RD: So, in the last episode, which was the first episode, we found out why Remember is called Remember Creative and why Michael started his very own agency. Welcome back.
MM: Pleasure to be here again.
RD: Let’s jump straight into it – we’ll lob you an easy one to start – What’s the best thing about working at Remember? And don’t say the people just because I’m in the room
MM: Um, I won’t say the people… cause you’re in the room
MM: No, what’s the best thing, there are two things that stand out. One is being able to control our own destiny as an agency. You’ve been working here for quite a few years now with me as this business has grown and as that happens we are changing the direction and we are able to do that because we are small and we are agile and we are able to adapt to what our clients are telling us they need more of but also we are able to react to what we see in marketing can add the most value to what clients are doing. So, as opposed to just doing things like many of the traditional agencies continue to churn out TVCs, for example, because that’s what they’re geared up to do they’ve got all the production facilities, the production teams and they think that is where they need to be, whereas we are able to evolve to deliver all manner of solutions that get a great outcome for the client.
RD: Changing it up, what do you think the biggest mistake SMEs are making when it comes to their marketing?
MM: It’s a pretty simple one for me, the greatest mistake that they are making is that they are not marketing?
RD: You mean not putting their money into promoting their business but putting it elsewhere?
MM: They are putting it in their pocket, which isn’t a problem for me at all, it just depends on what your objectives are. So, we meet with SMEs regularly 20-30 a month sometime more, and every time I speak to someone they’ll say to me “I really want to grow this business” great, the minute you tell them there is an investment to make that happen, that is going to impact on their bottom line and to me that is short term thinking because obviously when you initially build up a marketing capacity within your business, you are going to have to make an investment in that, and like anything, getting momentum is the hardest part – gaining 15 to 20 thousand people to like you on Facebook is harder than maintaining them. And so, when you say to people you want growth it’s going to cost you a factor of X to get that – people look at you and say “I wasn’t thinking of spending that” even though their goals are quite…
MM: Lofty, exactly, so I just think that people in the SME space really should have a think about the value of their product, and from the very beginning if there is an opportunity to do so, and consider what the marketing cost is as a factor of that price point.
RD: Sticking with the biggest mistake route, what do you think the biggest mistake the major brands are making in their marketing – not across the board, obviously, but what do you think some of the biggest mistakes are?
MM: I think that comes back to what we were talking about in the previous installment I think that major agencies, and a lot of big brands have teams and those marketing teams have a remit to go out and market to marketing budget, that is pre-allocated as part of a planning process and then that gets pushed to a marketing team that go out and spend it and when I look at what a lot of the big brands are doing they’re not being particularly innovative in how they are having their conversation… And with more and more people moving away from the likes of TV and moving on to subscription based models where there is no advertising, per se, I think it’s going to become increasingly tricky for big brands to adjust to an environment where their marketing needs to be agile. And I don’t mean that in the agile process sense, for those that don’t know there is a style of project management called agile but what I mean is, if you look at social media, for example, it needs to be fast and reactive, and still needs to be high quality. So they will look at social media and say “I shouldn’t put $5 into that because it’s all free and yet at the same time they will be prepared to spend a million dollars on television commercial.
My Argument would be the big brands are going to have to look at that million dollar TVC and say maybe my social media is actually going to be a million dollars and go out there and create meaningful content as opposed to just pushing a message.
RD: Right on, now for some introspection, you’ve been in business for 4 or 5 years, what do you think your biggest mistake has been?
MM: Apart from hiring you…
RD: Apart from that…
RD: You know that this will never be heard, I’m just going to type this up.
MM: I don’t care if it is heard. It would need to be edited.
RD: Had I known I would not have sworn as much.
MM: I’m not worried about swearing, more so interludes like this.
MM: Biggest mistake I’ve made is… three key mistakes that I’ve made. The first was…
MM: Na, the first one was that I simply did not have a big enough network. When I started. 2nd and 3rd are Rob….
RD: …And this could be tied into your comments about agency land that there is no communication between creatives and clients.
MM: So I left…
RD: But your network was small because of this dynamic
MM: Correct and so my network ended up just being my peers who all did the same thing I did and therefore opened no doors and that was mistake number one and what I probably should have done was work for another 12 months longer and gone out and built my network before I started the business. That was the first mistake, the second mistake was a big mistake, and probably hurt me the most, I trusted that piece of business that I had pitched on and was told was coming my had and would have been worth a lot of money and in the end at the very last minute all fell apart. So, I guess until it is signed on the dotted line it means nothing. I made some investment decisions around that pre-emptively – that really really cost me dearly in those early stages when we had limited cash flow. And I think the third and final one, was simply, we didn’t value our time. This is a lesson for small business and particularly service based businesses where you are so desperate to get an opportunity that you say, you are often willing to do things for people to a greater depth than what you should because you perceive there will be a better outcome at some point in the future. So, “we’ll give you this great opportunity” said this business “if you just do this for nothing, or very little, we promise there will be another big job at the end of it that is going to make it all great”. We have never seen that actually eventuate the clients that value our time right from the very beginning are the only clients worth working with.
Growing Pains with Remember Creative.
1. Should have built my network earlier.
2. Should have waited for the dotted line to be signed.
3. Always Value your time.
RD: So, let’s take it away from negatives and mistakes – what is the biggest opportunity can a business make in terms of digital? That might feed into that last big mistake that brands are making.
MM: Yep… I think the biggest opportunity that is being overlooked actually may not be a digital specific thing. I think that if you look at the majority of businesses – and I’ll push to one side your brands like Coke and Red Bull and I know they are both beverage brands but I am not mentioning them because of that – what they have done and this what business don’t do is that they have sort to create a narrative around what they do and why they do it. You know, Red Bull gives you wings means absolutely nothing but their whole mantra plays out in the idea that they allow you to go to the extreme because they give you the energy to do so and every piece of communication and every activity they do to sell their brand plays to that idea whether it’s formula one racing teams, or whether it’s jumping out of hot air balloons from the edge of the stratosphere – every aspect of what they do talks to that brand value And most of the brands we see simply sell products.
RD: I think that Red Bull is an interesting case because I think that how they’re perceived in the greater world is at odds with how they show themselves on TV, in that their TV ads are so different to everywhere else that they put themselves out. I am not sure that’s deliberate whether they are trying to soften their image for the mums and dads that don’t want their kids drinking caffeinated high-energy drinks or what it is but it is very toned down and very feminised.
MM: I think there is actually some cleverness to that, and I haven’t given this much thought so I am hoping this comes out well, you see what they are doing is they are using mainstream for nothing more than brand exposure and then they are using the channels that they own to actually build an audience which is really clever, so in other words, if you want to see the real Red Bull, you have to do it in Red Bulls space otherwise you just get the basic idea of what Red Bull is through this quirky little ad that never really changes. I think they are an amazing brand who ironically, now, and now I don’t for sure that they are making very good money out of their channels as opposed to just the product.
Well that about wraps us up for another 5 mins with Mick. Our first two installments have been quite broad we will get granular about specific issues in upcoming episodes.