min to LISTEN
April 1, 2020

A F*ck-You-COVID-19 Special With Thoughts, Advice, & Resources

Louis Grenier
Louis Grenier
Everyone Hates Marketers

In this episode, I'm sharing how I'm dealing with the ongoing crisis as a human being and as a marketer, how you can do the same, and resources to help along the way.

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I've decided to give you some pointers to help you navigate the unknown.


Full transcript:

Bonjour, bonjour and welcome to another episode of Everyone Hates Marketers.com. This is a rather special episode with everything that's going on right now. Took me a while to actually digest everything and decide whether or not I waned to record an episode for you right now to give, not really advice, but some pointers, and basically to tell you how I'm handling things right now, what I'm planning to do, what I've done already and all of that.

So yeah, how I'm approaching the next few weeks, the next few months, and hopefully that should help you as well. Stay until the end, I'm offering some help if you need it. You can skip all the way to the end if you feel overwhelmed right now as a marketer, or just as a person. If you need to talk to someone, I'm here for you if you need to, if you need to talk.

So I hope everything is going well for you and your family. I'm a bit afraid. I'm not afraid to admit that. Everyone is. We are living in times that are very special should I say, so it's kind of difficult to focus, right? I mean, I've talked to a lot of you, and you are probably one of them. You probably are struggling a bit to focus right now with everything that is going on. It's kind of tough to find the rhythm in your day-to-day.

Me, personally, I'm very lucky. My wife and I moved to a new house recently and we are settled. I'm working from home, so this doesn't have an impact on me, but I know that you might not be in the same situation so do everything you can to stay safe, stay safe for you and your family.

I think this time is going to be remembered in the history books, that fellow students in 20 years, 25, 30 years, will be asked to remember the date when the this has happened. And yeah, however you feel is normal, right? If you feel overwhelmed, that's perfectly normal. There's a lot going on, so don't feel bad for that. Don't feel bad even if you see other people online posting about the fact that they are nailing this time and it's a huge opportunity for everyone. It's okay if you feel a bit overwhelmed, it's okay if you don't have as much productivity as you used to.

So yeah, I want to give some pointers on how I'm approaching things as a human being first of all, how I'm approaching things as a marketer second, and then I'm going to give you some resources that I've created, and finally offering some help for you should you need it.

So whether you want to talk to me directly, I'll be having weekly office hours from now on, for free obviously. And then I would also be answering your questions on a regular basis if you want to send me questions.

And then finally, I'm going to publish a full transcript of this episode with links and all of that, so you don't need necessarily to take all the notes because it's going to be available on EveryoneHatesMarketers.com.

How am I approaching things as a human being first of all. The one thing I need to remind myself, and really need to remind you is that my value is beyond my economic value, and your value is beyond your economic value. I mean, in today's age it's easy to associate you as a job. You as a person is a marketer and therefore this is who you are, but that's not the case, right? So you're worth way beyond your economic worth, and that's something you need to kind of remember, right?

So if you are out of work right now, if you can't work and all of that, it's a tough situation for sure, but there are things beyond that that are more important. So I would say as much as possible, I'm trying to focus on things that are within my control. Staying off the news as much as possible, staying off social media as much as possible. I don't use Facebook anymore, I don't use Instagram anymore, but it's been a long time. I only use Twitter and LinkedIn, and I'm trying to remove as much as possible the news around the COVID-19 by filtering them out.

Obviously I'm following recommendations. That's something I can control, with social distancing and all of that. I'm based in Ireland by the way, so when I've recorded these episodes, there is obviously some strict rules in place around that.

Then I can control my attitude, I can control the way I think about stuff, the way I react to things, the way I reach out to my friends, to my family, and then I can control my routine, and the process that I have every day. I'm a rather kind of an anxious person normally, so it's kind of a blessing to have a routine, whether it's inside the house or outside. I used to go to the gym every three or four days, going to jujitsu as well and I can't do that anymore, but I'm doing home workouts. I'll give you more details on that.

And then the things I cannot control, or things I'm trying to let go of. The things that others do is something I cannot control. How they react to things is something I can't control, how long this whole thing will last is impossible to predict, so something I can't really control.

It reminds me actually of this story from this prisoner of war who stayed in a cell for, God, I don't know how many years, and survived and actually was able to give some pointers about how he managed to handle everything. And the thing that saved him he said was to not have an end date in mind to say, "Oh, I'll be liberated by Christmas, or I'll be liberated by Easter," and instead just focusing on day after day, because it can be very overwhelming and almost a very tough time if you expect something to happen and it doesn't happen. So again, it's easy for me to say from an outside perspective, but I just wanted to give you this piece of, not advice but maybe wisdom if I can.

By the way, before I move on, I'm recording this episode from my own home office. And actually, I'm recording this on Tuesday, 24th of March. So I'm publishing this episode just the day after I'm recording this episode, so I can help you as fast as fast as possible as well.

So in term of how I'm approaching this as a human being, the first thing I've focused on is my home workouts routines, so making sure I have resources in place to do so. I'm working out either early morning. For example, this morning I didn't because I wanted to record this episode. Or during lunchtime.

I'm using a site called Darebee.com, D-A-R-E-B-E-E.com. There are free workouts and programs. Everything is free. I'm starting a program right now, so I'm working out every day trying to go on runs if I can. At the minute in Ireland we can still go outside to do that, and I think in other countries as well, they let you do a bit.

I'm catching up with my friends, family, so I'm calling them more often than the normal. Just talked to my dad yesterday for example, playing video games with my siblings, as well online to try to connect with them to some level. So we are trying to kind of catch up with them this way.

Then doing fun stuff. I mean, me and my wife would watch a lot of TV shows, stupid TV shows and movies. I think it's good to be able to chill during those times. And I'll give you some fun stuff to watch, or at least the things we watch, at the end of this episode as well.

So yeah, as a human being, this is kind of the thing we should not forget, although we are in difficult times, it doesn't mean that we can't stop having fun in some ways and keeping the routine. So that's what I'm trying to keep doing.

In term of mental health, obviously the workouts help, and talking to friends and family help and all of that, but the other thing I'm doing at the minute is I have a coach, I'm talking to a coach almost every week. At the minute I'm focusing more on doing exactly this, which is be more present, not being afraid to show up, and not being afraid to give advice.

So at least I'll try to help people and to give my perspective on things, something I'm struggling a bit, because when I interview guests it's easier for me to lean on their knowledge, but actually doing it on my own and actually sharing my knowledge is something I'm struggling a bit. I'm feeling that it's maybe not something you want to hear, or maybe something you've heard before, so I have this kind of impostor syndrome kicking in, which is very weird because I don't have impostor syndrome. I don't really feel it at work or when I interview people. But yeah, those moments where I feel a bit vulnerable are kind of difficult.

So I'm talking to a coach right now. So if you have the financial means to do so, do keep investing in your mental health and whatever is difficult for you right now. A few years ago, I struggled a lot with my anxiety, so I did talk to someone for a long time and it helped a lot, so I would advise you to do so.

If you cannot afford it, or if you feel overwhelmed, you don't really know where to start, again, I'm offering free office hours, every week now for the time being. If you want to talk about anything really, I'm here for you. All you need to do is send me an email, louis@ehmarketers.wpengine.com, and in the episode article on the website I'll also have a Calendly link where you can book it directly. But for now you can just email me. You go on the website and you can find my email there as well. Don't be afraid to do so. I genuinely mean it. If you need some help, I'm here for you.

And then finally, what I'm doing is I'm lucky enough to be in a good financial position right now. I've been working for Hotjar for the last three years and been careful with my finances, lucky enough to still be able to work. My wife as well. So I've been donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Association in France.

One of my younger siblings has cystic fibrosis and it's a genetic disease that affects our lungs in particular. So obviously, as you can guess, with what's going on right now this is a rather difficult time for him,. Making sure that he stays safe and all that, so I've been donating 500 euro to the association.

Now, I know I just mentioned that. I don't mean that in a kind of virtue signaling way. I'm not trying to just feel good about myself, but telling you that I've donated it's more to encourage you to do the same. So if you have anyone in your family or friends who struggle at the minute, or if you want to just donate to help what's going on right now, there are plenty of different ways you can do so. So don't be afraid to donate, and let me know if you've done so. It would be great to see everyone collaborating with each other and participating into this. So that's the summary of how I'm approaching it as a human being should I say.

Now, if you don't feel like talking about work, if you don't feel like talking marketing, whether you're a business owner, whether you're a marketer, in-house marketer, whether you want to become a marketer, whether you're a freelancer, a marketing freelancer, a marketing consultant, that's perfectly fine. You don't need to hear the next few minutes where I'm going to talk more about marketers. It's perfectly fine not to have the mental capacity to think about work, marketing, anything like that. So don't feel bad about it. And if you don't feel like it, don't listen to the next few minutes. You can skip to the end in term of resources and how I want to help you if you need help.

Having said that, moving on to as a marketer. I'm lucky enough to still be able to work. Hotjar is a software as a service product, so we are still able to sell our product online, and there are still companies reaching out to buy it and to use it, so I'm still working, almost business as usual from home.

So you won't be surprised, as a longtime listener, the one thing I would say, the one thing I'm practicing right now is focusing on things that won't change. Some people out there will tell you that everything is changing right now. To some extent it's true. Things are changing, but there are things that are not changing.

The way human beings are, the way we think do where we react to things has been the same for millennia, so don't feel the need necessarily to change everything you're doing. If you focus on what won't change, your customers, doing good research, having a good strategy in place which allows you to focus on what to focus on and what not to focus on, you should be able to navigate those times to a certain extent.

The next thing, the one thing I'm really doing as a marketer right now is doubling down on focusing on our best customers. So I've done research at a Hotjar in the past in term of understanding who are our ideal customer profile, that those people tend to sell, their business is selling online to consumers, so they are a specific category of businesses, until those people we know are more likely to stay with us, are more likely to use us and all of that.

So from research that we've done in the past, we know that, so this is something that we are doubling down on. Helping them out, making sure that we reach out to them, making sure we understand whether they are struggling right now, trying to produce content that helps them, training them. And also continuing advertising and marketing obviously with empathy in mind, making sure that we understand what they're going through, but not being afraid to as well to double down on offering a product that could help them in this day and age.

So that's kind of what I would really recommend you as well, is don't be afraid to reach out to those best customers and to customers in general obviously, but to your best customers in particular. Ask them how you can help them, and adjust to the new reality.

So obviously depending on the industry you're in, things would be traumatically different. You might not be in a position to work at all right now. And if so, the advice I'm giving you are kind of not super relevant right now obviously, but if you are and if you can still make some efforts... not efforts, but see if you can still contribute and do some work, you need to adjust to the new reality, which is like, as you know, people are working from home, the online business side of things, online ordering is kind of exploding. There's a lot of people buying stuff and getting them delivered at home. Everyone is exercising at home, obviously there's no travel, no events anymore. So what does that mean for your customers? They obviously still have problems and struggle with stuff. How can you help them differently?

So this is what I would really recommend you, looking back at surveys you've sent, or interviews you've done it and trying to understand how those problems that they had before are still very much here, and how you can solve them differently today. So don't necessarily jump on the bandwagon on all of the other companies that do virtual events. That may not be the answer. Maybe there's something better you can do for them. But again, don't be afraid to reach out to them, especially nowadays.

The other thing I'm focusing on is really making sure that we know what to do and what not to do. And this is a simple concept, or feels simple but actually very complex in marketing, because we have the tendency to try to do everything. So trying to really have a clear strategy, especially nowadays without a lot of resources, it's more important than ever to have a very, very strong sense of what you want to focus on and what you don't want to focus on.

That means that you will very likely have to let go of a lot of things. You will very likely have to cut some costs, very lucky have to refocus your energy on something specific. So it's maybe time to look at the channels that you want to invest in, the channels that have been working, that are working still today, or the channels that are not working at all.

Me, personally, we are focusing our attention a lot on our top five countries, or traffic visitors coming to our website from our top five countries in term of the number of sign-ups they generates, the number of customer they generate, trying to really focus our attention on improving the experience for them. And in return we know that the experience will be better for everyone. But really doubling down on those geography...

There is two books that come to mind for this to reread or to read, is Good Strategy Bad Strategy. Very, very, very good book on actually a strategy, how to be the real strategy and, I don't use this word lightly, right? The strategy is a specific set of activities that you do in order to know where to focus your attention on. So this this book is very good for that.

The other book that comes to mind is The 1‑Page Marketing Plan. Again, it allows you to have a very clear strategy with a set of tactics to focus on. So yeah, now it's time more than ever to really, really double down on focusing on what works and letting go of what doesn't, being leaner and all of that.

It doesn't mean though that whatever position you're in, it doesn't mean that you need to stop marketing. It doesn't mean that you need to stop selling. Obviously, you want to be very cautious of what's happening depending on your customers. Maybe most of them are not in the mood right now to buy whatsoever, or not in a position to do so. So you need to be aware of that. Empathy is the number one thing here. But if they are, if they're still buying, if your product is still something that is useful in this time, then do not be afraid to sell, because your product or service should help them.

I've come across a very, very interesting framework recently in researching all of these, researching for this episode. I'm going to send you the link again to this article once I publish the article on the website, but I found it on the CXL blog, and it's actually from a Harvard business review article from 11 years ago. It's a simple enough framework to think about things in this day and age, but in general as well, which is very interesting.

So imagine a graph with a horizontal axis and the vertical axis. Each graph you split in four. So the horizontal axis is split in four and the vertical axis is split in four. And therefore, in the middle of it, at the intersection of each, creates 16 different boxes in a sense.

So your horizontal axis is basically split in four. It's essential products, treat products, postponable products and expandable products. So essential products are anything that are absolutely essential to live a decent flow. So we can think of electricity, internet, food, clothes, things like that.

Treats would be things that are not so essential but are still very much something that you are used to buying. So whether you're in a business, or just a person, you can think of those things that you tend to buy as a treat when you have money, but that you might not buy if things are very tough. And then the more you go on, the more you go to those products that are not super essential should I say.

And then the vertical axis is also split in four, but this time it's actually split in term of psychographics, so in term of behavior of people during a time of crisis. Let me just retrieve it here because I thought I had it in my notes, but I actually don't.

So the four categories are the slam on the brakes people, so those people are just like, when things are happening right now it's going to be they need to reduce cost, so they're looking at everything that are not essentials, or some treats, and they removed the rest.

Then you have the pain but patient, so those ones that will seek out favorite brands at lower prices, might be settle for cheaper less preferred alternative, they might still stock up on good deals as well for the essential. For the treats, they will cut back, somewhat on frequency and quantity and emphasize value. Then from the personal level, they might actually delay major purchase, repair rather than replace, et cetera, et cetera.

And then the last two categories are the comfortably well off. So they will continue to buy essential products as normal, they might be a bit more selective on luxury items, they will seek better quality for the price et cetera, et cetera.

And then finally, the live for today people. They continue to buy essentials, continue to buy treats, and then they might be a bit more peaky for the postponable expendable.

And the reason why I want to give you this framework as we're thinking about what's going on is it's whatever your product, whatever your service, you will fall into one of those four categories. Is it are you selling an essential product, a treat product, postponable, expendable?

And depending on what you're selling, your strategy, we'll have to change. If you're selling an essential item, and if people can find it still nowadays, if they can still order it online, chances are that you might not see a massive impact, right? But if your product can be seen as an essential or treat or postponable depending on who's buying, then this is when things are getting tricky.

For Hotjar as a software, we know that basically large businesses selling online to consumers, e-commerce, like large e-commerce companies, very well see Hotjar as an essential product. So we know that we need to obviously keep showing up, keep giving them a good product, but they are likely, likely, obviously we don't know that for sure, but they are likely to keep buying Hotjar.

But on the other hand, if people consider Hotjar to be a postponable or a treat, it's not that essential in their life, that might be smaller businesses or start-ups, then they are very likely to want to reduce cost or eliminate it entirely. So they might be looking for alternatives, or they might just be looking for discounts and stuff like that.

So this is a good way for you to think about your marketing strategy. This is a very, very good framework to do so, because it kind of gives you some direction to handle the next few weeks and few months.

But overall, my advice here and this is the advice I'm giving myself as much as I'm giving you, is to not panic. If you've developed a very strong position against your competitive alternative and your competition, I would go... and let's say you have a premium brand, you have good prices, don't necessarily just discount everything right now straight away. They might be different strategies.

There are famous cases of companies that just created a lower cost product separated from their main brands, to handle what's going on right now, like a similar crisis, so therefor they reap the rewards of being able to sell a cheaper product for people who need it right now, but without diminishing their actually brand equity and the brand value. So don't panic and really take the time to understand your customer and where you fall into this framework.

The other advice I'm giving myself as a marketer, and that I'm giving to you as well, is to be more present. In this difficult time, it is more important than ever to show up, to show up for your employees, for your people, for your colleagues, for your customers, more important than ever just to understand what they are going through, and just to show up to help them.

And it's perfectly okay for you, if you feel like it, to show up online, to produce content, YouTube videos, podcasts, articles, because people are spending time online, and even though some of them might not be in the mood right now to read stuff, a lot of them will be,

Now, if you don't feel that you are in the mood to do so right now, then again, that's perfectly fine. You don't have to, but that's something I want to do more of. I want to help you more, and I feel like there's a lot of stuff from the last three years of episodes that could be helpful in this day and age, hence why I'm telling you this.

And then finally, it's very much linked to the past few stuff I mentioned, but do good. Don't be afraid to go beyond your role as a marketer and understand, okay, how can we help? There seems to be a trend right now of a lot of companies actually producing for example hydroalcoholic gel for hospitals and all of that, a few luxury companies actually switched their focus to produce them instead of producing perfume and stuff like that. Some other companies are doing 3D printing equipment for medical purposes. What can you do to help out? Is there anything you can do in your company to help out?

The wheel of business needs to keep turning as far as possible. Obviously there are some countries that are preventing any nonessential business to be open. That's perfectly understandable and fine, but if you are able to work from home, if you are in a position to do that, or if you are in a country right now that doesn't have those restrictions, then I believe that at least the wheels of business needs to keep turning, and the best way to support people in their job is actually to keep advertising, if you are able to, to keep repeating your value proposition and positioning, if you're able to, so that people buy your products so you can support your colleagues and employees and vice versa, so that you can also have the resources to invest in other people's services and products.

So now is not the time to stop everything. Now is the time to obviously look at everything, make sure that you cut the cost that needs to be, but also focusing on your customers to try and understand how you can help them as a human being, as a person, and be more engaged so you can lead by example.

So those are my thoughts. That's what I'm doing right now as a human being, as a marketer. Now I want to share with you a few resources. Again, those resources I'm going to post them in the article on the website, probably on the day when this episode is going to be live, but I'll also send a message email with everything there.

In term of resources, if you' are in the mood to learn more about marketing, which I think is a good time if you can to double down on learning, on catching up on on those principles that I've talked about and the concept that I've talked about, it's a good time to learn more and to improve your CV and to improve your knowledge.

So in term of training, the CXL Institute is a very, very good place for anything marketing and growth related. I think they're offering a few mini degrees for free to certain people. The referrals program is a growth-oriented program as well. Very advanced, but I've heard a lot of good things. A lot of my colleagues have been through it.

Obviously, the free Google Analytics, Google AdWords certification, as well as HubSpot. They have a lot of good stuff. The mini MBA in marketing by Mark Ritson from Marketing Week. Very, very good stuff on branding, positioning in particular. Everything that Seth Godin does. I keep following what he does. I know he has a few workshops and stuff like that at the minute so do follow it.

[inaudible 00:29:39] offers a free... actually they used to charge, the [inaudible 00:29:49] Academy to learn more about SEO and content marketing, but now it's actually for free. Then you have Andre Chaperon's product, one of them being the Autoresponder Madness. Those are paid products, but very, very, very good products on email marketing in particular and how to build relationships online, and how to seel your services online and stuff like that. So that's in term of training.

In term of books, going to give you the top five right now in term of the number of times this has been mentioned on the podcast.

Influence by Robert Cialdini. [inaudible 00:30:26] on Advertising. Purple Cow by Seth Godin, and The Brain Audit by Sean D'Souza, and then Sapiens, which is not a marketing book but I think it's a very, very, interesting book on humans in general.

And then, as I promised, in term of fun stuff and on fiction, things that are completely unrelated to marketing but I think it's important this day and age to have a bit of fun. We are watching right now The Loudest Voice in the Room, which is a documentary about the CEO of Fox News. Very, very good acting by Russell Crowe on that, and there's a lot of principles of marketing recognized throughout the series. So definitely check that out.

The Tiger King is true crime/weird documentary right now on Netflix. Do watch it. I didn't know that many crazy shit could happen in the small world of exotic animal in the US. Very, very, very crazy documentary.

Anything by David Attenborough, you know, Blue Planet and all of that, good way to chill and relax watching animal and nature documentaries.

In term of very silly stuff that makes me switch thinking, Impractical Jokers on True TV is something I like to watch. Don't judge me. It's like hidden camera shows with four guys who know each other from high school. Very funny stuff, at least for me.

And then lastly, I've been obviously a huge fan of Breaking Bad, but Better Call Saul is I will say very, very, very good as well, on Netflix. Excellent acting and I love the story. Yeah, big fan of this show.

So these are the five things I'm watching right now. Again, I'll share more stuff in the email and in the article, but for now that's what I have.

And then finally, how I can help you and how I want to help you. If you feel overwhelmed, so if you've listened to this episode and in general if you're overwhelmed with what's going on, or you just want to talk, then send me an email or reply to the email I'm going to send. In the email I'm sending, and in the article I'll post the link to my Calendly where you can actually schedule a call with me. So more than happy to have a call with you and listen to you and see how we can solve things together.

If you are a marketer in-house marketer or a freelancer and you want help for your marketing strategy, if you don't know really where to focus your attention on, what to focus on, what not to focus on, where to invest your resources, how you should talk to your customer, again, I'm also available if you need help on marketing strategy in particular. You can send me an email at louis@ehmarketers.wpengine.com. Go to the website, you can send me an email there, or I'll also post the Calendly and you can book it there.

And then finally, if you have specific questions that you are happy for me to answer publicly, so if you send me a question over email and want me to answer, I'll probably record it in another episode with my answer. But yeah. Don't be afraid to reach out. I'm here to help you. If you have any problems whatsoever, or you're struggling with anything, I'm here. So don't be afraid to do it. Again, I'm repeating myself but I know it's important in these times to help each other.

So yeah, again, that was kind of a rather special episode, but I felt the need to record it. I hope you got value out of it. If you have any feedback, any questions whatsoever, you know where to find me, I mentioned that a few times already.

I will keep publishing an episode every week. That's not going to change. There are more interviews to come, very interesting episodes coming up. And yeah, let's keep fighting. We will get through this together. We don't know when, but we will. And let's help each other, all right?

So again, reach out if you need any help. Take care and see you next week.