STAFF Q&A

Building brands on digital with Simon Wedde

— Interviews

Staff Q&A: Simon Wedde

By Amanda Gross

Summary

How should businesses extract maximum value from all the marketing tech tools they’ve got access to today? We sat down with Simon Wedde, our brand new Head of Client Service, to discuss exactly that - plus why digital marketing in 2018 is more than ever the place to build brands and grow revenue.

Amanda: First of all, welcome to krunch.co! Why krunch, and why now?

Simon: Krunch.co is doing what everyone wants to do, but hasn’t got there yet, in the sense that it’s not about digital per se, it’s about customer experiences, ongoing ones, and using all the tools and channels available to deliver a personalised customer experience.

There are lots of people doing digital media from a traditional point of view, and an increasing number doing interesting things with data and analytics, but very few are putting it all together and integrating it into their everyday activity.

It’s a really interesting space. We’re right on the cusp of this shift in New Zealand, and I see a convergence between the traditional brand world and this user-first first-part data thinking.

You’ve held senior positions at DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi, Colenso and Ogilvy, and have worked with some phenomenal brands over the years. What has been your favourite part of working agency-side?

Being able to contribute to client successes and share in client successes, this always derives the greatest satisfaction. I have won a lot of awards and all that’s fine, but what you really like is business success for your client.

I also like the variety, working for lots of different clients and solving different problems. In agencies, you can bring learnings from other businesses. For example, bringing FMCG learnings into service businesses, like financial institutions.

Does a favourite campaign come to mind?

I got to be involved in the launch of Starburst Sucks, when they first came to New Zealand. We ran one of the first text message campaigns in the country, allowing people to send a personalised text to a friend telling them they “suck” to then get a voucher to buy the product in-store.

We had 60,000 people enter, and I can say, it was truly interactive. We had one guy get in a tough spot with his girlfriend after using the tool to text her! When you have couples almost breaking up - you know people are really engaged with the campaign.

The best thing was that not only did the campaign engage people, it drove business. Starburst started to outsell Chupa Chups within a month, and it ended up being one of the most successful confectionery launches for Mars anywhere in the world.

What’s your guiding principle when it comes to great marketing and advertising?

“What’s in it for the customer?”

Whether it’s online or offline, the best brands put the customer experience first. But there’s a difference between being customer-focused and doing what the customer wants. Sometimes you have to do what the customer doesn’t necessarily “want”, or think they want, in order to create the best possible experience with the brand.

What do you think is the next “big thing” in business?

The obvious answer is user experience. There is a shift to consumption as a service - you see it with companies like My Food Bag, where even groceries have been transformed into a service, and people are thinking about the outcomes of the food, not about buying individual products. Essentially, you are paying for the use of a product, rather than owning it.

Even car retailing I think will be impacted. In the future, it won’t be about owning a car, it will be about paying for the use of a car. For example, we may see services where you don’t own a car, but you pay a monthly fee and you can always get the exact car you need for your activity, and you never need to worry about cleaning it, servicing it… anything like that.

It’s a less disposable outlook, but it’s also about greater convenience and simplicity. Digitization is a big part of this - it has become so much easier to execute these types of services.

How will that impact advertising and marketing those types of products?

It will come down to relationships, much more than it has. Businesses will need to focus on the benefit and the consumer outcome, not the transaction, because it will be an ongoing relationship.

It will be so much more consumer focused than production focused - you have to think about not just what can be sold, but what do people want and what will they use it for.

Consequently, it ends up being about relationship marketing and personalisation.

What’s your main focus here at krunch.co? Any key goals in the role?

I want to elevate data and marketing automation conversations from being centred around technical capability and marketing to centering around business strategy. I think more businesses need to marry operational discussions with business strategy and their marketing.

We can build automation into marketing, we can be more effective and use more channels, and there are big gains to be had, but the real power of the tools we’ve got is to improve user experience. It’s the way we deliver the services, not just how we market them.

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