EP - 066

Marketing for CEO's

With Guest Ben Legg

How CEOS can navigate the challenges of modern marketing

The How To Sell More Podcast


May 8, 2024

Are you still on the fence about how AI can revolutionize your company's messaging and customer outreach?

In this episode of “How to Sell More,” host Mark Drager is joined by Ben Legg, author of Marketing for CEOs: Death or Glory in the Digital Age, to discuss the challenges CEOs face in the current digital marketing space and the proven strategies they can use to stay ahead. A former COO of Google Europe, Ben is now CEO of The Portfolio Collective which supports professionals in managing and growing their portfolio careers.

Mark and Ben explore the move from mass to personalized marketing and the importance of segmenting your customer base and customizing your message to where your customer is in their buying journey.

Personalization at Scale: The marketing landscape has shifted towards a more individualized approach, where the goal is to tailor marketing efforts to the unique needs and behaviours of each customer. This involves a deep understanding of customer data, preferences, and interactions to deliver highly relevant content and offers.

Data-Driven Decision Making: Success in today's marketing world heavily relies on leveraging data to make informed decisions. Understanding customer behaviours, preferences, and their journey allows businesses to craft strategies that resonate on a personal level.

AI's Role in Automation and Personalization: Artificial Intelligence is rapidly transforming how marketing campaigns are conceived, executed, and optimized. AI enables a level of personalization and efficiency previously unattainable, automating complex tasks such as content creation, ad targeting, and customer communication.

“AI is actually helping us accelerate the journey towards mass personalization.”  Ben Legg

Links to This Episode

Key Takeaways

  • Making it personal - Today, marketers need to focus on an individualized approach, where the goal is to tailor marketing efforts to the unique needs and behaviors of each customer. To succeed, brands need to understand what makes each customer tick: their quirks, preferences, and habits. By doing this, they can serve up content and deals that feel tailor-made, like they were just waiting for it.
  • Crunching numbers - Using modern marketing data is like navigating through a bustling city, but instead of relying on instincts, you've got a trusty map that tells you where to go based on how people are moving. It's not just about shooting in the dark and hoping for the best; it's about understanding the journey each customer takes - what they like, where they linger, and what makes them click (literally and figuratively). Armed with this info, businesses can craft strategies that hit home, because they're rooted in what customers really want.
  • AI, the marketing superhero - Imagine having a super-powered sidekick that helps you do your job faster, better, and with less stress. That's AI in marketing. It's like having a team of tireless workers who can churn out amazing content, target ads with sniper-like precision, and keep the conversation going with customers around the clock. With AI in the mix, marketing isn't just about reaching more people; it's about reaching them in a way that feels personal and authentic, without burning out in the process

Top 3 Reasons to Listen

Mass personalization: Ben explains the evolution of marketing from mass communication to personalized interactions, emphasizing the importance of treating each customer as an individual.

Conversational marketing: Explore the emerging trend of conversational marketing through chatbots and messaging platforms, and how they can create personalized customer experiences at scale.

AI and automation: Gain practical insights into how AI and marketing automation tools can streamline your marketing processes, making personalization easier to achieve.

Follow Ben Legg on Social

Website: https://portfolio-collective.com/profile/ben-legg/

Get a copy of his book: Marketing for CEOs: Death or Glory in the Digital Age

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/benlegg/

More About Today's Guest, Ben Legg

Engineer, Author, Adventurer, Husband, Father of 5

Ben Legg is an accomplished professional whose diverse career spans several continents and industries. Currently leading as the CEO of Digital People International, Ben offers mentorship to entrepreneurial CEOs while providing investor insights and thought leadership. To explore his services further, visit his website.

Ben's journey also includes co-founding The Portfolio Collective (TPC), a thriving global community of over 10,000 professionals and entrepreneurs. TPC is dedicated to helping members navigate, launch, manage, and expand their portfolio careers.

Ben's professional path is marked by a series of transformative roles:

- 1990s: Started as a Captain in the British Army’s Royal Engineers, where he led missions across multiple countries including Germany, Canada, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Poland, and Bosnia— notably playing a key role in relieving the Siege of Sarajevo in 1995.

- 2000s: Transitioned to the corporate world, initially as a strategy consultant at McKinsey, followed by senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola. There, he led a massive team of 12,000 salespeople in India, managing relationships with one million customers and engaging 300 million active consumers.

- 2010s: Moved into the technology sector, serving as COO of Google UK, Benelux & Ireland, and later for Google Europe. He was instrumental in crafting Google’s monetization strategies and enhancing the company’s ads products across various platforms including Search, YouTube, and Mobile.

- 2020s: Embarked on a portfolio career, leveraging his vast experience in technology and leadership. His insights on digital marketing have made him a sought-after speaker and author, with his notable publication, Marketing for CEOs: Death or Glory in the Digital Age.

Ben has shared his extensive experience and life lessons through various platforms, including the Little Big Vets podcast and the Back Yourself vodcast. His insights are invaluable for anyone considering a shift to a portfolio career or seeking to embrace a non-traditional professional path.

For a deeper understanding of Ben's unique career journey and the lessons he’s gleaned, tune into his interviews on popular broadcasts like Behind The Founder.

A Transcription of The Talk

Mark Drager: So Ben, you and I were chatting off-camera. And for all of our listeners, I'm holding a book right now called The Marketing for CEOs, which is a book that Ben wrote back in, 2015 or 2016. 2015 or 16. Yeah. And you and I met at an event in Toronto, a local area event for the American Marketing Association, our Toronto chapter because I was part of a program called mentorship exchange. The idea was, that I, as a mid-level agency owner, in my kind of late 30s, and mid-30s, had the chance to connect with someone who was in their 50s, and who had been running an agency for a long time. And for eight or nine months, they mentored me. At the end of that mentorship program, you were brought in to speak about your book, Marketing for CEOs, and some of the challenges that CEOs, CMOs, and marketing managers face. And this was, I think, in 2017 or 18, at the time, like that world. Now, you handed me a copy of your book, but I actually bought a few more. Your book became the Bible for my agency because you broke down so much related to how funnels work, how data works, how attribution works, and the difference between the lifetime value of a client versus the cost of acquisition. And it, I mean, it's only 120 pages long.

Ben Legg: And yeah, well, someone calls it a JFK to LAX book; you can read it on a long flight, kind of thing.

Mark Drager: But the reason I'm mentioning all this is not because, listeners, I want you to think that this is a pitch for the book. I mean, if you want to read it, I highly recommend it. But it's because it's so rare for me to hear a speaker grab their book. And then now, five or six years later, I reached out to you and said, I want you on the podcast because I want to hear what's changed since then. But also what is happening as we look into 2024 and 2025. And knowing you from the book, knowing you from your speaking, knowing your background as CEO of performance-based agencies, I was like, you were the perfect person to bring on. So thank you, Ben, for coming today.

Ben Legg: It's a pleasure to be here.

Mark Drager: So, we're going to actually dig into the idea of conversation marketing, which is around chatbots and different ads. But before we do, can you help our listeners really understand the premise behind Marketing for CEOs? Why did you write it? Is it still relevant today? And if anything has changed, what would that be?

Ben Legg: Okay, so let's start at the beginning. I'm an engineer. Engineers don't write books unless it's about engineering. So, writing a book was not in my life plan. But yeah, back in 2015, I was running a company, a very big ad tech company, a global ad tech company, and I had a lot of friends who were CEOs of other companies in other industries. And in 2015, totally unprompted, by me, about six of them said, typically over a beer or some other coffee, would say, "Ben, I'm planning to fire my CMO. Can you help me find another one?" I said, "Why are you asking me? I've never studied Marketing. I've never been a CMO. I'm not a headhunter." And they said, "Well, the future of marketing is all about social media, data, and technology. And you understand that," which I do. And they said, "Also, you hang out with CMOs; you must be able to work out who are the smart ones and who are the duds. I want one of the good ones." And I kind of got the logic as to why they asked me the question, but I didn't really know how to solve it. So, I would normally waffle a bit about what good marketing looked like, but without really being clear. And I hate waffling. So, I started writing notes so that I thought if someone asked me the question again, I would do a slightly better job. And my notes became quite big. But anyway, I was with CEO number six, it was actually a CMO of AMC, you know, they own all the cinemas in North America, and films and other things. And I said, "Right, I'm not going to waffle, I'm going to help you by finding you a book about what marketing is becoming." So we went on Amazon and Google and stuff to try and find the right book. And we just couldn't find one.

We could find a book on how to build a brand, we could find a book on how to get your website on page one of Google, so the tactics and the strategy, but nothing that said with all of that change, what is marketing becoming? How do you do it well? And I just thought, okay, no one else has written it, I'll write it. By then, I had about 20 pages of notes that I had, in a way, used to structure what I thought marketing was becoming. So, at the time, I had two CEO jobs, a global company, and also an Asian company that we just bought. So, I worked with a ghostwriter, did the brain dump, gave him all my notes, and over a few months, kind of wrote the book and then tested it with lots of CMOs, CEOs, and CFOs. CFOs like the book, too. The general idea of the book is to say which of the old frameworks is still relevant, maybe which were a bit dated, and how, what's the right mindset and framework to think about? Simplistically, the big transition in marketing over the last 10 years and the next 10 is going from mass marketing to mass personalization. So, mass marketing, meaning the old CPG way of doing things, starts with an insight, you turn it into a TV ad, you build the supporting assets around the TV, and you send the same thing to everyone. One day, maybe every single person on the planet will see a different ad from each brand based on your relationship with the brand, your past behavior, and your purchases, you know which bits of the website you may or may not have visited, and you know, what your price point is, get the right timing, et cetera, et cetera. And to do that well, clearly, there are all sorts of things you need, like a great CRM system, etc. But you also need to understand the economics.

*And probably the heart of the book is the whole equation around customer lifetime value. To really do good personalization, you need to understand each consumer or customer, whether a potential customer or an existing one, what then works out, and what's the best journey to take them on. How do you build awareness? Is by that, is that the marketing funnel still exist? But how do you build awareness? How do you drive trials? How do you drive purchase, upsell, cross-sell, and retention? How do you make them passionate, you know, brand ambassadors, etc.? If you lose them, how do you win them back? But basically, work out a journey for each person. And then understand the economics of that journey. Yeah, what does it cost you to build the brand and acquire them in the first place, customer acquisition costs, what it costs you to serve them? And how much money will you make along the way? That's the customer's lifetime value. So, I'm sure many of your listeners will know that the CAC versus LTV equation is customer acquisition cost versus lifetime value. And that became the heart of the book.* The rest of the book was either explaining how the world was changing and why that equation made sense. Or explaining the How to, the most talked about it, there was a chapter called "Should I Fire My CMO?" The next chapter was, if you decided, yes, here's how you hire another one.

Mark Drager: Luckily, you don't have to fire CMOs because their tenure is down to like, just eight months these days.

Ben Legg: Yeah, exactly. Maybe it went too far. Maybe too many people read that chapter. But yeah, so at the heart of it was working towards more and more personalized relationship management with every single customer and understanding the economics of that journey, so that you can effectively make sure it's a profitable relationship, and you're not wasting money or burning cash.

Mark Drager: And before we delve into what's changed, though, I do want to highlight a few things. First, understand that many businesses out there do not even measure the cost of acquisition; they have no idea what it costs to acquire someone; they don't consider the lifetime value of a client. Frankly, I mean, a big part of our business at SalesLoop, our agency, is customer journey mapping. You know, people talk about, quote-unquote, the funnel, but they really think of it from an advertising point of view, as opposed to an actual stage, the buying journey, the onboarding journey, the delivery process, the post-delivery process, win-backs for anyone who chooses to leave. Like, the reason why, over the last two years, we've rebranded our agency as Sales Loop is because I've realized that this is, in fact, not a funnel. This is not a linear process; this is the opportunity for anyone who jettisons outside of the customer journey to bring them back in, absolutely, to try and eke out, I want to say this, if you're a customer, I'm sorry, but to basically eke out, it costs so much money to acquire you, every dollar we can get from you later, will help cover and liquidate some of that cost of acquisition.

Ben Legg: Yeah. So the first thing you said, that some companies don't do that, is crazy. Give me the news this year, and I'll send them my book, to read the chapter on "Should I Fire My CMO?" No, they should hire us. Yeah, there you go. Are you sending a copy of the book? But it is crazy. And clearly, *it's hard. I mean, honestly, this isn't easy. But you've got to do it. And you know, most companies just start off doing it en masse. What does it cost, on average, to hire, and acquire customers? What's the lifetime value, then start breaking into the big sick moments, you know, it's like, whether it's by demographic or whatever, or by the first product bought and you start working five or 10 segments, and you know, just keep getting better at segmenting until one day all segments are an individual. And no one's there yet. But, you know, we should all aspire to get there. And I think one day, the best marketing companies will have, you know, customer journeys that are probably individualized or cohorts of 10 or something very, very precise.*

Mark Drager: Yeah, I would totally agree with you. The other thing that I want to, do before we jump into what's changed perhaps over the last number of years, is you've hit on something that you mentioned has changed marketing, which is the idea of moving from mass to personalization. But I honestly feel that this has actually changed all marketing communications in general. And I say that because, like right now, we're working on an engagement with a professional association, who traditionally has basically posted all of their information. And if we think about a professional association, or any kind of nonprofit or any kind of group, it's like, here's what's happening. Here's what's happening. Here's what's happening. And we have worked for the last year to shift from what I call kind of this push approach of information to much more of an on-demand, tailored, user-generated approach. And the way I explained it to them is, you know, Netflix only has one catalog of film and television. But the catalog, what I am shown and what my wife is shown, is very different. And people will go, well, there's an algorithm, and it's hard, and it's expensive. And on a mass level, I mean, if we want to compete with Netflix, it is very large and expensive to be able to crack that type of algorithm. But on a small level, rather than think of content, or marketing, or communications, or advertising, as this is my campaign, or this is the hierarchy of information, don't you know, members, that you go to this part of the website, and then go from this part to this part to this part, let's get rid of all of that. And let's think of every one of our assets, every one of our posts, all the communication that we need to do, think of it as Netflix's catalog, and now, based on user profiles or based on sections, like, why can't we serve the tailored information that people need, tailored for them on demand? Why can't we select at least some of this? We don't need the algorithm. And I think that's what you're talking about, is this move from, "Hey, we're going to put everything out there and hope and assume that people will find it, if people are going to understand it, that they're going to provide the context for it. Let's move to a much more personalized approach because, frankly, whether people, consumers, or customers realize it or not, that's what every other area of their life has been moved to. So we need to follow suit as businesses, don't we?

Ben Legg: 100%. And I love that analogy. And yeah, you talked about websites, *I'd also argue whether it's for your email marketing, your social media, whatever, can you effectively have different messages going to different people, based on where they are in their journey with you as a brand? And that's where the, I think somewhere in the book I talked about the brain of the marketing system these days is the CRM system, it's knowing your customers or knowing them as individuals. Yeah, it's, how can you effectively say, for every single individual in your CRM system, and ideally, this includes your potential customers as well as your existing customers, and your lapsed customers, who are these people? What's their relationship with my brand? What's their relationship with my competitors? What have they bought so far? And what are the most likely things they'll buy next? What kind of media do they consume? What kind of messages work? What's their price point? What's the timing, what's the right time to get hold of them, and literally tailor it as if you are only talking to one person? That's the dream.*

Mark Drager: Moving right towards what's happening with conversational marketing these days and chatbots and other things. And before we get to that, though, I do want to let you finish. So, what do you feel has changed since 2016-17? And what are foundational truths that have not changed even today in 2024?

Ben Legg: Yeah, so let's think about what's changed. Probably the biggest thing that's changed, obviously, all the rage right now is AI, and *AI effectively starting to automate stuff that used to have been done by humans. A lot of it is actually helping us accelerate that journey towards mass personalization. Because if you think about it, I'll take a simple example, if you're an E-commerce company, trying to run an ad campaign, something that I know quite well, I've done a lot of it. It's hard as a human. Because you've got hundreds or thousands of SKUs. For each SKU, you've got dozens of images and videos, you've got product descriptions, you've got different variants of each product, you know, different colors, whatever, you've got ratings, reviews, you've got different stock levels by geography... it doesn't add up. You're supposed to run an ad campaign that serves the right ad to the right consumer with the right image and the right product, but only if it's in stock. And don't forget the discount. It's like, ah, head explode. Yeah, AI can do that stuff, or at least can do it better than humans. And that is a nice example of what some of these AI can do. AI can tailor images based on knowledge about the individual. AI can just manage that massive information, etc. So clearly, AI is not perfect, but it's already heading in a good direction. So I think AI had a big change since I wrote the book. Another would just be these days, almost all major ads are digital. Five years ago, there was still a big chunk of non-digital, but yeah, as we know, linear TV is close to imploding, and print is close to dead. So it'll be the odd thing, maybe outdoors, etc. That is a bit more mass marketing, but most of the old mass marketing channels are dead or very close to dead*, and therefore most things...

Mark Drager: For certain industries, though, drivetime radio I hear is still doing very, very well.

Ben Legg: I'm not anti-old school media or mass media or whatever. I just think that if you just look at it, consumption of linear TV is down compared to video on demand. Let's say it is like Amazon. Five years ago, Amazon had no ads. Now it's the fourth biggest ads platform in the world. So I think that...

Mark Drager: Let me tell you, sorry, Ben, that just fucking pisses me off like crazy. My wife and I have been watching Wheel of Time Season Two, and the fact that ads come on and force us to watch something when I haven't been on an ad platform since 2011. This pisses me off to the point where I stopped watching it. I was like, What is going on here? I'm paying for access to this, and then you're gonna serve me ads. I hate it.

Ben Legg: So far, but possibly, it's really it's an idea. But they'll say, "Well, you can always pay the three or $4 a month extra or whatever it is." But yeah, yes, clearly they got used to having that suddenly has to change, or, or not changed, you can go and find another platform with no ads. So yeah, Netflix is still to be around, they started with no ads and just kept putting the price up on that, and then bringing in a cheaper tier that is ad-supported. Amazon's got a, I guess, arguably cheaper tier than Prime. And they said, "Right, everyone gets ads unless they pay the higher tier." So they're starting from different ends. Netflix started from the default of ad-free but high price. Amazon started with the default of ads, but low price. I think Amazon will scale faster as an ads platform compared to Netflix on the back of that.

Mark Drager: And so I did want to get to chatbots and what's happening. And because I think that this is the perfect next step in terms of what you've been talking about, we've been talking about leveraging data, leveraging customer journeys, to be able to deliver the perfect message to the right person at the exact moment. So that way they take action. And obviously, chat, AI, conversational marketing. It's like the most tailored approach like if I could just go and have the right stuff served to me in the right order based on my own language, my own understanding or what have you. I mean, what's better?

Ben Legg: I agree. Maybe *I'll start with an anecdote and then talk about the future. But right now, I quite like wine, I collect it, drink it, and enjoy it, and I like thinking about it. I buy all my wine right now in a really interesting integration with a chatbot called Johnny, who is actually a chatbot. Now, the founder of the company is actually called Johnny, but basically, it's a chatbot. And, you know, to talk you through the journey, at some stage, about a year ago, maybe a bit more, I was on, if not karma, Facebook or Instagram, saw an ad saying something like, "Yeah, great. 95 points red wine. Normally, I live in London, 35 pounds. For you only 22 pounds," whatever it was, a discount. "Learn more," clicked the button, and it flipped me into WhatsApp. And I learned more, and it told me all about the wine, said, "How many bottles do you want?" I clicked six. "Which credit card do you want?" Pulled up Apple Pay, and clicked it. "We've got this address in part. Is that correct?" Yes. I just bought six bottles of wine. Then they popped up a survey on WhatsApp. "Tell us more about your wines. What wines you like, price points, celebrations, when your birthday is, is it with food, not with food," really getting to know me. And then I started personally...

Mark Drager: Getting to know you like they're hiding all these consumer insight questions, just think they're right in there.

Ben Legg: And it just popped up. And they've just sold me something. I'm open to relationships. And so it's a passionate subject, so great. So I tell them all about my needs. And then they start using that to sell to me. They now send, typically, one offer a day through WhatsApp. Once a week, I'll buy something. If it's expensive, it's one bottle. If it's, you know, every day, maybe it's six, whatever. And now and again, they'll suggest things that maybe other people might like, etc. But the bottom line is, I've spent a few thousand pounds on wine in a relationship with a chatbot. That gives me better advice than I've ever had in a wine shop. Now, that's just one anecdote. And not all verticals can do it. And it sounds like, to me, how much is a chatbot versus a human? I think it's mostly chatbot. But I guess this is just an example of the way I think the world is going. Which is, and certainly, if you reverse engineer what Facebook is thinking — they don't always say it out loud — but they want to give a chatbot to every single Meta advertiser to chat to customers in a way that's personalized by AI.* So if you think about the customer journey, and then superimpose, if you had a really good chatbot, what could they do? And let's just focus on WhatsApp because it's the biggest player here. But it could be Messenger, text, or any messaging service. And it could be voice or it could be written, but let's assume WhatsApp and text. If you're a brand, you've got a relationship with an individual, you can build your brand through WhatsApp, you can share videos, share experiences, etc. You can get to know customers with surveys, you can sell them stuff, you can cross-sell them stuff, upsell, etc. You can deal with customer service, you can deal with technical issues, you can anticipate churn — that says, if it's software, you can see their usage has gone down. So you can have a churn reduction campaign. If they leave, you can try and persuade them to come back. If they love you, you can persuade them to tell a friend. All of that can be done in a relevant message in a relationship that feels very personal. Now you start thinking about what that means for the future. First of all, anyone who works in sales or customer service should be worried because there's a chatbot coming for your job. But if you're a marketer, wow, yeah. How good is your chatbot now? Is it going to stay ahead? Because if your chatbot isn't the best chatbot in your industry in the near future, your company might go bust because someone else will work it out. It's phenomenal. And then you've got what do you build, what do you license? Do you need multiple chatbots or one? Does your chatbot need a brand and a personality? Does it needs multiple brands and personalities, then you have a chatbot called John and a chatbot called Mary because maybe men respond better to men and women to women or vice versa. But your chatbot strategy is an essential part of success. But also, conversely, failure if you don't get it right. And this journey is moving fast, chatbot technology has accelerated from virtually non-existent a year or 18 months ago to three out of 10 now, but give it three years, it'll be an eight out of 10. And it's late, you know, who's going to keep up with the journey.

Mark Drager: What I love about this, you know, a number of years ago, I think around the same time that I met you and I read the book, there was a website, a program or project that came out called The Grid. The idea was that it would write all of the copy, it would wireframe everything, would develop all the photos, and all the CTAs, would basically develop the entire website. And then in real-time, through AI, it would completely change based on conversion paths. And I remember seeing this, I think in 2015, or 16 and going, "Oh, fuck, like, I've built a multimillion-dollar production based people-driven hourly." And at the time, Facebook was talking about the fact that you know, and Google, were talking about the fact that you could use responsive ads, and it's going to do all the editing, and it's going to take care of everything I was like, "Okay, not only is our world commoditizing, at least on my end. But we are not far away from where we can leverage enough data to be able to take care of some of this stuff." And, similarly, what you're talking about, which is something that I'm excited about, is it moves the customer experience from a landing page, which is a service we offer for people. But I know as a strategist, I know how much time and effort and how many conversations and how much work goes into picking, like, think about a landing page, what should the h1 be? And what should the h2 be? And should we have a video or not a video should be above the fold or below the fold? Where should social proof go? How many CTAs? What do we do? Is it a three-point form or a one-point form? You know, like, all of the decisions that go into conversion rate optimization is frankly, like a lot of part science part art part, like I think this is the best thing we should do. But what you're suggesting is going to move us away from that where there's going to be basically a field, a branded field or something where I can have a conversation, there's going to be a collection of assets. And those assets will be pulled off the shelf and served in the right order at the right time. Ideally would even be manipulated by AI in the right. Totally yeah, the right time is gonna put me out of business.

Ben Legg: Well, so yes, absolutely. And if you look at the way, for example, Google's ads machine or Meta's ads machines work, and they just say, "Upload your assets, tell us your goals, and we'll do the rest for you." And assets, just for those who have maybe listened don't know, is like images, videos, you know, texts, calls to action. They'll also say, "Give me the URL of your traffic," and they'll just crawl that page and work out what you sell better than you will. And they'll, that they don't even need keywords anymore. They'll go and work out the keywords based on crawling your site. Yeah. And then they'll say, "Well, if the assets aren't good enough, we'll either fix them or make some new ones." So if you upload a bunch of static images, but no video, they'll make a video out of your static images. If you upload images that are grainy or weird, they'll trim them or tweak them. Or you just put in some descriptions of some images you like, they'll make them for you. So that's the direction they're going. And so, coming back to, if you're an agency, how do you survive? You're probably helping your clients get the most out of those AI machines, rather than trying to beat the AI.

Mark Drager: And what we're doing is we're helping people not only with the strategy but developing the IP. And we've seen within entertainment, what we've seen within other places, there's been a huge push for intellectual property. And so, you know, if you're a B2B business, if you're a professional services firm, if you're in any of that space, then your people and your culture and your thinking and your processes and your approach and all of the stuff that makes you you and very different from your competitor on the street. Sitting in there is like, it's like magic. It's like positioning, its offers, its IP. And if we can build IP, then that IP can be turned into the assets that AI can just go ahead and run with. Absolutely, I think that's, if I'm giving away the secrets for where our futures are harder, I gotta believe it's going to be on strategy and IP because who's gonna pay for assets when they could just be mad and like, just be mass-producing.

Ben Legg: I agree. Now there might be integration, like, you might make a case that a brand strategy still needs some humans, although you're probably telling me no, there's somebody doing that, too.

Mark Drager: I think it depends on where AI is going.

Ben Legg: But certainly, I think, if I'm just thinking aloud, if I was building or running an agency now, I'd be very tempted to move into the chatbot world, even though there's loads of AI. I think there's still a lot of thinking to get the most out of the AI, to work out what you do yourself, what the AI does, whose AI you use. Yeah, how much? Should the AI be one character or multiple characters? Yeah. How does the AI interact with the CRM? How do you gather more data and use it? I think that's a multi-year journey before AI can do all of that. But AI can produce 30% now, and in three years' time, it could be 60%. But I think there's still a lot of hard work required to make that work.

Mark Drager: Well, and I agree, and if you're on the client side listening to this, if you're in marketing or business development, or an owner, operator, CEO, what have you, you know, you're only going to have so many team members, and they are not typically on the client side going to be specialists in all of these fields. So now it comes down to finding those "whos," and I believe that with how complex every aspect of advertising, marketing, communication, sales, client relationships, you know, the difference between the creative and the strategy and the business strategy and the technology, like, I think anyone who's working with a generalist is wasting their time and money. Because, you know, I was at an event two weeks ago, where someone was just talking, just like they did a three-hour masterclass just on email marketing. And I think that I'm pretty up to date with what's happening with email marketing. And then I sat in on this, and I realized, I don't know email marketing, compared to just — and I even said to the person who was running it, I said, "Listen, I was thinking coming into this, like, I need to learn this." And then after hearing you for three hours, I realized if I spent all day every day for the next 90 days trying to learn what you've learned, I might be able to keep up. But as soon as I take my eyes off the ball, the world will have moved on again. Yeah. And think about how many different aspects there are like if we go back to just the different parts of your book, the different parts of your funnel, the different things we've been talking about today. I can't imagine trying to keep up with everything.

Ben Legg: Yeah. No, I'm with you. And if anyone can, it's the CMO's job, not the agency's job. Yeah, the generalist should sit at that. "I own the brand. I own the marketing strategy." But then, yeah, you're right. When you're working with others, you work with the specialists, and collectively, it comes together at the CMO level, really.

Mark Drager: This has been so much fun connecting with you, Ben. I really do appreciate your time. And if anyone wants to pick up "Marketing for CEOs: Death or Glory in the Digital Age," I will say it's just as relevant today as it's ever been. But before we sign off, I do want to ask you a question that I love throwing people at the end, which is if you had to give one strategy or one tip to help our listeners sell more, what would that be?

Ben Legg: It's the rubbish in, rubbish out. You know, if you don't know them, you're always going to fail. So just, yeah, and do it on a personal level, not as a blob, but as an individual.