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Managing Marketing: Marketing Soup, Scotch And Transport Services

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.

Andy Morley is the director of marketing at Uber and Uber Eats, Australia and New Zealand. He was always attracted to marketing, more for the entrepreneurial opportunities, having managed a nightclub while at University. But his formal marketing career included a solid grounding in marketing at Campbell Arnott’s and Diageo working on Johnnie Walker before taking over at the technology company Uber. He shares the challenges and opportunities of working with a customer direct company with a consumer package goods pedigree.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media, and advertising with industry thought leaders and practitioners.

Today, I’m sitting down with Andy Morley, Director of Marketing at Uber and Uber Eats, Australia and New Zealand. Welcome, Andy.

Andy:

Thanks for having us.

Darren:

Well, thank you. Did you catch an Uber here?

Andy:

I caught an Uber here. It showed up in about three minutes. Was a very nice driver. He had a really good story. I always love that.

Darren:

And did he have a good rating?

Andy:

He did have a good rating. Most of them do. I think his was up in the 4.8s territories. He was fairly new to driving compared to some of the other drivers, but seem to be enjoying it, which is good.

Darren:

Excellent. Look, and I love the fact that when you meet with marketers that they actually get into the product, and they consume it and use it.

But I often find these days, a lot of agency people don’t. You ask them what clients they work on, and some of them don’t actually use the products that they’re working on, their client’s products. I think it’s really weird.

Andy:

I think you’ve got to immerse yourself in your product, even if you don’t start from being a point of like using it. We are pretty fortunate. Most people catch Ubers, most people use Uber Eats.

So, I think inherently anyone who works on our business or within our business does a lot of it. We get loaded up with credits every month to trial it. And so, we are always going to use it, but I think we don’t have that problem. But I definitely experienced that when I started at Campbell Arnott’s early in my career. I didn’t eat a lot of tin soup before then.

But you go to the factory, you see how it’s made, you start to get an appreciation for the quality that goes into like any product that you probably thought was cheap and tin beforehand, and you start to actually go, “Oh, there’s a role for this.” And you need to immerse yourself in your products. Everyone has to.

Darren:

Yeah, well, you do have the luxury of having a pretty cool brand. Uber and Uber Eats are a really cool brand. But as you say, Campbell Arnott’s was your first real job out of university, was it?

Andy:

It was. Actually, while I was at uni, I was also running a nightclub which was a really fun experience. And I think it played to my love of entrepreneurialism, my love of marketing.

And I did that for three years, but I was earning a lot more money than my first true marketing job. And I was sitting at the end of the bar three nights a week, talking to fun people, shouting the bar, shots of tequila and throwing a party.

But I said actually I need to step away from this career. This would not be good for my health and lifestyle in the future. I need to go and use my marketing degree and see what it’s like in the real corporate world. So, I took the first job, which was a sales rep job in Melbourne for Arnott’s Biscuits.

And I went and cut my salary in about a third, I was earning compared to what I was before. And instead of sitting at the end of the bus, shunning rots of tequila, I was working with part-time staff learning how to pack displays of Tim Tams biscuits in supermarkets.

It was a pretty humbling experience. I remember I asked to be put in a territory, which was actually a really big drive away from my house and from the nightclub, because I just didn’t want to be seen by anyone who was on the other end of the bar whilst I’m packing these bags of Tim Tams. But it was a really good experience too.

Darren:

I don’t know, Tim Tams are pretty good as hangover food. You could have been handing them out after the nightclub.

Andy:

And we had barbecue shapes. There was a rock star element to it as well. I don’t deny it, but it was quite different. And then, from that, went into the head office and worked on the Campbells  brands for a couple of years. And then the Arnott’s brands for a couple of years after that.

Darren:

Now, you mentioned the love of marketing, which got you into the nightclub. When did you first become aware of this idea of marketing could possibly be a career, and even choose a university course to go and do to set you up as that is your lifelong career?

Andy:

Yeah, I think the love of marketing was actually a love of business or a love of entrepreneurialism. And that seemed to be pretty ingraining me really young. My mom had her own business. She had a lingerie business and funnily enough, she bought-

Darren:

And you used to sell the catalogs to your mates at school or … yeah.

Andy:

That’s exactly what happened when I was in grade two-

Darren:

Great minds think alike.

Andy:

Mum got called in because I’d stolen all the Elle Macpherson brochures from the front desk and were selling them for 20 cents a pop. And in grade two, what was any grade two kid going to do with that?

But seemed like a good business idea, and then any kind of charity event or anything that was happening at the school over my years, I found that I just grasped onto it and wanted to run that. Because I just enjoyed the element of creating a business, creating something, creating something that people wanted.

And so, I was always determined to maybe have a business one day. And I felt like marketing was the area that was closely aligned to actually shaping the success of that business. In fact, probably my core strengths were the other side, like commercial, like the numbers, the finance side of it, that were almost the subjects I sparked at school.

But the area that I felt was most important to be successful having your own business or working someone else’s was, could you build something that people really wanted? Could you build a product, could you build a brand that got people excited?

So, I said marketing is the thing I need to go and learn and conquer. And the more I got into it, the more I realized I enjoyed the psychology of actually what consumers wanted and how you could build around that. And the training led me into my first jobs and I’ve been doing it for about 15 years now, a bit longer and love it, love it as much as when I first started.

Darren:

And that first job was actually in sales though.

Andy:

It was.

Darren:

I have a personal thing, when people say sales and marketing, I go, “You’ve got it arse about, it’s actually marketing and sales.” And the reason I say that is marketing is about creating demand and justifying margin. Sales is actually about driving volume. And one has to follow the other because it’s very hard to sell if no one knows your product or who you are.

Andy:

That’s true.

Darren:

So, do you follow the same?

Andy:

That’s true. I mean, always at the very executional end of sales.

Darren:

Stacking the shelves, making sure the gondola end looks good-

Andy:

Stacking the shelves, making the displays. We got given the briefs and got told actually how to go do it. The sales element of my job was negotiating with the manager of the actual supermarket.

So, I know that you meant to give me two gondola displays of Tim Tams, but I’ve also got shapes at a good price and I’ve got this, why don’t you give me four, and then my manager can come around and take a couple of boxes. And we increase the sales of our region a little bit and everyone’s happy.

Yeah, it was fun. I enjoyed that experience because I think you learn so much on the ground that other people who didn’t start in that sales role will come and write all of these elaborate plans, thinking the sales team would just be able to execute it and not understand all of the challenges that are faced in that.

So, I think no matter which company you start in, you’ve got to go and experience the consumer-facing or the customer-facing roles at the start to really understand what it’s about. To really understand how much the people you’re selling to actually care about you and what are going to be their key concerns so you can be realistic around what you’ve taken to market.

And that can come in many forms in Arnott’s, but it was definitely sales. At Uber, it’s probably more on the community operations team at the frontline. But also, lots of different roles. You can kind of get that experience, but it’s really, really important.

Darren:

Well, the sales would’ve set you up well, understanding the consumer interface for Diageo, because Diageo is basically… in the UK, they call it on-premise and off-premise.

Andy:

Yeah. And here, they do as well.

Darren:

So, actually, understanding the different environments, but also the mindset, the consumer mindset when they’re shopping in each.

Andy:

Totally. And you have to go deep on that. But then again, we all spend a lot of time in bars and pubs. And so, you can go in-

Darren:

Yes. But do you remember, Andy …?

Andy:

It’s research. I think the guy who’s the director of marketing there at the moment, a guy called Andy Oughton, he’s been there 20 — no, can’t be 20 years. It’s got to be at least 15.

And he did every one of those sales roles at the start of his career too. And he just had a much better understanding of actually how you take programs from the consumer brand level through to actually the retail level in all of these different environments. So, I think that that’s really critical.

Darren:

Because one of the brands at Diageo was Johnny Walker.

Andy:

Yeah, I got to look after Johnny Walker for a few years in my career.

Darren:

That’s a big global brand, isn’t it?

Andy:

Yeah. It’s over a hundred years old. We used to talk about brands at Diageo, particularly ones like Johnny Walker, that our role was to stand on the shoulders of giants. Like you had your little time where you could try and like push that brand forward and play a role of it. But had been built on a massive foundation of hundreds of years’ worth of history and integrity before you.

And that was a real privilege to work on that. I think it was the number one spirits brand in the world at that time. Hopefully, now I don’t know. But it was a real privilege to work on a brand that was so big and connected with so many people, but in so many countries around the world.

Darren:

It would also have been around the time that Diageo embraced a sort of brand diversification in a way because Johnny Walker suddenly went from red, black, blue, green, something else here to suddenly, thousands — not thousands but lots of different brand extensions and particularly for the Asia market and the China market.

Andy:

Totally.

Darren:

It would’ve been interesting as a brand manager during that time to see that strategy being developed and all of that.

Andy:

We were heavily skewed towards red and black, and blue was this super expensive a thing for a few amount of people. And we built out the Johnny Walker family. Different parts of it existed at different points, but we really built out double black into the gold level, into platinum, into green, into blue-

Darren:

I’ve got a bottle of the gold. It looks very impressive.

Andy:

And it was like four different versions of gold depending on how much-aged whiskey we had. And then there were limited editions. And what we found is, that we get into these big debates around how purists would believe that we need to stay as very traditional, stick to kind of the traditional brands and not get too expansive around it.

Whereas the innovators felt like actually, no, you need to have fun with it. You need to continue to modernize and rejuvenate the brand and change is a good thing.

And I think even though Johnny Walker is a big historical, somewhat traditional brand, you see actually the amount of change that it went through, all of the generations that it’s been around was incredible.

And I think it’s one of the proven cases where you do need to innovate heavily. You do need to change with the times and regenerate your brand, but understand what you need to keep consistent over that time. But be less precious about breaking what you have and be more ambitious around actually how you can be innovative.

Darren:

Yeah. You have to understand what’s the core. And don’t mess with that.

Andy:

Totally.

Darren:

But then build on it. Because I think they did it really well.

Andy:

Yeah, and Diageo are amazing at understanding consumer emotion as a company. Like they understand look, spirits is nearly entirely bought on emotional connection rather than functional.

Sure, like you might buy something because you think it tastes a little bit better and you’ve been told it’s been aged in certain kinds of barrels for a certain amount of years, whatever.

The real connection that people have with these brands is whether they think it represents their brand or their own persona that they want to present to the world. And so, to do that, you have to really understand the emotional motivations that people have and build your brand around that.

And what Diageo does really well is understanding the core emotional motivation that that brand links to, and if you keep that consistent, you can take it anywhere. As soon as you start to deviate from that is where you start to get fragmented as a brand and you stop being as meaningful to those people.

So, Johnny Walker’s status was the core symbol, the core emotional motivation supported by a little bit of discernment. But understanding that status was so important. It’s how can you continually come up with modern ways of interpreting what status means?

And it’s done it incredibly successfully through “keep walking” and through other programs for a long time. But when it started to deviate from keep walking and that status emotion, that’s when you’d see moderate level results and you start to lose that connection that you had.

Darren:

One of the things that they did really well is that Diageo was in some ways like a cooler version of Procter & Gamble. And I say that because Procter & Gamble and Unilever were considered like the universities of marketing.

But they were very much everyday boring type products. The household products are much like the Campbell’s Soup they just started off with. But Diageo knew it was in spirits and fun, and the enjoyment of life was sort of part and parcel of what they embraced. But nevertheless, they still bought quite a disciplined approach to marketing, didn’t they?

Andy:

Yeah.

Darren:

I remember hearing about the Diageo way of marketing and there was definitely a process.

Andy:

The program was called DWBB; Diageo Way of Building Brands. And they refresh it every five years, and it was a global program that we’d go into a three-day workshop every year as part of our planning process and everyone would get trained on it. But whilst you were being trained on it, you were simultaneously building out what your brand plan was.

All the managers got trained to be trainers on it and everyone lived and died by actually building your brand plan around this Diageo Way of Building Brands. We started by completely understanding your consumer context and the emotional connections that you needed to build with your brand, as well as all of the market context.

And it was an incredible discipline. I think every business should be striving towards having a clear way they build brands that work for them. And for an emotive-lead category like spirits, that was an amazing playbook to be a part of.

Darren:

And I think that’s it. It was really focused on emotions without defaulting to the “Oh well, yeah, whatever you feel is right.” And I love the fact that just said that they updated it every five years because that’s the other thing; if you lock your process in place, then you’ll often become shackled by it because the world changes. And one of the big changes-

Andy:

Marketing changes a lot, right?

Darren:

Yeah, absolutely. And one of the big changes we’ve seen is obviously, that the world’s come through a pandemic. Some categories were badly hit and I can imagine the ride part of the business at Uber would’ve been hit by that. But then you had the Uber Eats, which I imagine thrived during the pandemic as people were trapped at home and wanted access to food.

Andy:

Yeah.

Darren:

Was that an interesting balancing act from a business perspective?

Andy:

I think we were fortunate to have both sides of the business so that we could have confidence that the business was going to stay strong during the period. If we were solely relying on the ride share side of the business, yeah, at one stage, it was more than 80% down from the peak.

And like a lot of other businesses that were affected like travel businesses, that’s a dire situation. But we were fortunate to have diversified enough where we had this balancing factor of Uber Eats.

But both sides of our business came with a huge amount of challenges to work through, even though we’re in growth on the eat side, like what are the safety protocols that we need to quickly put in place so that this can actually work? How can we make sure that there are enough delivery partners there to be able to service this increase of like needs and supply?

How do we look after all the restaurant partners who are having to shut their front doors and they’re now fully relying on us; how do we make sure that we can support them as much as possible through that time?

And then on the rides side of the business, all these drivers who either don’t want to drive or how do we make sure the ones that are there feel really safe? For some people who do need to get around, how are we going to get them around?

So, all of a sudden, everything’s out the window. We are just heads down in short-term logistical solutions, to try and make sure that we can deliver a safe experience and get support into places where it is needed.

Darren:

Yeah.

Andy:

And it’s chaos.

Darren:

It really was about focusing on people, wasn’t it?

Andy:

Oh, completely. Your core experience, we had to just evolve and nail that really, really quickly. If we solve that really well, people would trust us and people would know that we’ve had the right intent.

I think I look at the supermarkets that had so much challenge through that time, and people are ripping toilet paper and everything off the shelves. But yeah, I think that they came out of it stronger as brands and businesses because they reacted pretty well during that period.

And they were so focused on what they needed to get done. They didn’t get perfect every time. But I think that they did a good job of prioritizing actually safe experiences looking after their customers and making sure that support was in all the places that were needed for the community.

And they came out of it well, and I think we followed that philosophy and we’ve seen increased consumer trust, I think, through that process.

Darren:

Yeah, I remember reading something that you said, which was, that you should be constantly striving to be better. And that striving to be better in the case of the pandemic and for Uber was clearly focusing on the customer experience, the driver’s experience. And I imagine also, your own team experience.

Suddenly going from working in offices to working from home and things like that, there must have been a component of that management role of how do I look after this team of people?

Andy:

Yeah, and I don’t think I got it right for the first few months if I’m honest. We had a couple of bumps. We lost quite a few people at the start of the pandemic and we had to do global layoffs.

Darren:

Right.

Andy:

For us actually, we had a lot of open head count, which just means that we couldn’t fill all these open roles, but with the team quickly moving into remote, and then the priorities of the team just changing daily, all these projects that people have been working on, we couldn’t actually get to market. There was so much uncertainty about budgets.

I think the swirl of the first few months really hurt the team and hurt the team culture. But we leaned heavily into that after about six months and said, okay, we need to rebuild this team, we need to rebuild the culture. We were able to recruit a lot more people back into the team as we got confidence that the business was going to be in a strong place for the future.

And we took a much more deliberate approach than I’ve ever taken in terms of building a culture amongst the team. I’ve always, maybe ignorantly, believed that culture actually just lives organically and have been privileged to be part of teams where that just happened. This is probably the first time where we said, actually, we need to actually give this a bigger focus than it’s ever had before because it’s a tough time to work in a new organization.

Especially, we’re in and out of the office, people don’t know each other, how can we like build this in a really strong way? And I’m super proud actually of how the team have done this over the past 12/18 months. I don’t think we’ve ever had a tighter team who care more about each other, who work brilliantly together and do some great work as a result.

Darren:

That’s fantastic because I don’t think you were wrong. I think culture can happen when people are working physically together, and that often culture, we see in smaller teams, less than a hundred people — culture can be defined by the leadership of that team, as long as everyone’s interacting with them.

But yeah, that’s not so easy to do when you’re doing it by team’s meetings or Zoom meetings or phone calls and things like that. It does require that sort of physical interface. It’s a bit like a personal relationship.

Andy:

It does.

Darren:

You can have someone that a friend that lives overseas and you might call or Zoom or FaceTime them, but it’s still not the same … hours and hours of that, it’s not the same as spending an hour together face to face.

Andy:

No, it’s not.

Darren:

To actually impact that connection.

Andy:

Now that we’re back in the office, in real-life experience, you can just tell the energy that comes with that. The small little conversations, the awareness that people get around, what each other’s working on, and the way that they can work together on that, makes a really big difference.

But we still were very active in trying to substitute that as much as possible. We’d send cooking kits as a surprise to everyone’s house and do a cook-off and share videos and footage of that. We run like quiz nights and cocktail making and all these things, which everyone thought, oh, not another bloody Zoom activity, but actually, found that it was valuable.

We found that it helped. Kind of in a not ideal situation, it helped people connect and bond and build relationships. And then as we’ve been able to bring everyone back together, we’re seeing that that’s given us a really good foundation to build from.

Darren:

Yeah. Well, it adds joy to the work experience in a world where working remotely, it’s really hard to get joy out of it. It’s not like those incidental walking down the hallway and sharing a bit of information or cracking a joke that rewards people for actually committing to the workplace.

Andy:

Totally. So, I’m super interested to see what happens over the next 12 months with different businesses starting to take different approaches to this.

Our approach is for the team to spend 50% of their time in the office. And we are trying to focus that on the same days. And so, at least, they’ve got like the interaction altogether, and that seems to be working incredibly well.

It means that people can still have the flexibility to come in and out when they want, but actually, there’s still enough time getting together so that they get energized by that — that there’s a camaraderie and the work that you can get out of putting people in the same room working on problems together.

I know other businesses are taking a full virtual approach. That will be really interesting to see. Different teams, it’ll work really well. Some teams, it won’t. I think in our marketing team, it wouldn’t work that well long-term. I think the balance is perfect but we’ll see.

Darren:

I think the other thing that people noticed goes missing is the sort of translation of knowledge and experience down through the team. And what I mean by that is junior staff learn a lot just by being around their more senior colleagues.

Whereas, that gets lost when everyone’s working remotely. And so, it can work well for teams that are quite senior because they’re already established. But if you’ve got a team structure that has juniors, middle experience, and seniors, you actually need that physical location to encourage that less structured learning, don’t you?

Andy:

Yeah, that’s a very good point. And I think we’ve seen more of the more junior people in the team are the most enthusiastic to be in the office as well. And are the ones driving the culture and trying to come up with ways for us to all get-together and have fun, and bond and communicate. I think that’s super valuable.

Darren:

Andy, I heard from an agency, they said to people come in when you like, but Friday is the day that everyone has to be there and they put on pizzas for lunch. And it’s interesting because I was recounting that with my colleague, Anita. And she said, “I went into that agency and there was no one there.” And I said, “Well, I went in on Friday and everyone was there.”

Andy:

But that works. That works. Like, don’t let people spread out onto their own time. Pick the days when you want everyone in, because that is way better than everyone having a bit of space together, is to get everyone in together and make it a proper event. I like what you were talking about earlier, how your team have always been fairly remote, but you make a conscious effort to get together.

Darren:

Get us all together.

Andy:

Three, four times a year and do it properly. And maybe that’s a good sign, I think that’s what Airbnb — are doing I think a few other companies have taken that approach and that might work. I think off-sites are back. We need to go and do it and go get weird together and like bond on another level that you’re never going to be able to do on Zoom.

Darren:

Now, just to compare, because you’ve got a career that started in consumer package goods. We’ll leave the nightclub to one side, but consumer package goods. And now, you are in, what many people see as the tech world, but it really services, isn’t it? It’s a service business that works on a tech platform.

Andy:

It is, but I think tech makes it very different.

Darren:

Yeah.

Andy:

Yeah. I think the tech business side of it-

Darren:

Business I’m interested in the difference because consumer package goods are known for having long planning times and long-term visions and constantly dealing with the difference between a customer being the retailer and the consumer being the end … you don’t have that as much or is it different?

Andy:

It’s very different. I think the contrast in the jobs is huge. And I remember speaking to a recruiter, Michael, he said there were very few people who had crossed from CPG into this tech world successfully. And he thought that was just so different a role.

I’m not sure I see that. I think we’ve actually got quite a few people who’ve come in from CPG and have been really successful, but they bring some different skills to what other people do.

The big difference is I see the planning cycle that you talk about. When I left Diageo, I could tell you how many BWS stores, the new Bundy and something flavoured product was going to be in, about 18 months, 2 years after I’d already left.

When I joined Uber, they were about to launch UberPool, which was a bigger innovation than probably I’d ever seen. This is like a multimillion trip kind of product. And they were working out whether to launch it in three weeks’ time or four weeks’ time.

And it was driven by a bunch of people sitting in a room going, “Oh, what else are we emailing at that week?” Now, that’s not healthy either. And I think-

Darren:

It is a bit seat-of-the-pants, isn’t it?

Andy:

It is, but I think when you are a direct-to-customer, your planning timeline changes a lot. When you direct through particularly Woolies and Coles who have very rigid and a long out-processes-

Darren:

And big infrastructures, huge.

Andy:

And they have to, right?

Darren:

Yeah, huge.

Andy:

They have to, and you need to be planning your innovation two, or three years out. You need to have your communications plan locked in 12/18 months in advance.

And to be honest, you’ve been doing the same thing over and over for many years as well. So, you’re tweaking around the edges. You’re not reinventing the wheel every time. You come into places like …well, I say it’s like tech and service. I think what’s unique about tech is just the fact it’s scaling so quickly.

And the fact that things are scaling up so quickly … like when I joined Uber six years ago, we had about a million customers. We got more than 10x that now, right?

Darren:

Yeah.

Andy:

That was before Uber Eats and everything else that we’re doing now. Over that period, it’s so hard to predict one thing from the next, we don’t know what competition’s going to come in. We don’t know what consumers are even going to want, so you need to be short term about it.

But at the same take, you need to move quickly because the time and barriers to entry are shorter. So, other people will get in there if you are not super quick too. So, you need to be able to move quickly.

Now, three or four weeks is not healthy. I think we’re moving to a world now we’re probably six months ahead, maybe up to nine months ahead is probably the ideal timing to be well-planned.

And from a marketing point of view, that’s just enough time to allow you to do your media and your strategy and build some good campaigns. We’ve found that we can do probably our best work or if we are briefing six to nine months out, probably more than nine months to ask the agency — but the planning cycle’s quite different. And then the second big thing’s the data.

Darren:

Yeah, I was going to ask you about it because your customer data is there through the app. You know when they’re using it, how they’re using it, who’s spending more, who’s spending less.

It must be amazing for understanding your customer usage and experience. U&A for alcohol is incredibly — you have to pay a fortune to get research done. You just look at the app data, don’t you?

Andy:

Well, that gives you the U, right?

Darren:

Yeah.

Andy:

Doesn’t give you the A?

Darren:

And the attitude. Yeah, true.

Andy:

And I think, so that’s what we have to do, is make sure that we’re bringing both in; is bringing the research in and the data. But the data is huge and it’s very powerful and it gives you so much insight to be able to drive your strategy to help you plan your campaigns, to do your targeting, to do your measurement at just a whole another level than you’d ever had experiences before working in CPG and not having direct access to that data.

And then that eventually also means that there are all these other skilled functions that barely exist in some of these other companies. CRM is very different in a tech company where you’re direct to the customer, and you’ve got so much consumer-direct base to talk to.

Performance marketing is a whole another skill set and function that is not well-understood in CPG. Analytics is at a much deeper level than you ever would’ve experienced.

Darren:

Yeah, I can imagine it also helps with the drivers as well. I saw a poster and I don’t know if it’s new or not. It said 30,000 plus drivers with Uber in Sydney, Metro area-

Andy:

How good’s our targeting if you’re seeing it?

Darren:

Right. And I’m sitting there going, that is a phenomenally large contracted workforce. They’re not even like in the formal sense of employees, they’re contractors, right?

Andy:

Yep.

Darren:

But the app and their willingness to sign up for this means that in some ways, you’ve got a far more effective way of communicating with the people doing your service delivery that, I imagine Qantas, Woolworths and any other, Harvey, Norman, would love to be able to have that sort of level of engagement and a technology platform that they could communicate instantaneously with all of them.

Andy:

Totally. And it’s a privilege. But it also requires a high level of sophistication. And so, some of the skillsets required to be the-

Darren:

You wouldn’t want to mess with it.

Andy:

And there are endless stories about people messing with it, getting it wrong. But that’s part of learning and that’s part of growing as an organization as well.

But yeah, we will be, I’d say in the next 12 months, we will be providing the most amount of economic opportunity out of any business in Australia. We’ll have more people using the Uber app to earn compared to even working for Woolworths or any of these other businesses out there. And that’s a huge responsibility for us.

Darren:

Well, you mean beyond drivers because you’ve got all of those restaurants and-

Andy:

And delivery people. And that’s only going to keep on growing and growing, and the importance of that.

Darren:

A lot of people, there was a time when every marketing consultancy would put up one of those charts and they’d go the bookstore-Amazon, taxis-Uber. And I remember they were saying that this is disruption, but it was actually the technology that enabled the disruption, wasn’t it?

Andy:

Yeah.

Darren:

The idea itself is actually just to make that service more flexible and more customer-focused, but it could only be achieved through technology. Think of Amazon, the bookstore, you had to go to the bookstore — was it in stock?

Amazon just said, well, we’ll use technology so you can buy whatever you want from your home. In the case of Uber, there were taxis, but now, there was this way of well, virtually, anyone could be a driver and anyone could access those services.

Andy:

Totally. And what we were solving for is a reliable ride when you needed it.

Darren:

Rather than the technology being … the technology is the enabler.

Andy:

Technology is the thing that’s going to help us get there. We realized, well, the founders realized that it was impossible to get a ride when they needed it. It started off on a New Year’s Eve in Paris where they couldn’t get a ride. And they were both from tech and had tech businesses before and they said, “Why is this so hard? Surely there’s a better way.”

And then created an app to be able to do that. Started off with a private car, for an elite group in the U.S. And then slowly, they realized actually, there’s a real need for this, but also, at a mass scale. And that’s how it grew out into other products.

But the technology is the enabler. And then the little elements of the technology, like the star rating and things like that, just ensure that actually, you could do this, but doing it in a brilliant way that enabled quality, that enabled people to have confidence and being able to use it. And we had to build it, and build it, and build it from there.

Darren:

Now, I will also want to ask you about the role of marketing today. But you sort of answered my question at the very start of this conversation, where you said that you were attracted to marketing because it was actually more being attracted to business and commercial growth or management.

And I’d just love to get your perspective on the way you see marketing being practised. Is it being driven as a tool of business or do you still think there are patches where people think it’s sort of over here as a service to business?

Andy:

I don’t know about the full industry. I’d say what marketing is defined out in one organization-

Darren:

I’m happy with your view.

Andy:

Yeah. I think what I’ve seen is marketing is defined in one organization is very different to another. And sometimes whether we as marketing leaders are being a bit precious around whether this thing should be in the marketing department or not.

At Diageo and at Arnott’s, CPG marketing would lead the whole strategy piece and would have the P&L ownership to drive the business agenda on that. And that made a lot of sense because we had the skillsets to be able to deliver against that.

In companies like Uber and other tech companies, the amount of data and the operational elements that are so critical to being able to deliver on that product, I think you need to share that responsibility.

And in some of those organizations where customer teams have been set up alongside marketing or strategy teams have been built out with further resources, I think that’s right. Like the higher level of sophistication required in analytical skills and data skills to do that, the more that you need to work out, alright, how do you build a separate approach for that? And that’s the experience that I’ve had.

So, I’m less precious about the role that marketing plays. I think that the role that marketing plays at Uber is that we need to be customer custodians. We need to understand the emotional connection that people have with our brands because no one else will do that.

We need to be the driver of consumer insights that fuel actually where we need to take the brands next, and what the barriers are going be. We need to be experts in understanding what marketing really is effective and what isn’t.

And actually, how can we continue to build learnings on that to make sure that we’re getting better and better when we’re doing bold work that cuts through, not safe stuff that feels good in strategy rooms. And only the marketing department will drive that.

And when we talk about execution, obviously we are the ones that make the ads, that make the communication, that have the direct engagement with consumers and try and build the emotional connection.

Darren:

That’s a great response. I can’t think of anything I’d add to it but thank you very much.

Andy:

No worries. More and more, I see some businesses go “Oh, marketing, driving the strategy, they’re owning the strategy.” I think we have to be a seat at the table because we need to be custodians of a consumer’s voice there.

But I actually think it’s getting so much more complicated than it was back in the days, particularly when it was more of a CPG led approach that you need lots of skill sets in there defining actually how you got to market, how you prioritize different audiences, how you manage your data.

Sometimes, that rolls into marketing. Sometimes, it’s adjacent to it. I really don’t give a shit. I think as long as it’s getting done-

Darren:

There are more levers, aren’t there? There are more levers than ever before that have to be pulled and aligned to make a business grow.

Andy:

There are way more levers and there’s way more complexity in actually how you have to think through all of them. So, the strategic questions that we get asked are way heavier than they were when I started 15 years ago. But that’s alright. That’s the fun of it.

I love the strategy side of it more than anything. And I think if you work in organizations like ours, where your products come with just such rich kind of data and the context in which you operate is just so complex — you need a lot of smart people at the table who actually shape where you’re going to go next.

And that’s a lot of fun. But I don’t really care whether that’s part of the marketing department or part of the adjacent departments that we work closely with, as long as it’s getting done.

Darren:

Yeah. And someone needs to make sure it’s all coordinated.

Andy:

Totally.

Darren:

Which is increasingly becoming the role of the CMO or the … yeah.

Andy:

Totally, yeah.

Darren:

Andy Morley, thank you very much. We’ve run out of time, but I really enjoyed this conversation and I appreciate you taking the time and coming and having a chat.

Andy:

No worries. Thank you for having me.

Darren:

I do have one last question and that is: one of the things I love is the competition people have about their customer rating on Uber, out of five, what’s yours?

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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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