Having a plan for your business sounds so simple. In reality, it's often an overcomplicated, stressful mess. People respond to extreme situations in very different ways. That's true for all kinds of disaster situations and for many the COVID -19 situation is just that.
This week my guest is Roger Edwards. Rodger had built his career on three words. Keeping - marketing - simple.
In this episode we talk about why pivoting should really just be an adjustment to what your customers want, how the content creator lifestyle can support you through the tough times and going big on personal branding can help you stand out during lockdown - and beyond.
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Having a plan for your business sounds so simple in reality, it's often an overcomplicated, stressful mess. People respond to extreme situations in very different ways, and that's true for all kinds of disaster situations. And for many, the covid-19 situation is just that. This week, my guest is Roger Edwards. And Roger has built his career on a three magic words keeping marketing simple. In this episode, we talk about why pivoting should really just be an adjustment to what your customers want and how the content creator lifestyle can support you through.
The tough times are going big on personal branding can help you stand out during lock down and beyond. And we talk about much, much more. Hi there and welcome back to Amplify the Digital Marketing Entrepreneur podcast. I'm Bob Gentle and every week I'm joined by amazing people who share what makes their business work. If you're new to the show, then take a second right now to subscribe so you don't miss new episodes and you can grab some older ones when you're done with this one.
Don't forget as well, you can join my Facebook community, just visit, amplify me to form forward slash insiders and you'll be taken right there. So welcome along. And let's meet Roger. So this week, I'm delighted to welcome back to the show, Roger Edwards. Roger, I think you were one of my very first guests back in 2013, something like that. And I remember that because I was super nervous. I was very new to podcasting.
And I have I think we've kind of kept up a bit. We've met each other a few times and you've got some really exciting news. So I was really keen to have you back on the show to talk about lots of different things. But for the listener who hasn't listened to virtually every single episode and why haven't you why don't you just tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are and the kind of work you do?
Yeah, great. Thanks, Bob, for having me back. Absolutely delighted to be back on the show. And yeah, as you say, we have kept in touch with we've met just a few conferences, although I guess since covid came along, those haven't been in person, which is a real shame.
Well, um, Roger Roger Edwards and I live in Edinburgh, have lived in Edinburgh for 27 years, obviously not from Edinburgh. I'm originally from Blackpool.
I've spent the majority of my career in marketing and originally within the financial services industry working for a fairly big brands, to be perfectly honest.
And I worked my way up from marketing assistant to eventually being marketing director of a couple of big financial services brands, even ended up being the M.D. of one of the brands for a while.
And that was probably a promotion too far, to be honest.
But all the way through my career, I've always had this issue with complexity, and perhaps that is as a result of having worked in financial services for so long, because UK financial services by default are by definition a very complicated industry. And I got the opportunity in 2012 to leave big corporate, as I call it, big corporate in inverted commas, and to start working as a consultant with smaller businesses that are perhaps a little bit more nimble, a little bit more interested in doing new stuff, especially with digital becoming so much more accessible around that time.
And so I left big corporate. And since then I've been enjoying working with smaller businesses as a consultant and also as a as a as a marketing speaker, helping people to put together simple marketing strategies.
And really, that's what I've been about.
I think one of the things I really love about you is your consistency. There are lots of people dabble, they try things. But you've been a podcast her for a lot longer. And I've been a broadcaster. You have a YouTube channel that actually does really quite well. You're doing virtual speaking, virtual training, that kind of thing, as, I guess, an evolution of the speaking that you've been doing consistently. Mm hmm. And I'm curious to hear from you again.
Maybe this is something that can go into a little more deeply later on. But what did that look like for you at the beginning of that journey back in 2012? And how has that consistency in your own digital output in particular? Yeah. How has your business evolved and how is your experience of doing that changed over time?
This is a really interesting question, Bob, and I'm trying to think back. There was a point in time when I was still working in big corporate and I was probably working on an advertising campaign and I had a conversation. I can't remember it now unless whether it was my boss or whether it was the head of the agency that we were working with. But I remember we'd been working on this campaign for a long time and it was quite successful and it brought business in.
And we were having a meeting with the agency and the idea was, we want you to effectively go away and come up with something completely different.
And it was either my boss or the agency says, no, no, no, no, no. Actually, we stick with this and we probably stick with this for at least another two years, maybe three years.
And the reason why we're going to do that is because it's working and you're the only person who's sick of it and wants to move on because, you know, you have devoted a fair proportion of your work time over the last 18 months to this. But the vast majority, if not all of the target audience, won't have spent anywhere near as much time on that or seeing that advertising campaign. And therefore, they're not sick of it. It's working for them.
So carry on doing it.
And I think he he drew an allusion to or an analogy with the smash advert at the time, you know, for Marchette get SMERSH. And apparently it's quite a while ago, apparently a.
A similar thing had happened, you know, we should dump this thing that we've been using for ages and the agency said, no, no, no, don't, because this resonates with the consumer.
And I think that as I headed out of big corporate in 2012, and I'll be perfectly honest, one of the main reasons I headed out a big corporate was they were frightened of using all this new digital technology that we were we were getting used to. They were scared of Twitter. They were scared of video. They were scared of other social media. They liked to do the old traditional marketing. And I think that one of the downsides potentially of digital is that it gives us opportunities to change what we're doing in the blink of an eye.
And it becomes so much easier to say. Do you know what? I've done seven episodes of this podcast. It's not working. I'm going to go and do a video and then seven episodes of video later. Do you know what? This video isn't working.
I'm going to go and do something else. And everything's become so fast and easy to change that we've lost the sight of the fact that something successful and something consistent actually has long term advantages. And if you do stick with it, then it's so much more powerful than going from one spot to the other, from one shiny toy to the other. But the pressure these days, Bob, and you'll know this as well, from some of the conversations you've had with people, one person seen and I know you've got to be doing email and another person says, no, no, no, you should be doing Facebook and whatever it might be.
And the tendency is, oh, I'm going to change to something. I'm going to go and play with this or the shiny toy. But the power of consistency, you should never underestimate it, whether you're living in a print world, whether you're living in a TV advertising only world or whether you're living in a digital world, consistency is likely to be more powerful than any of the shiny toys you've got your hands on for a couple of weeks or a couple of months.
So be consistent and keep doing the same things. Obviously, if they're working, if they if they aren't working, then you've got to change it. But sometimes it takes time for something to work. I can't remember. Was it Mark Schaefer who said it's a minimum of 30 months when you start something to become known for it? Well, that's quite a long time when it's easy to say, right. That's it. I've done seven episodes. I'm going to go over here and do something else.
I didn't know he'd said that, but that kind of rings true. And it kind of leads me to what was going to be. My next question still is, and that's when you started your podcast, like a lot of people who probably felt like a bit of a waste of time, a bit of a vanity exercise for quite a long time. At what point in your broadcasting career sticking with the podcast specifically? For the moment, yeah. Did you realize actually there's something happening here, this is starting to have an impact on my business?
I mean, I'll bet I have to admit it did start off almost like a vanity thing when I left big corporate I when I was in big corporate, I was doing a lot of PR work. I was the marketing director, but I was also the main spokesperson for the company.
And I did have quite a big profile within the industry. And when I left, I thought, I'm going to have to do something, even though I'm not working for a big corporate anymore.
I'm going to have to do something to keep that profile up.
So the original idea of the podcast was just to make sure people still heard from me quite regularly. And that was all it was for, to be perfectly honest. And I also remember at the time people who were becoming established as podcasts, as people like Marcus Sheridan and a guy called Ryan Hundley were always quoting this. You know, if you make it past seven episodes, you're doing well. You know, most podcast don't get past seven episodes. And I remember getting past seven episodes and thinking, yeah, I'm enjoying this.
You know, that the the early days was just like doing podcasting. It's you know, you not it's like it's just nice to talk to people in an interview situation. You know, you learn as much from your guests as you hope your audience is going to learn as well. And then you said, oh, I'm at episode 50 now. I'm going to have to celebrate that success. And then you get to episode 100 and you're going to have to celebrate that success even more.
But, Bob, it wasn't until Episode 33, which is just shy of a year, that I can honestly say I got a piece of paid work out of it. And I know for a fact that it was an article for a magazine. And I think I earned two hundred and fifty quid.
And so somebody would say, so you did 33 episodes of a podcast before you got two hundred and fifty quid back.
And yes, I guess that's the. But by the time Episode 88 had come, I got a five figure sum, so over 10 grand in consultancy as a direct result of somebody hearing me on the podcast.
And for a while the podcast became my main source of new business of new clients.
In fairness, it's sort of it's not fizzled out. It's gone down.
Since that gone since covid, I think a lot of podcasters have found that their download numbers have either plateaued or gone down slightly because people haven't actually had more time on their hands. Maybe the illusion is that they have. But a lot of people have been busy. But for a long time, the podcast was my main source of income and a way of getting speaking engagements and and and moving into consultancy situations.
And I think there is the direct benefit of the tangible opportunity that comes as an obvious outcome. So the sales inquiry, somebody said, I listen to your podcast. I'd like to speak to you about a commercial opportunity. But then there are the other, less tangible things like your network has changed and you're moving in slightly different circles and those circles bring opportunities. Mm hmm.
So and it's repeating those key messages. You know, you said it before. I've been talking the simplicity thing in my career for 20 odd years. I've been talking about it in my podcast. Now I constantly repeat the same things. And I'll sometimes sit there thinking, oh, Roger, your audience genuinely don't want to hear that again.
But actually, that's fine. It's like the theme music to EastEnders or the theme music to Coronation Street. It becomes part of what you do and people remember it for that very reason. It's part of your script. And and again, I think that consistency, it starts to call an earworm, don't they? It's something that buries itself into your ears and you can't stop humming it.
Well, you know, people start to associate simplicity with Roger Edwards. He's the he's the guy who does marketing simple engage, don't engage that sort of thing. And that's why I'm such a big fan of of that consistency message.
Yeah. Something I heard Matthew Kimberle say the other day was, if you want to be remembered for something, you better be repetitive.
Yes, absolutely right.
So I want to ask you about YouTube before we come onto the program, because I will watch your YouTube videos occasionally. And there are a bit of a puzzle to me. They're really, really well made and you kind of roam across a lot of different topics.
What would you say the if you were to explain a YouTube channel to someone, how would you explain it? It's a very difficult one.
And I, I think that my my YouTube is more of an experimental platform, to be perfectly honest.
I'm probably break if you if you go on to YouTube and watch the so-called YouTube experts, they will say you've got to pick a topic, a niche down into that specific topic, annihilate the hell out of keywords around that topic and, you know, do your SEO, do your search optimization and all of that sort of thing and make sure that that is your focus and therefore you will build this great big audience.
Now, I'm sure that strategy works. You know, there's a there's a lady up in following an American lady called Annie recently, and she's gone from something like 2000 subscribers to about 48000 subscribers simply by doing videos that teach people how to do videos. It's, you know, it's nuts.
But she's following this this sort of focused rule that the YouTube have.
I I have three types of video I do on YouTube. The first is I call it Rodge Vlog.
And that's really just my behind the scenes life of me being a speaker and a marketing consultant.
And as you would expect, until lockdown, the Roger blog tended to be me travelling to London to do a speech at European Summit or me going to Belgrade to do a speech at a conference in Serbia.
The blogs have changed a little bit since because I've not been on a plane or a train or a bus to six months. But that was more. This is Roger behind the scenes. I then sort of do these videos, which are called Marketing Made Simple, which are really three or four minutes of me just picking up on a particular marketing issue. Could be consistency, for example. And I just say this is about consistency. This is why you should you should be.
System, blah, blah, blah, then call to action, so it's sharp and then it's snappy and it finishes quickly. And I guess that the YouTube experts would say to me, well, just stop all that Rochfort stuff that you need to do or you just need to do the marketing need simple time and time and time and time and time again. But I'm not in this for multi million followers and this, that and the other. OK, you might get a revenue out of it, I guess, but that's not what motivates me.
What motivates me more about YouTube is testing things out and playing with things, learning how to do video, because the world we're in now, a lot of these online conferences are looking for people to really stand out in their online presentations. And a lot of those online presentations can be pre-recorded. And I'm sort of thinking a lot of these things are going to look more like mini television productions. So I'm trying to use the video, the YouTube experience, to learn how to put together a really well made video.
And you kindly said that they do look well made. So I guess that experience is rubbing off. But, yeah, I I'm probably breaking the established rules for being a successful YouTube. Having said that, I have noticed my subscription rate has crept up more recently than it has done in the past. So maybe I have touched a few of the right buttons recently as well.
I think that there are two reasons to use YouTube or there are two, maybe two, two approaches to it. There's I want to build my YouTube subscriber base in order that I can become YouTube famous for something. Yeah, others, I want to use YouTube as a platform to express myself and connect with people. Yes. And I think that's what you do really, really well. You don't you're not sort of just turning one face to the world and being really, really quite sterile.
But when you visit your YouTube channel, you get to know Roger. Yeah. And that's actually what I think is so special about it.
Mm hmm. And again, I think you can put an act on you know, you can have a stage persona and a lot of actors do that obviously have stage personas. I guess some comedians do have that sort of thing as well.
But I guess I've always just liked being me again.
I can remember one of the early days of of doing speaking.
I was presenting at a conference in London. And a lot of people came up to me. So your speech was the best of the day, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And one person says, do you know why you stood out so well?
It's because you've got a northern accent rather than everybody else, sort of having the sort of BBC polished sort of newsreader style approach.
You just stood out because you talk like normal people and, you know, yes, you can put a facade on, but eventually the facade will slip and somebody will see into the real you. So why not be the real you straight from the beginning? So let's talk about covid, because that's kind of it's caused you problems. It's caused me problems. It's caused everybody problems in one way or another. We don't really want to talk anymore about the problems that have come out of covid, but where have you found potentially glimmers of lights or you've learned new ways of approaching opportunities you hadn't really seen before?
Or what have been the positive things that have happened in your world?
Yes, I think I think the big thing that the penny dropped for me quite early on and again, I was I was looking at a lot of the the sort of what I would call global marketing gurus. And I always say guru with an advert with big inverted commas and a lot of that. We've had this conversation before.
But marketing isn't just about communications. It's not just about social media and advertising and email and promotion. It's also about understanding your customer, developing a product or a service that meets the need of the customer. And once you've done that and thrown a few goals and then you can go away and start doing the communication. But early on in CoverGirl, the global marketing gurus coming in with these, you know, you need to pivot your business. You need to shift everything online.
You need to focus on this.
And I'm thinking, well, you might need to do those things. But everybody's different. Every business is different. Every individual is different. And the only way you can know for certain whether you need to pivot or whether you need to focus online or whether you need to go all in on Facebook ads is to do what marketers should always do, and that is look at what their customers needs are. And it's very possible. And indeed it did not possibly it was the fact a lot of people's needs changed because of covid.
And therefore you change your model, you change your product, you change your service to fit that new customer need, and then you go and you communicate it. And right early on that are made out, just the penny dropped. You've just got to you can't pivot until you know where you're going.
And I got quite cross early on with some of those bigger more famous is perhaps not the right word, but, you know, high profile marketers who were just using it as a as a way to run Facebook ads down people's throats or you must pivot this that in the other.
Yeah. And a lot of the work that I was doing, Bob was speaking at events and they all got cancelled doing workshops, going travelling across the UK in Europe to visit people and do workshops. All of that got cancelled. Now, the immediate response to all of that would have been, you know, following the advice of those gurus is pivot become online, totally online and not know.
I had to understand what the customers were wanting. And and unfortunately, a lot of those people who had booked me to go and do workshops in person in their offices were now in a bit of trouble themselves.
You know, they were having to work out whether to furlough their staff or whether to lay their staff off, whether they to make the offices, you know, completely sterile for when we ever came back or moved to working from home permanently. And actually marketing on what I do was totally and utterly off the agenda for them.
So even if I did pivot to be an online provide, those particular customers that I was well in with just weren't interested anymore.
So it wasn't just a question of saying, I need to go online, I just need to actually review who my actual customers are. Now, in fairness, things to start those particular customers, I ironed out a few of their problems and are starting to look back at marketing again and it's coming together. But you can't just assume that because everybody says go online that that's the thing to do. Having said that, there's one event that I am involved with as de facto marketing director, and it's a big in-person conference which takes place in a prestigious London hotel in July.
Now, that obviously never went ahead. We postponed it until December, thinking that everything would be back to normal. By December, and it's not going to go ahead in December now, as you would expect, but what we did do in July was a sort of mini online event.
But rather than just saying, oh, we'll just go on to zoom like everybody else is doing, or will just get some webinar software, go to webinar or whatever it might be, and do a webinar, will actually ask people what they want.
And a lot of people said, you know, we're suffering from Zoome fatigue here. And the last thing we want to do is sit in front of a computer for an entire day listening to really long speeches on Zoome. So we thought, fine, no zoom, no webinar, we're going to do it on YouTube. Pre-record Seven talks, each lasting seven minutes, followed by 25 minutes of live debate. And we broadcast that live over YouTube. I think it lasted an hour and a half, all told.
And within that sector of the industry, it blew everybody away because they thought, wow, this is fantastic. It's so well produced. It looks and feels snappy. OnPoint, it's hard hitting and fast. And actually, people sent us messages saying it went by in a flash. And you change the speaker so often that we never got our attention span, never, never went away. And I think that, you know, it was it was a total reinvention of of of what was happening in that particular sector in the financial services sector.
So that was that has been the biggest lesson for me is don't listen to the the people with the biggest egos and the biggest profiles. Go back to the basics of marketing, talk to your customers and work out what it is that they need and then build your service and product around that need.
Yeah, I think I do not like the word pivot because it implies a degree of permanence. And that one thing I've been encouraging my clients to keep in mind is that you should never approach a short term problem with a change in your long term strategy. Absolutely. And that has worked out quite well. But that doesn't mean you you can't adjust. You have to accommodate the current situation. You have to adapt and but still keep. What was the initial goal?
That goal hasn't changed. So you really just have to go around a mountain rather than through it.
And who knows where we're going to be? You know, conferences, live conferences may not come back in a I certainly can't see a social media marketing world happening in the next 12 months. Maybe we'll get back to smaller events with with social distancing. And I know that human beings me as much as anybody.
I do crave that live interaction with people in a room, you know, in that discussion in the pub afterwards, you can't beat that. But for the time being, it's not going to happen. So we need to be mindful of that.
So one thing that you have done during covid is your new joint venture podcast with Pascha Antonet. Yeah. Which looks like an awful lot of fun because knowing you both, you have a lot in common. Yeah. And it really boils out in this podcast, which is hugely entertaining. So how did that come about and. Yeah. What are your plans for that and or I guess for the for the for the one or two listeners that might not have listened to it, what can they expect.
Well, it's called Two Geeks and a marketing podcast, so it's a bit of an off the wall title now.
Plus Kalfin Tony, I met Pascal atter you Proner event probably about five years ago, and he was doing a speech about how to be better at using video. And I had a really long conversation with him the night before in the bar, which went on into the early hours. And then I saw his presentation the following day and we kept in touch after that. And I loved what he was saying about framing shots and scripting and storytelling. And I immediately went out and started putting that into practice.
And I guess he really appreciated the fact that I'd learnt stuff from him and was was so keen to follow it up.
So we became really good friends and we would often find ourselves either go into conferences or or just meeting up in Newcastle or Edinburgh and sitting in a coffee shop or in a bar drinking wine, having the sorts of conversations that we have on this podcast. And at the end of the end of the session, whether it was coffee and we were both climbing the walls because of caffeine or at the end of the session in the pub when we've probably had too much to drink, we said, you know what, we should have recorded that conversation because we got into some really interesting material about Mark.
And about strategy and this went on, honestly, Bob, for about two years, and every time we finished these sessions, we tell we should have recorded that, shouldn't we? So we made a pact that we would actually try doing it one day and actually recording it. And that was really when the idea of the podcast came about. Let's have it as a as a show which has got the segment. So we start off with the in the news, which is simply news that's caught our attention over the last week, could be a, you know, asked to launch a new pricing campaign or something.
Then we have a segment which is all about focusing on a piece of content that's really caught our attention. And that's usually a podcast episode or an article in Marketing Week or something like that. We go into that in quite a bit of detail. And, you know, why is the person written it like this? What's the angle? What's the implications for people? Then there's a section about tech where we what's our favorite app of the week or our favorite platform of the week?
Then we talk about this week in history, marketing in history, you know, the launch of Sputnik, this, that and the other, whatever it might be.
Then we do content spotlights where we shout out names of people who are doing great things. And I think you got a shout out last week, Bob, for your podcast.
I did was a surprise and then I shouldn't have been a surprise at all. And then the final section, which is definitely the most off the wall, is called Film Marketing, because Pascal and I are both geeks were both science fiction geeks. Predominantly, we just pick a film and we talk about that film from the just from the point of view of the film that we love, but also how was it marketed originally or what could be the lessons that you can learn from that film?
And we've done and we've only done 11 episodes, but we've we've talked about films from Flash Gordon. We talked about On Her Majesty's Secret Service that George Lazenby James Bond film, because Diana sadly died that week. I think we even did Mamma Mia one week.
And here's the film.
Here's what we like about it. But these are the marketing lessons that you can you can get from it, from how they marketed the film originally or just the you know, if it's a 25 year old film, how it's become part of the, you know, the fabric of pop culture.
So I think going forward, the biggest the biggest danger is that we love it so much that the episodes have been getting longer and longer and we are trying to pull it back.
But we do we do get carried away. And we did say, well, let's let's just see how it goes, who won't edit it?
So, you know, we'll probably carry on until people say for the love of God, do shorter episodes or something like that.
Yeah, I think maybe at some point the platforms are going to catch on that they have to put in some kind of chapter for us. And if people don't like it, they won't listen. And certainly anybody that does love film and wants to learn about great marketing using the the metaphors and and the stories of these films, it's a great lesson. So you have written a book. Yes. And I know you've been working on this for a long time.
And I saw the other day that it was nearly ready. Yeah. And I know yesterday or today you got your printing proofs. Yes, I did. I've got it here in my hands. And honestly, Bob, it's such an amazing feeling to actually have a printed book. I know that most people don't reprinted books these days and in fact, they probably buy them on Kindle. But the printed so it's got not for resale and sort of Drapht splattered across the front.
So it definitely isn't the copy that people who buy it will get. But yeah, it's in my hand. I can use all the pages and yeah, it's, it should have come out earlier in the year. But the main aim of the book is almost like a big calling card for me to use for my speaking engagements and my consultancy. And given that most of that business effectively disappeared at the start of the year, it just didn't seem to me to be a priority to get the book out.
And in fact, again, I spoke to a few people. You know, on the one hand they were saying no, because all these people on furlough who've got all this time on their hands, it's a great time to get a book out there. But they're not. The people were saying, you know what, I've never been busier or I've got the kids to look after. I have not got time to read a book. So I thought, I'm actually going to just delay it.
So it's got to come out soon. But obviously it's a bit later than I'd planned.
And is that did you delay it because you had other things to do or was it a more proactive. No, no. I'm going to slow down on this.
No, it was definitely a decision to slow down. I mean, at the start of the year, I had a lot of events in my diary and the idea was that the book would be part of the deal and.
They would be allowed to sell copies or at least highlight it, and when all of those disappeared, I just thought I could I could carry on doing it, but I just felt that I would have to spend more time and potentially money on actually marketing it to an audience who was probably busy with other things or worry about other things.
I just thought it is just doesn't it just I need to feel that the market for speaking and consultancy is in my knee is coming back.
And in reality it probably hasn't come back enough yet. But I, I thought the autumn is the time to do it. So it's nearly here.
It's nearly here. And the cover that the book's called Cat Smarts and Marketing Plans, which is it's a little bit of a weird title, but I didn't want it to be marketing for dummies or marketing made simple or anything like that. It it reflects one of the key segments I've been doing in my talks for years.
It's quite a it's quite a vivid cover design by Col Gray, who I think was on on your show quite recently as well. Coulston, a fab job on it. So I'm really excited about about that. And the visual is is very important to me. So, yeah, it's great to get here.
So what can the reader expect?
Consistent messages for thing that we've said already. It's pretty much in there.
It's all about the two main things mean on the front of the cover. It says how to build a simple marketing strategy and avoid complexity as your business grows. And that's really the two things that I'm about. A strategy is important by strategy. I mean what we said earlier in the show. It's not just about communications, Bob. It's about identifying your customer, the customer need and building the product to service that need. That's the strategy bit. But as you know, academia and and the Internet and certainly big corporate can make strategy incredibly complicated.
So the book really is aimed at people who haven't got a marketing background and perhaps find themselves in charge of marketing. It's almost like a simple guide to how to do the whole lot. And then the second part is once you've got it in, their new business starts to become more successful.
And as you grow, how do you avoid complexity creeping into your business as it often does as companies get bigger? So it's really a it's really a bit of two halves. It's put the strategy together, start to become successful, but then stop yourself from becoming complicated and bureaucratic as time goes by.
I think actually it would probably suit a lot of people who are in marketing roles and do have a marketing background as well, because I think there's definitely a trend where I don't know if it's a trend or if it's what it is, but a lot of people will either jump straight to tactics. Yes. Or they will not really understand what strategy is. Now, anybody listening from a marketing background, don't be insulted. You're not that guy. But I do find a lot of people don't really understand what a marketing strategy is and they confuse it with a tactical yes choice.
Yes. And I know having seen you speak the painting, this picture between this is a strategy and these are the tactics you're going to need to deliver that strategy. There are two different sets of decision altogether. And if if more people got a hold of that, even when they're in marketing roles, because they're trained in complexity, not in simplicity, yeah, it's not their fault.
But a simple plan executed well will trump a complicated plan, poorly implemented every single time.
Absolutely right. And I like stories, as you know, Bob. And one of the joys of being able to write this book is to use stories that have actually been real, things that have happened to me throughout the years. You know, so I tell the story way back of, you know, one of the reasons I became so obsessed with complexity was because I remember being involved in a strategic away week where we all went off to some country house and they'd employed some consultant from a gigantic global consultancy.
And he was the stereotypical person who opened his mouth and just management speak, flowed out over everybody. It was almost like he was spraying management speak across the room. And we spent that week putting Post-it notes on walls and rearranging the Post-it notes and doing SWOT analysis and pest analysis.
And I'm not knocking it from the from the point of view of it was a good. Exercise, but it was the complicated end of the spectrum, and I just remember, you know, so many of the people were getting frustrated by this and just didn't know what they were doing there. And the upshot of it was all we were really doing was saying, who's the customer, what's their problem and how do we fix that problem better than our competitors?
That was really what we were doing.
And the book tells stories like that as to how this sort of simplicity thing became that earworm that will just not come out of my brain. And I've been repeating year upon year and hopefully that that message will will help people who might be starting to feel that their lives are just as complicated as that.
I think one thing that you really embody is I'm sure I've heard this from both Chris Tucker and Gary Vaynerchuk. And I think Chris puts it in in the in the terms of every business should embrace actually becoming part media company or every personal brand. Business needs to embrace being a media company. Yeah, and Gary Vaynerchuk quantified it a little bit more firmly, saying every business should be 80 percent, whatever it is they do for money and 20 percent media company.
And you really embody that in a way that very few marketers do in your world in particular. But in the world in general, especially in the U.K., this almost creator lifestyle is something that I think so many people should embrace. And I guess I would sort of ask you for your reflection on that if you were if you met somebody in the street and said, I discovered it's tough, I can't network, I can't see the people I used to see.
I can't do all the things that I used to do. And then they're they're looking at YouTube and podcasting and thinking, this looks like a very long road. Yeah. What would you say to them?
Wow. If it's a it's an interesting one. I'm, you know, just just picking up on the media company thing.
After we did that, that online conference I mentioned before, seven talks with seven minutes, I was talking to the CEO of that business and this was completely unprompted from him. And this is I've been sitting here reflecting upon what we've just done. And he said, you know, for the last 15 years we've been a conference company. We put on a conference once a year. He says, do you know what? We're not that anymore. We're a media company.
And I thought, oh, yes, there you go. Somebody the penny's dropped for somebody. And he's absolutely right.
And this this is a bit of a conundrum for me, because I think if you'll think about generations, I am Gen X now. A lot of Gen X people and I've seen Mark Sheridan write this recently, you know, people probably in their 40s to early 50s.
A lot of them are actually technophobic or they don't like digital. You know, they're a little bit nervous with video, probably a bit suspicious of social media. And that that is certainly my experience with within the financial services industry.
And one of the reasons why I got out of big corporate and I've often wondered why I'm a Gen X person that seems to have embraced all of this stuff and hasn't been fazed by it.
And as Gen, I mean, I sit there sometimes think, gee, I wish I'd had YouTube when I was in my twenties, you know, I would, you know, just love to have had access to YouTube when I was in my twenties and all these cameras and recording equipment, you know, when I was the first time I ever appeared on a video, it cost the company about 40 grand to get a film crew in to come and film us and edit the videotape.
I think what I would say to people is that covid has taught us that the world can change and it doesn't necessarily have to go back to the where where it was.
Now, an example is I spent a lot of time travelling all the way around the UK because a lot of the people I do business with who just would not have Zoome meetings. I've been using Zoome for my podcast, like you have for many, many, many years.
Five years maybe.
And yeah, I've had a lot of resistance from clients for to have meetings over Zoome. So that meant I've spent a lot of my time on planes or on trains, travelling to meet people and to have meetings with people.
But now Kovács come along and all Zoom's the best thing since sliced bread and they all suddenly realise that they can save money on travel expenses and this, that and the other. But then you hear the government saying, oh, but we've all got to get back to the office because otherwise the coffee shops will close and the city centre shops will be. Now, that's true. But has the world changed to suggest that actually what we should.
Doing is reinvestigating the city centers, so, yes, maybe those coffee shops and supermarkets can't be supported by the working population, but what happens if all those empty offices get revisited in visitors as homes or flats or whatever it is, just change the landscape and.
You know, those people who may find it a little bit difficult because they're networking meetings have stopped or they're no longer meeting up with our colleagues, that we may never go back to the way it was, because this is this is, for better or for worse, a new way of working.
And the best way, you know, going back to the marketing lessons that we were talking about, the best way to get ahead is to stand out in a way that doesn't annoy people and that engages people.
And now that's a marketing view. But from an individual point of view, embrace the new technology, become comfortable with it. And you can still tap into your network, you can still tap into your colleagues, you can still tap into the things you like, the things that, you know, motivate you and stimulate you is just a different way of doing it. And it's almost that. Don't wait for it to go back to the way it was because it might not.
And and I know that's not easy, but that's a Genex are talking who doesn't understand how he got into this position where he's comfortable with all this snazzy technology?
Roger, I am looking at the time we have been talking for a long time, and we should probably bring things to a close soon. But there is one question I really want to ask you, OK, which is a bit of a flip away from what we were talking about just now. OK, and that is when you are doing video content, something you do. And when I see people do this, I really admire it because I currently do not.
And I know I would find it really difficult. And that's why you're filming out in public sometimes. How do you do that? I've got to ask you.
Oh, well, let me just start by saying you only ever see the completed video and honestly, going around walking around town, I mean, I use a loo mix DLR camera, which isn't the biggest you can get, but it's it's not not small and compact like an iPhone.
And I've also got a great big directional mike on top of it. And I often have a sort of tripod stand.
So it's fairly noticeable. So honestly, Bob, there is many times when I've said to my wife, I'm just popping down to the harbour, I'm going into into Edinburgh to do a video, and I've got there and I've wandered around and I thought, you know what? There are too many people around here. I'm not gonna chicken out and a bottle it. And you never see any of that. I'm really glad, you know, you don't see any of that or there'll be you know, I was down at the harbor doing a video yesterday, and it was a glorious day, absolutely glorious day.
And I was down early and there was nobody about.
And I absolutely nailed this take almost in one. I think I just I to restart one bit towards the end. And just as I was about to finish, some woman came right up behind me on a bike and stopped to ask me something.
And it totally and utterly ruined the entire shot. But I'd been careful to go down to the harbour early because I knew there wouldn't be that many people around. But I can guarantee if I'd have gone down in the afternoon, had been busy, I would have.
I would have. But having said that, if you are out and about, the main thing to remember is that most people might glance at you and think, oh, that guy's got a big camera. Oh, that microphone looks a bit phallic or whatever it might be.
But then they'll go on to thinking about whatever else it was that was worrying them, whether they're going to be late for a meeting or whether they're going to get home in time for tea or whether they're going to miss Coronation Street or whatever, they'll they might give you an instantaneous thought. They may even think you look like a prat, but they'll only think it for a microsecond. They don't care. And if you can get that into your head, then, you know, who cares?
Just do it. Just do it. No, nobody really minds.
So that's what it boils down to, is to suck it up, buttercup. I think so. I think so, yeah. I mean, let's face I said to you I'd wish that had access to video when I was in my twenties and I had hair. And, you know, nowadays I sometimes look at myself, I've got great big round face, bald and everything like that.
You know, in my early fifties, I'm saying, you know, this is not a pleasant thing to look at. You know, I'm not I'm not. I'm not.
You know, Bruce Bruce Willis in his twenties or Pierce Brosnan in his twenties. You know, this is me.
But, you know, there are a lot of people out there who just will relate to somebody who has got a message and has got some enthusiasm. And, you know, you just have to overcome that. Some people don't like the sound of their own voice.
Some people don't like how they look. And if that is you, you just have to try and find a way of overcoming it.
I think the answer is repetition. Yeah, you can become accustomed to that quite quickly, but it is quite visceral when you're new to it. Mm hmm. Roger, we should bring things to a close. Yeah. And I have become accustomed to asking all my guests the same question towards the end of the interview. Yeah. And that's what's one thing you do now that you wish you had started five years ago. And normally I give them a little bit of warning for the listener.
I haven't given Roger any warning.
Yeah, I do know one of the things that does annoy annoy me a lot at the moment is this as a podcast host. And I'm sure you get this all the. Time you probably get approached by podcast guest agencies and they'll say Burt Smith from New Zealand is a great fit for your podcast and are triggering me right now.
I'll read this email and I'll think Burt Smith is absolutely nowhere, nowhere near what I need from our podcast.
And this agency hasn't done any any research on a my podcast or be my audience. And I usually ignore the email.
And then the following day or two days later, I'll get the gist circling back to see what you think about or just bobbling this to the top of your inbox. Or what did you think of Burt for your podcast? And in the end, I'll just probably write something.
I'm sorry, but Bert's not not very suitable for my podcast, but thanks for thinking. I don't like to be rude to people, but thanks for thinking me anyway.
And on the one hand, that annoys me, Bob. It really does.
But one of the failings that I have had and still have to a certain extent, is that as a marketer, I guess I'm not a salesperson and I'll often send a proposal and never hear anything.
And I might send a reminder once, rarely, twice, because I don't want to be that pushy person who circles back or who tries to bubble things to the top of inboxes. But you know what?
I think in this busy world, the reason that they do it is because in the blink of the eye, it can be gone. And I think that sometimes going back, I might have got a bit more business early on as a consultant if I'd just been a little bit more pushy, but without being too annoying about it.
Yeah, that's a really good answer. I think we could all do with being slightly more tenacious from time to time, some of us maybe less so if the podcast agencies are listening. Yes. Roger Edwards, you've been a fantastic guest. If people want to get in touch with you and in particular if they want to find out when your book is going to be available and be how they can get it, how would you like them to do those things?
Right. My website is Roger Edwards dot com UK. There is going to be a dedicated page for the book by the time this podcast comes out, and that will be Roger Edward Stocco UK Forward Slash book. Just to keep it simple, I am on Twitter a lot.
So at Roger Underscore Edwards, if you want to hit me on Twitter, that would be absolutely fine. Always happy to have a chat.
Roger Roger Edwards, thank you very much for your time on the show. Hopefully I can have you back again some time. Once the book's been out for a while, you can tell us how it's going. But for now, thank you very much for your time. Fantastic. Bob, always a pleasure to speak to you. Make thanks. Embracing the media company or creating a culture isn't about looking for a tactical advantage. It's a long term play, which, if you're doing it right, becomes part of who you are, part of your lifestyle.
It doesn't just position you differently in the market, although it does. It positions you differently in life. It's a hard thing to explain, but if you're listening, you can pick that up from guest after guest after guest. I'm with Roger. This really stood out. Before I go, just a quick reminder to subscribe. And if you haven't then joined my Facebook group, you'll find a link in the show, notes or visit, amplify me dot com forward slash insiders.
I would love to connect with you on social media. Follow me wherever you hang out. Just search at Bobby Gentle. And if you do connect with me, let me know. That way I can follow you back. If you enjoyed the show that I would love for you to review on iTunes. It means a lot to me and it's the very best way to help me reach more subscribers. My name is Bob Gentil. Thanks again to Roger for giving us his time this week and to you for listening and see you next week.