Top Trends in the Marketing Industry with Phoebe Bain

Lauren Volpi's headshot on a blue background

Phoebe Bain founded Marketing Brew, a Morning Brew vertical covering the most important news in the marketing industry, in 2020. The vertical has since expanded into original reporting and beyond the newsletter. She’s now one of five reporters the Brew has since added to the fold, and primarily covers social media and influencer marketing. Before rolling out Marketing Brew, Phoebe wrote for Social Media Today under Industry Dive and worked on the social media editing desk for Business Insider.

Here are a few of the topics we’ll discuss on this episode of Long Story Short:

  • How to effectively keep your finger on the pulse of your industry
  • Phoebe’s meta view of marketing and advertising
  • The current, biggest trends of the marketing industry
  • Changes in social media, engagement, and the world of influencer marketing
  • The benefits of talking to, and learning from, industry experts
  • Why authentic marketing strategies resonate better with audiences
  • The difference between writing and reporting

Resources:

Maybe Baby – Haley Nahman

Morning Brew

Marketing Brew

Garbage Day

Trick Mirror – Jia Tolentino

Connect with Phoebe:

LinkedIn

Twitter

Instagram

 

Connect with the Host:

Jeff Sirkin on LinkedIn

 

Connect with Sirkin Research:

Website

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

Transcript:

Jeff Sirkin:
Hello and welcome back to another episode of Long Story Short, the podcast about storytelling and connection. I’m your host, Jeff Sirkin. On this show we talk to people, making a difference as marketers, entrepreneurs, and social impact advocates. We dig into actionable strategies and tactics to help you connect with your audience and keep your finger on the pulse of your market. My guest this week is Phoebe Bain. She founded Marketing Brew, a Morning Brew vertical covering the most important news in the marketing industry in 2020. The vertical has since expanded into original reporting and beyond the newsletter. She’s now one of five reporters the Brew has since added to the fold and primarily covers social media and influencer marketing.

Jeff Sirkin:
Before rolling out Marketing Brew, Phoebe wrote for Social Media Today under Industry Dive and worked on the social media editing desk for Business Insider. On our show, we typically talk to marketers who are doing the work every day, but in this episode, our guest is someone who has a meta view of the world of marketing and advertising. It’s fascinating to hear Phoebe’s thoughts on the biggest trends in the industry. So without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Phoebe Bain.

Jeff Sirkin:
Hi Phoebe. Thanks for coming on Long Story Short.

Phoebe Bain:
Thank you so much for having me.

Jeff Sirkin:
So I’m really excited to have you on because at the end of each episode of our show, I ask our guests what resources they’d want to recommend to our audience, and we had multiple people recommending Marketing Brew, and now we have the founder here. So first and foremost, we’d just love to hear from you. Can you tell us about how Marketing Brew came to be?

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, so it’s a Morning Brew product. So just to be clear, Morning Brew definitely owns it. It’s not just me. It’s not like Morning Brew acquired Marketing Brew from me or anything like that. Basically, I had gotten in touch with Morning Brew’s co-founders Alex and Austin and had specifically been talking to Alex about a role they are for me, that kind of thing. And right when the pandemic was starting, we were talking and basically he was like, “Yeah, we’ve been thinking about starting this marketing newsletter kind of Emerging Tech Brew and Retail Brew, but for the marketing industry and we think you’d be a good fit for it. Do you want to talk to our head of content about it?”

Phoebe Bain:
I think the reason they thought it would be a good fit is because I had had gotten in touch with them about doing some social media stuff for Morning Brew. Previously, I was on the social media editing desk at Business Insider. I did a fellowship there right when I graduated from college and yeah, we were talking about doing something in social, but I really always wanted to be a reporter and a writer. And I’d previously written for Social Media Today, which is similar to Marketing Brew, but it’s exclusively about social media marketing content and the social media news landscape in general. So yeah, I started talking to Morning Brew’s head of content at the time and started inApril 2020, which is a crazy time to start a new job.

Phoebe Bain:
But yeah, that’s how I got the role and how we got started. I was there for, I want to say three or four months working with a project manager on launching the newsletter, what the newsletter was going to be, talking to existing Morning Brew readers about what they would want to see from a marketing newsletter at Morning Brew. And we launched in, I want to say July 2020 and have been rocking and rolling ever since.

Jeff Sirkin:
That’s awesome. And I’m a happy subscriber myself, but I’d love to know, and you mentioned that you wanted to be a writer and reporter and so I’m interested too that obviously over the last year as you and I have talked about, your role really shifted. And so can you talk about how that kind of shift and what really the difference in those roles are?

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, so basically I came on as Marketing Brew’s lead writer, right? I was the only writer on the newsletter. We had one editor, Dan McCarthy, who was editing Emerging Tech Brew, Retail Brew, and Marketing Brew. And then all of a sudden we were able to grow the team a lot more. So we hired an editor that is just dedicated to Marketing Brew. Her name’s Minda Smiley, she came from Adweek, she’s great. We hired a co-writer for me, Ryan Barwick. He also came from Adweek. He’s also great. And we hired an executive out there to oversee all of the B2B newsletters and also launch new B2B verticals. His name is Josh Sternberg, also from Adweek. He’s also great. I’m sensing a theme here.

Jeff Sirkin:
I’m sensing a pattern here.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, exactly. But yeah, I mean, I think that part of… I mean, I don’t totally know, but I think part of Josh’s vision, just the vision for the B2B side of the company was that rather than having one individual human being, me or the Emerging Tech Brew person or the Retail Brew person aggregating news from each of our industries three times a week, the goal was more to be doing some original reporting. So, rather than linking to other original reporting that other trade publications are doing, we would be creating our own original reporting.

Phoebe Bain:
So that took me from being a writer who aggregated, again, existing reporting from other publications to being a reporter whose job is to go out and talk to sources and create stories around what I’m learning from those sources rather than just aggregating the most important news three times a week. That aggregation muscle is definitely still in the newsletter a little bit. We have a section called “What Else Is Brewing”, where we do aggregate news from either our own internal publications, Morning Brew, Retail Brew, sometimes there’s stuff to aggregate from them in there. But also from the New York Times, the wall street Journal, other people that are doing more breaking news reporting that somebody might want to hear about in a newsletter format.

Jeff Sirkin:
I love that. And I will just say personally as a subscriber, I think that’s one of the things I like most is, frankly is a little bit of both, right? And as a reader, I never really thought much about that, but… Because sometimes the stories that are reported are super interesting and sometimes they’re topics that I just don’t necessarily care as much about and that happens in all the cases. But frankly, I think to me, what I always think of it is like, but the fact that you can curate stuff that is going to be relevant to me from the internet, from all of these other relevant sources is super important. But it’s so interesting to me. And I will just say as somebody who, I probably didn’t even have a real concept of what the difference was of a writer versus a reporter, I kind of saw them probably a little too interchangeably in my mind.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah. I think a writer writes, right? It’s coming from your own head or from other places on the internet, right? But a reporter speaks to sources. And I don’t know, I feel like when I was a writer, it was more about injecting my own opinion into the things that I was curating, right? Because it’s my choice as to what curate, my choice as to what’s important, but as a reporter, it’s sort of, the source’s choice as to what’s important and what’s relevant, right? So it is sort of aggregation of what you’re hearing from sources rather than aggregation of other news, but it’s more crafting a narrative this way, right? So, yeah. But I think the main difference is that our reporter talks to sources and builds relationship with sources and a writer does not.

Jeff Sirkin:
That’s great. And so one of the core topics we love to discuss is how to be in tune with your market. And so as someone who reports on the world of marketing itself, how do best- And you mentioned sources specifically, how do you best keep your finger on the pulse of your market?

Phoebe Bain:
I read everything. That is a skill that I learned coming into Morning Brew when I was just aggregating stuff, is that every morning I get up and read all of the competing industry newsletters, like Adweek, Ad Age, Wall Street Journal, CMO Today, any New York Times stuff that’s coming out, AdExchanger, The Drum. I just try and be really well read as to what other people are reporting on. Also, my favorite thing is when people send me smaller publications that are reporting on some sort of marketing thing or might have just regurgitated the press release, but like I find it interesting and want to dig deeper on it. So that’s part of it, but really the main way that I’m keeping my finger on the pulse now since becoming a reporter is just talking to as many people as I possibly can for as long as I possibly can, because I am mostly now, to be clear, being that we have five reporters in and out of there on the Marketing Brew beat, we’ve all been segmented into our own different beats, right?

Phoebe Bain:
So I’m now kind of going back to my roots and just reporting on social media and influencer marketing. So yeah, I mean, I’m trying to be in touch with as many social media managers as I can, or heads of social media, or influencer marketers, or people that are strong influencer marketing agencies, or even influencers themselves to a lesser extent. But there are a lot of influencers that are also working at an influencer marketing agency and are informing their strategy as talent via that. So yeah, it’s really just all about talking to people, getting to know the right people and seeing what they’re seeing on the ground, right? Because I don’t have that purview. I’m not a social media manager anymore, although that was a brief part of my past. They’re the ones that actually know what platform, what changes all the different social media platforms are making and how those changes affect their day-to-day work. And I’m not going to know that unless they tell me or unless somebody else is writing about it. And there honestly aren’t that many people writing that deeply about these topics.

Jeff Sirkin:
Right. Well, and I think that’s one of the reasons I find it so fascinating. I mean, myself, I’m more of the practitioner side and most of the people we have on the show are people that are sort of doing some form of marketing every day. And so that’s why it’s so fascinating because we’re all the ones who read this stuff. And I think to your point, the fact that there’s really just not enough of it frankly today. And I think that’s why, to be perfectly honest, is I think back to the people that had recommended Marketing Brew when they had, it almost felt like this kind of refreshing, finally there’s something for us. Finally, there’s something for us that is kind of giving us that outside perspective that we can’t see sort of being in our day-to-day worlds ourselves. So I think that’s why it’s so refreshing and unique to be able to get your perspective on sort of what the world looks like from the other side.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah. Thank you so much. It’s crazy that people are recommending Marketing Brew on podcasts now. I mean, I started it, I had gone back to my parents’ house and was working on terrible wifi in my mom’s living room and started it there, rolled out to about 50 or 60,000 subscribers. I want to say that 50 was our goal, but I think we had 60 and now we’re over 200,000. I want to say over 250,000. We’re we’re around that number and yeah, it’s just crazy how far it’s traveled. I never expected it to succeed to this extent, right?

Phoebe Bain:
I knew that Morning Brew had kind of gotten their format down on how they were rolling out these things and getting subscribers engaged before I joined. So I expected some level of interest or some level of success, but every product test they were doing then worked like Retail Brew and Emerging Tech Brew would work. So we were just kind of crossing our fingers and being like, all right, hopefully this can work the same way. And yeah, the fact that it’s gotten to this level is wild to me. So I appreciate you saying all that.

Jeff Sirkin:
Yeah, of course. So, you said you were getting back to your roots with influencer marketing and I would love to kind of touch on in terms of, what would you say is maybe one of the big themes that’s emerging as we sit here sort of early in 2022, that’s impacting the world of influencer marketing?

Phoebe Bain:
I mean, there are so many different things, right? I think that… I was talking to a source about this today and we kind of had an agreement as to what the landscape of influencer marketing looks like right now. It’s sort of like a seesaw, right? And on one side of the seesaw is, these companies like GRIN, and Mavrck, and CreatorIQ that are really for brands, right? They are full stack SAS platforms that cater towards brands trying to find influencers to work with, right? And getting brands analytics from that influencer marketing that they put together. There are a lot of different companies that are like, “Let’s help a brand create their influencer marketing strategy, and execute on it, and be able to measure it.” There are many fewer company, far fewer companies that are catering to the influencer side of the equation. So I think the biggest issue in the influencer marketing industry right now is pay equity, right? We all saw the report about black influencers and black TikTokers not kind of getting the credit or payment they deserve. Did you see that?

Jeff Sirkin:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, but that’s an issue, right? But it speaks to a larger issue about nobody in the industry has really set terms and decided this is what we pay people for X thing. There’s some loose standard, there’s a loose agreement on what you can pay people, but there’s no body of people enforcing how influencers are paid, right? So there are really small upstarts like FYPM, it’s a company called F U Pay Me and a company called Clara that is trying to provide… They’re trying to provide more transparency around the ways that influencers are paid and around the ways that influencers find work and make it more equitable in general. So yeah, that’s really what I’m curious about is, as these smaller upstarts and even smaller trade organizations, like the American Influencer Council, as they build a following, and exist for a couple more years, and build their companies and their organizations out, what will the industry look like when there is pay equity or when there’s pay transparency for influencers? That’s what I’m really curious about. So I’m trying to keep tabs as much as I can on those companies and their work now.

Jeff Sirkin:
I love that and something I read, and I believe this is actually from Marketing Brew as well is, from the other day where it was talking about just- Not to change the topics, I want to come back to this, but product placements and the fact that I believe it was a Buick car. I forget what it was, that was in Big Little Lies. And because it was associated with Reese Witherspoon’s character, they’ve been able to find out that public opinion for Buick has actually gone up by like 70% or something- Really, really, really moved the needle. And I think to your point, I think it’s interesting because I think part of the issue from my perspective as the data guy is, well, how can we prove the value that something had? And I think that’s part of- And certainly as we talked about, of course it makes sense that all of the resources would exist where the money is, right?

Jeff Sirkin:
Which is on the brand side today, because if a company wants to come out and kind of work on the company side, the that’s where they’re going to be able to make money too. So certainly there’s going to be a sort of disconnect in terms of who has what information, obviously. But I think part of it comes down to how do we actually measure the value of what gets created here? And to your point, but how do we make sure at the same time that those influencers are actually getting paid commensurately for where the value they’re helping to provide to those brands?

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, measuring the value I feel like is part of what that other side of the seesaw, like the brand side does like Mavrck, CreatorIQ, that type of company. But it’s interesting because as the social media platforms evolve, the value changes, doesn’t it? Would you agree with that?

Jeff Sirkin:
Yeah.

Phoebe Bain:
If an organic influencer post on Instagram was reaching a certain number of people before Instagram updated its algorithm a certain way then, should influencer pay change? I think that those are business and ethics questions that we’re going to be asking ourselves as long as companies like Facebook have the amount of power that they do, right?

Jeff Sirkin:
Yes.

Phoebe Bain:
So, yeah. I mean, that’s part of why I’m really interested in TikTok. I, as a user, I’m not the biggest fan of TikTok, but I really like that there’s this disruptor coming into the space that’s not part of the old Facebook guard of social media platforms, but yeah, all interesting stuff.

Jeff Sirkin:
Well, and you’re right, because I mean, even when I think back to the early days of Google, and paid search, and then eventually into social media and paid ads, fundamentally of course, just we said that the companies and the brands are trying to basically extract as much value as they can out of this, but now some of the platforms of course, right? So to your point, and it’s interesting, you bring that up around Instagram because, so on one hand you can say, sure, just organic reach has been sort of throttled down a little bit. So a post that maybe used to reach 10 million people now only reaches 2 million people or something like that. So is that now worth only 20% as much?

Jeff Sirkin:
Or to some extent, again, and I would argue that maybe that’s even the wrong way to measure it, because at the same time it should be theoretically- And we see this all the time, people can- Even you and I can put up cat posts, pictures of cats or something like that and get more engagement on that post than anything else, but that’s not going to help if either you or I were trying to sell something. So, just that pure engagement does not necessarily mean it’s from the right audience and potentially an audience that your health to influence to make a purchase.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, that’s the weirdest part is that it’s really an art, not a science in a lot of different ways. Okay, so I know that we were talking about this a little bit before we started recording, but I did this story on a direct to consumer olive oil company that hired two social media and marketing consultants to launch their product and sell out the launch and also sell out some of the next pre-orders and they achieved it and it was great. But I think that part of… When I’m talking to these smaller companies and my editor is like, “Okay, you need to get data, right? You need to see they went and talked to, did influencer gifting and how did that actually translate it to selling out this launch?” A lot of them can’t provide that, but they just know it’s working.

Jeff Sirkin:
Exactly.

Phoebe Bain:
So yeah, this olive oil company had a very detailed, and strategic, and specific influencer gifting strategy. And they can’t measure exactly how that worked to sell out their launch, but they know that it did. And they know that the people that- They didn’t even ask them to post, which is the other weird thing, but they know that the people that ended up posting contributed to conversions in their Instagram bio in the all oil brand’s Instagram bio to a certain extent. So, yeah, but I feel like at bigger companies, like, I don’t know, I’m just trying to think of a bigger holding company, right? Like Walmart, right? Or GSK or somewhere like that, they need a lot more proof that influencer marketing is working if they’re going to put this huge budget that they have, that they could be spending in marketing elsewhere is actually going to work. And that proof doesn’t really exist. The results exist, but tying it to the influencer thing is difficult at this point.

Jeff Sirkin:
Well, I think you hit a nerve and I don’t want to go down this path too deep either. It’s probably a different conversation, but the fact that in B2B marketing, you really hit a nerve because fundamentally it’s the same idea where a lot of the things in marketing that are most effective are the hardest to measure. But as a result, what you end up doing is you have these companies that are kind of caught up in this attribution model where basically we have to be able to attribute every single thing we do to a dollar. But the problem is, a lot of it you can’t. So, take a podcast as example, as a perfect example of something where, if you have a podcast and part of that is to get in front of who your potential customers are, right? If you’re B2B.

Jeff Sirkin:
And so to have real conversations to develop these real relationships. And so there’s not really a dollar figure, you can then attribute and say, “Well, the podcast generated X amount of revenue.” Right? And so what happens is, companies that are slow to adapt are the bigger companies that are kind of stuck in this attribution model that they’ve been using for the last 10 years and are sort of like, “Well, if we can’t attribute it, we can’t spend money on it.” And so I think to your point, it’s kind of like- And it really just speaks to the small and nimble companies that can really take the, “We trust that it’s there because we know that it’s there, we feel it.” In a lot of ways can actually have- Do you see them being able to have like a real advantage over some of the bigger companies, because they’ll be slower to move?

Phoebe Bain:
I really do. And I feel like so many of my editors and bosses at work will be like, “No.” This olive oil company, isn’t going to do 3 billion in revenue this year. I have to assume, right? But they’re just, those are the social strategies that I’m a lot more interested in because they’re able to innovate. And I feel like it’s these people that are testing and learning for the bigger companies, right? Does that make sense?

Jeff Sirkin:
Totally.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah. I mean, I don’t know. I’m more interested in covering the- Even though there’s less money there in total, I’m more interested in covering these really innovative social strategies that don’t… In order for this team to execute them, they have to prove that it would work before they did it. They were like, “Trust us, let us do it. And it will work. And if you trust us to do it, then you’ll get these results.” And I just think that the bigger companies, they often have to provide a lot of proof before they’re able to execute on the strategy. And some people would argue that proof can exist for certain strategies and not others. But yeah, I don’t know. The innovation and the trust is there with these smaller upstarts. Whereas, I don’t think it is at huge organizations.

Jeff Sirkin:
I couldn’t agree more and it actually reminds me, so I’m a big whiskey drinker. And so there’s a brand out there, Papi van Winkle. And, so it’s really a two person company fundamentally. They actually bottle it at Buffalo Trace. But the whole idea is it’s this very, very, very low production brand. But it’s almost in a weird way, it’s being low production is what kind of gave them this mythical quality because everyone said, “Oh, it’s great. It’s high quality.” But the youngest sort of whiskey that they sell is 18 years. So I listened to some great interviews with it, it’s a father and son and I’ve listened to some great interviews with them. And they said, “Well, we don’t know if the there’s going to be this much demand for whiskey 20 year from now.”

Jeff Sirkin:
And frankly, if they went sort of the big box approach, and if they kind of sold out and started making 10 times as much, it would really devalue it. And so it’s like, “No, we like this, and we think it’s exactly special and perfect the way it is.” Where there’s this crazy demand where frankly, on the secondhand market, you could pay thousands and thousands of dollars for a bottle that retails for 250 bucks, just because you literally can’t get it. But again, but it’s like- And this wasn’t intentional, but it kind of reminds me similarly of unintentionally, they kind of backed into something that feels like a smaller startup kind of social strategy today, as opposed to calling the- Sure, they’re not going to do X billions of dollars because they just can’t. They literally are only producing a small amount and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, I mean, I don’t want to call any specific brands out in particular to try and be objective, but I just personally have reported on brands where they have a very small scrappy strategy and the entire thing is scarcity and that they’re selling in drop methods and then as they try and create more and more drops and more and more product, the specialness of it kind of goes away.

Jeff Sirkin:
Yeah, it’s fascinating. So okay, so another thing that specific to influencer marketing, but even beyond that is, I couldn’t have you on the show just a couple weeks out from the Super Bowl and not get your thoughts on Super Bowl ads, which for a lot of people is actually more important than the game. For me, it’s probably close. They’re both pretty great. So, what generally, what stood out to you in terms of this year’s crop of ads?

Phoebe Bain:
I reported on the Squarespace ad with Zendaya and I loved that one.

Jeff Sirkin:
Love that one.

Phoebe Bain:
So I actually, we have the series that my co-writer Ryan, it was kind of like his baby at Marketing Brew it’s called Mood Board. And the idea is that you pick an ad campaign and you go and talk to the creators behind it. And you kind of outline what their mood board was when creating this campaign. So the inspiration behind the campaign more generally. So I did a mood board for the Squarespace ad before it even aired. I was working with them on it, and the inspiration behind it was so interesting to me. It turns out if you… I think the color palette for that ad was really interesting and they had it, they were like, “We want to do something like beachy and islandy, but we don’t want it to be too conventional.” I don’t think they wanted a Hawaiian shirt color palette if that makes sense.

Phoebe Bain:
So they ended up looking at like, “Okay, well what is… What do you see at a beach? What is a beach color palette?” And they… The color palette for that ad these washed out pastels was inspired by places like Coney Island, beaches like that. And the washed out colors that are sort of sun drenched and washed out from the sun. And that was what inspired the color palette there. And I’m like, “That’s so interesting to me.” You have this incredibly high level product and you have somebody like Zendaya who I think is the perfect Super Bowl ad get, right? Because she has… I tweeted about this, I wrote about it in that piece. But- And this isn’t even my opinion, this is influencer marketing sources that I’m talking to, it’s their opinion, but she has the name recognition that somebody like Jennifer Aniston would’ve had in the nineties with this demographic. She has the face that people recognize, right?

Phoebe Bain:
But she also really understands social media and she has this huge social media following that rivals some of the biggest influencers out there, right? Whereas, Jennifer Aniston doesn’t have that. So I really think that people like Zendaya, there’s probably a very small handful of them, but they need to be… That’s who brands should focus on getting, in my opinion, are those people that kind of cross that access to the perfect place like she does. But yeah, I just think it’s interesting that something that was so high production level like that commercial was inspired by somewhere like Coney island.

Jeff Sirkin:
I love that. And also, I think you’re a hundred percent right. When I was reading your story, I was thinking to myself, you’re right. Who else has like a better approval rating, I guess we could say, than Zendaya, and not just generally, but also across, to your point, across such a wide spectrum? And I think that’s it. Is because it feels to some extent, like the Jennifer Anistons of the world are- Frankly the half time show was made for me, just to be clear in terms of my age group, but the Jennifer Anistons of the world, they’re not necessarily going to connect with sort of the younger influencers and the TikTokers of today, right? So fundamentally somebody like Zendaya that can really kind of bridge and kind of have a foot in both worlds is, you’re right, really is kind of the perfect super bowl get.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, and the other thing about that commercial that I thought was so cool from an influencer marketing standpoint as well, is that, okay, so there’s this guy, Ian Borthwick, he’s one of my favorite sources. He’s Ian from SeatGeek and does their influencer marketing, but does a lot of other things as well. And something that he’s always said is that the more freedom a brand is able to give an influencer to do with their product, the better that content is going to perform. So, if you trust your influencer enough or your brand ambassadors enough to be like, “Hey, just go create something for us.” And then they create it and there’s minimal… You don’t mess with it that much as an influencer marketer who’s internal to a brand, the better that content is going to be because that influencer has their own following and- Right? You should trust the people that you’re using as an influencer.

Phoebe Bain:
So something that Squarespace did that I think is really cool from that standpoint with that commercial is they had Zendaya bring in her own stylist for the commercial. She has a stylist that she likes to work with and a designer

Phoebe Bain:
Called Law Roach, that’s their name, and that was the person that designed all of the outfits, there were all these amazing chic outfits that were worn in that commercial. And the idea was that she’s supposed to go from, kind of like a commoner, who’s just a regular person selling their seashells by the beach to somebody that’s a very successful entrepreneur and her stylist was able to execute that perfectly, I think. But that’s something I love. They let her bring in her own people, her own team to go and do that. So the commercial seemed more authentic to her. So again, the perfect mix of big Super Bowl ad with influencer.

Jeff Sirkin:
But I love that concept of trusting the influencer, and I think, because I think to me, the ads that have always resonated most for me have always been podcast ads. But I think so much of that is because most of the brands that are advertising on podcasts very intentionally are like, “Hey, we want you to make this your own.” Right? And so, but- And so as a result, you might hear the same ad or the same company advertise, but you’d hear it, depending on the host of the podcast, you might hear it done three or four different ways and leaning into different parts of it because it makes it their own.

Jeff Sirkin:
And I think to your point, it makes it a lot more authentic. And I think that’s the kind of thing where, to your point and again, not to make it that everything about big brands and companies is bad and everything about smaller upstarts are good, but just the idea of being able to get to that place where you can trust the influencer, that it will become much more authentic. And I think we can all agree that when we see good marketing, we know it, but it’s one of those things that’s hard to kind of quantify, but a big piece of it from my perspective is that authenticity that comes out of it.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah, the podcast advertising space is completely the wild west. I’m sure anyone that’s listened to a podcast and gotten a programmatic ad that cuts off what host is saying, understands that. But yeah, we have a reporter at Marketing Brew now who’s just dedicated to podcast advertising and covering that space. Her name’s Alyssa Myers go follow her work. She recently just started, she’s from Morning Consult, but I’m already so fascinated by the stuff that I’m reading from her because it does overlap with influencer a little bit in the sense that a lot of these podcasts hosts are influencers in their own right. I’m a big Bachelor fan, and so a lot of them are influencers and then start their own podcasts, and it’s all one little ecosystem. But yeah, it’s completely the wild west. I’m very excited to see how that changes and interacts with my beat as well.

Jeff Sirkin:
I love that. What resources, books, blogs, podcasts, anything, in addition to all of your stuff that we will link to in the show notes, would you want to recommend to our audience?

Phoebe Bain:
One of my favorite newsletters, other than all the Morning Brew newsletters of course, sign up for Emerging Tech Brew, Retail Brew, all of HR brew. It’s all great of course, go sign up for those things. But yeah, one of my favorite newsletters is Haley Nahman’s Substack, it’s called Maybe Baby. She was a writer that used to be at a fashion blog called Man Repeller who struck out on her own to do a little bit more of her own thing. Occasionally, she will analyze, not necessarily the marketing industry, but kind of how marketing affects culture and those additions of her newsletters are interesting to me. I’m a recent subscriber to Garbage Day, another great newsletter. But otherwise, yeah, I mean, those have been great. Following Jia Tolentino’s work and Taylor Lorenz’s work at their various outlets has been inspirational to me as well.

Phoebe Bain:
So yeah, those are a couple of my favorite things Jia Tolentino’s book, Trick Mirror came out a couple years ago, but her article on the athleisure industry, and the marketing behind that, and how the culture of that has affected those brand’s branding and that kind of thing has stuck with me. And she has a lot of other articles and essays that are within that book Trick Mirror that I think about on a daily basis. So yeah, those are a couple of my favorite resources for just get thought starters and getting my brain going.

Jeff Sirkin:
That’s great. Where can people find and connect with you on social media?

Phoebe Bain:
I am notnotphoebe on all social platforms. So it’s at N-O-T-N-O-T-P-H-O-E-B-E. Feel free to rewind and hear that again. My parents gave me a very difficult name to spell.

Jeff Sirkin:
I will link to it as well.

Phoebe Bain:
Yeah. But yeah, mostly active on Twitter. If you want to follow me on Instagram, you can, but my life is pretty boring and that’s for my personal life. Twitter is where you can find my work and connect with me on LinkedIn too. I’m trying to grow my LinkedIn presence a little bit more. So just Phoebe Bain on there.

Jeff Sirkin:
Awesome. And we’ll link to all of those. Well Phoebe, thank you so much for doing this. This was great. And thank you for taking the time with us today.

Phoebe Bain:
Of course. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

Jeff Sirkin:
I really enjoyed my conversation with Phoebe. We’ve had many guests recommend the Marketing Brew newsletter to our audience and it all came full circle to have the founder on our show. If you want to learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, you can find them in the show notes. In addition, we’re publishing full text transcripts of our episodes on our website at sirkinresearch.com/podcast. Thank you for listening and I hope you’ll join us for a new story next week on Long Story Short.

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