Russ Roberts on how economics can help marketing and modern life lessons from historical economists – MAF167


On the show this week is my guest Russ Roberts, an economist, author and rapper.

We talk about how economic theory can help marketers simplify messages for their customers, writing fiction to teach economic theory and the modern life lessons we can learn from Adam Smith .

Welcome to episode 167  of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Russ Roberts on how economics can help marketing and modern life lessons from historical economists - MAF167

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How Russ became interested in economics
  • Why making assumptions can help marketers make things simpler
  • How economics influences the marketing process
  • What inspired Russ’s novels – fiction that teaches economic theory
  • What Adam Smith can teach us about living in the world today
  • Why empathy is important to humanity

Who is Russ Roberts?

Russ trained as an economist at University of Chicago. He’s always had an interest in non-economic stuff, which has led his career down varied paths. He’s created rap videos, an animated poem and written three novels that teach economics through fiction and dialogue.

Russ became a podcaster in 2006.  He says this is the most interesting thing he does with his time.

He’s now a Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and has just written a book, “How Adam Smith can Change Your Life.”

He tries to make economics interesting and accessible to a non-academic audience.

Summary of our chat

Russ found he was good at economics. As he studied it became fascinated with its puzzle-like nature and the way pieces fit together. He says that when it’s properly taught, economics is less about mathematics and more about philosophy, psychology and human nature. The dryer side is less interesting and effective, even though it’s what serious economists do.

People make fun of economists because they make a lot of assumptions. But assumptions help us to understand the complex world and grapple with the richness of life. People aren’t all the same, but marketers can benefit from using assumptions to look at price and supply and demand. Marketers can learn from economic models to help them simplify the world.

Econometrics is the application of statistical methods to economic problems. There’s a lot of that in marketing, although it’s imperfect. It’s an attempt to hold certain things constant, such as in an advertising campaign or price changes. Despite the flaws, you can still learn from it and apply it to marketing for the benefit of customers.

In the early 1990s, Russ was worried about the trade situation in the US, particularly Japan taking over industries. He wanted to look at how trade allows us to flourish. This led to his first novel – a dialogue between an American executive and David Ricardo, the English economist. He wrote fiction to teach economic theory.

19th century economist Adam Smith is most famous for, “The Wealth of Nations”. But his other book, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”, is more interesting for today’s audience. It’s an attempt to understand human nature, self-interest, and why we care about others. Russ’s book takes Smith’s view of humanity and spins out lessons for the 21st century.

Smith argues that trade encourages us to be empathetic, because if we want to be successful we have to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes. We care about how people perceive us and want to earn their respect. One application of this is how products make us feel a part of something and allow us to express status.

A marketing campaign or product that grabbed Russ’s attention

Russ says he has a handful of products which are so pleasant to interact with that they dwarf their equivalents from 10 and 20 years ago. For instance, Spotify gives access to incredible music in the car and at home, which is such a delight but something that’s not captured by its marketing campaigns.

Russ’s book recommendation

Russ doesn’t read a lot of business books, because most of them are telling us things we already know. Sometimes they can fool people into thinking they can’t learn from latest trends. This is a deep misunderstanding of why we read and take in the world. Sometimes reading about things we already know reminds us about them. otherwise we might forget when it matters most.

He’s a big fan of author Nasim Taleb, and Fooled by Randomness is an extended essay on how the world is random, and full of risks.

Links and contact details

Read Russ’s Book – How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.

Watch Russ’s economics rap video

If you enjoyed – Russ Roberts on how economics can help marketing and modern life lessons from historical economists – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

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Robin Powell on evidence-based investing and content marketing in financial services – MAF166


My guest this week is Robin Powell, a journalist and content marketer.

We talk about how he set up an agency to help financial services professionals with their content marketing, and how he became interested in evidence-based investing, the approach often forgotten in the debate between active and passive investing.

Welcome to episode 166 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Robin Powell on evidence-based investing and content marketing in financial services - MAF166

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How content marketing can help those working in financial services
  • The process Robin uses to create a content strategy for clients
  • Which people inspire Robin
  • Why Robin thinks video is the king of content
  • How Robin got into evidence-based investing
  • How evidence-based investing works
  • Evidence-based investing versus active investing and passive investing

Who is Robin Powell?

Robin’s background is journalism. He worked mostly in broadcast TV on news and current affairs, producing award-winning documentaries. He also worked on politics shows for BBC and Sky.

Feeling the industry was ageist, he left to set up a consultancy and stumbled across financial advice by chance when working with his first client, a wealth management company. Although Robin’s content marketing consultancy doesn’t exclusively produce finance content, it is their area of expertise.

His interest in content marketing came from following emerging trends in the TV industry, and becoming fascinated and energised by the disruptions that technology brought.

Summary of our chat

Robin believes content marketing is the only form of marketing that still works.

But it can take time. However, Robin says it’s key because it’s your message, values and philosophy and what sets your business apart. Nobody else will tell your story.  You need content to share your message. Content marketing lets financial services professionals to show their expertise.

To create a content strategy, Robin helps financial professional clients find ways to stand out. This is a challenge in a crowded marketplace. Each company needs to identify their unique selling point. It’s important to manage expectations and show that content marketing is the long game, not an immediate fix.

Robin has been inspired by financial bloggers creating valuable content in the US. The biggest investment blog is by Barry Ritholtz. He’s built an entire advisory firm around content by hiring advisers who can blog for him. It can be a lonely place, but Robin says finding a niche and being consistent helps to build an audience.

Robin says evidence shows video is a powerful way to get a message across. The combination of seeing and hearing a person makes them more believable. Search engines love videos as long as they’re properly optimised. They’re an effective way to drive traffic to business websites.

A wealth management company approached Robin to make a documentary about investments. When he carried out research in preparation for the shoot, to his surprise, he found a lot of investing, even by professionals, is based on theories, hunches and behavioural biases. This is not what people expect is the case.

The evidence shows that professional money managers, who are actively trying to beat the market, usually fail to do so, once you factor in the fees you pay for them, as this cancels out any profit.

Academic research shows that active investing is a loser’s game. And yet it’s still the default approach. Evidence-based investing is making decisions on academic evidence,  produced using robust statistical analysis, is independent, peer-reviewed and time-tested. What the industry does rarely meets these criteria.

Index funds (or passive investing) are cheap and do what they say on the tin, so you know what you’re getting.

A marketing campaign or product Robin loves

There’s a tendency to make content too intellectual, but people’s buying decisions are based on emotions, so the key is to move people in some way. Robin says he’s been impressed by 10X Investments in South Africa, who employed a well-known TV comedian to produce a series of videos showing how ridiculous it is that people give away their wealth. They’re funny, but each tells a story and makes an important point.

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Robin Powell on evidence-based investing and content marketing in financial services – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

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Alex Cameron on the 3 key themes from Social Media Marketing World 2018 – MAF165

In this episode, Alex Cameron returns to the show.

Alex is my honorary US correspondent providing us with insights and ideas from marketing and social media across the pond.

Just back from attending the massive Social Media Marketing World Conference in San Diego, Alex shares with us the 3 key themes from the many keynotes and workshops.

Welcome to episode 165 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Alex Cameron on the 3 key themes from Social Media Marketing World 2018 - MAF165

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • How the recent changes to Twitter, which forbid duplicate content, will affect your marketing
  • Feedback on the Social Media Marketing World conference overall
  • Facing the big blue elephant in the room – Facebook
  • Are chat bots the future of customer conversations or do people still prefer real humans?
  • How and when to use influencers in your marketing

What we talked about

Alex talks about what she’s been up to in the last year. Launching a new coaching business as well as writing and launching a couple of business books.

Since the Social Media Marketing World conference, Twitter have changed their rules to forbid duplicate content. Alex’s response to this is, “Thank you!” Sometimes marketers ruin things. Twitter is social media not selling media and the new rules should stop the excessive broadcasting and return the platform to being a two way conversation.

Facebook introduced a change to their algorithm back in January 2018 to pull back on the amount of business content people see in their feeds. Alex talks about Social Media Marketing World’s CEO, Mike Stelzner’s keynote where he says we must focus on live video, episodic content and deeper and longer conversations to get reach.

Many companies are using chat-bots to talk to customers. But will this be a rerun of some of the customer service disasters we experienced when companies took their call centres offshore? People want to talk to humans so how far should we go with chat-bots?

And finally should you use influencers in your marketing. As always it should be driven by your strategy. But Alex talks about using influencers as a figure head for a video campaign if your own people are nervous about appearing behind the camera.

Who is Alex Cameron?

Alex is a Social Media Coach from San Diego California. She runs two companies, Signature Social Consulting and Convert More Leads Academy.

With a background in the hospitality industry, she loves empowering her clients with the knowledge and direction they need to succeed in the world of digital marketing and social media.

Alex’s Book

Just published, Alex’s book looks at strategies from the world’s most successful business coaches.

Links:

If you enjoyed – Alex Cameron on the 3 key themes from Social Media Marketing World 2018  – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

Don’t miss an episode of the MAF Podcast – subscribe now.

Subscribe on iTunes

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