Managing Marketing – Merging direct marketing tactics with digital to make sense of big data

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Anton Buchner, Managing Partner of Front Foot Marketing discusses with Darren how the discipline of direct or interactive marketing can inform marketers on the best strategy using technology and data to more effectively engage their audience.

Anton Buchner

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Darren:

Welcome, today I’m joined by Anton Buchner, who is the Managing Partner of Front Foot Marketing, and a good friend of mine. Welcome, Anton.

Anton:

G’day, Darren.

Darren:

Today we’re going to talk around digital and data but in actual fact, your background is direct marketing. I remember as a creative director at J. Walter Thompson, direct marketing was the room right at the back of the agency where the sort of second stringers were.

Anton:

The poor country cousins.

Darren:

Exactly. In fact I think Malcolm Auld was running JWT dialogue, which it was called at the time.

Anton:

Yeah.

Direct marketing : the poor country cousin

Darren:

It was always “well we’ll do the presentation of the creative work and alright here’s the direct marketing piece.”

Anton:

Yeah, you’re spot on. You’re bringing back some beautiful memories that have been pushed down the hallway. I was the same, it was the late ’80s early ’90s and you were literally the poor country cousins.

It was the big brand advertising TV commercial launch; obviously, planned for four or five months. Exotic shoots etc. The only reason we found out about it was probably about three weeks before launch where they’d say can you put the end frame on an envelope and on a brochure and mail it out to this database; and we’d scurry around and copy it and print out about a hundred thousand.

Darren:

Well I think as a way of showing how it was considered then, in any major formal presentation to an advertiser, there’d be the strategy, the creative, then the media, and then there’d be the direct marketers after the media.

Anton:

Yes, and you only had about two minutes to talk out of a one hour presentation. I remember actually a very major, major pitch with an agency and I had literally the two‑minute spot at the end.

I had to sing for my supper to talk about the data and databases we’d use, and segmentation. How we’d cut to different customer segments and how we were going to mail out in those days and do email. That was the big exciting thing.

Darren:

Yeah, the new innovation was email, wasn’t it?

Anton:

Yeah, of course and it was all pre-social and all that within two minutes. 120 seconds of quickly talking about that wrapping up with an ROI.

Darren:

But my God how the world has changed or marketing has changed because technology, as you said, social, email was just coming into it. I remember that. Then we had the internet around the late ’90’s, it was just starting to be talked about but no one was really using it. Then we get into the 2000’s and suddenly now it’s all about technology.

Anton:

Yeah.

Why are direct marketers returning to the fore?

Darren:

Direct marketers are really coming to the fore of the conversation.

Anton:

Yeah it’s been interesting. The grounding in business and ROI and metrics which I guess was how those direct marketers – the Lester Wondermans of the world and David Ogilvys – saw direct marketing.

It was all very much driven on a business grounding so we knew how much money we were spending, we knew who we were mailing out to in those days and we could look at a ROI in terms of who actually subscribed or returned money for whatever we were doing.

Whereas with the technology boom and what’s happened over the last 10 or 15 years is I’ve certainly seen a lot of new digital marketers that have come through, social gurus etc. They just don’t have that business grounding.

However, on the flip side there’s some amazing opportunities of what technology has brought us. It’s allowed us to get to so many more people quicker, faster, cheaper, which is exciting.

Darren:

Well it’s interesting you should say that because from my experience this whole area of technology and data right, there are three groups that I see.

The first group is the people that are pure play technology, they’ve almost grown up knowing the technology. Often you’ll find their conversations are just littered with the latest platforms, applications, you know what can be done.

Then at the other extreme is people like yourself, direct marketers who have a very solid business grounding and a very good understanding and application of marketing who are now applying technology to those traditional skills.

Then there’s the middle group and they’re the agency people like myself, that have tried to embrace technology along the way, except that the way they’re using it is not optimal. Do you reckon that’s a reasonable assessment of the large groupings?

Digital’s impact: We do things because we can, not necessarily because we should

Anton:

Yeah, I think that’s a fair breakdown. I think one of the big things I’ve seen is training got cut out of most businesses when HR departments found it tough and they had to cut training.

I’m not sure whether it’s just the technology pure players, or the fact that training has been cut out and hence a lot of people have just come through the digital revolution, and haven’t really been trained across all aspects of business.

They’ve been thrown into the social department and when things started being social around, what….Facebook was 2004, 2005. It was one person a bit like the Alldritt mailer.

It was one person now sitting in the social media division creating a bit of social media. I think there’s probably more than those three groups you talk about but the spectrum of thinking has certainly changed. I see a lot of people who are very focused on just the digital and social sides of the technology and what that aspect can do.

Darren:

That group though are the ones that I’m talking about that will do things because they can, not necessarily because they should.

Anton:

Yeah, you’re right. I think that’s a mind-set across a lot of digital people or people coming into digital. Certainly marketers are seeing it like that. Traditional CMOs and people that aren’t grounded in pure play digital like you say, they just see it as a shiny toy or this technology that can do something for me.

Again, you need to get back to some really fundamental business objectives. That seems to be the stumbling block with a lot of players but their vendors or agencies they’re pushing that latest technology.

Darren:

But there’s a downside to that sort of mind-set of the shiny new toy. We saw brands with lots and lots of websites and microsites, then the mobile phone app became the hot thing and everyone had to have an app whether anyone used it or not. Social media, everyone needs to be on social media and they’re pumping out messages like traditional advertising apps.

Along the way huge amounts of time, money, and effort are wasted as people are doing what they can do rather than what they should do. That’s my point and how do we avoid it?

Anton:

Yeah, well I think we’ve got to also step back and we don’t always have the answer. However, there are so many shiny new toys that marketers can get access too. It’s no wonder they’ve gone oh, let me try this, just as any new technology came out.

If you think about the fax machine, that was an amazing innovation. To fax something and have a fax arrive within seconds. Now we can just do it via email or via social. You can tweet it or send something to Facebook straight away.

So because it’s available there are lots of marketers trialling and testing these new technologies. Some good, some bad. You’re right though, a lot of them are going in with eyes closed not thinking about it.

I remember just a side conversation with my daughter who uses a particular social media. I was talking to her as to why she did certain things like she did on social media with her girlfriends. She said well, it’s just because we can. I didn’t know they were doing it but she said that was two years ago Dad. That’s so old now I’d never do that it was just a silly way of learning about social media.

Darren:

But I think there’s a big difference between your daughter doing it and a marketer putting a couple of million dollars behind experimenting on a new channel.

Anton:

Unfortunately not and I think that’s why I use that analogy. I’m seeing a lot of marketers blindly pushing money into some of these things like this. We’ve had a decade of social media now and there’s been a lot of communities built just in Facebook and obviously other areas, but then Facebook changed its algorithm and said we’re going to start charging people for boosting their posts to be seen.

Darren:

They had to monetise it.

Anton:

They had to monetise, of course it was a free platform but marketers were going “I’ll just build all these communities in someone else’s backyard”, as I call it, and think it’s free. Therefore, it’s cheap and easy to manage, but in reality, it’s not free because you’ve got resources managing it.

It’s a customer service channel because I, or a consumer, is complaining, so you need to have customer service people who can talk that language in social media. They generally sit in call centres.

There’s a whole cost around it and that’s my point, that you’ve got to bring it back to “it’s really just another channel to get to certain target audiences that you want to get to”. But if you’re not thinking about it from your brand’s perspective and your business’s perspective then yeah, you can fail and fail pretty quickly.

With the ability to talk directly to our audience, is brand now irrelevant?

Darren:

That’s an interesting point. You brought up brand and I’ve had a number of conversations in recent weeks with very senior marketers who have embraced data and digital. They have their channel and the data to inform them around that channel and they have said that’s all they need now.

In some ways brand is irrelevant because we know who our audience is and we can talk to them directly. Would you agree that that’s the direction that marketing is going or not?

Anton:

I’m afraid that a lot of marketers are going in that direction where it’s about automation technology; it’s about behavioural targeting; it’s about the ability to meet a consumer wherever they are. This whole vernacular of Omni channel and touch points wherever the consumer’s popping up.

I admire that’s a trend that’s certainly played out the last 12 months and continues to play out this year. But if you think about it, to me it’s like at a party, it’s the guy who asks every girl at the party to sleep with him. He gets a slap every time.

Darren:

He might get one in 90 that says yes.

Anton:

Well he might. It depends who’s at the party.

Darren:

Depends how much alcohol is served.

Anton:

Yeah. Invariably I think he’ll go home an unhappy man.

Darren:

That sounds like a personal experience.

Stop peeing out messages and automating stuff.You can’t build a relationship without a brand!

Anton:

I didn’t say that but no, when you think about it it’s about relationships. If you carry the party analogy on, you meet the person, get to know them. I need to ask you a few questions. I need to engage with them so they get to answer my questions. I get some information back and start to build a rapport and then eventually you might ask them out and you might like each other.

I think marketing needs to take that leaf out of the book to go, it is all about the brand. It’s no good just peeing out messages and automating stuff.

Darren:

I’ll pull you up there because what I heard you saying it’s all about the relationship, and I want to extend your metaphor of the guy at the party. If a hot young movie star who’s basically a strong brand and is well known by everyone and seen as desirable walks into the room, he doesn’t have to ask any women to sleep with him.

They’ll be throwing themselves at him. Isn’t that the role of brand in this relationship? If you’ve got a really strong, well known, popular brand, then the relationship works the other way where you start to drive demand for what you’re talking about.

Anton:

Yeah.

Darren:

Then you can still build the relationship.

Anton:

Absolutely. You can’t build a relationship without a brand.

 

I think that’s where people go wrong, they go we’ll just start a relationship program.

Darren:

Who are you?

Anton:

Or relation program.

Darren:

Yeah, because the question I’d ask is who the hell are you?

Anton:

Who are you, and also the big one I tend to ask a lot of clients, why should I care?

Darren:

That’s a good one.

Anton:

The why should I care is, I need to know your brand. I’m working with a client and their opening discussion with me was I want to build a single view of my customer which is to build a single view database. I get all these data sources into one database and then ultimately just automate communication out to that database.

As the conversation went on I said yes, but where is your brand going? Because they’re actually operating in a declining market losing share dramatically in certain segments to competitors that are sexier, they’ve got a really solid brand story and they’ve almost forgotten about their brand story.

So I took them right back to, what is your brand? What is the brand essence? Why should people care about you? I’ve got a few other options. The other analogy is Uber.

Technology + Brand = Disruption

Darren:

Yeah.

Anton:

I was listening to “Talk Back” radio this morning talking about the taxi industry and Uber and everyone was complaining from the taxi side saying we’re paying our fees, we’re paying insurance, we’re paying for the plate, etc. How unfair is it to have Uber come into the market?

Well hello, unfortunately that’s the industry we’re in. It’s dramatically changed and whether it’s legal or illegal I won’t touch that. It’s dramatically shaping our market.

Darren:

It’s disruption. It’s disrupted by technology.

Anton:

Yes.

Darren:

They could do this because the technology allowed them to do it.

Anton:

Correct.

Darren:

Clearly people want to use it. It’s got utility.

Anton:

Well it’s got a brand first. It’s solving a problem and Uber comes in and says to people are you frustrated about where your taxi is? And can you find your taxi? And do you know who’s driving your taxi? And Uber solves that problem.

It’s a brand positioning that goes I will help solve your problem and consumers go oh, I like that. Suddenly the technology has built the way of us communicating wherever we are across boundaries. Technology just plays the enabler in that sense. Then consumers take control of it and say we’ll break the market.

So much data that no one’s making sense of it

Darren:

That’s also an interesting insight about digital technology or technology generally and the data that comes from it. I think I read something you wrote recently where you said 90 percent of the data in the world has been produced in the last two years. I think that was the quote.

Anton:

Yes.

Darren:

So from a marketing point of view it’s not just a marketing issue it’s actually a whole of business issue isn’t it?

Anton:

Yeah, it is, and the scary thing about that stat is that it’s a year old. It’s an IBM stat but yeah 90 percent was in the last two years and that was over a year ago.

Darren:

So it’s 95 percent.

Anton:

It’s scary what it is now but that equates to about 2.8 petabytes of data.

Darren:

What’s a petabyte?

Anton:

I’ve got no idea what a petabyte is but to put it in perspective it’s 1.8 trillion gigabytes. I still have no idea what a gigabyte really is. So if you think about a gigabyte as a volume like a coffee.

Darren:

Yeah.

Anton:

You think about your regular coffee that’s about a gigabyte. If you had 1.8 trillion coffees lined up that equates to, and someone told me this, about the scale of the Great Wall of China.

We have about 2.8 petabytes let’s just say 3. About 3 Great Walls of China in terms of volume of data. That’s predicted to be 40 zettabytes. So 40 Great Walls of China in 2020, which is only what? Three years away? Four years away.

Darren:

Amazing.

Anton:

So truckloads of data.

Darren:

So this is why they talk about big data?

Anton:

Yeah. This notion was coined by IBM – big data. Lots and lots of data. I tend to say big data, big bullshit because there’s so much data that people are talking about that no one’s really making sense of it.

Your question before: yes it should be whole of business, the challenge with going whole of business is you end up with so many data feeds.

There’s data in service centres, customer service centres, call centres, etc. There’s data sitting in all their web properties, so whether that’s website or social media and blogs etc. All the analytics programs on top of that.

Darren:

Sales management tools.

Anton:

Lead nurturing, sales management, and then of course their internal business systems.

Darren:

Finance systems.

You need a  small data project not a big data project

Anton:

Yeah, the finance systems. Linking if it’s retail to point of sales systems, etc, and obviously through to consumers using apps and other technology. It should be whole of business but I think that’s been the difficulty for most traditional companies to say we’ve built our business on traditional systems and legacy systems that were great in the ’60s ’70s and ’80s and those computers came on in the ’80s and ’90s and worked for them.

Fast forward 20 years, they’re all breaking at the seams to handle all this data and massive feeds of consumers whenever they’re interacting and as we say they can interact anywhere these days.

It’s a big challenge for companies but within that there’s opportunity. It’s stepping back, from a whole of business approach and I think pragmatically looking at the types of data that they’ve got access to. Because most companies I talk to want to look outside their company and say let’s look at data in the media and where consumers are touching all sorts of other media.

I pull them back and say let’s just look at your data. Don’t do a ten‑person focus group to find out information or don’t look at paying a hundred thousand dollars for some external panel data. You’ve got it all in your business somewhere.

If we can prioritise the sources that are in your business whether it’s a financial system, a customer service centre system, some product purchase history, etc. In most companies you can find it pretty quickly, I’m talking about days. It’s sitting down with the right people and the right divisions to unearth these sources, it’s not hard. Then you workshop through and prioritise the sources and say these ten are interesting let’s just look at those.

It becomes a small data project not a big data project.

Darren:

While you were saying that, something that came up for me that’s one of my bugbears is financial services. They’ve got all this information. All the banks have information on their customers but they spend around 70 percent of their marketing budget on acquisition and less than 20 percent of retention.

Yet, the best opportunity for them is to actually get their existing customers entangled with more products and getting a greater share of wallet, than it is trying to convince someone that has a credit card somewhere else to get another credit card with you.

Anton:

Yes. Yes.

Darren:

This whole focus about acquiring other people’s customers rather than looking at their existing customers is interesting because the great thing about existing customers is that they’ve already proven a reason for why they’re doing business with you.

First of all, you can learn what that reason is to perhaps look for more people like them if you’re into acquisition, but also try and understand them better so that you can broaden their level of engagement with you.

Anton:

Yeah.

Darren:

It’s overlooked though.

Anton:

Yes, it is overlooked and there’s lots of thoughts in what you’re saying there. First thought, with financial institutions, yes they’re built on a very traditional direct marketing model and it very much has acquisition teams and retention teams as separate teams.

Darren:

Yeah, but the acquisition team was huge. Retention team was tiny.

Anton:

It was small.

Darren:

Because they really care about the customers. But, the amount of time and effort and money they put into retaining their existing customers is infinitesimally smaller than their acquisition.

It’s about breaking down some silos within businesses

Anton:

It is and then you’ve got digital marketers who don’t understand that some of the work they’re doing which is great work, is actually advocacy. Building panels, advocates, bloggers all that sort of activity is, taking ambassadors or advocates who love a brand or love a product and getting them to talk about it.

You’re spot on, I talk a lot with clients….build a VIP panel, and what that is, it’s your best customers. Best in terms of value. They’re obviously financially valuable to your business. They buy lots of your product or your service and they’re highly engaged in digital channels.

That just means I’m talking to the right people who in different channels and areas, can talk positively about your brand, whether it’s ratings or reviews or VIP panels where they talk about your next products, where they co-create, etc. That’s the power.

We’ve gone away I think from the old marketing funnel. Lots of people are talking now about the bow tie. I’m sure you’ve seen the bow tie.

Darren:

Yeah.

Anton:

Which is putting the marketing funnel on its side to the left and then purchase and advocacy out to the right. You’re right. That mentality of taking it all the way through is logical but unfortunately, a lot of clients aren’t set up that way.

It’s about breaking down some silos within businesses. Getting the acquisition team to talk to the retention team. Another really obvious one is does that retention team talk to the sales force?

Darren:

Yeah.

Anton:

If I had a dollar for every marketing and sales team that just doesn’t talk. Unfortunately, that’s the biggest problem. The sales guys and girls, whether they’re out on the road or whether they’re actually just on digital media or sitting in a call centre, they’re listening and talking with certain keywords to what customers are connecting with.

All that information needs to go back to the marketers who are then out creating advocacy and content.

Customer‑centric philosophy: What level can you actually achieve?

Darren:

Absolutely, but isn’t this the challenge of the customer‑centric business model? I mean if I had a dollar for every CEO that has made a proclamation that they’re going to be customer centric and yet their whole organisation is everything but. Because almost every organisation starts with here’s what we can do, now let’s find the people that are going to buy it from us.

Anton:

Yeah.

Darren:

Where isn’t customer‑centric philosophy more like, here is the customer, what do they want and how can we deliver it to them?

Anton:

And how can I make them connect with our brand world and then make our brand world relevant to them?

Darren:

Yeah.

Anton:

Yeah, you’re right. I think customer centricity is a bit like .COM and then social media. It’s a buzzword. Everyone wants it.

Darren:

But no one wants to make the change that’s required to do it.

Anton:

No, no, no, no. CRM well I want one in black. What’s CRM well that was a total re-engineering of your business philosophy. Social media now has gone away from just a Facebook page or tweeting, to handling the whole of your business through social channels in customer service and content.

Customer centricity is no different. You need to work out what level of customer centricity your business can achieve.

Again, this client I’m working with at the moment, global brand. They threw customer centricity into the conversation right at the start and I had to question them and say how customer centric can you get because there’s a scale from nought to a hundred.

If a hundred is totally customer centric like you were saying a minute ago Darren, that’s totally focused around the customer, and built around a customer, co‑created with customers etc. that’s one angle. That’s completely customers.

Darren:

That’s a hundred.

Anton:

That’s a hundred. Most companies that are traditional bricks and mortar are down around 10 or 20.

Darren:

Or zero.

Anton:

Potentially minus. I don’t want to be too harsh, but no, they stumble and challenge but they still manufacture and bring to market. Again, I want to be careful in this because I still firmly believe even up at a hundred you still manufacture and bring to market product. It’s just the philosophy of how you go about it.

Darren:

Do it.

Anton:

Apple, if I would say Apple is totally customer centric.

Darren:

No not at all.

Anton:

I agree with you. They’re actually not customer centric and certainly when Steve Jobs was there he was very good at finding things that people wanted but he pretty much pilfered technology. He’s wrapped it up beautifully and marketed the hell out of it.

Darren:

The difference is, and Henry Ford said this a long time before Steve Jobs; he said if I asked the customer what they wanted they would have said faster horses.

Anton:

Yeah.

Darren:

Right? But he came up with the car. Steve Jobs was the same in that he didn’t ask customers what they wanted because he knew they didn’t know what they actually wanted. They knew what their problems were and how to articulate those as if you could solve this by doing this.

Like with the iPod, he basically said, I’m going to put music in the palm, all the music that you ever wanted in the palm of your hand. The phone, he basically said I’m going to turn the phone into a handheld computer. All he did was look at what people were doing and wanting and look for ways of adding utility to it without actually asking them what they wanted for those reasons. That’s my first point.

The second point is that the trouble with a lot of traditional businesses and why they’re being disrupted is that they’re so locked into the process of delivering whatever it is for the customer, that they don’t step away to ask how can I do this better?

Because in all of the major disruptions that have happened in the last few years, the world’s largest retailer has no product. Alibaba, right. The world’s largest accommodation network has no rooms – AirBNB.

Anton:

That’s a problem.

Darren:

The largest taxi or transport service has no cars, Uber which you already mentioned. One of the things that made them able to disrupt is that they rely heavily on trust because they have to build trust because they’re not actually delivering services they’re facilitating services.

The second is that they’ve unbundled themselves from the need to have all of this infrastructure to actually deliver that utility to customers.

Solve a problem and build a brand around it

Anton:

Yeah, they are companies that have taken advantage of this technology revolution.

Darren:

Yeah.

Anton:

I guess they can be more customer centric. Again, though everything you’re saying it’s built on a brand. Marketing problem, consumer problem, there’s the insight, we’ll build a brand around it.

Darren:

Yep.

Anton:

Brand has to be number one. You can still have physical property and physical retail outlets, which is not a problem but you’re right, it’s thinking through. If I’m going to be customer centric it’s almost the process.

It’s not the brand or the business it’s a process of thinking that makes companies more customer centric. I firmly believe that’s relatively easy in your mind to change, but like you’re saying in reality it’s very hard for companies to get their head around. With built in divisions and silos, my product and sales team and marketing team, finance department, etc.

It’s a challenge, it’s a challenge to break that down.

Another company to throw in the mix, Zappos. What Zappos has done, online shoes; not a sexy area selling shoes online. I’m sure when they thought of the business model, “well we’ll just think of selling it online but people have to fit their shoe on so how on earth is that going to work?” But they’ve actually built their whole positioning on WOW customer service. A bit like Wal‑Mart.

Darren:

Yeah.

Anton:

They said, we’re going to deliver such amazing customer service we won’t actually talk about the shoes. We’ll talk about customers’ experiences interacting with our company or their challenges in their life and then shoes play a part of it.

Darren:

Yep.

Anton:

They’re the most prolific user of video content. They’ve created over 40 thousand videos just on people using shoes.

Darren:

This is the reason for bringing this up and having this conversation is that to me this is the biggest opportunity that comes out of data. Because having a science background the scientific method to observe and make a hypothesis is the first two steps, observe and make a hypothesis.

There is so much data about customer behaviour. In fact the one thing we do get a lot of data is about people’s behaviour because we can track it now on what they’re doing anywhere online. It doesn’t give you the insight as to why they’re doing it but that’s where the hypothesis comes in.

You picked Zappos, Zappos is interesting because shoes for women, especially, are typically such a high engagement area.

They’re discretionary but they’re high engagement. It was a prime area to be able to transfer into yes, we’re going to go online, but it’s not about the shoes because we know they love shoes. But we’re going to make the customer service unbelievable because part of the experience is the customer service, well a lot of the experience is the customer service, right?

Anton:

Yeah.

Are you using data just to track performance rather than develop insights?

Darren:

So you talked before about using data in the company because I find a lot of marketers use data to track performance rather than develop insights. Why do you think that is?

Anton:

Well just a quick caveat on that. When you think about data it’s all after an event. The digital footprint or my footprint of tracking something and it leaves a data mark or a digital mark for print, I have to have done something. When you think about it, it’s all post activity. All data analysis is retrospective.

Darren:

Yeah.

Learning from the old-school: Where digital and direct marketing intersect

Anton:

If we just start with that and say okay we’re doing retrospective analysis out of any information we have or any data that we have to look back on what behaviour people have exhibited.

That’s a relatively easy thing to do in a sense. I can get someone to analyse some data, work out what’s happened and then say okay not everyone hit that page but they did hit that page so, therefore, I’m going to change this page on the website to be more important.

The challenge though is we just have too many data sources. To get a holistic view of consumers I can’t go down to that one to one level and say Darren has looked at this and this and this and, therefore, I’m going to look at all the Darren’s of the world and see what they’ve done.

That suddenly gets you into all this mass of data. I think that’s where people are getting lost. They’re suddenly going we thought we could go one to one, and in fact we can go one to one with technology because I can send messages to Darren. Based on his cookie on his computer and he’s logged into a certain part and I can send him a message, but I have no idea really about Darren’s profile anymore and I’ve lost the art of segmentation.

Because in the old days if I go back to how we started this conversation with direct mail, we had very clear segments. Might have been ten, might have been eight, might have been five, whatever there were. They were groups of people, maybe 10,000 people a bit like herds.

We mailed out to that herd sort of expecting them to all operate the same. As you know in your post code if you look at your neighbour we’re all different. So it’s fundamentally flawed, but it’s a way of making marketing.

Darren:

It was a way of handling large groups into smaller manageable groups.

Anton:

Making it feasible.

Darren:

But still scalable enough that it was worthwhile economically.

Anton:

It worked, you can prove that certain areas work better than others and certainly compared to some mass media to convert people; it worked better. The challenge now, and your question why aren’t they doing it?

It’s simply too much data so we’ve lost the art of which segments we’re talking to. We’re trying to be one to one but we’re sort of being one to nothing. We’re losing the real reason why I’m tracking down.

Darren:

The relationship is gone and the reason for the relationship.

Anton:

I think the context of the relationship is gone.

Darren:

Context.

Anton:

There’s no context now of Darren has hit a certain page, I’d like to send him a communication of some sort. Why am I sending that to Darren? Where is he in his life cycle with our brand and the product or the product that he’s using? We’ve lost that context.

I think with context gone we, therefore, don’t know what he’s using. Well actually we know what he’s using, we don’t know why he’s using it. I don’t know why Darren was searching using certain keywords on our website. I can make a hypothesis and that’s where it gets back to your point.

Darren:

You can test it.

Anton:

You can test it, which is really direct marketing 101.

Darren:

Exactly.

Anton:

Which gets us back to the start of the conversation.

Direct marketing frames what we should do with the technology we have

Darren:

Which is why I wanted to start with direct marketing because to me it’s amazing that I think back to when was it, God, 20 years ago, and direct marketing was undervalued.

Today it is so relevant and so important and yet it still seems to be getting over shadowed by the technology of what we can do, rather than direct marketing gives a frame to what should we do with the technology that we do have.

Anton:

You’re right. That’s spot on.

I don’t think direct marketing or data driven marketing should come first. It should be your business, your brand, your brand world; and then direct or data driven marketing can get to certain types of customers at points in time they want. At points in time you want or through different channels that can get out there.

I mean a really simple example; a client I worked with where they were in the health and beauty sector. We talked long and hard about the customer segments and technology and we wanted to do a lot of video content and they wanted to have lots of social advocacy happening and I had to bring the conversation back after a significant workshop, to what are we actually trying to do?

What products are we trying to sell and how will they connect with different types of audiences? It really got back to basics in saying there’s inexperienced people who are just coming into this category and just starting to use these products who have no idea so we could be the helping hand.

There’s intermediate people who have a certain level of knowledge but they’re ready for the up-sell, the cross-sell and the next products. There’s people who are advanced in health and beauty who just want deep knowledge and specialist knowledge because they’re experts.

Darren:

There’s your three segments.

Anton:

There’s suddenly three segments and it gets back to being consumer centric because we go, it’s actually based on a level of experience by product.

Darren:

But then you can use data and behaviour to quickly work out which segment they fit into, make a hypothesis and then test it.

Anton:

So my first question when people sign up to my club should find out that answer. Whereas you look at a lot of sign ups and digital technology people would say, let’s just ask the name, the gender, the location.

Darren:

The address.

Anton:

And their preference for channel. Like no idea what level of experience you are.

Darren:

Yes.

Anton:

You’re right I think a lot of logic has been lost in just using all the technology. By logic I mean just by getting back to some simplistic views of the business, the consumer and how you’re solving their problems.

So it’s getting back to basics and the risk in being technology driven is you end up trying to be all things to all people and buying shiny toys and investing in lots of shiny toys as a marketing team or a technology team, but losing that art of what’s actually going to drive our business.

If we did three things well, let’s just do those three things and then use technology to enable a better communication program, because that’s where I believe the technology should be placed. It’s how do we deliver a better communications program and make that more effective.

Darren:

That’s built on a brand foundation.

Anton:

Yeah.

Darren:

Well, Anton, thanks very much. This has been a fascinating conversation.

Anton:

Thanks, Darren. Good to talk.

 

Are you struggling with the complexity that digital and data offer to business? Let TrinityP3 make sense of the new digital ecosystem for you. Details here

About Darren Woolley

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 – Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren’s Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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