What's Working in Marketing is a podcast where we uncover what’s working across the digital landscape by tapping into the world’s best data-backed research and through candid conversations with industry experts. Join us if you're ready to learn what's working when it comes to your marketing efforts.
On this episode, we spoke with George Weetman who is the VP of Digital Commerce at Arc'teryx, a high performance outdoor equipment company known for leading innovations in climbing, skiing and alpine technologies. George discusses how to master the fundamentals of eCommerce through his three pronged approach, why brands need to be customer-centric to succeed, and much more.
Charlie Grinnell: On this episode, I'm joined with George Weetman, VP of Digital Commerce at Arc'teryx. Thanks for joining me today, George.
George Weetman: Yeah. Awesome to be here, Charlie.
Charlie Grinnell: You and I have known each other for a long time, and I'm super excited to chat with you. Your background is something that was really interesting for me as a kid growing up working in action sports. The way I usually start these episodes is by going back to the beginning. Would you be able to just kind of talk through how you got into marketing, how it progressed, and where you're at today?
George Weetman: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I consider myself super lucky. That's the first thing I would say. I'm going to age myself by saying like considering I feel like I've been in e-commerce for over 20 years. I mean, it makes me feel really old. I did a geography degree in university, got really geeky into like GIS mapping and started a map publishing business and loved sales and marketing and kind of all parts of the entrepreneur experience. And then also quickly learned how hard it is to make a dollar.
George Weetman: And then got in early with Mountain Equipment Co-op when they were just starting their e-commerce journey. That was just an amazing kind of learning experience of just like looking at sort of all the enterprise challenges of e-commerce back in those days, expensive and awkward and everything you can imagine. It was sort of such a natural fit for me. I don't think I was ever a great in person salesman.
George Weetman: Combining sales and marketing online was just great and I slotted into digital marketing and one thing led to another from there.
Charlie Grinnell: Interesting. That led you to where after MEC? Quiksilver? Or am I missing something
George Weetman: No. Quiksilver after that. I managed to land... It took me a few attempts actually to land a work visa to work in the States back then, but I was super fortunate to go work lead digital marketing, and then support the overall e-commerce business in North America working for the SVP of global e-com down there. It was Roxy, Quiksilver, and DC shoes. First experience working for true global brands and also brands that had a lot of marketing clout. Super exciting to work alongside the marketing teams.
George Weetman: Back then, there was a lot more tension between the sales channels and e-commerce was still a total stepchild. A lot of good commercial strategies were going on.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, interesting. Then you made the jump from Quiksilver to Arc'teryx and that's kind of how we met back in the day.
George Weetman: Yeah. I remember bumping into you. It was probably in some dark photo booth. It didn't take me long to figure out that you weren't going to stay in that booth very long.
Charlie Grinnell: Fair enough. Fair enough. Well, I think that's super interesting. In talking about e-com and marketing today, I feel like we always kind of talk about, oh, what's the recent trend and that sort of thing. You have this unique perspective when you dated yourself by saying you had been in the space for 20 years. What have you seen change over the years? And what has maybe stayed the same?
Charlie Grinnell: If you were going to zoom out and be like, "Okay, I've worked in this space for 20 years. Here are some things that we never thought we'd be doing, or here are some things that I've been doing since day one and we still do that today."
George Weetman: I think at its highest level, I think my main executive summary in terms of the biggest learning is I would say overall I think companies have just... They haven't made the big bets fast enough on e-commerce. It's created a bit of a flywheel effect where it's like, well, we'll try this. We'll see how it goes. Based on that, it kind of goes a little bit. There's always this glass ceiling of people. Back in the day, it was like, well, who's ever going to enter their credit card online?
George Weetman: And then it's like, well, who's ever going to buy off this mobile device? Why would a company ever need a social media account? These things always when they start, they always seem so unlikely. And yet, I think when you start just following where consumers go, sometimes I think the answers get really easy. The number one learning is, I mean, there's an incredible will amount of distraction out there in the marketplace constantly.
George Weetman: The fundamentals that drive the core e-commerce business surprisingly haven't really changed that much. They've gotten a lot more complex, but the fundamentals themselves, some of them aren't that sexy, but they sure are the most important things and they're still the most important things ironically.
Charlie Grinnell: I mean that's interesting to hear you say that. I think it's no surprise that when we think about marketing or e-commerce, there's no shortage of shiny objects that you can choose from. When you talk about fundamentals, kind of drilling down into the title of the episode, what are the fundamentals or core pillars of winning e-commerce strategy when you think about it?
George Weetman: The approach that I've adopted over the years is this three-prong approach of like, focus on the fundamentals driving the business, and we can talk about the few dozen of what those look like, those programs, and then looking at what are the points of friction in your customer journey and being really hyper-focused of just clipping those. And then the third thing is trying to balance all this with where there is disruption and either having an offensive or defensive strategy with disruption.
George Weetman: And then it's a whole game of sequencing the biggest opportunity. I think, if anything, people get distracted. So many things you can do in this space lead to some type of positive result. The challenge is more making sure that you're not missing out on chasing the biggest opportunities first. The sequencing part of it, I think, is super important based on the maturity of the business and not getting too far ahead of like, what's the most obvious thing to come next?
George Weetman: I mean, on the fundamental side, I think it's the simple things like site speed, UI/UX, site merchandising, CRM and email marketing. I mean, even something as simple as email marketing, it remains such an important part of a company's e-commerce program, which is kind of remarkable when you think about how much our own usage of technology has changed over the years. But the fundamentals are the programs where you just really need to get those things running smoothly before you get too far ahead of yourself.
Charlie Grinnell: It's interesting to see... Well, the thing that comes to mind there is how many marketers I've seen, and you've probably seen this as well, is the fundamentals aren't sexy, right? They're not the new thing that you're going to write a headline about or boast about on LinkedIn about how you're doing this crazy AR enabled shopping, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The things that move the needles in business, but specifically I think in marketing aren't that sexy. Would you agree with that?
George Weetman: Totally. I totally agree. I mean, the analogy I use for especially small businesses is sort of the leaky bucket approach, right? A lot of people get distracted by like, for example, getting ahead of themselves, even with performance marketing when you've got these gaping holes in your bucket. It's like, at what point does it make sense to start spending money on water into the bucket versus fixing the holes? Often it's as simple...
George Weetman: One of the greatest, I think, strengths I bring is more from like I think a human psychology point of view, is looking at how just the average user, like where they stumble in a guest experience, I think is probably some of the biggest value that e-commerce and digital marketers can bring to a company. Because I think if you can put yourself in the shoes of your average online guest who is going to jump off your site with any distraction, the hyper focus needs to be on that guest experience.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, totally. It's funny. When I think about marketing strategy or e-commerce strategy, it almost feels like many brands or organizations today are so focused on the solution, like the technology solution, instead of being... They're technology centric as opposed to human centric. It's like the idea of human centricity, understanding behavior, psychology, whatever, that actually dictates the type of technology solution that you should be implementing, not the other way around.
Charlie Grinnell: It feels like oftentimes marketers are like, "Oh, this is a shiny new thing. Let's just like slap that on there," without actually having an understanding of the behavior and what actually makes sense to reduce friction, that sort of thing.
George Weetman: I totally agree. I think that philosophy also applies just in terms of like talent retention in companies. I think too often companies look at e-commerce teams from the point of view of technology investment first and people second. And at the end of the day, it's the people that are running all these programs. I mean, I've been so impressed. I've regularly worked with people that feel like they're half my age and they are clearly much smarter than I was at that age. It's awesome.
George Weetman: It's super important for companies not to lose sight of the fact that it is like, yeah, this stuff starts and ends with human beings. All this stuff would be so easy if people weren't involved. It's like the moment you introduce people, everything gets really hard and that's true of e-commerce. It's true of business. It's true of anything.
Charlie Grinnell: That makes me think of this overarching macro trend where I think... At least in e-commerce or business, when you hear machine learning or AI, everyone's like, "The humans are going to be replaced." I don't know. Sure, maybe down the line. But the way I think about that is sure, there's technology and automation and different things that we can create. But at the end of the day, you still are going to need a human to drive that, like a smart human to drive that, to understand, to interpret that.
Charlie Grinnell: The technology isn't just going to be able to take it over. I think within e-commerce, we're seeing the same thing. You still need... Yeah, you can have all the shiniest bells and whistles or whatever, but a lot of those experiences that surprise and delight us and make us want to buy more, yes, it's technology. That's the last kind of touch point, but everything else upstream from that is from a human sitting there thinking going, "Oh, wow! We noticed this, this, this. Maybe we can create something to address that."
George Weetman: Hey, I mean, it's true in marketing that I think we far too often spend time thinking about, well, if we can do us rationalize this for the consumer, it'll all be great. When in reality, we're all just bombarded by so many messages every day that so many of us are just making decisions using that fast twitch part of the mind. And that's the part that I think... Trying to balance those two things I think is super important.
Charlie Grinnell: Speaking of that, that brings up an interesting point in my mind or something that we should dive into a little further is this idea of we're all bombarded by so many different things. It's more competitive than ever before. Everyone's talked about digital transformation using air quotes and digital is the future and digital and e-commerce have kind of gone from being that stepchild to be more focused and in the fray. I feel like in our team's research we've seen COVID absolutely accelerate.
Charlie Grinnell: That I'm sure you've probably seen similar to that. How do you think about that when it comes to the world is getting more and more competitive, businesses are allocating more of their resources to go after the same set of people online, combining that with getting the fundamentals dialed. If you were going to think about those different things, if there's someone listening out there today and maybe they're torn between like, ah, do I try this new thing, but maybe they don't have their fundamentals dialed.
George Weetman: That's a great question. I think that's at the heart of way I think some of the biggest tension points are. I love that quote where like it's overused, but that idea that like there's no such thing as digital strategy. There's just strategy in a digital world. It's so true in a company where sometimes companies try to centralize all their digital strategy into one place, which is madness when you think about it, right?
George Weetman: And when it comes to e-commerce, a good example of that is often companies will separate their Amazon strategy from their e-commerce strategy. It'll be entirely different groups of people. At the end of the day when you put yourself into consumer's shoes, it's like consumers are just online looking for things and distracted by things. Quite frankly, they don't really care that much. At the end of the day, they're going to care if they're a prime customer, but it's sort of the same.
George Weetman: They're looking at it through a different lens than often I think the way the company looks at how they build commercial strategies or distributions strategy. I think what you're talking about is so true that there's this finite pie. Every company has this audience of prospective buyers out there online that are just like... It's like a herd of sheep. They're just kind of grazing and coming up with strategies. Everyone's going after...
George Weetman: There's a lot of competition for the herd. You've got to be able to stay ahead of that.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, interesting. There's two things I want to touch on before we go into innovation. The one thing that you brushed on there, touched on there was strategy. I think what's so interesting to me is thinking about... Hearing people being like, "We need to dial in our strategy," and thinking that strategy is an end game. As soon as we get all of these magical pieces of marketing into this one document, so we can sit there and give ourselves a pat on the back and feel good about ourselves.
Charlie Grinnell: I find that the best strategy is getting it into a place where you're constantly iterating on it. Sure. You have your objectives and whatever. What's your take on that? I feel like a lot of people are just focused on getting to this end result, but my whole thing is, I don't think there is an end result.
George Weetman: No. It's been super interesting to watch how the philosophy of like agile sprints and driving agility and software development, how that's sort of becoming best practice for just running any kind of business, is that cyclical nature of like you're never finished. It's the classic design for process, which is like it's in constant iteration. The problem is, is that like a lot of companies aren't really set up that way with quarterly, monthly targets. There has to be some level of waterfall delivery on that.
George Weetman: It does require a bit of a mindset shift. I agree. I think in digital and e-commerce especially, there is very little value in divorcing strategy from execution. I far too often see a lot of strategic talk that isn't tied to this idea of like design thinking of starting to look at things of like, what are your constraints? Because if you're not like building strategy around some of the constraint, you're never going to execute within 12 to 18 months, right, or shorter.
George Weetman: I think it's that 12 to 18 month execution which is super important. The options of what you're going to do just change every 12 to 18 months, so there's no point, I mean, clearly you want to have a north star, right? You want to be able to set a vision. Get a whole bunch of talented people heading in the right direction. But beyond that, the focus needs to be on connecting strategy and execution completely.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. That makes me think about a framework that I've used in the past where it's you have objective at the top where you're trying to go. So that could be 12, 18, 24, 36 months out. We are trying to go there. Then below that, you have your set of strategies, what is the kind of destination that we're trying to... How we're going to get there. And then the tactical elements are linked to that being like, these are the specific things that we are going to do and having those all kind of linked together from top to bottom.
Charlie Grinnell: But it's funny how you can sit there and build that out into a plan, whether it's a document, whatever you want to do, and it can change like that.
George Weetman: It can change. Which is why I think the OKR, like objective key results format, has become so broadly adopted. What are the three most important things we're trying to deliver this quarter and let's get focused on doing that. And then revisiting every quarter what are the next three per priorities. That's far more, I think, impactful than trying to lay out a roadmap for 18 months because it's...
Charlie Grinnell: Oh yeah, because it's just so fluid and there are things... I think that's the other thing, especially with e-commerce and digital, there's so much of it that is also out of your control. Sure. You're trying to build your own email list, bring people to your site, whatever, but there are platforms that brands on to bring in traffic or do things and things change.
Charlie Grinnell: As much as brands want to be in control of that, at the end of the day, you're trying to play that balance of like, ah, we got to have presence on these platforms, whether it's Amazon, Facebook, Google, whatever, versus how are we bringing people into our ecosystem and converting them that way.
George Weetman: Completely. Yeah. Totally agree.
Charlie Grinnell: I want to talk a little bit about innovation. This is something that we've done actually a whole episode on before and how just innovation fitting into marketing or brand strategy. What's your view on innovation and marketing? There's two sides of the fence here. There are some people who are like innovation is amazing and that's what drive things forward. And usually it's more creative type folks that sit on that side of the fence. They're trying to push things.
Charlie Grinnell: And then you have other people who sit on the other side of the fence where they're going, "Yeah, innovating for the sake of innovating. It just doesn't really make a lot of sense." Where do you sit?
George Weetman: That's another great question. I mean, my experience has been is that consumers in almost every vertical, they respond to newness. We've been trained to respond to newness. And in this day and age, I mean, you could argue there's too much in newness, right? It's hard to keep up to that. I think because of that, and actually I think one of the outcomes of COVID to a certain extent, is like everyone's slowed down enough to be like, well, maybe I don't need so much of everything, right?
George Weetman: I think people's bullshit filters have become pretty sharpened. This is where I think innovation plays a more critical role for every brand more so than ever before. Because I think to have any kind of like a long-term runway, I think companies are going to have to put out something that has some type of longevity. And not only that, I think something that in the end they can stand behind to be like, look, in some way, this is making the world a better place. There has to be some narrative there, I think.
George Weetman: I mean, that's generally my point of view, because I think consumers are getting smarter and smarter. I think that's the best outcome we've had from social media. The access to information has made crowd sourced reviews and just like peer reviews. Everything is just like... There's far too much information, but it's easier than ever before to call a spade a spade. That's where I think innovation is critical for companies right now, and it extends well beyond e-commerce and digital.
George Weetman: It's like what's the essential value proposition that your company is trying to offer. Honestly, I think COVID has brought that to the surface for every company. It's like, where do they stand on issues? What can they bring to the world? And what does the world need and what's that intersection point? I think every company is struggling with that right now.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. What comes to mind for me is almost like it's forced the personification of brands. I think a lot of brands were able to stand back previously and been like, "Our stance is to say nothing." Well, saying nothing is saying something and. Whether that's COVID or with stuff around racism, stuff around sexism, you name it, brands have been pulled into the ring, so to speak, to be like, "Where do you stand on this?" And previously they'd be like, "We're not a person. Don't look at us." Right?
Charlie Grinnell: Whereas now they're being forced to have an opinion, have a take on things. I think that's interesting on how it plays into that.
George Weetman: I think if anything, I think that definition of innovation has expanded greatly. I think five years ago, innovation was viewed strictly as sort of an engineering kind of like philosophy, right?
Charlie Grinnell: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
George Weetman: I would say it's rooted into every marketing strategy now. I mean, like marketing without some level of authenticity to it is... I mean, it's always been a game of perception. But it's harder and harder to play that game without getting your bluff being called I think now.
Charlie Grinnell: Thinking about that, like applying innovation to a strategic framework, when I was at Red Bull, we used to have this percentage thing. Maybe it's not a Red Bull thing. I think it just could be like a general marketing thing where it was like, okay, 70% of your plan or budget, whatever, is allocated towards your bread and butter. 20% is pushing the envelope maybe a little bit. And then the remaining 10% is like, we're swinging for the fences home run. This has never been done before.
Charlie Grinnell: Let's see. What do you think about that in terms of allocating focus or budget or resources, people? How does that sit in your mind when you approach things?
George Weetman: I love it. I should go work for Red Bull. That sounds pretty good.
Charlie Grinnell: I don't know if that's a Red Bull thing. Don't quote... I feel like that's probably where I heard it, but I could have read something. But yeah, that's kind of how I've thought about things in the past, whether it was at Red Bull, Aritzia, that sort of thing.
George Weetman: I mean, fundamentally I think that... But that's where brands are being challenged is like, you've got to be able to put... I mean, you've got to be able to put actions behind words, both internally and externally. When it comes to innovation, it's easy for every company to talk about innovation. But unless you're actually funding innovation and trying to retain and acquire talent to drive innovation, it's not going to happen on its own.
George Weetman: I think actually having it baked into your budget process or the way you think about the business overall I think is critical. I mean, even an outdoor, for example, there is so much overlap in competition. Everyone's claims when it comes to functional attributes of products are almost identical. For a consumer, it's super hard to understand what's true and what's not. The proof is in the product experience to a large degree. It's hard to fake that.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. Well, I mean, to your point, everyone's bullshit meter is so high. If they can go out and find all the information that they need and people are talking about your brand and it's all everybody's fingertips, that's why you have to... You'll get called out.
George Weetman: It's interesting, because everyone's bullshit meter so high, and yet we're all like... You could argue that we're actually more likely to be swayed than ever before by certain things moving quickly, which is sort of awesome and also kind of horrifying, but it creates an incredible amount of opportunity out there. This past year it's created pause for everyone in that sense. I was talking to a friend recently about this idea of the whole concept of delayed gratification is sort of like...
George Weetman: I think it's out the window for not just people in my demographic, but I think even younger people are starting to question like, what am I doing? What's the point of me working really hard right now? How can I really do something that's going to add real value here? I think it's really encouraging. I actually think that's probably the tipping point we need to get to in the world.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. I think having that purpose and why and maybe that's a COVID thing, maybe that's a digital thing. I don't know. I think back to the Cambridge Analytica stuff and the election, that's when we really started to see the potential of this digital stuff. I'm a digital guy. I really think it actually has made my life a net... It's a net positive. At the same time, there's a ton of bad shit that's happened because of it, right?
Charlie Grinnell: It doesn't make you question things. It does make you wonder, "Oh, am I working on the right thing? Is this ethical? Is this pushing the world forward in a way that I like?" I don't know.
George Weetman: Well, I think everyone struggled during COVID. If you've been working from home, you've been spending more time than ever on screens and devices, even though you've actually had more flexibility in your work schedule. There's this juxtaposition of like, I've never had this much flexibility, but why do I still feel stressed out? I mean, a big part of it is probably due to screen time, and I think most people... We sort of halfway recognize it, but there's nothing really we can do about it to a certain extent.
Charlie Grinnell: And if you think about how much time... Previously the regular average person out there is like, okay, they'd commute to an office. Yeah, they'd be in front of a screen at an office, but they'd go into the lunch room. They wouldn't be at the screen. Yeah, there were meetings where everyone's around the room and maybe you're looking at a screen on a wall, but it's not like the screen. Them being on their phone scrolling Instagram or TikTok or whatever they're doing, that was kind of their like okay.
Charlie Grinnell: They're kicking back and having fun or relaxing. Whereas now it's like if you're all day on Zoom or Google Hangout or whatever it is, that muscle memory of picking up your phone and then you're like, "Oh, shit. It's been 12 hours and I've just been on the screen the whole time."
George Weetman: Exactly. Exactly. The whole week will go by. I know.
Charlie Grinnell: Well, here's a bit of a different direction here. As someone who's worked at a lot of really cool brands and been in the industry for a really long time, what is something that you're most excited about when it comes to marketing and digital and e-commerce today? You've seen a lot of stuff come and go. You've seen a lot of stuff stay the same. What in the last three to six months have you been like, "Wow! This is really, really cool, and I'm excited about this?"
George Weetman: I've been taken actually recently by I think just where we're probably going to end up when it comes to commitments around net zero and what that means, how digital at large and even e-commerce can play a central role in having an impact in the world when it comes to climate change and the companies making commitments to net zero. I mean, I'm convinced we're going to see a lot of disruption there.
George Weetman: Maybe I'm saying all this because I just picked up and got most of the way through Bill Gates' book there, but it leaves you with a lot to think about when it comes to how much needs to change. And actually the appetite for change is there and how quickly things do change. I actually think it's the most interesting thing online of how quickly the tipping point can come to be. You see it in things sort of like...
George Weetman: Everything from influencer marketing, like how central that digital experience is to bringing something to life in a meaningful way. I think it's going to be a super exciting year. For anyone that's working in digital marketing, in e-commerce and digital commerce, it's going to be very exciting years ahead, because I think fundamentally there's going to be so many systematic changes that need to happen across distribution networks and how we buy and sell things. And a lot of it's going to hinge on what that digital experience looks like.
Charlie Grinnell: I guess how also teams are structured, right? There are probably people sitting, working in digital organizations right now where it's like, you might be doing this today and you've been a social media manager for five years, but this is actually the way things are going and teams the way they're structured and organized could change from that as well.
George Weetman: Completely. Coming back to that people dimension, I think that's the most exciting part of post-COVID is how many employers are embracing hybrid work models. I mean, I think everyone's been completely surprised by how productive we can be hanging around in board shorts and working from home. It's remarkable, right? I think it's encouraging for people. I think it makes people think like things don't always have to stay this same.
Charlie Grinnell: I completely agree. I think the thing that comes to mind there is this idea of four day work week. That's something that we're super bullish on and we want to try and do that as a company in the next year here. Whereas I think they just did a study in Iceland, like a five year study or something, where it was like they went down to a four day work week and the results were completely extreme. I think I read another thing in The New York Times recently just about how...
Charlie Grinnell: It was Ford who implemented the five day work week or kicked it off in the '30s or whatever. I could be completely misquoting this. But basically it was like in the '50s is when in the US they were like, "It's a five day work week, 40 hours a week," like that sort of thing. Could we be kind of coming to that almost Renaissance moment again where it's like, no, no, there's a fundamental shift where governments around the world, leading companies are going to be like, "Nope, it's going to go this way now."
George Weetman: Yeah. I mean, I think it will. The question is when. It's purely the question of when. It feels like every Canadian read that Iceland case study. Look, the idea of productivity is like at the end of the day, I think everyone's way more in tune with their... The whole kind of mind-body thing I think is just way more central conversation now, right? And people are way more self-aware of when their productivity falls off a cliff. I mean, we outgrew the nine to five thing probably over a decade ago.
George Weetman: I mean, essentially once the smartphone became the device that everyone uses to work on, it's.... I don't know a single person that doesn't get work things like after 5:00 PM or before 9:00. Everyone just realized you got to balance your life here.
Charlie Grinnell: Totally. Yeah. I think the amount of the technology has helped, but both probably not helped as well where it's like we are almost kind of available all the time. The Slack notification that comes through at 6:00 PM when you're out for dinner and you're like, "Ah, is this real?" That sort of thing. I don't know. I'm torn, but I'm very pro four day work week.
George Weetman: You got to get those notifications turned off. Just turn off all your notifications. Simple.
Charlie Grinnell: Totally. Totally. I'm definitely with you on that. Oh, sorry. I missed it. I want to do a bit of rapid fire here. When it comes to a brand that's not a brand that you've worked at who's marketing you admire, what's a brand that stands out in your mind?
George Weetman: There are some obvious ones I think that are popular. I think Yeti's done a remarkable job of going after really broad audience that you wouldn't normally think would have shared values, but they put them into one tribe, which I think is actually quite remarkable. They backed it with an incredibly strong product experience. That's a brand I can certainly relate to. I think Rafa is incredible in the way that they found a niche and created a brand that is actually very kind of purposeful. I don't know if you followed any of that Altour.
Charlie Grinnell: No, I didn't.
George Weetman: You should go check this out, altour.com. I think it was a Rafa athlete, but I mean, it's a great take on... It was sort of a take on the Tour de France and it was guy that... He was once I think a sponsored cyclist. I think Australian. He decided to try to beat the Tour de France and ride every stage solo, including the legs between each stage and try and beat the Peloton to Paris. And he did it this year.
Charlie Grinnell: Did Rafa rally around that?
George Weetman: It was in this spirit of like the original Tour de France, which was like every guy from themselves and you got to fix your own bike. Anyway, I think Rafa has done a remarkable job of being true to something very core that way. I've been working as an advisory role for a small business in Vancouver to kind of shifting gears. This local grocery business called Nada. They're really neat there. They're a b-Cert company.
George Weetman: They've figured out a way to remove single use packaging from the entire supply chain in the grocery business.
Charlie Grinnell: Wow!
George Weetman: They've had to navigate a bunch of things to pivot their business to e-com and they're kind of coming back. But I've been really inspired by what that local... When you think like local community, the impact that small businesses have on a local community, like stepping out of big brands, actually it's been very eyeopening for me to see how quickly a small business can really have authentic roots in a local community. That was kind of inspiring.
Charlie Grinnell: Interesting. I think going back to just what you were saying about Yeti, I've always been fascinated by Yeti because their product is amazing, but it's not very sexy. They took like an unsexy product, like a cooler, and just made it like this thing where people are dropping hundreds of dollars, myself included, and being like, "Wow! I would've never done that five years ago. I just wouldn't have done that." I got to go to their brand store in Austin when I was down there a few years ago.
Charlie Grinnell: I mean, it was literally like me walking in and just saying, "Take all my money." Really it's what it was. They just had such great installations. You could create custom coolers like on the spot. It was like you could pick your colors of hinges and lids and whatever. They actually had some really sweet installations just around like, oh, we put a bomb inside this cooler and blew it up and here's what it actually looked like and here's the cooler with the burn marks and the exploded things.
Charlie Grinnell: And it's like, yep, everything was still cool. The bomb barely kind of... It didn't actually leave the thing. Yeah, I think a brand like that where you can take something that's not sexy and turn around and rally around to your point that tribe of people who... Outdoor is a huge space and coolers are a big part of that space, but nobody had really been like, "This is how we're going to make that sexy or approachable or desirable."
George Weetman: I love the way they've been able to do it in such a way that they've attracted people that barbecue and people that fish and people that hunt and people that surf and people that climb mountains. It's inclusive without even trying to be inclusive in a very authentic way, which I think is very human that way. It's been inspiring I think.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, and hard to do.
George Weetman: Totally.
Charlie Grinnell: Taking those communities and putting those together. Because I think previously, us as like marketing strategy people would be like, "Oh yeah, there's the surfers. There's the barbecuers." We can't do that where they've been like, nope, it's an outdoor lifestyle. These things all sit within outdoor. We're going to create stuff that touches all of these types of people and get them fired up. Another big thing for me at least that I found in my career is reading and consuming information.
Charlie Grinnell: What do you read or what do you listen to to stay up to date on business and marketing? Who are you following, what podcast, what books, that sort of thing?
George Weetman: Definitely read. I probably read more than I listen to podcasts. I have a guilty pleasure of loving music too much. With limited free time with two kids, I find like if I get a chance to put on headphones, I'm probably going to listen to music. I probably shouldn't say that during a podcast, but I don't. My wife listens... She must listen to three podcasts a day, but I'm less of a podcast person. I sort of always got my head in like two or three books. I tend to start more books than I finish sometimes.
George Weetman: The climate change, the Bill Gates' book, I found that one pretty interesting. It's been a very kind of thought starter one. I wouldn't describe myself as an early adopter. I've generally taken the tact of like I surround myself with actually people like yourself that are more like culture vultures in this space that I can... Like honestly. Because it's a great way to filter information and to bounce ideas off people.
George Weetman: I'm better suited to some of the big picture kind of human psychology stuff. I like to let people I trust be some of the early adopter kind of sniff testers on things.
Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. Always have a canary in the coal mine.
George Weetman: Totally. Totally.
Charlie Grinnell: Okay. Last kind of big question here, what would be your one piece of advice for marketing, digital, or e-com people as they move ahead in a tail end of COVID or post-COVID world? What's one thing? A mindset. It could be a quote. It could be something that you've learned or something that they should just remember?
George Weetman: When I was young, I didn't get much too much career advice when I was young. I know you're a Scott Galloway fan. I always loved his advice on what to remember on career advice. I love his quote on the only people telling you to follow your passion are already rich, which thought it was so true. When I look back, I'm like, "Oh, you're right," which doesn't mean like... Clearly, clearly if you can make money following your passion, I mean, do it, right?
George Weetman: But the reality for most of us though, is that idea of like this intersection point of like, what are you good at? What's something that doesn't suck, and what's something that people are willing to pay you to do? If you can find the intersection of those three things, that's probably where you can add a ton of value in your career. I think it's good to get your friends to, to tell you what you're really good at and milk your talents because it is incredible the opportunity out there right now.
George Weetman: I firmly believe that like... I mean, coming out of COVID, it probably is the very best time to be starting a small business if you ever thought of starting one. The need for talent, people without too much emotional baggage as employees at a company, the need for that level of talent right now has never been higher. The opportunity to work for companies that geographically you may not have been able to work for before has never been greater. I think it's pretty exciting times.
George Weetman: I think people kind of staying focused on just like where can they add value. that's been the best advice people have given me when I've started new careers. Look, try to find in the first 60 days, go find somewhere to go, add a ton of value. One thing tends to lead to another.
Charlie Grinnell: Yup, absolutely. I find that if you just get in there, things just happen. It's weird. There is a dumb amount of luck I feel like that goes into things.
George Weetman: Yeah. I think it's fair to accept that like yeah, luck plays a role in it. It certainly played a role in my career, so I'm very grateful for that.
Charlie Grinnell: Cool. Well, very final question. I'm sure there's probably some people listening out here who might have questions for you. What's the best place to find you online or how can people get a hold of you?
George Weetman: Yeah. LinkedIn is probably the best place for people just to hit me up. I'm pretty good at getting back to connections on LinkedIn.
Charlie Grinnell: Cool. Well, George, thank you so much for taking the time. I always appreciate talking to you. I definitely learned a lot and I'm sure everybody else did as well. Thanks for joining us.
George Weetman: Thanks, Charlie. All the best.
Charlie Grinnell: For show notes, other episodes, and more content, check out rightmetric.co. If you enjoyed the show, please subscribe and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. Thanks for listening.