Did digital kill the marketing star?
Offshore Kea member Richard Bleasdale is a veteran of the marketing world, he’s spent his career working with both brands and marketing agencies across South East Asia fixing some of their biggest marketing challenges – he thinks the rise of digital has a lot to answer for and not necessarily in a good way.
The explosion of digital has undoubtedly changed the landscape of marketing. However for veteran marketer Richard Bleasdale it’s been a double edged sword.
“While there have been benefits, I think what digital has done to a large extent, is enabled and driven a massive focus on efficiency and cost cutting which has resulted in a lot of short term thinking and weirdly also a lot of siloed behaviour. It’s allowed for everyone to be a little master of their own destiny and has in turn driven a lot of disintegration in the marketing world.”
Richard has worked in marketing for thirty years and says it’s time marketers started thinking less about efficiency and more about effectiveness.
“It’s a subtle but important difference. I think the job of marketing is growth. That’s why you market. The focus isn’t about saving money, it’s about getting the best return from the money you spend. There is no doubt that across the last 10-15 years marketing spend has become less and less effective.”
Richard says the problem has been highlighted by a global pandemic which no one could have predicted but which has left a lot of businesses scrambling.
“We’ve got a cohort of marketers that have been coming through for the last 10-15 years that are so focused on short term marketing and efficiency, now in the midst of a pandemic marketing has to be about growth, but the problem is none of these marketers, through any fault of their own are set up to take the opportunity that is in front of them.”
He’s urging Kiwi businesses to take a step back and think about how their marketing plans are set up to serve them in three or five years time, not in the next quarter or half year.
“It sounds incredibly basic, but it’s really about taking a step back and deciding what you want to do at a strategic level. Marketing has become so tactical and everyone is looking at the week to week or month to month or quarter to quarter picture but you need to sit down and look at a three year and a five year plan. Then find the right agency or partner to come with you on that journey. We are seeing people partner with an agency for short term business or on a 12 month contract. My advice is always to find a good agency partner for the long term and find a way to give them skin in the game, to benefit from your success.”
Richard hopes that post Covid there will be a shift back towards growth and effectiveness, a move back to what marketing should be about.
“The biggest mistake I see people make is that they consider marketing as a cost, not a long term investment. The industry these days is all about transformation. The trick is to try and not conquer the world overnight, instead take something small and trial it, but importantly make a long term commitment to it.”
And he says big budgets are not a barrier to good marketing, in fact Richard feels that the smaller budgets of Kiwi businesses can in fact be a benefit.
“Budget is an excuse, just because you don’t have lots of money doesn’t mean you can’t have really effective advertising, that’s why NZ marketing sits on a global stage. There are not huge amounts of cash, you have to make great effective advertising on smaller budgets so you get more creative and you think harder.”
Richard is just one of Kea’s many ‘solvers’ – Kiwi who are keen to provide advice and mentoring to other Kiwi businesses through our free Kea Connect service. If you’d like to speak to Richard or any of our other solvers then get in touch with Kea Connect today