Skip to main content
Champagne Strategy

Champagne Strategy

By John James
WARNING: not suitable for junior staff or bureaucrats. This show deconstructs world-class business strategy, growth, marketing and tech with a sprinkling of Champagne.

Anyone can talk or write about strategy. Execution is hard, and this is where the battle is often won

Specialists in this area move in tight circles and keep a low profile. They will have battle scars to show, skin in the game and money in play. Learning from their practical wisdom is priceless.

Escape the land of vanilla business strategy. Listen to an episode, if you dare
Listen on
Where to listen
Breaker Logo

Breaker

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo

Overcast

Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo

RadioPublic

Spotify Logo

Spotify

Currently playing episode

Vikki Ross on the art of great copywriting. Words that sell - Episode 10

Champagne Strategy

1x
Jon Manning on modern pricing strategy, value and how to get pricing right - Episode 13
Pricing is one of the 4 P's of marketing. Before the bean-counters and financial analysts took over this domain, pricing sat firmly in the remit of the marketing department. Then the great purge happened and each of the other P's peeled off from marketing, fragmenting the critical strategic marketing discipline. There only so much that can be done by looking at spreadsheets and creating economic models. What was lost, was an understanding of how customer value manifests itself - the irrationality - the art.  Jon Manning is here to restore that connection, as he leverages his deep knowledge of economics, finance and marketing.  By default, the large majority of businesses will use a cost-plus pricing strategy which is a legacy pricing method, firmly rooted in product manufacturing.  While there's a lot of cross-over with the product domain, this episode discusses pricing strategies for services almost exclusively. Jon's worked for many sectors including, petroleum, airlines, internet cafes, SaaS and more. As the founder of outsourced pricing strategy consultancy marketplace, Pricing Prophets, there isn't much he hasn't been exposed to. So we needed to hear the best ways to price our product offering and the mistakes to avoid.  He cleverly wraps many stories and real-life examples from his career into the mix. Even pricing novices will be able to understand the concepts that we're discussing. Have a listen and I'm sure there's a follow up on the cards. 
1:22:06
September 22, 2020
Chris Walker - Modern B2B demand generation, marketing and sales - Episode 11
You’ve probably heard him on LinkedIn or from his popular podcast, but today the microphone is reversed and we get to probe a little further into the world of Chris Walker. We ask him all the questions that he doesn't normally get asked.  If you’ve listened to him online, he shoots from the sales & marketing hip as much as a Texan ranger, but underneath this tell-it-like-it-is personality lies a nuanced, pragmatic professional, completely unbound by convention. It’s clear, early on that he is privy to the wisdom that only comes from being on the front-line, honing his craft. He's someone who’s close to customers and executing with deadly precision. This is why we needed to talk. This isn't a tactical discussion about any specific channel, but at the same time this is not a fluffy, top-level strategy conversation by any means. This is a warts and all expose on the approaches that work in a modern setting. We get to hear more about the approach he’s been perfecting since he started his own eCommerce businesses in his early 20s and I layer some of my own personal experiences on top as well. If you work for a B2B SaaS company, which spits out hundreds of blog posts, encouraging people to download vanilla e-book downloads and sink a chunk of your budget into trade shows as your primary lead generation tactic - listening to this episode may be quite confronting. If you’re been brainwashed by martec vendors’ who are all busy trying to convince you about a new phrase they've coined which ends in ‘marketing’, then you’ll need to prepare yourself.  This is a must-listen for sales teams, marketing teams, growth teams, executives and founders, especially in the B2B SaaS sector. With that said, the nuggets you’ll get from listening are just as relevant to the broader B2B sector as well. Especially the discussion about metrics and performance.  With so much misinformation and tech vendors peddling their own agendas - it was time to cut through all the BS and get Chris’ take on the current state of demand gen, growth, marketing and sales.
1:17:18
September 5, 2020
Matt Watkinson on modern customer experience strategy which results in growth - Episode 9
Matt Watkinson was talking about customer experience even before it became a boardroom buzzword. In fact by 2012, he'd already written a famous book on the topic. As a successful author and practitioner in the field of CX for over a decade, he’s someone who looks at the discipline from a much wider perspective than most. This multi-disciplinary approach to his craft makes him deadly when it comes to solving business problems and  improving commercial performance.  He's well-read and highly intellectual, so in this episode we get to delve into many areas aide from the topic at hand. So if you're interested in the broader connections between marketing, strategy, growth or finance, this discussion is highly relevant.  Which hotel did he say in that costs $14000 per night and what is the secret to a good whisky? What is his personal history with Ogilvy god, Rory Sutherland? What is the CX holy trinity, and the fuse box project tactic?  What's the fail-safe way to create your own buzzword and why are they are so prolific? Which of the 450+ books in the field of CX which Matt has read, does he recommend you read? Which statement about CX made him very unpopular in some circles? What’s the one thing you shouldn't forget to do if you’re ever invited to speak at an event? What’s the difference between a CX practitioner vs an expert? The easy way to spot the difference. What is the one customer feedback question every hotel (and every business for that matter) should be asking their customers but fail to do so? What mistakes did he make when writing his books which he would change? All of this and more answered in a long, but 'worth it' episode - especially if you like whisky. 
1:27:37
September 1, 2020
Vikki Ross on the art of great copywriting. Words that sell - Episode 10
Vikki Ross is one of the UK and Europe's most famous copywriters which is why I hope she doesn't critique my terrible writing right here.  Very early on in her career, Vikki decided that copywriting was what she wanted to do. Her unwavering commitment and mastery of the craft is awe inspiring. She’s worked as a copywriter for both large and small brands. From in-house work for brands such as The Body Shop, Hotels.com, and Virgin Media to her more recent consulting work for brands like Disney, Harry Potter, Sky News, Formula 1, Durex, Tesco, Sony Music and more. Professional accolades aside, what's also immediately apparent if you meet Vikki, is her firm support for other professional women. She's also an ardent leader of the global copywriting community, taking a firm leadership position with efforts to push the industry forward constructively.  Best of all, she doesn’t just talk and write about it, she does it. From Copycabana events in the early days to Copywriters Unite, she’s constantly advocating for progress and respect within the profession. Does she think AI is a threat to copywriting and what's the best way to measure its value? How is copywriting different from other forms of writing or content production. Can bad grammar and brevity be better than the opposite?  We discuss all of these things and more. Including, how the brand story-telling has gone wrong, and even why she loves working with legal departments! We ask about the things that prevent good copywriting from being published and Vikki tells us what to look for when hiring a professional.  What work did Harry and Megan approach her about? What are her must-read books on copywriting? What is an unmissable opportunity female copywriters should be taking advantage of right now? All of these questions and more are answered in this episode so click the button and have a listen now! 
42:27
August 27, 2020
Kathryn Rutknowski on the brutal reality of customer experience strategy that works - Episode 5
Customer experience aka CX. Is it just another buzzword or new name for customer support? Well it's neither. Kathryn lays down the truth bombs hard in this episode, cutting right through the fluff surrounding this mysterious discipline. Her multi-disciplinary experience working for firms both large and small, has meant her perspective on customer experience is extremely valuable. Naturally, we wanted to ask her everything and she didn't disappoint.  We discuss everything from CX metrics, to the hallmarks of junior vs senior teams. We talk about the 70% silent complainer majority, the processes and strategies she implements and much, much more.  Plus we sip a nip or two of gin and talk about her journey from big finance to tech. If you work in CX, Marketing, Customer Support, or as an executive and want to know the ins and outs of customer experience, you need to listen to this episode.  Note: this is an edited re-release episode which differs slightly from the original release of June 29.  
1:15:04
August 26, 2020
Robin Daniels on marketing in the tech world - Confessions of a tech CMO - Episode 8
How do you do marketing for a tech company? Well we asked someone who's been there since the first tech bubble pop in 2001. We learn how marketing in the tech world has changed over the past 20 years. What's stayed the same and what's changed. What's the latest and greatest and everything else in between. Robin Daniels is the current CMO of Matterport and ex-CMO of WeWork, and he's held senior positions at Box, Vera, Salesforce and more prior. He's experienced the whole gambit of the SaaS world and stems from a solid product marketing background. So we had to find out how he approaches marketing in the modern tech world world. What to do, what not to do and everything in between. 
1:01:58
July 27, 2020
Edgar Baum on measuring brands' contribution to revenue with mathematical accuracy - The evaluation of intangibles - Episode 7
There's brand marketers on one side and Edgar Baum on the other. He has mathematically proven the complex relationship between brand and revenue. Edgar is even called as an expert witness in court cases, and has developed an ISO valuation standard, such is the depth and integrity of his knowledge regarding the evaluation of intangible assets. Why is Tesla so valuable? Why are CPG/FMCG brands under attack? Is a brand more than a logo or your brand design guideline document? How does a brand work and why do people buy? If you've a fan of the work that Ehrenberg-Bass is doing in the field of branding, this is the perfect complement to this level of discussion. Warning: not suitable for the brand-fluff marketing types or CFO's suck in the legacy world of tangible assets and traditional accounting practice.  This is a fresh take on the concept of brands from the triple perspective of a marketer, a financier and a mathematician.  Listening to this episode could be confronting for those who do not possess an open mind. 
1:36:00
July 5, 2020
Louise Broekman on sourcing the best business advice and modern growth strategy. Advisory Boards - Episode 6
There's nothing worse than acting on poor advice. Sometimes it can be better to do nothing at all in retrospect. As a business owner, how to you ensure that you're receiving the best quality advice at the time? What are the different options out there and what are their pros and cons? Louise is the founder of The Advisory Board Center, the world's only global body for formalized advisory boards. In this interview she explains why it can be so effective to leverage world-class, independent advisers who work collaboratively to solve complex business problems. Every business right now is looking at ways to maximize the economics within their organisations.We discuss the difference between an advisors and consultants, her success using an advisory board to grow her own company, why the US was obsessed with Australian lemon myrtle during WW2 and even penguins. If you are a business owner, board member, executive or entrepreneur, this is essential listening.
1:10:11
July 2, 2020
Shadi Taleb on the future of retail, mass customization and personalization - Episode 4
Post COVID the online economy is booming but which retailers are being left behind? What new technology is out there to help retailers replicate the in-store experience online? What does retail look like in the future as traditional, globalised production networks are put pressure by economic lock-downs. Shadi Taleb gives us a detailed glimpse into this future. He tells us about the most lucrative new marketing channel that exists but which few marketers are familiar with - mass personalization. His team has created tech which makes this process cost effective, even for the smallest brands in the market. We go through his entrepreneurial journey, how he found a gap in the market and how he views himself as a facilitator in a market that's being put under immense competitive strain.  From his work with major brands such as BigW, Nestle, and Mondelez (owner of Cadbury) through to pioneering world-first, personalized AR experiences. If you’re interested in product marketing, personalization, retail, eCommerce and tech, this is an episode you shouldn't miss. This is his second podcast interview ever, so quite a rare coup for this marketing channel series. 
1:25:58
June 28, 2020
Anton Buchner talks positioning strategy. How to pivot your way to marketing and business success - Episode 3
We’ve all heard, how you say something is sometimes more important than what you say, but few realize this maxim can be true in business also. Sometimes it's not your product or what you’re selling that’s important, but how you sell it to the market that makes all the difference. Positioning is one of the most misunderstood and jargon-ridden areas of marketing strategy. We've all seen a positioning strategy dominated by a litany of perceptual maps, competitive matrices and a boatload of ethereal brand jargon. This is why we needed to speak to Anton to help cut through all of the positioning fluff by drawing on his years of practical experience.  Anton’s worked for global agencies as well as client side. He's been a consultant for both big and small brands. He’s worked in multiple sectors from tech through to FMCG, services and product. He’s personally drafted strategy as well as executed tactical plans, from direct mail to website development and more.  He confesses upfront that he’s not textbook learnt, but has instead developed his own simple processes which are dangerously effective.  In this episode, we learn the secrets behind Apple and Virgin’s successful positioning strategy. We learn the critical difference between, purpose, pivoting, pitching and positioning. We also find out which of the different positioning strategies is his favourite.  Don’t worry, this isn't an esoteric discussion and you don't need to have any deep prior knowledge before listening. Anton cleverly wraps wisdom into his stories and practical career examples to let the points he’s making sink in. There's key leanings for all marketers, all innovators, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in brand or product.
1:14:09
June 28, 2020
Tim Beanland uncovers the world of podcasting and production - Episode 2
By tapping into Tim’s first hand knowledge we provide you with many juicy details which you can take away and either start or manage a successful podcast. This is one of our 'expert guide' episodes where we delve into one particular marketing channel in depth and provide you with a comprehensive guide.  We cover all the basics from picking a theme, to finding your niche, to getting famous guests, preparation, equipment, software, music, distribution and promotion. We talk about both general approaches and specific tactics in each of these areas, even the names of different tools and hardware to use. While this episode is first and foremost a guide, we also touch on Tim’s story and he graciously opens up about a topic close to his heart near the end. If you’ve ever wondered how the world of podcasting works, this is an unmissable episode.
54:50
June 25, 2020
Andrew Walker's multi-million dollar success and the Growth Mindset - Episode 1
We've brought Andrew Walker back into the spotlight by convincing him to do his first podcast interview in years. He's modest and usually keeps a low profile but he's one of the best examples of how powerful the growth mindset can be on someone's life.  There was a pivotal moment which forced him to change for the better. Learn why he gave up a pretigious, high-paying job in consulting to pursue a different trajectory which ultimately led him towards business success and the recent sale of his company for ten's of millions of dollars.  If you want a practical guide to the implementation of the growth mindset in your life and in business - this is the episode you need to listen to.  Lots of juicy nuggets of widsom, tips, tricks, books to read and methods to follow.  View all the references and links mentioned in the article via the James Hammon Blog
1:40:05
June 5, 2020