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Marketing agency founder: ‘Content has to be useful and add value’

Simon Douglass, founder of the Curated agency and former UK Account Manager Lead at Google, joined us for a quick chat as part of our Marketing Maestro interview series in partnership with Press Gazette.

What’s been your proudest achievement in your current role?

That my business is still running, and that it continues to evolve and innovate and that we continue to deliver great work and hire amazing people. Sorry that’s quite a few things, but they’re all interlinked, if that makes sense

Which media channels do you see as most important and best value when it comes to marketing spend and activity?

Depends on the goal, and the variables in the business. 9.99999 times out of 10 it will likely be a combination of multiple marketing channels all working together towards the same goal with each one aware of its own place and importance in the customer journey.

So the most important and most valuable channel isn’t actually one single channel – its the clarity of your goal or business objective, and how you use the channels in combination to achieve it.

What is your advice for mastering social media?

Depends what you define as mastery, but it’s broadly a mix of understanding your audience, choosing the right platforms, consistently posting quality content, and engaging with your audience. And always learning and adapting to new trends and features.

Throw into that some maverick stuff, like not being afraid to try and test new things even if it sounds mad (some of our best ideas have come out of doing that).

When you’ve mastered that, a new platform will launch which means you have to throw all that learning in the bin and start again. You have been warned.

In your opinion, what is the main difference between B2C and B2B marketing?

B2C marketing tends to focus on creating an emotional connection with the consumer, whereas B2B marketing typically centres around providing value to a business by addressing specific pain points or needs.

Otherwise they’re essentially the same, its still marketing – I’ve met people who actively say they dislike B2B marketing because it’s boring. I have to tell you – it isn’t – it can be as fun, visual, creative and emotionally engaging as B2C.

B2B marketing can also often involve a longer sales cycle and more complex decision-making processes, which can require a different approach compared to B2C marketing. And B2B marketers often have to create content that speaks to loads of different decision makers within a company, rather than just one person.

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What is the key to producing engaging marketing content and what types of content works best for you?

The most engaging content I have read has a clear purpose, is written by a true expert, and can add real value to someone’s life and how they operate at home or at play – whether that’s solving a problem, providing a solution or a new way of thinking about a specific subject. It has to add value, it has to be useful.

How important is technology in modern marketing?

It’s massive, but it’s always been misunderstood. Tech is so powerful, but it’s only as good as the people in business that have been charged with owning and operating it. 

So much martech is thrown away. I’ve seen too many businesses lumbered with expensive enterprise level tech which nobody uses, or they’re scared to use. Grrr. Stop it!

While it’s entirely imaginable and plausible that in the future, tech will control everything independent of human intervention, for now, at least, it needs to be carefully managed and nurtured in order to get the best out of it.

That said, how long have printers been around? And how much human intervention do they require? Printers have failed big time.

Which future marketing trends will become mainstream before too long?

Undoubtedly AI, or more specifically how AI can make the mundane tasks more efficient and allow us time to focus more on the fun, creative, personalised stuff. There are loads of new marketplaces evolving out of AI, so who knows where this will go and how it will end.

If you could ask your peers for one piece of advice or help, what would it be?

How long will I be doing this before I can retire? Asking for a friend…