Episode’s topic: Why Marketing should be present at the board level - Communicating Marketing’s value across the boardroom
In this episode, host Shahin Hoda welcomes Mitchell Mackey, Global Digital Marketing Director at Ansell.
Learn about the importance of marketing representation in boardrooms as Shahin and Mitchell explain how marketers can learn to interact with C-Level and B-Level executives. Mitchell’s experience and advice provide the key elements to understand how to communicate Marketing’s value in an organisation.
This episode’s guest:
Mitchell Mackey, Global Digital Marketing Director at Ansell
Mitchell is an international Business and Marketing Leader who has worked with global brands across the automotive, financial services, healthcare and industrial industries in Australia, Europe, APAC and North America.
He started out as a journalist and made the transition to public relations first, and then to marketing. Now, as the Global Digital Marketing Director at Ansell, he advocates for empowering the customer and driving growth by providing unique experiences.
Read Mitchell’s blog or connect with him on LinkedIn
Conversation segments on this episode:
- [01:47] About Mitchell's career and why is important to acknowledge Marketing's decisive function
- [03:33] What caused the undermining of Marketing in the boardrooms
- [07:11] The blue sky promise versus the thundering lighting delivery from Marketing
- [11:21] What marketers can do to change the scenario
- [17:59] Why marketers should get more understanding of the different areas of the business
- [22:21] How to communicate with the C-Level
- [27:14] Politics are present in all organisations
- [29:06] Finding the balance in communicating Marketing's success
Resources mentioned on this episode:
- Some articles from Mitchell’s blog:
- EBITDA definition
- Finance for Non-Financial Managers course and other short courses at Melbourne University Business School
- Business and Business Management courses at Udemy
About the Growth Colony Podcast:
On this podcast you'll be hearing from B2B founders, CMOs, marketing & sales leaders about their successes, failures, what is working for them today in the B2B marketing world and everything in between.
Get in touch!
We would love to get your questions, ideas and feedback about Growth Colony, email email@example.com
Episode Full Transcript:
[00:23] Shahin Hoda Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Growth Colony. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth and today I'm talking to Mitchell Mackey, Global Digital Marketing Director at Ansell about why is it important to have a marketing presence in the boardroom? And how marketers should think about when they're interacting with the C-level and the B-level being the boardroom. So, on that note, let's dive in. Mitchell, thanks for joining us,
[00:49] Mitchell Mackey Shahin, I'm really pumped to be here. I really want to thank you for the opportunity to share, to collaborate, to exchange on this critical topic of marketing, getting its voice heard with the C-level colleagues, with the board members fundamentally earning their place at the top tables.
[01:08] Shahin Hoda Well, Mitchell, I always get so pumped up talking to you. There's always so much energy in the room, and I'm saying that with all honesty. So,
[01:19] Mitchell Mackey Thank you.
[01:19] Shahin Hoda No compliments there. So I'm looking forward to our chat.
[01:22] Mitchell Mackey Indeed, and you're playing such a great role, Shahin. I've got to compliment you, with the Growth Colony, with what you're doing, creating a platform where marketers can engage, share, exchange, learn. It's just incredible. Fantastic. Thank you.
[01:36] Shahin Hoda That's very kind of you. Thank you. Thank you for contributing, really. I mean, it's the contribution of leaders like yourself that, you know, gives it legs so thanks a lot for that as well.
[01:46] Mitchell Mackey Indeed.
[01:47] Shahin Hoda So on that note, Mitchell, I know a lot of people are familiar with yourself, but for those who might not be, can you give us a little bit of background about yourself at the beginning?
[02:00] Mitchell Mackey I originally trained as a journalist, made the migration to public relations, and then found myself in marketing. I wouldn't say I had a master plan but so far it's more or less worked out. Prior to Ansell where I am now, a B2B safety company with a big healthcare and industrial safety focus. I had nine years in the automotive industry with Mercedes Benz, including four years at the corporate headquarters and stood guard in southern Germany, and then various regional Asia Pacific marketing roles. And I've been with Ansell now for more than 10 years in regional and now global marketing, transformation admissions.
[02:38] Mitchell Mackey And throughout my experience, it's been incredibly obvious that marketing has become more and more and more important to business today. It is the decisive function. However, in so many boardrooms, in so many executive leadership teams, marketing unfortunately, doesn't get the respect that it deserves. And part of that is marketing's fault and the other component of that is that we have far too many finance people, legal people occupying the senior roles, who just don't have the appreciation for what marketing can do, and how marketing can own and differentiate the end-to-end customer experience in a way that directly drives revenue. And that needs to be appreciated today. If we're really going to speed up and create the agile, dynamic, customer centric organizations that we know we must have to thrive and survive in today's very challenging economic climate.
[03:33] Shahin Hoda Right. And well, I mean, there's a lot there to unpack and I want to maybe line by line, sentence by sentence. Let's do that. So I mean, it's very important, as you said, it's very crucial to give marketing a little bit more attention than it's getting right now. But first of all, why do you think, you know, the boardroom is occupied by a lot of lawyers and financiers? What has that transition been that got us to this point?
[04:01] Mitchell Mackey It's obviously that's the way, it's part of its legacy. That's the way it's always been. So that's a pattern. That's a habit. The corporate world is fallen into. And certainly you do need to have people with legal skills, with fundamental understanding of financial management, they need to be financially literate, that's always been the case. And in the old days, when we were in an old school product focus world where it was simply a matter of producing widgets, and to a degree some services around those widgets as efficiently as possible. Well, then having financial gurus running the show, to a degree mostly made sense.
[04:41] Mitchell Mackey But today, we're simply having a competitive product or service that is no longer enough to be truly competitive, that you really must differentiate in a positively contrasted way. In other words, have your customers, your stakeholders, be willing to say dealing with this brand, dealing with this product, dealing with this service, is better than your alternative is superior to the competition. They're consistent. There is a high trust dynamic happening here. I can invest my time, my money, buying these products and services, subscribing to them in many ways. Today, that requires a command of the customer.
[05:19] Mitchell Mackey And as we make this transformation, now that's been ongoing for I would say two decades, people have been talking about the primacy of the customer. And that's sunk in finally with most senior people, board people, C-level people. But the challenge for these finance people, and these legal people and they say, operations people, who occupy these top level roles is that they don't have the empathy with the customer. They struggle to translate the rhetoric of customers first into genuine organisational synergy. Genuine change to get an organisation pivoting around the customer and differentiating successfully and generating the revenue and the growth that you get when you do that effectively.
[06:04] Mitchell Mackey So many innovators today amply illustrate. Both old school companies and new school companies are doing it well, but most of us are struggling. And it's the absence of marketing's voice with respect, with the command of the numbers that's fundamental. If you want to get the attention of C-level and B-level people, you must have an understanding of your metrics and your numbers. The failure to connect there does result in marketing being undervalued. Marketing, not being respected.
[06:33] Mitchell Mackey Therefore, marketing doesn't have a seat at the table. It's not claimed to seat, it's not fought for seat successfully. It's maybe jumped up and down and waited slag, every budget cycle, etc. But then, unfortunately, whenever we have to cut numbers, the operational expense line for marketing, the opex line is often the first number to get a haircut. And often quite a savage, savage cut. And that obviously tells you hey, you're nice to have, you're not must-have. And that's a problem. A fundamental problem. You're not seen as a driver for growth, an essential component of the business's better plan.
[07:11] Shahin Hoda Yeah, no, I absolutely see what you're saying. I remember when I was in university, I had a professor who was a finance professor. But no, this story has a happy ending. He had, we were talking about it. And he said, look at GE at the moment. And General Electric, you know, it wasn't as, the situation wasn't as dire as it is now. But the point that he made was, why are all these accountants in there? Right? Why is everybody an accountant in that organisation, and GE had kind of lost its meaning in many ways, and there was a really big hole. And on that note, why do you think this has become the case? Why do you think that marketing is being looked at as in some organisations, not all organisations, but at some organisation is being looked at as a nice to have or as a cost center rather than investment center.
[08:11] Mitchell Mackey Or worse, the pretty pictures department, the sales collect.
[08:14] Shahin Hoda The events, yeah events department, the party's department, right?
[08:17] Mitchell Mackey Yes. Yes, you guys are off there in the corner playing with your crayons while the sales guys and the serious people are making the money. Yes.
[08:28] Shahin Hoda Why do you think that has happened?
[08:31] Mitchell Mackey In part, I think it's a challenge for marketers that they typically, blue sky, big picture, people there. They're not predisposed to work with spreadsheets, to be analytical ,to dive into the numbers. They're out there. Think of the business as a submarine. Marketing's a periscope, looking ahead, anticipating shifts in consumer demand, in innovation and too often they've been too far out in front, too blue sky, and an engineering brand promises that have no connection with reality, that they're too often claiming, hey, come buy our product or service. And it's a blue sky promise. But everyone in the organisation knows because of the disconnects, the legacy systems, critically, the legacy attitudes, what we actually deliver in the business is thundering lightning. A long way short of blue sky, which is what marketing has been promising.
[09:24] Mitchell Mackey Inconsistencies left, right and center, you go to the website, and there's inconsistent data and specification information, that's different from what the sales team is sharing directly with customers, from what customer service is telling customers. And those disconnects just break down in trust and the organisation just as well. As marketing guys, they're out there with the fairies, and they're not connected with revenue. And their campaigns, yeah, they're interesting, but they're not directly driving revenue.
[09:53] Mitchell Mackey They're not my customers aren't, my customer coming to me and say, hey, that XYZ brand promised that ABC campaign that you're running currently online, offline, wherever. That event trade show that you organised, whatever it might be, that's not connecting with my people. My customers are not, they're not talking about it. They're not. They're not relating to it. It's not being picked up in CRM, it's not being documented. That often is the case and therefore, marketing when the senior CFO typically turns around and says, we are asking for XX dollars this next financial year or this next quarter, and I want to see the return. Where's the return?
[10:30] Mitchell Mackey And then, marketing falls back on pseudoscience, on vanity metrics, and they're not aligned with the organisation, everyone's working in silos and in that environment marketing typically, is the victim is very much vulnerable to these opex budget cuts that leave marketing then struggling for oxygen on life support, as I call it. And then the organisation says, marketing's not delivering! Hell man, you cut the budget down to life support levels. The marketing team's in intensive care unit just ticking over, going through the motions, and then you're complaining why isn't marketing out on the field kicking goals?
[11:08] Shahin Hoda Very true. Very true,
[11:09] Mitchell Mackey We have to articulate, and that's marketing's challenge, its value to correctly and accurately differentiate itself from being saying yeah, as pretty pictures team playing with the crayons in the corner.
[11:21] Shahin Hoda Right. Now, okay, let's assume that on a marker in a in a decent sized organisation, and what do you think marketers need to do or I need to do internally first, what do I need to build maybe it's, in terms of the skills that I need to build, or team members that I need to add to my team, to first build that capability internally so then I can later on we'll talk about later what kind of message do I want to give to the C-level on the board? But what do I need to do internally first, in order to become a lot more robust and in order to become a lot more revenue focus?
[11:59] Mitchell Mackey Great question. You need to firstly recognise that in many ways, your internal marketing challenge is the big challenge. You've got to convince, you've got to build a coalition of the willing around you, of people who don't report to you in other functions, who can get on board with what marketing can do for the business and accept that marketing has, and must have an influence, if not an ownership over the end-to-end customer experience. And you've got to start small and build credibility. So you've got to look for high impact, low relatively low risk, low cost initiatives, that are going to generate connectivity with your internal audience of colleagues and stakeholders so they can say yes, marketing can indeed make a difference, we get the more support we rally around what the marketing team can do. It's essential.
[12:50] Mitchell Mackey So you've got to have good internal communicators, gotta have people who are comfortable stepping outside their marketing field of vision, their marketing environment, and engaging not just with sales, because we always talk about the disconnect between marketing and sales. And that's there, unfortunately, too many companies. So obviously, you've got to connect with sales, you've got to connect with the IT organisation today. Because everything's digital today. And if you don't have the IT organisation on board with what you want to do with an integrated sales, marketing and service front end for the business to enable the delivery of a smooth differentiated flow of value to your customer, if you don't have IT on board you're screwed.
[13:29] Mitchell Mackey You can go off with your shadow IT projects with you spend a bit of your own opex money on buying a marketing automation solution, for example. That only gets you so far. You've got to have an integrated approach and you've got to have IT on board, you're gonna have the CFO, the finance team, understanding what you're doing, buying into the value. You've got to have this roadmap. It's got to be aligned with where the business needs to go and wants to go fundamentally got to talk language. If you're not on board, and don't understand the big picture, corporate goals and strategy, what the business is trying to achieve and if you're having an input into that, it's obviously, all too frequently. you'll be an outlier. You'll be a function that's not part of the main game. You're a necessary evil to somewhat disposables. Often, as I've said earlier, cuttable reducible.
[14:18] Mitchell Mackey So you need to work on that internal communication. You need to communicate, talk formally, informally. If people don't understand what marketing does, you need to have their launch and learn informal conversations, you need to broadcast without exaggerating, without over promising what marketing can do, and credibly get allies of customer services having a hard time with disconnects in the business and the absence of consistent information. Well, how can you help with customer service? Can they be an ally? You know, this is quite a good case today to say, services are a new marketing. And if you're differentiating around your service capabilities, again, you've got a problem.
[14:57] Mitchell Mackey So can you get those allies, say, hey, what's in it for me to collaborate with marketing, they understand that it's in my interest, to collaborate, to share, to talk to give up resources, if necessary so that marketing can help me look good with my boss. Because often in the corporate world, that's what it's all about. So you've got to understand those motivations and align the big picture strategy, what the business is all about, talk that language, play it back to the senior level colleagues, use the language that they use, understand what the EBITDA target is, for example. Align around that, understand the verticals that we're focused on, of course, and work very hard on that internal communication. I don't believe you can over communicate within any kind of reasonable size, even some small size matrix structure, geographically distributed organisation.
[15:50] Mitchell Mackey And use the collaboration tools if you use something like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Commit to using those platforms, share, get common environments where you can effectively collaborate with digital tools and be seen as the evangelist but the practical step-by-step logical evangelists that's around driving revenue, driving income for the business in a meaningful way and can be putting up a credible marketing, return on marketing investment dashboard in meetings that everyone buys into. It is the numbers for that your campaigns to showing hey, we're not moving the needle, but at least you've got the numbers. And they're credible, disputes them.
[16:28] Mitchell Mackey And then everyone can galvanise around, well, how do we get these numbers heading north? How do we get the trend heading in the right direction? If you're open and transparent rather than saying hey, we did a great brand campaign, we generated XYZ number of leads but sales dropped the ball. Inside sales fell over, customer service screwed up. I mean, that's gonna get you nowhere. You've got the technology, hey OK, we may have generated X number of leads, but 99.9% of them failed to be come anywhere close to marketing qualified according to the grid criteria that we have with a sales organisation.
[16:59] Mitchell Mackey Clearly, marketing needs to do better. And so you start admitting that and acknowledging that, rather than saying, hey, we've run all these great campaigns and got account based marketing happening, for example, but it's not practically delivering, then you got a problem. And you just got to start small and realistically move the game down the field in the right direction, step by step. And then sometimes often, you need to go slow, initially. Build that coalition. Don't get too far out in front, get enough people behind you so you can then start to pick up speed and build momentum, and then you do move fast.
[17:59] Shahin Hoda Yeah, and on that note, I think, there was one person that once told me, he was talking about marketers and what helped him and he was like, do an MBA. Go and do an MBA. And I think what he was really trying to say, was simplify by saying doing an MBA, but what he was really trying to say was understand accounting, understand operation, understand all these nuances in business because in that situation, you can become a lot more, just like you said practical, I got to think we are in a lot of situations not practical. And organisational leaders, CEOs have seen it quite a lot in different organisations. And in past experiences where, you know, marketing says something, and he's like that, or she's like, that's fluffy. That's, you know, that's I've seen, I've heard that before. I don't think that's going to work and therefore, they shut it down. So I think that practicality and then second, getting an understanding of all these different departments, again, finance, operations, even sales. I mean, you know, it's fascinating,
[19:41] Mitchell Mackey absolutely.
[19:42] Shahin Hoda How many marketing people don't really talk to customer. You know, they don't talk. Yeah, they're trying to acquire them, but they don't talk to them. And I've seen some of the best marketers are those who have maybe sat in client calls or sorry, customer calls or prospect calls and they come back with so much insight from those conversations.
[20:08] Mitchell Mackey Absolutely. Yeah, you're right, go for ride alongs with the sales team, if you've got a field sales force, spend time on the phones, if you got a customer service center of some description, do whatever you can to broaden your understanding of the business, of the core functions. If you especially in the early days of your career, you know, get out into a sales role, get out into an operations role, you know, the best global multinationals of course, make a serious commitment to rotate the good people through the functions and that's invaluable. Of course, and then come back to marketing and then stake your claim to make a difference. Yes, get educated in the financial basics, of financial fundamentals if, if you've got the time and of course, the financial wherewithal to do a quality MBA, by all means. That's a serious commitment.
[21:01] Shahin Hoda But I don't think you need to do that. I mean, you know, there's just so many options out there right now.
[21:06] Mitchell Mackey Yes, low cost on it. Yes.
[21:09] Shahin Hoda Exactly, exactly. Okay.
[21:10] Mitchell Mackey Do a mini-MBA, do executive education in financial literacy that runs for, you know, Melbourne University Business School has a five-day financial literacy program for senior executives who are not financial executive people. Simple things like that don't require a huge commitment in terms of time and or money that can make a fundamental difference to how you engage and get respect with your senior colleagues.
[21:38] Shahin Hoda Absolutely. Or do a $50 course on Udemy, you know.
[21:41] Mitchell Mackey Absolutely. Udemy. Great. There's so much great content out there. Absolutely. Likewise, encourage your counterparts to do something similar to identify a great simple online training program, a self directed that you can encourage your senior colleagues. Hey, you're always complaining about you what marketing is doing and spending, etc, etc. Well, hey, guys, just don't take it from me. Here's just a little 10-hour course that's very visual and animated, and simple that'll help. And I'm doing this on your side.
[22:15] Shahin Hoda That's right. Now, we talked about internally, right?
[22:20] Mitchell Mackey Yes.
[22:21] Shahin Hoda What marketers need to really develop and build, what about talking externally? We've clearly talked about that to some degree where, you know, there needs to be a communication between different departments
[22:34] Mitchell Mackey Yes.
[22:35] Shahin Hoda But as a marketer, as a marketing leader, how do I need to communicate to the C-level and how do I need to, what does speaking their language mean?
[22:45] Mitchell Mackey It means, as I said earlier, understanding their objectives, their KPIs, and if it's the chief executive, for example, of the board, it's fundamentally the share price. What's gonna drive that number north? So and they might be in a quarterly cycle at a minimum here in Australia to half yearly reporting cycle, then you've got your annual results. So okay, how can you be seen as a contributor to directly enhancing those numbers that they have to report quarterly, half yearly, annually to the shareholders, to the investment community? How can you ensure that you're aligned with the strategy that's designed to drive those numbers in the right direction?
[23:24] Mitchell Mackey So playing back to the senior C-level guys, your understanding of the revenue target the EBITDA target these these two fundamental numbers in most companies, that at the top level, they're all striving to improve, and what are the actions? What are the tactics and strategies that have been agreed by the C-level by the board to get the company trending in the right direction?
[23:50] Mitchell Mackey So understanding that corporate speak and talking to the board members asking for time, asking for advice, getting insight, being seen as a trusted adviser, someone who's got something to contribute. So it's worth them giving a little of their time to you, to help you better understand the dynamics, putting your hand up for the game changing strategic initiatives that might be outside your immediate marketing portfolio but being saved to contribute beyond marketing is often very welcome and essential. That's fundamentally what you have to do and not not be afraid to ask for time, to say, hey, I need 30 minutes with you mister board member or Chairman or C-level colleague or a couple of levels below, respect the hierarchy, but reach up and ask for time and say, I want to understand how best I can help and contribute. I believe marketing should be doing XYZ, we need to be investing here and here, and here's my case work, does this work for you?
[24:56] Mitchell Mackey And then you'll get the feedback now. That's not sound. Go talk to the senior controller in finance and get his advice on how best to reshape your argument. This is about building that coalition being seen not as some lone wolf or person who is agitating out there on the sidelines, but part of the main game and you're building a coalition, you're building support, you're getting feedback, and then your campaign proposals, your marketing program, your marketing plan, for your rolling plan for the next 12-18-24 months is understood and is brought into and is supported. That's essential.
[25:32] Mitchell Mackey So then when I do have to think about hey, COVID hit, we have to cut back. Okay, does marketing take a 5% haircut, a 20% haircut, a 50% haircut. And if you've got that support, if you've got that understanding, marketing can make a fundamental difference, then you're far more likely to get a smaller cut than the bigger cut. And that makes all the difference in your ability then to deliver because as I said, if you're a large support, you know, I see you in the corporate sense. It's a negative cycle. You're not gonna deliver. And it's just going to reinforce the senior colleagues. Well, marketing's marginal, unfortunate.
[25:52] Shahin Hoda Yeah. And it's going to spiral out of control. Yeah, sure. It's great advice. When you say, just go and talk to people, a lot of these people are going to be open to talking to you. Because at the end of the day, everybody wants to move this organisation forward. Yeah, sure there's politics in there. And there are political elements that one needs to take into consideration. But at the end of the day, having those conversations not only builds, as you said, coalition, but also just informs you humongously, right? You absolutely get a picture into what these people are thinking, and how to go about it.
[26:43] Mitchell Mackey I mean, you get to read their body language, you get to see if they're leaning forward. Are they engaged? Are they distracted? Are they multitasking? Is what you're saying compelling? If it's not, then transparently asked for that advice and guidance. I think another key point to make is, especially with some of the younger marketers I've come across, some of them wanting to particular my team right now, she says to me, Mitchell, I don't like the politics, I just want to get the job done. I just want to do good. And I said, look, sorry, you've got to realise politics are everywhere. It's part of the human condition.
[27:14] Mitchell Mackey Big organisations, small organisations, the only difference is scale. But politics are everywhere to a degree and maintaining positive constructive chemistry between teams and inside teams is difficult and you have to always work at it. And politics is the art of the possible, you're not going to get stuff done if you don't have some awareness of the politics, of the motivational factors that people have, good and bad, and you need to navigate your way through that. It means mostly, you're not going to go on a straight line. You're going to have to go around in a few circles, you're going to have to build a foundation, you're going to have to sometimes go sideways or even backwards to go forward. And you just need to accept that if and get good at it. And if you don't like that if you truly, if that truly gets you thinking negatively, well then go work for yourself. Go.
[28:05] Shahin Hoda Go, start a company and then regret that sometimes.
[28:11] Mitchell Mackey Yes, of course. And that's a valid course for a lot of people. You know, on some people, you know, I know some quite amazing consultants who say essentially, in a corporate context, I'm unemployable. I can't play the game, I don't want to play the game. It doesn't mean you're deceitful. If you're playing a game if you're Machiavellian, although you'll always find those characters, of course, but it means you're just aware you're entering or were that, what's in it for me factor? Why should someone engage?
[28:39] Mitchell Mackey And yes, in an ideal culture, or close to ideal, everyone aligned around a common Northstar and moving forward with a degree of cohesion. But often that's not the case. We get fragile, we get confused. We get selfish, but you're getting a focus, building your own network and leveraging that effectively that didn't get you the respect, gets you the state of the table, gets you invited, gets you promoted, enables you to make a difference, a fundamental difference.
[29:06] Shahin Hoda That makes the organisation better for sure. Now, this has been an amazing conversation, and I really enjoy it. There's been a lot of great points that you've raised here. Do you think there is any question or any point that you think I haven't brought up or you think it's valuable for us to talk about before we wrap this up?
[29:25] Mitchell Mackey So I talked about those numbers as results. That, in particular, publicly listed businesses, really any businesses need to be focused on the numbers, but I really want to see the day where a board, a chief executive, a chairman is standing up and sharing the fact that marketing has made a difference. And I tell you one simple indicator that they're saying, we know that our addressable market for our product and or service is, let's say 500,000 accounts or 2 million customers in Australia, in whatever market/region we competed, we understand that this is the addressable market.
[30:04] Mitchell Mackey And that means and added, let's say 500,000 accounts that we play in our game in our industry that were addressable to us. We have 125,000 unique account records in our platform. And we are fundamentally a platform business. And those 125,000 unique accounts, use the word unique deliberately. They are unique. They're not duplicates, not replicates. And that is a core resource for us that we are leveraging. We know the profitability of each of those accounts of those segments of the verticals in that pool that have account customers in our database, and that's a huge asset.
[30:43] Mitchell Mackey And the investment community asks about the quality and substance of that account customer database, and it's credible and in the marketing scene as a huge driver and owner of that customer database. It's a fundamental asset. So while they're also talking about capex investments in factories and expansion plans that they may have into new products, they're also saying, hey, we are focused on the customer. We know how many unique customers we should be targeting.
[31:14] Mitchell Mackey We know we lost X number of them in the past 12 months, and that we've gained a wide number of them. And we understand to a far greater degree than we ever had before why those two things happened. We're driving retention, we're cutting back on churn and marketing is fundamental to that mission. We are truly pivoting around the customer we're delivering a smooth flow value, we understand the friction points with minimising that marketing again, it's helping with that marketing is the chief accountable customer organisation in our business, reaching out across end-to-end and making a fundamental difference and and I'm heading over now to our chief customer marketing growth officer and he/she is elaborating further on the success we're achieving here.
[31:59] Shahin Hoda I love that. That is, we're going to end on a high note. So that was great. No, I think that was very valuable what you just mentioned there and being very numbers focused.
[32:15] Mitchell Mackey Yes.
[32:15] Shahin Hoda And driving that. I know some leaders talk about, you know, brand and kind of performance, and they know in the organisation say, Hey, you got to have a brand bucket that's very hard to track and it's very difficult.
[32:27] Mitchell Mackey Yes.
[32:27] Shahin Hoda But then there is going to be a bucket that you're going to focus on performance and, and driving sales and all that. And it's going to be very numbers focused. But what you just summarise there is an amazing way of looking at it and going about communicating with the company.
[32:42] Mitchell Mackey Absolutely. You got to get the balance, right. And if you're not on top of the numbers, you've left and right brain is not working together, you're not on top of the numbers, you won't have the respect and resources to do the brand building stuff that you need to do. That's a big picture stuff that's somewhat harder to quantify than, hey, we ran a campaign and generated XYZ leads and X percent of them converted ultimately to close one opportunities. And the Account-Based Marketing strategies working because of A, B, and C, but we need the brand building to make, to generate the awareness to get the Account Based Marketing activity really clicking in.
[33:14] Shahin Hoda Absolutely
[33:15] Mitchell Mackey And that's focus.
[33:16] Shahin Hoda Mitchell, and you gotta prioritise. That's right. You heard it here. Mitchell, thank you very much. This has been a great conversation, just like I anticipated. And just like always, it's always a pleasure to have you on some form of our some medium of ours, whether it's webinars, or events, or podcasts. So thanks all for joining us.
[33:39] Mitchell Mackey Thank you. It's been a privilege to engage. Thank you for your fantastic question, Shahin. Thank you.
[33:44] Shahin Hoda No. Absolute pleasure. Now before we actually leave, if anybody has more question, want to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to go about it?
[33:53] Mitchell Mackey They're welcome to go to my small marketing blog, mitchellmackey.com.au or they can simply send me an email, go to my LinkedIn profile. My contact details are there, click an email and I will absolutely respond. Happy to engage, you always learn when you do that.
[34:09] Shahin Hoda Sounds great. Sounds great, Mitchell. Thank you so much.
[34:19] Mitchell Mackey Thank you, mate.