502: The ABCDE Of Marketing Re-Invented, Part 2 | Rishad Tobaccowala

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Back for part 2. Last week Rishad Tobaccowala gave us some insight on staying human in the age of data. This week, he’s expanding that conversation by discussing what he calls the “ABCDE of Marketing Re-invented” (access link for Rishad’s blog). Rishad’s ABCDE framework for how marketing has changed and continues to change is used as a way for him to help guide people he advises. He believes that this is the future of marketing, below are descriptions for his framework as discussed in this can’t-miss episode:

a. Audience: Who we are marketing to, how we find them and their mindset has shifted greatly over the past decade.

b. Brands: Brands continue to be important but the way they are built is changing greatly. Today Experiences, Purpose, and Employee Joy matter the most in building brands. These changes explain the long-term secular decline of advertising and communication but the renaissance and rise of marketing.

c. Content: Content has always been a key to marketing. The three big differences are that there is much more of it, it is far faster and there are many new ways of making it.

d. Data: Data is key to the future of marketing. It is like electricity. Without electricity, one can not keep the lights on. Without strong data, a company cannot compete. It is necessary. But it is not sufficient. Because just like few companies differentiate themselves by how they use electricity, very few companies will find a competitive edge in data. It will be a key ingredient and not the be-all or end-all of strategy. And very few companies will be able to live on their own data.

e. Enterprise: If a company is to deliver experiences in a world of people with god-like power while steering itself with a purpose and looking after its stakeholders particularly its employees but also making sure it delivers tangible results today it will new to sculpt itself into a new form by building new muscles.

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George: This is the Conquer Local podcast, a show about billion-dollar sales leaders, marketers leading local economic growth, and entrepreneurs that have created their dream organizations. They wanna share their secrets, giving you the distilled version of their extraordinary feats. Our hope is with the tangible takeaways from each episode, you can rewire, rework, and re-imagine your business. I’m George Leith and on this episode, we’re very proud to yet again feature Rishad Tobaccowala. If you remember, from last week’s episode, Rishad is an author, speaker, and advisor with over 40 years of experience, specializing in helping people, organizations, and teams reinvent themselves to remain relevant. Seven years at the global agency Publicis Groupe, as the Chief Growth Officer, an 80,000 employee firm, comprising of companies like Epsilon, Sapient, Digitas, Leo Burnett, and the famous Saatchi and Saatchi. January 2020, Rishad wrote his book, “Restoring the Soul of Business.” It focuses on helping people think, feel, and see differently about how to grow their companies, their teams, and themselves in transformative times. Also in 2020, Rishad started his own consulting agency and he’s hosting his own podcast called What’s Next. He was named by Business Week as one of the top business leaders for his pioneering innovation, and Time Magazine dubbed him as one of five marketing innovators on the planet. Get ready Conquers one of my favorite speakers and thought leaders back again this week on the Conquer Local podcast, it’s Rishad Tobaccowala coming up next.

George: I wanted to… I was super excited because I was hoping to get some of your learnings around what you’re calling the reinvention of marketing. And I just wanna remind the audience, we have one of the top business leaders for pioneering innovation, according to Business Week, one of the top five marketing folks innovators, according to Time Magazine, and an Ad Age Interactive Hall of Fame member. So not just the fact that you know, a little bit about math as you covered off earlier, but we’re gonna learn about marketing, and the A, B, C, D, E, of marketing reinvented, Rishad Tobaccowala.

Rishad: Yes, so I wrote a piece which is available in if you have those in your show notes, it’s on my free thought letter at Rishad.substack.com and it’s called the Dawn of a New Era, Re-invented Marketing. And what I did was I put down in one chart and 1500 words, how marketing is changing, and it has been one of the more popular things I’ve done. So here’s how it works. I took the five key components of our marketing are; and A is for audience, B is for brand, C is for content, D is for data, and E is for enterprise. And in each of those five, I talk about three shifts that have occurred. So in the case of audience, I basically… One of the three things I propose is businesses should stop focusing on consumers, they should focus on people because if you focus on consumers, you look at that person through the lens of your service, your brand, your business. But they don’t define themselves through the lens of your business. I remind people that P&G, which is an amazing company, all their products do one thing, most of them, they remove dirt. They removed dirt from your butt, from your clothes, from your teeth. So they’re a dirt removal company. If they looked at me only through dirt removal, they wouldn’t be one of the world’s greatest marketing companies. They look at me as a person, they don’t look at me as a dirt removal expert, or like how you know, I don’t live my life thinking about dirt removal, right? So that one example where I say, let’s focus on people, not consumers. The other reason I say focused on people not consumers is when you focus on consumers, you start to begin to believe your category is the category you’re in. I remind people that almost every competitor that you’re likely to have in every big new opportunity you’re likely to have is gonna come from outside your category. So, General Motors and Ford did not see Uber and Tesla. They came from outside the category, right? The big company like P&G Gillette did not see Dollar Shave Club that came from outside the category. And so what happens if you focus on people, you won’t define your category narrowly because you will follow people’s behaviors and needs. And as importantly, you won’t think about everything just through the lens of your company, your service, or your brand. And that was like one change. And then in the case of brands, this is a very big thing I mentioned, that you cannot have a successful brand, unless you have joyous employees that unless your employees feel good, your brand will not succeed because it’s your employees who obviously answer the phones, come up with the ideas, service the products, et cetera. So that way, and then for content, so in each one, I have three different things, but the content one reminds people that today the content creators can come from anywhere. In the US if you look at the total viewership of the Superbowl, the Oscars, the Emmys, they are less than the daily interaction of Kylie Jenner on Instagram, okay? And interestingly, one or two of the leading publications in advertising in the United States in print has been around for a long time and obviously they publish every week, but their total readership is less than my substack on a good day, if I have a good article, I end up being read 100,000 times, which is greater than their circulation. And so my stuff is who’s a media company or their media company or my media company. And so that’s the way it’s the future of content. So what is content? Who are the new content creators? Who are the new content companies? So basically it goes through that A,B,C,D,E, and explain how it’ll impact with future marketing, because I do it with all English and I do it regardless of the size of the industry has become very popular with people. And I’m not saying it’s the be all and end all, but it’s a fast way of getting things. You know, everything I write, including my substack and my book where you could read any chapter in any order, my old stuff is, let me do the work as… I think it was Hemingway, who said, “if I had more time, “I would write a shorter letter,” right? I said, let me spend hours, figuring out how to distill things down into six minute reads. Instead of me making you have to read hours and hours of stuff to find six minutes of worthwhile stuff. And that again is a very different approach to where the future is. And a lot of it is why I’m very excited about, you know, both software technology and small and medium businesses. And therefore, maybe in the future, when I have no job, you can give me one.

George: Well, that’s not even a question that’s happening. I love that, and you know, I’ve heard a number of other thought leaders saying the same thing. Gary Vaynerchuk a couple of weeks ago was talking about you are the platform, if you are a content creator, it’s not like I’m gonna go out here and get out… No, you’re you are the platform and enterprise. So we’ve got A, B, C, D, E.

How Does Your Company Fit In The Story Of Your Life?

Rishad: Yeah, so D is data which we’ve talked about and E is enterprise. And so one of the things that enterprise is increasingly in companies, you know, where people are looking for is what are the things companies obviously do is regardless of your size, you need to attract and retain talent. And I’ve written a lot about that. There are three reasons that… There’s a set of reasons that talent comes and works for you. And they have to do with money, fame, and power, right? You pay them, they like being associated with a company. They get either power may be autonomy. You know, fame be recognition. They stay in the company because of purpose, values and connections. They believe in the values of the company, they believe in the purpose, they believe in the connections. But the reason they thrive in the company is because of growth, story, and what I would basically call is… So they stay because of story, freedom, and growth, those are the three things. So are they free to express themselves and be themselves? How does their company and what they do fit in the story of their lives and can they grow themselves? And so, part of what I emphasize on enterprise is building a company that allows people a certain amount of freedom, personal, and as well as business growth and allow and recognize that your company fits into the story of their lives and their lives don’t fit into the story of your company.

George: I really wanted to dig into that because you know, the other thing that you talk about there is if you have trust inside your organization, you can get to speed of market. And I find that companies that are succeeding today, they are petrified of being irrelevant. That’s me every morning, wake up. I’m absolutely petrified of that. So we’re open to change and we’re open to new ideas, but we need to have that level of trust to be able to get there quickly, rather than say, God, I wish I would’ve got there two years ago. Like, that’s just not gonna work out. Then the other thing we’ve got is acquiring talent. That is gonna be the big challenge we’re having moving forward.

Rishad: It is, so there are two parts of it. One is putting them the trust. You know, the line I basically have is trust is speed as part of an enterprise, because if you have an enterprise where people trust each other, they can move really fast. They don’t have to write a whole bunch of decks to convince anybody to go to the bathroom, right? So the whole idea is you need to go to the bathroom the bathroom is there. What says, will you please write a deck to tell me that’s where the bathroom is, okay. Why are you writing decks and presentations and works… Come on people, like you know what needs to get done. Let’s just make it happen, so that’s why trust is speed. But to me eventually, whether you’re a two person, 10 person or 10,000 person company, I believe that successful companies do two things. They have a disproportionate share of talent relative to their competitors who are passionately aligned against a common outcome. So you have great talent and you get them to work together in teams against a common goal. And that’s very true, even in sports teams, it’s very unlikely that a sports team wins without some form of talent, but it’s not necessarily the team with the best talent that wins. It’s the team that is working together against a common outcome that tends to win and obviously with a bit of luck. But you know, that’s what tends to happen. And so my basic belief is if you are a leader of a company, create an environment where people can grow, they can trust, create an environment where you can attract and retain talent and passionately align them and create an environment where you yourself as a leader can continue to upgrade your mental and emotional operating system so that you can grow. And that is a key thing that I’m finding as I go all over the world. And you know, I work now with all sizes of companies and almost everybody with this, the CEO, the proprietor will say the thing that I’m struggling most with is how do I continue to remain relevant and build new skill sets, right? I know I have to change. How do I continue to learn and how do I continue to build my skillset so I can remain relevant?

George: Well, it’s almost like you’re reading my mind, which that’s scary for you. I wanted to ask that question and so I just wanna unpack that again, ’cause you talked to a lot of CEOs, you talk to a lot of senior leadership groups that are you know, adapting to this new normal. We covered that off in the beginning, COVID changed everything, you’re reinventing marketing, we’re talking about data could tell any story you want. The CEOs are really focused on this talent and the environment for talent to flourish, is that what you’re seeing as the common thing.

The Biggest Problems CEOs Are Facing

Rishad:The two parts of it, CEOs are looking at their biggest problem today, the three problems they have. Problem number one, is what business I am in? Because the competitive set keeps changing and so they said like, what is my business? Number one. Number two, how can I attract and retain the best talent to do what I need to do? And number three, is how do I grow myself? How do I remain relevant, right? So what I’ve basically done is I’ve said, it’s the four questions. So I actually wrote the four things I’ve written at the end of… You know it was addition 49, 50, 51, 52, of my thought letter, which is people are asking me, number one, what does the future look like, right? Which is what business should we be in? Number two is how do you manage change so it sucks less? Number three is how do I lead? Which is how do I attract and retain talent? And question number four is how do I grow myself? And if you think about it, those are four human questions, regardless of industry or size or country, right? What does the future look like? How do I manage change so it sucks less? How do I become a better leader of talent? How do I grow myself?

George: You know, at the end of the day, I’ve learned over these too many years, I’ve been around that the best ideas are the simplest ones. And when you unpack those four things are quite simple at the end of the day.

Rishad: They’re very simple, and a big part of it is why I always explain to people, you know, I use something that was very simple. I said, okay, here’s how you can solve problems. And I use photography as a metaphor for solving problems. And so I said, in photography, you really do two, three things, you focus, you expose it, and you edit, right? And one of the key things in focus is making sure you’re focusing on the right problem with the right question. And so many of our folks spend so much time answering the wrong question.

George: Now, I completely agree with that. Now you got me thinking about all the times I was trying to answer the wrong question. The Economist Magazine calls the book, “Restoring the Soul of Business,” the best recent book on stakeholder capitalism and you’ve been hearing from the author Rishad Tobaccowala joining us today and Rishad, thanks for joining us from your home there in Chicago. And you were telling me before we came on the show that your travel is amped up people wanna see you live.

Rishad: They wanna see us live. There’s always this hubris thing and I remind people, people want human interaction. They want connections because that’s the way we all are as human beings. But it just might be that they don’t necessarily need that all the time in an office. It could be at a bar or a restaurant, an event, et cetera.

George: Now, I’ve been selling on the road for a long time and I agree with you. It’s great to have the human interaction, but I’m definitely on board with that. If I were to have a drempt who my dream guest would be to have on the show this year, it would have been you Rishad, because I’m always impressed with your content. And it was great seeing you speak live, live in New York, a number of years back. So thanks for making the time and bring us those learnings from your book.

Rishad: Well, thank you for inviting me and I hope that I don’t end up being a nightmare for your guests.

How To Get More Of Rishad Tobaccowala

George: No, not at all. And if people wanna subscribe to your podcast, where can they find it and what’s the name?

Rishad: It’s a free thought letter, it’s at Rishad.substack.com. That’s Rishad.substack.com. It comes out every Sunday. You can look at all the archives it’s completely free, and it will talk about topics like we have talked about as well as how to get back to the office and why it’s called the jigsaw of return and all the way down to something that is very popular, which is why you should be writing presentations. And if you need to write a presentation, that should be less than nine slides. And I show what those night slides should be.

George: Amen, I’m loving it. Rishad, thanks for joining us.

Rishad: Thank you.


George: Well, that wraps two amazing episodes from Rishad Tobaccowala and we really appreciate him sharing his learnings. And it’s not often, but the odd time producer Colleen and Brett say, “Nope, we got to make that into two.” So let’s go through our team’s top three takeaways from this episode with Rishad, the A, B, C, D, E of marketing reinvented, wanted to highlight this, content, think poetry, and not just the plumbing. Data. Data is not information, knowledge, or wisdom, and we need to humanize the data and create a story surrounding it, that’s what makes it informative. And then enterprise. In an organization where leaders are accountable, you will minimize the amount of cover your butt meetings and meetings to prepare for meetings. And that’s what he was referring to when it comes to enterprise and having that organization that can move quickly. If you found value in this episode, please leave us a review wherever you listen to your podcasts, this feedback will help us grow and better adapt to what you wanna hear in the coming episodes. Be sure to subscribe to the award-winning Conquer Local podcast as we continue to welcome extraordinary sales leaders, marketers, and entrepreneurs. My name is George Leith. I’ll see you when I see you.