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In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris discuss what it takes for marketing professionals to advance their own learning and development. Should they wait for formal training? If not, how should they approach learning in a field which is constantly changing?

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn
This is in your insights, the trust insights podcast

in this week’s in your insides were getting philosophical as we drove up to the various conferences that are happening such as Social Media Marketing World Hello conference content tech and all these things were having a discussion offline a little earlier about the way people receive information and the type of information they are prepared to hear. And one of the things I was thinking about when I was putting together my slides was this talk is about attribution analysis. So I kind of go through the five different levels from like hey here’s the easiest solution out of the box with terrible accuracy to here’s the the gold standard of how to do attribution analysis know what you need to use deep learning to do it in order to get like the most comprehensive picture at originally it was going to be a talk solely about that. But then I realized based on a lot of my interactions with attendees leading up to this event, they aren’t ready to

take that much technical content all in one shot without something on the front end of like, here’s what you need to do this. And on the back end of here’s what you do with thing when it’s done. And Katie, you had some thoughts about why is it the people are ironically less ready to hear some of this content. Now, even though this technology has been evolving over the past few years?

Katie Robbert
Well, I think we need to break it down to a more basic level because, you know, it started us down this path of thinking,

why do we feel like people low no less now than they did before and it started this train of thought of Is it is it a shift culturally so is the technology that we have access to social media Google, you know all of these voice assistance really sort of changing the way in which we get information and so people are becoming less

curious people are becoming less inquisitive and motivated to seek out these things on their own and really sort of conditioned to just receive information, you know, whether it’s the right information or not. And so the specific example that, you know, we had been talking about was, you run some community forums for some of these conferences. And we’re both part of community forums on various social media accounts for different interests, whatever the thing is, and

Christopher Penn
quick port

join analytics for marketers, our slack community got, so I got, you know,

Katie Robbert
and I’m always blown away by the questions that are asked in some of these community forums. Because what it indicates to me is, people haven’t done their own research first, before asking the question, there’s just this expectation that, you know, if they asked a question, somebody else will feed them the answer. And, you know, that’s sort of where I was getting stuck. So Chris, you were talking about one of the community forums that you’ve been working with, for leading up to a conference, and this is what sparked you sort of re constructing your entire presentation. And, you know, if anyone who knows Chris Penn, they know that you’re known for sort of, really, that really deep technical, I’m going to lose you halfway through, but I’ll bring it back at the end. And that’s not the approach that you’re taking this time, you know, you’re really trying to have people along every single step of the journey through your presentation, you’re trying to really break it down to a movie basic level. And that was due to the nature of the questions that people are asking. Now, these are questions that we both feel, you know, shouldn’t be asked anymore. And, you know, that’s a little bit biased from our side. But, you know, my I’m wondering is the way that people are sort of this instant on demand all the time culture changing the way that people are willing to receive information.

Christopher Penn
I don’t know if it’s the that only that I think there is definitely an aspect to that of, hey, just, you know, feed me stuff, because information certainly is very freely available. But I also have to want to, I’m thinking back to our days, you know, back in, in when we worked in an agency where we made it and we still have this culturally at trust insights. But there’s only a few of us now, we made it a an imperative for the people who work for us that learning and development, professional development and training was a mandatory part of the job was something that was expected of you that you are expected to allocate time for it, allocate resources for get training and certification, the company would pay for, you know, some of the trainings and things like that, but it was built into the expectations of the person. And I have to wonder in companies relentless pursuit of of inexpensive profitability, why don’t have to wonder, I know for a fact that many companies do not have formal training, especially in marketing, they do not have any expectations of their employees, other than just do the thing, they don’t provide any requirements or guidance. And so people are feeling left to drift. And what I find interesting is, when I look at the people who are in the space, I’m looking at my attendee list for my Thursday night dinner, these are all prominent companies that are attending this dinner, but these are newer people in these companies. So there’s sort of this institutional knowledge loss as people who are senior keep moving up and away from the training they received, they’re not passing it down. And I think that’s part of the the issue as well,

Katie Robbert
I agree with you. And I would add to that, that, you know, going back to this notion of an ondemand culture, you know, how many times have you and I in different jobs right into, hey, well, I’m not going to do the research myself, I’m just going to ask Chris. Chris will know the answer. I’m just going to ask Katie. Katie will know the answer, which isn’t a terrible, it’s good to know where you can get the answers. However, in terms of our human processing, and the way that our brains retain information, if you’re just conditioned to always ask Chris the answer. Always ask a manager or someone else the answer, you’re not actually learning the thing. It’s like, in and out as fast as it, you know, came and went. So if I say, Hey, Chris, how do you do an attribution analysis? You know, you can describe something to me, and it’s probably going to leave my brain five minutes after we’re done talking versus me doing my own research and figuring it out and actually learning the thing. If I’m just asking you the answer to the question, I’m not learning anything. And I think that that’s the piece that I’m stuck on, is that

there’s this sort of shift in the culture of sort of this inquisitiveness and curiosity that people aren’t willing to learn the thing, they just want to be told the answer, and then they want to move on. So they’re not retaining any of the information that’s being told. And my hypothesis is that that’s where you are seeing a lot of the same repetitive questions over and over again, sometimes, but the same people,

Christopher Penn
I think you’re right there. But I also think there is,

there’s an aspect to the business culture overall, that’s, that’s part and parcel of this, which is that companies are expecting, you know, ever increasing productivity demands that we expect you to do more, we expect you to work 60 hours a week, 70 hours, 80 hours a week to get the job done, I was at a customer is not too long ago, I was there for an evening event. And there were people at 7pm still at their desks still cranking away on whatever it was they were doing, I’m like, what’s going on here that I Are you so swamped with work that or are you so inefficient, or some combination thereof, that you are chained to your desk at 7pm, when you know, you should have been gone a couple hours ago. And

to your point, if if you are in an environment where your your hair is constantly on fire, then you don’t take the time to retain it, you don’t take the time to build the skills, you would need to transcend that problem to eventually say, Yep, I now have an automated way of handling 80% of this task.

Katie Robbert
So really what we’re coming back to, and I think we’re both saying, you know, similar things is, it’s really the time and effort invested into learning and understanding and developing new skills. And that piece is missing, like, flat out, I’m going to say it’s missing from majority of companies. Because Chris, to your point, people want to grow faster, and make more money, do it as inexpensively as possible, and that doesn’t afford the time to actually learn something, they just want to plug and chug with different people. And then if that person has sort of like, you know, done as much as they can great, they’re going to replace them with somebody else who’s willing to work 80 hours a week for very little money, which is a really sad thing to think about. And I think that this is why people are so concerned, will robots take my job? Well, the answer in those in those scenarios is Yes, they will. And so it’s really incumbent upon managers and the employees themselves to make an effort to learn something to do professional development.

Christopher Penn
So what for someone who is not

going to do this week’s conference, or next week’s conference, or whatever, and things? Where, where did they get started? How do you here’s, here’s my question for you, as someone who is much more expert in people that I am, how do you inculcate the drive the motivation to want to learn more, because if you have that motivation, you have all the tools you need, you have Google, you have social media, you have all these places you can go to get answers. But if you don’t have that motivation to want to get the answer it can a manager can have an executive inspire you to have that? Or is that something that you just have to hire for? Because some people have it? Some people don’t, you know,

Katie Robbert
that’s a complicated question, to be honest. And, you know, if you’re breaking it down, very basic, some people have it, some people don’t, however, it can be learned, it can be a quality that’s developed over time. And so it’s, it takes time, it takes patience. And I think, again, sort of back to this notion of an ondemand culture, give it to me, now, I want it instantly, that’s where this you know, okay, I’m good with what I have versus a motivated to do more, you’re talking about people spending a lot of time months, years, you know, invested in moving on to this next step. And people don’t want that because they’re shown a lot of for good or bad examples where they don’t have to spend a lot of time to move on to the next thing. But if they move on to the next thing, without spending the time, they don’t know what they’re doing, necessarily. So to reel it all back in as a manager, you can really talk with people one on one and say, What is it that you want to do? What are your goals, what are your aspirations and really help them outline a plan, but it needs to be a plan with those sort of like, if you think that the Agile methodology, those smaller milestones, those increments, so that you’re seeing progress and you’re keeping someone motivated versus says, Okay, well, in five years, you can do this, because, look, you know, and then they’re sort of like flailing for the next few years, thinking that they’re not making any progress moving forward. And it’s playing into that idea of that instant gratification. Give it to me now. Well, let me show you that if you do this one tiny thing, you’re closer to your goal. If you do these two tiny things, you’re even closer to your goal, and breaking it down in that way. So you can start to, you know, help someone become more motivated. Now, granted, there are people out there who aren’t. And that’s fine. And they never will be. And you can’t change someone inherent, you can’t inherently change who they are. But you can sort of help them see that this is the path to get to where you want to be. And it includes learning and it might include doing it on your own time. And that would mean time that you aren’t being paid by a different company to do the thing

Christopher Penn
or conferences dangerous or unproductive. I’m thinking about this, because also going back to where we started, when you see a presentation, that conference, it’s a lot like cooking show where you know, like, and, you know, in today’s show, we’re going to cook a Ratatouille and you know, they have all the vegetables chopped, and like, you know, it’s that that magic fade in cooking shows and, you know, put in the oven and then magic faded mail. Now it’s done and you don’t see the prep time chop all the vegetables, you don’t see the waiting two and a half hours for this thing. The big you just see that that very fast 20 or 30 minutes show. And I’m thinking about this with the presentation. You know, there’s a lot of examples of cooked dishes like, Hey, here’s what an attribution analysis looks like with this, here’s what it looks like with this method. Here’s what it looks like with this method. And I know personally, I use conferences to say, what dishes Can I cook or what dishes a possible but then I also know it’s going to take me to the three years in some cases, to learn all the steps that go into that in order to make that dish. And I don’t know that people who present at conferences convey that accurately.

Katie Robbert
I would

agree with that. And so, you know, if you take your cooking analogy, for example, you know, I, you know, I’m a great example of this. I love watching cooking shows. But I know for me personally, I’m never going to actually cook the thing. And so you know, that’s why restaurants exist. That’s why. But if you think about it, really, at a at a very simplistic level, it’s probably will be less expensive for me to do it myself, but it’s going to take more time. So in my brain, okay, great. It might be more expensive for somebody else to do it for me and give me the thing, but it’s going to be exactly what I’ve asked for. And so I’ll just pay more money for someone else to put the Ratatouille in front of me versus me spending the time to buy the ingredients, learned the recipe, chop the thing cook the thing, which is going to take more time. So it’s I would say it’s sort of the same thing with learning new skills within the marketing industry. Where Yeah, I can see that it would be great if I learned how to do this thing myself, and probably less expensive. But why would I do that when I could just pay someone to do it for me at a higher rate. And so to your question about, you know, marketing conferences, I do think they’re dangerous. And I think they’re dangerous for people who don’t go in with their eyes open and understand what it is you’re meant to get. So if you don’t go into a conference with a golden mind of here’s what I want to get out of this conference, I want to learn x thing I want to learn how to do why then you’re just getting inundated with all of this information. sensory overload, you spent probably a couple of thousand dollars, sometimes more, and then you go back to your desk A week later, and it’s all gone. And nothing’s different. And nothing’s different. And, you know, when you’re in that situation, when you’re at the conference, it’s really energizing. And it’s like, I want to change the world. I want to do this. And this is a great idea, but then you’ve left and that’s it, you’ve left it, it’s gone. So Chris, how are you trying to do it differently this time,

Christopher Penn
a lot of what I realized was unhelpful with the original talk that was going to do was it was focused on the outcome of the analysis. Like he, here’s the accuracy of this particular method. It’s like, you know, cooking techniques, right? here’s, here’s how this technique works. here’s here’s the final dish looks like. But unlike cooking, the answer isn’t obvious as to what to do with it. Right? With cookie is pretty easy. Here’s the food now you eat it.

But imagine if you were space alien, who would never use things like a fork, for example, you’re like, so what do I do with this thing on the plate? Here? You have your your finger it?

Katie Robbert
Well, it’s, you know, it’s interesting, you know,

I was watching Netflix over the weekend. And, you know, some I like watching terrible TV shows, and was something that kept coming up, and it kept resonating with me was like, the characters in the show would find themselves in this situation. And somebody would say, okay, what’s the plan, and then the person who supposed to have the plan, say, we’re going to go in there and save the day. And the other person would say, that’s an outcome. That’s not a plan. And in that in that happened a few times, and that example stuck with me of to your point, what you’re saying is people they’re so focused on the outcome that they forget to put a plan together of how they’re going to get from A to B,

Christopher Penn
or they don’t know what to do with it. So there’s a whole section in this presentation of that’s based on Dr. Andrew bellows original chart. But it broke it up into little pieces of how of what what different charts are good for. And there’s a section this presentation about reverse engineering charts. So when you are showing a comparison chart, the key questions are to ask are, what should we improve what’s not working? Right? When you see a bell curve, a distribution chart, your key question is, what’s an anomaly? What’s sticking out? That shouldn’t be when you see a pie chart or compositions, right? Like you look at how, how much of any one thing is there? And is that out of balance, and kind of what we were saying earlier, the talk itself when you do the attribution analysis, you do the visualization, and you’re, you’re looking at Google Analytics or whatever, people don’t question the charts. They just like if there’s a chart, they screenshot basically happened to a PowerPoint and they’re done, right? That’s, it’s it’s very outcome. But there’s nothing else other than here’s the thing instead of saying, Okay, now, from this line graph of your traffic, what questions do you ask of it, so that you can build a plan to improve the outcome, okay, if I’m looking at this line graph, and it’s going down into the right, cool, you know, if I don’t do anything, I’m just going to get fired, right? But if I start asking questions of it, why did it go down? When did it go down? How fast did it go down? What are the contributing variables that lead to this line. Now, I’m starting to reverse engineer the chart. And in some ways, I guess you could call it the second half the presentation of like reverse engineering your analytics to say, here’s what we need to ask, in order to be able to get to the next stage of what should we do a call it the for what says like, what happened. So what now what, what next, and that’s where this this presentation ended up going was I don’t feel like the attributes analysis you if someone gets the attribution analysis by any method,

there isn’t necessarily an immediate Oh, my God, I need to do this as much as there is, here’s the information. Now, you as a marketer need to use your judgment and experience in a methodology to build a plan. But that’s not baked into any tool or software, it’s they can’t do that,

Katie Robbert
right. So it sounds like we’re sort of coming back to this notion of that’s great. I hand you the information, you still have to do something with it. So you know, if you’re going to be at Social Media Marketing World,

please stop by check out Chris’s presentation, he’s really going to dig into you have the data. So what, and here’s some ideas of how to start to ask the right questions, to understand what to do with the data. You don’t have to know what to do. But you have to be able to ask questions. So you know, stop by see Chris. And if you’re not able to see us at any of the conferences that we’re going to be at, find us on social media, we’re at trust insights, or visit us at trusted insights.ai. That’s our website. And, you know, we’re happy to start to talk about this with you.

Christopher Penn
And our conference presentations will also be recorded and put up on the website as well. So you’ll be able to get them there. And we have a slack group called analytics for marketers, you go to trust insights.ai slash analytics for marketers can join the group there and we’ll let folks in the group know where to find these these conference conference talks as well so that you can you can see the final outcome, you can see the dish and then and then start to ask the chef will out. exactly did you make that and how long is it gonna take to learn how to shop onions?

Katie Robbert
That’s right. That’s right.

Christopher Penn
As always, please leave us a review on the podcast Listing Service of your choice and we’ll talk to you next time. Take care.

Thanks for listening to in your insights, leave a comment on the accompanying blog post. If you have follow up questions or email us at marketing at trust the insights.ai If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review on your favorite podcast service like iTunes, Google, podcast Stitcher, Spotify. And as always, if you need help with your data and analytics visit trust insights.ai for more.


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