Show, Don't Tell: How to Market your Marketing Department

The Growth Report #22

Welcome Stranger!

Chances are you are one of the new two dozen people who signed up for this weekly publication. So I dedicate this issue to yours truly, welcome to the club! 🙌😎

If you are one of the loyal readers and got value (or at least some guilt for not reading it every week) from this newsletter, you’d do me a huge favour by tagging a couple of your marketer-friends in this LinkedIn post, who you think might enjoy reading ‘The Growth Report’ as well. Gratitude!

And for the off chance that you give a damn: I have a two-day hike into the “Bündner Oberland” planned this weekend. Getting out into the mountains always renews my spirit and provides me with new perspectives 🌪️🧠

Cheers my friend!

Sandro


Today's topics include

📈 Internal Marketing:
Show, Don't Tell: How to Market your Marketing Department

🚀 Tools of the Trade:
A selection of new marketing resources & tools

🧠 Personal Growth:
The Four Foundations to Building Mental Wealth


Also before we start, I love this quote:

"What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." - Carl Sagan


📈 Positioning

Show, Don't Tell: How to Market your Marketing Department

If you have worked in marketing, you know this problem: Everyone in your company has an opinion on how to do your job and worst case also thinks that "it can't be that hard".

The Credibility Problem

In most companies marketing is still spending rather than making money. And the reputation of our profession is tainted by the era of communication and PR where nothing could be measured and we were ousted to the sidelines as the guys and gals who "just send the weekly newsletter" and "design that brochure". And by nature we are seldom involved in sales directly and not included in the product sprints. While this gives us a certain freedom, it also raises the suspicion of everyone else "what we are actually doing all day".

It took me years to realize that our daily activities were elusive to people outside of our marketing team. The result of this confusion and lack of transparency is lower budgets (and fruitless fights for more), as well as low importance on the product backlog activities and overall company strategy.

So my lonely warrior, it's time to make some friends.

How to make friends and influence...

Management

The upper echelons of the company cares about results. And there are two critical things that you as a marketing leader need to take care of: 1) Continually showing how your activities fit into the overall company strategy and objectives and 2) proactively and consistently showing your progress. Fail to do any of the two consistently and you'll face scrutiny.

A few ideas on how to accomplish that:

  • Create a dashboard of the most important metrics that any member of the management has access to and can consult "on-demand".

  • Send out a weekly slide deck where you report on the metrics they care about (ask them!). Do not try to hide or manipulate the data to fit your purpose, transparency breeds trust.

  • Send out a SHORT monthly report of your main activities. Show what worked and what didn't work (and why). Explain how your activities fit into the overall strategy of the company. Why are you doing a podcast? Why did you overhaul the FAQ? Why are you spending so much on retargeting-ads?

Product

Product has two major problems that you can help them solve:

  1. How does the product and all its features fit into the overall narrative of the company vision and philosophy? What's the story?

  2. How do we educate the customers on our product and its capabilities?

A few ideas on how to support the product team:

  • Use the freaking product yourself! Show them that you care, report bugs and add feature suggestions to the product backlog.

  • Sit down with product managers regularly and ask them about the product roadmap, trying to understand their overall vision. Ask them how you can help with the onboarding of new customers.

  • Develop a consistent story around the main value propositions and problems your product or service solves for the customer. It's your job to create clarity for the customer as to what your company stands for and how your product fits into their lives.

  • Develop educational content for your product: Landing pages, FAQs, help centre articles, product walkthrough videos, Q&A webinars etc.

  • Ideally hire a product marketer in your team who is dedicated to the above activities.

Sales

The sales people are your friends, they sell what you market. So treat them as such and do your job, aka help them to sell!

  • Weekly meeting (at least monthly) with the sales team. Ask them what the current sentiment is, what angles work, what features they ask for the most, why they choose our product over others. The sales people are at the front and usually have a very good antenna on what's going on.

  • Listen in on sales calls to learn first hand about the customers' most common objections and common questions. Understand what makes a good customer or lead.

  • Based on the above, ask them how you can help them with customer case studies, presentation decks, sales webinars, white papers, explainer videos etc.

  • Try to understand the sales process and help them automate or simplify their customer outreach. Oftentimes marketing has a much better grasp on the CRM and sales automation capabilities.

  • And one last thing I wish I did more consistently from the beginning: Share the content you produce with your sales team! Blog posts, podcast episodes, landing pages, website changes, people want to know about it, because it gives them a reason to email their prospects.

All of this seems like a lot. But once you get into the groove of it, it'll be a normal part of your job. The common denominator is proactive communication and an active approach on understanding the expectations and needs of your peers. It not only enables them to do a better job, but also helps you to gain credibility and let them help you.


🚀 Tools of the Trade

A selection of new marketing resources & tools

Here are the best tools and resources for your freelancing business

Since my list of new and exciting marketing tools and resources grew and grew over the past couple of months, I thought I'd do a little selection of them for you to explore this week.

Inspire Frame - I wireframe new ideas by taking screenshots of elements I like from other websites and then put them all into the a design tool like Figma. Well this tool helps you to do exactly that but MUCH faster.

347 Marketing Templates - Just as the title says, you find anything from templates for content calendars and growth metrics reports, to strategic marketing plans. A treasure trove so you don't need to start from scratch every time.

Icebreaker - A highly interactive webinar / video conferencing tool. It offers templates for different formats like remote happy hours, watching movies together, icebreaker games, team-building workshops etc.

Over - A super easy-to-use tool to create ads, branded content and stunning stories in no time. It'll save you hours!

Sheets for Marketers - Not only does their website have super funny copy writing, but also they offer dozens of free google sheets templates that makes every marketers heart jump.

You Need a Wiki - This tool enables you to create wikis out of a collection of google docs. Great for organizing and consolidating information around your research and best practices.

Mmhmm - Yes that's the name of this live-video tool. Its hard to describe their features in text form. Watch the video on their website and get on their wait list. I can't believe some of those features haven't been developed natively into other video software and conferencing tools yet.

Popkit - I actually haven't tried this myself. It enables you to show social proof popup widgets like how many people are on your website, who has just bought a product and google reviews all over your website and product.

Headway - A tool to keep your customers in the loop about your product roadmap and product changes.


🧠 Personal Growth

The Four Foundations to Building Mental Wealth

I recently watched the an old pitch from John Foley, who is the CEO of fancy ride-at-home bike Peloton (if you want to see how to build a story into a pitch, this video is a masterclass!). In there he explains how recent the idea of structured physical exercise like gyms or jogging actually is (30-40 years!). It only really gained steam in the 80s. Since then we experienced a physical health revolution, culminating in the cult like experiences of SoulCycle that (as Foley puts it) resemble a modern form of religion.

The Mental Revolution

And I feel something very similar is going on with mental health right now. For the past ten years terms and practices like yoga, mindfulness, self-care and meditation reached the masses. BUT just like we did with physical health 40 years ago (and to some extent still today), we only think about it when something goes wrong.

To the wider public, mental health is still synonymous with mental illness. Our notion of physical health is, however, very different than our notion of physical illness. And we fix (and name) symptoms instead of pursuing an understanding of the underlying issues. Having trouble falling asleep? Oh, that’s called insomnia. Here’s a pill. Feeling sad for more than two weeks straight? Oh that’s depression.

I argue, that we might benefit from looking at mental health like we do at investing in other areas of our lives like personal finance, career, physical health, relationships etc., where we build wealth by consistent and conscious investment.

Whether you want to admit it or not, most of us will deal with a life-interrupting mental health crisis (pervasive anxiety, depression etc.) in our lives at least once (but likely several times). What if we take a conscious effort to build mental resilience and cultivate a toolkit AHEAD OF TIME so we are able to deal with the overwhelm when shit hits the fan.

The Five Foundations of Mental Wealth

The term mental wealth did not grow in my mental garden, but is a brain child of the brilliant founder, writer, podcaster and investor James Beshara. He came up with the five foundations we can cultivate to build our mental wealth. Let's go through them one by one with one tip/habit from Beshara to focus on.

But first a precourser from Beshara:

Let's go from a lens of “fixing” to “investing” — in other words, instead of fixing something that is by implication broken, it’s investing in its durability to withstand the wear and tear that comes with modern life. And this begins well before the internal or external life-interrupting event itself (in fact, that is the whole point).

😴 Sleep - The importance of sleep is very well documented and has been covered extensively in very good books like Why We Sleep. However, when we look at the literature and research, the number one thing you can do here that might not be common knowledge is to wake up every morning at the same time. In fact, if you believe the science, the amount of sleep is less crucial then sticking to your biological circadian rhythm.

🥑 Diet - Everyone has their own diet habits, but no matter what yours are, figure out what foods you’re allergic to and avoid them. In Beshara's words: "The inflammatory response in our bodies to foods we’re allergic to (when it comes to mental and physical health) is like subjecting yourself to an infection or cold each day". There are a plethora of tests you can do either in a lab or via mail-home-kits. Google something like "food sensitivity test" and get something similar to Everlywell.

💪 Exercise - Going 80/20 here, 3 times per week of minimum 15-30min HIIT aerobic exercise (high intensity cycling, running, eliptical etc.) is enough to give you significant improvements in mood and anti-inflammatory effects (which both are directly linked to mental health. What I found works for myself is that I rather commit to 30min 3x per week consistently than trying to cram in one hour every day for two weeks and then quit. This is a life-long habit, not a hack.

Stress Management - Again straight from Beshara's playbook: Take 15min every morning and do the following: 1) Write down five things that are going great in your life, 2) Take 2-3min and do the 4-7-8 breathing exercise, 3) Outline your todo list for the day (I focus on the three most important things that actually move the projects that mean most to me forward). Again these are not revolutionary ideas, but I can attest from my own practice that if you do them consistently your mood and your anxiety will be lowered dramatically.

So there you go. A proposed shift in how we think about mental health as a society, from fixing to investing toward mental wealth — followed by some practical viewpoints on what that investment strategy could look like.

I am aware that there is nothing revolutionarily new here. But I can also say from experience that if you do the above (or similar practices) consistently BEFORE AND NOT ONLY when shit hits the fan, you will amass a mental resilience to weather the mental storms that await you (whether big or small). The hard part is to realize that these are not nice-to-haves, but an investment into your mental wellbeing and a life-long practice that will colour the quality of every other aspect of your life.

Do them consistently and invest in your mental wealth. ♥️


That's it for this week. Enjoy your weekend 🏡

See you next week,

Sandro