This Business as Unusual webinar featured a chat with Alan Thorpe - Sales & Marketing Director of Indicia Worldwide to discuss whether we should even be doing marketing right now (spoiler: he kinda thinks we should).
Alan has an unusual blend of experience gained leading sales and strategy, data science, technology; digital marketing, services and creative teams. For example - have you ever watched ITV online? That's a solution he formulated and sold.
In a recent study published by Econsultancy it was stated that 62% of UK marketers are delaying or reviewing their marketing spend. With more than half of UK marketers also planning to pause or cancel their next campaign - we discussed why, if at all possible, you might want to continue to market your business through the lockdown.
Here's my key takeaways from what Alan had to say.
Look at history… Back in 2008's recession when oil prices were high and passenger numbers were low, Virgin Atlantic launched and incredible campaign and built demand for the future.
If you can release budget - concentrate on those activities can your business undertake that builds demand for the future.
Accelerate activities that can radically improve efficiency – maybe consolidate spend with one supplier and negotiate discounts because of economies of scale.
Accelerate activities that can improve effectiveness., clean and de-dupe your first party database. Having clean data that is GDPR compliant means you can stay in more authentic, direct contact with your customers and prospects.
We may not know what's going to happen next week, or next month... but we do know that all pandemics end. Once again, it's about brand messaging, developing trust and not trying to flog crap people don't need right now. Build trust for the future - just be helpful. Your clients and prospects will remember you and thank you for it.
Remove friction – If someone does want to start a conversation with you, they might get caught on some of the hurdles that are in their way on your website. Examine your conversion journey and see where you can remove clicks between the visitor landing on a page and getting in touch with you.
One of the best ways to build trust is to give value with out immediate expectation. Webinars like this one, for example!
By focusing on your customer right now, you'll be fostering loyalty for the long term and refer to the above for the key ways in which I thought Alan was able to instruct us on this.
It's tempting to just drop everything and just start with a whole new set of tactics with little or no strategic thinking. This is a bad idea (I know, I've done it), Alan advises "don’t abandon your existing strategy, adapt it."
Finally - remember that what someone likes usually is more important to them, at a subliminal level at least, than what they need.
Jon Payne (00:00):
My name's Jon Payne. Welcome to Business as Unusual. This is a weekly session where we deep dive into how a particular industry or sector is functioning during the pandemic and whatever comes after. Hopefully we'll give you some inspiration on marketing. And this week we're examining that topic with the wonderful Alan Thorpe, who's the sales and marketing director of Indicia Worldwide.
Alan Thorpe (00:27):
Hello Jon. I've been wearing these headphones that you forced me to wear.
Jon Payne (00:30):
I have forced Alan to wear the headphones. Jamie says hi Alan as well. [inaudible] Wear those headphones. And unfortunately sometimes they mute some of what Alan says. So apologies for that guys, if that happens. Alan, before we jump into business as a, as business as unusual and answering the question, should we even be doing marketing right now? Can you give us a bit of personal background and why you think your, I mean, other than the fact I've asked you, but why do you think that might be qualified to speak on this?
Alan Thorpe (01:07):
Yes, thanks Jon. Well, I've worked in marketing for 30 years now and I've actually experienced one of these downturns before. And what actually happens. So and I've worked in a whole gamut of boxing as well from a CRM building some of the UKs first big single customer views through to working a big above line agency at grey G2 pitching to all sorts of the Globe's biggest brands. Being a European VP for Axiom, the big data insight business across Europe. And most recently running the digital end of Bray Leino in Bristol where we we had all sorts of clients, particularly a and not B to B clients actually people like Notability running Europe's biggest car fleet would you believe is really Bristol, who to thought and and so yeah I'm a fellow of the Institute direct and digital marketing.
Alan Thorpe (01:59):
I'm, I'm going to fess up now that I didn't even take a single exam to get there. They taped me one day and said, Alan, you're a bit of an industry figure, which was very generous of them and we'd like to be a fellow. So that's it. But the commonality across all of this is because I've sort of understood the whole, I'd been lucky enough to work across the whole of the marketing gamut. I've seen what happens during periods of change and actually I find that's what makes marketing such a fascinating place to be. It's when there's change, it creates great opportunity for businesses who are able to adjust to that change. And, and, and obviously we're going to be talking about quite a bit of that today.
Jon Payne (02:35):
Yeah, that's, well, let's hope so. Otherwise it'll just be two guys nattering about their inability to make the sound work effectively on the new technology that they claim to understand. So brilliant. Thanks for that. Just to let you guys know who are watching that this is what we're going to be covering today. And I suspect you're all feeling a bit of number one and number two that there is a real scarcity of money and there is an abundance of uncertainty. And we are both of those reasons make it very difficult to plan, particularly in, in marketing. And, but we hope there'll be an opportunity when we come out the other side of this, assuming we do come out the other side. And yeah, so that's what we're going into. And we're going to delve into that.
Jon Payne (03:33):
Alan. We were talking earlier about marketing more generally and we would, I mean I at the best of times I think probably like most people who work in marketing sometimes think, Oh, my job is what is my, my job's kind of meaningless, right? I'm just helping people buy stuff that they don't necessarily need. They might just want it and all that kind of stuff. You know, I'm not creating PPE, I'm not saving lives and all of that kind of thing. So with all of these problems, the scarcity of money, abundance of uncertainty, people are dying all over the world, you know, that kind of level of stuff. How is marketing even important right now?
Alan Thorpe (04:13):
Well, we're all preoccupied with preserving health and wealth that moment. And I knew that. I've always had, you know, I think we've all heard the terrible accusation that marketing's coloring in department, and I just don't see it like that and I never have the thing about marketing is great marketing's about putting food on the table. It's about creating the sales that creates employment. So for me, I've always thought of it like that. And actually the delight of marketing is you get closest to the customer of any department so that you are in the best possible place to help a business stay relevant during changing times. So actually the role of marketing becomes more important, not less during uncertain times, but it changes slightly and that's what we're going to be talking about today.
Jon Payne (05:01):
Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, and it's, I love that you say that, and that is about putting food on the table because without, without us law in the marketing department, helping the sales team get leads or bringing footfall to stores or e-commerce traffic to online stores, yeah. It makes it difficult for people in the warehouse to ship stuff out. So yeah, it makes me feel a bit less useless. Just in my normal life actually let alone just, just in the current crisis. So talk to us about what you do now. W w this is your current company, right?
Alan Thorpe (05:48):
For Indicia who are part of Konica Minolta, which is an enormous business. Japanese business issue itself is about 4 million Euro turnover. So it's a pretty hefty, pretty hefty unit and the whole business is really focused on how we can create new value for all I can for our clients. And we do that in two ways. We do that from helping them to be more effective. So on the left hand side of the a scale electrics track of the infinity leaders, and I know you said the cars are going to come off on the left hand corner, that job they as are, those are all the things which we do to help people really spend effectively. So there's a lot of data and analytics, data scientists, strategy and great creative ideas. And then the right hand side, we've got the pieces, if you like, the more sort of executional side of marketing, which is about making sure we do that as cost effectively as, as possible.
Alan Thorpe (06:44):
Perhaps the easiest way to explain it is if I just sort of run through a few of those clients at the top, if that's all right with you. Sure. So you know, Unilever we all know, well, Hellman's mayonnaise dove don't get the too muddled up the so we do tens of millions of pounds of print and production for Unilever. So when you may have come up with a great campaign or a great you know you still need to get that into all the different outlets in the shops. So we're, the people here will make sure that those ideas are accurately translated in whichever country it needs to be. So operating in 30 different countries delivering those ideas. But at the other end of the thing or the other end of things ITV, I mean, I, I should imagine, Jon, that you're a sort of Keith lemon through the keyhole view.
Alan Thorpe (07:32):
So I'm constantly, I'm constantly, so you know, ITV knows RGB sales audiences. So, so for ITV, the more that you watch a Keith lemon, the more audiences they've got to sell to advertisers, the more I personally watch it because what are you personally watch perhaps? But at the same say for ITV, we run the, if anybody watches ITB catch-up of using the ITV hub where the people who run all the data sits behind that. So the 2 billion plus lines of data that go into our every day and the 9 million targeted emails a week which makes sure that we send you an advert for celebrity juice, bearing in mind your key to them and have it rather than for Emmerdale or something like that. So, so there's dust, you can see that kind of real intelligence side of it there. You know, Heineken in that case we do all sorts of, again, lots of creative production, but we have some clever technology.
Alan Thorpe (08:29):
So for example, they can go into bars and restaurants that they work with and say to those bars and restaurants, Hey, we're going to do all your menus for you for free. Let's just type it all into here and it'll just arrive. But with the Heineken batch on the back. So that's a really nice piece of activational type marketing. And then you've got people like Stanley black and Decker and Chiquita bananas where we actually do all the elements of this league. So we actually pull the whole thing together in. So in many cases, we're actually saving people lots of money, which they can then spend on effective marketing, which to some extent makes their marketing cost neutral. So know that's quite an attractive proposition right now because you know, you're coming to people and say, Linda, we didn't do your marketing, but we're going to save your money to actually pay for it in the first place. So, yeah, quite exciting place to be, quite diverse. But yeah. I'm very pleased to be there
Jon Payne (09:24):
And actually not an intro, not I we'll probably come on to actually, how can you do, how can you find more for the same money in these times for even quite small businesses to quite, you know, using some of the techniques that you're using there. I suspect
Alan Thorpe (09:39):
The biggest chAlange we'll come on to this minute at the moment is it's not so much that I think we all probably know that we need to keep selling. We need to keep our names in the market. The biggest chAlanges is persuading an FD that actually the money should be spent because you know that, we'll talk about that in a minute. [inaudible] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Keep
Jon Payne (09:57):
Our powder dry on that. For those of you who don't know me and I will get, I'm going to be very quick on this. I worked for a company called noise, a little monkey. We are famous for our technical SEO chops. We're less famous for, but something we were working with Alan on actually is marketing automation and sales enablement. And we've worked for those brands that you're seeing there. We worked for lots of little brands and we're a HubSpot diamond partner. That is enough about the two old bald guys on your television right now. Why don't you go ahead and fill in the poll that should have just popped up on your screen. One have popped up on yours and don't panic. And tell us a bit about you please. We'd often so that we can hopefully be a bit more accurate in some of the advice we're giving.
Jon Payne (10:47):
It will make much more sense to us if we can understand who you are. So one of the questions I'm asking them, Alan is how big is the company you work for and that is by employee, cause I figured that's as good as any. And then what do you do mainly marketing, sales, operations, it or other? And at what level? We've got some sort of C level exec, a manager executive, an administrator and people who work for agencies. And at the moment with most of the people voted and those who haven't voted please don't feel awful if you couldn't see it or if you chose not to vote, that's absolutely fine. And we've got a few people who are between jobs right now and that is kind of expected in a current climate. Thank you so much for coming along and making the time.
Jon Payne (11:40):
We making the time. Of course you've got lots of time. I didn't mean it like that. That sounded Saki. What I meant was it's a fucking lovely day outside and you could be outside yet. You're in here learning with us. Really appreciate you making time. Same goes for the rest of you. We've got a spread. It's pretty equally spread, believe it or not, after the, so there's 6% of people are between jobs and then it's between 12 and 20%. The rest of the way between very small companies, not to five people. Why have I put nought to five? That would be a silly company up to 500 plus. So it's a hugely broad spread. And we've got mainly people who are involved in marketing. Some people are involved in sales and a few who are involved in operations and some who were involved in other.
Jon Payne (12:32):
So that's interesting. The the, and then we've got primarily we're talking to managers and a C level exec type areas, about 75% of people and then only 6% of people appear to work for an agency. So that's good. I'm gonna shut the chat cause I've broken it. Claire, if you could make sure that you're keeping an eye on the chat there. That's good. Someone has asked what vacuum cleaner I used in the Q and a and I would encourage you to use the Q and a for important questions like that. And I'm very middle-class, so to answer that question I'm new. Explain that we actually have, I mean most in my attic room there's normally a vacuum cleaner up here. There isn't. We have one that is a German manufacturer, can't remember the name of it, but very good pet orientated.
Jon Payne (13:22):
Got it from Jon Lewis. And we have a Henry also because I have a tendency to spill lots of things. So that's it. I've answered your question there. So thank you very much for filling in the poll. I will share those res. I've, I'm not going to share those results just in case it looks a bit weird. And I'm going to close that polling and we're going to move on to some just before we get started, if you want some free help on what you can be doing right now. If you go to noisy little monkey there is a load of free resources. In fact, we'll send you them in the followup email, not all of the resources. That would be a big email on how to do your own SEO goals and strategies, how to do CRO conversion rate optimization.
Jon Payne (14:12):
And we're going to, in fact, I suspect Claire is putting the link in the chat right now. And some recommended tools from competitors and other software companies that we really like that could make your life a bit easier right now. We are also doing a free setup of the HubSpot CRM free for 60 days. So if anybody is thinking that they need centralized point, single point of truth about your marketing and sales activity and you want help to roll it out to remote teams, we're doing that for free at the moment for 60 days. So yeah, there's that. Okay. Enough of the advert for content and stuff. Context.
Alan Thorpe (14:52):
I found a really good, I don't know whether you've seen this Alan. I found a really, really good document the other day called brands that when during a recession and he's published just very recently and in there I found a stat that says 55% of UK marketers say that their campaigns are delayed. 62% of UK marketers are delaying or reviewing spend. [inaudible] Isn't it? Yes, I saw that as well. Martin weekend Econsultancy and yeah, I mean we're seeing you know, Jon Lewis had pulled their entire spring campaign marks, expenses of Cutler spend. And I suppose what it leads to is that sort of big question is does marketing spent actually, you know, if you cut it, does it cost more jobs in the medium term and it saves in the short term. That's the big debate, isn't it? Yeah, yeah, exactly. That is the big debate.
Alan Thorpe (15:45):
I was also making a point rather obliquely that I copied these stats that you have cited correctly as Econsultancy from the brilliant white paper that you guys have written called brands that when during a recession which I found really fascinating and really useful actually and very inspiring. So we'll put a link to that in the chat and we'll also send that out in the email follow up. But you were talking about Jon Lewis, they're an M and X pulling their spring campaign or massively delaying their spend. When we were speaking earlier in the week, you were saying that actually given what's going on Jon Lewis, that might be like a really clever play. Not simply a terrifying reaction, but I think, I mean Jon Dewey's got interesting case point cause they, one of the few businesses, so you've consistently invested in brand marketing. The job knows Christmas ad.
Alan Thorpe (16:37):
Everybody remembers that, don't they? Who is it dinosaur this year, wasn't it? They and of course in the case they built a strong brand position and Jon Lewis online is still open now. I'd recommend it. They're absolutely coining it at the moment. I mean I've talked about you, but there must be, I'm sure all of us have had the experience so far of trying to water something online right now. I try to it's just impossible isn't it? I haven't gotten into gas plants. We talked about this the other day, didn't we? And it possible sad old men. What things talk about the I was, I tried to order something from, to Kathleen as well and you know, needless to say, completely round. So actually from, in their particular case, because they've already invested so much in brand and they've got a good online solution, it might not be so bad for them, for others, for them, but for others, I think, you know, the question becomes, should I be making that spend right now and how do I persuade my FD that it might be a sensible thing to do, which leads us nicely on to well no, I mean I don't think it's a simple yes or no decision as to whether you actually all let someone said they've got some tomato plants to me, if I can pop around, which I would love to, but I can't the so just to, to, if I could pull tug that thread a little bit, Pete.
Alan Thorpe (18:05):
We, there is a massive shortage of them online. They're very difficult to get those like gold dust. Someone tried to sell me a tomato pond on the street outside yesterday for 20 pounds and it was a nine inch. So you could be a rich man depending on how many tomato plants you have. And definitely if they are I can't remember which English garden variety is, you could, you could be fabulously wealthy. I would recommend bending this call at once and setting up a website. I mean, but yeah, the big question is, does cutting market spend actually cost more jobs as I said earlier in the medium term and it saves in the short term. So actually you know, it's not a yes or no decision. Dee Dee instinctive reaction is to save discretionary spend. And that's the thing we're seeing with, you know, 60% of UK marketers delaying or viewing spent.
Alan Thorpe (18:55):
But I, I'd actually, you know, if we go back to history, that's a great place to see whether that's the right thing to do. So back in, for example, in 2008, Virgin Atlantic remember 2008, the, the big crash virtually antic took a double hit there. Oil prices all prices Rose, passenger numbers fell. They didn't cut marketing. What they did was decided, you know what, we're going to run a 25th anniversary campaign. Still red hot campaign produced 20% increase in revenue or an ROI of 10 pound 58 for every pound invested. So for them, huge, huge bonus because they did that. So, so, you know, not, it's a very, very branded campaign which we'll talk a bit more about. So the first thing is look at history and decide whether it's the right thing to do. The second thing is actually if you're talking to the FDA to get that sort of home run with the FD is accelerated activities which can radically improve efficiency.
Alan Thorpe (20:02):
So we're seeing an upswing at the moment from clients who are particularly on the sort of execution side of our business. The more print and creative production side of things where people are coming to us and saying, how can we consolidate our spend with you rather than with so many different suppliers so we can reduce all that aggravation we've got of, of actually dealing with all that, all those different suppliers and reduce spends and actually case, you know, most cases typically consolidation. The print management side of it, we're seeing sort of 20 to 30% cost savings. So there's still marketing, but it's just doing it better than me and actually it gets a brand message out better as well because we're making sure that consistency is happening across different countries. So that's, that's the sort of accelerating the efficiency side of it.
Alan Thorpe (20:52):
And then I think then there's also that accelerating the activities that can prove effectiveness. So one of the effects of the pandemic at the moment is it's beginning to, it's sort of, it's almost acting as a sort of rocket fuel under those longterm marketing changes, which we've been saying some time that building of the direct to consumer model, this become you know, something which has gradually undermined particularly retailers over the last few years and made it really difficult for them. So actually, you know, lockdown is sort of heavily nudging us all towards that position of wanting to make sure that we've got a first party database so we can still communicate with our, with our audiences and make sure that we still got a great online sales and servicing ability.
Jon Payne (21:40):
What do you mean by first party database? Is that the, I own it as the business rather than I'm kind of selling stuff through Facebook marketplace or something for instance, right? Example. And they, they own that data and I can't see it's anonymized by the time it makes it.
Alan Thorpe (21:55):
What does that mean? Well, I mean one of the one of the things that's always been, you know, I've learned over over sort of downturns not turns, is that, is that when things are, when you, when, when the business is good, no one really cares about looking after their existing customers. So at least not in the same way as they do when business isn't isn't as good. So when it, when you can't acquire new customers, think you want to do is really look after the customers that you've got. And so you can't really do that unless you've got a direct to communication channel with them. Yeah. So, so actually taking time to build up that direct to consumer database so that people come to you because they have a relationship with you is a really important thing to do. So that's an activity, which I'm sure I'm sure many FDS at the moment, those of you sort of like cursing themselves because they should have invested in a better online presence. They should have invested in a better single customer view, probably going to be more favorably inclined to say to you, you know what? We can't get caught out like this again. We ought to accelerate that kind of activity. And of course, you know, many had been afraid of it because of GDPR compliance, et cetera, et cetera. But it's still possible to do it. You know, there's something which, which we're certainly seeing another uptake in.
Jon Payne (23:10):
Yeah. Yeah. So and so I've made some notes here saying that the item, and I've missed item one because I was too busy trying to find a place to make notes that shows you my level of preparation. But w so what was your first point there? Cause we had accelerate activities that can improve efficiency and I think maybe consolidate it and spend is a really interesting one. But, but what was your first one?
Alan Thorpe (23:33):
Yeah, it's really just look at history, look at history and, and actually, you know, history says that actually you know, this is Virgin Atlantic basically, that basically it on face of it. It seems sensible to cut spend then actually shifting to more of a brand lit position and promoting, and I'll share some more stats on this in a minute. Actually gave them a bigger share of voice in the market and they didn't otherwise got for their money and they turned out to be winners.
Jon Payne (24:02):
Yeah. At a very tactical level, we're seeing like PPC being, you know, 50% of the cost it was across social channels and across search. Lots and lots of those, you know, for, for non e-commerce type stuff for that. So building some brand like that at a T a very tactical kind of particular level or as you say, that whole, almost the relaunch that the Virgin did have their brand back in 2008 when they, there was no money anyway and they really shouldn't have done it.
Alan Thorpe (24:34):
Yeah. I mean ultimately you've still got to have some means to, to actually deal with the orders if you do get the orders. I mean it's, it's about the brand building's about building demand for the future, but at the same time, you know, it's interesting you're saying, you mentioned about the online PPC side of it, Jon [inaudible] I, I coming down recently and that perhaps that's because you know, next opened their website couple of days ago for a few hours and had to shut it again because the demand is just so high. So many of us that actually, you know, spending on PPC is a saving that might be worth taking in some cases.
Jon Payne (25:09):
Yeah. Yeah. So look at, look at history and think about building your brand for the future. Accelerate activities that radically improve efficiency. Maybe consolidate with one supplier for example, and then accelerate activities that can improve effectiveness. Make sure your building and cleaning and, and staying in contact, relevant contact with that first party database. Build up your golden.
Alan Thorpe (25:35):
And actually, ironically, your microphone cut out when you say, yeah, silence. Silence isn't golden. I've, you know, during these times in fact we'd been talking about uncertainty. I mean, next study, Jon. So because you bring it up so beautifully, they go,
Jon Payne (25:51):
It's like you've done this before. [inaudible] Your thoughts about the uncertainty.
Alan Thorpe (25:56):
So I'd say I don't know if remember people remember the the saws outbreak, which was the previously threatened pandemic before this one and two. And it takes us to six, a European commission thought, why don't we commission a load of economists to produce a paper on the macro economic effects of a pandemic in Europe? And so they assumed that the pandemic would fall within one quarter, which is roughly speaking, you know, the sort of thing we're looking at. And in the main, at the moment, the outcome, the outcome was these economists, these learned economists predicted that the overall impact would be the European economic growth with four to 0.5% that year, which is, which is clearly nonsense, isn't it? I mean, you know, yesterday we heard suggestions of add up to a 35% one quarter falling UK GDP. And I used to, I used to know the a few times that the chief economist of extra SBC shackled days, Turner. And so I started out no longer with us, but he said to me, he says, well, I always tell my kids to you know, to tell our friends at school that I'm a tax inspector cause, cause, cause, cause actually, you know, economists a little better than astrologists in these situations. So actually I think what we can do, and it doesn't mean we accept that uncertainty. I think what we can do is look at longer term certainties for guidance. Yeah.
Jon Payne (27:22):
Any right that, that the, I love economy's a little bit at economists, a little better than astrologists right now. Cause you're right, it's absolutely unthinkable what's going on. It would be really nice if they did turn out to be right and we only suffered a 0.5% loss. It would.
Alan Thorpe (27:43):
But given, given that these highly paid people very upsetting are making money for old rope. So what, what what, what I've done is actually with Emiline chitin our head of strategy is we've turned to look at more more certain and more certain basis to decide what's likely to happen. And I don't know how many people are familiar with the work of Bennett and field. Probably lots of people, but I'm a bit in fields. Basically they analyze the submissions to the IPA Institute of practitioners and advertisers advertising awards effectiveness awards to understand trends in marketing effectiveness. And basically in recent years, what they've reported is that overrule marketing effectiveness is declining. And, and there's been this dramatic shift towards short term activation marketing rather than brand-building. So activation marketing, it says buy it now, it's 50% off. Or as Walmart recently put it, the pandemic has finally stopped the DFS sale.
Jon Payne (28:48):
Nothing else was going on.
Alan Thorpe (28:49):
Oh, I know, I know. So you know what they've long argued, this is two, six year longterm growth brands need to spend about 70% of their budget on brand-building, which is the more emotional stuff rather than the hard sell stuff. So that is the classic Jon Lewis Christmas advert and 30% on then activation marketing. But most of them ignored this and I have done for long term, which is actually quite dangerous in a downturn because you're not a destination the way that Jon Lewis says perhaps online. Yeah. And you know, brand building matters simply because of the way our brains work. I, I mean I again, I don't know how many people are familiar with the work of Daniel Cornerman. Here's the guy who did all the analysis, came up with that sort of system one and system two thinking where
Jon Payne (29:37):
It's a great book. That was the books. I can't remember what the book's called. It's just in system two. Right.
Alan Thorpe (29:42):
I can't remember the site of it. The system wants this too cause I lent it to my previous head of marketing in my last job and it came back contrast thinking fast, faster, slow. Thank you Rebecca Hopkins. They are, they, they are, it's quite a tough read actually. If I had to do a talk on it or in a number of books and I ended up doing a talk on just the first three chapters of that book because it was so dense but so full of brilliant bits. But if you remember what he found though was that basically system wants decisions at once where we can apply a mental shortcut and we don't have to think too much and we'd like those mental shortcuts because we're not great at thinking if we can avoid it. And that's the whole point of branding isn't it?
Alan Thorpe (30:31):
Because we look at this brand and we go like I trust that brand. I can buy that one. We bought Coke week buy Coke rather than Tesco's own cause we know it's going to be, well it's going to be Coke. In contrast, we absolutely hate those system two decisions. This is where we have to work out. Something's actually the right course of action that's hard. Now, you know, brand-building takes the friction out of decisions. And the one thing we do know is that during a downturn is that people become less adventurous. They look for more certainty. So actually in an uncertain times brand-building rather than activation. March is great because it helps you build that more certainty into it. So, you know, fetal failed recently you said let me just read this quick. The only sensible course, any advertiser who wants to maintain a presence through this recession is to be putting money into longterm brand-building because the role of that investment is for the recovery.
Alan Thorpe (31:25):
Not for now, no, sorry. I'm conscious that many of us will have had our budgets sliced and we're not thinking, we're not, we're not, we're not in the, we're not with them all in the business of Jon Lewis and doing dinosaurs. And all the rest of it. So it's worth remembering. This brand building can happen in many different ways. There's, there is the advertising and communications angle, but right now that removing process, Frick presses friction angles really powerful as well. I mean, Amazon has boomed since they introduced Amazon prime and overnight delivery. That's, that's the killer, isn't it? Why should I wait three days when I can have it tomorrow? Yes. So it's reverse looking at your competitors right now and see if you can find simple ways to remove process friction. That could be a few less clicks on your website. It could be a simpler, better messaging solution. So that's if they need to get through few, they can more quickly. But, or it could simply be trying to be useful. Helping people through thinking through what this is about and what the future's about. I mean, today, this webinar that we're running is classic brand building, isn't it? We're not asking for an order to damage enough money if we did get an old state. Thank you very much.
Jon Payne (32:43):
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Alan Thorpe (32:47):
I can't help you Jon. But, but, but you know, I, I think there are, there are lots and lots of ways we can all, we can run really helpful webinars once we go through these sorts of things. We can create papers that people could help think through how a business should respond and choose which options might be. Right. So it's about giving value without expectations. The way I'd sum it up, offering value without expectation or at least immediate expectations so that when times get a little bit better, your businesses in mind and you actually get on that list of being someone who might be a useful to talk to. Because actually just sitting back and waiting for times to improve soup fatal November you see, become forgotten.
Jon Payne (33:29):
And the, the thing about brand-building with a with the system, one thinking of kind of almost the shorthand that some people use is kind of the emotional thinking. You don't, you, you just kind of make the decision. It's not logic you don't think it through is if you're that if you've given without thinking you're going to get something back. Without immediate expectation, really loving love the way you speak. May I love the way you put sentences together. Wish I had that capability. I think probably the drugs and drink of my mid to twenties did put pipes that anyway, that's the problem.
Jon Payne (34:13):
But yeah, I think that's, that's a really useful thing to think about because as you say, it's not necessarily then that when they come to make a decision in future about a service or a product or where they're going to buy something, you're there, you're there immediately is the natural choice, right? Your brand is then immediately as the natural choice rather than them thinking, well, who, you know, you being part of that three or four different providers that they might go to to, to solve their problem or to, you know, buy the new safer or whatever it is they're doing.
Alan Thorpe (34:45):
When we're making purchase decisions, we try to lower the risk as much as possible. And so if we know an organization is trustworthy and they've offered value and showing them to be experts [inaudible] level of expertise during times without just doing a hard sell, just trust them. And why do you think when they, do you know what, that's a fair as a fair company to include on my list of potentials.
Jon Payne (35:10):
Yeah. Yeah. And the, and the beauty of, you know, to get really down in the weeds and ugly about the sales side of things is when you come back to that system on a two thing is system one override system number two. So if system two is saying, well, here's the three choices ah, but, but, but system one is saying, you know what, give me a noisy little monkey. They put out that webinar, they put out a series of webinars that were really helpful. I'd be on your system once. Not saying that it's just I trust noise about monkey and you've got these three other than we are enact in the example I'm using, we're more likely to get that inquiry in that business because, because system one, the autopsy, the automation overrules logical thinking, right? We're, we're lazy. I'm lazy. I work in marketing and say no completely. I mean, you know, it is a sad truth actually. As humans we are, we are [inaudible] otherwise we wouldn't have invented cars, the internet and everything else. But should we do about cheesy Jon, why don't we talk about opportunity on an I w but I would like you all say to remember who's in charge of this and it's me, it's my webinar. And I think if I'm not mistaken what I'd quite like to do is talk about, Oh yeah, let's talk about opportunity.
Jon Payne (36:30):
So what, so okay. We make it through. Yes. Assuming we do, we've done some of this stuff or maybe what, what happens and, but can you make me rich chAlange, can I be here?
Alan Thorpe (36:41):
Well, I'll try. They first thing is a lot of people were going like, well, emotionally is this the right time to be doing marketing even if it's positive marketing, which, which offers levels of stair and help through these things. Well, I mean there's been some research on this. In fact, Kantar published a research which they conducted June 14th, 23rd of March. So very recently they found that just 8% of consumers thought advertised should stop advertising in response to the pandemic. So 72% of consumers therefore assumed yes, but there's a big button that the big bar is, you have to be a little bit tactful in terms of how you do that advertising. I saw someone slung it off gap on LinkedIn in Bristol, funnily enough saying it's saying that, you know, now I don't want any more of your jeans cause this was like on day two of lockdown, you know, it was a bit distasteful.
Alan Thorpe (37:39):
Whereas you've seen the really smart people, I mean, there's a great example from Iceland. They were the first people to instead of traditional advertising immediately come out and say, you know what, we've set aside a couple of hours a week where older generation and people who are perhaps at more risk if this pandemic can come shopping, that's a great piece of brand emotional, human marketing. It's a bit of experiential in there, but they've really thought about it. They haven't just gone, they know they haven't done the old carer Catona thing. Mom's been to Iceland, they've thought it through a bit more. So, you know, so that's really important. And in fact are I, I mentioned [inaudible] our head of strategy. She sort of summarized three guiding principles really for anybody who wants to look at the opportunity at the moment for graduate. Nice. She, the first thing is that focus on your customers, and we've mentioned this before, you're assisting customers because they are bedrock and their continued loyalty will be critical to your recovery. You know, that confidence is going to change. Probably some of their spend decisions will be changed in particularly for things that are slightly discretionary. So actually it's all about delivering reassurance, utility and support now rather more than price promotions.
Jon Payne (39:04):
So we're not phoning them up or pinging them emails or sending them a direct Mio saying a 50% off right now because that's not necessarily where they are. Where they are is they want support and emotional reassurance.
Alan Thorpe (39:18):
Yes. I mean, you know, I think it's depends very much on your individual situation. So I don't want to give a blanket thing on that, but a general, a general principle is focus upon your customers and where they are now. I mean, they might, there might be some [inaudible] that actually money just come into it. I mean it was mentioned to you yesterday, car insurers have got this enormous windfall cause no one's out crushing their car. So be I, but we're all paying for the insurance. So the emotional thinking about your customers there might well be having back a bit of money because you know, from your mouth to God's ears, Alan though, how, there you go. There you go. Number two, no one wants to focus on your customers. Number two is don't abandon your existing marketing strategy but adapt it. I've got a lovely quote here from the whole business review.
Alan Thorpe (40:07):
This is an article I first read in 2009, which was published as they were looking at previous downturns, trying to find a way out of that one. Watch what they said was in past downturns, consumer goods companies that were able to increase their share of voice by maintaining or increasing their advertising spending captured market share for weak arrivals. What's more, they did it at lower costs from top with them when times were good on average increases in marketing spending during the recession. It boosted financial performance throughout the following years. In other words, the harder brands cut, the longer it will take for them to recover, which is a really, really nasty outcome for anybody who's just slashing their marketing budget right now. So, you know, actually they, that, that, that discussion and sharing that kind of thinking with the FD is really important because otherwise it could damage the recovery of the business and those all important jobs.
Alan Thorpe (41:08):
Finally to be honest, this is, this is what my biggest, the biggest truth in marketing likes Trump needs. I don't like using Trump anymore, but top Trump likes always Trump needs. So actually you know, but what people like changes during a downturn and actually it tends to be that people need to, we will begin to focus on more core. We tend to think about being more self aware. We tend to be more generous. We tend to be a bit more modest. We like a little bit of humor. We like a little bit spontaneity. I mean capsule. Tom, what a brilliant story. So, so you can see that, that actually he sitting the whole site guys to the moment. Exactly. Right. 12 million pounds raised because actually, you know, it's as I'm a chief innovation officer, assistant one said, all right, all the right brain features which characterize what is human, what humanity is about unless of the automated mechanistic type marketing. That's what brands need to be doing right now. So the opportunities are there that we need to still, we need to sort of just swing our focus a little bit more to be more human focused on our customers and actually, you know, then it's okay to continue marketing. No one's saying stop doing it. They just say, you know, don't try to sell us 50%. Send us 50% off your jeans right now. Yeah, yeah. So focus on your customers, your existing customers with just being less specific, they're not
Jon Payne (42:37):
Potential. Don't abandon your existing strategy cause you clearly had it there for a reason. Like play a dip and wants to hit me over a hammer with this over the head with a hammer, with that written on the front of the hammer. Don't abandon our existing strategy, strategy dome. So she really does. Thank you Claire.
Alan Thorpe (42:55):
She has underlining speech as well, doesn't she?
Jon Payne (42:59):
But, but as, as as events and search engine optimization and, and oddly enough, this is kind of an event. It's a bit virtual. And we're going to take this webinar, put it into a put it on our website. We're going to add some subtitles and a transcript. Google loves the transcript. Google love some subtitles. Normal individuals love subtitles as well. And that is going to give us some SEO so we haven't completely abandoned it, but I'm Claire's argument that I have run around like a headless chicken ever since I've been locked down probably would be a truism. So yeah, don't, don't abandon your existing strategy, adapt it. And then likes Trump needs. So think which kind of feeds back to that brand building, doesn't it? You're not desperately trying to sell someone something that you think they need or anything like that. But what you're trying to do is make sure that as their desires change during lockdown, your, they're in some way. And sometimes it's appropriate to to Mark it a bit harder, a bit, a bit more about selling particular items and other times it's better to reign back, is that right?
Alan Thorpe (44:10):
Yeah, a little bit of warmth goes a long way, particularly when the, when you know, spent decisions are more difficult to make and there's uncertainty. So, you know, people are naturally drawn to that. You know, when, when the economy is booming, you know yeah, absolutely grapple the customers, you can, I think many marketers do do that, but right this moment time, I, by the way, I'm not saying you shouldn't look for new customers during this time completely. We should but firstly, prioritize your existing customers, looking after them, making sure that they are, they are loyal to you. Yup. Yup. Cool. Cool. So I have bought up a question slide.
Jon Payne (44:52):
It's got your contact details on there, Alan, as well as mine. If anybody would like to follow us on various social channels find out more about us. And I'm sure if any, if people don't ask any questions in the chat, as sometimes happens, you'll be happy to answer any of them.
Alan Thorpe (45:11):
Twitter and LinkedIn and all of that. Yeah, of course. Of course. There's a couple of things that people might you know, and thanks ever so much for everybody who's been kind enough to lend us your, your, your, your ears today. If that's not a terrible, a rip off phrase, the I think we're allowed to call it a quote. We are, we are sent the paper that the [inaudible] I think players can distribute that. And actually if you look on the Indicia website, we are running a couple of webinars as well. And actually one of them is looking very specifically at the, the the chAlange of building that direct consumer database and how and how that, you know, different ways that that might be accomplished in the, in the quite tricky GDPR world we all live in.
Jon Payne (45:59):
Yeah. my old boss someone to who I, I, I a great debt for being able to [inaudible] for taking me on when I, I'll turn up for my interview at a job selling printers. We've dirty nails and looking like shit warmed up basically. Because I was a gardener and my mate said that I should get into sales. I didn't really want to be a sales person. And I got interviewed by Barry freakout and who's on this call and he had trained and the great burnt boulders I think was his name. Who was the head of sales for valvark, a German vacuum cleaner barrier. I hate to tell you it is not a Volvo work that I have that you've put, it's one of the questions. We we don't, we don't have a Volvo, but that is the only reason I can't remember what this other German vacuum cleaner is because Barry Fricker sowed the seed of Volvic being an amazing vacuum cleaner decades ago. We've got one question so far, which is what date is that webinar?
Alan Thorpe (47:10):
That's very good question. Now I believe one of my colleagues is just being kind enough to share the date of that webinar on the chat or at least linked to it. Blah blah blah. So yes, I think Leonard, he has just shared the re link there and you'll be able to see the one of the, I think it's, there's two webinars. That's
Jon Payne (47:30):
Why I'm hesitating cause one's on 23rd and one's on the 30th and I can't remember which one comes first. I'm afraid Jon. You know what? I don't know. We're all in lockdown Island. No one knows what fucking day it is. Wow. So that's really cool. I'll tell you what, we, we, we, I'm going to draw this to a close two things before we go. I said to you when we were setting this up, I wonder how much Tom will have raised. By the time we go live, it was 12 million quid this morning when we were talking. It's now 14.26, 4 million. Which is kind of amazing. I'm going to refresh that page. If it's gone over 14.3 and it has, I presume you can all see that. That's good. So well done Tom. I think that's lovely. And I'm going to share a final, I'm going to do it now, the Paul [inaudible] on that.
Jon Payne (48:27):
Ladies and gentlemen, before you leave we will follow up with an email for some resources with some resources. We will if you've got any questions and we haven't captured them in the chat so far, we will hit you up with an email or something like that. Like follow up for anybody that you know who wasn't able to make this do tell them that we will put this live in the next three or four days, probably we'll get it subtitled, make it a bit more accessible, stick it on the website and share it. But that's it Alan. I would like to thank you for your time and therefore I'm going to do just that. Thank you for your time. And preparation is always a delight speaking teammate. Just very concise as much for inviting me for the rest of the day.
Jon Payne (49:13):
What am I doing for the rest day? I think I have a Skype call in precisely five minutes, like another 37 people who are on this this webinar this afternoon. We're getting lots of people saying thank you in the chat. So I appreciate your time. We appreciate your making the time to come see us. Next week we're doing one on video for business. Sunjay is incredible. Please come along to that because he taught me everything I know about this. He didn't, he's amazing. We'll see you saying stay safe. Stay healthy. Bye bye everybody.
Founder and Technical Director of Noisy Little Monkey, Jon blogs about SEO and digital marketing strategy.
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