How Brands Create Serious Marketing Momentum

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

What can brands do to position themselves to emerge from COVID as strong and dynamic players?

 

While many brands are struggling to keep their heads above water, the strongest brands are already thinking about what needs to be done outflank rivals with marketing that engages consumers in new and different ways.

 

On the Marketing Spark podcast, Ron Tite provides insight into how brands can build marketing momentum to pull away from the competition.

My name is Mark Evan and I'd like to welcome you to marketing spark, podcast that delivers small doses of insight, tools and tips for marketers and entrepreneurs in the trenches. By small doses, it's conversations that are fifteen minutes or less. On today's show I'm talking with Ron type, founder of church and State, a content marketing agency based in Toronto. Ron has also a best selling author and an in demand speaker. Welcome to marketing spark. Thanks mark. I'm so excited to be here. Such a nice, snackable way to do a podcast. We're going to cover a lot of ground in fifteen minutes, so let's get started. I wanted to begin by asking you about your most recent book, think, do say, which I think captures your approach to marketing in a noisy, busy world. Can you walk me through the different components? As you can probably imagine, there are three components to the book. Think do say. There's the think part, that do part and the same part. You know, the problem with a is in with a lot of organizations and it can be really is. It's a it's an operating system for an organization. It can be an operating system for a leader, or it could be a marketing system or an operating system for marketing. Many organizations, many marketers, many leaders, choose one of the three. So they're like they they think, think, think, think, think, and ever actually do anything, which is useless. It's just useless. They overanalyze that. Or if the organization that does does that, they're so focused on execution that they're just, you know, head down there. Do, do, do, do, do. It's not strategically aligned. is totally random and they're a sweat shop and no one wants to work with them. Worse is the people who just talked about it, right, if they're all say that they they just talked of the things are going to do, but they never actually do them. And those the organization. They experience great churn. If it's a person, they get found out. So it really is all...

...three together. So the think side is around what do you fundamentally believe? In your heart of hearts? What do you fundamentally but don't tell me what you sell, because other people sell that probably. What do you believe? What is your corporate purpose? And that is not. What is your social cause? That is not. You know what charities do you support? This is corporate purpose. Why do you do what you do? Then? The do part is what do you fundamentally do to reinforce that purpose? And yes, that include what products do you make? That include what you know, what clients do you chase? But what do you do? What is the experience for the people who interact with that purpose? How do you bring that purpose to life? And the third part is, look, if you believe in and something more important and you behave in a way consciously that reinforces that belief, that's worth talking like. It's just worth talking about. So if it's worth talking about, then you should probably say it in a compelling way, in the consistent way. And when you combine all those three together, what you end up with is an organization that is bound by purpose. They are defined by their action and they are adopted and they grow through their communications. That is think do say. It's interesting because a lot of companies in this current covid environment, there's a lot to do and there's a lot to say, and the problem is that there's not a lot of think. My take is that companies aren't taking a smart, strategic approach to marketing. There in many cases they're just throwing speaking after wall to see what sticks and as a result, and you're getting a lot of noise out there and a lot of marking that that, frankly, isn't effective. Yeah, my friend Warren Tom who's that Ey is a great life for this, which is its random acts of digital so they're just they're just chasing random things. Right, like they go to they hear a speaker like me or you or they they're like...

...a new platform comes down, they're like we're got to be have tech Tock right. They're just they're just chasing these random things that aren't strategically sound and they're not laddering up to a higher purpose. The result of that mark is it's it's not only is it chaos, but it's it leads to higher margin or a lower margin, higher cost. It leads to poor definition of success for your team. It leads to clutter around message and then you step back and you go, we should have done on what we did last year. You know, I mean it's just it's a as a horrible way to do it. Yeah, I think people are they feel like they should be sprinting around doing a bunch of random things. You know, opposed to stopping and really establishing what they believe and then chasing only the things that deliver on that. Yeah, I think it makes marketers a lot of marketers feel better because they can somehow it justified to their bosses that they're busy and active and doing stuff. Yeah, when we were talking in advance of this podcast, you talked about a concept of digital letdown and how advertising has become increasingly and overly and overly complicated. Why is that happened and what are brands doing wrong? I think the core understanding, and I you know, I started as a traditional creative guy. I was doing TV spots and print ads and everything else, and I just remember all the digital folks who came in and, you know, would say, Oh, just you way, oh, just you wait, old advertising is going to be Nirvana. We're going to be able to customize messages on an individual level. People will only see the ads that are specifically targeted at them and their interest and it's going to just it's going to get rid of all the waste and all the crap that you make and I let's see where this goes. Where did we land? We landed in...

...a place where people took digital and used it for scale, and so now it's not about customization at all. It is about touching, inappropriately, her appropriately, as many people as possible. And because you can. You can reach five million people for the same cost that you can reach five people. People are just dumbing it all down and going well, you know what, even if my my conversion rate is zero point zero, zero, zero, zero, zero eight percent, I just need to add more people to grow my revenue. And that can I swear on this podcast. Mark, you can now your people saying I don't give a shit about the innocent bystanders. I really don't. I don't care about the people who shouldn't receive that message because I just need to grow that top line number to grow my revenue. Don't care. And and that's horrible. That is a horrible place to be. It is a soulless place to be and I want to you know, you flick the earlobe of I want to flick the ear lobe of anybody that does it well. I think that's what happens when marketing becomes a game that's all about data and it's it's quantity over quality, and one of the things I'm interested in hearing from you is is the focus on brand and branding these days, because when everything can be measured, when there's KPI's for anything that you can do digitally, sometimes it can be hard to quantify the value and the impact of brand and I wonder whether that's that's a problem these days, is that if you can't justify it, you shouldn't do it. It's a horrible place and it's a horrible place to be for marketers. Now I say that one as a credit guy. Have that bias. Like right, I like creating from scratch and I get that. I do value the ability that to look at a piece of work and say this is not performing as well as this other piece, or how can we optimize this piece to make up...

...perform better? I get that. I totally get that. I get that you can make more money from the from the print, then you can from the original. But the print only exists because somebody took the time to create an original and you have to have a portion of your budget which is constantly exploring for new things and new angles. Because, yes, it's like you know in a Hollywood we know how a typical gold romantic story works, right. We know the script, we know the three act you know, part of a story, all that, and we know when somebody has done that and they've perfected that assembly line. But the movies that really blow us away are the ones that nobody's ever done before. Those are the ones that really went the day. Now, which are the ones that really tank? That's some of those same ones. So you can either follow, you know, the benchmark of what you should do and use the data to say, well, we find that a headline that had starts with a three syllable word performs better. And you can do that, you know, all day long and get at pretty good level of performance. Fine, go for it. But if you really want to hit it out of the park, you got to do this stuff that nobody has ever done before, and the fact that data tells us what works, it does that doesn't compute in stuff that's you can't. You can't say, give me something that has never been done before and give me the benchmarks of how it's going to do right. Those things are mutually exclusive. So if you look at marking as a pendulum, where we had at one point time it was all about creative and now it's the pendulum has swung all the way to data. Just see the pendulum coming back. And what's a happy bounce? What's between? What's a happy balance between career rate of and data? I guess they ideally they inform each other a hundred percent. I wrote a piece for Canada Post on this. My backgrounds in...

...comedy and here's what I know about comedy. For Chris Right, let's say Chris Rock. Chris Rock does a bit, he writes a bit, the original bit. He's really creative in that he doesn't go on Hboor Netflix with that right away. No, no, he takes the original bit and then he tours it and he uses the data, the Justin time data of the audience response to go Oh, when I flicked my hand, when I've livered the punch line like that. That joke delivered. It performed way better, and so he perfects it by using real time data over time and by the end he's ready to the end of the year when he shoots his netflix special. There is no Improv in that comedy whatsoever. You don't improvise an eight camera shoot netflix special. You just don't. He knows specifically what is going to work in that environment because he's used data along the way. So great creative becomes great performing optimized creative one becomes the the really original creative idea becomes the optimized idea. But you can't just leap frog all the way. They optimized idea and only we lead with a data approach just doesn't work. I have to ask you about you're racing car metaphor and how marketers have to navigate the curve so they hit the proverbial straightaway as effectively and efficiently as possible. Can you provide a little bit of color on on how that metaphor works? Yeah, I say this is a due to hate's car, right, like I hate Formula One in that scar. But here's what I know. I know that nobody, I mean it's I know that it's pretty easy to race in a straightaway, right, like you just got it and that's it. I also know the races aren't one of the straightaways. Races are one in the corners, and so when a driver enters a corner, what they do is they slow down. They slow down so they can get control of the car. They need to do that. They need the car stable. And...

...once they get the car stable, which is that's where we're at right now. We entered the corner and businesses and marketers needs to go woo woo, Woobobooboobo. There's a whole bunch of stuff happening. Let's just get things stable. Let's look at the data, let's look at the dashboard, and every single one of us slow down as we entered the corner. Now, the amateur driver, like me, would think, just wait until the corners over man then gun it again, but the professional driver knows that is not how it works. The professional driver knows once you've reached stability, you accelerate in the middle of the corner and you do that so that you can leave the corner with as much momentum as possible. And so we're in the middle of a corner. People are using the phrase new normal. That means we've reached stability. It's time to gun it, and those brands and those organizations who accelerate earlier in the corner will have more momentum coming out of the corner. Whenever the hell at is so people need to step on the gas, and that is set. See Leadership. It's when you enter an environment of chaos you need to introduce some composure, but once you've reached composure, you got to make sure that you don't hit complacency. So you introduce chaos to the composure to gain momentum. It sounds like a very interesting approach to management. I have to ask you about speaking, because you're an extremely busy speaker. I think you last year you may have talked somewhere in the range of seventy five times, which is an incredible what's it like to be a public speaker at a time, in the time of Covid I liken it to like being on I can imag and so those who speak will know imag which is imag is when a camera shoots you. You're in live on stage in front of five hundred people and they put you on the screens right. So the crowd is in the room watching you, but the reality is they're really watching the...

...screen. So because of that, I love it, because you can play it smaller right, like you can cock an eyebrow and everybody's going to see it. So what I love about speaking in a virtual environment as I can play it really, really small, and I could be really subtle and intimate. What is different about it and slightly challenging is I can't read the room because people are muted and I don't see their faces and stuff. So it's more of an acting thing then. You know, I know what line delivers are I know what joke delivers and I have to trust that I delivered in the best way possible, because I don't know, I don't hear the people laughing and I don't see their facial expressions. You got no data to to feed on exactly. So are you doing a lot of probably seeking these days? And Yeah, and I'm and how do you like what are the best speaking engagement these days? How can you tell, like what kind of what kind of metrics are you getting that says you did a great job? Because there's no applause these days, or maybe there is. There's no applause. There's also a lack of social media. You know, before I could if I went in and spoke to a thousand people, I'm going to okay, they're gonna be two hundred tweets. That's say something and I'll be able to know like just that reaction of how people that people aren't doing that, they're not tweeting, like I'm mean a weabin are. This is amazing. Like there's just not doing that. So I'm doing about one a week. They're all over the place from, you know, fifty people to eight hundred people, and my favorite ones are when I can spend a little bit more time on Qa and I can deal with individual questions, because that's real time right and and it's so like if you speak for half an hour and take Qa for half an hour, that's amazing because then you can be really, really helpful to individual people and there's value in that because if it's just the speech, then they can go to youtube and see that. So I love really, really react doing just in time speaking through Q A. Well, this has been terrific run to really appreciate your perspective on marketing it. I love the racing car metaphor. I said. I think it says a lot about...

...what how companies should approach marketing these days is really come out of the corners in the right way and the most successful companies at the end of the day will be even more succuss will because they'll beaby the leverage their momentum and let take advantage of marketing. Thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review, as well as subscribed by itunes or your favorite podcast APP. If you like what you're heard, please rate it. For show notes of today's conversation and information about Ron, vis it mark Evans dot s a slash blog. If you have questions, feedback or like to suggest a guest, send an email to mark at Mark Evans Dot Sea. To learn more how I help be to be companies as a CMO for hire, consultant and coach. Visit Mark Evans Dots A. Talk to you next time.

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