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Managing Marketing: The Power Of Direct Marketing In A Digital World

Peter_Applebaum

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.

Peter Applebaum is the Managing Director at Tick Yes and author of the book ‘Customer Romance, How to build your brand one customer at a time’. He chats with Darren on how direct marketing principles are more relevant today in a digital world than ever before and how the problem is that technology often stands in the way of great direct marketing strategy rather than enabling it to deliver the results marketers need.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren: 

Welcome to Managing Marketing. Today I’m sitting down with Peter Applebaum, Managing Director of Tick Yes. Sorry, I’ll do that again. Take two. Welcome to Managing Marketing. Today I’m sitting down with Peter Applebaum who is the Managing Director of Tick Yes and he’s also the author of the book, ‘Customer Romance – How to Build Your Brand One Customer at a Time’. Welcome, Peter.

Peter: 

Darren, thank you. Great to be here.

Darren: 

So I’m going to say, you are a direct marketer and I hope you’re not insulted by that.

Peter: 

I’m complimented by that! That’s one of the highest compliments I could ever receive. I fell in love with direct marketing many, many years ago before there was such a thing as the internet and I used to go to the Australian Institute of Management library up the road here in North Sydney, which I don’t think is here anymore, it’s in the city now and I was an exciting guy.

I used to read direct marketing books and just follow campaigns, particularly from the US. Because here in Australia we’ve never had that direct marketing ethos. They have it in the US because of the Sears Roebuck Catalogue, the heritage of that from the 19th Century was set out with all the various products you could purchase.

Darren: 

And Chicago was the centre of that, Chicago was the great mid-west that would produce retail catalogues and mail order catalogues. It was a real culture of direct marketing and they had it down to a tee, didn’t they?

Peter: 

Absolutely because it was a decentralised country back then, the US, which is obviously like Australia, it’s completely changed. I mean, they have probably one hundred capital cities or major cities, we might have half a dozen. Whereas in the States, they were farmers primarily in the 19th Century so the only way to get these new products was obviously the Sears Roebuck Catalogue.

Darren: 

But you can understand why I said I hope you’re not insulted because the word direct marketer seems to have disappeared since the internet age.

Peter: 

Well actually back in the day, before the internet age, it was the…

Darren: 

Last century when we were both practitioners starting our careers.

Peter: 

That’s right, we were mere boys, Darren.

Darren: 

Yeah.

Peter: 

People looked down on direct marketing here in Australia at least. They think well advertising is the golden fleece, that’s what you would always want to go to which of course I did as well. I was a copywriter in advertising agencies but that aside, I was always at heart, like my hero, David Ogilvy, who was a legend advertising guy but also loved direct marketing, we recognised the value of creating those individual relationships and taking it forward from there on an ongoing basis.

And that has been forgotten by many people, particularly because of what I mentioned before, we here in Australia do not have that direct marketing foundation so a lot of marketers and people making decisions about digital marketing for example or marketing overall, are doing so from a mass communication perspective without really understanding that digital gives us this amazing ability to create these one to one relationships and profit from them accordingly.

Darren: 

Now I may have shared this with you previously but one of my heroes in direct marketing is Lester Wunderman.

Peter: 

Right.

Darren: 

And in fact, I was in New York a few years ago, he actually passed away earlier this year which is sad. But I was in New York about three years ago and I caught up with David Sabel who’s the CEO of Y&R in New York or in the US, and he told me that then, Lester was still coming into the office three days a week and I said, you know, “I’m just in awe of this man because back in the sixties I think even late fifties, he was rioting about the philosophy and the principles of direct marketing at a time when they used women in big pools typing up personalised letters”.

Peter: 

Yeah.

Darren: 

And I wanted to talk to him about how it felt to now live in an age where the technology had caught up with the principles, that all the things that he talked about, understanding the customer, giving them options, seeing which choices they made, gave you insight into them and so you could respond.

And in the technology age, he could do that in real-time. And I never got the chance because the day that I was meant to meet with him, he unfortunately called in ill. It would have been one of the great opportunities. But I want to know your opinion because technology absolutely allows people to be able to direct market in real-time and yet, so few people seem to get it right. Why?

Peter:

Because they’re looking at the wrong end of the telescope. They’re still like in the old days, they’re looking from the small end out to the big end. Whereas in digital marketing and direct marketing done well, it’s the other way around. We’re looking from the big end, from big brand, right down to the individual.

Now, that may sound impractical if I’ve got 10 million customers, I’m a telco or a bank and I’ve got 10 million customers but it’s not. That’s the beauty of technology, it’s also the beauty of CRM, that where we can identify who that individual is. Now of course, doing it, sending, it’s not exactly new technology to send an email that’s been customised to my particular fears, needs, interests, wants and desires. But that’s how simple it can be.

From an email all the way through obviously programmatic, everyone’s talking about programmatic and all these sorts of things. It’s just a variation on a theme and the theme is; customise your marketing and customise your communication so I can better persuade you to buy what I’m selling as opposed to the other ten people who are selling the same thing.

Darren: 

So what you’re saying is that the principles are exactly the same, the technology now allows you to scale that because what, you know, understand the individual, communicate to them, and then technology allows you to scale that approach?

Peter: 

Yes, correct.

Darren: 

To do hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, millions of people.

Peter: 

That’s right. It’s a market of one times a million.

Darren: 

So is it just laziness that makes people – for instance, you mentioned email – do email blasts to millions of people, that largely end up trapped in spam filters, or is it that they just find it too hard to do? Well, that’s laziness. The next option is, are they stuck in the old broadcast medium?

Peter: 

I think it’s a bit of a combination of all of it, of what you’ve just said, Darren. There is a real knowledge gap with marketers, particularly in Australia, where we don’t have that direct marketing foundation. Our leaders, the people who came before us, didn’t really pass on their knowledge and I guess the power of creating those individual relationships.

So there is a lot of broadcast media, the old fashioned paradigm, thinking when it comes to modern campaigns, campaigns today. You’ve got big brands who are spending millions of dollars on advertising marketing, digital marketing, but doing it using the old way of thinking. They’re not really focused on the individual. We in the marketing industry as you know, we love these buzz phrases. We’re always coming up with new buzz phrases.

Darren: 

I think it’s one of the most creative parts of marketing is coming up with the latest term.

Peter: 

Exactly! Oh look I can still remember this, “Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it”. That’s one of my favourites. One of the most ridiculous things you could ever say in a professional context. But there is no strategic foundation and you probably find this yourself when you speak to a lot of clients who are looking to engage with agencies and say, strategy is what’s missing.

It’s like, I’ve got any number of organisations that can help me build a website, do banner ads, do advertising, online digital advertising campaigns or offline of course. But coming up with a strategy that helps me to take, “This is my brand, this is what it does and this is what we’re looking to achieve with the brand”, to really marry that with what consumers are looking for at the same time, that’s a real disconnect.

Because guess what? That’s hard. Because rather than going to the Facebook party or the Google party and having the reps come in and take them out for lunch or to the pub, pardon my cynicism, but it’s like, it really comes down to if the best fun I think you can have in marketing is really to really understand, drill down to that customer of one and multiply it by a thousand, a hundred, a thousand, a million.

Darren: 

But it’s interesting, isn’t it? Because you mentioned before, like the late nineties and even the early part, you know, the first five years of this century let’s say, all of the talk from digital/technology companies in marketing was about the ability to target individuals. It was all about one to one at scale.

And then around 2005 to 2007 and post the global economic crash, suddenly it was all about and almost broadcast like approach. Look at the millions of people you can reach through Facebook and Google. You know, it’s scalability, it’s about the low cost per thousand. “Reach a million people and only pay X amount”, became the cry, the selling point about digital media.

And yet, I wonder whether part of that’s driven by the desire to need to make money because remember, a lot of those tech companies in the first few years, people were trying to work out how they were valued so high.

Peter: 

Right. I joined the internet industry in 1999, so twenty years ago, and CPM was what it was all about and it was run by old fashioned media guys.

Darren: 

Yes.

Peter: 

And I was not a media guy, I was a marketing guy. I’d joined BMC Media which represented Olympics.com and Telstra.com and ASX.com.au, a lot of big, big websites. So we were out there looking for advertising and they brought me on to say, “Well hang on, we cannot just do advertising, we can do marketing programs, what a concept, using the power and the traffic of these websites”. So it was very much, and it still is in many cases that I can see, a CPM based model where you’re getting a cost per thousand.

Darren: 

Yeah but Peter what about when it was called interactive media?

Peter: 

Yeah.

Darren: 

Remember?

Peter: 

Yes.

Darren: 

That was about engaging people in a one on one relationship. So while it may have been CPM it seems that the only discussion now is CPM or media based. There was a time where the promise of this technology was to be able to do direct marketing in real time. To actually respond, or even if you want to call it direct sales.

Peter: 

I think if I can say something slightly controversial, I think developing the theme you were mentioning about the platforms needing to scale such as the Googles and the Facebooks, I think the digital marketing party has been hijacked by these platforms and we as marketers have been sucked in because of the vast audiences that they offer.

And we all use them and leverage them and that makes complete sense. But it has diverted our gaze away from the main game which is customer of one, times a million as opposed to a million.

Darren: 

Well it also explains why Facebook can turn around and tell everyone they’ve deleted almost a billion fake accounts and no one bats an eyelid. Which is bizarre because if you’re buying a CPM and almost half the customers have been fake up to now, you would say half your CPM is wasted.

Peter: 

Well that’s right!

Darren:

But if you’re doing proper direct marketing, it didn’t matter because you probably weren’t targeting a fake account, you were targeting people that you’d identified as genuine prospects.

Peter: 

I’ve done campaigns for a major FMCG brand and we did a national account specific consumer operation online promotion. And I think we got 5,000 entries, not many. And this is an ex- hundred-million-dollar brand.

Basically it was exactly the same national account specific campaign in Woolworths the year before, the only difference in the year that I was working on it, was what we did from a digital point of view which was email marketing, which was really drilling down and getting to know the customers and marketing to them individually at 5,000 entries only.

During that two months that we ran that national account specific promotion, they achieved the highest market share they had ever had in Woolworths. And of course then the switch gets turned off and goes back to normal and it’s price, price, price.

Darren: 

It’s interesting you should say that because I remember an insurance company contact us, and this is you know, a decade ago, saying, “What’s the benchmark for direct mail response?” And I said, “Well, there’s no real benchmark, I mean the industry throws some numbers around but you know, a better question is, why are you asking?”

“We’ve just noticed our 400,000 high value customers, well, it’s dropped from about 1.5 to about .9% response rate and we’re wondering why?” And I said, “That must be really concerning” and he goes, “Yeah it is a little bit”. And I go, “No, no, the fact that over 99% of your high value customers are actively rejecting your brand”. And he went, “What do you mean?”.

And I go, “You do realise, if I mailed let’s say, one hundred invitations to a party, to my friends, and 99 of them didn’t respond, I would feel rejected and yet you’re telling me that a response rate of .9% is absolutely okay with you? You’re a bit concerned, but it’s okay?” And he went, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of it like that”.

Peter: 

Continuing that party theme, because this is one of my favourite ways of explaining what it’s all about and it really comes down to this focus on platforms and technology as opposed to the people. I say to people it’s like throwing this amazing party. You get the catering, you get the music, you get the tent and the chair covers and everything is fabulous and everything’s in readiness, until you actually realise, hang on, I forgot to invite anyone.

And that’s exactly what’s happening in digital marketing today.

We’re focusing on so much stuff and we’re outsourcing as we always used to do, the audience thing to platforms such as Google and Facebook and that makes sense on a number of levels, and we certainly do that as well in what we do but it comes down to, then what?

It’s like in the book, in my book, ‘Customer Romance’ which sounds like a plug but it’s not, but really, the premise is, you’ve got to keep showing up. When I give presentations at conferences, one of my favourite things is to find an unsuspecting lady in the audience who I think is going to be a good sport and going to her and saying, “Imagine you and I were going out and we were having a fabulous time. We go to the theatre, we go on bike rides, we go on holidays, we were having so much fun and we were in love.

And then one day, I got down on bended knee, candlelight dinner, the violins and said, darling I love you, would you marry me?” And then I’d say to the lady in the audience, “What would you say?” Hopefully, she’s a good enough sport to say yes.

And then she’ll say, “What about my husband?”, it’s like, don’t worry about him. But she’ll say yes. And then I say to them as the kind of clincher, “And what would you then say if I didn’t actually contact you for the next six months? For the next twelve months? Would you think you would still want to be engaged to me?” And she said, “No, of course not”.

But that’s what we marketers are doing all the time. We’ve got the short-termism of marketing, it is so alarming on one hand but it’s exciting on the other hand. So if you get a database of 5000 people or  100 000 people who are coming to your website, the opportunity for you to engage with those people on an ongoing basis and delight them is vast. Because so many other marketing organisations, brands, companies, don’t do it.

Darren: 

I think this is something that we’ve touched on previously in our conversations which is the focus in marketing on acquisition.

Peter: 

Yes.

Darren:

Because marketers will often find themselves measuring the number of new customers but rarely measuring the value of those customers over time. How many times have you seen reports of, “Oh we acquired an extra 50,000 customers, but no one’s reporting on the 30,000 that just walked out the back door?

Peter: 

That’s right. The churn factor. Because as we had discussed before, so many marketers like the shiny new thing. We’re creative souls at heart. We like the new and that’s great and acquisition is important because obviously, no matter how good a service you’re providing, there’s always going to be a churn so acquisition is still an important thing. But I would say that retention is what’s the stats,it is five, six, seven, eight times more profitable to keep a customer than it is to get a new customer. That’s where you make money, that’s where you get rich.

Darren: 

up to here

I wonder if part of that is the fact that people think because marketing is about driving awareness, you know, and that’s only part of the marketing equation but for a lot of companies, they think of their marketing department as the awareness and that once they’ve got the customer through the door, that somehow sales operations or the other parts will keep the customer, you know, in and being loyal when in actual fact, it doesn’t work that way. And one of my bug bears is, how many times I’ve received an offer for a credit card from my own credit card company telling me that if I move my credit card, which is already with them, to them, I’ll get interest free for 12 months. And I’m there going, you’re trying to acquire me as a new customer, I’m an existing customer.

Peter: 

That’s right.

Darren: 

And you’re giving me an offer than when I phone up and go, “I’d like my credit card interest free for 12 months”, they go, “Oh, it’s not for existing customers”. But you sent me this piece of communication!

Peter: 

And you’re a second class citizen because you had the temerity to be giving them your business and your money over a number of years but it’s like the new customers, they’re the ones that get the rewards. I started my career as a grocery FMCG marketer so one of my first loves is grocery marketing and I always think that grocery marketers have some of the biggest marketing budgets in Australia if not the world as we know, but they squander it. There’s so few market FMCG companies that understand this value of a customer of one. And I always think that one of the biggest misses that these people have, they’re always whinging about the duopoly in Australia of Coles and Woolworths and now Aldi has come along on a lesser scale from a branding point of view, and they’re saying, “These bastards at the supermarkets, they’re taking us for granted, they’re charging us all this co-op advertising and trading terms and we can’t make a dollar and they’re squeezing us out for their own brands”. Well, funny that! Guess what they’ve done better than you guys? They’ve got customers. They’ve got more customers who are coming in the door. “But they’re’ making us cut our price”. Okay, well why don’t you have an insert in your packet? Why don’t you have something printed on your packet where it says, “Send us an email or go to this website and get this and get that”, and form a direct relationship with X hundred thousand and X million of your customers and then, next time you go to the supermarket, because you’ve still got to deal with them because you’re not going to be, you’re not…

Darren: 

Well the distribution is what they’ve got.

Peter: 

That’s right! They’ve got the distribution but they’ve also got the audience.

Darren: 

Yep.

Peter: 

So what I’m saying is, yes, they’re always going to have the audience and also the shelves, but why don’t you have the audience as well so when you go and speak to Coles and Woolworths, why don’t you, as a result of being intelligent enough to actually leverage the fact that you’ve got, that your consumers, millions of your consumers have your product in their hands on an ongoing basis, why don’t you collect just a simple email? Email still works, it’s like, the stats show that for one dollar invested, email on average returns $44. Why don’t you build up a database of a quarter of a million of your consumers and so next time you go and speak to the buyer at Woolworths, you’ll say, “Yes I need to give you this co-op advertising and I’ll do this but I’ve also got a database of 250,000 people and we can drive people into your store in addition to what we’re doing”. At the very least, it gives you more leverage than you have currently ’cause you’re going in, cap in hand, because they’re the ones with the distribution, but more importantly, they’re the ones with the audience. Why don’t you have the audience? And that’s a principle I don’t see, I see very few if any marketers having.

Darren: 

I have seen quite a few FMCG consumer package goods clients that have tried to go into e-commerce.

Peter: 

E-commerce, my goodness.

Darren:

And they do it because they think that’s the way, literally to circumvent the retailer and build a relationship because they always see the retailer as the barrier. They see it as the barrier to the customer. They use mass media as a way of talking at the customer. They’ll say to, but at the customer. They’ll go to the retailer. So they talk about consumer being the end user and customer being the retailer and then they come along and they set up an e-commerce site and then they wonder why it doesn’t work.

Peter: 

Crickets, crickets.

Darren: 

Yeah. And then they go, “For all that effort, all I’ve managed to do is piss off my customer”, because the retailer goes, “Why are you competing with me? I want to be in this as a partnership, you supply the product, I sell the product”, you know?

Peter: 

That’s the point with direct marketing. Back in the old days, they always…

Darren: 

The good old days!

Peter: 

The good old days. No, these are the good old days, what are you talking about Darren? The old days. One of the comments that I often came by about direct marketing is you didn’t know what anyone else was doing. You didn’t know who was sending the letter to your customers, to their customers and what offers they were sending out. So the point is, marketers can almost by stealth, create these huge assets, databases and traffic to their website and do it in an integrated way and even apps, getting subscribers to your apps, so a whole, you can still take advantage of the technology. Technology is critical. But create those relationships and then leverage them because the moment you’re still using the old mentality of like, “I’m going to advertise on 60 minutes or A Current Affair because they’ve got a million people who are watching who are going to watch my ad”. Well they’re off at the loo or they’re making a cup of tea or doing God knows what else. So, but the point is, yes, some people are going to see it, but it’s real old paradigm thinking. Create your own media, again, this is not a new principle, this is not my principle, but it’s so rarely done. It’s alarming. Sorry, going back to FMCG with regards to companies or FMCG companies, I know Nestle was always one of the, one of the innovators when it came to creating those individual relationships and I know Lester Wunderman actually had Nestle as a client many, many years ago. I remember they did some really funky things. I’m not sure what they’re doing here in Australia or if they’re still having that focus but they certainly were innovators in that role, as was Kimberley Clark with Huggies.

Darren: 

Well and one of the other things that consumer package goods can do is actually invest in content marketing to actually use that as a way of building the relationship because you know, a lot of products have stories to tell or usage you know, the old, if you’re selling food, sell the recipe that uses the food, you know?

Peter: 

And the experiences associated with that food.

Darren: 

In fact, I think it was actually Nestle in the US, one of their best direct marketing pieces was a regular cookbook that used all of their products in the cookbook. And they worked out the return on investment using coupons in the cookbook and it was like the best ROI of any activity.

Peter: 

That’s right. Darren, this is the thing. Direct marketing is not complicated. We’re marketers, we’re not exactly splitting the atom here as I always say to my team. This is simple stuff but the principles are often forgotten because the attention is taken away in meeting, in going through the process of building the website or doing the TVC or meeting with the media agency and often this single-minded focus on the customer and creating those individual customer relationships times a thousand, times ten million, is forgotten in the rush to get everything done. And it’s like, “Okay, well again, it’s this short-termism that effects so much of marketing these days”. Which is really astounding because we have so many more tools than we did ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. It’s the golden age for marketers and quite frankly, it should also be the golden age for customers. But it’s not.

Darren: 

And I wonder if it’s because the technology has actually obscured the strategy and people are getting caught up in that but there is a shining light because you know, I’ve done, had discussions with people in media, like Martin Cass at NDC Media Partners and Scott Hagedorn at Hearts and Science, where they’re starting to use data, customer data as a way of making media choices. So it’s no longer media choices around just reaching mass, they’re actually looking for media that indexes much higher for the very specific customers that they’ve already got as a way of deciding then, no it’s not the lowest cost per thousand, it’s about indexing higher so that you build relationships through media which is a very direct marketing approach.

Peter: 

Very. And it’s a wonderful, wonderful to hear that, there are always going to be the people shouting against the mass and I think that’s wonderful that however many people there are that have these types of positions of being able to form those customer relationships and leverage them over a period of time. As I say, it’s great for customers, great for the brand, but often it kind of gets obscured by the mass, the majority, who are still going down the old advertising ethos of just, “Stack ’em high, watch them fly” and let’s just hope that it works.

Darren: 

And one of the problems with that traditional model is wastage.

Peter: 

Correct, that’s right.

Darren: 

Because when you cast the net as wide as possible, the danger is that your actual customers or potential customers in there could be relatively small.

Peter: 

That’s right. And that’s something that marketers have always accepted. Always accepted. And it’s like, look, obviously there’s not, digital is not the magic bullet where that doesn’t happen. There’s always wastage in marketing and I always say that marketing is about the increment. If you can take thirty, if what you’re doing is at 33.68%, then make it 34.68%, you’re winning, you’re ahead. So you’re never going to get 100% of the people, that’s just unrealistic. But it’s like if you can actually…

Darren: 

Even in a monopoly you’ll never get a 100% because there will still be people that reject you.

Peter: 

That’s right, because you’re a monopoly. So it’s like, what are the opportunities are and it’s like, can, it’s the incremental advantages and opportunities you can take, that you can really leverage in a way that other people are not doing. As I said, one of the biggest, I’m using this word at the moment, one of the biggest opportunities for marketers is to really see, I’m not doing this as a brand as an organisation, but one of the greatest exciting things is, invariably my competitors are not doing it either. So if you actually have a much more refined, direct marketing focus on the customer and then as I say, leverage the media, the, sorry, the technology to times a thousand, times a million, that’s where you can get the results.

Darren: 

Now, just to go back to your book. This subtitle, you know, because it’s ‘Customer Romance’ and then the subtitle, ‘How to Build Your Brand, One Customer at a Time’.

Peter: 

Right.

Darren: 

Is really interesting for me because we have a conversation a lot with marketers, when we do marketing restructures. You know, there’s always this group called the Brand Team, right? And my point is that there’s a need to define the brand, but the need to actually communicate the brand in bespoke pieces of communication is actually diminishing over time because brand is actually built, not through telling people what your brand is, but by creating customer experiences that create the brand for the customer, isn’t it?

Peter: 

Absolutely.

Darren: 

And is that what you mean here in the book?

Peter: 

Exactly. So it’s like, it’s my experience is going to be different to your experience and a smart brand will give their consumers and customers the latitude to be able to do that because I am a different person and I have different needs, fears, desires than you do. So it’s a question of, as long as I can do that in the context of using this shirt or driving this car or buying this television, that’s what it’s all about. And obviously, technology can help us to target our messages, our communication, our experiences to each individual customer’s needs. Now someone may be listening to this and saying, “This is completely unrealistic”. If I’m Telstra or I’m Westpac and I have ten million customers, how’s that going to work? Well, it’s going to work. It’s going to work because as I say, we have tools and we have the ability to really silo customers like we never had before. As you said, back in the old days, the direct marketing days, you’d have a typing pool, this vast typing pool typing out all these letters to these individuals. We don’t need to do that anymore. We can do it electronically. What a concept. So I think that’s where the opportunity is to really, as I say, hone in on what those customers’ needs are and as I say, it might sound outlandish, it’s like, hang on, I’ve got this brand that’s being used, that’s been around for fifty years, people trust it, they love it. We do price promotion, we update the packaging or we do events if we’re a software type of brand so we’ve got this nailed, thank you very much. Well, do you? Really?

Darren: 

Well it’s interesting that the brands you chose you know, are brands that if you went to the consumer and said, “Name a telco, name a bank”, you would think that they’d have very high unprompted awareness.

Peter: 

Yes.

Darren: 

You know, Telstra’s, Westpac’s, right? So the role of brand to raise awareness, you know, if you’re already up in the nineties, what’s the, 90% of people saying you know, that they would name you as an unprompted telco or an unprompted bank, what are you actually doing brand communications for? When how many times have you seen a new big brand campaign launch and the promise of the communication is totally different to the customer experience?

Peter: 

Well that’s right and as I say, unfortunately the Telco’s are a classic and banks, are a classic example of that. Because nothing stays the same. The old cliché, the only constant is change. If you don’t look after the brand, if you don’t look after the relationship, the brand and the relationship goes away. Again, going back to the book, it’s like, if we don’t talk to someone for six months, as is often the case because our budget’s been exhausted, we’re going to speak to them again and we’re going to take that up in six months’ time when the new financial year starts and then we can start talking again. Well hang on, customers aren’t sitting there waiting for you to send them their piece of information, that communication. They’re actually sitting there thinking, “Hang on, your competitors have hit on me, I really like the blog post they’ve done, I like that viral video that they’ve done and combined with all of that, I like the offer and what they have to offer me. I’m going to them, see you later, alligator!” And they wonder why there’s churn. So it’s not just, I’ve got 90%, 90 plus percent name recognition for my brand, it’s a whole lot of other factors which as I say, it’s almost like it’s mind mapping and white boarding exactly what you should be doing with your customers. It’s not simple obviously when you’re talking about these multi-faceted organisations, it’s complicated. But as I say, we as marketers and communicators and persuaders, have so many more tools and ways and means to engage with and win over customers’ hearts and minds than we ever did before. The challenge in the problem and the opportunity is that most marketers don’t, haven’t thought deeply enough in my experience, and maybe I’m just having tickets on myself, they haven’t thought deeply enough about this to actually say, “Well hang on, it’s not just about a Facebook page, it’s not just about a database, it’s not just about a TVC, it’s about what do I mean to my customers? How can I make it more meaningful?” So this lady who’s used this product and it actually did incredible things, I should be telling the world about that. Because it’s going to champion her, it’s going to show how wonderful she is, but it’s also going to show other people, hang on, these are people, this lady is putting her money where your mouth is.” So she’s not just this actor…

Darren: 

They’ve invested in your brand.

Peter: 

That’s right.

Darren: 

And what’s their return on that investment?

Peter: 

That’s exactly, what’s the return on their emotional investment, not to mention financial? And that’s where it’s so, that’s the great stuff. That’s the good stuff. We can actually say, “Wow, this stuff actually works”, it’s not just a bar of soap, it’s not just a brand of sneakers. Like at Nike, talking about sneakers. Look at Under Armour. How did Under Armour sneak under the wire so to speak? How did they become such a major brand when they already had the Nikes and the Adidas and these major brands that are already there? They understood the power of influencers I think, that was a very big part of what they were doing. Was their product better? Probably not. I don’t know enough about them, the Under Armour story, but the point is, they managed to engage with people more effectively. That’s why there’s always an opportunity, there’s these shifting sands of opportunities for marketers to come in there and to swoop and to say, “Okay, you know what? I’m going to come in and demonstrate to customers and potential customers that I care more than the people that you’re working with.” And that’s where you win new business and you keep new business. Keep business from customers ongoing.

Darren: 

I’ve just noticed the time. We could keep doing this for hours, I can imagine there’s so much more to explore but thanks, Peter. Thanks for coming and sitting down and having a chat.

Peter: 

Darren, pleasure. You’re getting me all excited, I don’t know what to do now, do I go for a walk around the block?

Darren: 

Well, one last question, do you see a time when direct marketing will now be talked about as a part of the overall marketing strategy?

Managing Marketing is a series of podcasts hosted by TrinityP3 founder and global CEO, Darren Woolley. Listen to more of this series here.

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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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