A New Approach to Marketing with Scott Jeffery Miller

Capping a 25-year career where he served as a chief marketing officer and executive vice president of business development, and fellow podcast host Scott J. Miller joins Simon Dell to talk through new approaches to marketing. They discuss how the change of the world is creating new marketing strategies; they touch on Scott's interview with Matthew McConaughey and the new release of Scott's book "Marketing Mess to Brand Success." If you are looking for an entertaining episode on how you can approach marketing differently, then take a listen.

Show Notes

Scott Jeffery Miller currently serves as the Special Advisor on Thought Leadership for the FranklinCovey Company and is also the host of their weekly podcast series, On Leadership with Scott Miller. FranklinCovey assists organisations with change in human behaviour.

https://www.franklincovey.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/franklincovey/

 


Transcript

Simon Dell: So, welcome to the Cemoh Marketing Podcast. All the way from somewhere in America is Scott Miller, who is currently the senior advisor on thought leadership, and I’m sure he’s going to explain to me what the hell that means. So, welcome to the show. Scott.

Scott Miller: Simon, thank you. I am in Salt Lake City, Utah, the mecca of all of America. This is it right here, Salt Lake.

Simon Dell: Well, there you go. I can’t say – no, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Utah.

Scott Miller: Utah is a beautiful place.

Simon Dell: I’ve struggled to find Utah on the map.

Scott Miller: That’s insulting. Wait a minute, wait a minute. That’s insulting. I can find Brisbane. You can’t find –

Simon Dell: Hey, there’s a lot of Americans, when they do those TV things where they interview people on the street and they ask them where the countries are.

Scott Miller: Utah is about 5 hours north of Las Vegas, about 12 hours east of San Francisco. Big skiing out of Utah.

Simon Dell: Oh, you did know that.

Scott Miller: Yeah. See, I knew it. I knew it.

Simon Dell: Yeah. Do you do a lot of skiing?

Scott Miller: We do, in the winter. Less in the summer.

Simon Dell: Okay. All right. Lovely, lovely.

Scott Miller: Water skiing. Water skiing in the summer.

Simon Dell: Okay. All right, explain to me what the job title means. What is the senior adviser on thought leadership? What do you do on a day-to-day basis –

Scott Miller: Shh, don’t tell anybody, the CEO might – the CEO might find me out. Don’t expose me. You know, I am privileged to have been a 25-year associate with the FranklinCovey Company. We are the world’s, I think, most influential, largest leadership development firm. Founded by Stephen Covey, of course, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was the chief marketing officer for 10 years, and then I moved into become the leader of thought leadership.

Basically, thought leadership is the new public relations, Simon, right? No longer are there newsrooms and reporters to cover you. They’re all gone. They’re fired. There’s no more. And so now, it’s about articulating your point of view and broadcasting it through books, through speeches, through keynotes, through a podcast, radio programs, articles, columns. So, my job is to make sure that the brand of Franklin Covey and our expertise is articulated through every possible channel, and aimed at those people who need to know what we do so they can hire us to solve their problems in their organizations.

Simon Dell: So, what does that translate? I mean, that sounds like an obvious thing, but what does that sort of translate into as a day-to-day thing for you? Obviously doing a lot of podcasts, because this is your fifth podcast today.

Scott Miller: But it’s true, but I’m one of about 25 people in the company that are designated as thought leaders, typically their authors, right? So, my job is to make sure that our books are selling well, that we’re publishing new books, that we have articles that are being written and published in Forbes and Inc. and Wall Street Journal. My job is to make sure that our speaker’s bureau is constantly booking our keynote speakers in front of big audiences.

So, every day, I’m managing a team, leading a team of very competent people that are writing, editing, promoting, marketing. I don’t run the marketing division anymore, someone else does that. We’re sort of a step above marketing, not in terms of value, but in terms of function, kind of seeding the clouds early on to make sure that the rain hits the right crops.

Simon Dell: Got you, got you. And the other interesting thing you said there, which stood out to me straight away, is that you’ve been with that organization… Is it 23 years now, 25 years?

Scott Miller: 25 years. 25 – almost 26 years. Yeah.

Simon Dell: Did you get a prize at 25 years?

Scott Miller: No, damn it. No prize.

Simon Dell: 25 feels like they should have given you something.

Scott Miller: Like a Rolex.

Simon Dell: Set of steak knives or something, I don’t know.

Scott Miller: Yeah, no. You know, I was an executive officer in the company, so we were very, very precluded from what we can and cannot receive in compensation. It all has to be approved by the board, bla, bla, bla, Wall Street, SCC. So no, I got nothing.

Simon Dell: I still feel they should have got you a cake or something. But anyway.

Scott Miller: I agree. Cake. A cake of marijuana infused gummy. That’s what I want.

Simon Dell: Oh yeah, that sounds. Yes, that sounds like an entertaining morning tea.

Scott Miller: Yes, please.

Simon Dell: I forgot what the question was about. I kind of know what the question was. The question was, you don’t see that a lot. You generally don’t see a lot of people, that kind of long-term tenure in a company now. And my question was, why do you think that is? And the second part of that question was, do you think we will ever see that again? Do you think there are people that will – do you think that’s no longer a thing, that someone will be there for 25 years?

Scott Miller: I think it’s no longer a thing. Of course, there’ll be exceptions, but I think there’s lots of contributing factors to my longevity. I was very valued in the company. I’m still valued. The CEO likes me. I like him. People don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad leaders and corrupt cultures. And FranklinCovey has great leaders and a great culture, so I chose to stay. I could have done many things. I actually still – I actually am an entrepreneur outside of the company, but I do think that, you know, the average age, statistically average length, Simon, of a career is now 36 months.

Scott Miller: Yeah.

Simon Dell: And that’s on the outset, right? It’s closer, kind of, to 18, 24 months because people’s values have shifted, right? No longer does the new generation value safety and security. They value learning. They value winning and entrepreneurship and challenge. They like to jump ship. And I think a lot of people my age see that as a negative thing. It’s just different.

This younger generation is bringing unprecedented skills and agile thinking and nimble emotional thoughts to their jobs. It’s just a full switch of the market, so I do not think we’ll see longevity and careers linked, and I think we’ll see it shorten. Unless, of course, there’s economic setbacks and pandemics, and people then get, you know, they get very scared and they stay. And they stay because they’re hostages. You know, stay by choice. But no, I think the new norm is shorter versus longer careers, and that’s good and probably bad.

Simon Dell: Do you think, as a business, then, there are things that you can do based on that younger generation wanting those different things out of work? Do you think there’s things that you can do as a business owner or as a leader that can try and make them stay, that can make them, you know, make the business stickier for them and potentially keep them longer and grow that culture better.

Scott Miller: No question. There’s a variety of things, and some might be more feasible based on the size of your firm. I mean, a lot of owners of mid to large sized companies have a better likelihood of allowing someone to complete or at least extend their career journey in the company. You think about it, the statistics show that at 36 months, people tend to have mastered their job. They’re no longer challenged, and subconsciously, they begin to get a bit lazy. They don’t recognize that it’s not an indictment on their work ethic. They just have kind of mastered and not challenged anymore.

So, I think it’s important as an owner, as an entrepreneur, as a leader, to be one step ahead of your employee, make sure that they’re not getting fatigued, that they’re being challenged, that their value – they have new opportunities. Don’t wait for them to come to you, come to them. People want to do meaningful work on a winning team in an environment of trust. And so, if you can kind of always check those boxes doing meaningful work on a high trust team that’s winning, and a high trust culture, if you can try to create that, you can elongate people’s careers. They get restless between 18 months and 36 months.

As a leader, as an owner, you should be thinking ahead of the plan for them. Can you give them broader projects? Can you actually move them around? Can you sit them down and ask them, “How are you doing,” right? “What are you passionate about? What’s boring you? What are you struggling with? How can I help build a career for you inside of this company where you might choose to stay and choose to be engaged?” Let me tell you, leaders, contrary to the human resource myth, do not create engagement. Leaders do not create engagement. What they do is they create the conditions for other people to choose their own level of engagement, high or low. Your job as a leader, pardon me, is to create a culture where people choose to be challenged. They choose to be stretched. They choose to be engaged.

Simon Dell: Yeah. How does that look to you? Because obviously, one of the other challenges is as the businesses get smaller… You know, it may be easier for medium-sized, enterprise-sized companies to do those kinds of things. But as the business gets smaller, the function of what that member of staff is doing is probably narrower, and the option for them to advance in the company is less.

And you know, it might be small family run businesses that might have, you know, 10, 15 employees. Fast food companies that have got hourly paid staff. Is their way that they can do what you’re suggesting, which, you know, seems obvious when you say it. But how do they bring that into practice, a smaller business where there is less opportunity?

Scott Miller: Well, no doubt this is more difficult, and it won’t be Pollyanna. It may be that as an owner of a smaller business, you have to resign yourself to the fact that your employees might be there for 18 months, and you embrace that and you understand that that might be a long career for someone. For many people, 18 months is a long career. So, on one content, you might decide just to resign yourself to say, “I’m lucky if I get to keep someone for 18 months.” And what I would do is if that’s your reality – right, I mean, you could always artificially keep people for three months, four months by more pay or title.

But at some point, that’s going to become transactional. What you probably should focus on is making sure that the send offs when people do leave are not negative or demonized, right? Because send offs are more for those who stay than those who leave. When someone comes to you and says, “I want to leave,” say, “I understand. Is there anything we can do to keep you to get you to stay? If not, I’m proud of you. I respect you. I wish you well. Do me a favour. Go learn everything possible out there because I want you to come back here in 18 months when we’ve acquired another company. We’re bigger. You are welcome back here, because everybody that’s staying is watching you.”

Be really careful about how positive your send offs are. Send offs or more for those who stay than for those who leave. Now, on the other side of the continuum, there are some artificial things you can do, but maybe you sit your employee down who’s thinking of leaving or is getting restless and maybe pick their brain. Are there some areas of the business that they could responsibly begin to grow, to innovate on, to create. Where they still do their day job, but they’re given some incentive to think outside of the normal business model. Maybe they have a side hustle. Maybe what you need to do is accommodate or encourage them to have a side hustle where they can express their entrepreneurial needs and maybe perhaps needs for more income while you still get to keep them in the company.

I think more and more, you’re going to see the norm of small, medium and large companies not just tolerating, but encouraging side hustles. Because if someone knows they can get 80% of what they need inside your company, and 20% outside and still stay in good standing, that’s a good mix for a lot of people. Every situation is different for every company.

Simon Dell: I’ve got a new Cemoh started with us, sort of 3- or 4-weeks’ time, and she sort of said she wants to work four days a week because one day a week, she wants to go and do our own thing. And, you know, explore her own side hustles, explore her own business. Just switch off from having to work from someone else, which she’s done for years and years and years, and just take Fridays to kind of go, “You know what? Let’s see what’s out there. Let’s see what I can achieve given a day, a week.”

Scott Miller: I think that is going to be more and more the norm, not the exception.

Simon Dell: Yeah. And there was something else I was going to say, and now my brain’s completely gone blank while I was thinking about it.

Scott Miller: Well, so I meant to that point, while you’re recounting that, I think the leaders of my generation are going to have to summon unnatural agility in their thinking to accommodate the type of person that you just mentioned. Because this is the norm, right? The younger generation is looking for more flexibility. They want more adaptability. They want to they want to work differently. I don’t think the 8:00 to 5:00, 50-hour week model is going to be the future of any organization, including the Fortune 500. You won’t be able to recruit and retain the top talent.

Simon Dell: Back to that point you made about sort of that send off. I think the other thing for doing that, that send off, that sort of knowledge and say, “Thank you very much for your 18 months that we’ve loved having you here,” and sending them out. I think you’re also putting out there a salesperson for you, really, aren’t you? If you treat them in a way that they feel like they’ve been let go on really good terms, they’re going to go out there. And if people say, you know, “Where can I go and get a job?” They’ll talk about where they used to work and how great the boss was and etc. But they also talk about, you know, to customers.

Scott Miller: You want ambassadors.

Simon Dell: If you get angry when everybody leaves, you’re going to create, you’re going to get no benefit from that.

Scott Miller: That’s right. And it’s a natural leadership proclivity to take it personally and think they’re quitting you. I mean, if you’re a jackass, yes, they’re quitting you. But if you’re not, they’re not quitting you, right? They’re just… They’re hiring themselves. They’re focused on themselves. There are things you can do to inoculate yourself against this. Make sure you sit down frequently once a month with all your employees. Have a one on one. Let that be their meeting, not your meeting.

“How are you doing? What are your fears? What are your passions? What are your challenges? What parts of your job do you like? What can I do to help keep you excited? Are there things that I can do to build a culture where you’re more engaged and you choose to stay – do me the favour, if anybody ever approaches you and you’re thinking about leaving, will you come and talk to me about it? I may not be able to match their offer. I may not be able to create what they have, but we value you.”

People do not quit leaders who love them. People do not quit leaders who love them. If they know that you’re invested in them, look at me, I’m a perfect example. I’ve had so much opportunity to leave FranklinCovey. The CEO loves me. I can’t quit him because he really cares about me. He cares about my passion. My fears, my joys, my family. And that sounds like maybe a cliché, but that is absolutely true.

Simon Dell: One of the things when I very first started owning my business, which owning a business, which was probably 11, 12 years ago, when people used to quit, when someone would come in and hand their notice in, you’re exactly right. You would take it as if someone was just stabbing you in the back. That’s what you felt. How could you do this to me? How would you… Yeah, it’s a betrayal. And now, I sit there and go, probably about 2 or 3 years ago, I made peace with the fact that people are going to leave. That is the natural evolution of business. And then I read the book, “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday. You may not know it. You know?

Scott Miller: Yes, yeah. Of course, I’ve interviewed Ryan on my podcast.

Simon Dell: And I’ve read all of his books, and I was like, when you understand that, when you understand that these things that are put in your way, which is, you know, the obstacle is somebody leaving your business, that that is – you’re not being stabbed in the back, you’re being given an opportunity. You are being given an opportunity to do even better than you would do or hire someone even better or, you know, realign the business, change the business, evolve the business. Something, it’s an opportunity for you when somebody leaves.

Scott Miller: Beautifully said. If you are angry when someone leaves, it means you cared more about what they could do for you than what you could do for them. And that’s hard to say. It’s hard to understand when have a small business, right? But if your people know if you care about them, they know if you care about them beyond just what they can do for you. So, make sure your people know that you care about them, that you have their best interests at heart, because they will give you their all until they’ve decided they want to do something else. And you have got to summon the unnatural strength to champion them. Go home and throw a plate, but in the office, be excited for them because everybody is watching.

Simon Dell: We’ll talk about your podcast now and all the interviews that you’ve done, because I kind of looked through that and went, “Jesus, this is asking you questions about that. There’s three hours of content here, at least.” And also, you’ve interviewed Ryan Holiday. Tell me, of all the people that you’ve interviewed, the one that just sat there and went, who just blew you away.

Scott Miller: You know, I interviewed Matthew McConaughey, the famous actor, author. He has a new book out called “Greenlights.” The book is amazing. Buy this book. It’s called Greenlights. And Matthew McConaughey and I have nothing in common, right? I mean, I’m super-efficient, and he’s very thoughtful. I mean… But I mean, he was so gracious and I appreciate his ongoing support of me and friendship. He shared something that was profound. He said in the context of his book and the interview, he said he once had a friend, and I think it was the friend’s grandfather or uncle that said, “You know, I spent my entire life worried about thousands of things. None of them ever happened.”

And that was just profound. And I’ve interviewed Pulitzer Prize winning authors. I’ve interviewed governors, ambassadors, celebrities, you know? But Matthew McConaughey, when he shared the fact that his friend’s uncle or grandfather said, “You know, I spent my entire life worrying about thousands of things and very few of any of them ever came true.” It really was a bit of a release for me. Like, why am I worried about that? I worried like, you know, worried I’m going to go bankrupt, worried I’m going to get hit by a car. But whatever it is, right? And it really kind of was a turning point for me to ratchet down all the things that I worried about that probably aren’t going to come true.

Simon Dell: Yeah.

Scott Miller: And it was a big sort of… What’s that called when you release the pressure on a valve? It was a release for me. I thought, “You know what? That’s true.” And that, I – that kind of haunts me in a good way every day. Most of this stuff you’re worried about isn’t going to come true.

Simon Dell: I’ve been looking at his book and I’ve been – I have a habit of buying way too many books than I can ever possibly read.

Scott Miller: Oh no, buy this book.

Simon Dell: Okay, I will.

Scott Miller: Oh, absolutely buy Greenlights.

Simon Dell: Okay, I will. I will.

Scott Miller: Yeah, it’s extraordinary.

Simon Dell: It concerns me. I remember and Patrick Stewart, Captain Jean-Luc Picard. I read something he was saying. He had the same habit of just buying books and buying books. And then, because of his age, he realized that he actually only had enough time to read a certain amount of books. And that kind of – all of a sudden he was like, that dawned on him that he would have to then be much more selective in the books he bought. But okay, the Matthew McConaughey one, which sounds great. I want to talk about – actually, before I ask that, when you read his book, do you read it in his accent? Do you kind of hear him in the… Are you kind of hearing his accent?

Scott Miller: Well, you kind of can’t help, right? But I definitely read his book slower. Oh, he is – I mean, this is the real deal, right? I interviewed him. And usually, all my guests are like, in a studio and they’ve got hair and makeup people, and they’re very serious. He’s like on this back patio, just surfboards behind him. The wind is blowing the ocean. It’s like, “Hey, what’s up, Miller?” I mean, yeah. So, he’s the real deal.

Simon Dell: He’s living his brand.

Scott Miller: He is living his brand, yeah. He was so gracious. He was very sweet, insightful, genius, authentic, funny. You know, his publicist said, like, “30 minutes, 30 minutes, not 31 minutes.” We went like, 48 minutes. He was so gracious, right? I mean, yeah, I’m a fan. I think I’ve seen like, maybe two of his movies, right? I mean, I don’t watch his movies.

Simon Dell: Yeah, I got it. I was going to say, I got to help you if he asked you about any of his… What’s your favourite movie?

Scott Miller: I know. I know. You know, I didn’t know this, but there’s a there’s a famous movie out called Sing, S-I-N-G. If you have children, you’ve heard of this movie. It’s a cartoon.

Simon Dell: Yes.

Scott Miller: And there is a little character in it, and it’s Matthew McConaughey. He’s like, the voice of this character. And my boys are just obsessed with it. I have three young boys. And he was so gracious talking about the back story of how he got that job and how much he loved it. And it’s the only movie he’s ever made where his children can actually watch it because it’s kid safe. So, he made the movie. He made the movie so that his children could finally watch one of his movies.

Simon Dell: That’s nice. That’s nice. I want to talk about your book, because there are, I mean, obviously, you’ve written a few books.

Scott Miller: Finally.

Simon Dell: Let’s get to what we were here for. Only 21 minutes in. Marketing Mess to Brand Success. So, what number book is this? Because there’s obviously a few. They’re all on the shelf behind you. What number are you up to?

Scott Miller: Well, what number have I written or what number is published? This is the fourth book I’ve written, it’s the third book I’ve published. I have two actually three books coming out this year.

Simon Dell: Wow, okay.

Scott Miller: Two books coming out next year. But this is the second book in the Mess to Success series. I signed a 10-year, 10 volume deal in the whole Mess to Success genre. The first book was Management Mess to Leadership Success.

Simon Dell: Yeah.

Scott Miller: This book is now Marketing Mess to Brand Success. The next book is Job Mess to Career Success, and then Communication Mess to Influence Success. And there are six more [INAUDIBLE 00:23:37].

Simon Dell: I was going to say, you’re going to be stretching the titles by the time you get to number 9 or 10, aren’t you?

Scott Miller: Oh, no, I got plenty.

Simon Dell: Really?

Scott Miller: I got plenty. Relationship messes, marriage messes, parenting messes, sales mess. I got no problem of messes. No shortage.

Simon Dell: Just general house mess, you know? Going to do a Marie Kondo type thing. That’s the number 10, isn’t it?

Scott Miller: Marie Kondo. She would kick my ass. Got to tidy up. [INAUDIBLE 00:24:03]

Simon Dell: I’ll tell you, I’ll be honest, because I got it last week. I haven’t read it all. I’ve picked some chapters out that I really like. What I wanted to say was I got into marketing in 2009, 2008, 2009. I was originally been in sales. I’d been in marketing for sort of two or three years with some big brands here in Australia, and I decided to go out on my own. And it was all because I’d read a book on a plane back from America, and the book was written by a guy called Richard Laermer.

I don’t know if it was actually joint written by someone else, but Richard Laermer’s a… I think he’s a PR publicist in New York, and the book was called “Punk Marketing.” It was about how to do marketing different. And when I read that, I got off the plane, back into Australia and went, “Right, that’s it. I’m going to go and do my own thing.” And when I read some of your chapters and the chapter list and everything, I went, “This kind of feels like…” I mean, I’m not suggesting there’s any plagiarism here, but I’m suggesting the idea behind –

Scott Miller: Well, I should hope not.

Simon Dell: What I see what you’ve done is you’re kind of trying to be this counterpoint to what I thought was traditional marketing. Like, all these things that people tell you, you must do. You know, you’re sitting there going, “Yeah, maybe. Maybe you need to rethink this. Maybe there’s a different way of doing marketing, and maybe it’s not the same thing that everyone has been doing for the past 10 years.” Is that kind of what your approach to this that perhaps we need to rethink marketing a little bit?

Scott Miller: Well, my publicist and attorney would like me to clarify that I’ve never heard of or read the book Punk Marketing. All the content in my book is actually original. You know, I appreciate the set-up, Simon. This book is about my experience as the chief marketing officer of a global brand. And before that, like you, I was an executive vice president of sales running a multimillion-dollar division of the company. And so, I wanted to write a book for marketers and for sales leaders to say, “Marketing needs to be in the supportive sales.” I think there are too many marketers that are creative minds that get off in their own boondoggles, and they’re doing their own creative projects, but they’re not attached to revenue, to profit, to sales, to customer needs and circumstances. So, I don’t mean to take marketing to task, although in some chapters, I do.

I also take sales to task. But I wanted it to be a bit of a guidebook for people that are in marketing to say, “Don’t fall into this trap, don’t fall into this trap. Avoid this mess. Think this way. Resist thinking that way.” So, it wasn’t meant to be like a play-by-play guidebook on SEO or marketing automation. I mean, I rarely even talk about that. It was more kind of a higher level 30,000 view. Here’s where I think marketing goes wrong sometimes. And here’s how you, if you are owning marketing or building a marketing career, can be more relevant inside of your organization.

Simon Dell: I want to pick on a couple of chapters because there’s some stuff in there that when you read it, you go, “Yep, well, look, you know, that makes complete sense.” And then there’s chapters where you talk about, “I’m going to get down to the nitty gritty here,” where you talk about the responsible resurgence of print. And I was like, “Okay, all right, this is interesting.” So tell me why – tell me why you think that’s so important today, in 2021, when the whole world is digital?

Scott Miller: Well, because the whole world is digital. And if you’re like me, I get 400 emails a day, and 370 of them go to spam or they go to trash. They bounce back. Most of the emails I’m getting now are marketing automated emails from Eloqua or Marketo or HubSpot, and they’re just churning through, hoping I’ll open them. My LinkedIn in-mail is, you know, chocked full of hundreds of messages every day. My instant messages from Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, or crushing me. And so, I’m getting probably a thousand digital messages a day. Not bits of information, a thousand emails, LinkedIn in-mails.

I can’t possibly look at them all, right? I walk down tonight to my front door, and there will be 12 pieces of mail, and I will go through every one of them. I’ll throw half of them out, but I’ll get something, you know, from a bank or credit card, the Mercedes dealership, you know, a timeshare and I’ll look at it. And I just think there is a place and a time to complement your digital messages with the right piece of direct mail. Of course, your list has to be perfect. You have to have their home address in most cases now. You have to follow up. You have to step out of the pack. You can’t just send them a postcard that’s a, you know, a three-way, 4×5.

But I do absolutely believe there is a place for direct mail, depending upon your industry and the quality of your list, and what your offer is to cut through the clutter. Because if you’re like me, 90% of the emails you send me are not getting through. And if they are getting through, my assistant’s going in and she’s deleting them before they even get to me, right? Because she knows what I am and what I’m not interested in. And I think with the advent of marketing automation, it has flipped its purpose.

And now, we’re just bombarded people with email and no one’s even paying attention. I’m not. Delete, delete, delete, delete, delete. So, that’s why I think it’s important to have… Sorry, sorry. Important to have direct mail as a compliment, but also, I say the responsible compliment. You might need to print it on recycled paper or, you know, or plant some trees or do some things to offset your footprint to make sure that your responsibly recognizing the impact it has on our [INAUDIBLE 00:29:34]

Simon Dell: We had a client that I did a strategy session with about six months ago, and they sort of – they actually said to me that they’d been using direct mail to send target clients, prospect clients a UberEats voucher. And it was the, “Let’s book a…” It was basically, “Let’s have a corporate lunch. Let’s have a business lunch, but let’s do it over Zoom.”

Scott Miller: Yes.

Simon Dell: And here’s what bought you your lunch. And the little letter said, “Let’s book in the time. Here’s your lunch, order that,” so that they could have that Zoom one-on-one whilst they’ve got their lunch and they’ve got their lunch. And I was like, “Yeah, absolutely.”

Scott Miller: Was it effective?

Simon Dell: And I’m like, “We’ve now got that as part of our sort of strategy moving forward for the next sort of 6 to 12 months.” But yeah, and again, I did another thing the other week with a with a guy from a small ad agency and he said exactly the same as you. He said, “You know, zig when everybody else is zagging.” He said, “You know, putting something in somebody’s hands that they can touch and feel and open and read is unusual today, which is which is strange.”

Scott Miller: It is, it is. I think it’s different for each environment, right? It might look different if you’re targeting the C-suite. It might be different if you’re targeting human resources or individual consumers. I’ve done a similar thing. I once printed an invitation on a dinner napkin, a cloth dinner napkin. I printed the invitation on it and I mailed it to people’s homes.

I said, “Can I take you to lunch? You pick the restaurant,” and I included the local restaurant guide from their city. “You pick any restaurant in here you want. I’m not creepy. You can have a glass of wine. There’s no limit. Let’s grab lunch.” And oh my gosh. I mean, I got to eat like, 40 lunches out, you know, with the best restaurants in town. And we had a really – it was a very popular campaign. Think through it, right? Don’t think what you’d like to receive. Think what would that population like to receive. And I don’t think it’s quantity, I think it’s quality, right? Quality list, quality offer.

You’ve got to have great data, especially now in the pandemic, where you don’t know where they’re working, right? You have no idea where they are, so you’ve got to vet their address and you’ve got to follow up. I share in the book some amazing stories of people that sent me unbelievably expensive pieces in the mail. Like, read the story. I once had a – do I have minute for the story?

Simon Dell: Yeah, go for it. No, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, go for it.

Scott Miller: When I was a chief marketing officer, I once got a 4 foot by 3-foot mahogany box sent to me by a British football team. 4 foot by 3 foot, hand burrowed wood. You open it up and there was a jersey in it with my name on the back, with a certificate of authenticity. There was a whole scroll, and they wanted me to sponsor their UK football team. Now, I don’t know what part of their world they thought a guy in Salt Lake City was going to sponsor a British football team if they looked at my social media.

They would have realized, “Well, maybe it’s tennis and not football,” but here’s the point. They sent one – you know, it cost $600. It cost $150 to ship it. I mean, it was easily $500, $600. They send one to the CEO also, with his name on the jersey. First of all, we were not in the business of sponsoring British football teams, first of all, and nothing would have given them indication we were. But they never followed up.

They never emailed us. They never called us. They never sent us a letter. They never put a carrier pigeon, and they never thought – I’m like, I guess some Qatari sheikh had $5 million that he or his wife wanted to spend on marketing their football team. It’s just idiotic. So, if you’re going to send something worthy of getting my attention, make sure it stands out from the crowd. Follow up, like, nine times follow up. Good grief. I’m passionate about this.

Simon Dell: There’s 30 chapters in the book, and obviously, we would be here till tomorrow if we went through all 30 of them. And I just want to go – there was one more that really stood out to me that was the echo of that Punk Marketing book from… And I say “echo,” absolutely no. Yeah, no. But it was – the idea behind it was just really, you know, I just went… Two brilliant minds thinking about marketing was thinking the same thing, that was sort of…

Scott Miller: Damn strange, damn strange.

Simon Dell: One of Richard Laermer’s points was if you’re going to try and do marketing differently, was to pick a fight with your competition. And the example he always used – he used in the book was how when Richard Branson launched Virgin Cola in America. He drove a tank, I think, through Times Square or down Fifth Avenue or something like that, or brand it up. And he was like, you know, bringing the fight to, you know, to America, to Coca-Cola, to Pepsi. And he’d done the same many years. No, it didn’t work.

Scott Miller: I’m not sure that worked, by the way.

Simon Dell: It was way too much – way too much stress. But he’d done the same years ago very well with Virgin Atlantic, and trying to take on British Airways. And that had [INAUDIBLE 00:34:39] But in your book, you talk about friending your competition. So, why would I want to be friends with my competition?

Scott Miller: Well, for every reason, first of all, I think there was a whole generation of salespeople whose main selling proposition was demonizing their competition. “Their products suck, don’t buy their stuff, and those days are over, right? I mean, every vendor, every prospect is wise to your shallowness if you’re demonizing your competition. But that was a sales stream. It was a value proposition for decades, right? Trash your competition. I look at it differently, and I don’t think I’m naive. I believe the world is so small now that you should friend your competition.

Now, recognizing there’s all kinds of issues around proprietary data and corporate spying and all that kind of stuff, right? But I share a chapter that I went on and I friended our chief competitor because they were kicking our ass in certain parts of the market. I wanted to know why. How? What were they doing? How are they thinking? We went to lunch. We regarded. I kind of declared my intent. My intent is not to get your secrets out from you. My intent is to learn from you. And by the way, you can learn from me.

And so, my chief competitor, she and I went to lunch 25 times over the course of four years. And we learned a lot from each other, right? We would share appropriate things. “Here’s why we do this. Here’s why we do that.” She would share it the same. We would occasionally say, “You know what? We can’t talk about that. It’s proprietary.” We would just move on to the new topic. And she wrote a chapter in the book. I wrote the first half of the chapter, and she wrote the second half of the chapter.

Simon Dell: Yeah.

Scott Miller: We’re fierce rivals. We fight for the same market share. But the point is, it’s a small world. Everybody is buying everybody. Everybody’s merging. Everybody’s collaborating. Everybody’s jumping ship. So, I just think there’s more times when it makes sense to friend your competition than to demonize. Now, you can have good fun with your neighbours, but you know, reputation is everything. I just think if you can’t compete without demonizing your competition, you’ve got a weak product. You got a weak value proposition.

I mean, it’s fun to poke fun at your competitors, but quite frankly, I think the more competitors there are in your space, that’s a good thing. Keeps you on your game. It keeps your competition aware that they need a solution in your industry. So, I think if you read the chapter, it’s a responsible illustration of when and how to friend your competition. And I’m obviously not naive.

I write – you know, there’s obviously protocols. You know, don’t go out and start doing this if you’re the chief technology officer, and your competition is – obviously, let the CEO know what you’re doing. But I just fundamentally believe the world is getting smaller every day, and you never know where your next job is going to come from.

Simon Dell: Mate, thank you very much for being on the show today. I sense that you and I could talk for another couple of hours about everything there.

Scott Miller: Oh, we have a mutual friend. This marketing guy, right? I mean, he’s been a huge inspiration to me my entire career. I’m kidding, Simon. You’re awesome.

Simon Dell: And I just… The book came out. The book came out last week, didn’t it? Is it 11th?

Scott Miller: The book came out a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, it’s called “Marketing Mess to Brand Success.” It’s available on every website and retail. I believe it’s available in Australia as well, across Europe as well.

Simon Dell: It’s on Amazon. It is on Amazon Australia if anybody wants it.

Scott Miller: Of course.

Simon Dell: It’s also available as an audio book. Did you read the audio book, or did someone else voice that?

Scott Miller: It comes out – the audio book releases on June 22nd, and I did read the audiobook. I read all of my own audiobooks. It releases on June 22nd.

Simon Dell: Oh, yeah. Yeah, right. Okay. From what I understand, is reading your own audiobook is a hideously hard thing to do? Everyone says it’s like…

Scott Miller: The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It is. It kicks your ass. I get – I speak for a living. I can only read for about an hour and a half because I start to get sores in my mouth and I’m fatigued and I slur my words. I’m a stutterer. I have a stutter. And that speech impediment is difficult for me to overcome any way through years of speech pathology and speech therapy and a speech coach.

But I did read the audio book. It is extraordinarily difficult, but it’s a labour of love. And what my readers tell me, that become my listeners, is they say, “Oh my gosh, I feel like I know you. Your personality comes out.” So, as long as I’m able, I will always pay the price to make the investment to read my own books, hopefully as a gift to my reader.

Simon Dell: How long is the audiobook? What does that turn into, an hour’s worth?

Scott Miller: I have no idea. It probably took me 30 hours to read it, and it’s probably an eight-hour audio book. I don’t know. Because, you know, what happens is you read it and you’ve got an editor in your ears saying, “No, I’d like you to rewind and read that whole sentence over again.” And you read it, and then you read, “No, no, read it again. Read it again.” And it’s like, over and over and over again. For some people, it’s easier. Stephen Covey told me also, it’s the hardest thing he’d ever done. Most fiction authors do not read their books. More non-fiction authors read their books. Usually, it’s the publisher’s decision, whether or not they invite you to read your book or not.

Simon Dell: I guess with fiction authors, they need – I listen to a lot of audiobooks, science fiction audiobooks, and they need… They need a kind of a person, like a performer, don’t they? They need an actor, really, if it’s non-fiction.

Scott Miller: They do, yeah. Hence, your reference to the Star Trek guy. Now it’s all coming full circle. This Picard guy. Yeah, there you go.

Simon Dell: Oh, mate. Thank you.

Scott Miller: Simon, thank you for the platform. Thank you for this spot. I appreciate it.

Simon Dell: And if anyone wants to sort of reach out to you and ask you any questions, where are you most prolific on the internet?

Scott Miller: I’m on LinkedIn, obviously. You’re welcome to connect or follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. You can visit www.scottjeffreymiller.com, that’s my website. But if you Google me, I’m bound to come up.

Simon Dell: All right. Wonderful. Mate, thank you very much for your time. It has been an absolute pleasure.

Scott Miller: Thank you, sir. Thanks.

Featured episodes

LinkedIn podcast

PODCAST EP 15

How To Price Your Business with Kym O’Gorman

On Episode 15 of the Paper Planes Podcast Simon chats about how to price your business with Kym O'Gorman.

Listen Now
Simon Dell

PODCAST EP 101

The Simon Dell Story

The Simon Dell story: my background and my business journey.

Listen Now
Rachel Service podcast

PODCAST EP 17

Rachel Service

Simon chats with Rachel Service, CEO of the Happiness Concierge.

Listen Now