The marketing pendulum is swinging back to fundamentals: Zineb Layachi

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 listening to Marketing Spark. Imagine the marketing world as a pendulum that swings back and forth. the pendulum takes marketers from channel to channel, social media platform to social media platform and approach to approach. One of the most interesting, at least to me, pendulum swings, is from marketing fundamentals to marketing technology and data. On one side you have marketers who believe in first principles, positioning messaging story, tolling and planning on the other side are the data analytics Geeks, who believe that optimists and hacks are the keys to market your success on today' s show, I' m talking with Zena laace CEO of raised and runway in Barcelona, which happens to be one of my 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 to be here and excited for the conversation I reached out to you, because I feel like you' re a kindred spirit, we' re both on the side of first principles when it comes to marketing I' ve, seen a huge focus on marketing technology and tools to drive efficiencies and market at scale, and I guess the obvious question to you is whether the focus on technology has caused marketers to forget about the fundamentals. Actually, I love this question. I think when, when we start out, it' s important to have a solid foundation, and that' s you know that that foundation is very people prospect. Customer oriented before we start. You know talking about automatic anything about technology. You know what what' s the best tool out there. We should 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 lack of a better phrase. No you' re, not you ' re, not you' re scaling the good stuff. I think marketers get obsessed with 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 any channel any about market activity you want, but my sense is that marketers lean too hard on technology and they forget about the fact that you' re marketing to people and the tools allow you to amplify your efforts to scale your efforts, but it really comes back to what are the pillars of marketing. How can you connect with target audiences and do marketing? That makes an impact? Of course, I think you the way you just explain that I think you did a better job than I did this. That' s Elmore, don' t I' m with you, I' m with you a hundred percent. I mean tools. Are you know like just to use the word that you use they amplify they they ' re supposed to amplify something that actually works, and how do you find what actually works? People are at the center of that, whether it' s be to be or beats your selling to people that you know they might sound. Like cache at this point, it' s been said and sed again, but I still keep talking about the fundamentals because I feel, like you know, they' re still room to improve for all marketers all founders, all entrepreneurs, because we' re it' s just too easy, it' s much easier to think tools, technology. What What' s the hottest tool we spend hours asking around for recommendations on how to get this specific thing, automated, etc. That' s That' s easy for us, the other. the other part is the hard part. So I...

...' m you know, and that' s what you' re also trying to do is make all this as easy as possible, so that we can all get the fundamentals right when we scale we scale on solid foundations. One of the things that I spend a lot of time focused on these days as positioning Jack, trout and Al Rise come up again and again I mean this is a book that came out decade to go. Yet it remains almost the Bible for many marketers, I' m curious about your take on positioning, because there are people who believe it is the core to marketing 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 terms of your messaging and your marketing activities, curious about where positioning falls into your world and how you deal with your customers to Ni positioning is one of the very first pillars. So you have your strategy. The positioning comes way before messaging for sure and, of course way before copy writing, 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 important pillars and if we just just to go back to what we' re saying previously, which is all people so if these people are making decisions on whether to try your product or download a resource by your product or service, these are all people. How do they make decisions? We have to think about when you, when I hear spark, for example, what comes to mind so I have to you have to understand what comes to mine for me. When I hear a spark or When I read a certain sentence right, there' s there' s a lot of that in positioning. I think I' m a big Fan of April Downford. One of the examples she uses in her book is the you know. If you say, you' re selling a cake on a stick versus you' re selling, a lollipop made out of cake. There are two different things right. The cake on a stick doesn' t feel like. It doesn' t feel right now. It makes me wonder well do I need a fork to eat it that it just brings up all these questions right that that add friction to to the WHO buying process. But if you say it' s a lilliput made out of cake all of a sudden it just there is a lot of come. There aren ' t so many questions that come up. so how do you? how do you find that that frame of reference that I love you know, I think it' s one of her phrases that that the market frame of reference that makes you the obvious choice? Yeah. I love that phrase. The obvious choice, because good positioning is so powerful that there are no other options, the the value proposition. the fact that they talk to you specifically at a time when there are many many products out there is so powerful that you cannot help but embrace positioning as a pillar for marketing. I think that' s really important. On Lindon, I see a lot of posts about interviewing your customers, knowing your customers, understanding your customers and I look at them, and my first reaction is this: is Marketin one O one? If you don' t know your customers inside out, then how are you going to develop marketing and for that matter, sales that are going to resonate, because if you don' t know their interests or their pains or their problems or even their aspirations, then you' re making at best at best educated guesses and as someone who works with entrepreneurs to show them how to connect with customers? Why are we seeing marketers talk about this? So much? Is it the circle that we' re in on Linkin, or Is this part of a bigger picture challenge than many marketers are struggling with to two things come to my dear, I think, and it' s true I have 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 of things that come to mind talk to customers, it ' s so easy to say, but it' s not as easy to do so it doesn' t mean that it' s not doable. it ' s just that. it' s not easy and we talked about technology tools, people that have that tools first strategy. It' s because that ' s easy, the hacks we have. we have to be on this podcast and talk about about hack right. We have to bring a hack hack for easy actor. You know I' m going to look for someone else to solve my problems. to give me the answers. What' s the latest? What' s the latest hack, you paid attention 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 as an 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 the context when they came up with that. With that idea, they were four years in three to four years and- and I don' t remember exactly mark you know the new c Mo he came in- he did loads of interviewing influencers customers prospects et ce- they knew they had. They had a good product. That' s the main difference. Do you know that you' re actually delivering value to this? 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 ties back to having intervened your customers. Having that that those conversations to reaffirm one of the 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 sometimes they could just feel likewell. You have to there ' s a certain way of running the interviews. It' s not like a conversation. You know having a coffee with a customer, but then, after that, how do you make sense of everything that comes out because it feels like you just open Pandora' s box? And now how do you make sure it doesn' t just explode in your face? And then you just get you desistant and leave that box? that' s just it stays on your to do list because you just don' t know how to make sense of all that. I think there' s a lot of talk to your customers. talk to your customers, but not enough of how to do it. You know I was reading a post this morning about it was. It was the reasons why companies don' t talk to their customers and there was a long list and it kind of scared me, because if you have marketers who actually admit to why they don' t talk to customers, then we' ve got a serious problem. So if you fall into the camp of talking to customers is important. It' s a depending on how you look at It. It' s a necessary evil or it' s a joy to do because you' re connecting with their customers. So how do you do an interview with customers? As you say, it' s not a coffee conversation, it' s not a casual conversation. So how do you approach them for one and then how do you structure the twenty minutes or the thirty minutes that they' re going to give you to provide the insight and to get the insight that you need to do better marketing and sales? I think the step one is to understand where you' re at 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 before you at this stage is to ask everyone in the team. Why they think their customers by from them, so each one responds to that separately and you keep that information for after the process right, because it' s also at the end show them why people white customers actually buy and just be like hey? Can you see there' s a disconnect her? You Yourself, don' t even know, but it' s not just You, as in one person, it' s you,...

...as in someone in sales versus someone in marketing, will have two different answers right, knowing what and then it' s okay. So who am I to interview? So you might have customers you? Would you want to talk to the ones that signed up for a free trial that haven' t paid yet? So you have to group decide which group you' re going to you' re going to actually talk to then once here you' ve decided on the group or groups within that group who has, for example, purchased or re signed up in the last, maybe two to three months, the ones that purchased from you last year. So that' s that' s key, because then information is fresh. I mean, if you ask me why I bought my my green screen six months ago. I probably you know, wouldn' t be able to give you as much information right. So the t e, the more recent the better so and then you decide depending I' ve. I' ve worked with with entrepreneurs that had twoad customers in their database and others that have had thirty d fifty, so it all depends. If you have two, and you can do, you can add, on an additional filter and just say: Okay, who are you know in terms of maybe stickiness with repeat purchases? You can add on filters to make the the different groups. Now then You decide on. Are you going to give a reward generally? The best best customers will be more than happy to talk to you without any reward, but that' s not the general. That' s not That' s not to say it' s the case or for everyone so decide on the reward I mean, and that depends on on the on the business. If you have a SASS, for example, make sense to give away two months free right? That' s in bucks does That make sense, so just ask asking yourselves what would be a value to them, not just the automatic I' m just going to get twenty buck a twenty Amazon Gift Card that that' s too easy? No, we should really think about what could be a value to them. What about the questions themselves? 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 in the right way. It admittedly most customers, if you can connect with them if they give you twenty minutes. Thirty minutes count yourself lucky because they' re busy they' ve got their own priorities helping you is really not top of mind for them, but they may love you enough, so they will help. How do you come up with the questions and how do you get the answers that you want in a limited period of time? So once winter and the the the interview you have the first part which is just making them, you know, feel comfortable 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 be able to record it so that you could be one hundred percent present in the conversation, and you could do the the analysis. The extraly analysis afterwards. So, first of all, it' s just a little bit t of small talk and then you just get into it automatically get into going back to when they actually performed that action right, so no transition. As in okay, now we' re going to start the interview, no just just go get into it. You want to really go back to if it' s a purchase go back to the time right before them. What happened? Tell me about the time when you you said enough is enough. I have to solve, but right or I have to get to this - obviously they' re not going to get into the nitty gradients of the good details in the first two or three phrases, but if you keep asking questions like a Ha and and and how so and tell me more and now so you you start Takin, that' s why you have to be president. It' s also why recording It is super important, so you could just be in the conversation extracting as much information as possible, leaving don' t ask any any any close questions. Don' t assume anything, and...

...then that takes you. you have the format 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 start digging into questions like what what is it one of my favorite ones is. What do you know now? That' s that' s valuable. Had you known before would have made you sign up faster, for example, it' s an idea, it' s an example of value that is misplaced. it' s not communicated so you' re like okay, fantastic and can take that and make sure that' s that' s visible at the beginning. But then you have you know the typical questions which are, if you, if you had to recommend product of service to someone else, what would what would you say? One of the questions are one of the things that I want to know when I interview. Customers is what I call the trigger if you ' re a customer and you' re doing the job using a tool at some point in time that you decide that you want a different tool, because no one goes from well. Very few people go from using nothing to actually using a product, there' s always switching and they' re, always thinking about what their alternatives are, and some of it comes to performance and price, and I' m always interested in what is that trigger? What happened that made you wake up one morning and go this video editing tool that I' m using is no good any more. I have to find a new one and that' s what I want to find out. I want to find those fine motivations, and do you see that as a core card of customer interviews, when, when you' re trying to get the insight, you need absolutely. If we look at the understanding the whole the full buying journey, most most marketers are at the stage. They only half understand have understand that the that last part the buying. You know where the buying is going on, even the using after that they' 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 triggers well, there' s the first very first one of course: that' s the one that you know made. you say something is not right. I got to start passively looking for something, but it' s you know the level of urgency just grows and grows as you move along the buying journey. the active looking looking face. That' s That' s a really important one to be mainly because if you can get in front of those earlier on in front of these people earlier on with you know, either any type of collaboration with other brands that for one a bigger opportunity, cheaper channels M. s just it' s much easier to get into people that are in the deciding phase. It' s just easier for marketers, especially if you they haven' t run the customer interviews. They don' t have the information to be able to how can I say, move their marketing to to the rest of the buying journey to the very beginning of the buying journey. Let me ask you a load of question. This goes back to the original premise of first principles of marketing versus technology and data and to get your take on the marketing landscape for the rest of the year. So for the last year, we' ve seen a lot of marketers, either double down on digital marketing or embrace marketing digital marketing. For the first time- and there hasn ' t been conferences and people have published a ton of content and then a lot of Weben ars and some people haven' t- have embraced podcast and e books as we come out of COD, hopefully come out of coved. How do you see the Bob Marketing landscape changing? Do you see it flipping back to pre coved, where we all go back to conferences and we pull back on content and digital marketing, or has a the landscape shifted in a...

...way that we' re not going back and you can' t go back? Even if you wanted 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 know what' s going to happen, but I think we' ve been given a taste or be to be marketers have been given a taste of something that there' s no going back to one 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 eds spent, nothing really changed. No when they realized that, whether without it they weren' t seeing any they weren ' t seeing a huge, a huge difference, either in visits or sales. So it wasn' t really moving the needle. So you talking about millions and millions being spent, but for no reason right. So I think when it comes to be to be you know, we have. We have the in person events, we have the conferences. 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, not just okay, we' re going to go back to doing conferences or automatically. I think there' s going to be a step before that, where we ask ourselves, is it really moving? Then you don and in terms of content creation? I think we' ve been given a taste of something. That' s That' s actually pretty cool, whether whether we' ve been we had been forced into that or not, but I think I think that' s going to stay yeah. You Find it interesting that a lot of marketers have done marketing, because every other marketer does the same thing. We go to conferences because the competitors go to conferences. We publish content on our blogs because that' s just the thing that you do. It will be very interesting to see whether people do things differently and really, as you say, start to scrutinize, the Roi of all their marketing activities and how it moves the needle, because, if you' that' s just keeping busy. One final area that I wanted to talk to you about is just your presence on Linkin and I think for a lot of people over the past year. a lot of marketers in particular have really embraced the platform and seen a lot of Roy and I' m curious about how you see yourself using linked in going forward when people do go back to the office and they do get busy, then they have less time to spend on social media any thoughts on how the platform evolves and how yourself you will change how you use Linkin, I think to me. I started to really be be more active on length, an end of two thousand and nineteen, and so this is pre pre coved. Even I don' t see it changing for me and then in the next year year and a half, I don' t see that changing. However, as I mean, I can ' t remember exactly how many monthly active users there were in- maybe maybe you not get in on lengthen, but in terms of content. Creators I believe were now we started during when covet started was one percent and now we ' re at three four percent that are actually creating and then a big chunk is you know, they' re just lurkers and then there' s another chunk. That' s just not not 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 past two just three weeks, so the Algorithm- The are just best funny things here and there, but still you know you get you get a there' s a good organic reach on this 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 in more user so that it' s sort of like evens out, because if not that' ll mean less reach for the rest of us. One thing I want to ask you about linked in is a recent announcement that they' re going to expand the number of characters in a post to three thousand from thirteen hundred and curious about how you feel that will...

...change your use of the platform and how the platform could evolve, because the nice thing about linked on posts is, I call them snack able their quick hits. They' re so sink pieces of insight, and I can scroll and really get a lot of value quite quickly. But three thousand characters to me first impression seems like man. It' s going to be a lot of long content, some stuff is going to be stretched out and I' m not so sure the user experience is going to be improved simply because people can write more words yeah. I think I remember that you posted about the about that couple days ago, or yesterday I really enjoyed that post, especially the snackole part. When you give the this snackole by snackole, doesn' t necessarily mean you know short right. It doesn' t necessarily be in one sentence or two hundred characters right. That' s. I know that. if I' m thinking of it from the point of view of o someone that doesn' t make the effort to make it readable or enjoyable or it just easy to read for the other one. Can you imagine 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. You know if we' re already selfish- and I' m not saying this about you mark, but in general we' re selfish know. we just push everything as is, and we make the audience. we expect the audience to sit down and filter out through this clutter and find something in value for them. So there' s a lot of that in the Linkin 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 hundred characters- and I have no idea what I' m talking about- then that' s that' s just more bad content. I think in my in my opinion, now how can this be used for good? Well, like you said, I think you mentioned it replacing articles even block posts that that could be again it' s an opportunity if there is value and even then, if there' s value, I don' t think that I want to read three hundred character posts all day long every day. So I would like to read one of your post. As you know, maybe a video change things up now: a video as short to one, a thousand character post podcast, a one liner once in a while just changing things up. Well, thanks all the great insight: Where can people learn more about you and raise the runaway link? Then we' re just talking about Ling, Then that' s where I spend most of my time, yeah so happy happy to connect there. Well, thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark if you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review and subscribe by, I tunes Potii or your favorite podcast at if you' d like to learn more about how I have fed sac companies as a fractional Camo fricace advisor and coach end an email to mark market es park, co I' ll talk to you next time. I.

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