Humans Come First Podcast

Our voices aren't the ones that need to be heard right now

Over the last week, we have been forced to self reflect.

We are both white-skinned and male. And, that has obviously benefited us throughout our lives and in our careers. The events of the last week have made us question how we can be better.

Not being racist, is not enough. It’s never been enough and we want to support that in whatever small way we can. Now is not the time for people to hear our voices, but for us to help amplify the voices of the black community around us.

While our intentions are good, we may not get this right. One thing we do think we can do however, is share things that have helped us.

On our website, humanscomefirst.co.uk, you’ll find a link to a series of resources we’ve found useful.

We’ll see you next week.

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6 things we've learnt during Covid-19

It feels like Coronavirus has been going on for a million years now, but really it’s only been ten weeks for us in the UK. While we’re now starting to see the green shoots of normality return, this disruption has taught us a lot… as people, as business owners, as marketers.

While we’re at risk of being part of the rush of ‘ten things I learned from Coronavirus’ articles that we be swamping Linkedin in the coming weeks and months, we thought it would be a useful exercise to look back and examine what we’ve learned.

Over the last few months, we’ve been on a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s been a wild, sometimes exciting, sometimes mundane ride, but both of us have learnt a lot, about ourselves, about our businesses and about the people we communicate with and sell to.

So, for our tenth episode, we decided to get reflective again… and look at the top six things we’ve learnt about marketing and running a business during a crisis.

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Using love and hate to grow in marketing

We all have things we like and those things that we don’t. Things that don’t appeal to some, will endear you to others.

We all have tastes and preferences and whether it’s conscious or not, we form opinions based on our beliefs and experiences. It’s what makes us human.

So why then do we often fall into the trap of needing our work liked by all?

Some of the best messages of our time have nailed one concept: this thing we’re doing, it is made for you. The implication is that the same thing isn’t right for others.

Yes, it’s about target market, but it’s also about being strong enough in your convictions to know that if the message is challenged, you don’t feel the need to buckle.

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Creepy crochet and the power of ABM

We all want to be famous for our work, right? Get thousands of likes on every post. Have millions attend your webinars. Pick up awards for world-changing marketing. But, at the end of the day, if your activity is making you famous, but not affecting business results, something is going wrong.

Most business decisions are made by one or a few key individuals in a company. So rather than marketing for reach, what happens when we flip the narrative and focus on the individuals?

Account-based marketing, or ABM, recognises that a few key contacts are going to be those that make the difference between a yes, and a no when it comes to working together. An ABM strategy doesn’t bother with hitting the big numbers: it focuses on creating something far more meaningful: a proper relationship.

In this episode, we explore our own experiences of ABM, what we’ve done well, and what we can do differently in the future.

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Riding the waves of excitement and using the lulls for longer-term thinking

Leading a business, team or organisation can be challenging at the best of times.

Leading in a time of crisis takes it to a whole new level. But as leaders are we actually aware of the toll that’s having on us personally, our families or the team around us?

We’ve spent weeks fire fighting, plugging holes and making new plans. As marketers, we’ve been dancing between survival mode and looking for opportunities.

It’s been adrenalin fuelled but what happens when that first wave of excitement runs out?

Where we find ourselves now is a lull - for many, it’s become mundane and the adventure has run out. Is now the time to be re-evaluating the longer term strategy? And should we be preparing for second wave of excitement?

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10 things we would do if we started again (now that we're older and wiser)

Growing a business can be challenging and the benefit of hindsight really is 20/20… but what would we do if we knew what we know about growth now, then. How would we do it differently if we got to play it all out?

Marketing, sales and business growth has certainly changed over the past few years - and, at a guess, both of us have made considerable mistakes along the way.

We’ve tried marketing tactics we’re not proud of. Tested channels that burnt through money and tried services that were doomed to fail. But, importantly, we tried and we learnt.

In this episode, Joe and Rich are going to do a bit of reminiscing… about all the things we’ve ballsed up and how we would do it differently, knowing what we now know about marketing and sales.

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Where did marketing go wrong?

Today we do something different. We discuss something sent in by a listener who has asked us to identify at what point in history marketing went wrong. The point where we stopped looking at customer needs and relationships and started focusing on automation and depersonalised tactics. It's a big one, but let's dive in.

On one level, this is precisely why we started this podcast: a general feeling that some people were getting it wrong, or probably more accurately, that there is part of us who thinks we're right.

Phil McSweeney donated the topic for today, citing an example where despite the corona pandemic, he received an email from a company (Groupon) offering restaurant codes and from another company (TripAdvisor) using him to rate holiday destinations. Clearly this is jarring in how wrong it is.

Despite these examples, and perhaps this is just my bubble, but I do see and hear a lot of marketers using words like empathy, caring, relationships and more.

So are we just talking a big game and not delivering meaning is marketing just wrong, or is it a case of some ruining it for the many?

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What is 'brand' and why should we be focussing on it now?

With businesses all over the world becoming severely hampered as a result of lockdown measures, brand-building has become one of the most important activities that every marketer should focus on as we ride out this pandemic. While few would disagree with this advice, many are at a loss on what this means on a practical level. How can we build our brand amidst these uncertain times?

Margaret Molloy, Global CMO of Siegel+Gale, defines brand as “a promise kept”. Branding encompasses much more than just the business’s aesthetic or looks (ex. logo, colour palette, etc.). Branding is more so about the experience that customers or clients have when they interact with the company throughout the marketing cycle.

The brand experience includes culture, ethos, and people. It does not aim to reach potential customers logically but, rather, emotionally. The value of the product, therefore, is not found in the product itself, but in how the product is perceived. “We want to create an ‘unboxing’ experience with our services,” says Richard. “What we want is for somebody to enjoy the process of working with us so much that what we actually deliver becomes irrelevant.”

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Is B2C totally f*cked?

Coronavirus still grips the global economy. Restaurants and shops are closed. Kath Kidson and Debenhams are going into administration. Airlines are being bailed out and across the world, paid media budges are being slashed.

In this episode, we tackle the question ‘is B2C marketing completely f*cked, and if not, what can marketers do right now to not alienate the people that they’re trying to sell to?’

We discuss how people presently engage with bricks and mortar B2C, and how Covid-19 will force innovation in this sector, particularly in the way of creating experiences for customers. We look at the examples of Apple and Tesla who have already pioneered this approach.

Wrapping up, we look to the future, stating what B2C marketers can do in the short and long term to make the most of their marketing.

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How do you define 'community' and how the hell do marketers leverage it?

The year is 2020, and people are sat at home bored, anxious, and sometimes alone. The answer to this is 'community'. But, with more and more corporates looking to use the word community in their activity: what does that really mean these days, and what are the implications for marketers?

Communities are groups of people who come together with the intention of helping one another, lifting one another up, and being stronger than they would be alone. At it's best, the community has the ability to be a truly touching, and very human experience. The best communities are those where everyone contributes.

A community only lives up to it's billing when it is pure in intention and facilitates cross-communication between folks who might be able to help each other. In this way, corporates supersede a transactional relationship and instead become the heart of the conversation.

In this episode, Microsoft, Drift and HubSpot are upheld as examples of companies who put this into action successfully.

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Using a global crisis as your marketing trigger (makes you a d*ckhead)

As a brand, it’s more important than ever before to have empathy for our customers. Some companies are using the current crisis as a sleazy excuse to push promotional sales, which is not only tasteless and unethical but has no long-term benefit to the brand, to begin with.

If you’re a business owner, you must be willing to reframe your expectations moving forward. Your focus during this time shouldn’t be on the financial gain but on brand-building. Show your audience what you stand for as a brand through your messaging and actions. The key is to frame your interactions as human to human, and not client to business.

Also, while it’s always important to err on the side of caution when it comes to marketing amidst the COVID-19 crisis, this is also a great opportunity to experiment with your approach as a brand. Throw mud on the wall and see what sticks. Just keep in mind that it is now easier than ever for your audience to see through manipulative marketing; so as long as your message is authentic and consumer-focused as opposed to merely profit-focused, your business has a much higher chance of thriving as the world moves towards the new normal.

Listen to Humans Come First Podcast on Apple Podcasts