Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
mobile-logo
Global Marketing
Management Consultants
Top

Managing Marketing: The Law, Journalism, Media And Marketing

Azadeh_Williams

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Azadeh Williams is a lawyer, international journalist, and the founder and Managing Partner of AZK Media, a marketing and media content agency. She talks about her progress moving from law and finance into journalism and then marketing on the international stage. Azadeh shares her approach to helping brands and businesses use their communication superpowers to develop bespoke media and marketing strategies to maximise demand generation, boost brand engagement and amplify their leadership status.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Follow Managing Marketing on SoundcloudPodbean, Google Podcasts, TuneInStitcher, Spotify, Apple Podcast and Amazon Podcasts (the USA, UK, Germany & Japan only)

Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast, where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media, and advertising, with industry thought leaders and practitioners.

Today, I’m sitting down with Azadeh Williams, Founder and Managing Partner at AZK Media, a global media and marketing company. Welcome.

Azadeh:

Thanks so much, Darren, for having me.

Darren:

Well, look, it’s an absolute delight having you, because I love catching up with people who have made a career path into marketing that’s not necessarily a straight road, and you’re one of those people, aren’t you?

Azadeh:

Absolutely. I have been told that I have a very checkered past from many other marketers.

Darren:

A checkered past, that’s a very polite way of saying a crooked road, because you actually started at … you were a trained lawyer.

Azadeh:

That’s right. I was a banking finance lawyer at one of the biggest law firms in Australia.

Darren:

That’s right. Was that Gadens, which is now called Dentons.

Azadeh:

Dentons, yeah.

Darren:

Yeah, I remember Gadens. I probably lost track of when it became Dentons. But the law is an interesting calling, isn’t it? Was this something that you were passionate about or did you fall into it because you were one of those kids at school that was just really good?

Azadeh:

The latter. I just got the marks and I ended up down the path of law. I studied English literature at the same time, so I did a combined Arts/Law degree. And so, I did a lot of writing and editing. I was the editor of so many different law journals and publications while I was studying law.

So, I always had like a sort of little segue into journalism, publishing and the comms world while I was a lawyer. And it just pulled me away from the law.

Darren:

Well, because that was your next step, wasn’t it? You went from law to journalism. And not just the local newspaper, you were writing for some really big media titles, weren’t you?

Azadeh:

Yes, this was a long time ago when the internet was just taking off and Thomson Reuters had a new legal Newswire that they were just putting out on the internet that they’d never done before. So, they needed someone who had journalistic skills but they also needed someone who was a qualified lawyer. And that was a really rare skill to have.

So, I took that plunge. I thought, you know what, I see a very straight path in law, but this path could be really interesting. It’s not as well paid potentially at the moment, but it could lead to somewhere really amazing. So, I made a huge leap. I ruffled a lot of feathers in the legal industry. And they were like, “Are you mad to take this role? And what are you going to do?”

Darren:

Because the law is one of those callings where you go in and you’re an article clerk or there are versions of that. And then you’re an associate, junior associate, senior associate, junior partner, senior partner, and then you die.

Azadeh:

Pretty much. It’s a very straight path. I could see where that road was leading and I didn’t really like where it ended. So, I preferred to go somewhere completely unknown, untravelled.

Darren:

And it’s exciting, isn’t it? When you can combine things that you’re passionate about into your day-to-day life, because clearly, as you said, you loved writing. And English literature is not quite journalism, but it is in that area of writing, isn’t it?

Azadeh:

Yes. As part of my English degree, I studied adapting content into various formats. So, for instance, if you look at Shakespeare, you look at Dickens, the narratives can be reformatted in so many different ways. So, that was part of my English Honours thesis, examining to write in a way that could be repurposed to film, TV,  stage and magazine.

And this is actually a very interesting skill set that a content marketer really needs today. And that’s something that I picked up as extremely important and timely 25 odd years ago.

Darren:

Yeah, and because we all talk about storytelling, don’t we? I mean, I don’t think there’s a week that goes past where someone in the marketing media industry is not talking about storytelling. But in actual fact, it’s a strange sort of storytelling that people are talking about, that they almost think that any narrative is a story. But not every narrative is a story, is it?

Azadeh:

No, and people think that just some promotional mumbo-jumbo put together is a story, but if it doesn’t resonate, if it doesn’t educate, if it doesn’t inspire, then you’re wasting your time.

Darren:

So, you went from Thomson Reuters, how did you end up in the UK working at The Times and The Sunday Times?

Azadeh:

So, I actually went for an interview for a very large Australian publication, top-tier, one of the biggest straight after Reuters. And they back then, my name was Azadeh, my maiden name’s Azadeh Khalilizadeh, very long.

And they said, “Oh …” They jokingly said, “How on earth are we going to fit your name in a by-line?” And they mocked me, they laughed at my name and I was absolutely shattered because I’d worked myself up to be that high level of a journalist, and they knocked my confidence just by mocking my name.

So, I said, you know what, I’m done with this. I can see where things are heading. There’s a GFC around the corner, and I know where the news is going to be. The news is going to be the UK or the US. And I decided I’m going to go to the UK and I’m going to just make it as a global journalist. I just put my mind to it.

I went there, within three months, networked just with my own volition, no industry contacts there whatsoever. I didn’t know anyone in the UK, I’d never been there. I went there, and within three months, I found some legal editors who were desperate for good legal journalists who could understand the implications of the GFC and articulate it. And I was hired and I had a full feature on private equity in The Times within three months of me being in the UK.

Darren:

That’s amazing. I mean, what I really admire though, is your focus and your determination, because so many other people would have just taken that mocking and ridicule and completely walked away. But you turn that anger, that energy into, “I’m going to show you.”

Azadeh:

Absolutely. And look, I’ve talked to a lot of journalists in Australia with funny-sounding names. And they’ve said that they’ve been hit with at least a seven-year career back step because of their name. They felt that it was a ‘shame’, that they felt it was something that was scoffed at, laughed at, and they constantly had to fight for their journalistic integrity to-

Darren:

Crazy, this is like something out of the 1950s.

Azadeh:

But it’s happening. And it happened to me and it’s happened to other journalists.

Darren:

I remember at university, people that I was at university with who were, their family — they were first-generation Australian, but they came from Greece and Italy to Australia. There was a girl, a woman at the time, her name was Helen Campbell. And she said (and I can’t remember her Greek name) — but literally, when her father arrived, the bully immigration officer asked what his name was.

And, you know, Kadopolos, or something similar. And he said, “Campbell, go.” And that was it. The whole family’s name was changed because this immigration officer in the 1950s couldn’t be bothered or couldn’t take the time to actually write out the name. And you’re saying this is still happening now.

Azadeh:

Yes, it’s still happening. And look, in the UK, it’s much more cosmopolitan and the population’s more diverse. So, for them, it wasn’t about the name, it was just the fact that you can articulate, you can understand these concepts. We just need you to do your job. Your name is secondary.

Darren:

Yeah, and the space that it takes on the by-line is almost irrelevant.

Azadeh:

My name did fit!

Darren:

Exactly. I just want to go back to something that you said, which also shows an incredible level of intelligence and insight, which you said the GFC was coming, and you knew the place to be was the UK or the US.

Now, from my perspective, that’s incredibly insightful because the biggest market that was hit by the GFC was London. The city of London was the place. It was almost like the epicentre, even though junk bonds and things like that originated in the US, it was the UK that suffered, wasn’t it?

Azadeh:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, look at Lehman Brothers and the whole financial fiasco that was. And people thought I was absolutely mad to go to the UK. I mean, this is the time when Aussies were coming back to Sydney jobless and in financial strife. And there, I was going there, trying to make a living. But I knew that as a journalist, that is where the news was going to be. And that’s where as a journalist, you have to be where the news is.

Darren:

The front line, they say.

Azadeh:

The front line.

Darren:

Go to the front line where it’s actually happening, where the action’s happening.

Azadeh:

Exactly. And there were a lot of publications that were really uncovering more and more about governance, and then the intersection of data security and technology and business, and all of these new issues that were surfacing from the GFC.

This is where all the corporate governance and technology and cybersecurity issues were all coming into play. So, it was such an exciting time to be part of that ecosystem.

Darren:

Now, it must be interesting; you’re in London, you’re working at The Times, Sunday Times. And this is where you started also to be doing work almost freelance as well, or writing work. What brought that about? Did you have too much spare time on your hands or was it because you were in demand?

Azadeh:

Well again, it was the skills that were in demand. So, off the back of The Times, there were a lot of content agencies and PR agencies that needed well-written articles, thought leadership pieces, comms, the works. So, when they saw my name in the newspaper, they just came along and started knocking on the door.

Darren:

“Could you write this for me, please?”

Azadeh:

Yes, exactly.

Darren:

“What could you write? I need a thousand words or 10,000 words on this. When could I have it by?”

Azadeh:

Yes exactly. And I also did a lot of work with the Black Solicitors Network, which was a lot about the diversity leagues tables, uncovering the issues of diversity in London. So, there were a lot of interesting research reports that we were doing, and it was absolutely fascinating to be working on so many different projects at once.

Darren:

So, is that where you started getting the interest of moving beyond journalism, into marketing and starting to work around creating media content, developing this into the business that you have today?

Azadeh:

Yes. So, one of the publications’ that I was involved with was Raconteur, which is a B2B marketing supplement that goes in The Times, in the Sunday Times. So, I actually worked as a publisher for the pieces. So, we produced the whole lift out end to end. And there were a lot of content marketing principles in that because we created a lot of infographics, a lot of reports, there was a lot of commissioning of content pieces in that.

So, it really made me understand the power and potential of content marketing and where it was going both in the print space, but also in the digital space where things were quickly shifting to. I started getting really fascinated by the concept of content marketing as a principle.

Darren:

Because yeah, this is the early days … well, not that early. What are we talking 2010?

Azadeh:

2008, 2009.

Darren:

Okay. But certainly, because I started blogging in 2006 and I wasn’t the first person to do it. But definitely it was seen as fringe then. So, to be in a very commercial role doing that would be quite interesting. Because we know, especially in Australia, the newspapers were very slow to move away from income paper to really embracing online content, weren’t they?

Azadeh:

Yes. And the commercial or custom content division of publishing, that side, I think was very slow in the APAC region really, compared to say the UK and the US where I think they have a little bit more of an advanced custom content division.

Darren:

Could that be also because the market’s so much bigger?

Azadeh:

Yes, I think the market’s bigger. But also dare I say, some of the publications in Australia are still a little bit parochial.

Darren:

You can say that. Well, even Mark Ritson says one of the big problems Australia suffers is that in almost every category, we’ve had oligopolies. That it hasn’t been a true open market. Whereas you go to the UK, you go to the US, there are big competitive markets and it’s actually competition that is driving the innovation.

Whereas you come to Australia and for a long time, there were two or three media players. There were two or three major retailers, there are two or three supermarkets, that it’s only competition that actually drives it. But distance, population, geography, are all things that have made Australia not able to really sustain that massive competitive tension that drives innovation.

Azadeh:

Well, interestingly, what we advise our clients is to just create your own media channel. I’ll give you a great example: the health tech industry, and the whole sort of health ecosystem — if you look at all the health trade publications, there’s hardly any of them.

The content is so-so, but we actually have the capability to get our clients and say, “Look, let’s create your own digital magazine and your own social media against that, and your own newsletters, and your own webinars, and create your own media channel. That slashes so much of the advertising that’s going to go towards these trade publications that aren’t going to give you anywhere near as much engagement and reach – or experience for your customers.”

So, I think that’s one thing that’s interesting, and because the market in Australia is so small, it actually gives digital innovators the opportunity to create their own media channels in ways that couldn’t be done before.

Darren:

Absolutely. It’s also because niche publishers are still relying largely on advertising. And so, when you’re relying on advertising in a small category, it’s very hard to make it work. Whereas if your marketing budget becomes your publishing budget or your content budget, then it sustains itself because you’re actually investing in content as a way of driving traffic and customers to your business. Correct?

Azadeh:

Yes, exactly. And when it comes to marketing spend around all this, some of the pricing that the publishers are asking — I mean, we’re kind of in the middle where we advise our clients on the best possible deals for them.

So, we say to the publishers, “Okay, what can you give us in terms of newsletter placement, a few thought leadership article placements, some ads on your website?” And you’re getting figures in the tens of thousands. Then we ask, well, what’s the engagement or click-through rate? And it’s like less than 1%.

Well, I’m sorry, you can just put a whole bunch of LinkedIn ads and you get far more ROI or Facebook ads, that’s targeted with the right content — you can get far more return. Then they say: “Oh, we’ll put your post out on our social media channels too,” but if they only have 800 followers on their social media channels as a trade publication how can we justify that as smart marketing spend for our clients? It’s just silly from a marketing standpoint.

Darren:

And also, you want to have your direct relationship with those clients anyway. So, why abdicate it through a third-party publisher?

But we’ve jumped a step here because did you start this work in the UK or has this really evolved since you returned to Australia?

Azadeh:

Yeah, so I certainly picked up a lot of content marketing skills from Raconteur and the PR agencies that I was working with in London.

Coming back to Australia, I worked at IDG, so I worked across CMO Magazine, Computer Weekly and CIO, and I was lecturing as well.

Darren:

In journalism also?

Azadeh:

Yes. So, I lectured in business journalism and media law, as well as professional news practice. So, at the same time, because I love doing lots of things, I started doing a lot of work with King Content at the time, and I got a real insight-

Darren:

Craig?

Azadeh:

Yes, in to how they were scaling content and what they were doing right and what they could be doing better. And this was on top of getting a gazillion terrible media pitches as a journalist, from terrible PR agencies that just didn’t understand the technology landscape. It all just frustrated me. And I thought, there’s a better way to do all this. There are better ways to pitch articles to the press and get press coverage. There’s a better way to scale content and get results.

There’s a better way for clients to spend their money and not feel like they’re wasting it on all this sort of hot air and silly content that’s not leading anywhere. And I thought it’s my time. I think I’m ready to actually start something different.

Darren:

Fantastic. It’s a great moment, isn’t it? When you actually go to that point of saying, “I’m ready to jump off the edge of the cliff and I’m reasonably confident I’m not going to land on the rocks.” Is that how it felt for you? Because it was certainly my feeling and that’s why it’s so present for me even 20 years later.

Azadeh:

So, when it comes to that point in time where you just need to make that big leap and start your own business and start your own agency, you’ve got to know where it’s going to be heading. I knew with journalism, it was a dead end.

The whole publishing world is shrinking. And I hadn’t had a pay rise in the whole time I was a journalist, even though I was doing lots of freelance work and supplementing with lecturing and everything, it wasn’t leading anywhere. And with a family, a growing family, there had to be a more sustainable way to create a viable career for me.

So, I felt like this was the only way. And the first step I did is I put a post out on LinkedIn saying, “I’m starting this agency, who’s interested?” I had a thousand views in a day and I had about four or five clients already signed by the end of the week. And I knew at that time, it was time to say goodbye to journalism.

Darren:

And you’ve also picked a segment, which is the B2B segment, which is often overlooked by the sort of mainstream advertising and PR people, isn’t it?

Azadeh:

It’s not a sexy niche for sure.

Darren:

Well, I’m not sure if it’s sexy. It’s often, I think more about how high profile it is. So, I think people are attracted to/especially creative people are attracted to having a stage where their work can be seen by many.

Whereas a lot of B2B work does happen on a very intimate level. And I think that’s probably the difference between the two. But in actual fact, B2B has become such an important part of the marketing and communications area, hasn’t it?

Azadeh:

Yes, and look, there’s a bit of convergence now between the type of creatives you’re seeing in B2C and B2B. I mean look at Salesforce, they’re doing some incredibly creative and whizzbang contents and creatives that they’re really getting out there.

I think more and more B2B companies are looking for a little bit more of a B2C style look and feel. And I think we’re really well-placed to do that. I mean, my husband, Wayne Williams, who’s my business partner, runs the whole creative division of our agency.

And we’ve found that has completely flourished in the past couple of years because people want really amazing, compelling video content. They want animations, they want that feeling of a B2C campaign, but in the B2B environment.

Darren:

Yeah, I think what’s happened is people have realised that it’s still people, even when it’s B2B. In fact, some people call it, what is it? B2E, business to everyone. That we really can’t distinguish that it’s still people at the end of the day that make the B2B decisions. So, of course, they’re going to be inspired, engaged, excited by creative ideas.

Azadeh:

Absolutely. I always say that people buy from people, it’s not businesses buying from a business, it’s people.

And speaking of the people working together, usually what happens is when the person from one business wants to work with another person from another business, they just want to get along and know that things are going to be easy.

It doesn’t matter how whizzbang big another agency is, as long as the teams can get along and can get stuff done and can get the results, that’s all that matters. It just makes life easy for everyone involved.

Darren:

But one of the things I’m really excited about, and why I wanted to have this conversation was that you’re one of the few companies, agencies, which actually invests in doing these for yourselves. There are a lot of agencies out there that talk about being content marketers, being media companies, and yet they produce almost nothing for themselves in the way of self-promotion, or even demonstrating their own abilities. But you’ve taken a very different approach, haven’t you?

Azadeh:

Yes, there’s that old saying that architects have the messiest houses and it’s often an excuse that’s thrown around in agency land. But we felt, and especially with the pandemic this year, we felt that we had to do things differently and we had to walk the walk.

And we were really lucky that we have Athina Mallis onboard, he’s one of the rising stars from Which-50, we’ve got Vanessa Mitchell who’s an incredibly seasoned journalist from IDG. And Wayne, who’s scaling our creative division, and we just put all our minds together and thought, okay, this is a time to scale our content and show how we do it. Lead by example.

Darren:

But when I have that conversation with many agencies and especially those that have positioned themselves as content experts, they’ll often say to me, “Oh, well, but we really don’t have a lot to say. What would we write about, or what would we make?” And I go, “Well, that’s quite sad, isn’t it?”

I mean, what would you say is the inspiration for the content that you produce for yourselves?

Azadeh:

Well, we have a really interesting approach to our content. So, on one hand, it’s actually thought leadership where we interview amazing thought leaders and we share their insights to help educate our customers and our prospects. And then we do a lot of educational content.

In our discussions with our clients who identify things that we feel are not really well-understood in the business community; something as simple as lead generation, what is it? And what’s the difference between lead generation and media coverage? Simple things like that.

We do a lot of social listening. We uncover pain points, and then we just create content that addresses those pain points, solution-based content.

Darren:

The other thing that stops a lot of agencies or companies producing their own content is this desire to make it perfect before they put it out. They almost feel like if they’re going to put this content out under their own name, that they would want to make sure that it’s 100% perfect, which means that they never produce anything. What’s your attitude towards perfection?

Azadeh:

That’s a really interesting question because we used to say this a lot to students when I was lecturing in journalism. And we said the digital world, it can be forgiving. It’s okay to have a few mistakes here and there, it doesn’t have to be a hundred percent perfect. It’s better to get things done, get the message out there. You can always go back and edit it and fine-tune it.

But the most important thing is to build momentum. And if perfectionism is holding you back, well, you shouldn’t be in this business in the first place, you shouldn’t be having an agency in the first place.

Darren:

Well, no, and I’m so glad you said that because I say to people, it’s better to be regular than it is to be perfect. What we’ve found is that by having a very strict publishing time table, by having things appear when we say they’ll appear has actually built following more than necessarily, the quality of the output.

Because there’ll be some weeks where a podcast will get thousands of listens and others it might only get 4 or 500. But the fact that it’s there week in and week out, every Tuesday, means that we’ve now got this huge following that knows on Tuesday, it’s going to drop.

And I think that’s part of the relationship that content builds with an audience, is just knowing it’s going to be there.

Azadeh:

Yes, absolutely. It’s that consistency – and consistency builds trust. So, there’s a lot of important implications of all those moving parts. But if you just focus on oh, the grammar is a bit wrong or that little full-stop is not quite right, yeah, you’re not going to go anywhere.

Darren:

Yeah, I liked what you said. You can always change it because I remember, we put out a post and I had a terrible, terrible typo in it. And I got an email from one of those grammar — I was going to say Nazis, but that’s a terrible thing to say. But yeah, I’m a grammar pedant. And “Ah, I’m outraged that you made this mistake” because one of my failings is I split my infinitives.

But I just wrote back and said, “Thank you very much, it’s been corrected.” And that was it. It’s not the end of the world, is it?

Azadeh:

No, it’s not the end of the world. And I think we see a lot of what we call marcomms rigmarole and it’s my absolute pet hate. I think marcomms rigmarole is a death wish on marketing and PR. And I think people just need to let go. It’s okay if there’s a mistake here and there, you can always go back and fix it. The most important thing is the message is out there and it’s connecting with the right people.

Darren:

So, Azadeh, I just want to do a little exercise with you now. So, you’re running this very successful media and marketing company. You’ve had a career as an international journalist and you started life as a lawyer.

Let’s explore what are the skills or the abilities that get carried through because there would be things happening today if you’re running a business that you would be leaning on all those things.

And look, the reason for my interest is that I find myself still using my science training. So, I’m interested for you, what are the things that are part of your day to day life, that the training and the experience you have are really valuable to you now?

Azadeh:

So, some of the really important ones that I feel are really critical to running a business; contract drafting and negotiating, being able to put something together and being able to be accountable from a legal standpoint, is really important. That, I feel, has saved our company thousands and thousands of dollars.

Also, when clients come back on certain things or want to hold us accountable, I’m very good at tracking evidence against things.

Darren:

Building the case, so to speak.

Darren:

Building the case. I’m very good at that. And I think it’s really important for any agency to understand how to do that. Otherwise, you end up in this huge kind of fiasco of who said what?

Darren:

Well, or you default to a service position, which is even when you’re right, you have to pretend you’re wrong because you don’t want to upset people.

Azadeh:

Exactly, exactly. And unfortunately, a lot of companies, they recruit agencies because they see them as a bit of a scapegoat. You kind of give them the work, give them the projects, and it’s easy to point the finger at the agency and blame them when things are going wrong internally. But if that agency has a good legal standpoint and understands where the accountability is, they can point the finger right back. And that’s when it starts getting really interesting.

I think from a journalistic standpoint, definitely, the ability to communicate very quickly and effectively, and being able to scale content, whether it’s multimedia, written, all different formats, understanding how to create that content at scale. I think that’s been absolute gold.

Darren:

I’m surprised you didn’t say deadlines because I know journalists work to deadlines, don’t they?

Azadeh:

That’s right. Deadlines, time management, it’s something I suppose I take for granted when it comes to deadlines. Never missed a deadline. But what’s also important is to give lead time. And in journalism, everything’s fast-paced, but something that I’ve definitely learned is to create realistic deadlines within marketing.

So, if you estimate a lead time is, say, a week, double it, because that will give you extra time for your team to get things right and take the stress out of it.

Darren:

There’s also a part of setting deadlines that are beyond most people’s control. And that’s also the client side. There’s always that factor that you have to build into any deadline. You can know how quickly you can turn it around, but there’s always that interaction for the client.

And we see this all the time where agencies will put together a very tight deadline because it’s what the client wants, but you can tell straight away it’s not going to happen because it’ll say concept approved. Well, they only saw it that morning and you’ve got it in your timeline, it was approved on the day. Most people will want to sleep on it.

So, there’s things like that that need to be built into deadlines.

Azadeh:

That’s right. And one of the things that we do first off when a client starts engaging with us, is we have a process workflow sheet where we have every single campaign element or creative or content piece with a process associated with it. So, they’re very much aware of what the process is and what the average lead time is for every component. So, it sets realistic expectations from the outset. So, no one’s kind of rushing and scrambling all the time.

Darren:

Do you think your legal training also helped you build stories? A part of the law is to actually build a case, and building a case is taking bits, facts and pieces of information and being able to present it in a way that’s a compelling argument.

Do you think that’s also been part of what’s driven your ability as a journalist first of all, now, as producing B2B media and marketing?

Azadeh:

Yeah. Well, it’s certainly helped the pitch process. I don’t have a sales bone in my body and having to pitch for work, our team goes into a boardroom full of executives and we have to pitch. And being able to showcase the evidence of our results and create the use cases and case studies and really deep dive into the data and the results in a compelling way, gather the evidence as such, I think that’s really, really helped from a legal background.

Darren:

Because I see a theme happening here, it is really about storytelling, in very different frameworks. I mean, there’s a legal framework for the way lawyers tell stories that are based on precedent and legislation. As a journalist it’s, well, it used to be based on revealing the truth, being the fourth pillar that held democracy and power to account. And now, you’re working in marketing and you’re driving that storytelling in marketing, what’s the purpose?

Azadeh:

The purpose of-

Darren:

Marketing.

Azadeh:

What’s the purpose of marketing? That’s a big question! It’s like Hamlet: ‘ To be or not to be; that is the question.’

Darren:

Well, if the law is about working to bring about justice and journalism is about truth, what’s marketing about?

Azadeh:

I think marketing is about educating your customer about the problem they have and the solution that you have to solve it.

Darren:

I love that because most people talk about persuasion, but you’re actually talking about — and especially in B2B. You said a minute ago, you don’t have a sales bone in your body, but don’t you realise that that’s what you’ve been doing, is you sell by solving their problems.

Azadeh:

That’s right! It’s solution selling. But look, I think there are different ways to attract your audience. I don’t believe in the hard sell, but I think there are some innovative ways you can generate leads, especially now, using the right channels and solutions. I think identifying the real pain points of your customer and being able to deliver a solution is the smartest way forward for B2B.

Darren:

I am a testament as a B2B customer of the power of content because for the first 10 years up to the global financial crisis or the global recession — every time I leave Australia, I have to remember it wasn’t a financial crisis anywhere else in the world; it was a recession.

But people say to me, “Why do you produce so much content?” Because we started in around 2010, really doing inbound marketing, I call it. And I say to them, “Here are the facts, prior to that, we would convert 30% of our leads.” Now, we convert better than 60% of our leads because when people contact us, they know who we are and they’ve already pre-qualified themselves for the conversation.

So, now, if we miss out, it’s usually because they didn’t have the money or they were looking for someone in a competitive tender, or they were mistaken and we’re not the right people for them. And all of those reasons are perfectly good reasons, not to take that business.

So, look, I’ve really enjoyed this conversation.

Azadeh:

Yes, likewise. I think it’s a really interesting opportunity to re-evaluate the wider purpose of why we do marketing and also, where it’s heading. So, really appreciate the opportunity to discuss it all.

Darren:

Now, before you go, I do want to ask you a question and it’s a bit from all three aspects of your career. There’s a lot of talk at the moment about media and traditional media in this country. Do you think that there’s a problem with the way that we’ve structured media in Australia, and should we make changes?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media, and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

Want more articles like this? Subscribe to our newsletter:

Fill out my online form.

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

We're Listening

Have something to say about this article?
Share it with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

Tweet
Share
Share
Buffer
Pin