Trending in Marketing #12

You can subscribe to my email newsletter, Trending in Marketing, right here:

Before you read any further I wanted to say thank you for subscribing to Trending in Marketing in 2020.

This newsletter started as an experiment and a way to share some of the best content out there to make us all better marketers.

I really appreciate you opening this email and sharing it with your friends and colleagues.

I’m going to be simplifying the format of this email going forward to make it easier to read.


Time Anxiety

According to Anne-Laure Le Cunff, time anxiety is the fear of wasting your time.

Wasted time leads to a wasted potential. Wasted potential is a wasted opportunity to make an impact.

How can you combat time anxiety?

  • define your mission
  • focused prioritisation
  • defend your time ruthlessly
  • get 1% better every day

Read more about Time Anxiety.



“If it’s easy it isn’t worth doing. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

-Nick Huber

“Product Market Fit isn’t a thing. I’m not even sure it’s a useful concept for startups.”

-April Dunford (source)



What are the hard things you’ve been putting off?

There are pieces missing that would make you a better marketer.

How are you going to tackle those this year? How will you resist the distractions?

Your potential is too valuable to waste.

This is Marketing.



P.S. Optimise or Build

Small things

“People spend too much time doing and not enough time thinking about what they should be doing.”

-Naval Ravikant

Do you ever stop and think: is this the right thing to be working on?

Do you make time to prioritise?

Life is short – time spent on the wrong thing is waste.

Be ruthless. Cut the busy-work.

Pick one important thing and do it well.

Storytelling and Bunnings Warehouse

In Australia we all love Bunnings.

Bunnings Warehouse is where you buy anything you need for your home.

You can buy Christmas lights, herbs and a waterslide.

You can support your local football club by purchasing a sausage.

The staff smile at you and say hello each time you walk past, almost like they mean it.

For a wholesome business, they make a lot of money.

In FY20, Bunnings did $14.9 billion in revenue, up 14% YoY. They have 50% market share of all DIY-related spend in Australia.

They are owned by Australian conglomerate Westfarmers, who also own Kmart, Officeworks, Target, Catch, and, oh yeah, Coles.

What you may not realise is that the Bunnings brand and in-store experience is meticulously crafted.

It’s no accident that you feel the way you feel when you walk through the front doors.

Every time you step into any of the 300+ stores you will find that your experience is very similar.

Every time you hear the ‘Lowest prices are just the beginning’ jingle on TV you might think of hot summers, building things in the backyard or how you really need to buy a new BBQ.

The team behind Bunnings are master storytellers.

This brand didn’t evolve by accident. Every touch, smile and smell is produced on purpose, designed as part of a narrative to forget the reason you came and keep you coming back.

The story that Bunnings are trying to tell us is that they are the cheapest place to buy the things you need and the staff are local, friendly people just like you.


  1. The warehouse

Bunnings is not a warehouse. It is based on the American ‘mega-store’ strategy, where it feels like prices are cheaper simply because there is so much stock.

The sheer scale of choice and space makes you think that this is the place Bunnings have chosen to store all their spare products and as a result you’re in for a bargain.

Of course this is not true.

The space, smell and dirty floors are all psychological tactics to draw you in to get you to spend more than you intended.

Some mega-store executives have joked that it costs more to keep the floors dirty than clean.

Cleaners are probably instructed to keep the floors just the right amount of dusty.

It’s all part of the narrative.

2. Pricing

Bunnings often choose to price stock using irregular numbers. For example, they sell hammers for $8.45, $37.97, and $62. 

Apparently the theory is a that by using specific numbers it will make customers think the price has been lowered to warehouse level prices.

Every price in the store is intentional. And they are constantly experimenting with stock placement, pricing and merchandise to find what works.

Most things you need are intentionally located towards the back of the store, to get you to walk through as many aisles as possible. (also the same reason why milk is at the back in the supermarket)

3. Staff in ads

Bunnings staff are trained to smile and ask if you need anything. This is good old fashioned customer support.

They also use real staff members in their ads, instead of paid actors, to give off the vibe that they are an authentic, local shop run like small business.

Bunnings don’t want to give the impression that they are wasting money on flashy ads, because this could mean prices are inflated.

It’s all part of the story.

Cool story, what does this mean for me?

Everything we do tells our customer a story about who we are and who are products are for.

Every bug

Every support request

Every podcast

Every blog post

Every release

Every email

Every interaction is a signal to our users about who the product is for, or should be for.

If we don’t control the story, we leave it open to interpretation. (think Westworld)

Two questions to reflect on:

  1. What story do we want to tell?
  2. Are we telling a consistent story?

In other words; if our floors are dusty, let’s make sure they are dusty every day.

Flat is down

If you’re not learning your potential deteriorates. Stagnation is deadly.

If we’re stagnate, there’s someone else out there growing.

The world is moving too quickly to think that treading water will keep us afloat. Disruption is coming for every industry. S

ome companies were completely unprepared for an economic slowdown. Now they’re gone.

No plan B. No way to pivot.

So how do we prepare ourselves for what comes next?

Learning. How can we learn?

  • Read books
  • Take courses
  • Build things
  • Find a mentor
  • Ask for a new challenge
  • Set yourself a big hairy goal
  • Do something new

Step out from the plateau. Because the plateau isn’t flat, it heads down.

The cost of waiting

Many CRO experts are hardcore believers in statistical significance. And I am too.

It’s fantastic to make data-driven business decisions based on real world evidence. Marketers guess too often.

But where the hardcore reliance on significance can let you down is when it becomes the driving factor in decision making. I see people holding out for a specific level of significance all the time and it distracts from the core mission – incremental growth.

The truth is, there’s nothing magical about 95% statistical significance, 99% or even 75%.

So when it comes time to deciding whether to end a test or keep it running to reach a magical significance level, it’s important to assess risk.

As CEO of New Republique, Nima Yassini writes, there is risk involved at every level of significance.

There’s also a massive cost in waiting.

Another factor to pair with risk appetite is opportunity cost. By delaying the end of one experiment by one month to seek 95% significance you are also losing the opportunity to run the next experiment on that page or other pages.

So waiting for that magical significance number can end up costing you more than what you were prepared to risk initially.

This is especially true for high traffic websites. Any delay in implementing your next test could really cost you.

So let’s not get caught up in reaching a certain level of significance for significance’s sake. It’s all about weighing up the risk and acknowledging the opportunity cost that comes with delay.

When to test

People often ask me:

When should I run a test?

My answer is usually:

If you can test, you should test.

Why? Testing gives you answers you won’t get any other way. Answers like:

  • Does this variant convert customers better than what we had before?
  • Does it keep customers active?
  • Does it retain customers better?
  • Does it improve average order value, average lifetime value?
  • Does it grow our profit?