What is the new marketing model?

Gone are the days when brands could build a product and then find (or buy) an audience for that product. Nowadays, audiences’ needs and wants must be part of the product or brand that is being communicated.

In this episode, Dr. James Piecowye and Paul Kelly talk about how to sell stuff. The reality is, the model for engaging with audiences to sell to them has not changed, what has changed is how we use the model. By rethinking our flywheel of sales and thinking audience first, not product, we can have a profound impact on our marketing outcomes.



James: Welcome to know your audience, a marketing mini cast that explores how knowing an audience can unlock greater insight. 

In this episode, we talk about how to sell stuff. The reality is the model for engaging with audiences to sell to them has not changed, what has changed is how we use the model. By rethinking our flywheel of sales and thinking audience first, not product, we can have a profound impact on our marketing outcomes.

We’ve talked about a lot of different ways and things to consider with respect to how we market the audience, the influences on that audience, the creator. So what’s the model we’re looking at now? What’s changed? What’s the same? 

Paul: There’s always been a model, I think, in brand building, and selling a product. So it comes all the way back to selling stuff, whether that’s, like I’ve talked about multiple times. 

James: That doesn’t change really does it, I mean, it’s the same, same, same 

Paul: The change is, it reverses direction. So the original model was;  develop a product, you know, find a need in the industry, you know, particularly in FMCG, it would be establishing that there’s competition, so one of your competitors is doing something and you need to get the share in that space, or need, a new need for something you know, like a healthier version of something or you know, a new recipe or whatever it is in food, or it could be new fragrance. 

James: Yeah, we see this over and over and over again with toothpaste. {Yes.}

Florrie… fluoride whitening, sparkling tartar fighter, bacteria fighter, bad breath. It happens on a monthly basis. There’s a new need, there’s a new concoction. 

Paul: Exactly, yeah. And that traditional model is to come up with that product. build a brand around that. So I know with toothpaste, you know, they typically attached to existing brands

James: Colgate, McLean’s, {yeah}, Sensodyne.


Paul: But the other thing is that sometimes a brand needs to be created, particularly if you’re already in that category, and you don’t want to maybe cannibalize, you know your own being, you want to drive something away from a competitor, you might come up with, you know, a toothpaste “b” (is the worst name of a toothpaste brand ever),  and then you buy an audience, you advertise or you promote, you know, you cut price. 

James: And what we’ve been talking about over and over again, in these episodes, is moving away from buying an audience to creating an audience. 

Paul: Building, yeah. And the audience-first model is just that exact same thing but reversed. And it becomes a, instead of, you know, product – brand, audience, its audience – brand – product. 

And what it is, is building that audience. And there’s nothing wrong with buying into, if you’re a brand, buying that audience. But if you can form a community around something by the content, that you’re creating, what you’re sharing the love of a product that exists, you know, it doesn’t necessarily mean a huge investment in an online community or something like, there are many loved products in the world where you know, the brand probably isn’t even considered, it’s the product, it’s a utility, it’s something that just always works. And then that becomes something that you really, maybe not adore, because you’re not gonna go talk to people. But yeah, that’s a great thing, you know, always buy that, just get I know, that kind of work, you know, or it’s, you know, it’s gonna taste great or, you know, that type of thing. 

That is an example of building an audience and having an audience at your disposal. And basically by looking at what entertains the audience around your product, so whether it is by your unique selling points, or whether it’s by the content or anything like that, you build the audience. 

What’s happening now is that the creators who understand this then become a brand, they become a brand because they might not necessarily release a product, but some do. There are lots of people out there who have created brands around themselves, but also products. And what that does is it gives an identity to something that people haven’t been able to tangibly put their finger on and you might already have that if you’re an existing brand, you’ve got that asset already, you’ve got that piece of the puzzle. What you’ve done is create a stronger connection to that part of them; it’s a flywheel, it’s something that’s been you know, once these elements of that wheel spin itself perpetuate. 

And the last step is bringing that product to the market with the audience. So what these creators are doing, they build an audience and grow this YouTube to 50-60 million subscribers or less, quite often less than accurate to the top channels but then they sort of develop a brand around themselves in the Mr. Beast example we gave a few episodes ago. And then from there, different products are released. We talked again about Mr. Beast earlier, releasing a burger restaurant. That’s the products in the market. 

You get the feedback from those products, you can develop them more, then you bring more audience in. So at each point, the social proof in this chain becomes a point where people want to share things they share. So when you’re building an audience, they’re sharing the content. When you build a brand, they talk about you. And when you have a product, they consume it. And they often share those occasions, it’s not often that we’re completely silent about what we consume. And so that when we create social proof, which then means this spins harder. So you build a bigger audience, and the brand becomes a bit more diversified, you come up with a new one, new products, etc, etc. And it just spins and becomes self-perpetuating for a series of times until you stop.

At some point, you know, if you stop, then that will slow down. That’s just the nature of how all this works. 

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James: So quick question, do we see this flywheel of old and new working together? Or do they tend to, do we tend to, concentrate on one way of thinking about building our brand and audience versus the other.? 

Paul:  It’s certainly complimentary. And I think it’s not going to replace traditional models, what it does give it gives a new dimension to be a bit more experimental, particularly new product stuff, to really understand an audience before you jump into something. So decrease failure rates, for example, and things like that, because you’ve built the audience first, you understand them implicitly, you can then feed that in. But this also sort of feeds into that more traditional model by better understanding an audience, so being first about that audience. Thinking about that instead of your product first. And it’s such a hard shift to make because it’s not really necessarily what everybody’s taught about marketing. But it’s something that brands can learn so much from by just observing even people who are operating this flywheel first. So it doesn’t necessarily mean if that’s the way you’ve always done it, you’ve got a systemic culture inside a company that’s not going to allow for something like this to happen, either deploy it for new products, or observe from it, learn from it, take the best elements of each of that cycle, and use that to build a brand in a more sustainable way, in a way that people can engage with, in a way in a way that isn’t just because you’ve paid to get your black and white logo in front of their face. And this is what becomes really critical because it’s not a framework at all for doing anything. It’s this flywheel that spins, you know, and it spins while it’s being fed. And once it stops spinning, then obviously things stop. So it has to be fed all the time. So that’s the thing, but you’re not necessarily feeding with money. you’re feeding it with insight and understanding and all those things. So it can definitely feedback into a more traditional model. 

James: And this whole process of getting more insights happens constantly. Unlike our more traditional research, which we’ve talked about, yeah, you’re constantly getting updates in real-time. 

Paul: Yeah, I think the greatest thing that, particularly people in advertising is to sell that people change. When we don’t change, we haven’t changed really, for, under two views, our context changes all the time. So patterns of behavior get altered. But the true fundamental being of humans is that we’re very predictable. First of all, we don’t change a lot. And by understanding the context of people’s lives changing, then you begin to understand them a lot better. And then that helps things. For instance, one on one, research is still really valuable. But we gave an example in a few episodes about how framing questions become more important to how people might reply to those if you understand implicitly that person or that group, or that audience has context, and you’re able to better frame a brief for a researcher to ask the right questions instead of potentially getting answers that might not be that relevant to them. 

James: The takeaway from this episode is we are predictable and the better we understand the context of audience choice, the better we will be able to frame our campaigns and research. This doesn’t have to mean upending our institution. It simply means being open or receptive to employing the tools we are familiar with in a different way. asking better questions gives us a better understanding of the audience. 

You can get in touch with me across the socials: @thejamescast or [email protected] 

Paul: And get in touch with me both through d-a.co or otherwise, email me at [email protected]

Thanks for listening