Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Daniel Tallon on adaptability and resourcefulness in marketing:

Shaheen Samavati 0:14
Hi everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix. I’m excited to be here with Daniel Tallon, who is actually a friend of mine. He has 10 years experience in marketing. He’s worked in several startups, including Spotahome, where we both worked at different times. That’s how we know each other. So thanks so much for joining us, Daniel.

Daniel Tallon 0:32
Thank you.

Shaheen Samavati 0:34
So first of all, can you tell us where you are right now? For those of you watching the video version, you can see there’s some green in the background and those listening can probably hear the birds so…

Daniel Tallon 0:45
Yeah, so, this is the middle, in the middle of the of the countryside here at the outskirts of Madrid. So I came to a friend’s house. Much, much nicer than going… than staying in the city center. This moment is really nice. So I hope that there are no interruptions, but I think everything will go, will go well.

Shaheen Samavati 1:08
Yeah. Awesome. Well, you went for the coolest setting so far.

Daniel Tallon 1:14
I’m winning! Yeah.

Shaheen Samavati 1:18
So could you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into your career and what you do?

Daniel Tallon 1:24
Yes. So, I’ve been more than 10 years already working in marketing. So I started in the beginning, I studied business and I started in marketing, digital marketing. So I was expert in SEO and SEM at the beginning. So this was when hear in Spain, we were starting with Google Ads. So it was really a new discipline. And then I grew a lot with the with the growth of the of the retail market in a scenario so I started working in Just Eat, that is a public company, you’re one of the biggest European takeaway food companies. And I started with them 10, around 10 years ago when the company was pretty small, 100 people. So I stayed there six years, and I grew with it, with them. And it was a hell of a journey, actually, because after four years, we went public. We went public in the London Stock Exchange. And as you can imagine, I stayed in the company from the beginning, so it was all the change of culture from being a startup, to be in corporative big monster. Very interesting. And then also, I spent, [as] you said, a couple of years in Spotahome, leading the marketing and communication team. And my last professional experience was in Outfittery. So, I was at Outfittery for the ones who don’t know the product, it’s like a personal stylist service for men for buying clothes, and I was leading the department of marketing and communication for all the markets that is mainly in the center of Europe. So I have been working with several countries within Europe but also outside of Europe, in Canada, Brazil and Mexico like in just the the marketing teams.

Shaheen Samavati 3:24
And you’ve also done some advisory of other startups as well, right?

Daniel Tallon 3:27
Yes. I actually invest in, have invested in, a couple of startups. I am sharing some investments with also with Bruno [Bianchi] that you know him very well, here in Spain, and I have been advising some companies in terms of marketing and internationalization, also expansion and growth.

Shaheen Samavati 3:48
Yeah, cool. Yeah. For those who don’t know, Bruno [Bianchi] is my boyfriend who worked with Daniel as well as I did. We were all part of the Spotahome project. So, yes, I guess we can talk about… Like I’m talking a lot about content marketing and how content plays into what you do I know that your role encompasses a lot more than than just content. But, yeah, how have you seen like the evolution of content marketing in the time you’ve been working in the field?

Daniel Tallon 4:16
Well, it has been drastic changes. Actually, I remember how in the beginning, in the beginning of my career content was not so important. Actually, I remember like creating bulk tons of articles and tons of texts, you know, tons of like campaigns. Volume was much more important than than the quality, actually. It was about creating a lot to position in SEO, to like… I think the marketing has changed a lot. Right? And and the last in the last years, the focus has been about really understanding the client, I think… really understanding what are the needs, understanding how to touch them emotionally, and to really create content that is more relevant and not so…not so… massive but more relevant for the customer. I think this has been the biggest change that I have seen in the last 10 years. Yeah.

Shaheen Samavati 5:30
Yeah. So, like I know and you’re working in, always in like a high growth startup environment that, at least from what I’ve seen… It’s a very like, I guess, high rhythm of work and like the kind of… you are always adapting to new things and innovating and figuring out like the best ways to do things. So what do you have any examples of, of like campaigns that you’ve done or things you’ve been a part of that you think were particularly on the cutting edge for their time, or in their moment, not necessarily now, because it’s always changing.

Daniel Tallon 6:08
I don’t know if cutting edge…because normally it’s true that the cutting edge campaigns or marketing tactics are being driven by people that have higher budgets normally. Okay, but it’s true that what I have been doing a lot and pretty efficiently is how to, to adapt, adapt, and really with, with fewer resources being able to take the most, right? It’s about how can we create? How can you create as a brand, the biggest impact, you know, with the least resources? So this is something that in a startup is something very relevant, okay. In the beginning you have zero budget, okay, this is and then you have to work a lot in like a pool and marketing or really growth tactics. Like, like creating a lot of content as I said, you know, to really work on the SEO part or optimize a lot if you have an app like all the ASO that is all the App Store Optimization, you know and really be very good on that. Being able to, to create… share a voice… also have your product be able to, like, try to do different tactics that could create the bigger⁠—the biggest⁠—buzz possible with the least resources. Like for example creating a podcast. I think creating a podcast is a great example where you are actually approaching a big audience with very few, like budgets or resources. Okay, this is, and I have done a lot of that. But also… there was a point in my career where I was managing like a huge budgets⁠—speaking about More than 60 million euros in one year for several countries in Just Eat. And, these are required a different strategy. So, in that, in that, what I think that we did pretty well in that moment, it was to really localize the campaigns. So speaking about localization is about you have to⁠…I’m speaking about big campaigns, TV campaigns that also rely on content⁠…because in the end as the core, okay. So you can like create one ad, and then like, translate and localize to different countries or you can really go into the different countries insights and create different ads with different messages, totally adapted to the country. So I think that this second approach was the one that worked the best. Sure, you have to pay more in production, okay. But it gave us a real chance to connect locally with with the audience. So I think that this was done very well there. When you have like a power of budget. Also, I think that there’s also, there’s also an art about not spending so much on the media but spending more on production than media. And I think that that’s also something that if you do it well and you innovate in the production part, you can really like push, push your brand, to a different level. We have done internationally a lot of like collaborations with, with influences and commissions. So this, this went specifically well for a campaign that we did in Brasil, using an influencer in a TV ad and really like engaging with the audience in a humorous way. Also, that was working really, really well.

Shaheen Samavati 9:53
I was curious, on the point when you’re talking about budgets, because that’s definitely one thing you see, like smaller companies, there’s I think there’s a certain point in the company’s growth where there is a return on the investment of doing things in more languages. Do you have any thoughts on like when that actually is?

Daniel Tallon 10:11
Yeah, this is a great question actually. Yes. So I think that if you can, I mean, it depends in many, many variables. So it’s not the it’s not the same where we are speaking about, for example, the Dutch, the Dutch customer with the German have more similarities, even though they are very different, but they have more similarities or with the Spanish with the Italian have more similarities, than if you compare like the Brazilian with the Spanish or the English, you know what I mean? So, I think that here it comes… I mean, of course, when you have no budget, there is no other option than producing ones, trying to be relevant, as relevant as possible, because normally if you are, if you are not focusing on a specific customer, you won’t be relevant for them, that is for sure by you, like try to create or produce something that could work for everyone—for all your like target audience and then translate. When you have no budget, of course, that’s the only option, okay, if you want to go international. Another option is just to focus in one market and say okay, even though I don’t have a budget to produce many, many ads, so I’m going to focus first on my main market: Germany or England or whatever, right? I think that a smart approach to this is like really finding similar countries that have similar insights or similar customer behaviors, okay. And producing, if you don’t have money to localize per country, produce based on this like hubs. For example, center Europe, South Europe, Scandinavian countries. I mean, you can cluster some countries and really produce and then translate. This could be a smart way of…a decent mix of localization and centralization that normally works. What I I haven’t seen in my career, a campaign that was produced in one country of Europe, and that works for all the European countries. I tell you, never! But I have never seen a campaign that was produced in one country and work in more than two or three countries, to be honest. So I think that clustering is a smart way of doing it. And then of course, when you have enough business and enough, like, revenue in the different countries you can localize, and sometimes producing locally, is even you can find quite the cheap options also. So I think it’s true that it’s more expensive. But it’s not like multiplying for the number of countries, normally it’s not so much if you really look for a good provider local provider.

Shaheen Samavati 13:12
Yeah. Makes sense. And I maybe just cut you off before, you wanted to give an example of something or?

Daniel Tallon 13:20
No, I think that this, and then I was speaking also about in my last, in Outfittery we were actually producing for, yeah, for that too. So in the end is the countries of… center is what I told you in the end, before, like clustering markets that could have similar purchasing behavior. And we saw for example, with Austria and Germany, this is very clear, they are, they have very similar patterns of behavior. So in this case, it makes a lot of sense to create one campaign for both countries.

Shaheen Samavati 13:57
I see. So, I know you’ve been working in companies that are all high growth startups but are very different industries… like everywhere from food to real estate to fashion as well. So I imagine you have a very different approach to marketing in each one. Can you kind of compare and contrast to like what works in one industry versus another?

Daniel Tallon 14:20
Yes, I think all of them had one thing in common and it’s that they are like tech companies. So it’s, they have a digital product. So even though of course, Just Eat, it’s a marketplace of restaurants, but it’s a digital marketplace. Spotahome is a digital marketplace also of apartments. And also, well Outfittery is a little bit different because yeah, it’s not a marketplace, but it’s an e-commerce, it’s giving you like tailored… So ever—all of them are tech, are digital products, and of course they have some similarities…But I think, I mean, different approaches. In Just Eat, it was the most important thing in Just Eat, was about really signing the restaurants like and really being able to market them as good as possible. So… this was because … and this is something that for example you couldn’t do in Spotahome because the apartments that you are bringing in the marketplace, they have no brand. Know what I mean? But in Just Eat you’re bringing a brand in-house, and then you can really make, create a lot of synergies between your brand and the restaurant. And in that synergies, it comes a lot of growth because when two companies like that… that company in a restaurant is joining forces, I mean you can really get a lot of win-win relationships. This was happening also in Outfittery, you know, in Outfittery we were working with small brands but also with big and very relevant brands. So we were leveraging on the big brands to talk acquire new customers to win trust of our customers. And there were… there was a clear like win-win relationship in terms of brand expansion and growth.

In Spotahome, it was more challenging, right, that that was not part of the mix. But for example, in Spotahome, the SEO, the organic growth was super important. And a part of collaborations…partnerships with universities…or with, yeah, like organizations that could bring clients and where you can see like good also win-win relationships. You know, it’s not about your direct client but it’s about collaborating with another company that has the same target audience and then we can like create a combined product proposition, like, for example, if you partner with universities you can say: Okay, come to this university for doing this program and look at you have here accommodation with Spotahome. I mean this, this is also a very good way of really creating co-branding campaigns, right. I think that also in Just Eat, and also in Outfittery, it was the the offline marketing had a much more importance than in Spotahome, also because the relationship with a client is different. In Just Eat, you have a client that you need to to acquire and retain, no? Because if you just acquire a customer and he buys one time, he is not profitable for the business. So you need him to buy like 10 times, you so you need to build a huge brand awareness and also like work a lot on the brand perception in order to not ensure that he is buying one time but actually he’s buying 10 times, right? In Spotahome there the relationship with the customer was different. It’s not… of course, you can only use Spotahome normally once per year. So it was much more…it was much more challenging and so the relationship was more about ensuring that this this experience that you are having is going to be the best, right? And ensuring that this first experience is the best as possible. Because only with the first experience is profitable. So I think this is something that that needs to, needs to work for everyone, right? I think that that in the three companies there are a lot of differences in terms of budget allocation, strategy, also we were talking to very different customers also, so yeah.. it’s true that they have some commonalities because they are all digital products, but yes, I think it’s a totally different way of doing marketing in each of them. Yeah.

Shaheen Samavati 19:30
Yeah. And I guess each company has its own world and its own kind of culture and expectations and everything are very different.

Daniel Tallon 19:40
Yes, I think that the only thing that is… that… well, it’s true that in Just Eat was not so much customer focus obsession, you know? But it was more about sometimes it was, I was feeling that it was more about the restaurant than the end customer sometimes you know. But in Spotahome and also in Outfittery, it was customer obsession. I remember both. And this was very, this was also very similar in both companies, really understanding the needs, learning from feedback, like improving from starting with the customer, to improve the product, and the marketing, and the user communication to actually push that.

Shaheen Samavati 20:25
Yeah, that makes sense. I was saying that like in Just Eat I guess that makes sense because it is actually the restaurant that’s providing the service to the end customer, right? So they’re kind of connecting them, yeah.

Daniel Tallon 20:37
Yes, it’s true. And also, like what you said, what you said about the company culture also.

Shaheen Samavati 20:42
As well, yes.

Daniel Tallon 20:44
It was more like sales, marketing driven… more sales driven, I think a little bit more and then Spotahome in Outfittery more product and customer driven.

Shaheen Samavati 20:58
So…so what’s next for you? What are you looking to do next?

Daniel Tallon 21:02
Well, I… right now…probably build my own venture. So I’m, I’m starting to build my own company. This is still very early, so I won’t give any, any more detail. But yeah, I think that for me, it’s after more than like 12 years in marketing in startups and mid sized companies is good to, to try my own thing. And try to apply all the everything that I have learned during these years. And also, I mean, I’m open to advising companies also, now that I can promote my services here. I’m working as advisor for a couple of companies. So yeah, if you’re interested, just, give me a call!

Shaheen Samavati 21:50
Yeah, I mean, would you like to mention that the companies you’re advising?

Daniel Tallon 21:54
Yes, well, one of them is…It’s Rocket Food. That is a cloud kitchen business, that was started here in Spain. They are only having, like, they are only delivering food in in Madrid for the moment, with two, well three, brands actually: The Vegan Burger…the other one is La Ración and Finger Food. So these are the three brands that we have in the center of Madrid for for the moment. So feel free to try them!

Shaheen Samavati 22:29
I’ve heard of them.

Daniel Tallon 22:31
Have you tried?

Shaheen Samavati 22:31
I’ve tried the food.

Daniel Tallon 22:32
Is it good?

Shaheen Samavati 22:32
Yeah, yeah it’s good. I’ve tried both The Vegan Burger and La Ración.

Daniel Tallon 22:39
Yeah, they do. I mean, it was…we are starting.

Shaheen Samavati 22:42
Yeah, they were doing well during the lockdown, I think. I definitely heard people talking about it.

Daniel Tallon 22:46
Yes, yes, they actually they had they were delivering tortillas, yes, Spanish tortillas to a lot of people! One of them being an influencer, actually.

Shaheen Samavati 22:58

Daniel Tallon 22:59
No, I think they are doing a very, very good job. So if you like Spanish food I really recommend to try it. And you can find them in internet in their own website or in Uber Eats, Deliveroo, Just Eat, all these, all these companies, yeah.

Shaheen Samavati 23:17
Cool. And you said there’s another company as well, or?

Daniel Tallon 23:22
Yes. So, but if this is one, this one is gonna… it’s in the phase of like being created. So it’s still not.. it’s a FinTech company that is of a friend of mine that I’m helping them actually at this point to prepare the lauch of the product. Yeah, but this is not still in the market. Soon will be.

Shaheen Samavati 23:45
I see. Very cool. All right. Well, maybe we can finish up by talking about any advice that you have for people getting into marketing at startups.

Daniel Tallon 23:59
Well, I I think that if you are thinking about getting into, getting into to do marketing and startups, I think that the biggest advice would be to be prepared for anything. Like when you work in a startup, it’s crazy how many things you can do, like how many times you can change direction, how many times you are like… sometimes it’s a bit chaotic. It’s not, it’s not a solid ground to walk. So I think it’s having the capacity of adapting to the uncertainty. I think this is, this is super important. I think that also all of this, Coronavirus, that COVID, has I mean, I think that a lot of the lessons of this, of this virus… is that is that… you need to adapt and react to what to what is happening, right? Big companies are changing the way, also. They are doing the stuff and they are getting closer to what is the startup mentality where you work on very short, in very short timeframes… you know, you work in like in in weekly timeframes. You analyze weekly, you react weekly, you plan weekly, you do a strategy weekly, sometimes it’s a bit crazy but it’s a very agile way of moving. I think this is… this is the the heart and the soul of the of the startup. I think that if you are a person that is very dynamic, you have a lot of energy… I think this will work for you. I think that this is the mentality and you need to be prepared for that. I think that this is also something that you need to be aware. It’s not like, beautiful. It’s not like…okay, you are going to be like sharing probably the workspace with people that is similar to you because in the startup environment, that people share values, we are values…and this is not happening in big corporates, you’re gonna have, like big bonds with people and recreate real connections and relationships. But this is gonna be crazy and hard also, because as I tell you, it’s like I mean, every week something can happen. So you need to be prepared for everything.

Shaheen Samavati 26:26
And I suppose you started out, as you said, doing like a, an SEO job with Just Eat right? And then just like a few years, you went from that to like running marketing for Spain. So it’s the kind of job where you have the opportunity, like if you’re the right, the right person, to grow.

Daniel Tallon 26:42
Totally. I mean, and this is, this is a very good point. Exactly. I think that startups demand a lot from from the people that are actually working in the teams, but also the opportunity of growing with a company, this is a huge. Recognition, also. I think that is… first you need to, well, that happened drastically in Just Eat, like, the ability of growing with a company. I think this is something that is a huge opportunity, but you need to be prepared also to learn super fast, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom to be able to grow at the same level as a company, right? Yes, but also, you need to also be prepared that if that super growth doesn’t happen, don’t be frustrated and continue searching. So I mean, sometimes Just Eat had this, this magic mix of like, the perfect time with the perfect product, you know, and super scalable product. And this, but this is something that if it doesn’t happen, I mean, continue searching and grow with the company. This is a great point.

Shaheen Samavati 27:54
And was that—had you worked in marketing before the role with Just Eat or was that your first kind of break into this?

Daniel Tallon 28:00
So, in Just Eat, I started as a marketing manager for Spain. And prior to that, I was doing SEO and SEM. I was most more specialized on that.

Shaheen Samavati 28:13
But in the same company?

Daniel Tallon 28:14
It was, it was, in a in a marketplace, a Spanish marketplace, but I didn’t like it. I was one year and a bit less. But I was… I got very specialized on digital, during those like six months, 12 months. And then afterwards I went to the to the startup.

Shaheen Samavati 28:32
I see. So starting out in an agency and moving to…

Daniel Tallon 28:36
Well, it was… we were selling some products, but it was a mix of products. I think that the company it doesn’t exist anymore. It was…yeah.

Shaheen Samavati 28:47
Yeah. Cool. That’s a long story I suppose, to go there. Yeah. Okay, cool. You know, it’s just gonna I think like a lot of times people are interested just to know the the story of how you broke in because I think because a lot of people probably in our audience are people looking to break into the industry as well. So it’s always interesting to hear those like, origin stories.

Daniel Tallon 29:08
Yes, I think that yeah, I think that jumping in a project that you… I think that…One thing that I think that helped me in my career was more than looking at what was my salary or more than looking at how big this company was or not. It was if I really believed… if I am like a fan of the product, if I really believe in the product, if I really think that this is something that can scale that can give a great value to customers and they can grow. That was for me that was when I was going to Spotahome was about: Wow! this can change the way people the way people rent houses! When they went to Just Eat, the same—this can change the way that people are ordering food. This is… and I think that, like really choosing the company where you’re going based on on the product that they are offering and that you really believe that this can work is the best way of really choosing the company you want to work with.

Shaheen Samavati 30:17
Yeah. And doing something that you’re passionate about means you’re gonna enjoy the work that you do more, right?

Daniel Tallon 30:23

Shaheen Samavati 30:25
Awesome. All right. Well, thanks so much, Daniel, for taking the time to speak with us.

Daniel Tallon 30:30
It’s been a pleasure. It’s been a pleasure, Shaheen. I mean, anytime, whenever you need, I’m happy to help!

Shaheen Samavati 30:37
Yeah! I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in the outdoors. And I thank everyone else so much for joining in. For more episodes like this one, keep tuning into the podcast. It’s every weekday, and we’ll be publishing a lot more interviews like this one. See you next time! Bye.

Transcribed by