chris solis headshot
May 2, 2019

Chris Solis – Group Digital Marketing Director, Condeco

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer







00:01:21 So Chris, give us a bit of information around you, how you’ve got to where you are today, and the type of experience and background people are about to learn from?


00:18:22 To those who don’t know Condeco, what can you tell them about the tech company behind that brand?


00:20:31 If you were recruiting for your role, what are the most important skills that you want to see in people that you’re looking to hire, or that you meet to interview?


00:24:54 What advice would you give to an undergrad, starting or trying to figure out the right path in marketing?


00:28:19 How to get from exec to manager level without experience?


00:29:54 How do you convince someone your marketing plan is the right thing to do?


00:32:44 So how did you make the transition from being a manager, to showing that you could strategically have a big influence on key business decisions?


00:37:02 What technical skills are needed to jump to a director position?


00:40:42 What are the top five KPIs that a marketer should focus on?


00:48:04 When is it safe to move towards strategy, and leave tactical/hands on tools behind, without jeopardising your value as a marketer to the organisation?


00:49:54 What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in marketing strict business, and how did it come about?


00:52:26 What advice could you offer someone moving into a senior role, where there isn’t a huge peer population to support, and the pressure is on, to make a good impression?


00:56:19 What are the B2B marketing skills of the future, i.e., what do we invest in? Growth hacking, inbound, ABM, automation?


00:59:13 How do you deal with all the noise and hype in the market, balanced against the reality of day to day execution, which often isn’t given due care? i.e. how do we keep up and get better?


01:01:29 In a digital world, of new apps and new startups, do the established incumbent/legacy brands really matter anymore?


01:06:31 Looking back on your career, how often did you value experience over a higher salary, and did you strike a good balance?


01:08:00 What’s the book you recommend the most to B2B marketers, or where do you go to keep up and learn?


01:11:22 There we go, stay informed, so what passing words of wisdom or advice would you share with our audience?



Fiona: 00:00:11 Welcome to Market Mentors, a podcast for the marketing leaders of today and tomorrow. I’m Fiona Jensen, a director and co owner of Market Recruitment. For over a decade I’ve been helping B2B marketeers find the best jobs with great companies. Together we’ll discover how marketing experts reach the top, and learn from their experience. Ask career related questions you can’t get answers to elsewhere. Be tough, be challenged, be mentored.

Fiona: 00:00:42 Work your marketing muscle with an ice hockey playing, music making, digital e-commerce global marketing leader, who pulls both B2C and B2B experience into a dynamic, human focused, business objective, goal scoring machine, I give you Chris Solis. I’m here with Chris Solis, of Condeco Software.

Chris: 00:01:10 Yes.

Fiona: 00:01:11 What’s your wonderful job title now?

Chris: 00:01:14 I am the group digital marketing director for Condeco, so it’s a global role, but group tends to cover those bases.

Fiona: 00:01:23 Fine. Okay. I wasn’t sure whether it’s global or group, but now you’ve explained it’s both.

Chris: 00:01:29 Pretty much.

Fiona: 00:01:29 Brilliant, so Chris, give us a bit of information around you, how you’ve got to where you are today, and the type of experience and background people are about to learn from.

Chris: 00:01:40 Okay. I’ve been in marketing, overall, for roughly about 25 years.

Fiona: 00:01:46 Is that all?

Chris: 00:01:47 Yeah. It’s an age, it is an age.

Fiona: 00:01:51 Looking very well for it, no, don’t worry.

Chris: 00:01:55 Thank you, so predominantly, for the majority of my career I’ve been quite digitally orientated. The reason for that is mainly, is because when I first started out, when I left school and college way back, way back when, I went into, I was always a creative person, but I also had a real keen interest in technology as well. When I first started out in my career, like a lot of people actually, didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I, with my creative abilities, went into a retail environment.

Chris: 00:02:28 I basically started off working for some of the high street brands as a visual merchandiser, so one of my first jobs was with, actually, Topman and Topshop, and I worked with Debenhams, and throughout a number of years after that I ended up, finally, at Laura Ashley. Throughout all of that time I was doing a lot of creative stuff around the visual merchandising, store merchandising, and then ended up eventually managing stores, and then becoming a regional manager.

Chris: 00:03:00 Part of the reason for that shift is that just as a natural person I tend to just consume knowledge, and I’m a bit of a sponge, so when I go into a role I tend to go in with one focus, but then I end up coming out with more knowledge of the entire business, and that then drives me to different kind of positions, that then propels me forward if you like. Fast tracking up to, into more of a marketing career, I first started my marketing career with an e-commerce company, who were responsible for the first import of iPod accessories into the UK.

Fiona: 00:03:43 Very cool.

Chris: 00:03:44 Now, back then it was really interesting, because if you walked into the high street, unlike today, and said what do you do as a job? I say I’m in e-commerce, and people said what’s e-commerce?

Fiona: 00:03:56 What’s that?

Chris: 00:03:57 You had to explain what online shopping was basically. Now, bearing in mind that back then, back in the early 2000s, Amazon, and eBay, and those kind of huge brands that are out there today were just getting started, and people didn’t really trust shopping online. Really, that job, for me, was the start of my love of being a creative person, in terms of marketing and technology, so the challenge of actually helping the business that I was with to actually get the knowledge about what iPods were, and what Apple were trying to achieve with these devices, and then selling all the different accessories that went alongside was really attractive to me, and because the role I was in, I was isolated I guess.

Chris: 00:04:43 Like a lot of people are in small businesses, so I was the marketing manager for everything, so it was my responsibility to make sure that we had good creative, that we were going to market not just in publications, like technology publications, but also, that we were promoting ourselves correctly via paid search. That we were correctly listed within Amazon, eBay, and all the kinds of shopping comparison websites that we know of today.

Chris: 00:05:13 Again, back then, when you think this is back in the early 200s, it was interesting times, because e-commerce was still fundamentally on the high street, and just moving over into a digital format, so one of the things I take from that era of my life, which is a good third of my whole marketing career, is that if you want to really cut your teeth, in terms of hard and fast marketing, and learning very quickly, and being very agile, e-commerce is the place that you want to be.

Chris: 00:05:48 I almost look at it in terms of being in an agency. It is so aggressive. You do learn a lot and it does build character for you, but I think there’s a certain lifespan in that industry that you can really only give yourself, before you have to timeout, and say you need to move forward, so from a B2C e-commerce perspective, I spent a lot of time going from one company to another that was predominantly in the consumer industry. After probably about five or six years of that I decided to take the skills that I’d learned in the e-commerce industry, and move that over into the B2B marketplace.

Fiona: 00:06:30 That was a conscious decision-

Chris: 00:06:33 That was a conscious decision, yeah.

Fiona: 00:06:33 Interesting. Let’s get over there.

Chris: 00:06:34 Yeah, exactly. Well, I’d learned so much within the B2C environment, and, like I said, as a lot of people when they’re just starting out in their careers, unless you’re very fortunate, enough to go into a big corporate business, you tend to end up in small to medium size businesses, and you are the one and only person sometimes that ends up doing all of their marketing. The benefits of that is that you are the social media person, you are the paid search person, you are the website administrator. You are the person that is doing all of these jobs.

Chris: 00:07:10 Again, another thing that I had an advantage from throughout that period of my career was that I wasn’t just in one box doing one job. I had done all the jobs that are in the trenches, if you like, and then I was ready to take all of those skills, and all those different tactics and strategies that I’d learnt, and move them into a different environment.

Chris: 00:07:32 Now, I knew that the B2B environment would be a bit slower. I knew at the time that the B2B environment was behind B2C, in terms of the deployment of digital, and how that fitted in with the whole marketing mix, and, for me, that was also a challenge as well. As I said before, I naturally am a bit of a sponge, in terms of knowledge, so I felt like not just that I wanted the timeout from B2C, but I’d also felt like I’d hit my limit, in terms of the learnings and the results that I could get, so I didn’t make it easy for myself, because the first B2B environment I went into was engineering.

Fiona: 00:08:11 Oh, boy!

Chris: 00:08:11 Yeah, exactly. A completely different scenario to-

Fiona: 00:08:15 Very technical.

Chris: 00:08:16 The consuming environment, and a real test of my skills and abilities, just because you weren’t selling things off of a virtual shelf anymore, effectively. Your success wasn’t that you walked in every morning, and you looked at the value of the shopping basket. This was now completely changing the landscape. The sales cycle could be anything up to 18 months, so the way that you measured success was completely different than what it was in the B2C world. The way that I could measure my own success was in two ways. Obviously, the KPIs and the measurements that I was set in my own role, and looking at the leads that we’d brought in, and how those leads would then progress through the funnel, and then ultimately, would they turn into potential business, or would they not turn into potential business?

Chris: 00:09:16 My other measure of success was more of a personal achievement, which was more about coming back to the challenge of knowing the B2B market was behind B2C. I will never forget my first day on the job there. I walked into my boss’s office, and she was the director of EMEA, and she asked me about what potentially, just off of the top my head, without having done any real fundamental strategic planning, the kind of things that she could expect from me, in terms of trying to evolve their marketing.

Chris: 00:09:52 I went through the usual things, like I said I’d love to look at our database, I’d like to look at how we get people more engaged via email, how we reach out and start to work, not in just regular inbound channels, but how we actually work with partners, and how we support them with digital assets as well, and then we got onto the subject of social media, and I said to her, “I would love to look at what we do from a social media perspective,” and she turned to me, and she said, “Just so you’re aware, we don’t do social media.” I said, “Well, what do you mean? Do you mean we don’t do social media, or our industry and us as a company just don’t do social media, because we just don’t?”

Chris: 00:10:35 It was the answer to the second one, and I’d never come across that before, because, having been in the B2C environment, it’s so advanced, that social media was a given. It was something that you had to do, in order to get people engaged, and really bring people into your world of your products, and the consumer environment, but as a marketing leader, in an engineering industry at that time, and bearing in mind this is a big global company as well. This is not a small business. They felt that in their environment social media wasn’t something that they should do, because, after all, and this was not exactly what she said, but, after all, why would engineers look at our products and services on social media?

Chris: 00:11:23 They’re not even on social media, and I’ll never forget that comment, because one thing is it made me realise how far behind not just some industries and some businesses are, but individuals themselves. People who are in big leadership positions in these big companies, and you still come across this today, in 2019, who are still not open to or haven’t really evolved beyond events, traditional marketing, and what I guess you would call baseline marketing, in terms of digital, like email.

Chris: 00:11:59 Those kind of communications today, but it also actually set a challenge for me, in actually saying okay. Well, if you’re saying that we don’t do social media, but I’ll accept maybe your experience, because she’d been there I guess for a good 10, 12 years at that time, but I said to her, “Look. Let me take the gauntlet on the social media, and I’ll prove to you that we can put our products and services on social media, and that we can actually see lead generation from it.”

Chris: 00:12:34 In that instance, after about 12 months, we went from no social media to approximately 15 different social media accounts, across Twitter. Multi language, generating leads, serving content, serving assets, and actually getting people engaged, and growing an audience in a channel that didn’t exist 12 months before, so that was quite a great experience there, in terms of my career.

Fiona: 00:13:00 She hired the person there, didn’t she?

Chris: 00:13:04 She did indeed.

Fiona: 00:13:04 What a result.

Chris: 00:13:08 Again, fast forwarding to today, so I took great value from working with that particular company. I went from there, and went into the events industry after that, so, again, worked for one of the biggest global events company in the world, and that was a whole different ballgame, because it was now a combination of B2B, but B2C at the same time, so I was taking both my experiences and putting them together, and that was a huge role, because that was running 40 events around the world. Supporting them with not just social media, but supporting them with websites, paid search. Actual platforms that sat behind the websites, to register people that were attending, those that were actually going to be exhibiting, and how to connect the dots between the two, and then the final layer on that was then how to generate digital revenue via the event websites.

Chris: 00:14:13 One of the things I really learned from that was joining the dots between the digital marketing world and actually the physical marketing world, if you like, so if you go to an event these days you’ll find all kinds of interactive things that are at the events, from social media boards, to touchscreen devices, where you can download content. It’s unless you’ve been in that environment whenever you go to an event, you wouldn’t pick up on those things, and how they’re actually connected what you do from a digital point of view.

Chris: 00:14:48 That was an amazing experience in the events industry, and, as I said, it helped to develop my thought process around how a whole entire business should work, from being on the floor to actually being in front of a computer screen, if you like, and then I took a bit of a gap in being on client’s side. I reached a point in my career where I thought do you know what? I’ve had a great experience so far, but the one thing I haven’t done yet is actually put myself in a really super challenging environment, like an agency, so I decided to take the jump into an agency.

Chris: 00:15:25 I’d worked with agencies before, so many different various, different service providers, as part of my role. Except, at this point in time, I was quite senior. I was already a director, and I went into an agency, and what an incredible experience that was. Completely different to being on the client side. It was almost very, as I said earlier on, mirrored being in a B2C environment. Very aggressive. Not a lot of time for strategy necessarily. A lot of agility was required. You had to think very quick on your feet sometimes, especially when you’re in a meeting with a client.

Chris: 00:16:08 Unfortunately, this is just a personal experience of mine, but I found with the agency, because you didn’t really have the time to strategise as much as you would you like to, or analyse results, for example, because there are so many different time pressures, so many different clients, so many different objectives. It’s very difficult to try and accumulate all of those into one vision, if you like, because there are so many different variables. That I found that job satisfaction was a hard thing to reach, and again, that’s just a personal thing.

Chris: 00:16:44 I was totally up for the challenge. Totally up for the environment that I was being presented with, and in some cases, when you actually go the success in an agency, and you got the results for the client, it’s just as great a feeling as it is when you’re working client-side, and you’re working as part of a big team, but because you would do one project, or one campaign, and then move on to the next one within the space of, sometimes as quick as 30 days, for me, personally, the job satisfaction really wasn’t there.

Chris: 00:17:14 I’m pleased I’d done it, because I got some great value out of it, but, for me, personally, it was more about I needed to get back into a client environment, where I could drive towards one objective and really help a company, and be part of a single business where you’re actually trying to evolve that business, and move forward from a marketing perspective, and fly a single flag, if you like.

Chris: 00:17:42 That’s where it’s led me to today, so I’m here now at Condeco. As I said, I’m the group digital marketing director for these guys. My remit is on a completely global basis, so I’m responsible for all digital marketing, all the inbound that happens from that, and the regions that we look after here are not just UK and EMEA, but also APAC, the U.S. also, as well. My team, my channel are responsible for just short of about £1.5 millions worth of sales orders every single month, so the job here is huge, but I have a fantastic team underneath me as well.

Fiona: 00:18:22 Fascinating, and to those who don’t know Condeco, what can you tell them about the tech company behind that brand?

Chris: 00:18:33 Condeco, they lay their messaging really heavily around innovation. That’s what Condeco is actually about. Yes, we sell technology, and yes, that’s ultimately how we earn our money every day, but the technology is just the single part of what we deliver. It is really around the people. It’s around the innovation that helps drive businesses in change, especially in 2019, where you have flexible working. Big corporates these days as well, as well as medium size businesses, are looking to change their working environment.

Chris: 00:19:11 The working environment needs to, in 2019, be more attractive. It needs to be more comfortable. It needs to suit the needs of the way people work, both when they’re in the office, and when they’re also out of the office as well, and Condeco’s kind of philosophy, if you like, is built around the way that people work in the modern world, today, and that’s what drives their technology. That’s what drives the innovation behind it, and we are, currently, at the moment, the global leading brand in workspace technology.

Chris: 00:19:46 It’s a really exiting time right now, because the subject of modern working is absolutely huge, and that’s helping to drive an interest in our business, in our revenue, and also, as marketers and my team here, the amount of content we have, and the subjects, and the topics we can talk about within this industry is huge, but it just allows you to be so creative. It really, really does, so I love working here, at Condeco. It’s an amazing place, and, as you can see, it’s great.

Fiona: 00:20:21 Yeah, it’s an amazing office, definitely. Lovely experience, and a lot of happy looking people, if I’m honest.

Chris: 00:20:26 Yeah. Absolutely. The coffee is great too.

The most important skills that you want to see in people that you’re looking to hire into B2B marketing right now

Fiona: 00:20:31 If you are interviewing for roles out there, let’s get some advice from Chris, so I suppose, if you were recruiting for your role, what are the most important skills that you want to see in people that you’re looking to hire, or that you meet to interview?

Chris: 00:20:46 I think it depends on the level that you’re hiring. I like to, whether we’re hiring for a marketing executive, or even for roles where they’re a high level, maybe a head or a manager. I like to get involved with those interviews, just because there’s on one side you’ve got the skillset. Can the person actually do the job, but on the other side there’s the human being, so I know a lot of people, you’ll notice from being in the recruitment industry, that fit is a huge thing when it comes to looking to recruit people for your team and for your business. I like to get involved in all levels, just to make sure that I understand who that person is, and that they’re just not a piece of paper on a CV that’s been passed to me to say, “We’re going to hire this person. Do you want to sign it off, basically?”

Chris: 00:21:39 What do I look for, for those people? I guess, like everyone, it’s always nice to see a CV that actually is a true reflection of the experience of that person. In terms of the way the CV’s laid out, actually, it’s quite nice to see the skillsets and things at the top, so you can get a good idea very quickly of who that individual is, but when you’re actually talking to that person in the interview, as well as actually matching what they’ve got on their CV to what they’re talking about. I think what I really look for in that human side of the person that you’re interviewing, is actually there’s real passion there, and there’s excitement. There’s actually, I think as a creative person you can naturally see a creative spark in people as well.

Chris: 00:22:31 I interviewed, we’ve hired a few people just recently. One of them was a marketing exec, and another one was a head of department. Both those guys came in, and they didn’t just robotically go through the motions of the interview. They actually came in with that aura of excitement. They really talked about what they’d done and their experience with a feeling that, actually, they were almost telling you a story, that you were listening to and going this is fantastic. As this person continues to talk, and they show their passion about what they love doing, and that this is really connected to the future of what they’re looking to achieve, you start to place that person in your team, and you start to see that person’s personality in meetings, and how that person would actually evolve, and become part of your business.

Chris: 00:23:25 Like I say, it’s I’m a very human, kind of person to person, so the CV’s great, and it does need to be the right person on the piece of paper, but the actual human being in the room is where I would then see that person, would that person be great in a creative meeting? Would they be able to bring their knowledge and expertise to the table, that we don’t have right now? That kind of thing, so I guess that’s what I look for, for someone in an interview scenario.

Fiona: 00:23:52 It sounds like your marketeers are often the guys who are the glue around the whole company as well, aren’t they? They’re interacting with a variety of stakeholders, so if they engage you in an interview, then, hopefully, they’d be able to engage the stakeholders on that marketing journey, of what we’re trying to achieve, why we’re trying to do it, and what the outcome should be, if we follow all the right lines, signs along the way.

Chris: 00:24:21 Exactly, and the team that I have here is they’re all like that, so it would be really obvious if I hired someone that wasn’t that way. Don’t get me wrong, that does actually come with its challenges as well, so sometimes it’s good to have a dynamic of people in your team, but, in a good way, having a team of good creative people, all with opinions, who are coming to the table with something, can also be a challenge, as well as having different kind of personalities in the team.

Fiona: 00:24:52 Luckily, you like a challenge.

Chris: 00:24:53 Yes, indeed.

Advice for graduates starting their career in marketing

Fiona: 00:24:54 What advice would you give to an undergrad, starting or trying to figure out the right path in marketing?

Chris: 00:25:04 I think the best advice that I could give someone in that position, if I think back to my own experience of entering the world of marketing, the first piece of advice I think I would give is don’t think that you have to choose a particular competency in marketing. Don’t go in thinking if I had to choose one, I’ll choose social media, or I think I’ll go in and I’ll be a paid search expert. Marketing today is so multichannel, and there are so many different competencies, and it’s not about doing one role, and just going down that route of just being a digital person.

Chris: 00:25:51 I think if you went back 10 years you would see, as digital marketing evolved, that people did specialise, and that does help today, because if you do get marketing services agencies, you do actually have specialists and it is a good thing to have, but for people who are just starting out in marketing, try not to focus on one particular competency. Actually, if you are fortunate enough to get the opportunity, try and get yourself into an environment, it may be in a marketing team, where actually you can try different areas of marketing, or even if you’re going into a competency in particular, because that’s something you just enjoy doing. Some people are purely analytical. They’re not creative, for example.

Chris: 00:26:38 Take the time to understand how the rest of the marketing competencies fit with what you’re trying to deliver, so I don’t think I’ve ever come across anybody, in my experience anyway, that set out to be one thing in marketing, and finished their career as that one thing. I see it today, even in my own team. I have marketing executives that have come in and said, “I want to do social media. I really, really do.” Six months down the line they’re saying, “I love campaigns. I love creative. I love doing those kind of things.”

Chris: 00:27:11 I think, in summary, the advice would be, be open minded, and try and find an experience, whether that’s a kind of apprenticeship, or whether you’re going in as a marketing executive. Try and find a business that will enable you to experience the whole marketing experience, not just that one route.

Fiona: 00:27:35 Then after that, hopefully, you’ll find something that you love, or that you feel particularly good at, and then you can build on from there.

Chris: 00:27:41 Exactly, and then you will naturally find your fit, or you might actually find that you are just a general marketer, because that is how I am.

Fiona: 00:27:51 Yeah, because you’ve got the variety.

Chris: 00:27:51 Absolutely, and that is a bonus, because later on, as you progress through your career, if you absorb all those different competencies, it will actually lead you to a more advantageous situation, when it comes to you looking to be more of a manager, or a head of, or a director, because you will then understand the full mix of how marketing works, as opposed to one thing.

How to get from marketing exec to marketing manager level without experience

Fiona: 00:28:19 Very good advice. How to get from exec to manager level without experience?

Chris: 00:28:26 I think this question’s really interesting, because I don’t think you can, and I think that’s really important to understand. It obviously depends on the role, and it obviously depends on the industry that you’re in, but being a manager isn’t just about levelling up, in terms of the job that you actually do. One of the things, always, again, coming back to the fact that there’s having the skills to do marketing, but you also have to understand people. Being a manager, especially in a team of people, you’re there not just to deliver your expertise, in terms of your marketing, but you’re there to make the members of your team effective, also, as well.

Chris: 00:29:12 Now, some people do move from exec roles into management roles, and I’m sure it happens all the time, but I think to continue that progression and be successful you need to have the right experience, in order to move through the ranks, from manager to head of, from head of to director, and have the right experience to feel comfortable, I guess, that you can deliver the job, and deliver the job right. Working with your colleagues and your peers, and being a true manager, as opposed to you’re just managing your job, is important, I think.

Fiona: 00:29:51 A lot more to it than just a job title.

Chris: 00:29:53 Absolutely, yeah.

How to convince someone your marketing plan is the right thing to do

Fiona: 00:29:54 How do you convince someone your marketing plan is the right thing to do?

Chris: 00:30:03 It is always a challenge, and again, if I go back to the experience of when I was working in the engineering sector, the first challenge I had in that scenario was the fact that I had to overcome a cultural difference, or a cultural barrier, so lots of different challenges in there. I think the important thing is if you’re going into a boardroom, or you’re going into a meeting, and you’re going to be talking with senior managers, maybe some of those people will understand marketing, and what’s required. Some of them will maybe not, so they’re looking maybe to learn something, or they’ll have opinions, which you’ll find challenging.

Chris: 00:30:47 I think the important thing is when you walk into that meeting, that you are armed with not, statistics is the wrong word, but knowledge that demonstrates the reason why you’re going down the route that you’re going, and you don’t always have to have proof. You just have to be able to make people understand from a logical point of view that something does make sense. I always say to people about marketing, and especially when it comes to looking at results, and developing what you do, data will only take you so far. Data’s there to give us more informed, or help us to make more informed decisions, if you like.

Chris: 00:31:28 Actually, a lot of marketing is about a gut feeling. It is about sticking your finger in the air, and actually taking a chance, and seeing if something’s going to work or not. You have to, when you’re going into meetings, whether it’s just one person, or with the board, you have to go in with a balance of logic, but also, with a balance of common sense, and the ability just to say to, be open and honest, and say look. I think this is a really good direction we should go in. It feels right. The audience looks right. We think we have the right message for this particular channel. We’ve not been there before, so we don’t have any results.

Chris: 00:32:05 Saying things like that is really important, and then literally just say we can go in there. We can test it, we can learn, and if we find it doesn’t work then we pull out. If it does work and we get some great results, then we know that we can invest in the future, so it’s by no means the easiest thing to do, but I think if you know your industry, and you know what you want to achieve, use common sense, be open and honest. People will see that, and they will go, if they’ve got confidence in you they’ll say, “Great. Let’s go ahead, and let’s do it.” Works for me, anyway.

Managing the transition from being a marketing manager, to showing that you could strategically have a big influence on key business decisions

Fiona: 00:32:44 Perfect. Really good advice, so how did you make the transition from being a manager, to showing that you could strategically have a big influence on key business decisions?

Chris: 00:32:55 It’s very similar to what I was just explaining actually. The key to that, and this is where it will help you to move through different positions, from managers to heads of, and being a director, is understanding the business, and I don’t mean just from a marketing perspective. I mean how does your marketing affect what happens in sales? How does what happens in sales then impact the revenue? How does then the revenue impact the rest of the business, its growth, its market share? How is the business performing?

Chris: 00:33:31 It sounds like common sense, but it’s very easy to get into a scenario where you’re in your own bubble, in your own team, and even with large teams this can happen. You’re beavering away, trying to generate leads, and opening new channels, and learn lots of great creative stuff, but actually, it’s very easy to forget what the overall business objective is.

Chris: 00:33:52 It does help, obviously, if those objectives are coming down from your CMO, and from the business as a whole, because that helps you to steer where you need to go, but if you’re looking to move up into a different level from a job perspective, make sure you understand the full objectives of the business. How the business works, and how your part that you play, as a marketing manager or director, impacts that business.

Chris: 00:34:22 Again, then when you’re sat in that room with board members, or CMOs, or your leadership team, if you demonstrate just through the knowledge that you have, that your input into a discussion or a meeting makes sense, because you understand all of those things, then your leadership team or your business will come back to you time and time again, and look to you as a voice. To say we went down this, and we did this in marketing, or we opened this channel, or we changed this strategy, or tactic. How do you think that might have an impact on the overall business?

Chris: 00:35:01 If you go down that route you won’t know all the answers, but you’ll be informed in a way that you’ll be able to either say yeah, I think that’ll definitely be what’ll happen here, or at least you’ll be able to give a good opinion that people will listen to, in terms of leadership.

Fiona: 00:35:19 Very good, and how do you inform yourself about the business? Is there a plan, or how? Say you started a job tomorrow, how would you cover that off? How would you make sure that you understood that business, in order to be that value?

Chris: 00:35:36 One of the things that I encourage anyone to do is, aside from your own business objectives that you have to achieve, just make sure that just as part of day to day, of what you need to deliver, you sit and you work with stakeholders within the business. They don’t have to be senior members of the business. They, actually, what I find, especially with Condeco here today, some of the insightful stuff that allows us to be successful actually comes from the guys that are actually out there in the trenches, on the ground. I don’t need to go to the sales director and have a conversation with him, to say what’s the kind of the market feel like at the moment? What’s the environment out there?

Chris: 00:36:20 Actually, the best people to go to are the sales guys, and actually ask them directly, because they’re the ones at the client, talking to the client, understanding the kind of challenges that they’re facing, so I think making sure that you just periodically talk to different individuals within your business, and understand what is going on in those environments. Obviously, it helps if you’re in a smaller business, because you’ve got less people to go through, but in our environment, like we have here today, it’s important to understand what’s going on in the U.S. on the ground, what’s going on in APAC, or Australia, or Singapore, what’s happening out there? Which is the reason why we can or can’t be effective in what we’re doing in our marketing.

Skills needed to jump to a marketing director job

Fiona: 00:37:02 Very good. What technical skills are needed to jump to a director position? Please, tell us.

Chris: 00:37:10 I think this is a great question. I actually think that the short answer is you don’t need technical skills to move up into a director’s position. I get told off by my team, for logging into the different systems and technology that we have, because they say, “You’re not doing HTML again, are you?” Or, “You’re not in Photoshop again, are you?”

Fiona: 00:37:36 Chris, get off my dashboard. I can hear it now.

Chris: 00:37:38 Exactly, yeah. I think the way that I’ve experienced this is that you naturally lose touch with the on the ground technology, but the reason why I hire great people and experts in my team is because those guys know what the latest technology is to deploy social media, for example, or do paid social, or anything that needs tools in order to actually make sure we deploy and advance in the right way from a marketing perspective.

Chris: 00:38:15 It’s why job to understand, fundamentally, not how it actually works, in terms of the hands on stuff, but how that enables us to actually do better, more effective marketing, and is that helping us to move towards our objective? I think you become less technical, from a hands on perspective, but as a director, I think it’s more important that you understand how technology’s changing, and how you can deploy it, but you don’t need actual, actually, the technical skills to move up into a director’s role.

Chris: 00:38:54 Again, it comes back to it’s more about nurturing the team, driving your individuals to make sure they’re delivering what they need to deliver, and helping them to grow, and to mentor them. To make them a better team, which then makes you a better person, in terms of your job as a director, and for the whole business to be successful.

Fiona: 00:39:16 Then you leverage their technical abilities and input, to help you with the marketing muscle brain function of how does this help us get-

Chris: 00:39:29 Absolutely, yeah. Like I said before, a lot of developing your teams and the technology that’s helping to drive that is actually allowing your team to go out there and do their jobs really, really well. I know it’s a bit of a cliché to say, but you hire good people, so that you can step aside and let those guys do their job really well. You hire them for a reason. If I spent all my time trying to find the latest technology on how to deliver social media I would be there for hours, and I’d have to ask someone 100 questions anyway, so it’s just not feasible, and you don’t need to, at this point.

Fiona: 00:40:13 You can’t do everything, yeah.

Chris: 00:40:13 Exactly.

Top five KPIs that a B2B marketer should focus on

Fiona: 00:40:17 Market Mentors is produced by Rockwood Audio, a subscription production service that takes the pain out of podcasting. From advice and support, to editing and production, to music and artwork, Rockwood Audio has you covered, so you can stay focused on your goals. Better, faster, easier. Rockwood Audio. Save time, sound like a pro. What are the top five KPIs that a marketer should focus on?

Chris: 00:40:46 Okay, so I think, fundamentally, one of the top ones is obviously your budget, and what they call CPA, which is your cost per acquisition. That’s an obvious one, because if you don’t monitor the amount of money that you’re spending within your different channels, and you’re not measuring how they are performing, in terms of what is it costing you to actually get lead into the business? Then that’s going to be quite challenging when you walk into a meeting room, and someone says, “Okay. Well, how much is it costing us in that channel?” You say, “We’re spending a few grand there,” and then they say, “How many leads is it generating?” You’re like, “Well, not quite sure, but I think it’s a handful,” and then you say, “How much is that costing?”

Chris: 00:41:32 You end up in, if you don’t know the answers to these questions, I think that you’re probably not doing your job properly, and you will very quickly lose confidence in what you’re doing, as well as the people that you’re actually working with, as well. Budgets is a very important thing, and understanding how much it’s costing you to generate leads, and then, ultimately, the revenue at the end of that is a really core KPI.

Chris: 00:42:01 Another one, which matches very similar to that, is what’s the conversion rate of what you’re actually generating? To use marketing terminology, you’ve got the sales funnel, right? You have your marketing leads are coming in at the top, and then as they go through the funnel they’re going through all kinds of decision making, and some people are dropping out at stage one, or stage two, or stage three, and they’re going through all these different buying cycles.

Chris: 00:42:30 I think the core KPI from a marketing perspective is something that we actually deploy here, is understanding how many people you’re putting in at the top, and then, ultimately, once you classify that as a marketing qualified lead, when sales accept that lead what is the conversion rate? Now, between different industries the conversion rate between a lead and actually converting to the sale can be anything between, I don’t know, 5% up to 40%, depending on how unique and how niche your product offering is.

Chris: 00:43:08 Ours here, currently, is at 30%, so we have a fantastic conversion rate, but it’s really important, because measuring the number of leads you’re bringing in is one thing, but if you bring in 1,000 leads in 30 days, and only one of those leads convert, then you’re either fishing in the wrong pond, or your sales guys aren’t feeding back to you that you’re bringing in the right value there, so that’s really, really important.

Chris: 00:43:35 I think engagement. Engagement is, I know it’s another fluffy marketing word, but I think across the board you have to. You wouldn’t be doing your job if you didn’t understand how people are engaging with the marketing messaging, and the creative, and all the good things that you’re doing, and spending all your time coming up with plans and strategies for. Is it actually working?

Chris: 00:43:59 I know there’s various different tools, and there’s various different ways that you can measure engagement. Measuring engagement in social media is completely different to measuring engagement on email, or in paid search, or looking at SEO, for example, but, however you look at it and however you report it, understanding whether your audience is engaged or not engaged is really key. That’s not just at the front loaded end, so when you’re trying to generate net new business, but actually, you might have a pot of existing customers that you’re trying to do up-sell for.

Chris: 00:44:31 Now, if those guys aren’t engaged with you, again, you’ve got to start ask some serious questions why? It’s just a way to really help you to segment your audiences, get the best out of the people that you’re marketing to, so we know here, for example, we have a real good pot of engaged people, and we know that if we deliver certain messages into certain timeframes those people will be really engaged. Then we’ve got these people over here, that maybe aren’t so engaged, but then we need to give them a different message at a different timezone, and understand that they have different needs, so I think that one’s really, really important.

Chris: 00:45:09 Audience growth, and this comes, this is more not as just a marketing KPI. This is also connected to business, and it’s quite a simple one really. It’s just being able to understand that all the efforts that you’re going through from a marketing perspective, ultimately, what you’re trying to do is that you’re trying to take market share from your competitors, so if you’re going into a new market you need to understand how your marketing is performing, in terms of growth.

Chris: 00:45:39 What market share are you actually capturing? Do you need to work harder? Is there a large competitor in your market that actually is killing any hopes, that you’re going to be able to substantially achieve what you want to achieve? That’s a real fundamental thing to understand, but that’s ultimately a business objective, as well as a marketing one.

Chris: 00:46:01 Then, finally, I think channel attribution, and how the activity in those different channels attributes to what you’re actually trying to achieve, so what I mean by that is setting yourself up, so that you can appropriately measure the different channels that you’re going into, so if you have 100 leads coming in, how many of those leads can you attribute to social media? How many of those can you attribute to paid search? How many of those can you attribute to just organic results, or a campaign that you just sent out yesterday?

Chris: 00:46:37 The caveat to that is that as much as we have all the tools that we have today, and all the reporting, and analytics, and everything else that we have available to us today as marketers, it’s also really important to understand that there are directly attributed results, and there are non-attributed results, and this is where it comes back to the whole marketing mix working as a collective, as opposed to just saying okay. Well, we ticked a box on social media, and that delivers that five leads.

Chris: 00:47:08 Well, actually, it’s the wrong way to look at it, because, actually, you might see a message on social media, and then you might go and do a google search on that company, and then you might go to that company’s website, have a look at it, and then you might later on see an email from that company, so it’s not a true attribution, in terms of your channel. That’s more like a non attribution, so it’s a collective of all the activities you’re doing.

Chris: 00:47:32 However, saying that, going back to the point, is the measurement that you can gain within those different channels, it’s important to understand what is attributing or potentially could be actually going towards the achievement, or the achievements and success that you’re actually seeing, so that’d be my last one, I guess.

Fiona: 00:47:53 Fantastic! Love all of that. Literally, hanging on every word, Chris was talking there. Sorry, I’ll just move back now, Chris. Breathe again. When is it safe to move towards strategy, and leave tactical/hands on tools behind, without jeopardising your value as a marketer to the organisation?

Chris: 00:48:16 It comes back to what we were saying previously, about what kind of technical skills do you need to move into that role? Again, it’s a very, very similar answer. As a director, or as a head of, as you move through the different job titles, your responsibilities change, and it does become … You still need to be hands on, and, as I said before, you still need to understand the technologies that you’re deploying, to make sure that they’re meeting your objectives, and that you’re advancing as a company from a marketing perspective, but as you move into more of a director’s role it is what it says on the tin.

Chris: 00:48:54 It’s actually about directing your team, it’s about directing your organisation. It’s about helping your business to plan, to be strategical, and to make sure that the individuals in your business that are delivering your marketing have the right support from you, and the right guidance, and the right mentor. Then you can help your marketing team to grow, and deliver what you need to deliver, so your focus shifts more away from being that hands on individual, to being …

Chris: 00:49:30 In fact, if anything, you become more important in the business as you move up, because you’re expected to give that direction, you’re expected to give that guidance, and actually build your team, and be successful. You don’t have to be the guy on the ground, who says that was directly something that I did, that achieved that. It’s about actually, as an overall business, as a team, achieving your objectives.

Fiona: 00:49:54 Lovely. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in marketing strict business, and how did it come about?

Chris: 00:50:02 Interesting. I think, going back to when I was in the engineering industry, it sounds like a small learning, but I think it’s very important. It’s more about, again, it’s coming back to this point about understanding the business as a whole. I, like many, as a young guy in marketing, was like I’ve got all these great ideas. I’m going to make hundreds and hundreds of leads, and I’m going to go into these different channels, but there was a time when I didn’t appreciate the full picture of what the business was trying to achieve, and what I was trying to achieve.

Chris: 00:50:40 Again, as I said before, it’s very easy to find yourself in a bubble, where you are headlong going towards a goal that you have, but you can get there, and then turn around, and realise that the rest of the business isn’t with you, because that’s not what the business objective is. Again, it comes back to making sure that you have a full understanding of what the business is trying to achieve, how that affects your marketing objectives, and really helping to …

Chris: 00:51:11 It goes both ways, because you’re also, especially if you go into an industry or a company where they’re not so advanced from a marketing perspective, you have to help them to educate as well, so it actually goes back the other way. I always relate to that experience I had with that engineering company, because it was about I thought I was great, because I’d just come out of B2C, and I was like I’m well advanced. More advanced than you guys could ever imagine, but actually, it’s very quickly to get too far ahead yourself, achieve things you didn’t need to achieve, because you needed just to hold back a bit more.

Chris: 00:51:46 At the same time, support the company that you’re working for, in terms of helping to educate them, and helping them to understand that I know you can achieve this over here, but actually, the company’s only moving at this rate, so we think we should just achieve. It’s just different levels of success, and trying to not just change the business, the education of the business, but also, the culture of the business, and what they’re trying to achieve as well.

Fiona: 00:52:13 Almost laying the foundations down for the longer term success, but with the company and where they’re at in mind, isn’t it?

Chris: 00:52:20 Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Advice for someone moving into a senior role, where there isn’t a huge peer population to support, and the pressure is on, to make a good impression

Fiona: 00:52:24 Quite a specific question coming up now. Even with heaps of preparation, coaching, and development, a move to a more senior role, this person’s about to move from senior manager to head of, it can still feel daunting, and peers, in a similar position, if you like, in the first few weeks, as winging it. What advice could you offer someone moving into a senior role, where there isn’t a huge peer population to support, and the pressure is on, to make a good impression?

Chris: 00:52:52 I think anyone, and I’ve gone through myself, moving into a more senior role, I would imagine that it’s probably the same for a lot of people actually. If you’re fortunate enough and you stay with the company for a long time, then I think it’s easier to move up through the ranks in an existing business that you have been in for several years. The obvious reason for that is that people know you. You’ve been able to build a reputation there. People understand who you are, what your skillset is, and what you can deliver.

Chris: 00:53:26 I think that is more about just continuing to grow, and continuing to deliver those things, but also, appreciate that you have to learn at the same time. I think a lot of people actually go through, in this particular scenario, where you’ll normally go up through a different, you’ll go up through the ranks, but you’ll actually join a completely different company. For me, in my experience, I’ve 100%, every role that I’ve gone into where I’ve moved up, it’s because I’ve joined a new business.

Chris: 00:53:59 Winging it, absolutely. I think the key to actually trying to settle yourself down, and trying to bring that confidence back, is to actually trust in yourself, and trust in the skills and expertise that you have. It’s always daunting when you go into a new role, especially if you’re managing teams of people, because you’ve got a double edged sword. You’ve got the challenge of actually carving out your own reputation, in terms of your own skills and what you bring to the business, but you’ve also got to win the people that are in your team, right? You’ve got to, convince is the wrong word, but you-

Fiona: 00:54:42 Build trust.

Chris: 00:54:43 You need to build trust, and, again, you need to demonstrate to those individuals in the team that you have come to them, and you’ve been employed, because you do have the right experience and skillset, and that you can deliver what they need to deliver. Eventually, what happens is if you trust in yourself, and you don’t try too hard, and you try and take an appreciation of the situation that you’re in, and you’re honest, and true, and you allow, understand the fact that, again, you’re not going in there to dictate a certain way. You’re going in there to bring your experience, but also, to help your team, to mentor it. To level up their experience, and hear what they’ve got to say. Then it does calm down, and it does actually come to the right conclusion.

Chris: 00:55:39 I think there’s a moment in time you realise that the members in your team start to click, and they realise that they can come to you. They can trust your experience, and that you are driving towards the same objectives, and you can then settle down as a leader, and then start to help develop them, as opposed to you worrying about your own reputation, and are you doing the right things? I would say to anyone going into that scenario don’t worry about those things. You will naturally. If you didn’t worry about those things you wouldn’t be human, in terms of meeting new people, and trying to-

Fiona: 00:56:17 Always-

Chris: 00:56:17 Yeah, always, absolutely!

Fiona: 00:56:19 What are the marketing skills of the future, i.e., what do we invest in? Growth hacking, inbound, ABM, automation? The list goes on.

Chris: 00:56:31 Yeah. I think, for me, if I look at where marketing is today, I think, actually, there are different avenues that you could go down and say this technique is the technique of the future, or this technology, in order to deploy a certain tactic or a strategy is where people should be, in terms of the next five years. Actually, I think what we should be doing is getting back to being more in touch with how marketing affects us from a human emotional perspective, and what that does is that comes back to content, and how you tell a story about who you are, what your business does, why you develop your products, and what your products and services help, why you’re there to sell those products and services to the people that you’re selling them to.

Chris: 00:57:26 I think we’ve, over time, especially with the growth of digital marketing, I think we’ve lost touch a little bit with that human aspect of marketing. I sit in many creative meetings here, Condeco, and, yes, we talk about numbers, and we talk about data, and we talk about results that we’ve seen in the past, but actually, we still have great creative meetings, and we still sit there, and we talk about ideas. We actually look at it from the perspective that if I was to see that message, on the other end of it, as a person, what would I be feeling when I see that? What is the trigger that helps me to engage with that marketing, and how do I feel about it?

Chris: 00:58:12 For me, I think the … It all comes back to almost a traditional method of marketing. I think there’s also a loss of appreciation for more traditional methods, such as publications, print, PR. All those kind of channels, that everyone’s moved over to digital, and forgotten about the real true traditional marketing, and how that actually impacts the rest of what we’re doing. You’re not going to be a successful marketer alone, just doing paid search or social media, so I don’t think there’s a particular tactic, or there’s a particular technology we should be using. I think we need to come back to humanity, and understand that the people that we’re trying to communicate to are human beings, and the reason why we’re successful is we trigger an emotion, and that emotion leads that person wanting to know more, or understanding more about the people behind the business that we’re actually selling.

Fiona: 00:59:13 Lovely. How do you deal with all the noise and hype in the market, balanced against the reality of day to day execution, which often isn’t given due care? I.e., how do we keep up and get better?

Chris: 00:59:25 I think one of my bugbears is at the start of every year there is an avalanche of articles that says this is what you have to be doing in 2019. Top five things you have to do as a marketer in 2019. Otherwise, if you don’t do these things, you’re going to fall behind, and-

Fiona: 00:59:43 You’re going to die.

Chris: 00:59:44 Yeah, and your business will disappear off into a black hole. It’s absolute rubbish, as far as I’m concerned, and I think this point is really important also, for people who are just starting out in the marketing careers, especially young marketers as well, because it’s very easy to get hooked on all these articles, and walk into interviews, and go, “I know that the latest tech is this,” or, “The latest trend is that.”

Chris: 01:00:09 Actually, it’s not about latest trends, and it’s not about latest technology. It’s actually what’s right for your business. If PR and print ads are right for your business, that’s what you should be doing. You just need to make sure that, and obviously, there’s a lot in this, because you have to look at your strategy. You have to take the time to understand the personas that you’re marketing to, and how they’re influenced, or not influenced, and you have to understand if those audiences are in those marketplaces that you want to go to.

Chris: 01:00:45 There’s no good using the latest social media platform, if your audience just isn’t on there. You’re going to spend a lot of time doing a lot of activity, maybe even spending a lot of money doing something that ultimately is going to fail, and will just be a complete waste of time, so forget the trends. Actually look at what your business is doing. It basically comes back to business objectives. What is your objective? What are you trying to achieve? How best can you utilise the marketing channels you’re on, and what you would look to discover, moving forward to achieve your goals and your targets?

Fiona: 01:01:29 Perfect. In a digital world, of new apps and new startups, do the established incumbent/legacy brands really matter anymore?

Chris: 01:01:39 The simple answer to that question is yes, they absolutely do. If you look at large tech companies like Microsoft, IBM, Apple, and even most recently those kind of internet companies that you would consider to still be quite young, so if you look at Google, Amazon, eBay, even some of the big e-commerce hitters. IBM, for example, has been around for over 100 years. Now, that, adjusting that one statement tells you alone, that is pretty fundamental.

Chris: 01:02:13 Now, these businesses have got such a legacy, in terms of their marketplace, how they’ve evolved from a marketing perspective. They understand the people that they’re actually marketing to. If anything, I know that if you look at small startup businesses, and they’re all hip and trendy, they’re all actually … I’m not trying to use a broad brush here, but they might say that the reason why they might have started business, or the reason why their business is better, is because these larger technology companies are a bit of dinosaurs in their industry.

Chris: 01:02:52 They can’t move very quickly. They’re literally chained by their own size, and being corporate, and global, et cetera, but what they don’t realise is the legacy of the knowledge that those companies have about their audiences. Actually, those larger corporates, might take a bit longer to actually get to where they want to get to, but they will eventually catch up, and they do, and will have people in their marketing departments, or working with marketing agencies, to help them develop to get to where they need to get to.

Chris: 01:03:31 Do you know what’s really funny? Is if you’re a blog reader and you like reading marketing blogs, you will come across the old blog here and there, that will take you back through the years of a certain brand, and how they’ve actually evolved. If you look back at some of the messaging, some of the things they’ve actually done, you actually sit there and go Jesus! That was a really good campaign. That was really good, but it was 20 years ago.

Chris: 01:03:57 Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that if you’re a young marketer, that you shouldn’t go and be looking at startup companies, or companies that are less than 10 years old. There are a lot of benefits to doing that. Obviously, the working experience, the fact that those companies are probably agile. They’re probably great, in terms of the opportunity, I guess, is what I’m trying to say, for marketing within those businesses, it is quite large, because the younger they are the more whitepaper you’ve got to work on, whereas maybe with the larger corporates, they might already have a marketing strategy established, and they know where they’re going, and you’re going in to actually help them to deliver that. As opposed to going into a small company, where you might be responsible for devising that strategy, and delivering it.

Chris: 01:04:52 There are pros, cons on both sides, but I think at some point in your career you should experience what it’s like to work in a small company, like I have, and also, in a corporate company like I have to, because you get both sides of the story. You appreciate the learnings that you get from both of those environments, and that just helps you to build what you need to go into your later stages of your career, as a manager, or a leader, or as a director.

Fiona: 01:05:21 Also, I love the fact that you picked on IBM, because I love following their Instagram account. I don’t know whether you’ve seen it, but it’s just basically boxes with lights on it, but it’s like it just talks to the techy inside us all. It’s just like wires, lights, look! Machines talking to each other, but that is what IBM stand for, isn’t it?

Chris: 01:05:43 Exactly, yeah.

Fiona: 01:05:43 It’s where they came from, so they’re not trying to shy away from that, but they’re embracing it. They’re like, “These are our roots.”

Chris: 01:05:51 You’ve also got to remember, and that’s something that don’t appreciate as well, is that back in their day, when they were only five or 10 years old, they were the innovators in their industry and in their marketing, so it’s people do look at longstanding companies now and go, “It must be awful to work there. They must be, they’re probably still using fax machines to send marketing communications,” but the knowledge those guys have is endless, in terms of their markets and stuff, and you can learn an awful lot by working in a corporate company, absolutely.

Fiona: 01:06:25 Yeah, and getting that exposure. Very true. It’s often said you can be paid in money or experience. Looking back on your career, how often did you value experience over a higher salary, and did you strike a good balance?

Chris: 01:06:39 100%, working in the marketing agency. Marketing agencies typically don’t present the same salaries as you would get on a client side.

Fiona: 01:06:52 Yeah, very true.

Chris: 01:06:54 For me, that question in particular relates directly to my experience in a marketing agency, but the purpose for me moving into a marketing agency environment was exactly for that reason. Was to actually find out what it was like, to really cut my teeth at that later stage, in an environment where I knew I was going to have to work hard. I knew I’d have to be agile. I knew I was going to have to adapt quickly to different situations, and, eventually, I came out of that experience with a harder shell.

Chris: 01:07:27 You learn an awful lot in a marketing agency environment, as I said earlier, before, so there is, if you’re thinking about that, there is real value. Obviously, financially, just make sure you’re stable enough that you can actually still do that, but if you do ever have the opportunity to drop a few pounds in your salary, and go to gain more experience, I would definitely recommend it. It will add so much value to what you can offer later on.

Fiona: 01:08:00 Very good. What’s the book you recommend the most to B2B marketers, or where do you go to keep up and learn?

Chris: 01:08:09 For me, what works for me, in terms of just keeping up with knowledge, I like content distribution platforms, so Zest is one of the platforms that I use, and it’s a great way to … I think you can end up working too hard, to try and keep yourself up to date, and there’s always great events out there that you can go to. There are always people that are in and around your environment, just from the experience and the people that you’ve come across with in your career, that you can go back to maybe X bosses and things that you’ve worked with, that you can go back to and ask.

Chris: 01:08:44 I think on a day to day ground level basis, rather than trying to make sure you reach out, to keep up to date with things, let things come to you and keep you up to date, so Zest is a great one. Just simply because as soon as I open my browser, whether it’s in the morning, basically, every time I open my web browser, it refreshes the content, and then gives me blogs and articles that are about what’s going on in marketing today. Every time I open to do something, it actually can be a bit of a negative thing, because you end up going, “I’ve got to get this job done this morning.” You open up your browser, and then you’re straight into an article.

Fiona: 01:09:16 Yeah, distraction.

Chris: 01:09:19 Exactly, but it’s a great way to let content come to you, and for you to fit it in with your busy day that you have. Obvious ones are make sure you, if you see, I get a barrage of emails inviting me to different events around London. Some are worth going to, some aren’t worth going to. It actually depends on your level, I think, as well. I think when you are going up from a more junior role, in and around that mid manager role, events are definitely a great thing to go to. I think as your experience gets wider you tend to find that when you go to events you almost get just about 20% of knowledge that you want to get from them, because the majority of it you’re experienced enough to see that.

Chris: 01:10:08 Never, never underestimate the value of LinkedIn. Absolutely, 100%. I spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. I do love to write myself, when I do get the chance to do that. I love sharing my knowledge with people as well, and LinkedIn is a great place to build up your profile. You don’t have to be actively seeking for people to contact you. Just make sure you put some content on there, and just connect with the right people, and just like going to a traditional networking event, you’ll end up talking to someone at some point, that will either give you, say I’ve got a great tool you’d be interested in, or this is the latest initiative that’s been coming up from someone that I used the tool three years ago, or something like that.

Chris: 01:10:55 It’s just a really nice way to stay connected with people, and it doesn’t have to necessarily be about I have to know what the latest tools are. It could just be that something’s changed in your industry, that you weren’t aware of, that actually impacts what you’re doing now, so doesn’t have to be tools and the latest strategy. It actually might just be your knowledge about where you are, the industry that you’re in, and changes that you aren’t aware of.

Fiona: 01:11:22 There we go, stay informed, so what passing words of wisdom or advice would you share with our audience?

Chris: 01:11:30 I think coming back to the point of, first of all, try not to, if you’re just starting out in marketing, put yourself into a particular box, in terms of just going to go into social media, or just doing paid search, or be an analytical person. Do take the time to experience different competencies within marketing, and again, I said if you’re fortunate enough to be in a company that offers that kind of environment to you, make sure you take full advantage of that, and understand how all the different marketing mixes work.

Chris: 01:12:11 Definitely make sure that you take the time to understand what your business objectives are. I can’t stress that more than anything else, because, again, coming back to the point of you will have your own marketing objectives, and your own things that you want to achieve, but if your business is not aligned with what you’re doing, then you will, to some degree, actually fail, because you’ll be doing some work over here, that it isn’t adding to the success of what you’re trying to achieve as a business. It’s really important just to understand that whole kind of piece, to be successful, in my opinion.

Chris: 01:12:54 I think the last thing, really, is as you start to move up through different roles, take an appreciation to the fact that the people that are in your teams are there for a reason. They’re there to bring their own knowledge and expertise. They don’t have all the answers, but they will learn, and they will also give you back experience, and they will teach you things, also, as well. I think, as someone that’s in a leadership position, again, you don’t have to be the one that does the strategy, that deploys the strategy. The one that needs to hold the flag for success.

Chris: 01:13:32 It’s actually about the higher up you go, in terms of your role. It’s actually more about developing your team, mentoring those individuals, making them successful, and in turn, by making them successful, you will make yourself, and your business, and what you’re trying to achieve successful.

Fiona: 01:13:51 Fantastic! What a note to leave on. Thanks ever so much Chris, and, by the way, I’m pretty sure about two or three questions back someone did a bit of a cartwheel or random wave at Chris, and he’s a perfect, consummate professional. Carried on. I managed to capture, out of the glint or shadow on the whiteboard, and thought wow! This is cool. Lovely, thanks ever so much.

Chris: 01:14:15 That’s okay.

Fiona: 01:14:21 There you have it. Career advice from a real marketing expert, and leader in the field. Thanks for listening. If you’re enjoying this podcast, then please leave us a review in iTunes. We’d love to hear your feedback.