Marketing has always been seen as a creative field, as any episode of Mad Men will attest. Marketing science asks if, in an era of constant data and fierce competition, you can really afford to ignore the numbers in favour of feelings.
Success, according to marketing scientist Peter Hammer, means challenging your assumptions with some solid research.
“There’s a really interesting conversation happening around the role of science in the marketing world,” says Peter Hammer, managing director of Marketing Scientist Group.
“In the scheme of things, science is a relatively new thing into marketing. People are still quite unsure and uncomfortable about the role of marketing and what has traditionally been a very artistic or creative discipline. Marketing science is ultimately about trying to help us understand how marketing works, how brands grow, how customers buy.”
Peter began his career at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at the time its director, Byron Sharp, wrote the game changing book How Brands Grow. Peter has also worked at Yahoo7 as the head of insights and analytics, and now runs the Marketing Scientist Group. All of his experience has led him to one particular insight: scientific knowledge is always growing and changing, so you must too.
“One of the big principles in marketing has been around segmentation and who are the other kinds of buyers that you should focus on. Traditionally, we’ve been told that we should focus on really high value customers that buy from us often, but actually the research and the marketing laws that have come out of the work at Ehrenberg-Bass really shows that you shouldn’t be focusing on those people. You should be focusing on the light or infrequent customers of the category because that’s the way you’re going to grow a brand,” Peter says.
“Looking at it now, I think there’s all these things that are happening in the world of marketing that are underpinned by assumptions or learnings that came from university or different kinds of practices that are quite wrong, so ultimately you’ve then got people doing things on the basis of some knowledge that’s perhaps leading them down the garden path.”
To quote another podcast we love, Science Vs, there are feelings… And then there’s science. Update your knowledge of both with Peter Hammer and host Mark Jones on this episode of The CMO Show.
- The ABC of XYZ report
- Marketing Scientist Group
- Peter Hammers Joins Yahoo7 as head of insights and analytics
The CMO Show production team
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Host: Mark Jones
Guest: Peter Hammer
Mark Jones: Gary Vaynerchuk argues that Facebook and Instagram are the TV networks of our age. His view is that if you’re a brand and you’re not heavily invested in them, you’re going to miss the boat and he makes a great point that millions of dollars in advertising no longer flow to the TV networks. They go to the social channels.
Mark Jones: In journalism, we say follow the money. I think in social media, the key here is follow the eyeballs.
Mark Jones: Thanks for joining us again on the CMO Show. My name is Mark Jones. It’s a interesting time to think about marketing science and analytics, what is the assumptions that you bring to your marketing campaigns?
Mark Jones: And I met Peter Hammer recently who’s our guest today. He’s the managing director of Marketing Scientist Group and I was talking to him and it really struck me that there is a lot of work that we have to do to challenge our assumptions. We bring assumptions to work every single day. What we think about the way people behave, and also picking up on this idea that we have in marketing and certainly media buying, which is that we segment people by age and we actually don’t look at what are the common traits or the behaviours that we share across the demographics.
Mark Jones: Also, very important as we start thinking about the influence of a generation Z. In all of this marketing and all this research that we need to get our heads around, I brought him on the show because he’s got some great research he’s done recently. We’re going to talk about the role of social media. We’re going to talk about podcasts, digital behaviours, and really drill into what are the aspects of this research done in Australia, that will challenge your assumptions about the generations.
Mark Jones: Let’s flick over to my interview with Peter.
Mark Jones: My guest today is Peter Hammer, managing director at Marketing Scientists Group.
Peter Hammer: That’s right.
Mark Jones: Welcome to the show.
Peter Hammer: Thank you so much, Mark. Thanks for having me.
Mark Jones: It’s our pleasure. Now I want to actually tap right back to, I think it’s a few years ago. A couple of things out of your history actually. You’ve worked at The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science and also in your career you’ve more recently worked at Yahoo7 as the head of Insights and Analytics. From your point of view, you’re all about the data, you’re all about the insights. Just tell me a bit about yourself in terms of your passion for understanding what’s going on in the world.
Peter Hammer: Yeah. So the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute is a really interesting one because that’s effectively where I started my career, and so really interesting place. It’s a institute that runs out of the University of South Australia and they work with some really big huge multinational brands, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coke, and through that it set me out for how my career has progressed.
Peter Hammer: It’s about understanding how marketing works, how brands grow, and it’s through that, that I’ve taken that understanding and philosophy and the laws of marketing that they’ve developed through the institute over 50 or 60 years worth of research, into my day to day. Yeah, I’ve had a real pleasure of working with some really great businesses, so Yahoo7 you mentioned. I also worked for Turner Broadcasting for many years in the media space, but really about trying to apply and put those principles and marketing laws into practise and helping marketers and advertisers make better decisions, in terms of what they’re doing with all that spend and all those different executions that they’re doing in their day to day.
Mark Jones: I know it can be a challenge, but is there like a big aha moment you had at Ehrenberg-Bass? Was there a view of the world that you really picked up or perhaps an understanding you gained from the value of research?
Peter Hammer: Yeah, I think it’s interesting because I was so new in my career when I was there, and I think I look back now and I probably didn’t appreciate as much as what I do now in terms of the great knowledge and minds that were in that place and the kind of learnings that I was getting almost by default, but actually were quite progressive and I think about that business and they’ve written a book in the last seven, eight years or something, How Brands Grow, and it’s started to really filter through the different industry about how people are applying marketing.
Peter Hammer: It’s quite different to what a lot of people were taught. One of the big principles there was around segmentation and who the other kinds of buyers that you should focus on, and traditionally, we’ve been told that we should focus on those really high value customers that buy from us often, but actually the research and the marketing laws that have come out of the work at Ehrenberg-Bass really shows that you shouldn’t be focusing on those people. You should be focusing on the light or infrequent customers of the category because that’s the way you’re going to grow a brand.
Peter Hammer: Looking at it now, I think there’s all these things that are happening in the world of marketing that are underpinned by assumptions or learnings that came from university or different kinds of practises that are quite wrong, so ultimately you’ve then got people doing things on the basis of some knowledge that is perhaps leading them out the garden path.
Mark Jones: And I think that’s what fascinates me about the research aspect of marketing because if you think about the typical flow we go through in campaign development, we identify a problem and then we go out and do a bunch of research and some analytics, or in many cases, some people just skip that whole stage and apply either common sense or assumptions or “This is just what I’m going to do,” and then we jump into a creative process. We execute a campaign and then there’s some measurement, so I’m really skipping across the whole thing very, very briefly-
Peter Hammer: It’s a good summary.
Mark Jones: A good summary, and the reason I give that summary is that I’ve really been spending a lot of time thinking about research lately. A.I. of course, was thinking, how can we automate, how can we discover new insights into our customers? I love this idea of you don’t know what you don’t know. I set all that up to say to you in your work and having you on the Marketing Science Group thinking about what you’re doing. How are marketing directors thinking about the role of marketing science or perhaps the role of research? What’s going on in terms of our attitude towards this?
Peter Hammer: Yeah, it definitely feels like as more data and research is becoming available out there in the market, and I mean speak to any business, and I speak to a lot of them about this. They’ve got more data than they’ve ever had before, and so that’s then caused people to think about well how to use that data and make more effective decisions out of it, but I think there’s also a really interesting conversation around the role of marketing science and science in the marketing world.
Peter Hammer: In the scheme of things, science is a relatively new thing into marketing and people are still quite unsure and uncomfortable about the role of marketing and what has traditionally been a very artistic or creative discipline, and that whole kind of science versus art argument. I think what’s really interesting there is, why there is the pushback because marketing science is ultimately about trying to help us understand how marketing works, how brands grow, how customers buy.
Peter Hammer: And by actually understanding that it enables us to actually be much more creative and be focused in the way that we’re creative and ultimately drive better outcomes, which for the majority of marketers, probably hopefully all marketers, they want to actually drive successful outcomes for whatever organisation or business they’re working for, and I think there’s starting to be a maturity, or an appreciation that there is this thing called marketing science and there are these resources of data and information that we now know about or becoming more aware about, that can really help us make our jobs easier and make us do a better job, and so I think the smart marketers out there are actually listening to that and taking it on board and making use of it.
Mark Jones: Do you think marketers are wanting to own that research piece or are they outsourcing that to the agency side?
Peter Hammer: It changes. I mean obviously I’m now running an agency. Previously I was on the client side, within often marketing areas, although what I think is really interesting, particularly from my career and I know for many other researchers, they don’t necessarily purely sit within a marketing realm, and often what they’re doing affects their business in a broader way or in more than just the marketing area.
Peter Hammer: I think there is a danger if it is siloed into different parts of the business because it does mean that maybe the knowledge is not shared and therefore cannot be actioned by different parts. In terms of where it goes, it swings in roundabouts, I think in the same way that other agency models changed dial up, dial down based on different macro factors or changes in individual businesses.
Peter Hammer: I think at the moment it’s probably about maybe a little bit more agency than it has been the last few years, but I’m sure it will probably swing back the other way in not so long period of time.
Mark Jones: Well, one of the reasons I ask is I get the perception from working with clients is that there’s a real focus on speed. Who’s going to get me the results the fastest?
Peter Hammer: Yeah. That’s one of the challenges I have I’m trying to be a quality research provider, and quality and time aren’t necessarily things that go well together, and the number of occasions where I’m told, “Oh, can’t we just do a survey monkey of our customers? That surely will be fine.” I’ve coined the phrase, “It’s not pay peanuts get monkeys, it’s used monkeys get peanuts,” because often that kind of approach is that you’re then cutting corners on certain things, whether it be the quality of the types of information you’re asking.
Peter Hammer: Everyone can write a survey, whether they can write a survey that will get you information that’s going to be useful for your businesses is certainly one thing. And the other thing is the sampling. Often people think, oh, just because I’ve got this social media channel, and I’ve got a bunch of customers who are on there, that’s what I need to do for my market research.
Peter Hammer: Well, actually those customers are probably quite weird if they’re following you on social media. They’re your heavy really engaged group of individuals and don’t represent the bulk of who actually buys your brand. That can be a real danger and ultimately set people up on a path where they’re maybe getting really false or misleading information, and I think the digital landscape has meant that the research process that used to take three, six months to do these big deep processes they’re no longer accepted and we have to find quicker solutions that will better get something through the market.
Peter Hammer: And I think there is opportunities and certainly in our business. We’re trying to achieve that through automatisation and different kinds of product sets that mean that we can do things quickly because we’re not wasting time on certain process elements, but also sometimes good things take time and that’s why we need that balance, I think of if we want good information it may take a little bit longer.
Mark Jones: Yeah, I think you’re right. Well, I think obviously the lesson here is, if you want to do it properly, invest upfront and maybe even think long-term. Maybe what’s some research that will keep me going for 12 months or two years, that sort of long range forecasting. Now let’s dive into some research that you’ve done.
Mark Jones: We’ve had a good chat about the theory of why we should really care about marketing science. You did this research, which is just coming out now, The ABC of XYZ. Now I’ve got kids, and you’re not just doing your ABCs or are you?
Peter Hammer: No. The history of that particular piece of research, I’ve done lots of work with different generation. For a time I worked at Cartoon Network.
Mark Jones: It was inspired by kids.
Peter Hammer: It was inspired by kids, but yeah, particularly over the last few years I’ve had a lot of questions from my internal clients when I was client side, but also my clients as an agency around the different generations. And there’s a lot of rhetoric out in the market that the younger generations, millennials, generation Z are really different and that we basically need to throw out the marketing rule book and start again with this group because the world has changed and if we keep doing what we were doing before we’re not going to get anywhere.
Peter Hammer: Part of this or one of the key parts of why we were doing this research was to actually put some hard data behind it, and actually demonstrate with evidence that in many ways the different generations are pretty similar, and indeed, there’s often other factors that are much more important to be focusing on rather than age. In that research, we talk about voice and we talk about podcasts and we talk about digital habits and social media.
Peter Hammer: And the interesting thing is often as you would’ve seen in that research, in every case, it’s often other factors about that category or market that is driving the differences.
Mark Jones: Let’s delve into a few aspects of this because obviously I’m going to be loving the audio podcast stuff, right?
Peter Hammer: Sure.
Mark Jones: But just to quickly recap, so we’ve got Gen Z, millennials and Gen X you feel like a primary focus. It looks like you’ve got about one and a half thousand people wrapped up at the end of 2018.
Mark Jones: Firstly to social, Instagram and Snapchat were used more by younger generations. It’s showing Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat predominantly being used by Gen Z and millennials. I think the interesting thing that strikes me about this is that I’m hearing from the kids that Facebook’s for your parents.
Peter Hammer: Yeah. Just step back, if we look at the different generations, how often are they using social media in the last week? About 8 out of 10 Gen Z’s will have used social media in last week and millennials and Gen X are about 7 out of 10. If you look at the individual brands, Facebook is still far and away number one, if we look at the total market, but as you rightly point out, when we start to look at some of those individual brands split by the different age demos, we do see that Instagram and Snapchat do have high usage amongst those younger groups.
Peter Hammer: But the thing I would say is that Facebook is still number one for all three. It’s not like Facebook is dead dying and buried, and arguably Facebook is still involved because they own Instagram as well. From the point of view of completely shifting away or focusing only on certain media channels or in this case social media brands to reach certain audiences I think is potentially going to be a really flawed strategy.
Mark Jones: That’s an interesting insight. Let’s look then at the next bit and Gen Z and brand recall around influencer posts. What was the insight right there?
Peter Hammer: Yeah. The background and the reason we had this part of the research was I’ve had a lot of questions from my clients, particularly in the media space around social influencer campaigns. We’ve seen a lot of money being funnelled into those mechanisms and channels. Yet there’s not the kind of signs or long standing research to really understand whether it actually works.
Mark Jones: It’s just hot.
Peter Hammer: It’s just hot right now. What we’re trying to do is try and actually get to the bottom of it and start getting some consistent data that people are used to for other kinds of advertising channels, but match it into the social influencer space. We leveraged our platform which enables us to show our research respondents like a social media feed, very similar to what it would look like on Instagram, on their smartphone, and then we’re able to then ask them later in the survey how they responded to that different advertising, so what ads they could recall and whether they liked them and who they could work out the brand was for.
Peter Hammer: And what we found was that when you control full exposure, there is a slight edge for the Gen Z group in terms of overall recall, but it’s not massively different. And what’s interesting, if you then dig a bit deeper, is that if you look at the follower set, so if someone is a follower of that particular celebrity, that’s where we see the big step change. The fact that they followed a Kardashian or the big kind of sports stars or whatever, that’s the thing that’s actually driving the change.
Peter Hammer: And the reason we see that slight edge for Gen Z is that on average as a group, they tend to be more likely to be following these big name celebs on Instagram. That’s often driving the change and how that is an action is what we need to really be thinking about, “Well, who are the audiences these celebs are working, who do they reach out to?” because it’s often more who you choose as your celeb that’s going to play a bigger role in terms of the impact rather than necessarily the fact that you’re in a particular medium or channel.
Mark Jones: Right. Obviously if you’re going for younger audiences then you would definitely need to focus on these influencers to make sure that your brand recall is high, but just to understand the comparison point. If the post was on social but it wasn’t an influencer, so is the comparison point to say news websites or just family and friends or what would be the counterpoint?
Peter Hammer: Within the context of that piece that we’re talking about at the moment that’s contained within, we had different posts being shown to different people and so the key thing was comparing how an influencer post works for those different generations and we certainly did have other data in the study that started to explore other forms, so video ads or written content and so some of the research there, which we’ll share very soon actually shows very similar findings.
Peter Hammer: That the exposure element is really key and important, and so we know that in the case of say digital video that there is more short form video usage amongst those younger demos and therefore that is slightly more important for those younger groups, but I think the biggest story around that is how well you can reach a relevant category audience. It’s all well and good to say, “I’m using this influencer,” or “I’m using this digital video to reach a particular age group or person,” but people or marketers generally speaking aren’t trying to reach age groups, they’re trying to reach customers and they’re trying to reach people who buy from their category.
Peter Hammer: And the question that I would be throwing back to my clients and people I’m working with this research is, are you reaching the right audience for your category buyers? And certainly we see with some later data the role that a category by and the uplift that you see in the performance of different advertising units will have, and it’s much more important than age.
Peter Hammer: I think that’s because in most instances a brand or category buyers aren’t necessarily defined by age. You might have a youth brand, but they’ll still have some older people that will sometimes listen or some people that are younger or whatever. Understanding who your audience is and understanding that often that’s got almost nothing to do with how old they are, I think is really important. And yet a lot of media has always been bought and sold on age because that’s been the nice easy piece of information. It’s about what’s throughout the system.
Mark Jones: Yeah, and become easy way to segment. Exactly right. Well, I’m very firmly Gen X but I think my comedy level is probably late teenager or mid twenties.
Peter Hammer: There you go. Yeah.
Mark Jones: A commodity interest, that sort of “In my mind I’m still 25.”
Peter Hammer: Yeah, and I think that there’ll be situations where things that are really you’re younger at heart in certain things, in certain areas and then in other areas of your life, you might be the stoic dad and so you take on a different kind of persona. Your age isn’t necessarily going to define that for every category. It would only be maybe for a subset of some categories that will be relevant.
Mark Jones: Yeah that’s right. I’m really picking up this theme here. We’re talking about how to really understand exactly who you’re trying to target. Get away from these standard age brackets and then drill into who’s going to give you the better recall and so forth. That’s good. Let’s move to podcast usage, and super high for Gen Z or Gen Z and millennials, and Gen X not quite so much. What’s going on there?
Peter Hammer: Yeah. Again, there’s not a lot of information out there. The reason behind us looking into podcasts was again, requests from our clients because they are starting to invest more and more into these spaces and yet the measurement behind podcasts is still quite challenging. There’s some great research that’s out there, but often that research focuses on podcast users only. It doesn’t actually look at, well, how does that fit within the entire market?
Peter Hammer: A lot of it is US based too. There’s some really great research, the ABC for instance does a annual podcast listener survey, but again, that’s of people who listen to podcasts. It doesn’t necessarily give us a picture or who’s not listening to podcasts, which is as important if you’re trying to spend in these areas.
Peter Hammer: And you’re right, so in terms of who’s listening in terms of the last week, we saw that was about wanting five across the board, but then if you look at the different generations, I think millennials was 24%, Gen Z was 21% and then we had Gen X which was much lower at 14%.
Peter Hammer: In terms of what’s being listened to, you mentioned your youthfulness around, “I’m lacking comedy,” well, comedy was the key genre that really came out in terms of what people were listening to, when we looked across our overall sample. And indeed, if we actually look at the different generations too, we see that Gen Z were much more likely to have listened to a comedy podcast. So 37% as compared to about a quarter which was the total population figures.
Peter Hammer: Again, it’s about us trying to understand this market a bit more and put some numbers behind it because we hear some really exciting things out there, and the trade press around things like true crime being really hot right now. The whole teacher’s pet thing that blew up last month.
Peter Hammer: There’s a lot of interest around that, and I think there’s a good story angle to that, but I’m in the business of helping people make better decisions and from a point of view of critical mass and the volume of consumption, we see a lot more comedy podcasts being listened to on a regular basis than say those kinds of true crime on news style podcasts.
Mark Jones: The interesting thing about the radio is that it skews high for Gen X. 14% of Gen X are listening to podcasts, but then 55% are listening to radio. Are we ignoring radio?
Peter Hammer: I don’t know that we’re ignoring radio. I think radio, looking at market data continues to actually perform very well, but yeah, it’s definitely going through a period of disruption. And I think one of the things that I try to do with my clients is to stop them thinking about the bright and shiny thing that might be new, and think about it from a broader context, and I’m not saying that that means we shouldn’t be investing in podcasts and I think they have a real future. I wouldn’t be on a podcast if I didn’t think that.
Mark Jones: I wouldn’t be making one.
Peter Hammer: Yeah exactly, and certainly there’s a lot of data that suggests that it will grow over time and reflect in the same way the VOD has changed TV. I think podcast is doing the same way, but my point is that again, if you’re a marketer and you want to do things for right now, we need to be thinking about where the audiences are and there’s a much larger audience available on radio.
Mark Jones: The next one on the list here is voice assistance. Huge, so hot right now.
Peter Hammer: So hot right now. I’ve been debating with a couple of my colleagues around what it will be the year of. It was often the year of mobile for five years.
Mark Jones: Yes. Isn’t it still? I just think it’s always the year of mobile.
Peter Hammer: Well, I feel at least the people that I associate with have gone that mobile’s done now, we’re moving on to fresh and shiny things.
Mark Jones: Okay, good.
Peter Hammer: And I think voice is definitely one that’s in the contenders. I think VR is another one, which again, I’ve got some data that basically shows no one’s using VR yet. Not yet Anyway. From a key interest area, again, there’s not a lot of data out there in market. Certainly not Australian data around how people are using it.
Peter Hammer: It was just an opportunity for us to have a look in and understand how people are engaging with voice assistance, particularly given that there’s been a conversation in the marketing sphere around that they need to be there and they need to have branded skills or sponsored spaces. Trying to understand is it too early to get in there yet or is now the time to be thinking about it and executing?
Mark Jones: Your results show that it’s a bit more than a third of all audiences Gen Z, millennials and X are using voice assistants roughly kind of similar, right?
Peter Hammer: Roughly similar, so slightly higher for the younger generations but not dramatically so. And the really dramatic thing I think we’ve seen is the whole smart speaker part of the equation. Smart speakers from memory were in about one in five households of the people we surveyed, but when it was in the household, they were 2.5 times higher in terms of the frequency of their request.
Peter Hammer: They were much more likely to have made a voice assistant requests in the last month because they had a smart speaker. I expect that we might see more of those devices and knowing that we should expect to see more usage and types of usage as well because that’s the other thing, which I think is interesting.
Mark Jones: Well, it just seems to me that if you’ve got one in the home, almost everybody’s talking to it.
Peter Hammer: Yeah. It’s a bit like Field of Dreams like if you build it, they will come. If it’s there, you’re going to speak to it. It makes no sense that if someone’s going to go to the bother of buying a device, that they will use it. It’s not a huge problem. The point I’m trying to make, and what the data supports is that we need to be cognisant of whether those devices are in the home in the first place because that will help to define how much people are going to use it and indeed the types of requests.
Peter Hammer: Part of what we did also was to ask our respondents if they use the voice assistant, what kind of requests they were making.
Mark Jones: Good question.
Peter Hammer: Yeah, and so interestingly the top one is phone calls or message functions, which actually speaks to that 66% of requests are still happening on a smartphone. We put that in broader context as we get more of these other devices in the home, the smart speakers it’s going to change the way that people are making requests to voice assistance and the kinds of things that they’ll expect in terms of the information they receive.
Mark Jones: To be clear, you’re not making a distinction in terms of the device that a voice assistant is on, so whether it’s a watch or a device or a smart speaker, is that right?
Peter Hammer: We do. The overall, if we look at the total volume of requests in terms of the last requests, almost like a share of requests, the biggest share came from phone calls and message function. People saying “Call Mark,” or “Call Pete,” or “Message Pete and message this kind of thing.”
Peter Hammer: Yeah. And it’s very functional at the moment. That’s the other thing too, there are kinds of requests that people are making and there’s other research that supports this too, that it’s highly functional. It’s very short in terms of there’s not any decision trees that tend to happen. It’s like a single command that will drive a single outcome.
Mark Jones: Yes. Do you see that growing and maturing where we’re having conversations?
Peter Hammer: Oh definitely. so there was some research from Google that I remember reading where they were talking about the influence of what putting a screen on something does, and you’ll note that they now have a product with a screen on it, but I think part of that is that then enables multifaceted command. Suddenly it’s like, “What are my options?” And then you are choosing an option, and so then the complexity of those kinds of requests really change.
Mark Jones: Got it. The other one I’m seeing here weather, playing music and then just search. It’s all the basic stuff, right?
Peter Hammer: Yeah. It’s very basic stuff. And the thing that’s not there is, which again, marketers would be really interested in is branded requests or shopping behaviour.
Mark Jones: Right.
Peter Hammer: Again, it’s still very new. I’m not saying that it will never be like this. I’m just saying for right here and right now we’re not seeing that customers are jumping on board and ordering all their shopping via their smart speaker. There’s still a long way to go before we come fully to it.
Mark Jones: Well, you’re not saying play me a radio ad.
Peter Hammer: No, we are saying play your radio or your podcasts or music, and what’s interesting there is again, the device that’s being used, so we see that request happening a lot more in a smart speaker than we do say for a phone. Again, understanding how those kinds of smart speaker penetration will change over time is going to play a big role in terms of the kinds of requests and the kinds of activities that result from it.
Mark Jones: Now, just briefly, the last part of your research here that I wanted to have a chat about was digital habits across the generations, and the top five to recount your own research to you, email search, social media, short form video and banking. Again, this is very practical stuff. Email is still this transactional, very old internet technology, still number one.
Mark Jones: Search, obviously I think if you’re not winning at Search there’s a big problem, social media and then video and banking, these are all stuff that as soon as you read that you think, “Of course that’s what I do every day.” What would you say the lesson for marketers is here?
Peter Hammer: Well, I think the lesson for marketers is that you might think that back, but there’s a lot of voices out there in the market saying, “Oh, young people don’t use email,” or “They don’t use computers anymore, so why would they do a desktop behaviour like search,” and the point we were trying to make with this first part was to actually say, actually if you look at the top five, the top five are pretty much the same for all generations and it continues to be really high.
Peter Hammer: The idea that you might focus on a younger audience and you might then exclude doing email or search strategies could be really detrimental.
Mark Jones: That’s interesting because I’m hearing clients say, “Look, we don’t need EDMS anymore.”
Peter Hammer: I think that’s the bit where we need to stop and go, “What evidence do you have for that?” And sure this is just one study and it’s more macro, so I’m not saying that it should apply to every business, but I would be challenged about making a change simply because we have a feeling that it’s not effective anymore
Mark Jones: We’re talking about assumptions here. Maybe we’re assuming young people just still scrolling the Snapchat and Instagram feeds, right?
Peter Hammer: Yeah. The data shows and I mean this is not just my data as well, the official currency for usage for digital in Australia definitely demonstrates that search continues to be really big, email continues to be really big particularly through those web platforms. And so the opportunities for marketers to continue to leverage them including for younger age groups I don’t think has waned.
Mark Jones: Fascinating. Well, as you wrap up this survey, I know that you’re going to be talking more about it as the year goes on, but what’s your sense of the trends for digital marketing this year? What do you think that marketers should be indexing up on and perhaps indexing down on?
Peter Hammer: It’s a good question. I think probably the big message or learning that started really bubbling to the surface at the end of 2018 was the concept of long-term brand building marketing as opposed to short term focus, I’m really excited that we’re now having that conversation because it feels like for the last few years the pendulum swung maybe a little bit to the other way around and there is oodles of research from people much smarter than me that have demonstrated time and time again that if you don’t do that longer term stuff, it starts to erode that short term impact.
Peter Hammer: And so we don’t actually make investments now. We won’t have those sales that we would get into the future. I’m speaking very selfishly from the space that I operate in, but I would love to see data solutions and research and other information come into the market to help marketers do that. I was at the IAB MeasureUp Conference at the end of November and wrote an Op-Ed, and one of the key conclusions I came to was that we’re now actually having this conversation and people are starting to talk about how we invest and make it happen, and so I’m hoping that the prediction that we’ll see by the time the conference comes around this year, is that actually we will have got closer to better understanding the long-term.
Mark Jones: Yeah, I think that’s a great insight because my view is that we’ve seen that the influence of sales and quarterly targets really skew marketing tactics, so give me your result now, we’ve got some sales to get, so what can you do? And so we get into this sales campaign mindset and forget the long term brand building or maybe we’re just not even allowed, right?
Peter Hammer: Yeah. And I think there’s a couple of things sitting in that. If you think about the tenure of the average CMO or senior market professional.
Peter Hammer: Yeah, it’s pretty short, so you need to make impact really quickly, so I do a lot of work where we get to analyse data that already exists within different businesses. And so I’ve seen for a number of different clients, if you look at lastly attribution, paid search does really, really well because it’s very focused. It’s very action driven and it leads to a sale, particularly for online businesses.
Peter Hammer: The biggest problem with that is if you don’t invest in broader communication and brand building type activities that help people know what keywords to search for and to know that your brand exists, you never get those searches in the first place, and so it just starts to narrow down. That’s what I think some of the research showed and I think what we identified more last year was that actually things are starting to come off the boiler. It’s much more expensive for us to do that short term stuff now because we haven’t been investing in the long-term as much.
Mark Jones: Right. Yeah. You really want to get that mind share and salience, right?
Peter Hammer: Yeah.
Mark Jones: I’m just constantly thinking about when I go to this brand, who do I think about or so when I go to the category, these are the people that come top of mind.
Peter Hammer: Well, physical and mental availability, but the kind of the mental availability of so those different purchase situations that people then associate your brand with that purchase and hopefully then it leads to the sale.
Mark Jones: Well that’s great. Now Peter We probably could talk about this for another hour. Look if you were interested in Peter’s research, then do head to our website and download the research It’s been great to have you on the show. Thanks for your insights.
Mark Jones: All the best with the work that you’re doing to turn up the dial on marketing science.
Peter Hammer: Thanks for having me.
Mark Jones: Pleasure.
Mark Jones: Interesting to be challenging our assumptions of the generations. And of course, from my point of view, really encouraged to see the way that we’re using podcasts and radio across the generations. It’s an interesting trend there, and also voice assistance. I think we’re going to see that continue to grow in the year and the years ahead as we start getting away from just only using our thumbs or our fingers on keyboards and using the voice, so some great trends there.
Mark Jones: Thanks again for listening to the CMO show. I’d love to hear your feedback. If you want to send me an email, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think. Give us your guest suggestions, some topic suggestions, or even I’ve started collecting some book suggestions.
Mark Jones: What’s some great books that you’d been reading in marketing, digital media, social media, content marketing, brand storytelling? Love to know what you’re reading, and we’ll see if we can incorporate those ideas on the show. Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media and subscribe in your podcast aggregator of choice. Until next time.