samedi 14 janvier 2012

Tom Hayes: Maverick Marketing - Author interview

Former Silicon Valley marketing pioneer, Managing Partner at the New England Consulting Group, and author of the insightful and very practical book Maverick Marketing … Trailride into the Wild West of New Marketing, Tom Hayes, was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his book.

Tom Hayes shared his thoughts on marketing, including dispelling a few myths that have grown up about marketing in the digital age, creating a powerful marketing strategy, and taking that important first step toward becoming a maverick marketer.

Thanks to Tom Hayes for his time, and for his very comprehensive and informative responses. They are greatly appreciated.

What was the background to writing this book Maverick Marketing … Trailride into the Wild West of New Marketing?

Tom Hayes: The idea of my book, Maverick Marketingg, arose out of the flood of misinformation and hyper attention to digital marketing. Everyone was predicting the demise of so-called traditional media. The analogue is the advent of cable TV many years ago and all of the gurus, again, predicting the total elimination of the TV networks. And we all know, now that despite the growth of cable, network television remains a strong contender. And by the way, Fox currently looks like a traditional network ... original programming, broad coverage, bidding for major sports contracts, etc.

A key objective of the book was to bring a touch of sanity, reality and balance to the discussion. Corporations were being stampeded into setting up digital operations before they understood the value proposition. That said, even the largest and most traditional marketers have to change and adapt in the new marketing environment ... the Wild West!

In years past, only the smaller scrappy organizations “dropped their long johns” clawing for recognition and awareness. Now, even the global galactic marketers are heavily engaged in marketing programs that would have, in the past. been considered “cute,” “not strategic,” “destructive,” or even ... “beneath the brand.”

You use a western metaphor as an outline for the book. Why did you choose that sagebrush framework and how does it relate to marketing?

Tom Hayes: I decided to utilize the “sagebrush” metaphor because the current times so reflects the “wild west” where the fundamental environment is changing rapidly. The old rules or tenets are being questioned and it is “mano y mano.” There are “attackers” and “defenders” of the old law. And the result is a strong dose of chaos ... and a time of great risk.

In the Wild West, all issues were very much “black or white” and people quickly divided into clearly distinguished camps of “friends” or “foes.”

Plus ... “High Noon” is one of my favorite movies.

The book focuses on marketing to consumers. Are the same concepts applicable to business to business marketing efforts as well?

Tom Hayes: Absolutely! May be even more important since B2B tends to follow B2C marketing.

However, for the purpose of clarity and the more public availability of information and case studies, Maverick Marketing focuses mainly on Consumer products and services. However, we have experienced the same basic phenomenon with our many business-to-business Clients.

Tom Hayes (photo left)

How has the market changed in ways that may make traditional marketing campaigns obsolete?

Tom Hayes: Not even a scintilla of truth that traditional marketing campaigns have become obsolete. The major difference between pre-Net and post-Net marketing lies not in the fundamentals ... but rather in the ability and efficiency of executions. A coupon is a coupon whether appearing in People magazine or downloaded from a mobile app.

While Consumer empowerment and the Media “Big Bang” had been transpiring for some time, the important factor or inflection point in forcing “maverick” marketing has been the rapid emergence of the new digital world. This has been the final enabling factor in two important ways. First, the Digital Age created an entirely new and comprehensive delivery system of information and commercial messaging. Second, the Net has made it economically and “speed-feasible” for Marketers to actually execute “maverick” activities which previously they could plan ... but not execute efficiently or quickly.

Over 30,000 hits to the website can only contribute to but not drive a mass product. In the euphoria of digital media, marketers can mistakenly ignore the 93 million Super Bowl TV viewers that drove the 30,000 website visitors.

You recommend using social media and mainstream media as a team. How can these two media be harnessed to be effective and present a unified message?

Tom Hayes: The issue is not if digital media and mainstream media can be integrated ... they MUST.

Only the pontiffs with a vested interest in pimping digital and social media want to create a differential.

Consumers are barraged with more and more messaging ... accepting some, rejecting others. It is the total bundle of messaging and points of contact that drive behavior. That does not mean the marketing messages via the different media channels must be identical but rather supporting. It is those people specifically exclusively in digital marketing that want to create the artificial barriers and differences. And while most major marketers are rapidly increasing their investment in digital marketing, the actual dollar investment pales in comparison to what most derogatively refer to as traditional marketing.

The best-in-class marketers will never address the issue as either – or, but how can all the “horses” pull in the same direction.

Are there some cutting edge marketing tactics that consider the newly empowered consumer and the building of two way communications and relationships?

Tom Hayes: A great example of cutting edge marketing tactics can be found in the marketing programs, well beyond simply advertising, of Super Bowl XLV. The major marketers approached the Super Bowl opportunity not as an advertising event, but rather as a fully integrated marketing thrust with entertainment and tickets for key retailer; customers, pre-event social media selling the brand messaging in advance, cut through in program advertising, and post-Bowl engagement via social media.

The most astute were those like the Doritos brand group which harnessed the consumers themselves to develop the commercials.

How can a marketer find the right metrics to measure the effectiveness of marketing in the new marketing landscape?

Tom Hayes: Metrics in the new “wild west” of marketing are both more simple and, at the same time, more complex. Issues have not changed but became more complex. The digital marketing programs may inform, pre-sell or close the purchase equation. So-called traditional mass marketing generates the momentum of awareness and building of brand equity.

Pure “click-based” metrics have gone out of favor. The one true and sustainable metrics is sales . . . sales ...

Can maverick marketing become an overall strategy for a company to use as a system, rather than simply as a tactic for occasional campaigns?

Tom Hayes: Yes, “maverick” marketing MUST be a major strategic function and not just a low level tactics.

When the same people use the same techniques to come up with the same ideas on doing business essentially the same way, the result is the curse of convergence. Innovation requires a fundamentally different approach.

The good news is that when the current players in a category have converged, this leaves “white space” for the “mavericks” to exploit.

Corporate tachypsychia, distorting the perception of time, is a major impact of the rate of change in today’s marketing and business environment. Some companies are over-estimating the speed of change … stampeding across The Great Plains. Procter & Gamble, arguably the best global marketer, is one that has over course-corrected … perhaps out of corporate guilt of having been so traditional regarding the Consumer in decades past.

Other companies at the other end of “maverick” spectrum continue to stick their head in the proverbial gopher hole and pretend the New World of Market does not exist. They may make a foray into new media but the traditionalist marketing attitude remains dominant and counter-productive.

How can maverick marketing fit into a company's need for innovation and become part of the process, rather than just an add on at the end?

Tom Hayes: Perhaps in no arena have the traditional marketers been forced to emulate the “mavericks” as on the “new frontier” of Innovation and New Products. It is a lonely and scary experience venturing off the beaten path into truly unexplored territory.

Yet, Innovation is the oxygen for any company as it multiplies, expands, and attempts to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. And the required “speed” of Innovation has warped into the “acceleration” of Innovation in today’s marketing arena. Every aspect of corporate growth and adaptation is transformed even more quickly ... including the tenure of C-level executives ... forcing a major change in managerial behavior.

Alas, the more traditional and established marketers have been forced to follow their “maverick” counterparts out onto the open range. These larger companies have obliterated many of the organizational silos and legal handcuffs which restricted their Innovation and New Product Development progress.

What is the first step a company should take to develop a maverick marketing approach?

Tom Hayes: The first step is in Human Resources and selecting the right people.

As a manager, we can teach our people marketing or manufacturing techniques but we cannot teach them to be intelligent. Similarly, it is easier to break a “maverick” than to create one … is true “mavericks” are a rare and valued asset. In order to maximize their value to the corporation, we should be asking how do we...

• tolerate
• stimulate
• reward
• incentivize
• protect
• leverage

...a “maverick” within a traditional organization? How do you assist in creating more new “mavericks?”

What is next for Tom Hayes?

Tom Hayes: Right now we are very busy with client assignments in Retail, CPG and Healthcare. But, I have begun to outline a new book on branding that is based on totally new approaches. And I have decided to ski all seven continents, again, for the third time!


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