Sarah Speaker - Podcast - Market Mentors
Apr 24, 2019

Sarah Speake – Founder of Speake Up Consulting & Global CMO

By Matt Dodgson

Co-Founder - Recruiter & Marketer



00:01:23 What we’d like to do is understand a bit more about you and the experience and advice that the audience is about to experience and hear from.

00:06:40 I’m going to ask probably a silly question here, but what’s the difference between mentoring and coaching?

00:15:14 And from a candidate’s perspective, if you are interviewing with a company who maybe doesn’t appreciate or understand marketing as a function, what advice can you give there?

00:17:17 What experience do you need to build on to make the move from manager to director or head of marketing role? What key experiences or advice have you got share around that?

00:24:01 How do you get involved in the board strategic decision? How do you make that move?

00:28:34 Describe your perfect B2B marketing department..

00:41:32 How do big corporates justify spend on difficult to measure campaigns around brand or fault awareness, which can often be seen as the fluffier side of marketing?

00:48:45 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?

00:52:51 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? How do we keep up and get better?

00:59:10 There’s a gender pay gap, apparently, a percentage of male versus female leadership roles. Do you think this challenge needs addressing in our industry? And if so, how do we do it?

01:05:52 How important is it to have a marketing mentor and why?

01:07:24 What book is the book you recommend the most to B2B marketers or that you enjoy?


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.

Fiona: 00:00:27 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: 00:00:44 Join me in a fascinating interview with a lady who has managed business and marketing teams across media, advertising and tech. Sarah advocates for not just good marketing, but utilising all you can, including your employees, to drive business growth. With that experience, she’s created a consultancy business, which she’s already in demand and can offer both direct marketing consultancy as well as leadership coaching and mentoring.

Fiona: 00:01:16 Let’s dive straight in and find out all about it.

Fiona: 00:01:23 I’m very lucky to be here with the lovely Sarah Speake. Thank you ever so much for having Market Mentors. What we’d like to do is understand a bit more about you and the experience and advice that the audience is about to experience and hear from.

Sarah: 00:01:39 Great. Many thanks for the opportunity, and good to be able to engage with your audiences through the podcast series. It’s probably worth my while giving a bit of background so that people understand why I’m here.

Fiona: 00:01:53 Yeah.

Sarah: 00:01:54 I have spent the last 25 years in what I would call the media and marketing ecosystem triangle. On the media owner side, I’ve worked in every single medium except radio. So for example, I was Commercial Marketing Director for ITB. I was CMO for Clear Channel and Glad, their digital transformation project. I was at Google for seven years, so very, very [OFI 00:02:21] with search, programmatic, YouTube, et cetera, et cetera. So, for somebody in my late forties, I’m very OFI with digital and the online world, and started my career on the sales side in IT publishing.

Sarah: 00:02:37 So that’s the media owner piece of it, if you like. On the media agency side, I was on the board of [Cara Business 00:02:44] business for two years. My preference and bent has always been for B2B-centric roles and organisations. At Cara business, I ran the Dell account for EMEA from a media planning and buying perspective and I ran the Phillips account globally.

Sarah: 00:03:02 In addition to that, I was also Marketing and Biz Dev director, and then client side I’ve been both UK CMO and most recently global CMO for a telecoms company.

Sarah: 00:03:15 So, I have a really, really interesting insight, I think, from a B2B marketing perspective around having sat in all three of those roles, what it feels like to be sold to, what it feels like to sell to, whether it’s my customers or partners, and I think what’s fascinating for me, having studied marketing as part of my degree a quarter of a century ago, which terrifies me, I don’t think the premises of marketing have actually changed. Clearly, the tools that we now have at our fingertips have changed dramatically. No longer do we have the beauty and luxury of a linear purchase funnel because it hops around all over the place. So the customer experience end-to-end now is very, very different. But fundamentally I don’t think the basic premises of marketing have changed.

Sarah: 00:04:04 And to that end, in my corporate career, I’ve really, really enjoyed getting to a different space. Whether that’s helping, from the inside, a business transform from a people, product or process perspective, whether it is seeing my team members progress to a different, better up-skilled state or give them more self confidence, I’ve always found that really, really fascinating from the inside, but I guess with my corporate hat on I found it marginally frustrating that I couldn’t necessarily invest as much time as I might’ve liked to have done in other areas that I feel passionate about. So I’m a passionate diversity and inclusion supporter, I’m a qualified coach, so I’ve done a lot of mentoring and coaching over the years, and I’m now in the luxurious position of having started my own business, Speake Up Consulting at the end-

Fiona: 00:05:00 I love that name, by the way.

Sarah: 00:05:01 Good.

Fiona: 00:05:02 It’s fantastic. I can’t imagine where you got it from.

Sarah: 00:05:04 No, funny that. I speak with an E on the end, clearly, very handy surname to have.

Fiona: 00:05:10 It’s fantastic.

Sarah: 00:05:11 So I’m now in the luxurious position of working with a number of different clients already, all of whom are people that I know through my various networks and I’ve invested lots of time at those over the years, which is very much paid off now. And I’m working with them in a number of different capacities. So one as a non-exec director, two, business consulting. And that’s often with organisations and certainly the clients that I’m working with at the moment, they’re all at a tipping point for various reasons, either because they’re upscaling massively or because they are trying to expand to have more of a global footprint, or because there’s a cultural disconnect between more newer recruits, whether that’s across the business or marketing centric is almost irrelevant to me, and so on and so forth.

Sarah: 00:06:05 And then the third piece is very much around the mentoring and coaching. So, I am now loving being in control of my own destiny and have chosen very specifically only to work with businesses where I like and respect the people, where there’s a good values match and where I can add value. So whether that’s on a more wider business transformation sense, or very, very specifically marketing centric. And then each of the clients I’m working with at the moment I’m mentoring the main marketing team members. So it’s great.

Fiona: 00:06:40 Yeah. Really good. Really interesting. I’m going to ask probably a silly question here, but what’s the difference between mentoring and coaching? Because they’re often used in very similar ways, but actually I get the feeling that there’s a difference.

Sarah: 00:06:55 It’s not a silly question, specifically because a lot of people lump them together. The very specific difference between mentoring and coaching, in a mentor relationship, one would expect the mentor to offer the mentee guidance, potential solutions, a different way of thinking more laterally about a problem or a challenge. I think the coaching relationship is actually far more challenging because there is far more onus on the coachee. And the reason for that, and this is where the fundamental difference between the two lies, is the coach’s role is to pose questions to help the coachee work through for themselves where they need to get to. Hence my comment around, I think it being a more challenging and more exhausting relationship.

Sarah: 00:07:47 And I love doing a combination of the two, because inevitably, in a mentor relationship, it’s often marketing centric so people can draw on my experiences to guide them with a lot more detail. In a coaching relationship, people often find it quite uncomfortable, because I can quite happily sit, in spite of my surname, I can quite happily sit in complete silence while they work through something for themselves. And in our mad business lives, that’s a rarity to be in a situation when one is in complete silence, particularly sat opposite somebody as you and I are at the moment.

Sarah: 00:08:27 So big, big difference between the two and therefore, absolutely not a daft question to ask.

Fiona: 00:08:32 Mm-hmm (affirmative). But by the sounds of it, it’s, again, another way of really adding value to someone, because you finding them in one place, and through not telling them what to do, you’re actually helping them get to the next level and the next place.

Sarah: 00:08:46 Absolutely. And it’s interesting, because people often ask questions as you pose, between, “So are you a business coach or a life coach or a personal coach, or how’s it all work?” And actually, I think it’s nigh on impossible to box it in a compartmentalised pigeonhole way. We’re increasingly talking about work-life balance. I think that there is an issue even with that phrase, because work-life balance work comes first is the assumption and it takes precedent. Well, I think that’s a load of all nonsense, and actually want to look at life balance.

Sarah: 00:09:28 So it’s impossible to have a coaching relationship with somebody without areas of what they do outside work creeping into the conversation, because inevitably, we are, well, not everybody, we should be the same person in and outside work. We should be give ourselves permission and be given permission to be that same authentic person. And therefore it’s impossible, in my view, to have a coaching conversation and longer term relationship without drawing on what’s going on in people’s lives when they’re not physically in the office or working from home or whatever their respect relationship is.

Sarah: 00:10:03 But I find it immensely gratifying. I love the variety. I love the fact that I’m adding value to different businesses, and it’s great having more control over my working week and I’m hanging out with my kids more.

Fiona: 00:10:16 Which is fantastic.

Sarah: 00:10:17 Which is amazing. Yes.

Fiona: 00:10:19 Absolutely, ’cause you can do the extra things that you can’t in a nine to five. You can’t support-

Sarah: 00:10:24 Very much so.

Fiona: 00:10:25 … cheer on the sidelines of the game or [crosstalk 00:10:27] yeah, absolutely. So, drawing upon some of your former experience when you were recruiting people or going through interview processes yourself, what advice can you offer people who might be in that situation or circumstance now around interviewing for marketing roles?

Sarah: 00:10:46 Okay. I tend to split it into two different camps, and how I think about approaching a conversation where the potential candidates, I’m really interested in the combination of their technical skills. And by that I mean are you qualified to do the job? And on the other side of the coin, their behavioural skills. So are you going to be a good cultural fit within my existing team or teams?

Sarah: 00:11:14 On the technical skills front, either, do you have the right experience to do this role, or do you have the bulk of the right experience, but a clear appetite for learning and therefore an ability to up-skill, which I’m very, very supportive of. So, I tend to think about it broad brush in those two relatively distinctive areas.

Sarah: 00:11:41 That said, I think over the years, increasingly, particularly for B2B marketers, I’m more interested now in people who have an ability to be intellectually curious, which as marketers we always have to be, of course, but actually therefore have an appetite to learning more skills or branching out into different areas. I think it happens cyclically, we all go, “Oh, we need to recruit a digital marketing manager,” and the next nano second it’s, “We need somebody who is a content expert.”

Sarah: 00:12:16 Yes, absolutely. As a team leader, one needs those various elements of expertise within the team, but there is nothing to say that one shouldn’t then branch out into different skills, because fundamentally I’m more interested, the more senior one becomes in a better holistic package, because I expect people further up the food chain to therefore be able to think more strategically, yes, to be the voice of the customer, but also to be the internal brand advocate from an employee engagement perspective. Equally, to help an organisation and peers, colleagues, et cetera, to understand where and how marketing and adds value, because that is often woefully, woefully misconceived. We’re not the colouring in department. We’re not the people who are just there to provide branded mugs when a sales director is running off to a client meeting in five minutes. Yes, we can make things look beautiful. Yes, we’re creative. But actually, our fundamental, fundamental objective has to be about delivering for our respective organisations to the bottom line.

Sarah: 00:13:26 And that’s often, I think, where senior marketers fail because some of them are just crap at marketing marketing.

Fiona: 00:13:35 Internally.

Sarah: 00:13:36 Internally. And that’s often where it falls down. And I think the danger there is that it makes it all too easy for a CFO to see marketing as a cost
rather than a level of investment. And the onus is absolutely on our us to proactively communicate how we’re delivering profitably for the business.

Fiona: 00:13:56 So, talking results, metrics and being able to communicate that within an interview process as well as …

Sarah: 00:14:05 Absolutely.

Fiona: 00:14:07 … around stakeholders even in an interview so they appreciate that they’re getting a commercial marketer who can add value versus fluffy.

Sarah: 00:14:15 Absolutely. Irrespective of whether the job title happens to have the word “commercial” in it or not, and I’m not a fan of having commercial marketing directors or managers. We’re all commercial and if we’re not, we’ll need to get blooming good at it.

Sarah: 00:14:30 So yes, even at the interview stage, I think it’s really important when one is speaking about prior experience to couch that within the business context, what did I actually deliver? Now, if it’s more slanted towards brand responsibility, share the brand awareness uplift year on year, share other related KPIs. If it’s based on hard numbers, I want to know what those numbers are. I want to understand the impact that you have had in programs, campaigns that you’ve delivered on previously. I want to understand the financial impact and have somebody sat in front of me who understand the numbers, because without that it all falls flat.

Fiona: 00:15:14 And from a candidate’s perspective, if you are interviewing with a company who maybe doesn’t appreciate or understand marketing as a function, what questions can you ask to arm yourself, I suppose, and give yourself enough ammunition to think, “I can make a difference to this company,” even though you’ve probably got an awful lot of education and groundswell work to do initially when you join, but to really understand whether it’s a good option from a marketer’s perspective or not. What advice do you have there?

Sarah: 00:15:46 I’d ask them very, very direct questions at the interview panel and unpick how they see marketing within the organisation, because particularly in founder led startups, in my experience, there is an assumption about marketing that is often inaccurate. And I think unpicking that at that early stage is really important to be able to then weigh up as a potential candidate, “Am I up for this challenge? I’m going to have to shift the mindset of one individual who actually sets the tone of this organisation. Am I up for that challenge?” is one thing.

Sarah: 00:16:28 The other thing I would ask is if they have had any level of marketing resource internally, which successes have they seen from that? And the answers will then give you as a candidate a really, really interesting insight into how they measure things, whether they’ve measured things or whether this is actually their first foray into marketing and take it seriously.

Sarah: 00:16:52 I’d ask about percentage budget levels versus turnover, because that’s also a good indication as to whether marketing investment, a, is seen as investment and, b, whether it’s actually sufficiently on the board C-suite agenda and if it’s not, that can often be an uphill battle.

Fiona: 00:17:13 Really good. Thank you. Some good tips there.

Fiona: 00:17:17 So, let’s say, again, pulling on your earlier career, what experience do you need to build on to make the move from manager to director or head of marketing role? What key experiences or advice have you got share around that?

Sarah: 00:17:35 One element of it for me is something I cited a few minutes ago, is about remaining intellectually curious. So really having a grasp of what’s going on in the world of marketing, whether that’s the latest technology, the latest trend, whatever it may be. Off the back of that, though, and this is arguably one of the most crucial points, is deciding which of those are actually genuinely relevant, applicable right now to you in your role for your organisation and your responsibilities. Does it fit within the overarching business strategy? Because I think it’s all too easy to get really, really distracted by the latest and greatest shiny thing, which may be out of favour in 18 months’ time and you’ve managed to distract your entire team in the interim.

Sarah: 00:18:23 So, I think remaining intellectually curious and arming oneself with a level of knowledge so that one is always adding value and adding value to other peers and colleagues and people further up the food chain. So conversationally, being able to drop in something that your CEO or your CMO if you’re senior and then moving up to director can actually cite and makes them and therefore your organisation look good.

Sarah: 00:18:50 The intellectually curious, being armed and relevant is really, really, really key. I think there are other two elements as well. One is you need to be a really good people leader, because in an ideal B2B marketing team, and I know we’re going to talk about us as well, in an ideal B2B marketing team, you have vast array of very diverse skillsets, experiences, and if you get it right, personalities, different ethnic backgrounds, different gender splits, et cetera, et cetera. So, getting really, really good at people leadership.

Sarah: 00:19:26 I think stakeholder management is often where we fall down. I think, arguably-

Fiona: 00:19:32 Why is that, do you think?

Sarah: 00:19:34 Well, I think it goes back to often a lack of ability to couch things within a business profitability context. I want to know my margin levels per client. If I can’t know that off the top of my head, particularly from the top five or 10 for example, then something is seriously wrong in my view. So, I think it often falls down because of that lack of business acumen. You need to get good at reading the P&L, whether you like it or not. None of us are natural accountants, or no marketers, in my experience, are natural accountants. You have to learn it and learn the intricacies of using that data in the same way as we use customer data to drive insights. So the stakeholder management piece is really important.

Sarah: 00:20:18 I would argue that never before have senior marketers had such an amazing opportunity, because internally, we have to, if we play it properly, we have to be the glue between, yes, our classic traditional bedfellows in sales, but we also have to be absolutely joined at the hip with the CTO. We need to make sure that we understand if we’re investing in martech, does that integrate? If so, how? Are there any cost implications? Equally, product development. Categorically the CEO, CFO and the finance team because we need to be able to justify the level of investment that we’re proposing, and of course the CEO.

Sarah: 00:21:10 The other piece I think is our relationship with the HR. Friends, colleagues that we have, not least because as one becomes more senior, I think then anybody making that leap needs to get really, really interested in the internal branding piece. So if I think about the marketing ecosystem, we need to be really, really slick, of course, communicating with customers, equally, investors where appropriate, definitely the press so that we’ve got as much exposure where relevant as is possible.

Sarah: 00:21:47 And then the internal piece one shouldn’t ever underestimate, because irrespective of company size, you have a wealth of brand advocates sat at your fingertips. So understanding those moving pieces of the jigsaw, I think, is the most critical element of that shift to become the senior marketing director, the head of marketing or associated role. It’s a bit large being a conductor of an orchestra, but be the glue is the message there.

Fiona: 00:22:17 Yeah. I love that. And actually I haven’t had anybody else pull upon the employees of a company as part of that mission, but it makes perfect sense when you look at it like that.

Sarah: 00:22:28 I think so, because if you think about it, there should be a level of consistency between how employees or potential candidates think about your brand in the same way as customers think about your brand if you’ve done a good job, clearly, and that’s a big if. It helps with employee attraction, retention, and if you think about it, even if you’re a company of 30 employees, those are 30 people that you can spoon feed as a marketer to share content about the organisation on your behalf to improve and increase your digital footprint through social.

Sarah: 00:23:06 So there are lots and lots of opportunities. Now, it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. Some of my engineering friends think, “Oh, for God’s sake, chill, your boots about social ripple effects. I’m never going to do that for you, Sarah.” Okay. And it can’t be a mandate. So people have to feel that if you’ll spoon feeding them a piece of content that you then wish them to share externally, some people won’t and that’s fine, because it can’t be or feel forced. And the other piece is absolutely encouraging people to tweak it so that it feels authentic to them and therefore their followers in whichever social channel you’re referring to.

Fiona: 00:23:49 Authenticity, that lovely word again. But it’s key, isn’t it?

Sarah: 00:23:53 It has been overused to daft degrees over the years, but it’s so, so key. So key.

Fiona: 00:24:01 So, building on that, then, how do you get involved in the board strategic decision? How do you make that move?

Sarah: 00:24:09 Be known, be really known within the organisation. Now, I don’t mean go overboard in that. What I mean is a couple of different things-

Fiona: 00:24:19 Do you mean like at the Christmas party potentially dancing on the table after a couple too many vodkas?

Sarah: 00:24:24 No, that’s not what I mean. [crosstalk 00:24:27]. If you’re trying to get super senior director level, do that with you mates, not with your colleagues would be my advice. In spite of what I said about authenticity, don’t go slamming tequilas.

Sarah: 00:24:44 I think that there are a couple of things there. One is be known by appropriately communicating what, how and where you’re delivering and the associated business impact. So the common theme in this conversation is know the numbers, know how you’re adding value to the business, not just to your team.

Sarah: 00:25:08 The other piece for me is developing a network of sponsors. In a very different way to the conversation we had earlier about mentors and coaches, develop a network of sponsors. And what I mean by that is hand pick where there’s a natural personality fit works best, of course, but handpick people that can represent you if you’re not in the room. I might be having a conversation with fellow board directors saying, “One of the things that maybe we should think about for the business,” and it’s not marketing centric, it’s with my board director hat on as a CMO, “maybe we should tweak that, in which case we would probably need a person with that skill set to lead that project.”

Sarah: 00:26:00 If you’ve got good at developing relationships with sponsors, I should be qualified to say, “Do you know who would be perfect for that? They’re on holiday at the moment, but let’s maybe hook up with them when they’re back, is person x.” And that has served me so well in my career, in that one of my most amazing bosses, who was my boss at Google and is still a dear friend and a great source of inspiration was that person. He was that voice. For example, I was actually recruited to Google. I had my first six interviews there the week before my son was born.

Fiona: 00:26:40 Yeah. What a lovely experience for you.

Sarah: 00:26:45 Incredible experience. [crosstalk 00:26:46] Waddling through the door.

Fiona: 00:26:50 Google interview process is pretty rigorous and tough at the best of times, but doing that when you’re nine months pregnant [crosstalk 00:26:56] it’s a different experience.

Sarah: 00:26:58 It gave me a different perspective, let’s put it that way.

Sarah: 00:27:02 And then because this boss of mine was an amazing sponsor for me, he then promoted me two years later when I was on maternity leave with our daughter.

Fiona: 00:27:12 I love him already.

Sarah: 00:27:13 He’s fabulous. So I think having sponsors who can represent you in a very authentic way because you forged a really good relationship with them is really important. And again, it goes back to couching it within the business context. What she really good at, or he, how they are going to potentially add value in this business, where could we move them where they’re going to be even more benefit for the down line?

Sarah: 00:27:36 So having sponsors is a real key for me. Therefore, if you’re not physically at the board table, and sadly there are lots of organisations within the UK who still don’t to this day, have a CMO as part of the C-suite, they’re off in the sidelines and the organisation is run by the rest of the mob. Having sponsors or having somebody, a, have your back and, b, be a good voice on behalf of, in my case, the personal brand that is Sarah Speak is absolutely invaluable. So worth in those kind of relationships, definitely.

Fiona: 00:28:15 Yeah. And obviously they’ll always be mutually beneficial because anything that you do will obviously help to accelerate their career and support them and their own correct path and the trajectory where [crosstalk 00:28:28]-

Sarah: 00:28:27 Absolutely. Absolutely. So usually they end up being made to look good too. Win-win.

Fiona: 00:28:32 Yeah. Funny-fun. Yeah.

The perfect B2B marketing department structure

Fiona: 00:28:34 Describe your perfect B2B marketing department, and this is going to be really exciting because obviously the types of companies you’ve work for and the diverse markets, so I can’t wait to hear this answer. Examples of teams you’ve seen smash it and why, what kind of budget do they have or activity they all took, tell us some of your amazing marketing staff tips.

Sarah: 00:28:56 I think the ideal B2B marketing team now looks fundamentally different to how it did certainly five years ago. And if I look a decade ago, differently, different planet, unrecognisable. And part of the reason for that, of course, boringly has been the advent of technology. So my ideal B2B marketing team now is a mixture.
Sarah: 00:29:27 First and foremost, I think internal comms PR or should sit within marketing because of the conversation that we had around the linkage between employee engagement as well as the external brand. So I think that’s one element organisationally, which is worth nodding towards. So on that basis, PR, internal comms expertise within the team.

Sarah: 00:29:53 Ideally, somebody who’s really, really, really good at content that can be consistently spread across the website, internal comms, et cetera, et cetera. So the person that is physically responsible for the content piece, and it may just be one individual depending on budget, company size, et cetera, et cetera.

Sarah: 00:30:14 Definitely a marketing automation experts. So ideally, somebody who is very, very OFI with CRM. If they’re based in EMEA, by golly, do they therefore also need to understand the implications of GDPR. We’ve all seen organisations in the press where they’ve stuffed up on sharing customer data and the financial, legal, and most importantly, from a marketing perspective, reputational repercussions of that are pretty awful. So definitely marketing automation expert.

Sarah: 00:30:47 Ideally, if the CRM system in question is Salesforce, make sure that they understand Pardot inside out.

Sarah: 00:30:56 Ideally now, and it doesn’t really matter what they’re called, but somebody who owns the end-to-end customer experience. So, ideally being able to therefore marry up and think about every single different touch points that either an existing customer or a prospect has with your organisation. And by that I mean literally what are they going to read about you in the press? What’s their impression that when they meet a salesperson who represents your organisation? If you have a lead gen agency, what’s the experience there? If they’re a prospect rather than an existing customer, how do they engage with you online? Is it a gratifying experience? Does it whet their appetite sufficiently to understand more?

Sarah: 00:31:44 Again, if it’s an existing customer, what’s your billing system like? What happens when they ring customer service? So actually, somebody who understands that end-to-end piece, which I think is often underestimated because organisationally, organisations are often so siloed that nobody in billing speaks to anybody from customer service. Well, that’s bonkers because each of these touch points can be used to encourage an ongoing customer feedback loop that probably feeds into how you think about your processes, probably and ideally feeds into how you think about product development, for example. So, ideally somebody who understands the end-to-end customer journey, irrespective of what they’re called. I’m the queen of making up job titles, because I think often they don’t actually marry up with the job function and day-to-day responsibilities.

Sarah: 00:32:37 I would also, and this is where I think increasingly it’s different, I would have physically sat there, I would have tech expertise, so I would have UX developer UI expertise front end, back end developers, so that you literally have the person writing the content, the more technically focused testing it, launching it live on your website, feeding into the customer feedback loop under the guise of it doesn’t really matter where and how it works within the hierarchy, that should be determined by the person at the top of the marketing food chain so that every busy there collectively contributes to the customer. So it has to be about making sure that of course as an organisation you’re customer centric, but actually the marketing team, going back to my earlier point, I think is the best place to be the glue. And therefore the skills sat together lend themselves to a very, very different dynamic within the team and a different learning curve for the team as well. I’ve learned so much from having coders sat next to me or a UI expert [crosstalk 00:33:46]-

Fiona: 00:33:45 Just from a language perspective, I’m guessing.

Sarah: 00:33:48 From a language perspective, but also-

Fiona: 00:33:49 And fashion, styling …

Sarah: 00:33:53 Totally different. Totally different. One could generalise and talk t-shirt and jeans. I’ll try not to.

Sarah: 00:33:58 So I think that mutual learning experiences really interesting and I think it’s actually motivating because it then enables every single individual within that team to understand how they are then contributing to, not just what marketing delivers as a team, but actually really influencing, ideally positively, the customer experience. And we are all about the customer. So fundamentally different and significantly more tech expertise sat physically within the team I think is absolutely unbelievable. Otherwise the silo created between the more commercial sides of the organisation and the “tech back end” often just makes for messy conversations and our lack of ability to make decisions quickly and think on a more agile basis.

Fiona: 00:34:52 I was going to ask you whether that’s more of a agile approach because a lot of what you talked about there around the marketing team is probably also very much sets up the speed and testing.

Sarah: 00:35:05 Absolutely. And I think it’s much easier to look somebody in the whites of their eyes and say, “You know when you do that, what’s the output and would that, could that affect how we think about live chat?” So I think it potentially elevates the conversation. Ideally, it also takes away from what I personally believe to be quite unhelpful communication, ie, headphones on, email centric when y’all sat as far away as you are from me which is just ludicrous. Or using chat internally to communicate with people. So I think it helps from so many different perspectives on a multilayered approach having everybody sat together, physically, open plan off this so that one can overhear lots of different conversations. And it’s a brilliant learning curve for everybody, including people like me at CMO level. I’ve learnt so much over the years from people significantly more junior because they think differently.

Fiona: 00:36:04 Yeah. But also it brings it more to life, doesn’t it? Because you probably still understand and hear the words and the terminology, but actually hearing the live action, so to speak or the challenges they’re facing or their frustrations just really helps you to bring it to life and understand it at that deeper element.

Sarah: 00:36:26 I think so, so fundamentally different as I said, to where I would have put more focus five years ago, and as I said, 10 years ago, unrecognisable versus my ideal team today.

Fiona: 00:36:43 It sounds almost like you’ve got an internal agency style of department where you are literally bringing variety of skillsets together, but in a permanent situation versus a project or campaign.

Sarah: 00:36:59 Yeah. I hadn’t thought about it in those terms, but it’s an interesting analogy because as a CMO, one often finds oneself actually relying on too many different external agencies, the dig experts, the content experts, the PR agency, et cetera, et cetera, and particularly within your world, where you’re focusing on strategic partnerships with smaller organisations, whether at startups, SMEs, scale ups, you don’t have the luxury of big budgets and huge amounts of resource.

Fiona: 00:37:35 But also not all of those agencies share the data to make sure that it’s all actually coming out as the business objective at the end that you need.

Sarah: 00:37:43 No, and therein lies the potential challenge because it’s siloed and it therefore put significantly more onus on me, the client having to delegate that data collation work to somebody in my team. So, it swings around and around and again I think it’s cyclical, so people opt for everything under one roof, use some of the big networks agencies and then think, “Holy moly, no, that’s not going to work.” And they do that about on a two to three year rolling basis, often, sadly, to get agency rates down, which is not a very smart way of looking at it because it just devalues the wider service and means that from an agency perspective, it’s increasingly difficult to put somebody senior on your business. So you get the shiny team pitching, and then actually if they’ve hammered rates down to the degree that often happens, you get really junior and inexperienced people working on your business.

Sarah: 00:38:41 And actually where I’ve always wanted from my agency is, is I want to be challenged. You might be my performance agency, but I want you to challenge me on what my marketing strategy is and how your piece of the pie fits into how I think about things, and, by the way, therefore, how I allocate budget. I also want to be made to look good. So, being able to have those conversations at the board table. Brilliant if you can say, “Oh, read this really interesting article, Sarah, had you heard about x, y, z?” “Oh no, but I’ll plagiarise that. Thank you very much.”

Sarah: 00:39:17 So I think the client agency relationship needs investing in appropriately on both sides. But I haven’t thought about it in that terms. It was really interesting. And yes, that’s one way of looking at it. Definitely.

Fiona: 00:39:34 And then often I think, although there’s a lot to be said about bringing new teams in because as you say, they can come from a different perspective and viewpoint, and challenge the status quo, there is also a lot to be said for longer term relationships. A lot of knowledge piles up within some of these brains and consultancies and agencies which you can’t replicate. And it’s that knowledge and experience that can often also enable or support very fast agile working, because there’s all that background knowledge already there.

Sarah: 00:40:14 Exactly. And I think therefore on that basis, there’s less resistance to change. And one of the many things I learned from so many years at Google was try things. And if you’re going to fail, fail fast, learn from it and move on. And by the way, don’t make that mistake again. And that mentality, I think, has crept into lots of other organisations since, which is be agile in your decision making, don’t deliberate for weeks and months because by then you’ve missed the boat, whether it’s a product
launch or changes, business, whatever it may be. And I think that’s healthy as long as people learn from it.

Fiona: 00:40:54 Mm-hmm (affirmative). And as you said earlier, the commercial return on investment from a marketing perspective is clearly articulated and communicated constantly to back that.

Sarah: 00:41:06 Critically.

Fiona: 00:41:09 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.

Justifying marketing spend

Fiona: 00:41:32 So, speaking budgets, how do big corporates justify spend on difficult to measure campaigns around brand or fault awareness, which can often be seen as the fluffier side of marketing.

Sarah: 00:41:49 It can indeed, but it shouldn’t be underestimated. I’m going to give you an example that I think illustrates this quite nicely. And that is actually an example from my Google days. We had an issue, which is not uncommon. We had an issue as many media owners have experienced over the decades in trying to get into the C-suite and be a part of that more strategic thought leadership led insight led conversation. And the response was initially, “Oh yeah, thanks Google, but go and talk to my agencies. They’re responsible for these decisions, they’re responsible for the budgetary connection within them.”

Sarah: 00:42:31 So we thought, okay, well what can we do that is unexpected? Google, very much known as being online centric, and we came up with the Think Brand. So, as its name would suggest all about thought leadership, all about thinking laterally, but from a much, much broader business perspective in association with the Google brand name rather than talking specifically about any of our products, any the benefits.

Sarah: 00:43:03 So a much more subtle way of approaching things. And we produced a beautiful quarterly coffee table book with lots of insights, lots of interviews, really thought provoking and often controversial in terms of content. Every single one of those was personalised and only went to the CEO of the organisations where we were trying to elevate the conversation. First off, it was a surprise because this is Google and their printing stuff. I’m not sure they would choose to do that now because it’s less eco friendly, but there you go.

Sarah: 00:43:43 Everybody else around the board table was going, “Well, why haven’t I got one of those?” It was personalised, so we personalised it different that every single issue. One, for example, we used fridge magnets to write people’s names and then gave them fridge magnets to make their own personal inspirational quotes. So there’s a level of, “Oh, how do I aspiration and get on the list to receive one of those?” So we got a conversation started.

Sarah: 00:44:10 And we did that for two years, but at the end of that two-year period I pulled it because it had served its purpose. And so, whilst it falls into your camp of how do people justify things that are seen as a bit fluffier, it served its purpose because we got in and had regular conversations with every single one of those CEOs off the back of it. Every single one. And therefore the revenue per client, for each of those advertisers went through the roof.

Sarah: 00:44:45 So yes, we could make a correlation between the conversations that we were having and then the additional year on year spend, but it changed the conversation. And by the way, it doesn’t matter about the budget level, it matters about the percentage that you were investing in my view for each activity, so whether that’s events, account based marketing campaign, lead gen agency, it doesn’t really matter. Well, of course it matters for the organisation, but you get the gist. And I think that’s a really, really lovely example of where actually we all have an opportunity to think more smartly than we have traditionally about agreeing to and being held to account for a different set of KPIs. So it may be have a conversation with x number of CEOS in these specific businesses in our top 30 hit list, for example, separate to that. Yes, of course. Any decent marketer should always be held to account by the revenue figures. Always.

Sarah: 00:45:53 But there are different ways, I think, of measuring it may be an uplifted brand awareness, but it’s about making sure that you are scrutinising the data that you have at your fingertips and if there is an area of data that you’re missing, go and invest in it, work it out and use it to drive the insights that you need to come up with the answer for the CFO or the CEO.

Fiona: 00:46:19 I love that. And I’d like one of those books.

Sarah: 00:46:22 They’re beautiful. I don’t think we got [crosstalk 00:46:24] Well, we did it when my kids were little. So we had all sorts of shenanigans on our French door, as you can imagine. Fridge magnets and various other personalised … But actually, there’s probably a level of ego at play, let’s be honest. But actually the one thing that is still as relevant now about that particular program is the personalisation piece. And we need to be blooming good at personalisation at scale.

Fiona: 00:46:56 Especially at the C-suite, isn’t it?

Sarah: 00:46:58 Absolutely. Absolutely.

Fiona: 00:46:58 Because that’s one of the only ways to stand out.

Sarah: 00:47:01 Yeah. And ditto, if I think about it with my former CMO hat on, I used to easily get 300 emails a day. Easily. Some internal, some external, clearly. And if somebody emailing me called, whether, through LinkedIn or other, if somebody had taken the time to word the message appropriately and relate it to my then role or my former experience, I’m more likely to sit up and say, okay, that’s interesting. They’ve done that homework. Don’t cold email may with a cut and copy paste where you’ve spelled my first name wrong. I will be very rude back. Because none of us have time for it. So, yeah, bearing in mind as well, I think, the degree to which we get bombarded with stuff like most people do. I’d really love to work with you. We’re an agency who specialises in x, y, z. Great. I’ve got it covered. Thank you very much.

Fiona: 00:48:07 And it’s from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to sleep, really, isn’t it? [crosstalk 00:48:12]-

Sarah: 00:48:12 If you allow it to be. I’m not a fan of people working in the evenings, weekends and holidays, you burn out. Life’s too short. At the end of the day, it’s only a job, is a job I’m very passionate about but it’s only job. There are bigger things in life than just the work piece. So yeah, nobody in my teams has ever got any points for emailing me at eight o’clock in the evening ever. And if you asked any of them they’d vouch for that.

Fiona: 00:48:39 Sounds like they got a telling off. I like it. I like it.

Fiona: 00:48:45 Even with heaps of preparation, coaching and development, there’s a lady here who’s making a move to a more senior level role, about to move to senior manager to a head of, so it can still feel daunting, peers in a similar position have liken the first few weeks to 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?

Sarah: 00:49:13 That’s a great question. Interesting that she’s female and they-

Fiona: 00:49:19 I let that slip, actually. I normally try to avoid that [crosstalk 00:49:23]-

Sarah: 00:49:23 I mean, I’m intrigued that she is because I think there is a level of imposter syndrome that many of us women suffer from. And unfortunately it comes brilliantly naturally to us, far more than it does to our male peers. So that’s an interesting one. And there are lots and lots of different ways. And I actually with many of the senior and more junior women that I coach and mentor and have done over the years, we’ve all got that little voice on the shoulder going, “You’re a fraud, you’re going to get found out one day.”

Fiona: 00:49:53 “Who do you think you are?”

Sarah: 00:49:55 And there are lots of different ways of crushing that in my view, but that’s probably a whole separate podcast. So, winging it, men feel that too, by the way. They’re just better at blagging it. So whether it’s that shift or any other, I would make sure that this person uses the first month to get round as many different people in the organisation and ask questions, because that month you’re done. Now. That doesn’t mean that you’re expected to know all the answers and immediately come back with your three-year strategic marketing plan, however, it proves that you’re curious. Most important trait for any marketer in my view. It proves that you’re curious. It gives you, I think, a speedy way of really understanding the intricacies of business. So whilst during the interview process you may well have been given an org chart, it doesn’t really tell you about what actually goes on on a day-to-day basis. It doesn’t tell you about the interrelationships between different country teams where appropriate, different teams within your own country, different disciplines, the tone that the CEO sets doesn’t tell you any of that. What does tell you that is asking a lot of questions and a lot of different people.

Sarah: 00:51:16 Within the context of given the time responsible for the internal and external brand, I’m really keen to understand exactly how you operate, who you work with, what your day looks like, how you’re motivated, what your challenges are, so really using that time to unpick what the organisation is actually about. And that’s very, very different. And by the way, it’s no different in my view whether you’re a marketer or a tech person, or whichever discipline you happened to sit within. So I would use that time to ask as many questions as possible and how, depending on the size of the team, have a one to one with every single team member, even if they report to you directly or not. And that’s key.

Fiona: 00:52:01 So literally, the CFO, customer services, sales [crosstalk 00:52:04]-

Sarah: 00:52:07 Everybody. Absolutely everybody. You’ve got one chance, and then after that it feels like you’re asking silly bugger questions.

Fiona: 00:52:13 Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So make the most of that first few months?

Sarah: 00:52:16 Absolutely.

Fiona: 00:52:16 And then after that, what’s the next step on that journey for the person?

Sarah: 00:52:22 I think building on a lot of the things that we’ve talked about in this conversation, so staying curious and constantly learning yourself. So whether that’s on the job, which is key as we’ve discussed, but actually seeking out opportunities to further your own skills or knowledge base, which is invaluable. Both for you to be able to pass on to people in your team or teams and equally to be able to share with peers as we’ve discussed. So I think that’s a biggie.

Fiona: 00:52:51 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? How do we keep up and get better?

Sarah: 00:53:04 Number of different ways of tackling this, I think. One is, I think there’s a danger, again, we talked about it briefly earlier, but there’s a danger that you go, “Oh, that looks really interesting. Let me get a group of people and speak to the whole team about the latest development in AI,” for example. Well, a part of AI that I happen think is very interesting for marketers is the machine learning element of it. Is that relevant to me in my organisation now? is the question that we should always pose. And if the answer to that is no, because you’ve got other fixing the plumbing to do first, then keep abreast broad brush of what’s going on but don’t get distracted by it.

Sarah: 00:53:47 And I think whoever is responsible for the marketing team or teams, whether they’re CMO, marketing director, whatever the job title is, their responsibility is to navigate the sea of new stuff and be really, really strategic in working out whether it could be a distraction or actually it could be of serious benefit, whether immediately or further down the line.

Sarah: 00:54:11 If I think of the number of years we claimed this is the year of the mobile, for example, it’s all about mobile first. We probably claimed that on an annual basis once a year. Did some of us get distracted by it? Probably. Was that may be a waste of time because we couldn’t deliver on the day-to-day stuff? Probably. Is that smart? No.

Sarah: 00:54:37 So, I do think it’s very easy to get pulled in lots of different directions. I think a good way of thinking about it is to constantly check in on a regular basis with what’s the plan that [inaudible 00:54:51], what’s the vision? Are we being true to that as a team? And if you’ll veering off, your job is to bring it back.

Sarah: 00:54:58 Now, you may have people in your teams who are passionately interested in chatbots, as a daft example. Well if they are, and they’re exploring it, why not use them to continue gleaning knowledge in an area that they feel passionately about and report back? Fine. But I think the job of the most senior marketing person is absolutely to keep people on the path so that you can deliver day-to-day.

Sarah: 00:55:26 That said, I think it is a fine balancing act, because we’re always spinning a million different plates between that and pulling yourself out of the weeds to think more strategically and longer term around how as a marketer you can help your business future proof itself.

Fiona: 00:55:42 Very good. Very interesting. And as a very specific question, can we go on in on-

Sarah: 00:55:47 Go on.

Fiona: 00:55:49 I’m an experienced marketer here with eight years marketing experience with at least four as a strategic marketing manager at an educational publisher. I also have an MBA from Lancaster University, and I’m an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. As a parent who needs to work part-time, term time only so that I can fulfill the needs of my three boys, I’ve been struggling to find a flexible marketing role in Exeter as recruiters and hiring managers always get back to me with, “Sorry, we’re only looking for full-time candidates,” and shutting the door completely. As CMOs, what are your strategies to bring back or utilise people like me in the workforce? What would you advise me to do to find a role where I can be productive, committed, and utilise my experience?

Sarah: 00:56:42 Brilliant question. For me personally as a CMO, I have actively recruited a complete mixture of people, some of whom want to work full time, some of whom want to work flexibly, whether that’s three days, four days, different times during the day. It doesn’t really matter. And I think the danger with this question is we always make it about working parents, but fundamentally everybody has other interests outside work. Some people don’t have children, so it’s not about being a parent. Some are carers, some are training for triathlons. So, I think the danger with that question is we make it generically about working parents. Everybody has interests outside work.

Sarah: 00:57:27 So in this specific example, I’ve always actively recruited people where I think they can add value, whether that’s on a per diem basis or as this lady is citing. My recommendation there would be have confidence in your abilities because you’re clearly a smart cookie with a wealth of really, really interesting experience. Two, seek out the franchise organisation that specifically caters for women who have left full-time corporate roles and can help placements that are specifically what she’s talking about. So flexible working and where appropriate, taking the school holidays off.

Sarah: 00:58:09 That’s one way of approaching it. The other is having a think as to whether you would want to use your experience from an external consultant perspective. I think both of those routes are routes to explore, but have confidence in yourself. And I’m not sure in her shoes, I’d want to work for the organisations who are shutting the door in her face, if that’s their view to flexible working.

Fiona: 00:58:31 Yeah. Quite limited opinion isn’t it? And it does make you think, “Well, if that’s your approach to this then how are you approaching your customers and the world that we’re working in now?”

Sarah: 00:58:41 Indeed. And I think, employers irrespective of size need to be cognizant of the fact that there is an ongoing conversation around mental health and mental wellbeing in the workplace. Those kind of organisations aren’t ones that would particularly float my boat in her shoes. And I do have a company in mind by the way for the flexible working, so we can talk about that offline.

Fiona: 00:59:08 Yeah. I’ll sure hook you up.

Fiona: 00:59:10 There’s a gender pay gap, apparently, a percentage of male versus female leadership roles. Do you think this challenge needs addressing in our industry? And if so, how do we do it?

Sarah: 00:59:24 This is not a new question and is not a new conversation, sadly. Fact is there is still a gender pay gap, not just in marketing but elsewhere as we know. Part of the reason for that, I think, is that, and forgive me for the generalisation, but it’s based on numerous conversations, they were quite on time. I think women are brilliant, particularly slightly more senior women. Women are brilliant at sticking their head down, working like lunatics, getting to the end of a project, sticking their head above the parapet, crediting their team, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Sarah: 01:00:08 And I don’t think as a result of that, not atypical behaviour, I don’t think we do ourselves any favours, because meanwhile, our male colleagues are doing the same without their heads down. Their heads are very, very firmly up. And they’re proactively communicating with the relevant people in and outside the room as to what they’re up to, how they’re adding value, how they’re driving their team to deliver, what they’re up to themselves, their individual contribution.

Sarah: 01:00:42 And I think the problem is often that as women, we sometimes see that as crowing or beating our chests, and we need to get better at it. We fundamentally need to get better at it and therefore be able to articulate within the context of the business exactly what we’ve done and where it’s added value and how. That’s one element of it. And then we wonder why male peers have been promoted and ended up being paid more. Hello, look in the mirror.

Sarah: 01:01:19 So that’s one piece of it, all about proactively communicating. The other thing is, and I think there’s often a natural tendency, and this, again, it’s a generalisation, but I’ve seen more of these behaviours displayed from female than male colleagues. We do everything at 150%. We revisit, we triple check, we sanity check, we get other people’s opinions. Have confidence in yourself and try doing everything at 90%, not 150%. And I guarantee the only person who will notice the difference is you.

Sarah: 01:01:57 I think both of those areas, we should do more to help ourselves is a big, big part of it. And then what can we do about it, was the other part of the question, wasn’t it? So what can we do about it? Keep it on their radar, keep it on the agenda and drive as many conversations around it as possible, where appropriate. One way of tackling this problem is quotas of senior women. It’s worked very, very well in Scandinavia. Culturally, I don’t personally believe it would work in the UK because I think we’re all so cynical that there would be an underlying view if a woman had been given a senior role rather than a male colleague, that that was an element of box ticking. Although the company in question might only be recruiting for a female candidate to fit a particular position.

Sarah: 01:02:57 And culturally because of how we operate, I think that creates a level of resentment and therefore not a very pleasant experience either for the accounts that come into the organisation and, nor, actually, for their colleagues, because they feel resentful.
Sarah: 01:03:11 So, keep talking about it, really scrutinise our own behaviours and get much, much better about sharing our successes, and then try everything 90%, not 150% would be my advice.

Fiona: 01:03:23 And the other thing I’ve spotted with regards to trends and positive support of that is that there’s an awful lot more networks. There’s women in content, there’s women in B2B marketing.

Sarah: 01:03:38 Yes. There’s Connecting Women in Technology, there’s Connecting Women in Finance, lots and lots of different forums to facilitate this conversation. And I think that’s important.

Fiona: 01:03:52 Yeah. But it’s also a support network, I think, for very relevant reasons. Because historically there’s always been jobs for the boys, there’s been clubs, there’s been an awful lot of networking that has been done in order to support success over a career or longer term period. And there’s nothing stopping women doing it. And I think the trouble is, because I do it myself, I look at these networks, I look at these groups and almost shy away from it because, “Oh, that’s a bit embarrassing,” isn’t it? Why do we need our own women’s this and women’s that, women got the vote and the only way in which they actually achieved that was by coming together and challenging the status quo as a whole. And that’s why, although I get that whole gut reaction of, “Oh, no, not another women in this women in that,” actually we do really have to embrace it because it’s [crosstalk 01:04:54] create it.

Sarah: 01:04:56 It depends on their agenda in my view. And they’re very different agendas, depending on the brief in question that you’re thinking about. If it is about furthering women in business in a particular sector, I’m a massive fan. And then, on the flip side, there are an increasing number of women’s clubs, a lot of them London based where it’s a safe space to discuss absolutely anything and probably therefore swap war stories about business and non-business issues. So there are plenty of opportunities now that didn’t exist previously.

Sarah: 01:05:36 I hope by the time my daughter enters the workforce, this is no longer a discussion and we’ve somehow cracked it.

Fiona: 01:05:43 Well, I think there’s definitely hope with some shining examples already taking fight the fight for us.

The importance of a mentor to your career in B2B marketing

Fiona: 01:05:52 How important is it to have a marketing mentor and why?

Sarah: 01:05:58 As we discussed before, the difference between mentoring and coaching, mentor is all about being able to offer solutions, ideas, potential suppliers. It may even be at that level, different agencies, whatever it may be. I think it’s really, really important, and ideally not from your organisation because a lot of best practice sharing goes on between mentor-mentee relationships where the mentor works in a different organisation, brings a different kind of experience, is in a very different state.

Sarah: 01:06:30 I think it’s useful if you are in B2B marketing that that mental is a B2B marketing expert because whilst the fundamental premises of marketing are the same, the sale cycles are significantly longer in B2B as we know. And therefore the approach is very, very different. [crosstalk 01:06:48]-

Fiona: 01:06:48 … routes to market and the stakeholders-

Sarah: 01:06:53 Channels, stakeholders [crosstalk 01:06:55]-

Fiona: 01:06:54 … whole complexity.

Sarah: 01:06:56 Yeah. There is a level of complexity around it, that I love, by the way, having focused it [crosstalk 01:07:03] for a very long time. So, yeah. If I think back to any of the mentors that I’ve had, the most useful in helping me solve a short-term problem and think about my long-term career, have B2B marketing specialists.

Fiona: 01:07:24 Perfect. What book is the book you recommend the most to B2B marketers or that you enjoy?

Sarah: 01:07:34 I don’t think there’s one I can pinpoint. And the reason I say that is that I read a lot of different literature from things like B2B Marketing Magazine, Market Leader from the Marketing Society, Campaign Magazine, to see what was going on in the wider creative/ ads industry, I follow various people on Twitter. I don’t think there is one B2B marketing source that exists yet that actually covers everything that we’re responsible for in as much or as little detail as any one individual might require.

Sarah: 01:08:13 I’ll give you an example of what I’m reading at the moment, and it’s not B2B marketing centric, but I think very useful for my thinking, is I’ve just started The Joy of Work by Bruce Daisley, who is Head of Twitter EMEA and a former colleague of mine. Fantastic going. And that’s relevant to marketers, not just because it’s about work, but actually because of the internal employee engagement piece that we talked about before. I find it fascinating reading books like that. Given that I’ve just set up my own business, I’ve also just started reading Self Made, the book by Bianca Miller-Cole and Byron Cole, and that’s a really interesting, helpful, insightful handbook for anybody going it alone, I think.

Sarah: 01:09:02 And then in addition to what I’ve just outlined, following different LinkedIn conversations, networking with peers at events is absolutely invaluable.

Sarah: 01:09:14 That was a very laborious, long answer. But in essence, I don’t think there is one single book that ticks all the boxes, actually.

Fiona: 01:09:22 It’s an ongoing process as well, isn’t it for the inquisitive mind, [crosstalk 01:09:26] to learn.

Fiona: 01:09:29 What parting words of wisdom or advice would you share with our audience?

Sarah: 01:09:33 Be the glue. Be the glue internally between all the different disciplines that we’ve talked about, be agile, be brave, and make sure that you absolutely understand every single touch point of the end-to-end customer journey because you are the customer advocate.

Sarah: 01:09:55 And then last, not the least, enjoy it. It’s a fantastic profession to enter and is very rewarding and invigorating for people who get excited by what attracts end users to different brands, products, services.

Fiona: 01:10:10 So, if there’s companies or individuals out there, Sarah, who would like to get your services, some form of advice or reach out to you, how can they connect with you? What’s the best advice?

Sarah: 01:10:21 Google me or find me on LinkedIn Sarah Speake with an “e” on the end, @SpeakeUp Consulting.

Fiona: 01:10:27 Perfect. Thank you ever so much for a really insightful and inspirational episode. Really enjoyed that.

Sarah: 01:10:32 Thank you. As did I.

Fiona: 01:10:37 So there you have it. Career advice from a real marketing expert and leader in the field. Thanks for listening.

Fiona: 01:10:43 If you’re enjoying this podcast, then please leave us a review in iTunes. We’d love to hear your feedback.