“Mr Football” Les Murray didn’t just kick goals, he also rock n rolled…


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This week the Australian sporting community lost one of its great ambassadors, Les Murray, known locally as Mr Football. In marketing parlance, his personal brand was unique and intrinsically linked to Australian football.

As someone who played football for much of my life, I regularly tuned into his various shows, or listened to his match day calls. I admired Les for his passion, honesty and raw admiration for the world game, as he warmly called it. His accented English and dulcet tones were easily recognisable, even for those who didn’t follow the sport.

But the biggest surprise for me came at Taronga Zoo in 2012, when I discovered another use for his dulcet tones. I took the family to a Twilight at Taronga show. It was a Rolling Stones tribute night. The concert consisted of different artists covering classic Rolling Stones tracks in various combinations of performers.

One artist would lead one group or musicians and singers for one song, then the band would breakdown and reform with other musicians and another artist would lead the next number. It was a collective of talent playing in different formations depending upon the song. Sort of like using a mix of players in different combinations for different game plans in football matches.

The music was familiar and there was even a mosh pit which my kids joined enthusiastically. A very talented lady named Tania Murray gave a good rendition of Paint it Black. But to everyone’s surprise, it was Tania’s father Les, who stole the show. The last person any of the crowd thought would turn up on stage to sing at a Rolling Stones tribute show, was Mr Football.

So here it is folks, Les Murray singing “It’s all over now“. An ironic title under the circumstances, but without trying to be too clever, his legacy will be like a rolling stone. It will gather no moss and roll on forever in Australian sport.

Vale Mr Football…

Adidas marketers should run around a football field if they want to sell footwear…


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With much fanfare, the marketing clerks at Adidas announced they are no longer going to advertise on TV, as their target market is young and allegedly doesn’t watch TV. Their Aussie brethren repeated that announcement again this week.

It seems Adidas will only use digital channels for marketing to these young folk – completely missing the larger audience of active sportspeople still playing football, netball, jogging and much more, well into their 50’s. These people also have more money than younger people and will spend it on all sorts of branded goods.

they’ll spend money on anything…

I declare a hand here. I was once paid a few shekels to play football and eventually played for 40 years, so have bought a shed-load of boots, running shoes and clothing. I am a qualified football coach and assistant rugby referee. I coached juniors until two years ago, advising parents on what boots to buy.

I attend my kid’s rugby, basketball and hockey games, participating in team management. So in summary, I am a parent of, and involved with, the young sportspeople Adidas want to reach – not to mention a lifetime sports gear customer and person who showered regularly in male sporting sheds. Though that’s not a vision you need right now.

I’ve also worked on creating ads for sports drinks and sporting goods retailers, so may have some semblance of an idea about the market. Hence my humble opinion via the following points:

Point 1:
Young folk do watch large screen TV, often with an iThingo in hand. They love to watch sport on TV, as well as on smaller devices. So they do see TV advertising.

Point 2:
The lads play FIFA on PS4 which is where they see some of the coloured footwear of different players. This may have some influence on their choices. They also attend professional sport as fans, so they see what their heroes are wearing. Interestingly, sport brands rarely have pop-up stores selling stuff at these matches – where are the brand activation folk?

Generally though, their footwear decision is influenced by the following three things:

  • What their mates are wearing – if someone turns up to pre-season training wearing the latest lime-green boots, then that’s what they all wear.
  • The expert in the shoe store – Foot Locker or Athlete’s Foot – who advise on the best boots/joggers for their feet/sport.
  • The cost of the damn shoes – governed by my (or their) wallet.

The delusion that the only way to reach young sportspeople is via digital channels, is farcical. One has to wonder, what’s in the sports kool-aid at Adidas?

My kids (and I) have worn Adidas, Nike, Tiger, Puma and Asics. They are not loyal to any single brand. I was never brand loyal either, though admittedly I did prefer the Adidas Predator boot in my twilight years.

Craig Johnston, Aussie inventor of The Predator and proud mullet wearer…

More importantly…

Point 3:
This younger generation is responsible for the single biggest consumer protest in history. Around 700 million of them have downloaded ad blocking software to their digital devices, specifially so they don’t get any (Adidas) advertising. So am not sure who the marketers at Adidas believe will see their digital ads?

Stop that digital advertising…

Obviously, to overcome the issue of digital advertising not working, Adidas will create content and brand experiences for their customers. But they will need to spend money to promote the promotion, so to speak. They cannot rely on social media or WOM.

I suspect Adidas will awaken from its folly in good time. Maybe they should speak with P&G to learn how they lost $Billions in sales, when they moved away from TV advertising to Facebook advertising? P&G returned to TV BTW.

I’m banking on Adidas moving to a “footpath graffiti” strategy. They’ll hire street artists to paint the footpaths of the cities with Adidas branding – digitally activated of course. This will allow them to capture the attention of all those young people walking around staring at their feet and the ground, while on their mobile phones.

When said punter steps on an Adidas brand image, a RFID message will be activated on their mobile, instantly offering branded content -not selling anything, because as we all know, selling in the digital world is evil. This will make the punter’s life more fabulous, so they will fall in love with the Adidas brand. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Gotta run – where are my Dunlop Volleys…

connect to me on the run: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/

Marketo demonstrates why marketing automation fails more often than not – twice in one week…


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You have to admire the marketing automation industry. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Twice recently, the good people at Marketo have demonstrated why most marketing automation fails – unless it has one essential element. And that element has no binary code or computer chips.

Can you guess what it is dear reader?

That’s right folks. The most powerful element ensuring the difference between success and failure in marketing automation, is “Homo Sapiens” – not a computer.

If you don’t have humans monitoring your computers, your automation will eventually fail. A layer of human intelligence is essential to monitor, analyse and act on what the computers are doing and revealing. Those microchips cannot do it on their own, despite the marketing automation sales spiel.

Here’s how Marketo demonstrated this recently.

If you’re a Marketo customer you’ll know the problem that occurred this week. In an amazing piece of irony, a Homo Sapiens at Marketo forgot to renew the Marketo domain. So Marketo’s customers couldn’t access the Marketo server to do what they pay Marketo to do – marketing automation.

Of course the industry has had a field day joking about it. Check out #marketofail.

But an even more powerful demonstration of how essential Homo Sapiens are to marketing automation, came with an email sent to me on the 19th July, from Bill Binch, the Managing Director of Marketo. It was a follow-up to an email sent a week earlier promoting a Marketo event.

Here’s the first email I received on the 13th July. I suspect your antenna is rattling too dear reader. When you read something like “STOP MARKETING. START ENGAGING.” you know you’re in for a self-serving sales pitch. After all, we’re in the marketing industry, not the marriage game. Leave that to The Bachelor reality TV series.

Ironically (again) the copy in the invitation says your customers “can smell insincerity kilometres away” and you certainly can with this invitation, it’s pungent.

I didn’t reply to this first invitation. It came from the latest name on the “From Line” – they keep changing. Probably a “customer engagement officer”.

On the 19th July, Bill sends me a personal message, though I do suspect he sent a few thousand of them. Here it is:

I’m not sure why he’s inviting me to the Melbourne event, given I live in Sydney? But I’m very keen to meet Bill. After all he sent me a personal message stating he’d love to meet me and that’s pretty powerful stuff for a business communication. So I replied personally to his email. Here’s my response:

Thanks Bill
I live in Sydney, so Melbourne is a bit difficult for brekkie, but could do the 1st if you’re in Sydney?

The problem of course folks, is that when you use marketing automation to fake sincerity, you can get caught out. The return email address for Bill’s message is not his personal email address.

It is an auto-reponder address: marketing_apac@marketo.com

I suspect there are no Homo Sapiens employed to monitor the auto-responder address, because Bill hasn’t replied to me. And given his enthusiasm for me to attend, I’d have thought this “marketing 101” function would be a sure thing at Marketo.

But then again, they seem to be more interested in getting engaged than marketing fundamentals.

I hope to get a reply, as I’ve decided I’d like to attend. And am keen to meet Bill, as I’m sure he’s a very capable MD. Better still, I’d love to work at Marketo, as I know I have something to offer. Even if it is just monitoring the automated marketing – because it seems that even when Marketo’s domain is working, the marketing automation is failing…


automatically connect to me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/

Grocery shopping goes back to the future, despite Amazon’s arrival…


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Unlike many of the marketers in the packaged goods industry, I’ve some hands-on experience in the grocery category.

Back in ancient times, the early 1980’s, my family bought a suburban supermarket in Sydney. Every day we’d arrive early to collect the milk and dairy products outside the store before the sun hit them. And every night we’d shut up shop and head home, somewhere around dinner time.

It was the first time I knew the meaning of “putting your feet up”. That’s because if you’ve been on your feet for 12 hours, up and down ladders, carrying and unpacking boxes and taking bags of groceries out to customer’s cars, all you want to do when you get home is put your feet up and enjoy a cold beer – which we did each night.

An actor portrays me helping a customer…

In those prehistoric times we provided a home delivery service. (my mother also used a similar service when I as a wee lad) Here’s how it worked.

Customers would write their shopping list on a piece of paper and drop it into the store. Or they’d call us on the phone and we’d take the order. Some customers had standing orders each week and only called us to change the order. They’d pay us in cash, or even a cheque, to settle the account.

So our customers would send us their shopping list, we’d pick n pack it, then deliver the groceries to their home. It was amazingly old-fashioned dear reader. We also delivered goods from other stores on our shopping strip, like the butcher or baker, as part of the service.

Another actor portrays me delivering groceries…

But jump forward to 2017. Amazon is coming! The sky is falling. Online sales are growing – mainly because that’s what happens from a standing start, sales grow.

More importantly though folks, thanks to amazing digital disruption, customers can order their groceries on a website or app. They just enter their order on a keyboard, use their credit card to pay for the goods and the grocer delivers the groceries to their home.

Unbloodybelievable. How far have we come thanks to digital disruption? Whereas customers once used a pen and paper to write their order and the grocer delivered the goods, now customers use a keyboard to enter the order and the grocer delivers the goods.

This is such disruptive behaviour, it’s obviously a reflection of something going on in society. It seems some of our old habits have a long tail. Students of marketing will be well aware of the consumer behaviour of the 19th century – ordering goods remotely through mail-order catalogues and then having the goods delivered to your home.

It appears this same behaviour is catching on again. Amazon used to rely on this, but now they’ve bought retail stores too, so customers can go shopping in the stores, not just get home delivery.

So roughly 160 years since the early mail-order catalogues and thirty-something years since my family did home delivery, people’s behaviour is, well, it’s the same as the 19th century. Very little has changed. Surely there has to be a digital buzzword for this phenomenon of things remaining the same?

Gotta go now. Have to do the grocery shopping…where’s my shopping list?


Disruptively connect to me https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/

The awesome, ultimate, essential, killer definitive guide that is guaranteed to blow your mind…


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There is one truth in copywriting that resonates loudly in the digital world. It is simply; “the more adjectives the writer uses, the less their words are trusted by their readers“.

This is most evident with content marketers and their shoddy infomarketing. They are responsible for the growing chronic disease known as infobesity.

The only benefit of this disease, is its ability to help with insomnia. In case you struggle to get to sleep dear reader, I recommend you do as I do. Download some “ultimate definitive guides to digital wonderfulness”. You’ll be snoring within minutes, even seconds, of starting to read one.

Here’s one of the latest pieces of killer content I downloaded. But be prepared for amazing revelations. The title is “The six pieces of content your business needs as growth fuel“. A bit of a clunky headline, but wait, there’s more…

Click on this image to learn the first of the six things you need. I guarantee this knowledge will blow your mind:

Are you stunned folks? Who’d have thought that the first things you need for your business as growth fuel, as against growth fuel for your business, are these:

  • Home page
  • Product/service page
  • Contact us page
  • About us page

This insight is truly remarkable. Thank goodness the thought leader published it. I ask you, “how could any online business succeed without a home page?” and “who would have thought to have one?”

I was breathless when I read it. It’s no wonder so many businesses fail. They’ve forgotten to put a home page on their website. It must be true, because it has been published as a piece of content marketing.

And here are some of the other “things” you also need for growth fuel:

  • killer sales deck
  • well-built sales playbook
  • irresistable lead magnet
  • prospect nurturing email

You probably also need a “dejargoniser” to interpret WTF the author is talking about, not to mention an “adjective reductionator” to trim the content flab.

Have to go now – am off to blow my client’s minds about home pages. They won’t believe what they’ve been doing wrong…


Awesomely connect to me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/

If your marketing messages don’t appeal to idiots, you’ll fail…


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One of the best ways to check your copy before approving it, is to read it out aloud in a room on your own. The mistakes and clangers will almost always identify themselves as you read. Then you can fix them.

Better still, give your copy to an idiot or illiterate to read. According to the Adult Literacy Study, there are more illiterate people than smart people in the OECD.

The consequence of ignoring idiots is costly indeed. Because if you don’t communicate clearly, the idiots won’t understand your message and you miss out on most of your audience – and therefore most of your sales.

This brings me to the message that was put in my letterbox this week. Click on the image below to read it.

Apparently a family wants to buy a home in my street. They have roughly outlined what they are looking for and ask in the final sentence; “…please could you get in touch with us?”

But they forgot one thing. They didn’t include their phone number, an email address or even their name. We have no way of contacting them, even if we want to give away our home.


But this proves my point about checking your copy with an idiot. It now costs north of a couple of million dollars to buy in our street. So these people have money, even though they’re not smart. And an idiot’s money is worth the same as a smart person’s when it comes to buying stuff.

I have to get to a meeting now. Where are my car keys? Uh oh, I left them in the car – idiot…

Ad agencies and marketers continue to live in a parallel universe…


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Research released this week by ThinkTV claimed “people working for advertising agencies are out of touch, childless, share-housing, farmers’ market-loving, workaholic gym junkies, who overestimate the impact of social media and the internet on normal Australians.”

Me thinks it’s a pretty accurate persona, to use the modern vernacular.

Of course, the consequence of the frame of reference from which agency types view the world, is how it influences their creative and media decisions in quite biased and dangerous ways.

I was on the end of this type of thinking when talking with a marketer in charge of selling “enterprise solutions” for a telco. In layman’s terms this means she flogs large phone systems to big companies through consultative selling. The reason she was asking my advice was the fact her sales were tanking and she couldn’t get leads from her digital marketing in LinkedIn and banner ads on other sites. True dear reader.

I was showing her some interactive 3D mail examples from US telcos that worked really well to generate qualified leads, particularly when supported with telephone follow-up. She stared at me bug-eyed and said “mail and telephone for B2B marketing are just not on my radar, everything’s digital these days and the agency would never go for it“.

I was taken aback, because as she spoke, I saw something flapping outside her window.

Everything’s just digital these days

The real problem with this advertising agency parallel universe is that it’s not new. The industry has lived in it for decades and not learned from its mistakes. I remember a survey in the 1980’s that demonstrated how out of touch the people who worked in advertising agencies really were.

One revelation was that agency people assumed everyone leased cars and bought their groceries on their fuel card in Shell Shops and 7/Eleven stores. Why go to Woolies?

I also had a marketing assistant at that time, who eventually became a partner in an ad agency (must have been the training). She lived in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and abjectly refused to travel west of George Street in the city. “the only time I go west is to get to the polo and then someone drives me“, she proudly exclaimed.

So here is the latest parallel universe of Adland – it goes part of the way to explaining the massive amounts of money being wasted in digital marketing channels.

The key is as follows – view the charts and weep:

  • Adland = Yellow
  • Adland’s estimate of public use = Dark blue
  • The public’s real use = Light blue

This article in yesterday’s press let the facts speak for themselves. For example, when asked to estimate how many people watch Netflix weekly, Adland said 80%. Yet apparently only 28% of “normal” people use Netflix weekly.

Gotta go now and do my weekly mentoring of young agency talent. Where’s my Tardis?

What you sell and what people buy are often two different things…


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If you’ve studied any tertiary marketing course, you’re probably familiar with Theodore Levitt’s famous consumer insight about power drills.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

Marketers and their agencies are often guilty of not understanding the reasons why people behave the way they do. They don’t take time to talk with their customers. This lack of real communication has increased in recent years alongside the growth of marketing automation. We’ve stopped talking, we’re only computing, and lost a layer of human involvement along the way.

As I’ve written before, you’ll be surprised what you learn if you just talk with your customers.

This lack of knowledge about what motivates customers was laid bare at a tourism marketing conference in New Zealand, at which I spoke some time ago. I met Jeanette Kelly – a women who has spent years working in the hospitality industry, running her own business as well as working for others. Jeanette presented a wonderful piece of research conducted by the University of Waikato.

The accommodation and marketing managers of various hotels, motels, guest houses and the like, were asked what they thought were the most important factors influencing accommodation choices. They said, in order of priority:

  1. Staffing and accommodation service
  2. Room rate
  3. Location
  4. Facilities
  5. Marketing and Sales programmes
  6. Seasonal tourism
  7. Competition from other properties
  8. Supply and demand
  9. Events taking place in the area
  10. The general state of the national economy
  11. The state of the property

Guess what the customers listed as the most important factors influencing their accommodation choices, in order of priority?

  1. Cleanliness of the room
  2. Quality of the bath towels and wash cloths
  3. Quality of staff service
  4. Friendliness of staff service
  5. Comfort of mattress and pillow
  6. Quietness of room
  7. Well maintained furnishings
  8. On-premise car parking
  9. Overall facilities
  10. Level of security

In case you’re wondering ‘room prices’ came 17th on the list of priorities for customers. And what were the marketers smoking to believe customers care about marketing and sales programmes?

More importantly, as you can see in this case, what customers want to buy and what marketers are trying to sell, are poles apart.

So take some time to really talk with your customers and understand what motivates them. You could be pleasantly surprised by what you learn. Who knows, you might find they’re looking to buy something other than what you’re selling, or even be willing to pay more?

Have to go now. My bride says she has a surprise for me. Why is she carrying a drill?


Let’s connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/

Uber Eats and Airtasker run amazing suburban launches using…


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As you know dear reader I like to keep abreast of the latest digital disruptions and the amazing “new rules” of marketing they have introduced. How will the old rules survive?

So I thought I’d share the most recent ads that launched Airtasker and Uber Eats in my suburb. Here’s an earlier post on similar disruption technology.

The brands are obviously on to something, as they used identically shaped die-cut cards. These disruptive cards included a discount to encourage people to trial the services. Such innovation.

The Uber Eats card was in my letterbox, along with at least a dozen non-disrupting brands. So now I can use my phone to order cooked food delivered to my home – unbelievable.

While the Airtasker card was shoved in my hand at the shops – I think I was on a customer journey at the time. Let me recall – I had my backpack, water bottle, GPS map, crampons (just in case any climbing was required – who knows where a customer journey will take you?) and my sunblock. Yes, I remember now. I was on a customer journey to buy some bread when a random stuck out their hand and gave me the card.

So there you have it folks – amazing insights into the new ways of marketing by the digital disrupters. Fascinating stuff indeed.

Have to go now. Am going on a customer journey to get some milk. Where are my hiking boots and personas?

The myths and lies of the fake sharing economy…


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The headline for this post could easily have been any of the following:

“Stop all the lying you marketing bastards” OR

“Happy birthday to the sharing economy now 200,000 years old” OR

“Change hands please and describe your business accurately”

As you all know, we marketers love our buzzwords. The “sharing economy” is one of the most popular from recent times. It’s used in seminars, in articles by “thought leaders” and anywhere someone out of their depth is trying to make an impression.

To set the scene, let’s briefly review the definition of “sharing”

sharing = “use, occupy or enjoy (something) jointly with another or other


sharing = “give a portion of (something) to another or others

There is no definition of sharing in any dictionary on the planet that says sharing involves a commercial transaction, where one party charges another party for services.

The sharing economy is one of the oldest on the planet. It’s been around since the arrival of humans. I suspect cavemen (and cavewomen) shared their caves and food with people other than their family. Maybe even passed a rock among themselves to use as a tool?

All of us have shared things throughout our lives and will until we die – food, drinks, seats, newspapers, spare beds, car pooling, stationery, lawn mowers, chores and much more.

At no time in this “sharing process” do we ask for payment. The reason is simple. You cannot call it sharing if you charge for the service. Because by definition, it’s not sharing, it’s a commercial transaction. You are conducting business if you charge for services – you are not sharing.

So please, all you marketing wannabes, just tell the truth.

A Bed & Breakfast (BnB) service is a commercial business, so just putting the word “Air” in front of it doesn’t suddenly make the service free, in terms of sharing.

Airbnb is a room booking service. Uber is a taxi booking service. And both companies do their damnedest to avoid paying tax in any of the countries in which they operate, as do most of the people who deliver their services.

Airbnb actively advertises on radio for pensioners to supplement their pensions by becoming an “Airbnb host”. It offers no advice to the poor pensioners on how the extra income will affect their pensions. They may lose their pensions by becoming a host. That’s not much of a sharing, nor caring, way to do business.

Meanwhile, Uber is losing $Billions annually and is plagued by all sorts of management problems and legal action. And when you read its business strategy, (it’s not a sharing strategy) the future is about driverless cars, so where’s that leave current drivers funding its “growth”? I suppose the reason is, Uber’s sharing model, sorry I meant business model, relies on financial transactions, rather than sharing, for its survival.

So given there is absolutely no sharing involved in the fake sharing economy, maybe a correct name for this new service category could be “the make a quick buck while avoiding tax economy“?

It’s certainly more accurate. And it’s not teaching our children that lying is an acceptable business practice, so it’s much more ethical.

Have to go now. I can hear my bride calling. I think she wants to share my wallet. So I guess there is payment involved in sharing after all…