Rishad Tobaccowala: How to Restore the Soul of Business, Ep #2

Rishad Tobaccowala: How to Restore the Soul of Business, Ep #2

Mark Raffan

What does Rishad Tobaccowala mean when he talks about restoring the soul of business? How does that change things from a marketing perspective? COVID-19 has brought about a radical shift in the world—not just in business. So in this episode of Content Callout, Rishad Tobaccaowala talks about what’s changing in the world of marketing and how marketers must change and adapt as the world does.

Rishad Tobaccowala has been in the marketing industry for 40+ years. He ended his formal career as the Chief Growth Officer at Publicist Group. Now, Rishad is an advisor, author, educator, and speaker focused on change, innovation, and re-invention. In this episode, he shares incredible insight from his book, Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data. Don’t miss it!

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • [1:43] 3 Actionable tactics + strategies
  • [3:46] Why build a competitive product that could destroy you
  • [6:29] How should we change or shape our view?
  • [9:18] The future of marketing is voice, AI, and android
  • [14:00] How does COVID-19 change the future of marketing?
  • [21:02] Making the shift towards a human connection
  • [22:32] Creating a human connection between brands and people
  • [27:05] How to navigate change—because it sucks
  • [28:15] Restoring the Soul of Business

Build a competitive product that could destroy you

Rishad points out that because you’re so close to your product you only look at why your product is cool. But you need to learn to look at your product or service from an opposing point of view—from the outside in. When something questions or destroys your product or service, it tends to come from outside your category (i.e. Uber, Dollar-shave Club, etc.)

Think about people and what you can create to serve them. It’s a fundamental thing, yet most companies don’t do it. Rishad notes that “Most companies are so busy managing each other that they’ve forgotten to manage the world outside… So whenever you make a marketing recommendation, build a case for the exact opposite of your recommendation. If you cannot build a strong enough case to overcome the opposing recommendation, you haven’t thought through both sides well enough.”

Consumers are treated like cows…

Many companies are so focused on their product and the scale formula that they dissociate from the actual consumer. “Consumer” then becomes a mathematical term. Rishad notes that when most businesses think about consumers, they think of them as cows. You send them messages (grass) and then—through the funnel—you milk them dry. It’s a horrible way of thinking about people.

Rishad always asks a marketer: “If you are a consumer, I’ve got you numerically pegged and controlled, right? I send you streams of information. I analyze you. I pulverize you and I milk you. How does it make you feel?” They usually spout a retort along the lines of “I cannot be defined by numbers.” Yet it’s exactly how they define their consumer.

You look through your product or service lens, but you wouldn’t want to be defined by that. Procter & Gamble creates and markets products that remove dirt. But they don’t want to be labeled and defined as dirt-removers. So think about your consumers as human beings—NOT consumers of your product.

How do you shift toward a more human connection? Keep listening to hear Rishad cover the concept.

The fundamentals of marketing still apply

Rishad notes that you don’t have to discount everything you’ve learned about marketing. In fact, a lot of what you’ve learned continues to be true. Rishad shares the example of segmentation:

With segmentation, you take large segments of people and you shape them into segments you can market to. So you start with a cow and make a steak. Digital marketing starts with one person, and you reaggregate them into lots of people. So you start with mincemeat and make a hamburger. Both still make sense.

Scale also makes sense. Your goal is to scale spending, scale manufacturing, and scale distribution. But Rishad points out that Kim & Kylie Kardashian have both sold portions of their respective companies (valued at over a billion dollars) to Coty.

They only had 55 employees and they used Shopify. They used their Instagram accounts. They outsourced as much as possible. They had a different scale. They didn’t scale manufacturing, distribution, or spending. But they had scale of influence, scale of networks, and scale of ideas.

So segmentation matters, but so does the opposite. Scale matters, but so does the opposite.

Data matters because it helps you define, curate, measure, target, identify, etc. But what brand was built on data? “Data is like electricity. It’s necessary, but which company separates itself on its use of electricity? People choose with their hearts and they use numbers to justify what they just did. The biggest brands are built on storytelling.”

The future is about how you combine segmentation, reaggregation, and data. How do you combine old scale and new scale? How do you combine data and storytelling? How is COVID-19 changing the world of marketing indefinitely? Listen to the whole episode to find out!

Resources & People Mentioned

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Mark Raffan

Mark Raffan

Mark is a serial entrepreneur and lover of marketing and influence. Mark built the #1 negotiation podcast in the world and is an expert negotiation, influence, and persuasion coach that has coached executives and their teams in some of the largest companies in the world.