truth, you actually get what’s really going on with that individual. And so we as marketers can exploit that by building content, building resources to help answer those queries, answer those concerns. And if you’re at the top of Google, one, you will get found automatically because the vast majority of people will click on the first one or two results in Google. And if you can actually create some really valuable content on your website that matches that query, answers that question, your brand will automatically build trust with that particular user. And I’m not saying that every single user will buy from you as a result, but you will earn trust, and you will earn credibility with that user, if you can provide some content via a website and get it found by SEO or by Google.

Martin Henley 53:41  

Cool. I also think that, I mean, it’s not what I was thinking, but now you’ve said that it is kind of like, so what I tell people is that search engine marketing is, basically what you’re dealing with is motivated buyers. Because, this is a little bit like what you’re saying, but nobody Google something for fun. Maybe they do Google, they Google things for entertainment, but by the time that you’re in, Where can I buy? Or how do I do? You know, it’s typically because they want to buy something or they want to know how to do something. So that’s an interesting perspective.

Robbie Mould 54:25  

It’s often when they’re in that stage of knowledge and understanding stuff as well. So it is important as marketers to build trust and credibility at every stage of the buying cycle. So whether it’s just the interest stage or the Knowledge Building phase, or they’re actually at the phase of buying something with SEO, or search engine marketing, you can touch every part of that journey. With building content or having a website that you can then sell your services or have a contact request form or whatever it is. You can enter any stage of the buying cycle through SEO or through digital format.

Martin Henley 55:12  

Okay, good. Yeah.

Robbie Mould 55:15  

You are saying Yeah Martin, is that because you don’t agree or?

Martin Henley 55:24  

Don’t worry, I’m gonna tell you as soon as I don’t agree is because I’m just working out if I agree or I don’t agree. What do I think? I think that 100% by the time somebody is putting into Google, where do I buy X, Y, Z, they’re ready to buy something. And maybe if what you’re saying, like, so this will be the justification for search engine marketing, which is PPC and SEO.

Robbie Mould 55:53  

Yeah.

Martin Henley 55:53  

So 100% PPC, if you’re doing PPC while you’re in the business of buying customers, which is what you should be doing, if you’re investing in your sales and marketing. So that is that. And also, I just think we’re in a little bit of daylight. So we’re aware of the customer journey, they need to get some awareness, they need to get some interest, they need to get some consideration, blah, blah, blah. And you’re 100%, you can get that all the way across search engine optimization. I wouldn’t. I mean, you can if you like, but I wouldn’t want to go any fluffier than that I would want to be saying to people, and you’re right, the difference between PPC and search engine optimization is the trust, you know, because at one time, not us, but we were working with a business and they were top for SEO Services. It was pretty hard work not selling people who found you at the top of Google for SEO Services, to sell them search engine optimization. So I, yeah, here’s what I think somebody I know described social media, as the great 20th century publishing swindle. 21st century publishing swindle. Because what they’ve done is they’ve managed to convince billions of people to become contributors for them, and businesses. And they’ve never paid a penny or largely haven’t paid a penny certainly Facebook haven’t, Instagram, although it’s changing a little bit now. YouTube have. But what they’ve done is they’ve managed to get us all talking about each other, which is what we’re most interested in. And then they’ve sold us basically our data off the back of that. So you said something earlier about Google? So what exactly is my issue? I’ve got an issue. So what do I think? I think so social media is essentially media, its paid advertisement, you know, and you can present yourself however you like because you’re paying you can absolutely do that. Google is also interesting, when I teach people search engine, when I teach people PPC, I tell them Google is after your money. So that’s what I think.

Robbie Mould 58:10  

It’s not with every business though, I’m not sure I don’t get that statement. Because every business is that we’re all after everyone’s money, really. It’s just what does that mean? It’s coming across as if it’s a negative thing?

Martin Henley 58:26  

Well, not a negative as long as you understand that if you are spending money with Google, Google is much better at taking your money than you are probably at keeping it. So for example, you know, over and so like you said earlier, like if you do want to do Google advertising, you don’t really know about it, then, you know, then you have to take part of the responsibility. But it seems to me that they are making it increasingly complicated. That I mean, don’t get me started. All of these businesses are, like you and I were small businesses. 

Robbie Mould 59:06  

Yeah.

Martin Henley 59:06  

But I understand that. If I’m going to get your money consistently, I’m going to need to deliver value in your business. Whereas Google and Facebook and those kinds of businesses really, I don’t think particularly care about delivering value at all. Because if I’m running Google PPC campaigns, and I need some advice from Google, I can speak to somebody, it’s the only people I can speak to, Google are people who will get money out of me for AdWords, or ads, as they call it now. And their recommendation is going to be run more campaigns, run more keywords, you know, don’t exact match that, like spend more money is going to be their advice.

Robbie Mould 59:45  

And you know what, I must say that whilst I am not always defender of Google when they definitely have their flaws, that’s not completely true in all honesty. They’ve actually, they’ve turn that corner a lot. So they’ve got entire inside, we call them inside salespeople, but inside campaign optimizers, or what have you, and having experienced this for my own PPC campaigns, whilst they’re not as great as doing it as third party agencies, and we don’t do a lot of PPC. So I talked from a neutral standpoint on this, they can offer some value in terms of how to optimize certain campaigns on a small level. The instant response isn’t always build another campaign, add more keywords,  they can be pretty good, they can offer some pretty good advice as to how to reduce the amount of cost per click, for example, they still ultimately want us to buy more, but it’s not just buy more, and you’ll get more successes, actually, they do provide some value of how to optimize a little bit of your campaign, you’ll see some results, and then you then gain more confidence and trust in Google AdWords. And then so therefore, you’re more inclined, obviously to spend more, but they are getting a lot better just to defend them slightly.

Martin Henley 1:01:08  

Okay, well, you can defend them. That’s not my experience. I gave up on phoning Google a long time ago, like so I haven’t spoken to Google in as long as I’d like to remember.

Robbie Mould 1:01:18  

Fair enough. It is slightly different. That is different now. 

Martin Henley 1:01:22  

Yeah, good. And part of the comprehensive reason I’m having these conversations is to get a sense of what’s going on in the world. I haven’t proactively marketed my business for like since 2014. So it’s been seven years. And I was thinking today, you know, I took the trouble to work out how all of these things worked. Because I was in the business of doing this for my customers and for myself, and I haven’t been for the last seven years, or only in a very limited way. What did I want to say about that? Okay, then, here’s the nail in the coffin for me and Google. 

Robbie Mould 1:01:53  

Okay, 

Martin Henley 1:01:54  

They used to tell you, where you ranked on PPC. And then they stopped. And this was about two years ago.

Robbie Mould 1:02:05  

Right.

Martin Henley 1:02:06  

Now, forgive me for being a cynical old conspiracy theorists. But what I always thought is that I am bidding to rank in the ad words, you know, in their ad words listing. And let’s be honest, that’s what you’re doing. Like, and if so, every month, I would do the report for my customer. And he would say, and this is your average ranking. And what I would do is I’d look at each of the campaigns or each of the keywords, and I would say, Okay, that was in 1.2, I want it in one, and so I’m gonna add, I don’t know, two pence, or eight pence, or whatever it might have been. And this one is consistently in first place, maybe I can take five pence from there. And basically, that was the one criteria that enabled you, empowered you to manage your ad campaigns. And then this is the last time I phoned Google, it’s gone. 

Robbie Mould 1:03:01  

Right. 

Martin Henley 1:03:02  

And so if they’re not only interested in taking your money, like, how do I manage that now. Like, so I’ve stopped running PPC campaigns for my customers, because what am I buying? If I’m not buying the opportunity to be at the top of Google for exactly the thing that I want to be at the top of Google for then what then exactly what am I paying? So why would they do that if they weren’t just interested in making it more difficult for you to run your campaigns effectively?

Robbie Mould 1:03:28  

So I don’t do PPC and this will be on the final question, Who else should I speak to? Because that’s kind of I feel like that’d be a great person to speak to. However, what I will, what I will say is that Google, the reason why we as users, and this has taken my marketing agency hat off, we as users trust Google, to give us the most relevant information or most relevant websites or results to our query. And so what Google is constantly doing is honoring that commitment to its users, that whatever results we put on our search results page, it is the most relevant information according to your query. And that’s why they constantly have algorithm updates and all that kind of stuff. And so providing really relevant information to a customer query, especially if it’s more than holistic stuff, like Why do this? Or how does it do that? It’s actually really difficult. It’s actually really difficult providing valuable information that is different, that the customer is going to actually engage with. Well, I would say we as marketers, but because it’s difficult, it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of resources to do. 

And so therefore what majority of people is go I don’t want to try and do all that hard work. I just want to do a couple of fixes on my website, or I want to pay an extra five pence more on my Google ad campaign to get to the top And I don’t actually want to do the work that is actually necessary for the user to stay on the web page and actually get some value out of it. So I think we’re always looking to try and find the easy way to get around that. But Google is making it even much harder to get into the top spaces for PPC, and also from the organic searches as well. And so therefore, the people that are putting the time in, and are actually different, they are actually providing a lot of valuable information. They’re ultimately getting to the top quicker, and they’re staying there for longer. So I think that’s something that we people need to reflect on now. Because I think there’s a lot of people in the SEO world where it was build a web page, stuff, it will load the keywords in the copy, and also in the meta-tag keywords, stuff it will load of keywords that matched what people will type into Google and that was it. It was really easy. It was like, Yeah, I can earn a few 100 quid a month for doing this. But now it’s a lot more resource intensive, is a lot more challenging in order to get to the top of Google, but if you’re willing to put the work in, you will get the results.

Martin Henley 1:06:11  

Okay, good. I’m looking at I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about them taking this thing off, and I’m taking out on you, because you might be the third person that’s been prepared to talk to me about anything like this since then. So let me stop doing that. Okay, but I’m not going to stop challenging you if that’s cool. Is that cool? 

Robbie Mould 1:06:30  

Brilliant. Love it. 

Martin Henley 1:06:32  

Cool. So you’re saying they are making it? So this is an SEO thing. You’re saying they’re making it harder to get to the top of the page? And they absolutely, now because I am a cynical old conspiracy theorist. Are you cool with that? All right.

Robbie Mould 1:06:53  

Let’s switch off now. I’m probably associated with that right? I’ll be cancelled in a week.

Martin Henley 1:07:00  

So the thing is, what is the thing about that is that they are physically making it more difficult to get to the top of the page. So the top four results now are going to be paid results, then you might get some like local results, then you might get some video results. And then I’ll tell you what they’ll do, which really knocks me is they’ll put in a little snippet result that gives the searcher the answer to their question. So the reason your daughter isn’t sleeping at two o’clock in the morning is because you’re a terrible parent, you can just close Google now and go back to bed. You see. So realistically, and in lots of instances, if you are number one on the natural listings on Google, you could be the 10th or the 12th result on that page. And people have to especially on their phones have to do a considerable amount of scrolling, before they’re even going to get to you. Now I know why Google are doing this because Google want your money? So that’s fine. You don’t have to argue about that.

Robbie Mould 1:08:06  

It’s not, it’s because whatever you got on your website, Google has figured out that people are less engaged. Okay, so the adverts will always appear top. Because ultimately, Google is a phenomenal resource that we as users use for free. And so they have to make money. Yes, selling data, that’s a separate conversation and all that kind of stuff. But the adverts is always going to pay top because ultimately, that’s how they pay for this amazing resource that we all use, everyone in the globe uses. The second bit local is because Google realizes that for certain companies local is the key that people want to buy local, people want to use local agencies, or local companies, when it makes sense to do so. Then the third bit of the videos, people are naturally more engaged in videos. Yeah, this interview we’re doing. I’m sure there’s gonna be more people watching this on YouTube or on video format than if this was in a printed transcript on the blog. So that’s why Google has realized that and they’ve gone actually Well, we want to have given information in a format that’s more engaging for people. So that’s why we’re prioritizing on certain key word searches, video over written format.

Martin Henley 1:09:25  

Okay, but you haven’t answered the really challenging one, which is the snippet. They’re taking your work and then putting it on their service, so that people don’t have to leave their service to get the answer that they’re looking for. That’s naughty. Well, can we just say once Google a little bit naughty?

Robbie Mould 1:09:42  

No, no, not all because they’re given an answer to a question. Yeah, if it’s quite a deep and meaningful question, that Google’s can only display a couple of lines. So there’s still which a vast majority of people will click on that article and read more about it. What year, did England win the World Cup? Blah, blah, blah, yes. And they will just display 1966? And they’ll take someone else’s website and use that. Yes, you’ve got point there. But then don’t try ranking, don’t spend loads of time ranking on Google for the information about a question that is just literally one or two sentences, invest time answering questions that people would invest time in, will engaged with for more than a couple of minutes. 

Martin Henley 1:10:35  

Okay, cool. That makes perfect sense. I still think they want your money. So I mean, if they don’t want your money, they are remarkably good at taking businesses’ money. And this is the other point that I wanted to make is not so much about Google, but maybe about Google. Like, historically, if less about Google, but so historically, like Facebook, like the social media, they would have paid 10 or 15%, commission to the agency that sold that media. And because they cut out those agencies, you know, we should have all become millionaires, by selling this really well. So I don’t really want to argue with you about that. Because, like you say, it’s not your specialization. Okay, so how do we do it? How do we do search engine optimization in a way that is cost effective for us? And effective, you know, how does that work?

Robbie Mould 1:11:46  

Okay, so the way that I tried describe search engine optimization is that there are three pillars to it. So you’ve got your technical SEO, you’ve got your on-page SEO, and you’ve got your off-page SEO. Now, what Google is trying to do is say that, if I was speaking to you, Martin and asking you a question about who is the best person that can help answer this question, or that can provide this service, the three things almost sort of layer up to how we act as social beings. So the technical SEO is how, how you’re presented. So if I asked you for who’s the best lawyer, and I turned out with not in a suit, really scruffy hair all over the place, you know, I look a complete mess, you’re less likely  to recommend me as the lawyer, so technical stuff is basically presenting your website in a format that Google wants to see that you can search properly, that it’s all correct, it’s not a bit of a mess, then you’ve got your on-page SEO, which is actually the content that you actually put on there. So Google will actually analyze all of your content, it will use its algorithm to say, is this valuable? Is this actually informative? 

And actually, is this going to make our users engaging with it, because what Google will do on the on-page stuff is they’ll sort of play around, experiment with your web page. So it will recognize that if someone goes onto your website, and only stays on there for a matter of seconds, and then goes back to Google, and then clicks on the one below, it knows that you’ve not provided a valuable resource or answered the question. So that’s the on-page stuff. And then the off-page stuff is about credibility. So when I asked you for a lawyer, I’m gonna ask you, okay, they’re presented? Well, they’ve clearly given you a rough information, the correct information, but actually, have they got any case studies? Or have they got any references? Have they got any other credibility that backs up what they are saying, and that’s where you have to get your website or other third party websites, you have to get other people to link your content from their website. And that’s kind of it in a nutshell, those three things and when you think about it, when Google as I said before, like when Google is trying to mimic the social interactions that we have as humans, if you can get those three things right, then you’re going to be in a really good spot.

Martin Henley 1:14:28  

Okay, which spot are you going to need to be in? Because really, if you’re not in number one spot, and given that number one spot might be in 10th or 12th position already, like really being in second spot or third spot isn’t gonna do it for you.

Robbie Mould 1:14:46  

Well, that all depends, okay. So that’s why when we as SEOs when we work with a customer is that we look at keyword volumes. So we say right, how often are people typing in X, Y, Z London? Or the answer to the question, you know, whatever you put in Google. Now, if there are, say 10,000 searches, you know that probably 50, maybe 40 to 50% of people are going to click on number one, and then that drops down to like 10% for number two 5% number three, and then it’s single digits after that. But even if you’re number three, or four, and you’re getting 5% of the 10,000 searches a month, that’s still going to be a decent enough traffic. And then if you’ve got, if you do actually provide valuable information on there that people engage with and explore the rest of your website, send your contact request form, that’s still going to be okay. Especially if the value of your customer that does that is worth my fees or the investment that you’ve put into it. So if you’ve got 10,000 searches a month, and it’s really competitive keyword, and if someone’s charging you two grand to get to number third spot, and you say you get 1000 visits, but you only get a pound from every customer, then it’s not going to be worth your time because you’re going to be spending more on the agency services, than what you’re getting back. But if let’s say you’re getting 1000 people on your website, and 100 and you get 100, people spending 500 pounds a month, my agency fees become almost irrelevant, because you’re going to get that return on investment. And if you’re number one spot, fantastic. But ultimately, even if you’re number two or three, as long as you get that ROI and what we mentioned at the start of this interview, that’s ultimately what it comes down to, then that’s going to be a solid business investment for you.

Martin Henley 1:16:48  

Good. So and this to me is how I rationalize all of this is if you’ve got to make it objective, you’ve it’s got to be about numbers. So for me, it’s always about cost of customer acquisition, and then customer lifetime value and profitability, you know, can we actually generate a return on investment from each of these things? Okay, I’ve got a bit of an issue you won’t be surprised to hear I’ve got lots of issues. But I’ve got a bit of an issue with. Like, when I started my business in 2005, it was just me and I was like, also came from sales. So I was just running around talking to small business owners about what I would do if I was a salesperson in their business. And I was always the sort of sales person that had to do like self-journeys and stuff like that. So it was always like marketing and sales. And then very quickly, people want to telemarketing, so like an idiot, I provided telemarketing for a couple of years. And that’s all I did. Yeah, maybe a couple of years is long. I mean, then digital started happening. So it made sense to do it with email, and then some PPC and then social kicked off. And then you know, so that’s how I ended up with digital. So I have a little bit of an issue with people who so if you came to me in 2006, late 2006, and you said I need some help with my marketing, what can you do? The answer would always have been telemarketing because that’s what we offered. So I do have a little bit of an issue with people who say that, and especially on YouTube, people who say our Facebook is the one thing that’s going to change your business, or something else. So I’ve got an issue with people who offer just one of these things. For me, it has to be integrated, you have to test all of it, you have to know what each thing can do for your business. What do you think about that?

Robbie Mould 1:18:36  

Yes, it’s difficult to say, we’ve specialized, and we’ve been very successful by specializing, maybe if we expanded our marketing services, and I brought the right people in, as you say, to integrate all of that, that may help. But I think it’s six, a one and a half dozen or the other. There are some very broad brush marketing agencies, but they’re also some phenomenal specialist agencies as well. So I think ultimately comes down to the knowledge of the business owner. If you’ve got someone who is in their mid-20s, that is all over Instagram for their personal life. And they’re doing rails and they’re doing Tic-Tocs or doing whatever, they probably don’t need advice on social media because they’re probably going to be comfortable with that. So they’re going to say, Actually, you know what, I’m pretty comfortable with my social media. So I need someone to focus on SEO because I believe that’s another good source of getting customers. But if you’re getting someone who’s very technical, that loves what they do, but they’ve sort of a bit blinkered on the business side of things and they don’t really care about marketing, but they know it’s important. That’s probably when a fully integrated broad brush marketing agency might be really good for them. So I think its horses for courses.

Martin Henley 1:19:54  

Good. That’s a good answer. Interestingly, I think if there are three Digital Marketing things that you can sustain a business on. It would be SEO, PPC and YouTube advertising I think. I think those three things can and do stand alone. So the only issue then with SEO is it takes an amount of time for it to take effect, and for them to actually see the benefits. So how do you keep them engaged, until such time as the cash registers going insane with their amazing SEO?

Robbie Mould 1:20:29  

Yeah, so it does take time, so that’s where, so you have got tools out there and it’s just my own personal experience and knowledge about the more competitive the keyword is, i.e., the more people optimizing their website to target that keyword, the longer it’s going to take to get there. So normally, we will look at less competitive keywords, just to get some quick wins under the belt, and demonstrate our credibility demonstrate that we can actually do what we say we’re going to do, start off with those, and then work our way up to the more competitive keywords. Now, if someone only wants marketing agency London, and they’re brand new company brand new website, we will walk away  from that opportunity, we’re not just going to take a load of money because we know that it’s going to be such a challenging keyword to do. And likewise, if you went luxury handbags, and you wanted a global search, and you’re brand new handbag agency based in Sussex or whatever, it is going to be too challenging. So actually, from those perspective, that’s when we would walk away. So start off small, experiment, do some low cost testing with some long tail keywords, you know, they’ve got a decent amount of volume in there. And then slowly build up from there.

Martin Henley 1:21:56  

Okay, good. Cool. What amazes me about SEO, because we are talking about the deepest, darkest, you know, black magic secret of all of marketing, is how easy it is actually, when you just get down and do the work and how actually, like you say, if it’s stupidly competitive, because, we used to have people in 2007-2008 phoned us up, and they wanted to be number one for mobile phone, you know, so hopefully, it’s a little bit less stupid than that now. But actually, if you’re not into a competitive a market, and you can get a sustained investment, it amazes me how often this is actually really achievable and really effective.

Robbie Mould 1:22:39  

Yeah, can’t argue that. And I was gonna make some very thought provoking there. But it’s just got out of my mind, obviously. So yeah, I agree, like SEO is just one of those things where, SEO agencies love the idea that it’s this black magic it’s dark arts, that you as a mere mortal could not possibly understand how it all works. And that actually you I’m the only person that knows, but ultimately, it’s like anything in business, if you study it, you understand the mechanics, you understand that, start to begin how Google algorithm works. And then you also you see, they use sort of data driven analytics to say, well Okay, I will experiment doing this on my website, does this boost my rankings or does it reduce it? Then you start recording those activities or the behaviors that you do? And then you get to understand exactly how the Google algorithm works, because I think, ultimately, not even Google really understands how it works. It’s so big and so powerful. You’ve got these two guys that are based in Germany, in Austria, I think. And they’re meant to be the faces of SEO, to agencies and to the SEO world, but they just give some vague, sort of almost pointless answers to things, you almost just had to discredit them really, because I think either they just be really, really vague on purpose so that SEOs don’t manipulate it, or what I’m starting to think is that actually, Google doesn’t truly understand every element of their algorithm, because it’s so large and complex. And so you just got to do many experiments and see what the data shows you ultimately,

Martin Henley 1:24:23  

I’m so happy to hear you say that. You know why? Because it feels like you’re coming to the dark side.

Robbie Mould 1:24:32  

Exactly. Obviously.

Martin Henley 1:24:32  

The thing is, I mean, I don’t want to start another argument, because I know we’re right at the end of the time allotted to talking to each other. I don’t believe in these algorithms. And I don’t believe in artificial intelligence. Boom.

Robbie Mould 1:24:47  

Well that’s a bit, you are slightly overhead Martin, crankey you. Can we come back next week and have a discussion about that.

Martin Henley 1:24:55  

You don’t have to come back next week. But absolutely. You’re welcome to come back. If you could come back in my maybe a month or two? I really want to have this conversation with people because I mean, it just seems to me to be an insane situation. Like you say, Google doesn’t understand, Well, can we have that conversation at some point in the future? Because I would absolutely love to have it.

Robbie Mould 1:25:19  

Yeah, I love to explore it, I’d love to explore that as well. I think ultimately, Google does understand us. And I think, you know, we’ve all see on one side of all that, you may have seen documentaries on Netflix, about how algorithms work on Facebook, and Google, and that, actually, all of these algorithms got so much data that they know what we’re going to do before them. And that may be conspiracy theories but ultimately, we can see it happen. I certainly know that the social media platforms, in particular, Facebook is really, really good at that, because they’ve got so much data and our behavior on when we do something at a certain time, that’s going to lead us to X Y Z. So there’s a company that does Facebook ads, and they sold to care homes, that they sell their house to care homes. And what they do is that they target people that are downloading power of attorney documents, because that indicates based on the Facebook algorithm, that majority of people that are trying to download power of attorney means that they’ve got a loved one that is in bad health or potentially bad health, they come into something. And then so they know within six to 12 months, that they’re going to start looking at care homes, so they start feeding that funnel of adverts for care homes in the local area, what have you based on this data? And that is a conversation worth having, whether it’s an ethical question, or whatever it is, but that’s the sort of stuff that’s coming out. 

Martin Henley 1:27:01  

Let’s have a conversation because I really, I mean, it just shows the difference between you and I, because immediately you started saying that. I’m like, yeah, by the time you’re looking to get power of attorney over your loved one, you’re ready to ship them out to a nursing home as well do you know what I mean, so that’s the difference in our outlooks. Man, I’ve enjoyed this so much. And I know, I’ve been challenging, but what can I do? I’m gonna ask for advice, really interesting conversation, I think. And what’s the thing about it is like, it’s been so long, since I’ve heard like a different perspective, do you know what I mean, and like I was doing what you’re doing now, when I started my business way back in 2006/2005, finding ways to explain this to people that made it accessible. But obviously, things have changed dramatically since then. So I’ve also thoroughly thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed this. Now, the other questions, how do you feel about marketing? I think you’ve made it quite clear how you feel about marketing. You’re a huge proponent of marketing, as am I, you know, I think our perspectives are different, because I am, I’ve spent, you know, 15 years in the trenches. And so I understand we’re at war with these corporations, whereas you’re working with them. That’s perfectly admirable. The other question is, what is your recommendation for people in the current predicament? And you kind of started by answering that at the beginning, maybe start a business, network a lot? You know, maybe.

Robbie Mould 1:28:31  

I think ultimately, low cost testing, try everything. Do some low cost testing. So that may be a couple of 1000 pounds for your larger companies that may be 10 1520 quid for smaller companies. But try everything and let the results tell you whether it’s worked or not.

Martin Henley 1:28:51  

Cool. Excellent. So test. I mean, that is, when I teach students digital marketing. What I tell them actually is I can’t teach them digital marketing. It’s like when you teach people to surf, the best you can do is teach them how to be safe in the water, and then give them the enthusiasm and the confidence to go out and get wet a lot. That’s kind of what I tell people. And the answer to every question in digital marketing is test 100% I agree with you. Okay, cool. So then the only other question is, let me find a pen and a piece of paper, is Who else should I be speaking to? Who else might enjoy having one of these ridiculously challenging conversations? 

Robbie Mould 1:29:27  

Well, I’d love to put your wall down and introduce you to a guy that I know really well. He’s in his early 20s. He’s a super intelligent guy. I was gonna call him a kid there, but that’s a bit too patronising but yeah, super intelligent guy. He was a music producer in his early teenage years, super successful, especially with digital marketing tools like using Facebook ads and PPC and all that kind of stuff, has interviewed some really impressive guys, built a massive Twitter following, massive Facebook following. But obviously, the pandemic has hit. And he’s now gone from the music industry into marketing agency to deliver services across to small businesses and medium sized businesses. So he will probably give you a bit of a different perspective. He’ll probably make everyone feel very old. But yes, a guy called David from Sinclair Media Group, and he should be your next target.

Martin Henley 1:30:36  

Good. David from Sinclair Media Group. Okay, cool. Do you have somebody else do you think that might also enjoy being a victim of this process?

Robbie Mould 1:30:46  

Yeah, so I think there’s a lady called Claire Popplet, who’s also I know who’s more holistic in marketing as well. So she’s been marketing marketing for 20-30 years. She dabbles with a little bit of everything, everything from print, all the way through to digital marketing, SEO and website strategy. So she’s had a lot of experience covering everything. And she’s always got lots of interesting things to say.

Martin Henley 1:31:09  

Okay, cool. And will you send me some contact details or something, their name so I can reach out to this people?

Robbie Mould 1:31:16  

Yeah.

Martin Henley 1:31:16  

Okay, cool. Man, I have thoroughly enjoyed this. I have thoroughly, thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed this. I think this is kind of where these conversations are going, where it becomes more about how do people actually do things and why they do things. So I think you’re the first person that has taken us down. 

Robbie Mould 1:31:35  

Yeah pretty much, yeah. Thanks for inviting me. It’s been, Yeah, it’s been great fun.

Martin 1:32:16  

Yeah, likewise, man. All right. Take it easy.

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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