Reading Time: 12 Minutes
“Watertight has been very influential…. Having a methodology and process provides confidence, rigour and a lens through which to think, research, draw conclusions and think critically. It gave me insight and knowledge that applied structure to everything.” We talked to Amy Grenham, an experienced senior marketer, about her experience of working with, using and applying Watertight Thinking. Interview by Rachael Wheatley, Watertight Business Thinking.
Amy Grenham: I first came across Bryony in 2007. I saw her talking about the social platforms, that were very new. I’d been on maternity leave and somebody said to me, what are you going to do about Twitter and I didn’t even know what Twitter was. She pulled it all together, so you could see the different component parts. She just put it in this really accessible analogy, which helped you to understand.
I think there’s that fear when you’re quite new to marketing and really, at any point during [your career]: am I covering all my bases? Is there anything I’ve forgotten?
It was very helpful for me to take away and then talk to the rest of the team, about what was important and why, and what I needed from them. What we needed to spend time or money on.
Rachael Wheatley: When you say the rest of the team, do you mean the rest of the marketing team? Or the wider business team?
Amy Grenham: I mean the business. The challenge I had was, it was a small business, we weren’t even turning over a million. I didn’t know where to start. They wanted me to do marketing and it was a new world. I’d worked in marketing for magazine subscription before and the rules of engagement were quite clear. You inherited a marketing plan and it was about execution. Then I came to Bristol, to a small software business and they said ‘we need you to do all of it’ – strategy, execution, budget, the whole lot.
They were transitioning into Salesforce at that point, cloud computing. So that was a brand new product/service to talk about. I think we were very reactive for a couple of years. Let’s do a case study. Let’s put some stuff on LinkedIn. Let’s do a blog post. There was no strategy behind it.
Then we got a new sales director on board and we knew we needed to ramp up. We needed a website with good messaging and an actual strategy behind it. We needed tools and a way to use those tools.
Rachael Wheatley: How did Watertight change your approach?
Amy Grenham: Initially Bryony ran a session with us and we understood there was a ton more research needed before we started on our website. We’d gone straight to the outcome. We hadn’t done the hard yards of thinking that went before that, thinking about: how are we going to structure our services, how are we going to package and price them, how are we going to position and name them, who’s our audience. Bryony put me in touch with Valuable Content and said you need to think carefully about your messaging and use a messaging expert.
They did a big research piece, reached out to customers and stakeholders with in depth interviews. They listened and then came back with a response in terms of this is what content messaging you need to use.
Without Watertight, and the framework, I probably wouldn’t have understood how that fitted into the bigger picture. How would we use that messaging framework in customer onboarding or when we were speaking to partners. It gave me an understanding of how the component parts fit together. It gave me the bigger picture, but it also really drilled down into how do you do these things, here are some examples, and this is what it looks like. So it was very practical as well.
I went to Texas last year [with my current job]. We do presentations on delivery, sales and the future. I did ‘What is Marketing?’. They didn’t really know what it is or how it’s important or why they’re part of it. I think when people think about marketing they think: oh, he’s just putting some posts on LinkedIn, or sending out some emails, and they don’t really get that it’s actually customer loyalty and retention. It’s all the way from that first lead generation until you close the customer. And then throughout that customer lifecycle, because with B2B, the repeat business is huge. I talked them through that. My last slide was the Watertight Marketing funnel. I thought this just consolidates everything I’ve just communicated to them about software.
Rachael Wheatley: How did it land with them?
Amy Grenham: It was done very much in a storytelling way. I worked through my last big purchase [a sofa] and all the different points. Bringing in the theory at the end consolidated it. I like to think it was memorable, because sometimes so much of marketing and business talk is jargon.
Rachael Wheatley: You mentioned earlier that Watertight is good at any stage. What are your thoughts about its value for seasoned, experienced marketers?
Amy Grenham: Well, if they are a senior marketer, they probably know this. But it has value in the way it’s communicated in the book; it is very accessible. I would recommend senior marketers share it with members of their team. And share it upwards as well, because it’s a really good for explaining where marketing fits in and why it’s important.
Rachael Wheatley: That’s exactly how senior marketers use the tools. To share with their team and show how specialists such as someone focused on SEO or content fit. They also, as you’ve said, use it to explain what marketing is to people who don’t know, outside the department. And experienced marketers also use it to aid their own strategic thinking.
Amy Grenham: Marketing is often represented as being quite floppy. That’s why Watertight Marketing is a good tool for people to communicate that importance and what good strategic marketing looks like.
Rachael Wheatley: Is there anything that particularly resonated from the book?
Amy Grenham: There is one thing I always remember: logic is important but you shouldn’t take all the emotion out. Emotional resonance is important to people.
Rachael Wheatley: By using the framework, the language and the thinking approach, what do you think that’s enabled or equipped you to do?
Amy Grenham: I think it’s triggered this realisation that experts have such a lot to offer. And they codify their thinking into actionable plans. And that will make you better at work. There is an importance in having a formula or a methodology.
Rachael Wheatley: So the value of having a methodology process is a comfort in that it gives you confidence?
Amy Grenham: Yes. And rigour, to be able to see something through a lens, research something properly, draw conclusions and think critically about the conclusions you’ve drawn. It gave me the kind of insight and the knowledge that applied rigour and structure to everything you do.
Rachael Wheatley: So why would you recommend Watertight to others?
Amy Grenham: It depends who I was recommending it to. If it was somebody who didn’t know anything about marketing, I would say this is a great overview of all the component parts which can be applied to just about any product or service. If it was somebody who was setting up their own business, and they were recruiting for a marketing role, or they are running that marketing role themselves, or they were potentially hiring an external agency to do their marketing, I think it would be very important for them to understand what they want and to build a brief. It’s an important book for businesses where you’re likely to have one person who’s going to be doing all the marketing,
It can fit into every model, every stage of growth of a business and is useful in different ways for any marketer whatever the stage of their career.
Rachael Wheatley: Is there anything else that comes to mind that you would like to add?
Amy Grenham: I’ve been a big fan. It was very influential. It all seems really solid, common sense.