CIM Marketing Podcast - Episode 63: Best of series three

CIM Marketing Podcast - Episode 63: Best of series three

Highlights from series three

This podcast will:

  • Feature all the best insights from the third series of the CIM Marketing Podcast
  • Showcase some of our favourite guests from the series
  • Preview the upcoming series four

Never miss an episode of the CIM Marketing Podcast by subscribing on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Podcast transcript

Ally Cook 00:04

Welcome to the CIM Marketing podcast. The contents and views expressed by individuals in the CIM Marketing Podcast are not necessarily those of the companies for which they work. This series is currently being recorded via web conferencing. We apologize for any issues with the audio.

Ben Walker 00:22

Hi, everybody, and welcome to the CIM Marketing Podcast with a bit of a twist. This time, we are looking at the best of the season just gone, series three of the podcast, and the highlights therein. We start with an industry secrets episode featuring James Delves, who's head of PR and engagement at CIM, and Gemma Butler, the former Marketing Director and CEO and who is now Chief Community Officer at WeAre8. And James, in general, we're discussing the findings of the annual CIM CMO survey.

James Delves 01:01

Yeah, so there were three challenges that really seem to come out of the report as in keeping CMOs up at night: the adoption of technology, the use of data; the importance of demonstrating the value of marketing; and effect regulations and marketing's responsibility to consumers. They were really the three things that really stood out which all the CMOs had opinions on and comments on.

Ben Walker 01:21

Which of those Gemma do you think is likely to be the one that's going to persist keeping them awake at night? And which do you think some of that they'll get to grips on quickly?

Gemma Butler 01:31

I mean, I think they are - we're always and it's no change - adapting to changes in technology, and data is always going to be one that I don't think we'll ever keep up with. So we'll continue to grapple with it. I think demonstrating the value of marketing. I think it's we're at a really interesting sort of point whereby marketing for those brands that have you know, maintained momentum or change how they've done things and seen you know, that they've been successful during the last 18 months, how they keep that momentum going? And will they just switch off and forget that marketing was a real pivotal part in taking them down that road versus what does marketing have to do to keep its value and show what it can really deliver. So I think, you know, they all essentially are going to be challenges that continue because technology is not going to stop and people have short memories. And as you say, Ben life is going to carry on, go or move forward, and the daily grind is going to kick in. And my only hope is we don't go back to pre-pandemic times where we'll just revert back to noise.

James Delves 02:40

[...]Basically 54% of marketing leaders thought there was currently too little regulation around social media.

Ben Walker 02:46

Gemma Butler, isn't that marketers asking for their job to be harder?

Gemma Butler 02:51

I don't think it is, I think actually, we need regulation, you know, how regulation is brought about and what it ends up being is a very different thing. But the requirement and the need to have regulation is a good thing. And I think marketing, I think there's a responsibility of moving from the profit motive through to being you know, more good for society, I think, you know, marketers are taking on that role more. And that's certainly something we're driving, you know, move away from just 'profit, profit, profit' into society and doing good for society. And we know that these issues can't be solved by businesses or government alone. Government has to work with business, business has to work with government, and we have to work with society to educate and inform and keep them safe. And I think that's a really key role that businesses are going to have to take more seriously as we move forward if they are to remain successful. And in business.

Ben Walker 03:53

That was episode 42. And a few weeks later, we had a great live show with Dan White and James Farmer. Dan is author of the smart marketing book and the Soft Skills book, and James Farmer. Many of you will know he's a regular on the podcast, and he's head of brand and marketing comms at CIM. [...]I hesitate to be a sort of hackneyed journalist about it and call it a soft skills crisis. I don't think we're quite there yet. But we do sell it we've had a bit of a soft skills recession over the last two years or so. James, that's got to come back at some point hasn't it, particularly people who are going out there trying to get new jobs moving forward in their career, and so on and so forth. And a lot of what employers are going to be looking for is evidence of soft skills.

James Farmer 04:39

Absolutely. Yes. I think you know, before we even sort of go into the recruitment market, I think one of the reasons why marketers have potentially neglected soft skills is because they've been so preoccupied with keeping their hard skills up to date. You know, in this fast changing digital environment that we, you know, that we often talk about ourselves, the rest of the industry. The focus is all on, "I've got to keep up with PPC, SEO, whatever it might be". Yeah. And actually, that's taking up all of their learning time.

Ben Walker 05:08

It's crowding it out

James Farmer 05:08

It's crowding it out exactly. Whereas actually the soft skills. are, you know, the frequency that we use soft skills, demands that they should always be a focus.

Ben Walker 05:19


James Farmer 05:19

You know, it's the soft skills that you use day in day out. Versus, you know, how often you have to set up a PPC campaign.

Dan White 05:27

I think it's going to be even harder for the next generation. Because you think about people who have gone to university over the last couple of years, a lot of them has spent half that time a good year or so working and studying on their own. Not having the normal learning experience of getting to especially your first year, getting to know people socializing. That just takes it to the next level from from what you've learned from school and people coming into the industry right now, and in over the next year or so, will will presumably need even more attention.

James Farmer 06:00

Absolutely. Yes. Yeah, no, totally. I think there was a stat that we pulled from, in prep for this podcast, from LinkedIn, which looked at '89% of businesses say that a hire doesn't work out because of a lack of soft skills', which is a scarily high number. And I think, you know, it's a bit obvious to say perhaps, but actually, soft skills are incredibly visible in an interview situation

Ben Walker 06:25


James Farmer 06:25

You know you could, you can go into an interview and say, "I've done loads of this, I've done loads of that" experiential-wise, but actually, you can't elaborate on your soft skills, because they are raw and obvious.

Ben Walker 06:38

And if the need for soft skills was raw and obvious, as James said, so is the need for digital skills. And we asked a little bit more about that from Daniel Rowles, who CEO of target internet, joining him, was Gemma Butler.

Daniel Rowles 06:52

I'm just very interested to see, that as we have changed our behaviours as consumers, and this has been a constant, have we got the tools, the abilities in place to keep on adjusting and pivoting to this. Because the other area I do a lot of stuff in is digital transformation. And, you know, we've gone through this whole thing of saying, oh, you know, digital transformation, "we transformed during the pandemic, we changed how we use digital, we're suddenly all on Zoom". And it's like, that's digitization that's not transforming. And the risk is we say, oh, things are back to normal, we need to get back to the new normal. And we need to go back to business as usual. And the danger is, we suddenly take our foot off the off the accelerator and realize, all our customers are over here, and we're here. And it's like, the gaps got even bigger. So I think there's a danger in that as well, that we're just trying to get back to normal. Well, normal is gone. So it's it needs to, and I don't like this new normal thing. But you know, we need to take where are we now where do we need to move forwards and iteration is where it's at, as far as I concerned. It's that look at the data interpret it, change, and just get into that cycle of constant change. And I'm always preaching, you know, transformation is not an endpoint. It's a new way of doing things. It's the ability to change quickly. That's really for me what this kind of highlights.

Ben Walker 08:06

So Gemma there's a bit of a kick up the backside from this report. But sometimes we need a bit of a kick up the backside.

Gemma Butler 08:12

It's a good thing, I think it's a good thing. I think, you know, I think the main thing is that marketing as a function has been elevated. And it's really proved its value to organizations. It's a, it's no longer being seen as that end of funnel piece which just advertises and sells you stuff. And, you know, for a long time we've been saying at CIM that you know, you need to focus on your professional development and keep that going all the time. And the message suddenly has got through, it's only taken a pandemic to get us there, We now just need to calm down, and look at where we need to upskill and not necessarily lead our skills by what the environment saying but by what we want to do as marketers.

Ben Walker 08:50

Later that season. We talked about the learning load that marketers face, the burden, if you like, of learning and how to tackle it and deal with it. And we invited Molly MacArthur who's Digital Marketing Manager at CIM, and the former Content and Engagement Manager of CIM Ally Cook to join us on this one. Ally now has joined Gemma, at WeAre8. I mean it should be said that marketers are avid learners, I work for a book publisher whose name shall remain nameless. But one of our best performing segments is marketing. You know, marketers clearly have an interest in keeping themselves ahead of the game and learning and making sure they understand new tools and techniques and new platforms and so on and so forth. But Molly, why is it so much different in this respect, do you think, to other jobs? Why is there this sort of pressure and need to learn and stay ahead of the game?

Molly MacArthur 09:44

I think because it's so fast paced. Instagram are releasing new updates every single day. It changes what marketers need to do. The data and privacy laws seems like they're changing every five minutes and keeping up with that is struggle. And also the pace of change in technology, the things that are available now that weren't a few years ago is brilliant. So we need to keep up with those technologies and make sure we're appearing in the places that we need to. Things like, I know that when I first got into marketing, we would never have advertised on a podcast, it just wasn't really a big thing but now we need to make sure we're sort of in those spaces, we need the skills to make sure we can advertise in these spaces. So yeah, I think it's just only going to get harder as things go on. I think it's just sort of a snowball effect with technology and how things change. So it's a struggle, there's a lot to keep up with!

Ben Walker 10:33

It's a struggle, we've got to keep up, it's probably going to get harder. But Ally Cook, you use this phrase 'overwhelm', 'overwhelming'. How do we then as marketers, given what Molly's just said, we do need to keep ahead, prevent ourselves from being overwhelmed by this sort of fireball in front of us of excessive learning.

Ally Cook 10:54

So I think it really comes down to focus. And I think that those, as we discussed, there's so many headlines and stats out there about the skills gaps within marketing. It's about not always taking those at face value and digging a little bit deeper into how they impact you in your role. I think there's a tendency in marketing, to feel that you have to be this all rounder, you have to know everything, and understand each individual part of how the whole marketing landscape works. Whilst that's helpful, and knowing a little bit about everything in within the marketing space is always going to be beneficial. There's so many different ways to do that, that don't always involve going back to the classroom. And there's so much to be learned from the peers around us, there's so many more resources now than ever before. I think the really important thing is focusing on what's most relevant to you at the stage of the career that you're in. But also thinking about some ways to learn that maybe you wouldn't have considered before, that aren't going to feel overwhelming or that you've got to start from the beginning. Actually learning can look like whatever you want it to look like. And whilst you know, we are CIM, we wouldn't discourage someone from taking up a qualification or going on a training course, there's so many more options now. To Molly's point with the advancements in technology, so many ways to learn. So it's really about thinking about what works best for you.

Ben Walker 12:10

Of course one of the triggers for the need to learn on an ongoing basis in marketing is because marketing itself is ever-shifting, ever-changing. And on this very topic, we caught up with Claire Kemsley in Episode 52. Claire is managing director for UK and Ireland of Hays marketing. And she was joined by the aforementioned Gemma Butler. How as a marketer, do you say to your own business, "Look, this is where I'm going to add value. This is what our customers want. This is what our customers need. And the rest of it is either noise, or it's for somebody else to do."

Gemma Butler 12:46

I think that's a great question. And, you know, I think it's about, this is where the skills of marketers come in, around, you know, collecting that data, and analysing it and looking at it to understand, what do your customers want? What do prospective customers want? But also from the internal perspective, saying, "Why do we exist as an organization?" Because there's so much more pressure now. And it's only going to continue to increase around organizations delivering against, you know, the triple bottom line. "Why do I exist to serve society and what is my role here" and I think that's why we kind of have to stop and take this breath.

Clare Kemsley 13:29

I think marketeers need to be at the forefront of understanding and setting the objectives of the business. They need to be in that central strategic place. Because then they have this common goal, or three common goals, understanding and using data with with an ethical lens, understand the importance of the balanced workplace, that fantastic innovation, creativity you have when you have a really strong media eye and sense of purpose, and then to your chosen subject Gemma sustainability. And I do think it's this common ground where if they understand that the role they have is so connected to the greater good of the brand and therefore the greater good of their customer base. I do think that is where you could start Gemma, where you could really begin to build a sustainable business, a sustainable team.

Ben Walker 14:22

Going back to the classic question of marketing, which is "what is a marketer?" Is it time at last, in 2022, to define what a marketer is? Is there any chance of it happening? Are we going to move away from 10 Different marketers, 10 different definitions of marketing, Gemma Butler? By Christmas Eve this year, will we all be able to say collectively in unison, what a marketer is?

Gemma Butler 14:49

No, absolutely not. You will never define what a marketer is because marketers all have different views, and different sort of, opinions on it.

Clare Kemsley 15:04

Will marketing be defined today, as Gemma says, absolutely not. But I do think, I really do think and I see, that this is a moment in time, as I say. I say to my, the customers that we deal with a lot, a moment in time. Marketing can define itself, and can change the definition of what it does.

Ben Walker 15:25

Episode 58 delved into a whole new reality for marketers, and came all the way from Italy. An expert Daniel Colaianni, CEO of the Academy of International Extended Reality. Which perhaps is self explanatory name, even if the concept is not.

Daniel Colaianni 15:46

Every innovative technology needs a place to start, right. It needs those early adopters, those early innovators, right. But then what we we tend to see in terms of trends in graphs is the more people that expose that technology and the more genuine uses - not just gimmicks, for example, which is one thing that has plagued the marketing industry quite rapidly from its early days of this technology. Once we move past that stage, we then see rapid mass adoption. And then, of course, we get to see more return on investment. We're maturing with the technology. And we're maturing as we start to experiment with things, and we're understanding what sticks, what doesn't stick, what, what works. And then you've got this whole concept now of this, you know, the metaverse or online interactions with people. So now we're thinking about how do we get people to interact with products and brands, in virtual environments as well. And not just buy things, but actually, how do we get them to interact with the brand, actually, as if they were a human being or if they are a person. One of the, you know, the holy grails of being able to personify a brand and not just make it some corporate entity, but actually make it someone that someone wants to work with and someone wants to interact with. Early adopters benefit, in particular, because they're looking at this with the lens of experimenting, and trying things out and actually seeing what fits, what doesn't fit. And the brands that are happy to experiment, and try and get their hands stuck in and realize it's not going to be a perfect experience, are the brands that are going to be ahead.

Ben Walker 17:17

We then rewound slightly from extended reality to the current tech phenomenon of our times: social media. And we were joined by Gemma Butler and Asif Choudry, who is sales and marketing director at Resource. And we asked them a simple question. "Should all marketers use social media?"

Asif Choudry 17:42

It's the old trait of great networking relationship building, the main benefit is now I can do it. I don't have to be, you know, you don't have to reserve a chamber breakfast or a BNI breakfast meeting to meet people anymore, Digital's made it far easier to do what good networkers have always been able to do, but had to go somewhere to do it. So it's been hugely successful. From a business point of view. Probably over 80% of our business comes through somebody seeing a post on LinkedIn and Twitter. It's been phenomenal. People are talking about community building now. Eight years ago, I don't even think that term was a thing,

Gemma Butler 18:23

I really do see a huge amount of value in that space for meeting people, for having conversations, for finding out you know, what people think about things. And I guess for me, it's, it's really about spreading the word and raising awareness and educating people through the work I do and pointing them, you know, into, into different areas for them to have a look at. But also introducing people and asking people what their views and recommendations are.

Asif Choudry 18:50

[...] is you're putting yourself in the firing line, both for positive acclaim and feedback, but also negative, and you've got to accept that it comes with the territory. And if you're not happy with both of those, then stay off it. Because if you're doing the positive stuff well, you are going to attract haters. But take that as a compliment because you are being heard. And you will be heard by more positive people if that's what you're doing. And that's what you're there for. So there is that dilemma. Does, what does free speech actually mean? Do you, you know, you have to accept that. But there should be some regulation for people, where it starts to turn into things that are going to affect people or, you know, from a mental health point of view or threats physically and things like that. And all this stuff does go on, but there are, you know, I think there's always going to be huge amounts of really good stuff in social media that are going to keep people there.

Gemma Butler 19:48

Sue Fennessey from WeAre8 said exactly the same thing. The technology is there to turn off the hate, or to remove the people who are, you know, putting those hateful comments out. The technology is there for social media platforms to validate and verify the people that are on there, so they cannot be faceless and have multiple accounts where there's no, absolutely no way of finding out who they are. They choose not to.

Ben Walker 20:15

And last but not least, we wrapped up the season with an exciting Live episode in front of a live studio audience for the first time ever for the CIM Marketing Podcast. And we were joined by two fantastic guests: Emily Stephenson, who is head of force for good at innocent drinks, famous brand. And Richard Cope from an equally famous brand Mintel, He is senior trends consultant there, and we were asking them about sustainability and, more to the point, the secrets of successful sustainable marketing.

Emilie Stephenson 20:49

You've got to be aware of all the unintended consequences of, for example, changing your packaging or having a quick solution. I often say sustainability might be green, but it's never black or white. And people in this world want a, you know, yes, or no, or good or bad. It's much more complex than that. And you need to have their attention for a certain number of seconds and minutes to really explain the complexity around issues.

Ben Walker 21:12

If you've never had sustainability as part of your brand, how can you weave it in to your brand without taking a risk of having to be accused of being green, greenwashing, even if it is authentic?

Richard Cope 21:26

I think a degree of fallibility, degree of humanity's okay. I mean, I'm going to mention a very obvious brand again. But you know, Patagonia did its footprint Chronicles 15 years ago, talking about "this is the impact of our brands", straying off being transparent about that. So we work with a lot of banks, who are looking at green banking products, and they're very worried about the credibility factor of you know, "are we be crazy to try and launch something that people are just going to laugh out of here", because we know, other parts of business doing that. But in answering your question, I hope so because it's these big brands, which have never done anything sustainable, which are the ones you know, your energy companies, your your investors, they're the ones need to embrace this.

Emilie Stephenson 22:05

[...]People, people want more detail, and they've got more time and social media, you know, let's not talk about the elephant in the room, the fact that you are now as a company asked to be more transparent. You have to have that small print, and it has to become big print.

Richard Cope 22:19

[...]Yeah, I think the IEA said it's almost 60% of the emissions reductions required as a global scientific Net Zero, by 2050, is related least indirectly to our behaviours or choices or bias. So that, you know, we think consumer research is obviously important because of that. So it's key. I mean, obviously, when we ask consumers themselves, ironically, they don't think it's their responsibility. They think it's primarily government's responsibility. And in the case of things like increasing the amount of packaging gets recycled or workers rights, it's company's responsibility, chiefly. Yeah, they have a, they have a big role to play.

Emilie Stephenson 22:59

I think for me, it's a balance, the balance of people, planet, profit. And it sounds a bit like you're out of Miss World when you talk about these things. But it is genuinely true. And if you think of not wanting to go back to packaging, but we do get to it, you know, the plastic packaging tax, the fact that now we have to put 30% recycled content in, in our case, in our, in our products we've been doing it for years. But the point is there is now a market value for recycled content. And therefore the circularity in the circular economy works in this instance, because there is a reason and yes, we want to we are advocating we are pushing the government to have deposit return schemes, because then we can get good quality recycled content, and it can the loop can move. I mean, I'm personally quite excited by waste: I spend a lot of time in, you know, I live just the opposite the Wandsworth recycling plants, I've been there a couple of times. And actually, I was just reflecting the other day that waste management systems, not any aren't sexy, but they are by nature dirty, the factories are old, it's all good. You go to new factories, we've just got a new factory, and it's all beautiful and slick. And there is, I can't believe there's not more that can be done in the waste systems to make it a bit more not just sexy, but just up to scratch with the high technology that we have in in the beginning of the chain of a product.

Richard Cope 24:16

[...] there's a lot of by-products out there and food and drink and you know, what's Marmite - that's a by-product of the brewing industry, basically, you know, and, you know, there's definitely a lot of that happening. It's largely happening in beers, as well as toast, toast ale made out of bread waste, and things like that. So in food and drink, it's starting to happen, and I don't, you know, those kinds of things people don't have an aversion to. It's all about brands finding partners for their waste.

Ben Walker 24:38

And on that challenging but inspiring note, we wound up the season. Finishing in high summer to return in September for season four. And that season will feature topics such as women's leadership, customer centricity, SEO, influencer marketing, and many, many more and we will see you on the CIM Marketing Podcast very soon.

Ally Cook 25:03

If you've enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe to the CIM Marketing Podcast on your platform of choice. If you're listening on Apple podcasts, please leave us a rating and review. We'd love to hear your feedback on the CIM Marketing Podcast


Ben Walker Host CIM Marketing Podcast
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