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Measure What Matters - A Podcast for Marketers: Audience Growth in The Age of Distraction with Laura Andriani, Head of Audience Development at DAZN

August 21, 2020
Charlie Grinnell
in
Podcasts 🎧

Measure What Matters – A Podcast for Marketers is where we talk with B2C/D2C marketing leaders about their decision-making process in a business function that is constantly evolving. They share their point of view on marketing, business trends, and the lessons that they’ve learned about how to better navigate the changing landscape. Join us if you’re ready to learn how to better focus on measuring what matters when it comes to your marketing efforts.

On this episode, we spoke with Laura Andriani, Head of Audience Development at DAZN. Laura discusses the intersection of art and science in audience marketing, how to go deeper with your audience, and how to use data to better understand the preferences of your audience.

You can listen to Measure What Matters – A Podcast for Marketers wherever you get your podcasts — including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Tune In, iHeartRadio, and Pocket Casts.

Here's a full transcript of my conversation with Laura:

Charlie Grinnell: On this episode, I'm joined by Laura Andriani, Head of Audience Development at DAZN. Thanks for joining me today, Laura.

Laura Andriani: Thank you for having me, Charlie.

Charlie Grinnell: So I usually open these episodes by going back to the beginning to provide some context for our audience, and your background is fascinating to me. We met on LinkedIn and when I started to lurk you, you'd worked at some really, really cool brands including Workman Publishing, ESPN and now obviously DAZN. Can you kind of just share a little bit about where your career journey started, kind of how it's progressed and how you ended up working in audience development?

Laura Andriani: I would definitely say that my career has been a mix of things. I started off in publishing working for a medical publisher, then kind of pivoted went to the education world. I was a teacher for four years. I lived in Madrid and I taught English, which was a remarkable experience and so much fun. Came back to New York, went back to publishing, that's where I ended up at Workman. And if you don't know Workman Publishing is one of the largest privately owned or family-owned publishing houses in the country. I had a really great experience there because I just so happened to be working there at the onset of the shake-up of the publishing world when ebooks are just starting to take hold.

Laura Andriani: Amazon had just released the first Kindle, Apple had released the first iPad, everybody was trying to figure out how to use this new technology and publishers were trying to grapple with like, how do we suddenly make our books available electronically? People are starting to consume them in different ways. Not on paper, but rather on a screen. So I was really fortunate to be there at the time when we had to just kind of like figure this out. And as you can imagine, it was like really kind of complicated. I dealt with like everything from like file conversions and looking for houses in India that were like literally taking apart paper books and scanning them and like turning them into electronic book files, to dealing with Amazon.

Laura Andriani: Saying, we have a list of a catalog of thousands of books that we want to make them available on your Kindle and like, how are we going to do this? It was such a like just trial by fire. Nobody really knew exactly the right way to do things. We're all kind of learning as we went and it was a fantastic experience in that regard. So I was there for a couple of years. I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. But as somebody who is a huge sports fan, and I've been an athlete my whole life, I obsess about sports ever since I was a little kid, an opportunity arose for me to pivot and go into sports. And I grabbed it because I knew that it was something that I would absolutely regret if I hadn't.

Laura Andriani: So I ended up at ESPN. I worked there for seven years, always on the international side of the business. So a lot of people don't know that ESPN exists outside of the US in very robust ways. I worked on the marketing team based in New York, basically on all sorts of different marketing campaigns and initiatives to drive awareness, to drive consumption of our digital properties, downloads of our apps, and again, I just so happened to be there at the beginning of when streaming really started to take hold. And ESPN started to launch these products that allow you to watch something very traditional, right? Something that you're used to watching on a television screen on your laptop or on your cell phones. So I just, again, so happens-

Charlie Grinnell: Right place, right time.

Laura Andriani: Yeah, it's exactly. Sheer circumstance just happened to be in an industry that was getting turned on its head. So I learned a ton there. I really started to love the idea of all that marketing offered and all of the data behind being able to understand why people did the things that they did when it came to consuming sports and interacting with their favorite athletes and their favorite teams and other sports fans. So that's really where things started to solidify for me and I started to realize that this was an area that I found fascinating and that I really loved.

Laura Andriani: I then transitioned after seven years at ESPN to DAZN. I'm heading up the audience development team. And that also has just been a really rich experience to be at a company that is a disruptor in the space that is super innovative, that is purely a streaming kind of focused product, and that's a global one. So it's been just a very, very rich experience. And that's where I am.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. I mean, there's so much there that I could dive into and ask about. The one thing that sticks out in my head that I see a lot of parallels that I've kind of had in my career, and I want to get your take on this is like, we talked just briefly about like being in the right place at the right time. But it also sounds like you were, not just once, a few times, kind of like thrown into the deep end and like swim. I think what's really unique is I feel like a lot of the smartest people that I've ever worked with or that I've enjoyed collaborating with, kind of just have that too where they're like, I don't really like ... Yeah.Charlie Grinnell: Amazon just came out and we're just trying to figure out how to get books on the Amazon or like now streaming is a thing, let's figure out what that is. Do you think there's something there to be said around having that whether it's curiosity, or I don't necessarily know what trade it is, but it's this idea of just, you're going to get thrown off the deep end and figure it out?

Laura Andriani: Yeah. I mean, I think that is a combination of things. I don't think, to your point, it's like necessarily a trait that I have that other people don't have. I think it's knowing when you're in the midst of something, where there's just kind of this feeling this like kind of palpable feeling that like change is happening. And you can tell that it's happening because two things happen. People get really excited and people get really nervous. And when you see those two things happening, you know that this, it's something, right?

Charlie Grinnell: Absolutely.

Laura Andriani: And if you can stick around long enough, you start to decide whether it's something that really want to get involved. And because it's something new, I feel that organizations are always really open to the idea of people just rolling up their sleeves and saying, let me be part of this. So I think it really is a combo of sense.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, that makes sense. I think what's so unique about your background is you started kind of on the publishing side of things, which then transitioned into digital marketing. And now you kind of sit on like the OTT streaming side of things. Obviously, there's still digital and what you're doing in your current role. But can you talk a little bit about that transition or that journey, so to speak, and what you've learned with that transition?

Charlie Grinnell: What I kind of want you to expand on there is like, some may think like, yeah, OTT streaming, totally simple. It's just like digital marketing. But I have a feeling that it's not. And as someone who's kind of like touched a little bit of that in the past, I don't think it is, and I definitely don't know as much about it as you do. But I'd love to hear your side of that.

Laura Andriani: Yeah. I think there's varying opinions about this. I think for me personally, I do not just see it as it's the same thing just on a different screen. I think it is a completely different beast. I think that what you do now with your phone is so different than what you did even two, three years ago. And so as the technology adapts and allows you as an OTT platform to really like run with what the technology opens up in terms of opportunities. Or the technology is not quite there and it hinders you from kind of rolling out new features and things like that.

Laura Andriani: So I think that there's a certain amount of adaptability that you have to be willing to have within that space because in a lot of more traditional digital marketing industries, especially from like an audience development standpoint, you kind of have these formulas that you kind of say like, I apply this to this project and I know it's going to work. I apply the same formula to that project and I know more or less it's going to work. And on the OTT side, because things change so rapidly, not just with the technology, but with the amount of other players in space, the amount of competition and the different audiences that kind of creep up. You really have to be ready to adapt very quickly.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, it is much less of a formula. And then I think that like transitions perfectly into the word audience, right? And it's very much audience-driven. I think like this idea, and thinking about the name of this episode, if we talked about the word "audience", I'm using air quotes here, it feels like that word has grown over time. Whether it's in people's titles like yourself, or it's the way that companies are organizing themselves around audience groups or squads or whatever. Can you kind of just talk about like, when we think about like audience and how audience relates to marketing, talk about kind of what it means, why it's valuable and kind of what specifically you do that's related to it?

Laura Andriani: Yeah. You're absolutely right. Audience is are very like popular term right now.

Charlie Grinnell: Buzzword.

Laura Andriani: It's a total buzzword. It's a super like really cool word to throw around-

Charlie Grinnell: It sounds smart when you say that.

Laura Andriani: Yeah, sure. It's like, sure. Audience, yes.

Charlie Grinnell: Bingo. We can play marketing bingo with that. That would be one of them for sure. Strategy and integrated and omni-channel.

Laura Andriani: Exactly. Engagement. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, audience definitely fits in that realm of buzzwords. For me, audience is really ... The way that I define it to people when they ask me kind of like, what do you do and what's it all about? I say, audience is taking a look at every touch point that we have with our consumer. Whether that's through our streaming service, or because they follow us on social media, or because they subscribe to our emails or because they follow the athletes that we work with. And those athletes talk about us. It's really understanding like all of those different touch points and then figuring out, how do we group those into buckets so that we understand more or less like the trends that will we can expect from those different audiences in terms of the ways that they consume. And what really resonates with them? What really pops and what are they not that into?

Laura Andriani: So it's really understanding a kind of a mix of like demographics, of course, but also just behavior and how people react to the things that you're talking about. And then trying to kind of wrangle all of that with all the data that's behind it, because there's just literally tons and tons and tons of data and you really get like lost in all of it. Trust me, I'll be the first to admit, I do sometimes get lost with all of it. And just figuring out like, okay, what are we trying to solve for? And how can we build a strategy that will solve for that question that arises out of now other? How do we reach more audiences from like a diversification standpoint? Or how do we find more people like this audience because we know that we're going to need them in six months. There's all different kinds of ways that you can slice and dice it.

Charlie Grinnell: And I think what's what's interesting that you said or what comes to mind for me is this idea of audience. You touched on both the data side of it and then kind of like the softer brand side of it or preferences and that sort of thing. I think about, again, using kind of air quotes here, if like the best marketing is a balance between art and science. Can you talk a little bit about how audience or audience marketing bridges the gap between that kind of art and science with marketing and how it brings it together?

Laura Andriani: Yeah, absolutely. I think that that's probably one of the most foundational parts of my role is being at the kind of the center of that Venn diagram that you just explained between art and science. Because in order for those two things to work, there have to be people that are in the middle, that understand both, that speak both languages, or have at least like a decent like literacy and fluency in both. Who can really bring it all together so that one can leverage the other. And at the DAZN, what I love is that I was brought into the role sitting within the data analytics and insights team.

Laura Andriani: And so I sat like side by side with BI experts and data analysts, and just a bunch of guys who were incredibly bright and could run circles around me when it came to crunching numbers. But yet, I had a team of people who were more like marketing managers or came from a background of SEO or social media marketing. So what I tried to do was sit within this team that was very data heavy, but the kind of the marketing extension or the marketing piece to that-

Charlie Grinnell: Or translator.

Laura Andriani: Exactly. Or translator. So that when I would go and talk to a content group or sales group, I could speak both languages. I think that, that for me was like the big advantage of audience sitting within a data team. It got a lot of the noise kind of out of the picture, and we could really kind of just hit the ground running and get stuff kind of figured out together and that was great.

Charlie Grinnell: No problem. Why don't you just say that last sentence one more time?

Laura Andriani: Thank you. Thank you [inaudible 00:14:57] my dog. All right, let me back up and try to remember what exactly I was saying? I'll pause just while she finishes barking.

Charlie Grinnell: No worries.

Laura Andriani: I'll give me two seconds and I'll start again.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah.

Laura Andriani: So I think that that's basically the big advantage is that I sit within a data and insights group. And we cut out a lot of noise because we can just get things done much more quickly, and get ideas kind of collaborated on much more efficiently because we sit together and we understand each other. And it just creates like a really efficient environment.

Charlie Grinnell: And it's a unique mix, right? Like, I think I talk a lot with marketers, whether it's clients of ours or friends who work in marketing at bigger companies, and marketing is hard. I know that probably sounds like obvious, but I think with the advance of digital and technology and all these different things, not only are you still having to do the traditional aspects of marketing, when I say traditional, I mean like brand, voice, tone, positioning, like all that type of it. But now you kind of have this tech layer. And there are aspects of that tech layer that can inform a lot of that previously uninformed or maybe gut instinct or market research work that was done.

Charlie Grinnell: And then on top of that, it's like, okay, let's throw like content and creativity and good ideas in there as well. And it's like this hodgepodge of like, how are you taking all these different things that are so broad, pulling them all together, structuring them in a way that makes sense, pulling meaning in a way that supports the business, in a way that contributes and provides value to customers, shareholders other people around the organization. It is really a tough thing, I feel like. And I feel like that isn't talked about a lot, right?

Charlie Grinnell: Sometimes it gets pretty siloed in terms of tactics like I'm a technical expert, or I'm a content expert or creative expert. And there is this kind of like way that you can slice and dice it a bunch of different ways, whether it's art and science, by certain area, by certain competency, whatever. I don't know if you agree or disagree on that, but I'd love to get your take.

Laura Andriani: I would definitely agree with that. I think that it's almost like not enough to say that you work in marketing because it's like just ... You might as well just say I work. Because it's like you're not giving any description, you're not giving any context to what it is because it is such this vast kind of world of different pieces that all have to kind of like harmoniously work together. The truth of the matter is that it very rarely works harmoniously 100% of the time, right?

Charlie Grinnell: Absolutely.

Laura Andriani: Because especially, to your point before, because there's so much data that's now available to us that wasn't before, it can sometimes pull you down because suddenly you're like inundated and overwhelmed with how much you have available to look at, that you get kind of like blindsided by ... Or you get blinded, rather, by all of these different pieces that you think might be important. You don't want to not use them. So I think for us what I really tried to do is establish at the beginning of the project, like what is it we're trying to do? What are the pieces that are going to inform that?

Laura Andriani: So you do your exploration, and then you figure out kind of like, okay, these are the things we think we're going to need in order to solve this. And then you go out and you try to see what that data is, and hopefully it matches with what your marketing intentions are. But you can't force it. So if the data is not there, then you kind of have to go back to the drawing board and rethink what it is that you're looking for. But I know for you, I mean, measure what matters.

Laura Andriani: You could measure everything under the sun, just because you can measure it doesn't mean that it's something that has to play a pivotal role in what you're doing. So I think a big part of marketing is really reducing all of that noise and the pieces that are the most important, and then digging deep into them. So that's why it's really ... It's like you have to be a generalist to understand kind of all those 14 pieces. But if you're too much of a generalist, then you can't really go deep into any of them. So it's kind of a mix, I would say.

Charlie Grinnell: The thing that immediately comes to mind, which I also feel like is a good life motto is just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Laura Andriani: Exactly. 100%.

Charlie Grinnell: I think there's something where we referenced this a lot in the work that we're doing with clients and also like building our own methodologies of how we look at things when we're doing competitive insights and that sort of thing. We talk a lot about countability. Not accountability, countability. What I mean by countability is like, don't just count the easy things that are easy to count, but also don't dismiss the things that are hard to count. Right?

Laura Andriani: Yes.

Charlie Grinnell: And it goes back to what you were saying about, what is the thing that actually matters the most? And where's the business trying to go? And then how can you link those pieces together, contextually to strategy and tactics? So that you kind of have this, the analogy that I use in my head is a slinky. Right? So like, everything is still connected and there is context that like keeps it connected all the way from objective to strategy to tactics. I go back to like I've seen stuff in the past where it's like, we did this, and we did this, and we did this and it's like, yeah, but none of that relates back to this. To the main thing we're trying to accomplish here. And again, just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Laura Andriani: Exactly. I think that's like a really common pitfall because we all are asked on such frequent basis to put together a deck with a couple of slides that talk level show, and then you just fall into the same routine of saying, I know they're going to ask about these five things. So those are five things I'm going to show. I think one of the cooler projects that I've been across is to your point of like, just because you can measure it, doesn't mean you should and the idea of accountability is like, we see a lot of people asking, and this is just in the sports world in general, asking so much about social metrics and so much about what is the sentiment? Is it good? Is it bad?

Laura Andriani: It's so easy to use like a tool and go pull a sentiment report from Twitter, but like, what does that mean in the larger scope of things? If you have six people complaining about your brand, but you have this whole customer service department that by and large has positive ... We identified problems and issues, we fix them. We told people about it. By and large, those people never came back to us with a problem. You have to kind of put things into context and say like five negative tweets does not mean the end of the world because five negative tweets is not the same as five phone calls that we ended up fixing, and people turned into lifetime customers. So I think that's a really good point that you make.

Charlie Grinnell: What comes to mind, and we actually covered this on a separate episode. And it was this topic of data literacy. I actually just wrote an article on Forbes about this, and it's talking about how one of the biggest pitfalls in marketing, and I'd love to get your take on this, whether you agree or disagree is like data literacy, we need to increase the data literacy in people who work in marketing. And what I mean by that is I'm not saying like, hey, if you're an amazing, creative person who's like a designer or a photographer, whatever, I'm not saying like become a mathematician. That's not what this is. As someone who got a C- in high school math, I'm not the guy who's like, yeah, math and numbers, and you have to do it.

Charlie Grinnell: I think it's more just knowing how can you learn enough and know enough to be dangerous. And what I mean by that is, how can you have a solid enough understanding of all this stuff puts together? I think what you just said earlier about being a generalist, this idea of data literacy, you have to be data literate. I think about some of the best people that I've worked with one of them was a previous guest on the show Fergie Cancade, he works at Lululemon and leads athlete and sports marketing there.

Charlie Grinnell: He's not a data guy, but he spent a ton of time and he talks about this on the episode that we recorded previously, where he's gone out and got those skills so that when he's in conversations, he has the context and he knows enough to be able to contribute and understands how it plays into his world. Now, he'll openly say like he is not a data guy, but that skill set and that literacy has benefited him and ultimately the business.

Laura Andriani: Yeah. I think that that's like a really, really important point to make is that I think the old way or the traditional way of thinking about things was to say, okay, maybe you have this marketing organization or this marketing team within a larger group. And you have one person who does this thing, one person does that thing. And then we meet like once a week or once a month and each person has their piece of the pie. I think that when you try to apply it to a business like mine, the area of streaming and sports media, you realize that that like it's really truncated that way. It's really hard to kind of get things done quickly because not everybody speaks the same language.

Laura Andriani: I say that all the time because I really feel like you owe it not just to yourself from your own career. If you want to have a career in marketing, you want longevity, I think you also owe it to your peers to show an interest in what they do and put forth some investment of your time, excuse me, to understand like how their world works.

Charlie Grinnell: Absolutely.

Laura Andriani: I've done the same thing as your friend has done. I've gone through my own coursework, learning things like SQL or really diving into GA, just areas of my world that like just having a topical or even like a basic understanding of isn't really enough. And so you really should ... You don't have to be an expert, but you should be smart about understanding what are the pieces that feed into the work that you do. So like that's the first layer. That's the first like once removed is those pieces that feed into what you do? Go and learn some more about them, talk to people who are experts, ask them a questions, show curiosity.

Laura Andriani: Now you've just widened your scope of knowledge one additional degree, and that's going to suddenly make you so much more valuable because you see stuff just like outside of just your immediate world. So yeah, I completely think that that's the best thing that you can do as a marketer right now is to go out and get some training. It can be formal and informal. It could be just online, it could be in a classroom. Obviously, there's so much that you can learn on the job as well. I think that any opportunity you have to kind of expand your understanding of how everything works together, it's going to benefit you in the end.

Charlie Grinnell: One of the things that you said to me that really stood out that I completely agree with and it's something that I'm constantly preaching is language. Language matters. I think within marketing, we alluded to it earlier with like buzzwords and stuff, like getting people in an organization to speak the same language and have a clear understanding of the definitions of the words that are used, whether it's objective, strategy, tactic or whatever it is, like what do those actually mean?

Charlie Grinnell: I think the problem is that's what causes a lot of the confusion and misalignment and buzzwordiness that we're kind of alluding to here. But if people would just align on language, a lot of that would just go away. And people's lives or people's work lives would be a lot easier.

Laura Andriani: Absolutely. I think that's like one of the things that I've learned along the way in my career. Is like, if somebody starts talking and like from first 10 seconds I'm lost, I have to interrupt and obviously apologize for the interruption. But just say like, before we go any further, can you just summarize for me like, how are you defining this thing? Or to your point like when you're saying tactics, when you're saying owned and operated, when you're saying offline, when you're saying conversion, what exactly are you saying? Because otherwise, the whole rest of the conversation is going to be based on assumptions.

Charlie Grinnell: Yes.

Laura Andriani: We're so far away from each other at the end of this conversation, because I thought you're talking about one thing and you think you're talking about another. So yes, I think the language piece of it, I think is a big piece of it. And I think that like you were saying before, you weren't a great math student. I was a terrible math student.

Charlie Grinnell: Non-talented math people unite.

Laura Andriani: Absolutely. I scraped by math classes by the skin of my teeth. I was an art like writing, languages. I loved music and all of those things. And I just was not the math student that you imagine it to be. And yet, I work in a world where I love data and I find it fascinating. I think it's because I'm able to use the skill of language to kind of move between different worlds.

Charlie Grinnell: Absolutely. I think about a lot of the times where I think I've been successful in my career or I've gravitated towards someone who has turned out to be really successful, whether it's colleagues or that sort of thing. A lot of them had this trait of being able to break things down really simply and taking a complex topic and simplifying it. So I've heard that before to me. But what's so funny is when I hear that, I'm like, well, I just like didn't understand it in the beginning. They're like, that's so smart. The way you simplify that. I'm like, I literally just didn't get the complex thing. So it's more just like my stupidity that has led to me breaking it down to those pieces to be able to understand it, and then the way that I've learned it and retain it is by regurgitating it to someone else in a simpler form.

Laura Andriani: Right. But I mean, how many times have you been in a meeting with multiple people and somebody raises their hand and says, I have a dumb question. And they ask the question, you're like, thank you. I had the same exact question.

Charlie Grinnell: It's also not a dumb question usually.

Laura Andriani: You clearly are not dumb. Exactly. You're not done at all. We're all sitting here wondering the same thing. So thank you for speaking up.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. I want to kind of make a bit of a shift here and talk about something that we talked a little bit earlier about, which was there's no shortage of data or tools or strategies or tactics, or any of those things that you can do to market in 2020. I feel like as marketers, we actually haven't really good in terms of like the stuff that's available at our disposal to use. But on the flip side of it, there's so much of it. Like how do you kind of focus in on the different things that are going to work best, whether it's in terms of efficiency or effectiveness for your brand.

Charlie Grinnell: So when I think about like there's this huge landscape out there, what are some specific elements or things that you recommend for marketers to kind of keep top of mind when they're trying to build their insight capabilities? When they're trying to understand their audience? What are some things that come to mind?

Laura Andriani: So I think this is a really good question. Because there are literally just thousands tools out there. And if you work in marketing long enough, you pretty much get pitch to every single one of them. It's not to knock the tools themselves, like you said, we have the luxury of having this incredible abundance technology that can make our jobs easier, but at the same time, a lot of it has an overlap. And so you can really start to say like, well, don't you do the same thing as that person does? Doesn't this tool do the same thing that tool does?

Laura Andriani: So my personal feeling is that it's very, very unlikely that you're going to find one tool, for example, or one platform, or one service that's going to like check all the boxes and read like your one stop shop. I just don't think there are too many industries that have that luxury. Obviously, I can't speak to what everybody should use? I think it really depends on understanding your own individual business, what it is that you're trying to solve for on a most frequent basis. And then saying, okay, if we had a tool that allowed us to make this easier to do, and saved us time, or made things more accurate so that we were making more informed decisions in order to get to that solution. I think that's kind of where you start.

Laura Andriani: You almost ask the question of like, what are we trying to solve for first and then you back into the different options for tools that are going to get you there? I think the other piece of it is, and this is just from my own personal kind of experience, like if you're going to invest or kind of like champion your organization invest in a tool, you have to be willing to make the investment to get people onboarded onto it. Because it's great to say like, we have this fancy new tool-

Charlie Grinnell: That no one use.

Laura Andriani: Really hard to use, right. Really hard to use, and you're trying to get people who have been using something different or nothing at all to use it. You have to almost then become the internal salesperson that champions for that tool and shows them like why it's valuable. So that you can then go to your boss or your finance manager and say, this is really important. We need this because these people use it. I've been on both sides that. I've been on sides where we all say we would never be able to do what we do without this. I've been on sides where it's like, not enough people are adopting this. We have to rethink things.

Laura Andriani: So I think that when it comes to those like ideas of tools, it's those two pieces of thinking like, what is it exactly solving for? Is that a set of problems that like we will encounter repeatedly for the medium to long-term future? And then are we going to really make the effort to get people to use it?

Charlie Grinnell: I guess that also kind of comes with it's related to a way of thinking as well. Like, I feel like on one hand, it's less about selling the tool and more about selling the strategic approach of like, where are we trying to go before we go buy a tool? And then, okay, based on where we're trying to go, here's the types of inputs that we would need to be able to inform where we're trying to go. And sometimes you have to have that conversation as well where you're kind of like teaching people how to strategically think about things. And that's like step one. And then step two becomes like, okay, now that we've agreed on these kind of set fact, then okay, cool. We can go figure out how to do it. It's putting the what before the how, really.

Laura Andriani: Yes, exactly. That's exactly it.

Charlie Grinnell: And I think that's something that marketers get super confused by all the time in organizations where we've been confused by that. And yeah, when you take a step back, you got to really think about like, are we talking about the what or are we talking about the how?

Laura Andriani: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Because there's a lot of great tools out there. Just because it's there doesn't mean that it's going to be deserving of your time to use it.

Charlie Grinnell: Totally. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Laura Andriani: Exactly. Keep going back to that same theme.

Charlie Grinnell: That's a theme. Yeah. So not to put you on the spot here, but I love getting examples of guests of brands, either good or bad, that are using an audience focused approach to kind of cut through the noise. Do you have any of that come to the top of your mind?

Laura Andriani: I would say as of late because we are all living through like a really crazy time. There's a brand that I follow on Instagram that I think has just done an absolutely amazing, remarkable job in not just super serving their audience, but almost like redefining who they are in the midst of like a global pandemic. Like I think that that is like our true rarity. It's probably a brand that you may have never heard of but they're called King Arthur. They kind of started as a brand that made flour like for cooking and baking. I love to cook and I'm like a big foodie so I've always known about them because their products are really like top notch and they've been around forever.

Laura Andriani: So I follow them on Instagram and they have just been knocking it out of the park because they knew that with everybody being home and having nothing to do, everyone you know starts making bread. And they're posting to Instagram about it and be like, look at my sourdough. This is amazing. I think that they started to speak to their audience in are very approachable way. It wasn't like they just took their brand and said like, buy our flour and break bread with it and you'll have bread for your family tonight. It was all about like, we know that you're strapped for ingredients. We know that the supermarket's sold out of these things. How about you make it this way.

Charlie Grinnell: Interesting.

Laura Andriani: Here's a recipe. Here's like the steps on how to make it. It was such a seamless experience. Like they would always use like the link in bio because you can't obviously like link with an Instagram post. I have to say like I don't think I've ever clicked a link in bio more frequently than I have with [inaudible 00:37:48]. Of course, knowing that you might ask me about this and because I was curious about it, and I'm a total nerd.

Laura Andriani: I went into CrowdTangle because I wanted to know like what their social analytics looked like, and it's incredible despite that they've seen in just like the past couple of five months in terms of like, really being able to engage with their audience, putting things out that are well branded and well-defined. So I just think that they are the shining example of how do you adapt to your audience and super serve them things that they are just going to just die to consume? So, yeah.

Charlie Grinnell: I love that. Number one, I've never heard of that brand and I love learning about new brands. Number two, what I think is so awesome is when you first were like it's a flour brand, I was like, okay, where is this going?

Laura Andriani: You thought I was going to talk to you about sports and here I am talking to you about baking.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. But also the fact that you're giving an example of, and this is I think the most important piece, you're giving an example of a product that is not sexy.

Laura Andriani: No. Not at all.

Charlie Grinnell: I think about like, it's flour. So I think whereas for anybody listening out there that's actually a really great example. Because if this company can do it with flour, and you work in another industry that might be a bit more interesting than flour, go check it out and see what they did. This is when Yeti coolers first kind of burst onto the market. I forget what year that would have been. Maybe it's like five years ago, probably longer. But like when I first found out about them, and they kind of just came out of nowhere, and I was always amazed because I'm like, they sell coolers.

Charlie Grinnell: Coolers aren't cool coolers aren't sexy, but they did such a great job of understanding their audience of people who get outdoors and made coolers whether it's for food or drinks or whatever. I just thought that was such a great example because it was a non-sexy brand. So that when it came to me, at the time I was working at Red Bull, when it came to me I was like, okay, we have all this other cool stuff going on. So if I can't use the principles or the elements from this and apply this to what we're doing, I probably should be out of a job.

Laura Andriani: Right. And I think that that's like the really fun part about our jobs is that we can be inspired by these small like mom and pop shop brands that are maybe a different industry than our own. Maybe they have a completely different audience, at least at kind of first glance. And yet we can find inspiration in what they've done and say like, I love how this branch resonates with me. I like that I feel X, Y and Z when I see their stuff. Like you get super excited about a cooler, like who knew? And yet you're going back to your team saying, guys, they're doing this really cool thing and I think we can take some inspiration from that and apply it to our brand that has absolutely nothing to do with them. I love that kind of sharing and feeding off of each other. That's always lot of fun.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it comes back to what can you learn from people who are doing things well? Learning from leaders, looking for inspiration. And it doesn't have to be literal, I wasn't going back being like, hey, they're pushing out this thing. So we should just do that. But there were elements of it that absolutely worked their way into what we were doing. So I completely agree. I want to talk about what gets you most excited when it comes to audience or audience marketing for brands today? Is it a trend? Is it a tool? Is it something else? What gets you fired up about where things are going in terms of your world of working in audience?

Laura Andriani: I would say what gets me like super excited is working in sports is, obviously, for somebody like me, it's kind of a dream come true, because I just love it. When we're talking about audiences, I absolutely, genuinely love the kind of connection that athletes are being able to have through technology with their audiences. It's so much more robust and rich and authentic than it was when I was a kid. And your sports idols were like these untouchables that like maybe if you were lucky in your lifetime, you got to see them play live at the arena or on the field.

Laura Andriani: Now I feel like we have become so much more like the athletes themselves adopt the technology, and can really speak to their audiences in such a one-on-one way. And so I think what gets me excited is like that one-on-one that we can start to have as brands with our audience. The idea of personalization and customization and really kind of like providing a value to our fans or to our customers that feels really natural and really authentic. So like that. I love that kind of like relationship building with your audience that has become so much more often ... It's more approachable right now for brands and it's a little bit more efficient. It's not as costly, I think, as it used to be. So that definitely gets me excited.

Charlie Grinnell: One of the things that comes to mind has actually been, I've been watching Matisse Thybulle, the 76ers basketball player. He started a vlog essentially for being in the bubble. What's amazing is he has a DSLR and he's in a hotel room in his Disney World like doing his thing, just like vlogging essentially. What was so funny? I think it's like episode five or six now. I just saw he was on Good Morning America, he was on Fallon. He's a rookie, who he's good and he was drafted and whatever. But like, he's pretty much just like filming what it's like to be in the bubble. That's how he started his YouTube channel.

Charlie Grinnell: He was like, I'm just going to start putting this out. And it was within like four or five days, he had 100,000 subs on YouTube. And now like when I watched the Fallon interview, there's this YouTube plaque in the background. I'm like, over night, boom, he's just created this amazing thing for himself where he has this audience now. And so like, yes, obviously, when you play in the NBA, you have that, but this asset that he's building on the side, when he retires from basketball, he's going to have this other thing that could continue in the future if he chooses to invest in it to keep him relevant.

Laura Andriani: Right. I love that example. It's perfect.

Charlie Grinnell: Well, it's just one that I just thought I ... As you were talking about it, I was like, yeah. Because I don't follow the 76ers. Being in Canada, got to support the raps with the North. But at the same time, I'm also not necessarily a huge basketball guy, but when this came out, I was like, okay, where's this going? This is interesting. And now like, I wouldn't be surprised that after they're out of the bubble, he'll continue to vlog because he's seen the power of it, right? It's instantly raised his profile. There's so many different things that he can do to monetize that on the side and I hope if his agents or management team has ever listened to this, continue to do down on that. That is a goldmine that you are building right there.

Laura Andriani: 100%. That audience is very ripe for building and really leveraging for all sorts of like really fun and cool things. That's something that like I'm sure like four or five years ago, if he had wanted to do his own vlog there would be all sorts of red tape. Where it's like you have to get approval and people don't want this, you can't film that. And the idea of like, everyone, the [inaudible 00:45:33] and the broadcasters, I think everyone has realized, especially in recent months that no idea should be discounted just because you've never done it before.

Laura Andriani: I think you have to have the willingness to test things and you may fail, it might not be the outcome that you were expecting. But we are in the perfect kind of environment right now to push the envelope and try new things and see what resonates and what doesn't. I just love that the numbers are there. All of these platforms we use have really robust reporting platforms that allow us to really crunch numbers and just do crazy things with the analytics that are there to understand, answer all sorts of questions that we didn't even know we have.

Charlie Grinnell: I completely agree. One of the things that I always ask people, and this is something that I'm a news junkie, but also just a well-read junkie, I guess, or a knowledge junkie. How do you stay up to date on business and marketing? Who are you following? What are you reading? What are you listening to? I'd love to just dig into that because that's kind of one of the secrets, I guess it's not so secret, but like that's how I got to learn a ton of things. Was like, okay, who do I think is smart and who do they follow? And you kind of like start to climb the tree, so to speak. I'd love to hear like how do you get your information? What are you listening to? All that sort of thing.

Laura Andriani: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there's obviously working at DAZN there are so many people that I just want to pick their brains and I just asked them a lot of questions. Because we all come from different backgrounds, DAZN's employees are from all different places not just like traditional sports. So it's really cool to be able to just talk one-on-one with people I work with, but from like an outside perspective. I mean, I follow for all things social people like Matt Navarra. I definitely try to kind of see what he's talking about. I subscribe to so many different newsletters. I know like the Sportico one, Social Media Today, Marketing Dive, The Drum, all of those.

Laura Andriani: And then from like a podcast perspective, I find that. I listen to a ton of podcasts as I'm sure many people do, hence us being here together. But they're like, again, The Drum has a really good podcast. I think they talk about really relevant topics from a media perspective. SportsPro Media and Recode media are like really, really good ones. They get like super, top notch C-suite and very senior level people talking. Those are the people who like I hang on every word that they say because I ... They have this robust experience that I just I want to like just soak up everything. So those are just a couple of them. So much out there.

Charlie Grinnell: There's no shortage.

Laura Andriani: Not at all. It's overwhelming sometimes.

Charlie Grinnell: So as we kind of start to wind things down here, what's one piece of advice that you'd give to marketers as they're moving ahead kind of in 2020, in the current circumstances that were within? Keeping in mind kind of everything that we've talked about, what's the one thing if people kind of take away from you and your experience that they should be keeping top of mind?

Laura Andriani: That thing that I would recommend to anybody and that I tried to follow is just to be very open to change. I think right now we're all just living in a very, very strange place. And nobody has like a map to kind of say like, at this point, we're going to be here. And at that point, we're going to be there. I think we all just have to stay very open and very curious. I think that those two things will allow us to as marketers, really draw inspiration from each other. And not necessarily get mired down in like being upset that that somebody moved our cheese, so to speak. The way that we did things before might not be the same. And so I think we just have to be really open to that inevitable change that's coming our way, that we're living through right now.

Charlie Grinnell: One of the things that I always say to our team is get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It's such a cheesy phrase, but at the same time, I'm like, well if you want to work in marketing and/or digital or internet, it's never going to be stable or the same. Changes always coming. That's what I feel like attracts people to it. So, I completely agree.

Laura Andriani: I definitely think that's a perfect way to sum it up. It's just like, it's going to be uncomfortable and you have to just kind of like be willing to adapt to the way the world is right now. And stay optimistic about it. Because I think we're all living through crazy times. But we also are all looking to hold on to each other and say, Charlie, what are you doing? Are you going to handle this? I have this issue and I don't know what to do about it. There's no room for ego right now. I think everyone just needs to just talk to each other and try to help each other out.

Charlie Grinnell: And be a good human.

Laura Andriani: And just be a good person. Yeah. Just be nice. It goes without saying.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, absolutely. On that note, where's the best place for people to get ahold of you online if they have questions for you?

Laura Andriani: I would say that LinkedIn is probably the best place. That's where I spend the majority of my time industry-wise trying to follow people and understand what's kind of resonating within my world of digital marketing. So yeah, it's a good place to start.

Charlie Grinnell: Absolutely. Well, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I learned a ton from chatting with you. Anybody out there listening, if you have questions for Laura, hit her up and ask away because you just have so much great knowledge and wisdom to share. So I just want to thank you so much for taking the time to join me and hopefully talk to you soon.

Laura Andriani: Yes, absolutely. Thank you, Charlie. This was like a lot of fun.

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Charlie Grinnell

Charlie is the CEO at RightMetric. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

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