The marketing pendulum is swinging back to fundamentals: Zineb Layachi


Can you feel the marketing pendulum swinging back to the basics?

For years, the focus has been data, KPIs, and quantifying anything under the sun.

But marketing success happens in different and sometimes mysterious ways. 

Some of it is measured while other marketing isn’t directly attributable. 

Many marketers have embraced data because there are so many tools to access analytics and insights, scale, and automate processes.

When technology makes it easy to reach a global audience, it’s easy to not spend as much time on fundamentals or first principles.

But it appears like marketers are starting to focus more on fundamentals. In my business, I’m seeing more interest in positioning and messaging.

Zineb Layachi said technology makes marketers forget about the reality they are trying to connect with people.

While tools allow marketers to amplify their efforts, she says the marketing pillars are important.

“How can you connect with target audiences and do marketing? What makes an impact? 

People are at the center of that. I keep talking about the fundamentals when you get the fundamentals right, you scale on solid foundations.” 

Hi, it's Mark Evans, an you're listeningto Marketing Spark. Imagine the marketing world as a pendulum that swings backand forth. The pendulum takes marketers from channel to channel, social mediaplatform to social media platform and approach to approach. One of the most interesting, at leastto me ,pendulum swings, is from marketing fundamentals to marketing technologyand data. On one side you have marketers who believe in firstprinciples, positioning messaging story, tolling and planning on the other sideare the data analytics geeks, who believe that optimists and hacks arethe keys to market your success on today's show, I'm talking with Zenalaace CEO of raised and runway in Barcelona, which happens to be one ofmy favorite cities, the NEP teachers, entrepreneurs how to talk to customers,so they have more marketing success welcome to Markees Park. Thank you. So much more really happy tobe here and excited for the conversation I reached out to you, because I feellike you're a kindred spirit, we're both on the side of first principleswhen it comes to marketing I've, seen a huge focus on marketing technology andtools to drive efficiencies and market at scale, and I guess the obvious question to youis whether the focus on technology has caused marketers to forget about thefundamentals. Actually, I love this question. I think when, when we start out, it'simportant to have a solid foundation, and that's you know that thatfoundation is very people prospect. Customer oriented before we start. You know talking about automaticanything about technology. You know what what's the best tool out there. Weshould really make sure that the foundations are solid, so that,whatever you want a scale, it is not you're, not scaling crack for, for lackof a better phrase. No you're, not you're, notyou're scaling the good stuff. I think marketers get obsessedwith technology, because there's so many tools, I mean you look at the mark,tech landscape and there are thousands of tools out there to drive efficiencies for just about anychannel any about market activity you want, but my sense is that marketerslean too hard on technology and they forget about the fact that you'remarketing to people and the tools allow you to amplify your efforts to scaleyour efforts, but it really comes back to what are the pillars of marketing.How can you connect with target audiences and do marketing? That makesan impact? Of course, I think you the way you just explain that I think youdid a better job than I did this. That's Elmore, don't I'm with you, I'mwith you a hundred percent. I mean tools. Are you know like just to use the word thatyou use they amplify they they're supposed to amplify something thatactually works, and how do you find what actually works? People are at thecenter of that, whether it's be to be or beats your selling to people thatyou know they might sound. Like cache at this point, it's been said and sedagain, but I still keep talking about thefundamentals because I feel, like you know, they're still room to improve forall marketers all founders, all entrepreneurs, because we're it's justtoo easy, it's much easier to think tools, technology. What what's thehottest tool we spend hours asking around for recommendations on how toget this specific thing, automated, etc. That's that's easy for us, the other.The other part is the hard part. So I'm... know, and that's what you're also trying todo is make all this as easy as possible, so that we can all get the fundamentalsright when we scale we scale on solid foundations. One of the things that I spend a lot oftime focused on these days as positioning Jack, trout and Al Risecome up again and again I mean this is a book that came out decade to go. Yetit remains almost the Bible for many marketers, I'm curious about your takeon positioning, because there are people who believe it is the core tomarketing and I'm one of them, and there are others who think that yes,position is important, but then the key is: How do you leverage that, in termsof your messaging and your marketing activities, curious about wherepositioning falls into your world and how you deal with your customers to Nipositioning is one of the very first pillars. So you have your strategy. Thepositioning comes way before messaging for sure and, of course way before copywriting, because you know copywriter is just how you're going to say what you've decided.You were going to talk about right. So that's to me, that's that's one of the most importantpillars and if we just just to go back to what we're saying previously, whichis all people so if these people are making decisions on whether to try yourproduct or download a resource by your product orservice, these are all people. How do they make decisions? We have to thinkabout when you, when I hear spark, for example, what comes to mind so I haveto you have to understand what comes to mine for me. When I hear a spark orwhen I read a certain sentence right, there's there's a lot of that inpositioning. I think I'm a big Fan of April Downford. One of the examples sheuses in her book is the you know. If you say, you're selling a cake on astick versus you're selling, a lollipop made out of cake. There are twodifferent things right. The cake on a stick doesn't feel like. It doesn'tfeel right now. It makes me wonder well do I need a fork to eat it that it justbrings up all these questions right that that add friction to to the WHObuying process. But if you say it's a lilliput made out of cake all of asudden it just there is a lot of come. There aren't so many questions thatcome up. So how do you? How do you find that that frame of reference that I love you know, I think it's one ofher phrases that that the market frame of reference that makes you the obviouschoice? Yeah. I love that phrase. The obvious choice, because goodpositioning is so powerful that there are no other options, the the valueproposition. The fact that they talk to you specifically at a time when thereare many many products out there is so powerful that you cannot help butembrace positioning as a pillar for marketing. I think that's reallyimportant. On Lindon, I see a lot of posts about interviewing your customers,knowing your customers, understanding your customers and I look at them, andmy first reaction is this: Is Marketin one O One? If you don't know yourcustomers inside out, then how are you going to develop marketing and for thatmatter, sales that are going to resonate, because if you don't knowtheir interests or their pains or their problems or even their aspirations,then you're making at best at best educated guesses and as someone whoworks with entrepreneurs to show them how to connect with customers? Why are weseeing marketers talk about this? So much? Is it the circle that we're in onLinkin, or is this part of a bigger picture challenge than many marketersare struggling with to two things come to my dear, I think, and it's true Ihave I've seen this. I have seen this a lot and I myself in in certain posts.I've talked about talking to customers,...

...which is inherently you know incorrect,because it's not like a normal conversation going back to a couple ofthings that come to mind talk to customers, it's so easy to say, butit's not as easy to do so it doesn't mean that it's not doable. It's justthat. It's not easy and we talked about technology tools, people that have thattools first strategy. It's because that's easy, the hacks we have. We haveto be on this podcast and talk about about hack right. We have to bring ahack hack for easy actor. You know I'm going to look for someone else to solvemy problems. To give me the answers. What's the latest? What's the latest hack, you paidattention to examples that have worked for others,but won't necessarily work for you, because you don't have all the context.Yet we don't even pay attention to that. We just take that no just just take asan example: Age refs, seven dollar, the pay trial is o, so many entrepreneurs.It told me, oh I'm, going to try that okay, but you have to think about thecontext when they came up with that. With that idea, they were four years inthree to four years and- and I don't remember exactly mark you know the newc Mo he came in- He did loads of interviewing influencers customersprospects et ce- they knew they had. They had a good product. That's themain difference. Do you know that you're actually delivering value tothis? You can't just apply something, and you know put a price to something.If you don't even know that that you have you have value. So all this tiesback to having intervened your customers. Having that that those conversations to reaffirm one ofthe things is to reaffirm that there is value there. That's that's number one.You know it takes time, it's not something that you just turn on and off.It takes time and you need to know how to actually do it, because sometimesthey could just feel likewell. You have to there's a certain way of running theinterviews. It's not like a conversation. You know having a coffeewith a customer, but then, after that, how do you make sense of everythingthat comes out because it feels like you just open Pandora's box? And now how do you make sure it doesn'tjust explode in your face? And then you just get you desistant and leave thatbox? That's just it stays on your to do list because you just don't know how tomake sense of all that. I think there's a lot of talk to your customers. Talkto your customers, but not enough of how to do it. You know I was reading apost this morning about it was. It was the reasons why companies don't talk totheir customers and there was a long list and it kind of scared me, becauseif you have marketers who actually admit to why they don't talk tocustomers, then we've got a serious problem. So if you fall into the campof talking to customers is important. It'sa depending on how you look at it. It's a necessary evil or it's a joy to dobecause you're connecting with their customers. So how do you do aninterview with customers? As you say, it's not a coffee conversation, it'snot a casual conversation. So how do you approach them for one and then howdo you structure the twenty minutes or the thirty minutes that they're goingto give you to provide the insight and to get the insight that you need to dobetter marketing and sales? I think the step one is to understand where you'reat right now right. This is where you're at and and where your you think you're gaps are.So that's that's really important. One of the interesting exercises beforeyou at this stage is to ask everyone in the team. Why they think theircustomers by from them, so each one responds to that separately and youkeep that information for after the process right, because it's also at theend show them why people white customers actually buy and just be likehey? Can you see there's a disconnect her? You Yourself, don't even know, butit's not just you, as in one person, it's you, as in someone in sales versussomeone in marketing, will have two...

...different answers right, knowing whatand then it's okay. So who am I going to? Who am I going to talk to? Who Do Iwant to interview? So you might have customers you? Would you want to talkto the ones that signed up for a free trial that haven't paid yet? So youhave to group decide which group you're going to you're going to actually talkto then once here you've decided on the group or groups within that group whohas, for example, purchased or re signed up in the last, maybe two tothree months, the ones that purchased from you last year. So that's that'skey, because then information is fresh. I mean, if you ask me why I bought mymy green screen six months ago. I probably you know, wouldn't be able togive you as much information right. So the t e, the more recent the better soand then you decide depending I've. I've worked with with entrepreneursthat had twoad customers in their database and others that have hadthirty d fifty, so it all depends. If you have two, and you can do, you canadd, on an additional filter and just say: Okay, who are you know in terms ofmaybe stickiness with repeat purchases? You can add on filters to make the thedifferent groups. Now then you decide on. Are you going to give a rewardgenerally? The best best customers will be more than happy to talk to youwithout any reward, but that's not the general. That's not that's not to sayit's the case or for everyone so decide on the reward I mean, and that dependson on the on the business. If you have a SASS, for example, it's it's fivefive years a month. Does it make sense to give away two months free right?That's in bucks does that make sense, so just ask asking yourselves whatwould be a value to them, not just the automatic I'm just going to get twentybuck a twenty Amazon Gift Card that that's too easy? No, we should reallythink about what could be a value to them. What about the questionsthemselves? So it's not a conversation, so I'm not trying to have a casual chat.I'm looking for specific insight and I have to structure my conversations inthe right way. It admittedly most customers, if you can connect with themif they give you twenty minutes. Thirty minutes count yourself lucky becausethey're busy they've got their own priorities helping you is really nottop of mind for them, but they may love you enough, so they will help. How doyou come up with the questions and how do you get the answers that you want ina limited period of time? So once winter and the the theinterview you have the first part which is just making them, you know, feelcomfortable doing a little bit of small talk, making sure you know before that.You get there. Okay to record it, that's that's really important to beable to record it so that you could be one hundred percent present in theconversation, and you could do the the analysis. The extraly analysisafterwards. So, first of all, it's just a little bit t of small talk and thenyou just get into it automatically get into going back to when they actuallyperformed that action right, so no transition. As in okay, now we're goingto start the interview, no just just go get into it. You want to really go backto if it's a purchase go back to the time right before them. What happened? Tellme about the time when you you said enough is enough. I have to solve, butright or I have to get to this- obviously they're not going to get intothe nitty gradients of the good details in the first two or three phrases, butif you keep asking questions like a Ha and and and how so and tell me more andnow so you you start Takin, that's why you have to be president. It's also whyrecording it is super important, so you could just be in the conversationextracting as much information as possible, leaving don't ask any any anyclose questions. Don't assume anything,...

...and then that takes you. You have theformat of a very short interview where you can go through the the you know,six, seven basic questions, but if you have a bit more time, you can startdigging into questions like what what is it one of my favorite ones is. Whatdo you know now? That's that's valuable. Had you known before would have madeyou sign up faster, for example, it's an idea, it's an example of value thatis misplaced. It's not communicated so you're like okay, fantastic and cantake that and make sure that's that's visible at the beginning. But then youhave you know the typical questions which are, if you, if you had torecommend product of service to someone else,what would what would you say? One of the questions are one of the thingsthat I want to know when I interview. Customers is what I call the trigger ifyou're a customer and you're doing the job using a tool at some point in timethat you decide that you want a different tool, because no one goesfrom well. Very few people go from using nothing to actually using aproduct, there's always switching and they're, always thinking about whattheir alternatives are, and some of it comes to performance and price, and I'malways interested in what is that trigger? What happened that made youwake up one morning and go this video editing tool that I'm using is no goodany more. I have to find a new one and that's what I want to find out. I wantto find those fine motivations, and do you see that as a core card of customerinterviews, when, when you're trying to get the insight, you need absolutely. If we look at theunderstanding the whole the full buying journey, most most marketers are at the stage.They only half understand have understand that the that last part thebuying. You know where the buying is going on, even the using after thatthey're not really fully understanding that to be honest, but if you, if you,if you go as you said, and understand the triggers, the two three triggerswell, there's the first very first one of course: that's the one that you knowmade. You say something is not right. I got to start passively looking forsomething, but it's you know the level of urgency justgrows and grows as you move along the buying journey. What's the next one, the next triggerthat makes you go into the active looking looking face. That's that's areally important one to be mainly because if you can get in front ofthose earlier on in front of these people earlier on with you know, eitherany type of collaboration with other brands that for one a biggeropportunity, cheaper channels M. Yes, that's actually a very good opportunity,but yeah it's just it's much easier to get into people that are in thedeciding phase. It's just easier for marketers, especially if you theyhaven't run the customer interviews. They don't have the information to beable to how can I say, move their marketing to to the rest of the buyingjourney to the very beginning of the buying journey. Let me ask you a load of question. Thisgoes back to the original premise of first principles of marketing versustechnology and data and to get your take on the marketing landscape for therest of the year. So for the last year, we've seen a lot of marketers, eitherdouble down on digital marketing or embrace marketing digital marketing.For the first time- and there hasn't been conferences and people havepublished a ton of content and then a lot of Weben ars and some peoplehaven't- have embraced podcast and e books as we come out of COD, hopefullycome out of coved. How do you see the Bob Marketing landscape changing? Doyou see it flipping back to pre coved, where we all go back to conferences andwe pull back on content and digital marketing, or has a the landscapeshifted in a way that we're not going...

...back and you can't go back? Even if youwanted to that's an interesting question I mean I.I can only give you of course my opinion. I don't you know, I don't knowwhat's going to happen, but I think we've been given a taste or be to bemarketers have been given a taste of something that there's no going back toone hundred percent of what they used to do. It's not a beat to be example,but just I think it was Arbab that when they you know shut down their their edsspent, nothing really changed. No when they realized that, whether without itthey weren't seeing any they weren't seeing a huge, a huge difference, either invisits or sales. So it wasn't really moving the needle. So you talking aboutmillions and millions being spent, but for no reason right. So I think when itcomes to be to be you know, we have. We have the in person events, we have theconferences. We have all that you know I think they're going to ask themselves.Is it really moving the needle? I think that's what's going to change it's, notjust okay, we're going to go back to doing conferences or automatically. Ithink there's going to be a step before that, where we ask ourselves, is itreally moving? Then you don and in terms of content creation? I thinkwe've been given a taste of something. That's that's actually pretty cool, whether whether we've been we had beenforced into that or not, but I think I think that's going to stay yeah. YouFind it interesting that a lot of marketers have done marketing, becauseevery other marketer does the same thing. We go to conferences because thecompetitors go to conferences. We publish content on our blogs becausethat's just the thing that you do. It will be very interesting to see whetherpeople do things differently and really, as you say, start to scrutinize, theRoi of all their marketing activities and how it moves the needle, because,if you're doing marketing for the sake of marketing, that's not marketing,that's just keeping busy. One final area that I wanted to talk to you aboutis just your presence on Linkin and I think for a lot of people over the pastyear. A lot of marketers in particular have really embraced the platform andseen a lot of Roy and I'm curious about how you see yourself using linked ingoing forward when people do go back to the office and they do get busy, thenthey have less time to spend on social media any thoughts on how the platformevolves and how yourself you will change how you use Linkin, I think to me. I started to really bebe more active on length, an end of two thousand and nineteen, and so this ispre pre coved. Even I don't see it changing for me and then in the nextyear year and a half, I don't see that changing. However, as I mean, I can'tremember exactly how many monthly active users there were in- maybe maybeyou not get in on lengthen, but in terms of content. Creators I believewere now we started during when covet started was one percent and now we'reat three four percent that are actually creating and then a big chunk is youknow, they're just lurkers and then there's another chunk. That's just notnot there at all. So I think the more Linton has a has a good organic reach.For now it's been a bit fickle to be honest for me personally over the pasttwo just three weeks, so the Algorithm- The are just best funny things here andthere, but still you know you get you get a there's a good organic reach onthis platform today, what's going to happen when we have more content,creators and the same number of Vibas so is linkin going to bring inmore user so that it's sort of like evens out, because if not that'll meanless reach for the rest of us. One thing I want to ask you about linked inis a recent announcement that they're going to expand the number ofcharacters in a post to three thousand...

...from thirteen hundred and curious abouthow you feel that will change your use of the platform and how the platformcould evolve, because the nice thing about linked on posts is, I call themsnack able their quick hits. They're so sink pieces of insight, and I canscroll and really get a lot of value quite quickly. But three thousandcharacters to me first impression seems like man. It's going to be a lot oflong content, some stuff is going to be stretched out and I'm not so sure theuser experience is going to be improved simply because people can write morewords yeah. I think I remember that youposted about the about that couple days ago, or yesterday I really enjoyed thatpost, especially the snackole part. When you give the this snackole bySnackole, doesn't necessarily mean you know short right. It doesn'tnecessarily be in one sentence or two hundred characters right. That's. Iknow that. That's not that's, not what you mean, but if I'm thinking of itfrom the point of view of o someone that doesn't make the effort to make itreadable or enjoyable or it just easy to read for the other one. Can youimagine if that person is given more than double the number of characters,so I'm just worried about that. He, the clutchers, going to be Britain. Youknow if we're already selfish- and I'm not saying this about you mark, but ingeneral we're selfish know. We just push everything as is, and we make theaudience. We expect the audience to sit down and filter out through thisclutter and find something in value for them. So there's a lot of that in theLinkin Post today. You know if it's, if I do that, it's not intentional right.So this is a work in progress, but if you, if you give me three hundredcharacters- and I have no idea what I'm talking about- then that's that's justmore bad content. I think in my in my opinion, now how can this be used forgood? Well, like you said, I think you mentioned it replacing articles evenblock posts that that could be again it's an opportunity if there is valueand even then, if there's value, I don't think that I want to read threehundred character posts all day long every day. So I would like to read oneof your post. As you know, maybe a video change things up now: a video asshort to one, a thousand character post podcast, a one liner once in a whilejust changing things up. Well, thanks all the great insight: Where can peoplelearn more about you and raise the runaway link? Then we're just talkingabout Ling, then that's where I spend most of my time, yeah so happy happy toconnect there. Well, thanks for listening to another episode ofmarketing spark if you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review andsubscribe by, I tunes Potii or your favorite podcast at if you'd like tolearn more about how I have fed sac companies as a fractional Camo fricaceadvisor and coach end an email to mark market es park, co I'll talk to younext time. I.

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