S3:E4 - Brand-led demand generation and why it's a secret weapon in a new market

Updated: Jul 27

SS: Hello folks, welcome back to the Marketing Mindset Club. Today we have a very special guest, we are talking to Dan Bassett. Dan is Head of Marketing at IMP Software, which is a financial solutions provider in the multi-academy trust space in education. So our topic today is around brand-led demand generation, and one definition of demand gen is "getting people interested in what you have to sell", which, when you contrast that with lead gen is, which is about turning that interest into leads.

You've got two sides of what could be considered a similar coin but they are very different so demand generation is probably something you'll need to consider if you are launching a new product into the marketplace, or if you're taking an existing product into a new market, and it can be thought of in a B2B or B2C context. So, we've got loads to chat about today. Welcome to the show Dan.

DB: Thanks for having me.

SS: Awesome. I'm so glad we could finally connect and have this conversation. So, tell me a bit about your background as a marketer and how you got to where you are today.

DB: Sure, so I suppose I my professional career start is a bit earlier than probably a lot of your listeners did, I started at 16/17 I decided that university wasn't for me but, actually, in hindsight, kind of going down the, you know, getting my kind of education from the working world has actually served me really well, which is, which is interesting so I joined EDF Energy who was the kind of largest local employer at the time, and was quite fortunate to get a position placed in their b2b team. so side looking after someone's like their major customer accounts from a customer service perspective, did that for five years, then moved into a kind of sales analyst type role, and then did some various different kinds of project roles supporting the kind of connection between service and sales. So I had a kind of really rounded experience and my kind of first eight years of my career was all about kind of learning business really and it was kind of really long MBA, I suppose in a way. So I did that for eight years and then decided that I wanted to go and do more kind of frontline sales I suppose, so I worked for a kind of small family business called The Purple Company which does branded uniform and promotional products are bits and pieces, about two years. And that was really my kind of first hybrid marketing and sales role, they have a real kind of like self startup type environment where they, they give you the product knowledge and everything else where they kind of expect you to run your own campaigns with the sectors that they give you and run the sales processes as well so I think I looked after sports and charities for them for a couple of years. And my first project they gave me £1000 pound marketing budget and told me to go and make more money than that, basically, in two months time came back to them with £60,000 pounds and they were really ecstatic for me so.

SS: that's a pretty awesome result right there.

DB: Yeah, it was, it was really cool. My first understanding of this is how marketing works and how business works properly on the ground doing it yourself, which is, which is great. So I've got a current promotion, about which was, which is fantastic and then, you know, you get more and more into common responsibility and then that was kind of the pattern of my career for a while really joining companies and then doing hybrid roles and not really realising that's what I was doing but. But I suppose I was made redundant, the back end of the story beginning part of last year, I was made redundant, I was working at a time for a company called the Equiniti Group which is a FTSE listed public company was very learned from there and then really decided, you know, what is it that I want to do, I kind of enjoy doing it the stuff that I've done in the last 10 or 15 years. And now, the marketing and you have happened to me, a fantastic entrepreneur at the time who was a year into a business and established product-market fit and was looking for somebody to help them kind of grow that and, you know, take it to the next level for them. I've been there for. Yeah, just over a year now. It's, as you say, as, as the head of marketing and I'm loving it.

SS: That's incredible. So, I think, you speak for a lot of marketers out there who haven't necessarily studied the discipline, and done it, you know, started out their whole career and grown in the area but actually experienced that you do have makes you so aware of how businesses work. Do you, do you think that background gave you the commercial awareness that helps you be successful in marketing?

DB: Yeah I think so, I think, you know, jumping into my first proper marketing role, you know, 10 or 15 years into a, into a career, gives you a lot to kind of look back on because you can empathise from a customer perspective having that from the customer service experience, understand what might go wrong or what customers are looking for and how that process needs to work really well to provide them with what they need. And you can also emphasise from a sales perspective because you have to understand, you know, the pressure that does get put on salespeople and what they need to be able to do their job really really well so I can leave I can alleviate some of those pain points as a marketeer said by doing good demand gen work and building good brands and, you know, establishing a good community from a customer perspective. Then, I help everybody out and this is a win win around.

SS:m I think that's really awesome and that's quite an important point you make there because I would imagine there are some marketers out there who maybe haven't experienced the sales-driven environment and being on the other side of the desk where your responsibility is to generate the sales and meet the targets and be that financial brain as a marketer, if you've not experienced that, there is a tendency to be a bit detached from that, I think so, you're in an ideal situation where you've been on both sides of the fence as it were, as I've also known salespeople who don't know how to communicate with marketers and marketers who don't know how to communicate with salespeople, so you know that's another interesting dynamic that, that, I think you probably can navigate superbly having been on both sides of that.

DB: It's been extremely useful. I think, and I think actually one of the big problems in, in a lot of businesses that I've seen is that, like you said that kind of mismatch sales and marketing alignment piece is often not done very well. And I think that's an area that, you know, I think, hopefully, I can do it maybe better than some but that's an area that I tried to focus on was just making sure that the business is properly aligned or it's trying to achieve, which is, you know, what we're largely talking about today is about kind of good brand work and, and your brand should be a representation of your business values, not just what you think looks pretty.

SS: Yeah, absolutely. So let's get into it then. So, we are talking about brand-led demand generation today. So tell me, and tell our listeners a little bit about what that means to you and whether the definitions I gave up front were about right or, or not so much tell us your interpretation.

DB: Yeah, I mean yeah, you're spot on lead generation is about driving qualified opportunities into our sales pipeline, so it's about understanding who your market is talking to that market and qualifying what their requirements are and generally speaking, a lead generation process will go for a framework that's called BANT, which stands for budget, authority, need and timescale. And in that process essentially what you're looking for is to understand what are my potential customers' priorities, what are my priorities as a business and how do I align those to make sure that we're, you know, set up to win, basically, and I can qualify into the sales pipeline and do the job that of making sure that this opportunity is more likely to close into revenue and demand generation is the bit that goes before that where it's about creating engagement in your, in what you do, and alignment with, with your market and then understanding that engagement, scoring it understanding what customers are saying to you without saying anything. And then nurturing that engagement to such a point where, you know that they are, you know, they're engaged in what you're doing, and as such, there's so engaged and likely to become a customer at some point, we just have to keep nudging them or keep nurturing them.

SS: So, I guess, if you were thinking about it in a very traditional funnel sense we're talking about very top of funnel activities here we're talking about generating awareness, and starting to get that engagement, before you know who the contact is and for you know who the customer is.

DB: Yeah, potentially, I mean, if you've done. If you've gone right back to the basics of marketing and you've done your research and then your STP and you've understood okay here's my market. What does the market look like, what the segments built up, who are we targeting what's opposition to those particular targets, then you already know who the market probably is, and then it's about engaging with those targets. And then, and nurturing their engagement with you. And doing that I think far too often people try to do that in a salesy way and it's just too product lead, and it turns people off. I think where, where you see things like that done poorly is is either where lead generation is done above demand generation so it's done before, or in isolation. So, people call it kind of old school sales where it's just you know making phone calls and hopefully, you'll get, you'll get some of those people turn into customers what you're doing there is you're creating a load of noise in an industry that's probably already very very noisy. As an example, I've got currently 140 people trying to connect with me on LinkedIn that are unanswered, I've got emails in my inbox from people that have just been emailing me for months trying to get me to respond to book a 15-minute call with them. And, you know, I'm sure everybody in every industry has got a similar type of problem. But I think if you accept that premise that that creates too much noise and it doesn't differentiate you to your competitors in your marketplace, then you have to accept the logic that you have to do something else. And my argument is is that that that something else is build your brand and align yourself with your market properly and do stuff that isn't about selling and poking it's about establishing community and growing, you know alignment with building relationships, helping fill the gaps that are currently being filled for whatever reason.

SS: Yeah, that's really interesting, I, I guess I, when we set up this topic I hadn't fully appreciated the role of brand in demand generation, which probably sounds a bit daft to say now but that sounds like it is so central to the kind of strategy you would choose for a demand generation activity.

DB: Yeah, absolutely. I think for me it's everything, Because if you can't, if you haven't established what your brand is about, and also what it isn't about, then you can't, you can't really do anything authentically, and I think these days people are so aware when when when their brands aren't being authentic when you know you see the, the latest marketing strategy from TSB Bank where they've got Ross from Friends doing those fantastic things but then when you've got a problem as a customer and you try and phone them, they don't pick up the phone. Well, they're not aligned to their customers. They're just creating something pretty because they want me to be interested in them, they're creating entertainment. This is fine, but

SS: I'm feeling some pain from a customer!

DB: I think good business strategies come from pain, good innovation in any sense coffee comes from pain often. So I think for me, you have to be authentic to what you're trying to achieve. So if you're saying you're about customer-centricity, then follow up, be prepared to follow that through in every aspect of your business. So when you're building your brand strategy, make sure everybody in your business is aligned to that strategy, and it filters for it so make sure that your customer processes are properly thought out and frictionless as much as possible. If you're about innovation, make sure that you're properly about innovation and you're just about creating good UI but on the backend, your servers are really slow or, or whathave you.

SS: Yeah. So, as a marketer coming into an organisation, not dissimilar to my role starting in a new job this year - coming at it from the perspective of the brand and the why behind it, I think can be quite a challenge for somebody who's either new to the organisation or now knows what they need to do in order to take a demand-led that approach, how would you say somebody goes about the whole question of asking why, when it comes to brand.

DB: It's a tricky one because you have to get buying from people in the first place, you have to start I think by building that kind of alignment across your business serve everybody gets the value of what brand is about, I think, a good place to start, there's tonnes of fantastic resources online that you can look up and if people want to reach out to me, I'm happy to kind of pinpoint people's stuff, but a great place to start is a book called "The Long and the Short of it" by Les Binet and Peter Field and is essentially about the value of creating a long term brand strategy does and then short term tactics, kind of fall outside of that. So you have to I think start with doing that piece so explain to people what the value is and what, you know, by building a great brand what he's going to do. And then the next piece is about agreeing on what those values and identities are say interview as many people within your organisation as you can, what the others are brand new to do from, you know what your role is as a frontline customer service person. What does it mean to you as somebody who's doing HR, is it means you're somebody who's in the executive boardroom, establish what that means for everybody agree on what you're, What you want to stand for that will stand for. So there's principles in place make sure that everybody is aligned with that. Then just plaster values that you're going to put on the wall and people are just going to walk past and ignore when they go and get a coffee or. That doesn't mean anything. I'm sure you've worked in organisations like that before where you get told by the CEO, this is what we sound for example and it doesn't, it doesn't even follow through in their internal processes, let alone their external ones. So yeah, you probably follow

SS: It's very difficult from a marketer's point of view, isn't it because you have to have buy-in from the entire C suite or all of the partners at the top of business in order to create, create that authenticity. Otherwise, it's just wrapping paper around something unpleasant.

DB: Yeah, I think it has to be honest with people, you know if that's the job that you've been given. You have to be honest and say I can't do this job properly unless I'm able to do this. And that's about good stakeholder management, I think, I think one thing that I think I would suggest that people listen to is Harvey Finkelstein, the guy who runs Shopify because Shopify did recently a really good podcast with Noel Mack, the Chief Brand Officer at Gymshark, and then no says, you know, we're not great marketers we're just great this is so true. And he goes on to talk about, you know, the fact that there's gold in your comment section and the value of this thing and whoever else, and that's so true. I think the first job of marketing people is to provide that market orientation, and that feedback to the C suite or to the wider business, and explain to people, you know, this is what customers are saying this is what customers are our competitors are saying this is what our current competitor brands are doing. This is the feedback that we're getting to the market, and this is going to help you make the decisions. Once you've done that, and establish that and then establish your brand and stuff. You'll find your, your move more and more into that kind of stakeholder management work as you do that.

SS: I think the whole concept of brand might be new to some folks who are maybe starting out their careers. so I think it's really important to address that point that the brand is not just its visuals. So I wondered, you know, if you take the Gym Shark example, for instance, can you tell me what elements they have to their brand, what is important to them, is it a brand new well,

DB: not, not well enough that I can talk on behalf of Noel on the face but. But what I, what I would say is that, for me anyway. But brand is about what people are saying about you when you're not in the room. So it's not about, you know, we're gonna form a new brand campaign and you've got a fantastic influencer he's gonna run it for us and it makes us look fantastic. It's, it's everything it's, what do we want people to think about us to say about us for the next five years for the next 10 years. what do we stand for. And then what do we do to execute against what we stand for, and make sure that these two are really closely aligned. So take the example of the IMP the brand that I work at. We say that we're, you know we are. We are here for the value of the market we're working we're trying to establish community and build, help them build excellence and what they're trying to achieve, and what we do to execute against that is we provide a platform for them to be able to speak to the wider audience certainly, we provide a regular web show where people will come on, they can talk about their journey, their experiences, their frameworks that they use what worked, what hasn't, give that content equal for free. No paywalls anything it's completely free for everybody to use and to watch and do what they want is because it helps them that benefits them. And by virtue of doing that were established as somebody who is helping build a conversation within the industry, it aligns us with excellence in the interface best practice all the rest of it.

SS: So you're, you're very much living the brand values with those activities and focusing on that top of the funnel awareness and engagement. Are you leaning more in that direction because of the nature of the company that it's a startup you're bringing your new product into the sector.

DB: I think it's, it's a catalyst of a number of things so we, when I joined the company was literally two weeks before lockdown. I joined on the ninth of March last year and then 23rd of March everyone went to lockdown. So, in terms of any outbound sales activity that we might have been planning, we weren't able to do it, because everybody that worked in education was working from home and all of a sudden, you can't get hold of people so it became extremely difficult. So, so we had to establish good brand. I think it was probably my, my kind of long term thought process anyway I just sped that process up a little bit more. But I think, I think it's the right way to go. I think if you if you have a good brand and you stand for something and people can. People can resonate with that and engage with that you'll do well. The other challenge that you might have from a kind of broader company management perspective is, is quite often where you have organisations that don't necessarily have people with deep understanding of marketing who don't necessarily get the value of brand and what have you. It's difficult to be able to say someone well this is the return on investment that we're likely to get. So, what, what I would say, in that sentence is try to build some, you know, the metrics that you need to be reporting are things like organic search, are things like customer lifetime value versus CAC, your customer acquisition costs by ratio looks like, how that trends over time, based on your brand work that you're doing, or that type of stuff, and establish a, a kind of process of feeding that back so over time our organic search is getting better, our cost to acquire customers is getting cheaper because our brand work is working.

SS: I think you mentioned a very good point there about stakeholder management is undoubtedly, somebody, you know, a marketer in that environment coming up against a CFO or COO who doesn't have a marketing background, a brand lead approach will be very difficult for that person to understand because there is not an immediate ROI that could be put with that. So, all those metrics that you just talked about our you know our way that a marketer can quantify that to a C-suite person who isn't maybe from a marketing background, which I think is really helpful so thank you for that. And I was gonna ask a question about when you would choose a demand-led approach. I mean, ideally, you would be working on your brand and you'd be working on the awareness in conjunction with any other activities but when do you think it's important to prioritise being brand lead and demand lead,

DB: I think. I think if I was to say anything other than, you have to do both, I probably get shot by Mark Ritson who I did the mini MBA course with. Yeah, but in reality, if you're, if your work, if you're working in a kind of smaller business you're probably the only marketer there. So I think you prioritise and what has the biggest impact against your potential values. But what we've tried to do st IMP is do those kind of big brands stuff. And in terms of activation in terms of direct engagement. We've kind of led that to, to send to a lead generation type activity so we're running both parallel. So we're getting the engagement understanding that engagement, and then currently that nurture process is being done from a sales perspective. Longer term that will probably be done from a marketing perspective.

SS: Do you think that's the ideal scenario where you can run both concurrently.

DB: Absolutely, yeah, but the ideal scenario would be to build lots of engagement, understand that engagement, and then lead generation works on long sides that nurture campaigns you're running as a kind of as a marketer, and you have to take salespeople along that journey with you because they will have, you know what they're looking to achieve, wherever, if they're an SDR they're probably looking to get leads qualified with our salesperson and looking to book revenue needs to explain to them how we're nurturing customers and what that data means and how, you know, by having these types of conversations with people about these specific services this is where these customers are showing interest. So talk to them about this and build yourself campaign around that help them as much as possible, and vice versa they'll help you.

SS: Are you able to talk through a specific example of a brand lead demand gen project that you've done for IMP or as part of the MBA?

DB: nothing, I suppose too specific, but what I'd say from what we talked about briefly earlier, that's the approach that we definitely took at the beginning of April last year when, you know, the world was in lockdown, was to justice was to establish our brand and to rebuild that around obsession with customers around innovation around providing great service. Those types of things. And doing that over a long term and really providing value. I can't give any specifics. Unfortunately,

SS: That's okay, I was going to ask whether listening and feedback played quite a role in that, or should it play quite a role.

DB: Absolutely, it should play a really big role. One thing that I can't say that we, that we did that, I think it's provided a lot of value is. I was quite keen when I joined that we'd provide a kind of open roadmap to in terms of our technology and allow customers to engage with that essentially giving them the feeling that they're playing a part in the development of us as a business and our products and all the rest of it. So in doing that we get a really great idea of what customers are struggling with so they tell us you know ethnographically this is a challenge that we're having, or we would like more information about X, Y, Z from your product that will help us do this. And that then allows us to understand what they're struggling with and understand where we can build other products and services around that to help them.

SS: And the thing I'm thinking as we're talking is that it's inevitable that whenever you're doing a brand-lead, or a brand listening project that you're going to come up with things that aren't specifically marketing challenges so you're going to come up with ops challenges, with finance challenges all those sorts of things. But all of that connects with the bigger customer experience piece that we kind of, I wanted to dive into earlier but I also didn't want to derail our conversation. So, that, that holistic customer experience thing how closely aligned to brand and a brand's reputation do you think that's going to be the future?

DB: Customer experience and brand reputation I think cost so close aligned. Yeah, incredibly so I don't think enough people, for whatever reason maybe it's, you know, marketers are scared of customer service or customer service is scared of marketing. I don't know what the reason is, but, but that kind of alignment piece is really important. Essentially, you're, you're handing over a lot of your kind of brand reputation to that customer service team so it's important that they understand what the values are, except when you're establishing your value and your identity as a business you have to make sure that there are people in those teams along that journey with you so that they understand, you know what's expected of them in terms of deliverables, what customers really want to get to the bottom with, and make sure that those processes are frictionless as much as possible, so that, you know, when we say where we're about good customer service may really mean it, and try and try to do, we try to do regular surveys with our customers at least twice a year so to kind of understand how well we're doing. And get a metric out of that from, you know, are we doing better than we did last year? Better than we did six months ago. Are they engaging with what we've built in terms of the products or the rest of it, and really try to nail down in terms of our initiatives, whether they're working to help us become better at providing service or, or, you know they're detracting.

SS: Yeah. Are you using an NPS score for that?

DB: We do, yeah we use MPs school. And we've done that for the last two and a half years I think the last time we did it was 67, which is I think considered really really good.

SS: Yeah, I think the thing that I'm thinking about with customer satisfaction stuff at the moment is that it's almost like all bets are off as to what else is going on in a customer as well, because COVID has disrupted so much, particularly in E commerce, the rate of growth has just been absolutely ginormous because customer behaviours are changing, so I feel like the norms that would exist in a customer, no matter what industry. They're in life is going to be so effective that I would imagine that perception is a bit skewed at the minute so I'm having this debate in my head as to whether an NPS score from 12 months or 24 months ago is, is even relatable to all comparable with the current score.

DB: Yeah, absolutely. I think there's probably an argument that whilst people were sat at home with nothing better to do than worry about the product that you sell them. You could argue that potentially that might skew your score but we've been quite fortunate that we've, we've been, we've been dead set on building a community around our products and making sure that customers are an essential part of that, and providing that yeah, that constant kind of feedback loop that you would expect in there, kind of like technology type of environment. And it's, it's meant that our NPS school hasn't dwindled very much the fact that the first year was like 63, and then went up to 67 or something so it actually went up during COVID

SS: Yeah, I'd be interested to see the difference between, you know, a customer in a B2B environment, and customer and a B2C, or D2D at the moment, because I think the standards are so high for what customers expect from a retail perspective at the moment. And you know we're finding the fulfilment and shipping and all that, what could be considered a bit unsexy from an E-commerce perspective, is actually the thing that's making the difference.

DB: Yeah, it's really important though I think if you go back to an earlier point if you look at some brands on online things like Instagram and stuff like that he jumped into the comments and on just on normal pictures, you'll see quite often annoyed customers, and depending on your viewpoint that either gives you an opportunity if you're in that marketplace to not necessarily go in and attack those customers but it gives you an understanding of where customers are getting frustrated with that particular brand and can provide you with a lot of gold if you pay attention to it.

SS: Do you want to shout out any tools that you particularly like for helping in this research base when you're designing a strategy?

DB: I'm, I'm old school when it comes to building strategies - I'm a whiteboard and PowerPoint man I'm afraid so I don't use a lot of their kind of newfangled fancy strategy building tools and listening tools and bits and pieces like that say, Yeah, we're afraid no good on the tools.

SS: Hey, that's cool. They're in my toolbox as well but I particularly, I particularly like SEMRush rush for keyword research, looking at what people are searching organically I think they have a nice competitor, you get a nice competitor overview from it. So, from an E-commerce point of view or, or a B2B point of view, actually, I think I kind of default there. And, you know, I'll always be a lifelong Moz fan as well.

DB: We do use SEMRush and it's, it's not something that comes out of my budget unfortunately but fortunately, it's something that's paid for by our agency. So, yeah, we do get the value of it, It is a fantastic tool. I just think it's probably too expensive for most people, unless you're in the E-commerce space or doing a lot, you have a big established market which would be a very niche market so it's

SS: That's an interesting point. So, your market is, is quite niche that you know is very niche. Would you say that it's the kind of market where you could actually name the prospects and the individuals on a sort of a one to one basis?

DB: almost yeah we've got I think something like 1500 Multi-Academy trusts in the country at the moment. And within that, there are probably two or three people in, in those organisations that we could potentially talk to in some it's, you know, while in sucking offices kind of a handful. So, yeah, generally speaking, there's a couple of 1000 people in the country but are is applicable to our particular product or service, which has its benefits, it's you know it obviously means that the brand is so much more important because you have to kind of align yourself to those people that are typically very, you know they're used to using certain tools and that's to move them away from that can be quite a challenge. But additionally it also means that you can't spend a great deal of money to get their attention because there's just no, there's not a penetration.

SS: Yeah, absolutely. It's almost as if you know you've got this kind of crowdsourcing kind of feeling on the go, you know with the open road map and the community that you build, you know, you could almost get all of your prospects in a room and talk to them all at once. The entirety of UK so it's kind of a unique situation isn't it.

DB: It's very unique. Yeah and it's been a really great learning curve from leading up leading a marketing function in a business that is this niche, and in that particular has been a great learning curve but it means that you can do some things really, really well and other things, you can't, you can't really do at all that, you know, we were looking at recently. Our SEMRush report and some of the total search will market something like, 300 searches a year or something like that so it's just minuscule so there's stuff that you can't do very well tactically but then the good brand stuff that you can do, obviously pays dividends.

SS: Absolutely, I can see the brand is always going to be top of the priority list for your organisation because that is where you're going to make most difference. I can't see you having, you know, a massive PPC strategy in the future because there's just not going to ever be the volume. We're not suddenly going to get 1000s of multi Academy trust in the country.

DB: It's a growing market. It's, yeah, it will definitely grow over the next 10 years but it will never get to the stage where, you know, we need a PPC Manager, unfortunately.

SS: So moving on a little bit from the topic I just wanted to stray slightly and ask a bit about the MBA experience, and you know what that was like, your, your thoughts on it.

DB: Honestly, it's fantastic. I went into it because I thought, Okay, I'm now a marketer, I don't have any qualifications, and I'm going to feel like going to have a conversation with somebody else who's a marketer, I'm just going to feel like I'm going in half-cocked and I don't really know what I'm talking about, or, you know, they don't respect me or whatever, which is, you know my own, which is my own kind of shortcomings I suppose but I basically wanted to do it so that I had some sort of established qualification, and I understood the world back to front. But what I learned actually doing it was was really good. Mark takes you right back to basics in terms of, this is how you build a marketing strategy. This is why you do it. These are the tools and look for. This is why you do it in this way, this is the value of doing it in loads of case studies, and it's really good. He's is a very forthright speaker and he's quite outspoken about certain things which you know turns some people off but he knows what he's talking about is, yeah, it's a great course and it's not massively expensive I think it's, like, I think it's about 1500 pounds.

SS: So definitely recommended on your list though

DB: 100% Yeah, I would definitely recommend that people do that. I'm actually looking at doing the second one with them which is about brand management next, which is about the same price but yeah I would definitely recommend it I had an interesting debate with people. When I was looking at that, some, some people that I know in the marketing community about, you know the value of doing the CIM qualifications versus doing something like this which is a bit newer. So, yeah, it's an interesting conversation that I'm sure people will have their viewpoints on but I think generally the, the viewpoint was that CIM was a little bit outdated and that needed a little bit of kind of refreshing and kind of Marketing Week staff was a little bit more up to date with kind of modern technology and modern thinking and brand strategy and other bits and pieces.

SS: Yeah, I'm, I'm starting to think about my next professional development because I finished my master's in digital marketing in 2015. So that's nearly six years ago now, I've done courses in between but, you know, not, not something particularly chunky. And what I'm kind of noticing is that it's the direction we've been going in for ages but maybe we haven't acknowledged it is this, this thought that actually digital marketing as a separate discipline is probably not going to exist, it's just going to be marketing because what part of our lives are not digital. You know, there is a digital element to almost everything. And that's not to say that, you know, direct mail and stuff will cease to be because it will still work for some brands but I think that the whole concept of studying digital marketing negates the importance of the strategic thinking, which I think what Mark is all about from what I read and what I understand is that, you know that there's no point in being tactically led because you need to understand why you're doing the things.

DB: 100% I think quite often, when you talk to people who say you don't understand marketing like - you take my mother for example, wonderful woman knows how to use Facebook, and that's what she thinks I do for a job, so he's talking about I'm laughing and she thinks is about placing ads on Facebook and creating some nice graphics and, and that's what she thinks I do all day. And when you talk to her or similar people, even some friends of mine asked similar ages to me, they just don't understand the strategy pieces is a much broader subject and actually, you know tactics are gonna come and go and change and sometimes it'll be really popular and people will love receiving direct mail this personalised and in other times, people will love receiving Facebook messages or being followed around the Internet by Google, but this work in some industries and not in others is, I think smart, you just have to be agnostic to tactics and try to establish a strategy that you're comfortable it's going to work and test and learn and keep evolving.

SS: Yeah, I definitely think it's about choosing the right tool for the job. You can't expect every tactic to work in the same way. There was a quote that I read and I'm first trying to remember but it went along the lines of every tactic could work, and every tactic could fail, and it's all about the audience and what the content is.

DB: 100%

SS: I completely subscribe to that, I think that's, that's exactly where we need to be.

DB: Yeah, I think that I mean there are people in our community that oversimplify things, you know, they're, they're classic Gary Vee type stuff which is go to where your audience is, entertain them and then they'll be customers of yours forever. So oversimplified, but in basics. Yeah, I try not to focus too much on my kind of tactical understanding because I'm quite fortunate that we've managed to employ an agency which is brilliant at that type of stuff. My job is to build a good brand strategy that I'm comfortable is going to work and to understand the market.

SS: Who out there in the market. Well, in any market has got a brand that you admire.

DB: Um, that's a great question. I suppose it's a marketer's favourite question, I'm a big fan of a big fan of Gym Shark, just because of the journey, they've been on and what they kind of what they stand for. I think sometimes they go a little bit too far with it. But generally speaking, I'm a big fan of them. Big fan of McDonald's, actually, I think they're so clever with their creative work, it's like, as a marketer I sit and watch adverts sometimes in between the TV shows and I'm more interested in the adverts and then our TV shows, and my girlfriend sat next to me here and you're so sad but. That's so clever, like how, how can you not be excited but then I think McDonadls will see some really cool work I saw some creative video, it might have been there or it might have been a one minute brief, but it was all about the using the yellow watch to kind of create lighting in a bedroom because it was like establishing like family values is just so clever. I love that whole kind of buyer psychology, creative thinking type thing.

SS: No, that's fascinating. So we're almost running to the end of our our chat if you could leave our marketers with one takeaway from today about brand lead demand gen, what would you advise?

DB: Read the long and short of it.

SS: Awesome. That is the book to go and buy then on Amazon. I'll pop a link in the show notes as well, which will be up on Marketing Mindset.Club so you can find it, and Dan also any resources you want to put in there that you want people to find that's awesome too. So, if somebody wants to reach out and chat where's the best place to find you.

DB: Best place is probably on LinkedIn. I just Dan Bassett I'm on LinkedIn, I'm also on Twitter at @danbassett88.

SS: Awesome. Well thank you so much for your chat I've really enjoyed this, this conversation, and I hope marketers out there, I hope you'll be considering your brand and incorporating that demand gen aspect of your strategy so rebalancing from just lead gen if that's where you are at the moment. Anyway, thanks very much Dan and I'll see everybody else next time.