On Episode 57, Cahill Puil is back to look at world beyond the attention economy. What’s next? How can we deal with the piles of data and sort the wheat from the chaff, what can marketers do to remain relevant, and what trends is Cahill watching? You’ll want to stay with us for this one.

Cover and header image from Flickr, public domain.

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Mark: Behind all of this, in between the lines, is data, right? And that's growing exponentially. I've been doing this podcast for a year and a half, and I called it Confessions of a Marketer because I thought we'd talk about marketing, and in fact, we've talked a lot about data. And it's everywhere now. It's embedded into everything that we do as marketers, but we need to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff. How do you recommend marketers do that?

Cahill: I agree with you that data is everywhere, and I think that the one big challenge that marketers have to overcome is understanding what their OKRs really are, so your objectives and key results. What is it that you're really trying to do? Yeah, okay, it's great to have a like on Instagram. It's great to have a retweet or a comment, but what are you really trying to do, and are your efforts moving towards that result? That's how you should really start to, I think, leverage your data, and again, like you said, sort the wheat from the chaff, because otherwise, it's just an overwhelming amount of micro data points that, by the way, are going to start increasing as we get more and more connected, and again, I think it really comes down to what's that key result that you're trying to drive?

Mark: Yeah, so it takes planning.

Cahill: Correct.

Mark: And getting everybody kind of together on the same page, as it were.

Cahill: Absolutely, and you know, those OKRs can shift. They can change. Maybe you thought your ultimate metric was getting someone on the email list, and it really turns out now that's actually not the thing that's driving your business. It's not the thing that's moving the needle, so to speak. And again, you can shift that. That's fine, but you do need to have that focal point, so that you're not busy wasting time, saying, "Okay, should we send it at 7:00 AM or 7:30 AM?"

Mark: Right.

Cahill: You know what I mean?

Mark: Yeah.

Cahill: There's just way too many data points to look at.

Mark: We've all been in organizations where we've done OKRs, or weekly reports, or some form of that. How do you get that from being just something that you check off your to-do list every week or every month, and make it part of what you do in your job every moment of every day?

Cahill: I think it comes back to your vision. If your vision is to move the industry in a specific way, or to help launch a specific number of entrepreneurs in a specific way, or to create more X, Y, and Z, then you're constantly looking at, "Are our OKRs moving towards that target or not?" And that is, I think, a constant check-in that you do on ... maybe not a daily basis, but a weekly basis, you're probably looking at, "Hey, is this moving us a step closer to where we want to be?"

Mark: So, what are the three or four things marketers should be doing every day to make sure their marketing is relevant. You've probably covered some of it, but just give me a few things that we can check off.

Cahill: Sure. I think having a great why is absolutely paramount. I think that's the core that everything is built off of. Once you have that, then things start to align towards that, so you know, checking that your brand voice, in everything that you do in marketing, so social, email marketing, content marketing, blog marketing, PR. Is your voice aligned to the why? Is your voice aligned to what you believe? You know, that's a huge one. I think building with consistency. I know myself, I've made mistakes in the past where we've done sprints in a certain direction and just haven't given that traction channel enough time to give us meaningful or significant results.

Cahill: So I think that having a consistency in what you're doing, you know, at every day, or every week, or a few times a week, you know, it's like, "Hey, we're going to do this five hours a week, every single week, for six months." That consistency, I think, really drives exponential results down the road, right? I believe ... I'm trying to think of who said it, but it was like a 1% improvement every day does not seem like much, but it leads to exponential levels of improvement a year down the road, and that's the same kind of thing that we're looking to do, so regardless of whether that's social, content marketing, email marketing, ads, SEO, et cetera, it's you're just consistently doing it and not trying to go for the shiny next thing that's hot or trending.

Mark: Yeah, I always call that a few yards and a cloud of dust.

Cahill: I like that one.

Mark: Because incremental progress is actually what wins the day, you know? Scoring a long bomb touchdown is the rarity.

Cahill: 100% agree, and you know, I get frustrated with that, as does everyone else. You know, you think, "Okay, we're really hammering out social, and it's just not doing anything yet," and you just need to give it time, but consistently do it. Like, consistency is extremely important.

Mark: So let's look ahead to the future. Any trends in 2019 or beyond that you're following or anticipating?

Cahill: Absolutely. I think privacy and transparency are becoming more and more relevant. We've seen GDPR happen over in Europe, and we don't quite have those rules here in the United States yet, but I think that that is going to start happening. I mean, Facebook just announced that they're going to quote-unquote, air quotes here, "Become a privacy-focused platform."

Mark: Yeah, I'll believe that when it happens.

Cahill: I probably won't believe it when it happens...

Mark: Right.

Cahill: ... because it's Facebook after all. Fantastic tool for marketers, but I think their track record of actually pulling through on what they've said they were going to do is very, very poor. So I think privacy and transparency are going to become very key. This, again, ties back to the visiconomy, right?

Mark: Yeah.

Cahill: If we start to have the regulations or rules in place that block marketers from leveraging data in specific ways, you really want to connect with an audience that believes in what you believe. Like, that's where you get people to market for you, right? And that's where, again, the attention economy starts to drop off, because you can't spam 50,000 emails, or you can't blast Twitter with one tweet every 10 minutes, like ... You know, I know those are exaggerations, but you can't do that. We need to connect with people, so I think privacy and transparency are huge.

Cahill: I think virtue signaling is something to watch out for. It's the whole, "Hey, we're going to be ..." Again, air quotes, "Environmental," or, "We're going to be diverse," or, "We're going to be ..." Name the trend that's happening, and I think again, if it's not core to your brand, this is something to really like be careful of jumping into virtue signaling just to get likes or attention. So I think those are pretty important.

Cahill: Then I think long term, we're going to see 2019 ... We've already seen it, by the way, but it's going to pick up more speed, where you're going to see long-form content become more and more relevant. We're talking guides, like long-form guides, long-form reports, long-form podcasts, long-form videos. If you look at a person like Joe Rogan, again, regardless of whether you like the podcast or not, I believe he gets more views per episode now than most media companies in the United States, so for example, he will have Elon Musk on, and in two or three days, he'll have 10 million views on YouTube and millions of views on his podcast. This type of content is really going to become more prevalent as we move forward, and again, it ties back to the visiconomy.

Cahill: I think it's going to become more prevalent as we move forward, because of the overabundance of all these little media hits, and what people are going to start doing is they're going to start seeking out more content that aligns with how they believe the world or the industry should be, and if you're not producing that content, or if you're not on that long-term trend, I think that it's going to be very difficult to compete with companies that are.

Mark: Content is just what I do for a living, but it's really important, and really good-quality content also. The trend of a few years ago, where you could write a short article on your blog, and fill it up with keywords, and have Google recognize it, those days are gone. Content has to be valuable.

Cahill: 100%, and you know, just like you, we've got a team that does that, but I also personally write ... At this point, it's anywhere from four to eight articles a week, and based on the traction that we're getting, that I'm getting, it looks like it's going to be even more, but again, that ... It's important to put that long-form content in. You know, those are 1,000-word posts, right? And every one is completely unique, and it is a lot of work, yes, but that long-form content, I think, is going to be a huge, huge trend moving forward. You know, like Joe Rogan's podcast, I believe, with Alex Jones, one of his most recent ones, it was four hours long, with-

Mark: That's long-form.

Cahill: That's a long time, and that had millions of views. Millions of people watched four hours of nonstop content. Now, you might have paused it, but that is insane when you consider just a couple years ago, it was, "Here are the top four trends for 2019," and it was a 500-word article, right?

Mark: It was a listicle. Those have gone the way of the dodo bird, and I don't listen to Joe Rogan. I know who he is, and I've kind of heard bits and pieces of his podcast, but it is a fascinating development that a guy like him, Bill Simmons, and Marc Maron have these-

Cahill: Tim Ferriss...

Mark: ...yeah, these small kind of operations. I can't imagine there's more than a few people in that operation, and they're getting millions of views.

Cahill: Yeah, I completely agree with you, and I think it really goes back to, again, this visiconomy concept. Like, Joe Rogan's not competing for your attention. Neither is Bill Simmons. Neither is Tim Ferriss, and yet, they have millions and millions of views. They're tremendous influencers. They, from a revenue perspective, make millions of dollars, and they're not trying to blast you on Twitter all the time, or advertise to you all the time on Facebook. They're not doing that, and I think it goes back to this concept.

Mark: So I've found, with my little podcast here, that the traction I get is with the podcast. I find that the social media posts, and you know, if I do LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, I don't get nearly as much traction there as I do with listens on the podcast.

Cahill: Right. And again, I think this is a larger trend that will continue to pick up steam, you know, as we move forward in the upcoming years.

Mark: Well, this has been great, Cahill. This is a lot of valuable information that I'm sure my listeners will love. I really appreciate you joining me.

Cahill: Yeah, appreciate you having me on. It's been fun.