Is ‘Scotty from Marketing’ threatening the future of marketing?


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I am very concerned dear readers. But first, for international readers of this missive, I need to give you some background.

An online newspaper – The Betoota Advocate – is one of the most refreshing and entertaining publications about daily life in Australia. You’ll hear Aussies say “How good is the Betoota Advocate?” though not, I suspect, will you hear it said by our Prime Minister.

You see, the paper has nicknamed him Scotty from Marketing – because in the PM’s earlier career, he worked in government departments that were responsible for Tourism marketing, though he never held a marketing role.

Scotty from Marketing is now a brand in itself…

It is an understatement to say the PM has not covered himself in leadership glory during the recent devastating bush fires in Australia. Consequently he is an easy target and ‘The Toot’ has done a fabulous job of branding him as Scotty from Marketing. The nickname has quickly entered the Aussie vernacular and is now used disparagingly by the PM’s political enemies and the Twitter Trolls who hate everything ‘conservative’. Consequently the hashtag #ScottyFromMarketing trends regularly whenever social media heats up.

Twitter – the home of the keyboard trolls…

But my concern is not political – it’s more important than politics. My concern is for the future of our industry.

The marketing/advertising industry is already one of the least trusted industries on the totem pole of consumer trust.

wanna buy some digital marketing??

The best selling marketing text of the past 24 months is BADMEN by Bob Hoffman, who is also one of the most in-demand marketing speakers at industry events. The book slams the disgraceful behaviour of the major digital marketing platforms such as Google, Facecrook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as the media agencies who book online advertising via programmatic platforms. It holds a mirror to the digital marketing industry and reflects a face of horrors.

Twitter is full of self-loathing for the industry, by those fed up with the cyber hustlers. Everywhere you look in the (digital) marketing landscape it’s charlatan-central. The industry is doing nothing to help improve consumer trust, let alone encourage people to start a marketing career.

Which leads me to my main concern – the decisions that final-year high school students are making about their future. If they are considering doing a marketing degree and Scotty from Marketing is perceived as the highest profile marketer in the country – what hope do we have of any young folk preferring marketing to make their mark?

Scotty and by association, marketers, are fast becoming the butt of jokes at BBQs, the pub, parties and other social gatherings. Social media is trashing marketers via Scotty. I’m concerned that university enrollments will plummet if the Toot keeps promoting Scotty from Marketing so well. The publication has done such a good job of branding the PM, it has created a serious dilemma!

I love the Betoota Advocate, but by promoting Scotty as a marketer, they may be killing off the future of marketing. I’m going to ask them to place a disclaimer against his image eg *not a real marketer.

Otherwise, the industry will have to do an advertising campaign promoting marketing as a worthwhile career and repositioning Scotty from Marketing as a just a lowly politician.

Although that is a problem in itself. Politicians are trusted more than marketers on the consumer trust rankings, so there’s no chance we could run a headline such as: “Trust me I work in marketing…”

Your thoughts please…

The humble radio was the most reliable media channel during the bush fire crisis…


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The shocking bush fires in Australia are now global news. We all hope they end soon – the loss of human life, wildlife and property is unprecedented and there’s nothing you can say to make things better. While the firefighters and other volunteers cannot be praised enough.

My family stayed with friends down the south coast of NSW over Christmas and New Year, and we were surrounded by some major fires, though never in high danger. But the smoke was incredibly thick every day.

We lost power for about 36 hours from noon on New Year’s Eve. Prior to turning in, we spent the night watching the tragedy unfold across the water at Lake Conjola – the fires were huge, even in the distance. Sadly, at least one life and 89 homes were lost, though we didn’t learn this until New Year’s Day.

The last of the blue sky at 3pm on NYE…

As someone who works in the advertising/media industry, I was curious to see how the fires and news were reported in the different media channels. When we had power in our home, the television was definitely the best media for up to date information, along with local ABC radio. The media briefings were all live on TV, as were updates from the fire services headquarters.

The internet was close to useless. It worked intermittently if at all, and if you could get a signal, pages sometimes took minutes to download and sometimes didn’t at all. I posted images on Instagram, but these took up to 6 hours for the image to go live from the time I posted it. We had three different brands of phone and three different service providers at our home and all failed, due to damaged cell towers and downed lines.

Even when you could access internet news sites they were behind with the news compared to radio and TV. The fire service apps were not always helpful due to lack of internet, but they were also regularly behind real time, sometimes 14 hours behind in terms of last update. Even worse and very confusing was social media. In attempts to be helpful, people would post messages of roads open or closed, or locations of fires. These were simply their opinions, not facts.

I heard one discussion on radio where the caller referred to a social post. It had completely the opposite information from the official information at the fire services headquarters, being supplied by firefighters on site. The radio host had to counter the caller’s comments as they were creating dangerous confusion. Turns out the social post was incorrect and could have cost lives if people had believed it. Fake news even in this crisis.

On New Year’s Day when we had no power or internet, or battery-operated radio, we sat in our cars and listened to the radio for updates. It was the only reliable media that never failed due to lack of power or internet. The information was delivered in real time and was very accurate.

The humble car radio was the best media for updates…

It also involved (or should that be ‘engaged’) lots of people in the community. People called to share local updates about safe havens, petrol and food availability and other useful information. Neighbours then shared the latest radio news with each other and checked on elderly people in the street to ensure they were OK.

Interestingly, the biggest complaint among those people who were trapped by closed highways but not in danger, was quite first-world – they complained about not having internet or phones. They felt helpless without them. If we didn’t have radio we would have been completely in the dark and clueless for information.

Once the power was restored the panic buying by those who were most likely leaving the area, left little for the locals. Maslow’s most basic needs on display in an ugly manner.

Panic buying by tourists stripped shelves leaving locals without…

The one thing we all agreed, we’re getting a battery-operated radio and spare batteries to store in our homes. You never know when such old-fashioned technology might come in handy…

World’s longest infographic uses fake facts to prove infographics don’t work…


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Well folks, another week and another bunch of fake facts and virtue signalling designed to create FOMO and con marketers into using the self-interested marketing miracle being touted.

And what is this week’s con? It’s an infographic promoting the virtues of video marketing (previously known as television advertising) but as advertisements produced on video now also run on digital channels, they must have a new name. Hence, video marketing.

Ironically, the promoters of video marketing, use an infographic to promote video marketing. They don’t use video to promote video marketing. Go figure?

But wait there’s more…

The video marketing infographic is roughly 21 feet long – that’s 6.5 metres – on my PC. And that’s before I ‘click to enlarge’ the screen. According to Digivizer we each scroll on average, 110 metres every day. So on its own, the world’s longest infographic is about 6% of your daily scrolling activity.

world’s longest infographic is at least 6.5 metres long…

But get this: one of the fake facts printed on the world’s longest infographic claims: “59% of executives prefer watching a video than reading the text content”.

So you have to ask the question: If the majority of the target audience allegedly doesn’t like reading, why publish the world’s longest infographic in the hope they’ll read it??

Another fake fact that will really amaze you – as it reveals human DNA has completely changed and the education problems of the world will now be easily solved. It’s this gem tucked away about one metre down the page:

“viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it through video”

Who knew? Certainly not the TV industry, as it would never have the audacity to make such a false claim. But hallelujah, the solution to modern education and the future of the planet is video marketing.

Here we are criticising our teenagers for spending too much time watching videos on small screens. How wrong are we? Apparently, teens are learning at levels beyond the capacity of any humans in history. Homo Sapiens have evolved.

After all, according to the world’s longest infographic, our kids are retaining 95% of what they watch on video! Education problems solved! The future of the human population is assured.

Thank goodness for video marketers.

Teenagers enjoy retaining 95% of every video they view…

Fake facts are dotted throughout the world’s longest infographic. Take this amazing claim: “video consumption through mobile devices rises by 100% every year.” That’s a lot of percentages – every year…

Or this one: “72% of customers prefer learning about a product or service through a video.”

I’m not sure what to believe, as according to The Word Of Mouth Association: “77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family.”

This must be what’s known as the WOM-Video Marketing Conundrum.

If you have a spare hour you can read the world’s longest infographic here.

But on a serious note…

I know video works – always has and always will – when designed well and when it reaches the right audience in the right channel.

But on all trust measurement surveys in the western world, marketing and advertising executives are the least or second-least trusted people on the planet.

Who do you trust – not advertising executives…

So if the marketing industry continues to lie to itself with self-interested promotions like the world’s longest infographic, what hope do we have of consumers ever trusting any messages we create?

These promoters of fake facts need to be removed from the industry, or at least their peers need to call them out and stop them from ruining the marketing industry’s already fragile reputation.

So I urge you, my fellow marketers, take action.

Marketers, take action…

Though I’m not holding my breath. A number of seemingly smart marketers ‘liked’ the world’s longest infographic when it was posted on social channels. Obviously, they are in the special 59% of the target audience and didn’t read it.

I’m off to change my data plan, I need more scrolling metres on my account…

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


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Given Adidas has admitted its mistake of over-investing in digital advertising, it might be worth revisiting this article:

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:

FOMO, not social channel preference, drives social media usage on mobiles…


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Life used to be simpler. In the not-so-distant past you awoke, by whatever means, and depending upon your relationship might have had a cuddle or more intimate moment. Then you got out of bed and showered or had breakfast and prepared for the day.

Some of us were woken by radio, so we could listen to the news before, or as we started our day. Some even switched on a TV to catch the news – to see if any terrorist acts, wars, floods or famine occurred while you slept. It was a simple start to the day.

But things have become more complicated. Now it appears for many, the first thing we do when we awaken is “check our phones” – partners come a distant second on the priority list. And we’re not checking for missed phone calls, voicemail or even news.

No, we’re checking content on social media. Because as we all know, it’s the central repository for all things important. I’ve been fascinated by this behaviour and over the last four semesters teaching at university, I’ve discussed it with my students – tomorrow’s advertising and marketing legends.

We run a session in which we track ‘a day in the life of a consumer‘ in terms of the media they are exposed to throughout the day and how they interact (or ignore) with the various media channels. I’ve asked all my students “what is the first thing you do when you wake in the morning?

Almost 100% answer “check our phones“. Some will even do so before they relieve their full and bursting bladders.

But being the curious bugger I am – I probe deeper. “What do you check on your phones” I ask? “Social media” choruses the answer.

And deeper – “what channel do you check first“, I inquire?

And this is where it gets interesting. Many don’t know what channel they check. If that sounds strange, it’s not when you think about it.

Because they are not checking channels. They are checking notifications – and they check the channel with the most notifications first – after all, that’s the most activity they missed while asleep. Their FOMO drives the channel they check first.

wakey, wakey, rise n shine, get out of bed it’s FOMO time…

So, if a post on Instagram has lots of activity that triggers notifications, they check that channel first. Or if they are tagged in a Facebook exchange resulting in lots of notifications, Facebook is the first port of call.

Their choice of a channel has nothing to do with the preference for the channel and everything to do with their Fear Of Missing Out on something, such as their name being tagged in a photo. After all, this is way more important than any terrorist acts, wars, floods or famine – or intimacy with their partner.

You see, notifications present a dilemma. The more notifications they have, the further behind the social curve they are – and other people might notice. OMG! Emoji. Emoji. Emoji. Emoji. #hashtag

The implication of course, though not scientific, is they ignore any ads that appear in their feed, as they rush to get back to the head of their social position. It also means marketers cannot assume people scroll through their feeds in a linear fashion, taking in all the messages that appear from friends and marketers, casually accommodating notifications.

If the consumer you are trying to reach is highly popular, they may never see your advertising – as they have no interest in anything but processing their notifications. But there is an easy way to know – test.

I suspect a few of you wise readers have occasionally been guilty of FOMO created by your phone? It’s not really a good reflection on human nature, is it? But I’m not trying to make you feel guilty – rather, reflect.

It also appears from a marketing point of view, the more you can get your customers tagging and hashtagging your message, the more chance you have of maybe, possibly, being noticed on a social channel on a mobile – maybe.

Then again, you could just call customers on their phone – that’s such a rarity these days you’re bound to beat the FOMO barrier.

Gotta go – my phone just pinged and it’s obviously vitally important that I drop everything. WOW, it’s a meeting notification. Maybe I should screenshot it and share for everyone to see…

How your LinkedIn connections can lose you business…


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Prior to the invention of social media, your business card holder, Rolodex, or contact list was private property. Only you used the file and nobody else had access to it. Certainly, nobody could see who you were ‘connected’ to in your business life. It was your personal property and quite a valuable asset.

But then along came social media – and in the business world, LinkedIn.

Now, everyone you are connected to on LinkedIn is public property. You’re encouraged to make your contacts public knowledge, even praise them with ‘endorsements’ and promotion of their ‘skills’. The LinkedIn computers use algorithms to prompt you to connect with people, based on the profiles of your current connections.

Even worse, these machines suggest you wish your ‘connections’ happy birthday or happy anniversary – something most executives would never do if they didn’t have the online connection.

Almost everything you do on LinkedIn is public. Nothing is private any more. And that’s why you can lose business.

In my early days of creating a LinkedIn network, I decided to try a few of the ‘tools’. A client of mine (let’s call her Josie) with whom I’d worked a number of times in different roles in her career, asked me to recommend her on LinkedIn, as she was looking for a new role. I was a reference on her resume and had spoken with recruiters when she applied for previous roles. I thought “why not” – though I was a tad concerned about the public nature of my endorsement. But that’s just me.

So I wrote a glowing endorsement of her skills and expertise, and thought nothing more about it.

Once Josie started in a new role, she decided to review her agencies and invited my agency, along with others with whom she’d worked over the years, to present our credentials based on a real brief.

Obviously the incumbent agency wasn’t happy at the possibility of losing this piece of business. The principal of the agency, who I know well, checked Josie’s LinkedIn profile and noticed my recommendation.

He immediately contacted Josie’s boss and argued that the ‘pitch process’ was not a level playing field given the obvious relationship between Josie and myself. The boss agreed and Josie called me to say my agency was not allowed to pitch – despite the fact she has the upmost integrity and was reviewing more than one agency she had worked with previously. There was no guarantee my agency would get any business from her.

If I had simply remained a reference on her resume, this would never have happened. But because of the public nature of content on LinkedIn profiles, my endorsement had cost me a valuable business opportunity.

I’ve discussed this with others and they have had similar problems, where naive executives make decisions based on a few words in a LinkedIn profile. It’s why many of my C-Level contacts aren’t even on LinkedIn – they don’t need to be. And they don’t want others to know who is in their business network.

It’s why I no longer give public recommendations or endorsements to anyone on LinkedIn, though I do offer to be a reference as needed. For me, it’s not worth the loss of business or potential damage to my reputation.

This is certainly something none of the Linkfluencers and other fake LinkedIn ‘thought leaders‘ will share with you – as it’s not in their interest to do so. You may have a different experience dear reader, I suspect it’s horses for courses.

I have to go now and contact a bloke about a pitch – where’s my business card holder???

Oh, I nearly forgot – if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn:

Your Marketing 101 Guide by the Numbers…


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Hello again. I’m currently writing a book on B2B marketing – adapted from my training courses. The B2B category has a lot of executives in marketing roles who have no prior marketing qualifications. They have sales, product or technical backgrounds. Some even call themselves social sellers.

So, I’ve put together a little “Marketing 101 Guide by the Numbers”. Keep these in mind when planning your marketing executions, as they’ll keep you focused.

The three goals of your marketing communications – and there are only three…

  • Acquire new customers
  • Get customers to spend more money with you more often
  • Get customers to keep spending with you for as long as possible.

If your marketing communications are not helping you achieve one or more of these goals, you’re probably wasting your money, regardless of the media channels or vanity metrics you use.

The two ways of marketing – and there are only two…

  • Mass marketing
  • Direct marketing

Mass Marketing – you communicate with as many consumers* as possible for the lowest media cost, to position your brand in the mind of the consumer, so they consider it when they are in the market to buy – online or offline. Generally used in broadcast, print, outdoor and some online channels.

Direct Marketing – any marketing communication delivered directly to individual consumers* or to which they respond directly to you. All responses are measured and there is always an exchange of either data or dollars – online or offline. Generally used in broadcast, mail, email, telephone, print, events, social, search, mobile and online channels.

*Consumers is generic for both prospects and customers

The two reasons people use the internet – and there are only two…

  • To save time
  • To waste time

That’s it. You need to design your website, landing page, email, social channels, apps etc to make it easy for your customers and prospects to either save time, or to waste time, depending upon their reason for visiting.

Saving or wasting time?

There’s no such thing as a customer journey – just two contact strategies…

People don’t go on customer journeys. This is a marketing buzzword designed to make the user sound sophisticated – it’s complete bollocks. There are only two contact strategies to use, and they’re linked to the most relevant touchpoints. After all, a prospect isn’t a customer until they buy something:

  • Prospect contact strategy – to generate new customers
  • Customer contact strategy – to keep profitable customers and generate referrals

Marketers determine the most appropriate touchpoints to reach prospects and customers, then communicate as necessary in the most effective channels for those touchpoints. These touchpoints can be mapped for easier visual interpretation.

For example, a prospect may identify themselves by responding to an advertisement by telephone, downloading a white paper from a website, or at a trade show. This is the beginning of the prospect contact strategy designed to get them to either request a presentation (if required), to trial the product/service, or to buy. This can involve lots of channels, some of which can be automated.

Once the prospect becomes a customer, they join the customer contact strategy. This involves communicating with personal messages designed to create a positive customer experience, encourage loyalty, obtain referrals and generate further sales.

The customer contact strategy can also be divided into two separate executions. One execution is linked to the date the product or service is bought and includes messaging around warranty, service, renewal, upgrade and the like.

The other execution is linked to time of year and includes messaging such as monthly newsletter, seasonal offers, event invitations and more.

Obviously, the customer contact strategy uses more personal media channels including; face-to-face meetings, mail, telephone, email and social channels. And all the while, there is the 24/7 continual flow of marketing content on blogs, websites and social channels, as well as advertising.

People DON’T go on customer journeys…

The numbers that matter when budgeting…

There are a few key numbers to understand when budgeting your marketing activity:

  • Lifetime value – how much revenue you customer is worth over their lifetime of buying from you
  • Cost per lead – how much you can afford to spend to generate a qualified lead
  • Cost per sale – how much you can afford to spend to generate a sale
  • The advertising allowable – what you can afford to spend to generate a sale at either break-even or a pre-determined profit percentage

When you know how much a customer is worth, you can determine how much to spend to generate a qualified lead and therefore how much you can afford to spend to get a sale – based on conversion rates. This helps you determine the most appropriate media channels to use, as they are defined by your advertising allowable.


Marketing creates the need, while sales fulfils the need…

Your marketing activity helps to create the need for your brand by building desire for it and reinforcing your decision after you’ve bought. Your sales people use selling techniques to fulfil the need and complete the sale.

Your direct marketing activity can both create and fulfil your prospect’s needs in a single execution. It also integrates your marketing and sales teams to ensure they both work together successfully.

So now you know, what you need to know, about you know, that thing that everyone thinks they know – marketing…

Online sales can reduce your revenue…


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A couple of years ago my agency created catalogues for an office supplies company – different catalogues for different areas of their business and different types of customers.

They had a catalogue for typical office stationery, another for bulk purchases of products delivered on pallets, and other specialty catalogues. They did some sophisticated testing, with the objective of moving clients to order via their website to reduce the dependence upon the call centre, as it took the majority of the orders. They also believed they’d make more money with online ordering.

The test results revealed some interesting insights. When the company migrated customers to online orders, they lost revenue. The average order size via the website was much less than the average order via the call centre. The reason is simple and one which any salesperson can explain.


Online sales reduced average sales value and revenue…

Once the customer was on the phone, the customer service person could upsell via questions and sell even more products than the customer might have bought if they simply went to the website. The customers who did use the website for orders, usually only bought a small number of items.

Another insight they discovered was that most customers had the catalogue with them when they called to order by phone. This gives the customer service person another way to engage with the customer, by referring to the catalogue pages and discussing them together.

Woman reading magazine at coffee shop

customers have the catalogue with them when they call…

The grim discovery was that the move to online ordering had the potential to damage the business and reduce sales. While website sales can possibly cost less to process, the average sale value was less than telephone sales.

The company had to work a delicate balance of telephone and website sales and eventually hit on a strategy of telephone follow-up to online sales. As online orders were received, the outbound telemarketers would call the customer and upsell based on the products in the online order.

This became a productive use of the call centre staff, giving them options for inbound and outbound selling. Customers appreciated the ‘service calls’ and nearly always increased their order value.


let me help you spend more money…

So don’t believe everything you hear about the marvels of digital disruption – it can damage your business rather than improve it.

The old adage continues to apply – just because you can doesn’t mean you should…

Your aspiring customers can be more valuable than your paying ones…


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My recent article about the Koala team’s overzealous belief of their brand awareness reminded me of a story about one of my first bosses, Sir Peter Abeles.

Sir Peter built the TNT global transport and logistics empire, which at one stage owned Ansett airlines. I was the National Marketing Manager of TNTGroup4, which was where I got loads of hands-on experience building databases and using direct marketing techniques for B2B and consumer marketing.

Sir Peter Abeles

Reg Ansett, the visionary founder of Ansett Airlines, bought Hayman Island in the 1950s and turned it into Australia’s most luxurious island holiday resort. Of course, the only way to get to the island back then was with Ansett Airlines. (BTW this was many decades before I eloped to get married on Hayman Island)

Back in the 1980’s after TNT bought Ansett – and consequently Hayman Island – the company made a huge investment in refurbishing the Hayman Island Resort. Those in the hospitality industry will know that all resorts eventually get stale and require deep pockets to bring them up to date.

After completion of the refurbishment, Sir Peter flew to Hayman Island to inspect his heavy investment. He attended the soft launch to the travel trade and left the island feeling comfortable about its new direction. Upon landing in Sydney, Sir Peter would normally be collected by his personal driver, but on this occasion his driver was unavailable.

Hayman Island Resort

So Sir Peter took a taxi. The first thing the cabbie asked Sir Peter was “where have you been?” Beeming proudly, Sir Peter said “Hayman Island.” The cabbie immediately replied “where’s that?

Suffice to say, Sir Peter politely explained where and what Hayman Island was, while discreetly seething under his breath. As soon as he got back to work, he demanded to see the Hayman Island marketing team, to get an explanation as to why a taxi driver at Sydney Airport hadn’t a clue about Hayman Island.

The mistake the team made was simple. It had micro-targeted a “luxury audience” by advertising exclusively in the Ansett magazine, upmarket lifestyle, fashion and travel magazines, as well as through media releases to travel writers. The problem with this niche-tactic of course, was that only those who could immediately afford to go to Hayman Island saw the advertising.

Nobody who aspired to go to Hayman Island, or who would save to go for a holiday there, had seen the advertising. They were not aware the Hayman Island Resort existed. So when Sir Peter said “Hayman Island” when answering the cabbie’s question, he didn’t get affirmation from the driver about his decision. Sir Peter was expecting something like “wow you’re lucky, I dream of having a holiday there.”

Holiday envy…

Part of the process of a considered purchase, such as a luxury holiday, home, car, camera, bed, lounge etc is the reinforcement by colleagues that your decision is a good one. Or even one they envy. It’s part of what drives our ego.

This is why your brand advertising should not just reach those most likely to buy, or those who buy regularly, but also those who might buy occasionally or dream of buying. Sales growth comes in distinct ways depending upon what you’re selling. Fast moving consumer goods such as groceries for example, have different buying patterns to high-value considered purchases.

Growth for high volume (often unconsidered) purchases comes from:

  • Convincing current high volume customers to consume more of your product
  • Converting high volume customers from a competitor to your brand
  • Getting more occasional users to buy your brand when they are in the market

Read Byron Sharp’s book; How Brands Grow for more detail.

Growth for low volume considered purchases comes from:

  • Additional purchase by a current customer
  • Converting a customer from a competitor to your brand
  • Getting first-time buyers to buy your brand

So, regardless of your product category, when marketing to consumers, you want as many people to know about your brand as possible. This includes those who will buy your brand and those who wish they could buy your brand. It’s why brand advertising, publicity, social sharing and review sites are all important tactics.

B2B is a different kettle of fish – you can often put every customer in the category on a floppy disk (ask your parents if you don’t know) and communicate with them based on where they are in their buying cycle, often driven by contractual arrangements or tenders. That’s for another article.

So don’t forget your aspirational customers, they help your paying customers justify their purchase and may eventually become your customers too.

Hmmm, it’s almost 20 years since my bride and I eloped. Maybe I should plan a quiet family celebration at home? Not likely. I suspect my bride aspires to at least a week back on Hayman Island.

I wonder if the resort has a past customer deal…

What does Uber Eats have in common with all these retail brands…


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Regular readers will know I’ve written about this before – (see below)

But given the increased amount of television and outdoor advertising that Uber Eats is doing lately, I thought I’d revisit it. Curiously, I’ve not seen any Uber Eats advertising online…yet. (now that I’ve mentioned it, I’ll probably be chased around the web thanks to cookies)

By way of background, I’ve owned a suburban supermarket and a travel agency – in different suburbs in different centuries. For both businesses, one of the most powerful media for generating retail store traffic and sales, was unaddressed mail. I’ve also produced loads of retail catalogues and other letterbox collateral for my agency’s clients.

Yet despite the fact we live in a ‘digital world’ the letterbox is still one of the most profitable channels in which retailers can promote their wares. Truth be told, most retailers would struggle to survive if this channel was not available.

Just this week, that most uber of digital disruptors – Uber Eats – dropped an offer in my letterbox.

And so did the following brands:

  • Aldi
  • Woolworths
  • Coles
  • Big W
  • JB Hi-Fi
  • Chemist Warehouse
  • First Choice Liquor
  • Pizza Hut
  • Priceline Pharmacy
  • Telstra
  • Baby Bunting
  • Plush Furniture
  • A couple of local small businesses too

So if you’re under the delusion that we now only live in a digital world, get off your screen, go outside and check your letterbox.

You’ll be surprised what brands are using this channel – you might learn something and possibly even rethink where you spend your budget…

Gotta go and do the shopping now – where are those catalogues?