Strategic Marketing With Angelo Ponzi
46 min Angelo Ponzi
Angelo Ponzi has extensive, practical, hands-on experience in marketing, branding, advertising, research, and sales. He has worked in a multitude of industry segments and brand categories including B2B as well as B2C. Brands he has worked with include Unilever, Disney, Ketel One Vodka, Nestle Purina and many more.
In this episode Andrew talks to Angelo about Strategic Marketing.
Listen on your smart device or read the transcript below
So they never talked to a customer, they never talked to a consumer. I mean, to find out what they would think about that they never ran any focus groups or anything else. They just went full bore. Develop this product. And ultimately, there was a chink in that armor and it didn't work. And that happened so many times, right? We can, especially young entrepreneurs, they fall in love with their product or their service, and you can't tell them that it won't work. It's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, you know what? There's a lot of devices that sliced bread. So why is yours any different? And why should I buy yours? Especially in the tech world where we think every tech new tech that comes to market is going to be the next billion dollar company? And not necessarily, if you don't market it right or you don't understand your customers and how they're going to utilize that product, or if you're trying to unseat a competition, a competitor. I mean, if you're the number five into the marketplace, it's it's very different than if you're number one. And so again, all those become strategic issues that you have to deal with.Angelo Tweet
Hi, hi, hi. Welcome back to the client side podcast with me, Andrew Armitage. Good to have you with me again, and I hope you're
doing well. I can't believe it. We've almost made it. This will be the last podcast that we release in 2021. Another year has flown by
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You can also learn more about A digital by heading across to adigital.agency where you'll find not only back episodes of the Client
Side podcast, but a flavor of some of the work we've done through the year as well. So back to today's episode and as usual on the
podcast this week I'm joined by a special guest who's here to share their marketing experience and advice to help you grow your
business and maximize the returns from your marketing activities. Angelo Ponzi is a fractional chief marketing officer and has
worked with a hugely impressive list of global clients that includes SBC Global (now AT&T), Ericsson, Nestle, Purina, ExxonMobil,
Unilever, Disney, Western Digital, just to name a few. He has over 25 years experience in sales, marketing, branding and strategic
planning for businesses across multiple sectors, including B2B and B2C markets. Angelo is the founder of Kraft Marketing Architects.
Over in California, has been a keynote speaker for the American Marketing Association and several other universities and business
organizations across the U.S.. So, Angelo? Welcome to the Client Side podcast.
Thank you so much. I'm glad to be here.
So, Angelo, just let's kick off by giving a little bit of an introduction to our listeners. Tell people a little bit about what you do and your
background. What led to craft marketing architects?
Sure. Well, it's a long history, so I won't go back that far. But I spent about 65% of my career in the agency business, worked for
some local firms, national firms, international firms and had the opportunity at one point in time to grow my own agency, which I sold
and then worked for another large independent. The rest of the time is either been as on the C Suite side, working for corporations,
everything from director of sales and marketing on up to Chief Strategy Officer. So this is my third venture as an independent owner
and I started this in 2014 and it's actually morphed several times. Originally started as a firm called Strategic Market Intelligence,
which very focused very much on market research. Then just because of the requests we got, we morphed into the Ponzi Group,
which was actually the original name of my agency years ago. And then a more recently, we we morphed into craft marketing
architects. The idea behind the marketing architects is we focus on the strategic and analytical side of marketing. It's a fact based
approach. We use market research to help identify the needs of the marketplace customers, the prospects. We leverage all that and
creating brand and positioning and messaging, and we work on long term strategic plans. So where do you want to be in three
years? How are we going to get there? Then, as architects were building the blueprints and I'm going to keep with that theme, we turn
ourselves into general contractors and then we bring in teams to help build that blueprint, if you will. And that could be anything. And
so depending on what the nature of the plan was, will determine who we bring in to help execute. Then we stay on, we manage it, stay
on plan, on budget, on time and on strategy is the way we like to position things.
Great. I'm a big fan of the building analogy as well, actually. Yeah, I think it's it can be difficult sometimes when you don't have a
physical product to sort of explain the process and some of the considerations that need to be made as you go through that process,
and I've always liked the building analogy because I think it's something that a lot of people can very easily recognize. You know, if
you if you want an all singing, all dancing website, you've got to put the plans in place. You know, I often talk about having a
bungalow, a single storey house versus a multi-story property. You can't put the roof on and then decide that actually you should
have had floors two and three on top of that. And that's that's generally something that people can quite easily understand. Is that
something you found with with using that analogy?
Well, you know, it's interesting. I belong to this networking group and I'm in my third year there, and I remember the first time I went
into a meeting, there was 40 people in the room. And by the time it got to me to introduce myself, seven other people use the word
marketing and branding, and I was like, "Well, how do I separate myself?" Because most of those people in the room think that way.
They think tactics, they think websites, they think digital marketing, they don't think about the strategic side. And so it took a little
while to kind of figure that out. And to your point, it was in a conversation with somebody and I was trying to explain what we do that I
don't really care about the technical stuff. I really care about the strategic. The tactical stuff will shape out. And somebody says, Oh,
you're like an architect. And I went, There it is. And so we, you know, we grab that idea. Then we really changed it up and came up
with our positioning the way we approach things. And and it's very easy for people to understand now and to help separate me from
the kind of the tacticians, if you will, because so many folks, when they have conversations, initially they, you know, we need a
website, we need digital campaign, we need a PR press release. And it's like, well, before we do all those, let's figure out why you
need to do all those. Let's figure out your market, let's figure out your audience, what's relevant to them. So when we do messaging,
we can speak to their needs, not basically pound our chests and say how great we are. And a lot of organizations tend to talk about
all the wonderful things they have, but don't really talk about the value that the client receives by using their services. And so that's a
lot of times when we get involved at helping to change from a company centric or product centric approach to a customer centric
Yeah. And I think a lot of that comes down to and obviously people don't know what they don't know. But I think a lot of people come
to agencies with an answer to the problem. So, oh, we need an ad campaign, we need an app, we need to do a website. And they
might be right. But actually, when you take that step back, it might be that there's actually a handful of things that need to come into
that mix because just by doing one of those things, just by setting up an ad campaign and putting a couple of thousand dollars
towards it, potentially that's not necessarily going to solve what the real problem happens to be, which in some cases might have just
been glossed over because of the need to create the ad campaign or the perceived belief to create an ad campaign.
Yeah. Well, I find that in the process that we use and understanding the market, understanding the competition, we go kind of like a
deconstruction process where we deconstruct the competition, but we also talk to customers and we take these pieces and having a
better understanding of what's the competition saying, what are you currently saying? But more importantly, what's the needs and
wants of the audience and how do we differentiate ourselves from somebody else utilizing the tools, if you will, that we have or the
things that we can capitalize on? And what are the true differentiators? You know, we have really good people, is not a true
differentiator because I can go steal your people and now I've got your really good people, right? And so doing that process really
helps define everything else and to be very focused. And but from a marketing standpoint and in a way, I approach it and what I do is
to dig into the data. I had a client. I now sit on their board but had a client for several years, and we spent the first six months of our
relationship just digging internally into their data. So doing research in a sense, but we're really mining what they had, we found out a
few things. But one of them, for example, was that they had closed their record for 20 years was they could close 30% of every PO
that they got. Which is pretty good. Now the question is you got a $100000 POS is not going to do a whole lot of good versus
Right? And so but we understood what the closing ratio was, then we could really dig down into the vertical markets that they were
really servicing. Then we looked at the renewal rates, how many customers keep coming back and but but during that process, we
discovered that somebody will make a purchase, let's say, in 2021. They won't make another big purchase again until 2025. That's
the cycle every three to four years. Well, you can't count on that person to get to that hundred thousand. Next year, they're going to
maybe add ten thousand or fifteen thousand because they got some retrofits. So that means you've got to go out and find new
clients. So we were able to piece all this stuff together to really map out how we could get to their financial goals over the next three to
five years. And what was renewal versus acquire? And then we also look at recapture you lost some business. Can we get any of it
back? And so we kind of look at this formula of how to make that happen. And then and then all the other things, you know, marketing
gets involved with. We were going to grow across the country. Well, now we needed warehousing space. Where does that go?
Where are the potential prospects? So to me, that's marketing not I need a website.
Yeah, yeah. And part of that problem definition will materialize from going through the data. And of course, there is so much data to
collect. Now we've got data left, right and center, so much of it to hand. I think for for many people, the biggest problem is identifying
which data they should be looking at is that is that what you generally find?
Yeah, well, I find that people tend to look at data at they're like annual meetings, it's not an ongoing and I'm a firm believer that your
competitive program should be ongoing, that your data gathering should be ongoing, why? Because things shift. Your competition
puts out a press release they just gave you. In fact I had a client that was talking about a press release the other day, and they were
telling me about all the things they were going to list. And I said, You're basically handing our plan to our competition. So no, we're
not going to do that and to get the enthusiasm, we want to tell the world what we've done. Yeah, no, we don't. We want to give them
bits and pieces and we can be very focused. So research has changed. I mean, you know, in our kind of pre-show talk, you know,
first thing everybody does and I tell them to go to Google, type it and start looking. And there's a lot of information. But the information
that exists on Google or any of the search is is historical. Right? It doesn't necessarily specifically answer your question. It might get
you around it. It might give you some thoughts, but it doesn't answer your specific question. And the other thing too, is I always tell
companies and doing secondary research is you've got to know where it came from. Now, if I tell you, I see this chart and I use charts
from Gartner and McKinsey and all of them, well, it's pretty reputable. But if I tell you I'm using this market segmentation from Bob's
really good research company, who's Bob? I don't know where you read an article and you go, Wow, this is really great stuff. Go read
about the methodology because the methodology might be off.
Yeah, that's that's what's going to determine the value, isn't it?
Yeah. Sometimes you'll see, you know, 47%, well, they only talk to 25 people. You can't project off of those kinds of numbers. So
secondary research is very valuable and we do use it and it gives us indicators. It's observational to me to maybe how to go out and
do a quantitative study, which now gives you something that's statistically predictable and you can also do predictive modeling and
those kinds of things. And and those are really, really valuable. In your strategic approach, and if you don't mind, I'd like a quick story.
So during the pandemic, you had a guy come to me and say, Hey, we've got this idea for a new product. People are grocery
shopping and they're in the produce section and now people are touching the apples, if you will. And now you're grabbing a bag that's
also been touched by that person just before you. And so there was a concern of how people would change their shopping habits
post-pandemic. So we did a quantitative study where we went out. We surveyed, I think it was a thousand people about their
shopping habits pre-COVID during COVID and their projections after COVID.
And so we were able to understand their concerns and how we could approach them to change whether this product idea would be
valuable or not. We introduced them to that and so we could see how we could market and whether it was number 1)Was there a
market for this product, number 2), if they decided to launch how we would market to consumers and how we would approach them?
But it was all, you know, the data was very projectable and matter of fact, we did a predictive model on it. We could even drill down to
who is the likely person where they lived in the United States, for example, you know, and all the details that went around with them.
So we could get very highly targeted and we could do predicting, projecting, if you will, off what we thought the return would be
couldn't do that if we did secondary research. You know, you're dependent on somebody else doing it and answering the question
that is probably not exactly the one you're looking for.
Yeah, sure. And is there an equal balance between qualitative and quantitative research is the one that I mean, because it's dead
easy to go and look at stats in Google Analytics or your email marketing platform or whatever else. You know it could be your CRM
where you're looking at sort of sales, conversions and things like that. So we've got lots of quantitative data. Is there a lack of
qualitative data that companies are using because it's a little bit harder to obtain?
I think, I think one of the problems is it comes down to, well, if I go and do Google searches or if I even look at my internal data, it
doesn't really cost me any money.
As soon as I start to hire somebody, if you will, to go out and do interview customer interviews, which surprisingly I've done in the last
three years, I've done a ton. I mean, I'm talking every month. I have customer interviews going on. So that's qualitative in nature. We
have a, you know, a structured format, but we're able to glean insights that can help shape, right? So I always recommend we talk to
customers as opposed to talking to yourself in the boardroom and coming up with, Yeah, this is what we think or the salespeople are
telling you what the customers want. Sometimes that might be a little filtered based on their sales efforts. And so we want to have
unbiased conversations and honest conversations. They always yield some value. So there is a combination when you get into, you
know, again B2B, B2C. If you're going to talk to business owners and manufacturing, you know, maybe you're going to talk to about
300 of them to get you the data you need based on the entire ecosystem, if you will. You would talk to consumer now you're talking
six hundred and seven hundred a thousand people cost is usually a lot less, but you're still dealing with with a different kind of
structure. So I find that mining the data, which also a lot of companies don't do very well. Case in point, new client of mine putting
together a presentation for them for a quarterly review and after listening to some meetings and seeing some things come up, I
started asking a lot of questions. They had a treasure trove of information and nobody was using it.
It's been left on a shelf somewhere.
Yeah. Well, was this left online? Nobody actually went in, but somebody was documenting some things which led me to believe there
was this data. So we know what the theme should be. We know where people are. I mean, I literally know where every one of our
prospects are in the United States because the data existed, but nobody ever actually pulled it out. So again, that's why I say you had
to look at internal data and really understand it and dissect it. And a lot of times it's time consuming, right? And sometimes that gets
relegated to, you know, a lower level employee that may or may not really understand it.
So there is a balance. There is a balance.
Yeah. And it's interesting you talking about it just coming out for for presentations and things like that, you know, if that's happening
once a year or perhaps once a quarter, like you say, there's huge gaps in the time frame there isn't there. Really the way data is
collected now, particularly with digital. It's something that should be measured on an ongoing basis because it can. The trends can
change from one month to the next, particularly around major world events like a pandemic or even just news entries, news articles
that might talk about new variants that come out around the pandemic that can change people's sort of behaviors and habits
particularly quickly. So, so I think, you know, there has to be, is there a role really that needs to manage these? I mean, some
companies, the largest companies will have a chief data officer, but smaller companies clearly won't have that kind of role. So how do
they get themselves to a position where they're able not only to analyze the data, but interpret it on an ongoing basis?
Well, that's that is the that is also a key, right? How you interpret the data. If you and I both looked at the same set of data, we might
interpret it differently. But ultimately, research is meant to provide information to senior management to make quote-unquote
"intelligent decisions". And so but but there is a there is a cadence to it, and you made a very good point. You know, what happens
today could very well change the way we think tomorrow. And so if you're not watching it, if you're not looking at the competition, if
you're not seeing what they're putting out from a press release standpoint or how their messaging changed working with a client, I'll
say what? What websites do you really like? And they went to one of their vendors and they went, Oh my God, they changed it. Well
they hadn't been paying attention. And now all of a sudden, what their vendor was saying wasn't supporting what they were doing.
And so, we know now there's a scramble, so you have to look at that kind of ecosystem and where you play, especially if you look at
you're going to grow into new markets and those kinds of things. So yeah, I have like I said, I wrote an e-book one time on
establishing a competitive intelligence program. I believe it's an ongoing activity and not just gathering the data, but utilizing the data
as I was showing the example before. But yeah, it's there is a whether it's a data officer or a business analyst or somebody who's
constantly looking at that is really, really important. And you know, frankly, you know, one of the things we do with our clients, we kind
of take on some of that role because they don't think about it. They're busy running the day to day, right? We working in the business,
not on the business. We tend to work on the business for them while they're working in the business.
Sure! Let's take an example, someone comes along to you, you're able to do some of that research, you're able to gather that data
and work through it. How do you then move forward from that data into a strategy? What is the point that you tipped from going
through that analysis into saying, right well, this is the information that we take and we look we use to look forwards. That then starts
to develop all these things, like positioning and the roadmap and the goals that people are going to achieve. What's what's the flip
point at which you turn from that analysis into well, it is really positioning, isn't it, and utilizing that data to form the strategy?
Yeah. So, you know, we start off with a marketing assessment, if you will. It's a multipart in depth assessment tool that we have we
created that gives us an understanding of how the internal operations see themselves and work. And part of it is about brand
alignment and messaging alignment. I mean, everything from onboarding and all sorts of other tools, we tend to look at the audience
both internally and externally. We look at product, we look at perception they have about the market and about their customers
perception of them. We look at leverage ability. What do we have that we can really leverage in the marketplace engagement? What
kind of engagement do they have going on? And then ultimately, what strategies from marketing or sales or things like that? From
there, we tend to look at customer interviews, so we're talking to the customers. We're also doing competitive analysis and then we're
also doing a more in-depth interviews with internal people. So we take all of that to help us shape the next, which is really about
messaging and positioning. And when I talk about brand, people start seeing graphics that we don't do any graphics, right, it's all
about words and how are we going to do that.
We tend to tell the story, what's the story that you're trying to tell? How do we nurture your customers along? And then from the other
side is the strategic plan. So you want to be forever. I mean, sometimes we go, I'm a $3 Million company and I want to be 50 million in
three years. Number one, you know, you're 30 years old, you haven't got to 50 million before. So I'm not sure what we're going to do
it in three years. But OK, hopefully you have deep pockets, but you know, then we can figure that out and start to look at strategically.
Are we going, can we get more out of the existing products that you have in the current markets? Do we need to introduce new
products or do we need to diversify into brand new markets? And if we do, then who are the competitors? And so again, laying that
roadmap and building that blueprint as we is we talked about becomes essential and figuring out what kind of information you need
and how often you need it and how you can move forward.
And by leading on that data, leading on the research leading on your audience, you are coming up with a completely customer
centric strategy. Something that's very focused around the customer is, I think a lot of companies can they fall into this trap of it's
about us. This is what we want to do. We want that turnover figure. We want to achieve this. We want to achieve the other. But
actually, those things don't happen unless it's your customer base that help you on that journey. It's the customers that ultimately get
you to that point.
Yeah, no, absolutely. It's, you know, there's not a one size fits all and there's no silver bullet, right? One thing is not going to solve it
all. And if I'm marketing to you. I'm going to probably say things very differently than if I'm marketing just to bob over there. Why?
Because you have different markets, you have different needs. And so I have to understand what's important to you and how you
how to make an emotional, you know, ultimately, we talk business. Business to business to consumers. We talk about making an
emotional connection, but we also do the same and B2B right. We have to understand that the person that's either utilizing the
service or product or the one that made the decision to do it also has to feel some kind of emotional connection. And that could be as
simply as I'm not going to sweat it every day because I know I made the right decision. I'm not going to get fired. Right. And so
understanding whatever those motivations happen to be in that process can really help differentiate your messaging because again,
it's it's what's important to you and and in making sure that what you're saying is relevant to everybody.
Go back to a one of my clients in the Christmas business. So they sold to malls, if you will, entertainment centres. And in their
messaging when I first started working with them was our products are great. They'll withstand the weather. They're durable. They'll
last for three or four years and blah blah blah. And I looked at them and I went this is great. These are all reasons to believe, but I
could care less. What you want to tell your customers is you're going to help create memories for their customers. Right, the mall
people want to know that I'm going to go to XYZ Mall every Christmas because I want to bring my family and take pictures and create
a memory. That's what you're doing for them. Yes, your product is going to be all that other stuff, but at the end of the day, you're
helping to create memories. That's a different take when you're talking to and trying to get somebody involved. Now we've got an
emotional connection, right? Hey, I got a family. I want to do this. Those kinds of things. So it's again looking at a perspective that
what's the value that your customer or their customers customers get by utilizing your products or services? And the other thing too, I
think that we're coming out of this, this I'm not sure we're coming out of the pandemic because with all these new variants right.
We've got to hope.
Yeah, we've got to hope. But I tell clients and they'll say, Yeah, we're getting back on track. You know, we got supply chain issues
and all sorts of other things that are impacting, I said, but if we don't talk to your customers, do we understand how the pandemic
impacted them because it may have impacted them where they're no longer an option as a customer for you? You just can't go back
and assume you got your stuff together and now their stuffs together, right? So. So by going out and talking to your customers and
understanding how, again, the pandemic and supply chain issues and things have impacted them, you have a better understanding
of how to market or whether you need to open up new markets or do other things or discount or whatever it happens to be, you know,
supply chain issues here in the U.S., are having a drastic impact on on lots of different things. I have a client who is having to tell their
customers instead of getting the product in 30 days. Now it's six months.
Yeah, I mean, we're seeing similar things here in the U.K.
Well, now that opens the door for a competitor, right? So there's all those are things you have to think through. And that to me, that's
marketing not just sales and not just operations. They have to work together, and I am a firm believer that that we don't work in silos,
that operations and sales and marketing and finance and manufacturing all have to, you know, are all pieces of the same puzzle and
they have to all work together.
And I think, you know, earlier you were talking of that distinction between B2B and B2C. I don't feel that exists as much anymore. I
mean, we're all human. We're all wanting to achieve a particular goal, solve a particular problem, put our head on the pillow at night
and either feel that that job is done or we're not going to get fired the next day.
Yeah, well, you're right. I mean that there was a time when you had a very different approach to B2B and a very different approach to
B2C, and that and you're correct, that has really kind of gone away in a sense. But from a research standpoint, it's how many
numbers, you know, there's only so many manufacturers that maybe you're selling your widget to. So your universe that you need to
do from a predictability standpoint and a level of confidence very different than if I'm trying to reach consumers in the U.S. and there's
millions of them. So it's that kind of stuff. But the approaches have not changed. I think one of the misnomers, especially in the B2B
world, is you've got to be on every social channel that exists, you know, I was telling the client you sell $100,00 widgets. I don't think
you need to be on Instagram. It's just not a place for you, you know, but somebody else is whispering in their ear. Maybe it's their kid
or somebody else is telling them, you've got to be on Instagram, you know? And so understanding the channels,and that gets back
to understanding the journey of your customers, how they consume information, if you're, I was talking to someone the other day and
I said, who's your audience? They go the typical audience about average age about thirty five, for example. I said, Are you doing
videos? Yes, great. Somebody else, if your audience is whatever, six, fifty five, 60 plus, you know, some of them still want white
papers and want to download and touch it and feel it right. So again, understanding not only the types of content, but how they like to
consume content and how do you deliver that along the way?
And of course, all that comes out of that research that you're doing up front, that feeds into all of that because, you know, content is
expensive to create. It's particularly, you know, if you're selling $100000 widgets, I imagine, you know, you're not just going to create
one side of A4 that's going to sell that product. So the content, be it video, written, your email, all of those things sort of come
together, but that content takes time to create that has a cost to it. So you need to make sure you're making the right investment,
Yeah. That's great point. All boils down to dollars. You have the money to invest to make it happen.
And so being strategic about that from an executional standpoint becomes important. Having a video is great but if the video is more
ego driven than, you know, going to drive revenue or educate, right, depending on where you're at in the funnel becomes, you know,
an understanding of what are the tools that you need. And sometimes, you know, email is still great. I know a lot of people put it cross
on it and had it buried in the local cemetery. But it's really not just like I tried to bury television commercials years ago, right?
The television commercial is dead. No, it's not. It's it's thriving, but it's back to that integrated approach and understanding. We just
have more channels to deal with, right? There's just more opportunities to expose that content.
Here's a potentially tricky question, how much is enough research, what's the indicator that tells you that you've done enough
Yeah, for me, it's it's having a variety of inputs. You know, in an ideal world, I worked in the wine industry for a long time and some of
my clients, we did quarterly benchmarks. So every 90 days we were in the field doing research because we were looking at
consumption patterns. We were looking at volumetrics. We are looking at where they were shopping, what their perceptions were of
the brand. So that created a demand to be doing something all the time versus others. You might do something once or twice a year.
From a big study standpoint, I still believe all the other stuff should go on. I don't think there's ever too much, but it's about setting the
plan to gather the information, right? Garbage in, garbage out. If you don't think through what you're trying to accomplish. Like, like,
I'll get thesee, Hey, I want to ask them whatever I call them nice to know questions. And my point is, who cares? I mean, that's an
ego question. You want to know that they love you, so to speak. I don't really care if it doesn't move the needle. So to me, every
question has to yield some kind of an action that can happen. And then ultimately, you want to know, was that the right action? And
then there are so many studies of companies that have not taken the time to do the proper research, I'll call it. And again, based on
your nature of your business, if you're a hotel and you're trying to judge the types of audience you're bringing in, where they are or
what their amenities are. I mean, that's ongoing stuff, right? You're constantly getting asked questions versus if you're industrial
manufacturer, you probably don't need to do as much and as often from a quantitative standpoint.
But I do believe the other stuff I just finished qualitative customer interviews for a client. They are 70 years old and it was the first time
they ever did it. Right, and but what we some of the things we learned, they were suspect, but they didn't have facts. And now we've
got some insights to say we need to make some strategic changes because your audience is changing. For example, client a few
years ago doing the same thing and and I came back and I said, Well, you got. They love Becky, who is the customer service person,
but they don't know you anymore. They go, Oh no, they love us like they haven't talked to you in over a year. I'm the only person
they've talked to, and that's not good, so there are some problems. Matter of fact, you've got some issues you need to take care of. A
matter of fact, they have no idea that you've created all these new products and services because you've never told them. And the
answer to that, for example, was a road show, not advertising. They literally they only those are about 10 customers across the
country. So I literally put a road show together with all their products, and they went out for two weeks and saw every customer. And
managed to change the path that they were heading down just because so again, you can't go long time without talking and finding
out what's going on in the marketplace again. Different types of research are going to be different ways to approach it and the kinds of
answers that you're looking for.
Yeah, yeah. Ultimately, it comes down to defining and solving the right problem, doesn't it?
Yeah. Yeah. There's a a case study that I like to quote because I think it's I don't call it humorous, but it was back when Avatar came
out and 3-D. And all of a sudden it was Sony and Panasonic and Vizio were creating 3-D televisions, was a kind of race to the
market. And I like to say Vizio won, but I'm not sure what they want. Early adopters bought the television kind of started to take off. I
think it was less than five years later. There were. it was gone out of the market and 3-D televisions didn't really work. And ultimately,
in post research, they found that there was one simple reason why it didn't work. And that was consumers didn't want to wear 3D
glasses all the time to watch television.
Yeah, especially with a limited number of 3-D shows as well at the time.
Yeah, yeah. And so if you think about that, that would have been a simple question to ask in the case study that I read says that
actually was brought up in the board meeting and it was pushed aside that that was not a concern. So they never talked to a
customer, they never talked to a consumer. I mean, to find out what they would think about that they never ran any focus groups or
anything else. They just went full bore. Develop this product. And ultimately, there was a chink in that armor and it didn't work. And
that happened so many times, right? We can, especially young entrepreneurs, they fall in love with their product or their service, and
you can't tell them that it won't work. It's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, you know what? There's a lot of devices that
sliced bread. So why is yours any different? And why should I buy yours? Especially in the tech world where we think every tech new
tech that comes to market is going to be the next billion dollar company? And not necessarily, if you don't market it right or you don't
understand your customers and how they're going to utilize that product, or if you're trying to unseat a competition, a competitor. I
mean, if you're the number five into the marketplace, it's it's very different than if you're number one. And so again, all those become
strategic issues that you have to deal with.
Yeah. And really interesting example there because I guess. You know, from my own point of view, people aren't necessarily close to
consumer electronics, so they might have thought, right, well, I'll buy that TV without 3-D TV, perhaps over the course of the next two
or three years. Maybe they don't feel in some ways. Maybe conned isn't quite the right word, but they don't feel conned into having
bought a 3-D TV because it was the big thing. They kind of see it. Oh, well, the trend didn't quite work out. They don't see it as the
manufacture led them down a path that has meant they've got to replace that TV within a few short years. So I guess ultimately the
judgment there comes around, you know, do we make the investment from a brand point of view and accept that this might not work?
Or do we really want to have a relationship with our customers where they feel they've got confidence in our products and they're not
buying a product that flops a few years later, only to find they've got to buy another one? So I guess like a lot of these situation, it it
can depend whether the data works or not, whether the data tells the truth. Companies can still make that choice as to whether they
follow it, accept it and go a different direction.
Yeah, well, you know, that's a that's a great point. So I worked in the action sports industry for a long time. And so a big network, I
won't call them out by name decided that they wanted to launch an action sports TV show. And so they hired my group because I had
a company in the research, a research company in the sports industry. And so we interviewed a bunch of teenagers over the course
of a week and did focus groups. And then we said, your program won't work, and here's why. Yeah, they like this host, but you're not
doing this. You're not doing that. We gave them all the reasons why it wouldn't work. And so here in California, which is like the
hotbed of action sports, these folks were from New York and they came out and said, Oh, these kids don't know what they're talking
about. And so they totally ignored everything we told them and launched the show exactly the way they wanted to, and it was dead in
six months. It just never got the traction. Then they came back and on whether it was the same people or new group, but picked up
the research, redefine it and then launched another show that lasted for 15 years.
Which comes back to the adage which I remember first hearing a long time ago to assume makes an ass of you and me.
And that's where the value of that research comes in. Look, Angela, we are coming up on time just before we wrap up. If there is a
company that is thinking they're planning a campaign and they're thinking, well, maybe we ought to think about doing a little bit of
research. What's the top tip? What's the thing that they should start to do first? Where do they look for in terms of that research? Do
they do it in themselves? Do they do it internally? Do they have a look at, you know, an outside provider, somebody like yourself?
What's the best place to start when they when they realize we better do some research?
Sure. The problem I've I have found over the years internally having somebody do it is that person is probably doing another job,
They're not they're not the internal researcher, right? If they're not depending on the size of the organization. So it tends to be a
secondary thing. It's not what they do or necessarily how they know. So obviously, I'm a big believer in third party because.
That's why you're here.
Yeah but it takes it out of the organization to get it done.
Yeah, I suppose it takes any bias away as well actually
It does. I mean, we're very like when we do customer interviews, whoever is assigned to a set of customers, we don't change
interviewers, right? Because if I gave, if I have 10 and I interview five and then give you my other five, will you have a different
cadence in the way you do it and the way we gather information is already, no matter who the individual is, we had a bias into it.
I guess there's also a different emotional connection as well.
Yeah, and that's a great point. Third party people are very honest and direct, and that's the way we set it up. So I mean, I think from a
research standpoint, I would tell companies, I mean, certainly start with your secondary but very specific on what kind of question
you're trying to answer. I do believe in having conversations with customers and really digging into their perceptions and attitudes
and because it uncovers whether it's about a glitch in the product or a customer service issue, or the fact that they've never talked to
you in a year, that I recommend being a third party of some kind. Quantitative studies If you don't have the skill set to do a
quantitative study, then I always recommend going outside for somebody like that. I recommend panel data if you can do it, because
then you've got people that are already agreed to do research so the costs go down. And then internally, it's understanding the data
that you have and how to read that data. And what is that data? Like I said, we mined my client for 6 months and we found out that
the closing cycles we found where their revenue, their renewals were, so we could really structure it down on what we needed to
acquire because we already knew it what we already knew. So all that just took time, and I think that's a great place to start. And
again, depending on what you're trying, you're going to launch a new product. You got to probably got the marketplace figure out if
there's a place for it, and some of that's about competition. And so I think there's a combination of both
Really fascinating to talk about, you know, the value and the reasons for doing that kind of research, understanding the data that that
can come back out of it and the directions that can take you. And ultimately, it gives you a choice. It gives you an informed choice.
Yeah, well said.
So thank you, Angelo, for taking the time. Appreciate an early start for you over in California. Before we do wrap up, just give our
listeners details of where they can follow up with you online. Where can they find you if anybody does want to get in touch?
Sure. So LinkedIn is the best place. I'm always happy to connect with folks. From Craft Marketing Architects is my new website. So
craftmarketingarchitects.com, a lot of information up there and kind of the processes we go through and things like that. Those are in
email and everything else. So those are those are the places to start, and I appreciate the opportunity to be on your show and to
pontificate a little bit here on research and strategic work.
So that was a slightly longer episode than usual, but lots of great talking points and examples that Angelo shared. So my thanks for
him for joining me today. Something which we didn't actually touch on was that while all this data collection and market research
helps with decision making and strategic planning, there's something else it helps to do. And that's creating interesting content that
can be used in your marketing. Surveys and research papers are one of the most popular types of content because of that easy
access to secondary research that Angelo was talking about. So depending on the market you operate in and your audience, that
research can have a double benefit of not only supporting decisions but also attracting new or existing audiences. If your research is
well documented and follows established processes, then there can also be a significant credibility element to support your brand as
well. So that's it. That's a wrap on 2021 for the client side podcast. We've added another 12 episodes to the catalog through the year,
covering email, marketing website performance, translating your content, accessible audio, YouTube and managing your systems
and processes. So you'll find all of these episodes along with those from previous seasons by going to adigital.agency/podcast where
we've now almost 40 back episodes, all with show notes and written transcripts.
Don't forget if you're interested in grabbing yourself a free copy of my book holistic website planning to support your website plans for
2022, then head across to Apple Podcasts and leave us that five star rating and the written review. And then just drop your details to
firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to win one of the five copies of the book that we're giving away. Let me know where you are in
the world and that can be winging its way across to you in the next couple of weeks. So thank you for joining me again and for all your
support through the year. I wish you and your families a fantastic Christmas break. The very best wishes for 2022 and I'll be back
with the next series of the Client Side podcast in a couple of months time when I hope you'll be able to join me then. So until then,
have a great holiday season. Stay safe. Cheers.
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