Episode 110: Making Numbers Count, with Karla Starr

We humans are good at dealing with small numbers. So good, scientists have coined the word “Subitizing” to describe how we know small numbers as well as the back of our hand. The opposite is also true. We can’t differentiate big numbers. We know that 10 to the power of 10 is bigger than 10 to the power of 9, but how much bigger? Even on hearing that they differ by a factor of billions, we stumble to gauge that kind of scale. 

This puts those of us who present numbers in a pickle. Historical greats like Florence Nightingale had a terrible time presenting her data to government leaders. She broke with convention, framing everything in terms of soldiers not statistics, to argue how to prevent needless deaths in military hospitals.  The book in today’s show explains methods used by her & others to convey numbers that the brain has a hard time grasping.

Knowing tactics that worked for Florence,  should at the very least help us convince management to approve our marketing initiatives. 

Since graduating with a BA in Psychology and Philosophy from NYU, Karla Starr has written columns for Medium  and appeared on NPR and CBS Sunday Morning. She has also written for many magazines and won an award for the Best Science/Health story from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Her first book was Can You Learn to Be Lucky? Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others. We’re talking today about the second book  Making Numbers Count: The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers, with Chip Heath 

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Episode 109: The Smart Marketing Book, with Dan White

Dan White Smart Marketing

William of Ockham – 1287 – 1347  was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and catholic theologian, born in a small village in Surrey England. He had a way of reducing explanations down to their essential core, frequently and effectively showing that the simplest explanation of a phenomenon was usually the right one. Ockham used this so much, his name has become associated with this principle – which we know today as Occam’s razor.  

Dan White graduated from Cambridge University with a Masters of Arts. He has worked in marketing, market research and brand consultancy for 30 years. He is equally passionate about using imaginative visuals to bring marketing concepts to life. If people understand and remember an idea thanks to a clever framework or visual metaphor they will be able to use it in their day-to-day work. You can consider his book Smart Marketing to help you apply Occam’s Razor to today’s marketing problems. 

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Episode 108: Marketing Flexology, with Engelina Jaspers

In 1942 economist Joseph Schumpeter claimed at the core of our economic system was a “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”  He called it creative destruction

Half a century later, Harvard professor Clayton Christiansen wrote in “The Innovator’s Dilemma” that “By doing what they must do to keep their margins strong and their stock price healthy, every company paves the way for its own disruption…The reason why it is so difficult for existing firms to capitalize on disruptive innovations is that their processes and their business model that make them good at the existing business actually make them bad at competing for the disruption.”

Which of these two is telling the truth? They both are, it depends on companies and the individuals within them. It’s up to them whether they will change with the times or be left behind.

My guest today is Engelina Jaspers, who has experienced revolving-door CEOs, business course-corrections and lots of reinventions during her 30-year corporate career. Across all her VP leadership roles — marketing, brand strategy, environmental sustainability, corporate communications — none escaped disruption. After being tapped to lead multiple company-wide transformations, Engelina became a student and teacher of business and career agility.

These experiences led her to develop the MARKETING FLEXOLOGY Management Framework™ — a mindset and a toolset for future-proofing your career, your team and your marketing platform. Engelina shares marketing agility know-how in her book, presentations and workshops so you, too, can anticipate and prosper from unplanned change.

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Episode 107: Email Marketing Demystified, with Matt Paulson

Email is a powerful medium. At minimum, it serves a company’s need for transacting with vendors & customers, etc. But some companies go much further, putting it at the centre of their business. The author of today’s book, has done this in three distinct businesses. How did he get there? Just listen to his story. 

In his  primary school years, Matt Paulson played games like SimCity on his family’s PC. Keen to share what he learned with other fans, he made a website and watched as visitors started coming by the hundreds. Learning that you could make money by putting banner ads on your site, he signed his little website up and small cheques started rolling in. But for the time being, it just served him as a way to make pocket money.

Like many University students, he found himself in the middle of his studies, needing money to cover tuition costs. The college newspaper had part-time job openings for writers. Between that and taking freelance gigs on ProBlogger, mainly about personal finance, he managed to get by.

Matt then fused his writing skills with selling banner ads like he’d done before. He launched a finance blog that generated about the same income as you’d make on a computer science graduate’s salary. He made  many websites along this theme, and because they were highly dependent on Google’s algorithm for traffic, they rode some high highs and low lows. In the aftermath of one rankings smackdown, he resolved to never give a tech platform the power to damage his business like this.

The solution was to manage their own content distribution. That meant showing their brand on a variety of finance portals, but also networking directly with their audience, getting them used to seeing the site’s brand in places like their email inbox. So they launched an email newsletter. That newsletter, called MarketBeat, now has three million email subscribers. Financial product companies pay top dollar to advertise in the newsletter, to get a piece of the one million monthly outbound clicks it receives. Along with premium subscription products, this business now employees thirteen people and grosses more than $25 million in top-line annual revenue.

You now know the story of a young guy who founded an email empire. And while he’s proud of it, he’s equally passionate about living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with his wife and 3 young kids. 

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Episode 106: Brands, Bandwagons & Bullshit, with Harry Lang

Our guest came out of university not knowing what field he was going to go into. But he managed to get an internship at ad agency Saatchi and Saatchi. From there he went to work on a variety of accounts, dream clients like Penguin Books, Budweiser and Sony PlayStation. He then settled into the online entertainment space working with goalpoker.com and jackpotparty.com. And in between that and some unpublished novel writing, he found his real groove, giving advice on what young marketers could learn from things he had done. So after a career that’s done just about everything that you could do agency and client side in marketing he’s now sharing his advice.

NB: I apologize for technical issues we had with the recording – hope you’ll listen to what Harry has to say

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EXCERPT: Don’t be Derailed by Rejection

You’re going to get rejected. A lot. That’s just a given, and if you’re on A Grade student who’s sailed through school, university, and sporting success with the gilded sheen of a winner, this is going to sting a little.

Get used to it.

This isn’t a game of round pegs for round holes. Every hole has more edges than a jigsaw and there are always shit loads of more qualified people trying desperately to mould themselves to fit in. The bravery you need to defeat this early rejection will just be a leather jerkin when compared to the metaphorical suit of armour you’ll need later on, when whole campaigns or businesses you’ve poured your soul into are rejected without so much as a thank you email.

Episode 105: Action Tracking, with Katrina German

The best plan is not the most correct plan. It’s not the one that requires barricading your door, working day and night for a week to write out. It’s the one you stick to. 

This logic can apply to diets, preparing a speech, training for competition, or keeping a New year’s resolution. It can also be applied to one thing that is rarely fully implemented – a marketing plan. A great hack to overcome false-starts is to follow a program that’s short enough, you see results in as little as 30 days. And that’s the tactic used in today’s book.  

Written in 2019, “Action Tracking” is aimed at formulating a digital marketing strategy. Its author, Katrina German, came by her expertise here in a circuitous way. She’s worked in different media, from books, to television to running a technology company. The common element was that they all centred around communicating stories, and reaching and marketing to the audiences hearing them. She’s been helping companies for the last 6 years. Tying digital actions by sales and marketing to a coherent plan that’s aligned with their strategy. 

But this talk isn’t just about scaffolding and building your online strategy. We talk about the drawbacks of current social channels. The issue of social media’s impact on mental welfare was brought to the fore by the 2020 movie “The Social Dilemma.” The platforms knew about their negative impact on audiences before we as marketers did, but now that we are aware, we can’t ignore our impact. When we use sensational headlines so our messages spread further, it ups the ante for all posts to please the algorithm. This degrades everyone’s experience and subjects our followers to mentally-corrosive content.  This isn’t the kind of Internet Katrina wanted to see, and so she did something about it. Her most recent reincarnation is as founder of Ethical Digital, a Canadian agency that respects the voices of women and Indigenous and other minority communities. Their belief is that more inclusion in the ranks of marketing practitioners will improve the digital experience for everyone. I can’t argue with her here and I hope you stick around to hear this upbeat tone at the end of our talk.

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Episode 104: Death of Content as King, with Jon Hinderliter

Back in the early 2000s Our guest was in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. That occupation was rocked by the events of  9/11, bringing him into  active duty service for four years, and eventually serving for a total of 20 years. 

After doing a master’s in marketing from Southern Illinois University, he felt he should put these skills to work for academic institutions, he went to work at  University College at Washington University in St. Louis, where he is now the Marketing Director. 

Through this journey, he saw a transition happening with how digital content works. Since the early days of the internet, content marketing has been the battle cry of countless marketing experts promising free attention forever in return for creating quality content. However,  the majority of the work of matching content with consumers is done by algorithms on the dominant search, social, and e-commerce platforms. This once in a century paradigm shift requires new strategies for marketers. 

I bet you don’t just want to survive this data revolution but you probably want to move past this old regime.

Our guest chronicled how to make this change in his recent book, The Death of Content as King 

You’ll want to hear what Jon Hinderliter has to say about his 2020 book.

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Episode 103: Data First Marketing, with Janet Driscoll Miller

If you’ve listened to this show, you know that I believe we can base all the marketing decisions we make on data. This fourth book in our Marketing Books summer series talks with an author who’s extensively described how we get data in a form that helps us make decisions.

Janet Driscoll-Miller brings over twenty years of search engine marketing experience to Marketing Mojo and is considered a leading expert in her field. Janet has spoken at search engine and marketing conferences including Digital Summit, SMX Advanced, MarketingProfs B2B and Pubcon. Janet is also a frequent guest lecturer at colleges and universities including the University of Virginia and James Madison University.

In 2020, she co-authored Data-First Marketing with Julia Lim.

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Episode 102: Influencer Marketing Strategy, with Gordon Glenister

Consumers and corporate buyers no longer put blind trust in our brands. Nor do they trust big institutions. Nor religion. Nor the government. Nor the media. We do however still trust people like us. That’s where influencers come in. 

Gordon Glenister is a UK-based adviser on the business of working with influencers and running membership associations. Gordon launched the association arm of the UK’s Branded Content Marketing Association, to support the influencer marketing industry. Additionally, he hosts “Influence”, the global podcast on influencer marketing.  In 2021 he published the book Influencer Marketing Strategy

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  • Example of an influencer scorecard:

Episode 101: Age of Customer Equity, with Allison Hartsoe

Think of the data you have on your customers as having value. It does, by the fact that the more you know your clients, the better you can serve them. This “unlocked potential revenue” of all your current customers can be quantified as your whole customer’s lifetime value (CLV) added together. 

This number is known by finance people as Customer Equity, but it’s much more than a mathematical formula. The value that VCs and public markets have put on assets such as loyalty programs and subscription lists is often greater than the value of a company’s capital assets!

While it might sound like it has to do with finance, this is all highly related to marketing. This is because each tactical decision gets vetted by whether it will optimize CLV; it becomes your company’s North Star.  

Allison Hartsoe has strategize d the digital customer analytics for dozens of Fortune 500 customers throughout her career. She now leads an analytics consultancy in Portland OR, Ambition Data, and published the book, “The Age of Customer Equity”,  in 2021. She has been published in Forbes.com, MIT Technology Review, and Fast Company and somewhere in between all this writing, she found time to cycle across the USA. 

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