Episode #153: How the World’s Greatest Brands do Mass 1:1 Marketing
August 6, 202157 min read
I’ve said this before (and I’ll probably say it again), but there has never been a better time to be a marketer. In this MarketingProfs webinar, Valerie Witt and I explore the merging of mass reach with 1:1 engagement — a sea change that gives brands unprecedented marketing potential. You’ll hear examples of how leading brands have implemented mass 1:1 marketing, and learn the steps you can take to copy their success.
Watch the webinar here: How the World’s Greatest Brands to Mass 1:1 Marketing
Yep, so appropriate that we’re using Jimmy to roll these episodes out. Think about his iconic performance at Woodstock in 1969, Summer of Love, and it is summer again, but this year, summer reruns. That’s right. It’s the summer of reruns at the Unified CXM Experience. And as always, I’m your host, Grad Conn, CXO, or Chief Experience Officer at Sprinklr, a New York Stock Exchange listed company ticker symbol, CXM. All right. So this is another rerun show. And today we’re talking about the MarketingProfs webinar, how the world’s greatest brands do Mass 1:1. I really love this one. Actually, it was one of my favorite experiences over the last few weeks, I had a really great discussion with Valerie Witt, talked a lot about where brands were going, how the world’s greatest brands are doing one to one marketing, what mass one-to-one marketing is, if you’ve had a chance to listen to anything I’ve ever done, you should hopefully know what Mass 1:1 is by now. And if you don’t, that’s okay. Because you can listen right now and hear all about mass one-to-one marketing. The other thing that was great about this particular webinar is I also built it out into some examples. And I’m playing a little bit with this idea of mass one-to-one moments and looking at marketing against people’s moments in their lives, which they typically broadcast. And so this is sometimes called life stage marketing. That’s an old term actually, it’s been around a long time, we talked about life stage marketing at Procter and Gamble in the 80s. So it’s not exactly brand new. But life stages are being broadcast in a way like they’ve never been broadcast before. And very few companies, almost no companies are taking advantage of, which is mind blowing to me. If we had had the access to life stage data that we have today back in the 80s, when I was running this for brands like Cascade and Tide and others, we would have been all over it. So I don’t know what’s going on, but I think maybe people have forgotten about the motion. Or maybe they’re just lazy, I don’t know, maybe, maybe, possibly? Anyway, enjoy this MarketingProfs webinar with Valerie Witt, and I’ll be back at the very end to clean it up. By the way, I will be referencing a bunch of different slides through this. So if you’re listening to the podcast, great, no problem. If you want to see what the slides were, and check it out later they’re in the podcast notes, and posted also on any blog post about this. So enjoy.
Alright, everyone, you’re here for how the world’s greatest brands do mass one-to-one marketing. Grad, take it away.
Thank you. Thank you so much. Alright, so what I’m going to do is I’m going to go through a general presentation today, I’ll spend about 45 minutes on this. If I end a few minutes early, I think that’ll be okay. Because generally, this generates a fair number of questions. So I’m going to try to leave as much time for questions as I can at the end. But I do want to land a few concepts and particularly around mindset. I think that mindset is one of the most challenging things for us to change. And as marketers, we’re being confronted with sort of new mindset issues all the time, and getting our heads wrapped around this stuff is really tricky. So I’m going to go into that and buckle up a little bit as I sort of take us on a little marketing journey. I’ve got three what I’ll call modern truths that I want to land. So the world view we have at Sprinklr has these three modern truths. And the first of these modern truths is that we are transitioning to a new marketing paradigm, broadly and globally. It’s called Conversational Marketing; you’ve probably heard that term used. And it’s also known as mass one-to-one which you may not be as familiar with. I’m going to talk a lot about mass one-to-one over the next little while. So quick history lesson; I’m not going to spend too much time here, but let’s go way back in the time machine to the 19th century. Back then people had great intimate one to one conversations with their customers. Everybody knew everybody, brand to customer communication was two-way; it was fantastic.
And then mass communication came around. Mass communication launched the broadcast age of marketing and broadcast marketing was pretty amazing. We created some great brands over that period of time, and things like television, radio, movie theaters, and all that stuff allowed us to reach millions of people really quickly. There was a cost. If you read authors at the early part of the 20th century, people like Claude Hopkins or Albert Lasker, they talk about the loss of intimacy, the loss of connection, the loss of humanity in the new broadcast medium. And if you actually read a lot of the early print ads, there’s a great book by Julian Lewis Watkins, called the World’s 100 Greatest Advertisements. And it’s a bunch of print ads from the late 1800s through the 1950s. If you read some of these early ads, they’re oddly intimate, oddly intimate and very personal. And what they were trying to do is they’re trying to connect with people and try to maintain that connection and intimacy. But then TV came along and became ascendant. Bill Bernbach and the creative Revolution, the 1960s came along. And then we were just really looking at images and very simple ways of communicating a brand. Again, not a bad thing necessarily, but intimacy was lost. And now to a certain extent, my dad was a madman, he worked on Madison Avenue in the 70s. And had connections with and worked with some of the giants of the industry like George Gribbin and Mr. Wunderman and people like that; it was pretty amazing, actually, but I was always jealous of him. I always felt like he got all the good times, maybe too many good times sometimes. But he got all the good times, and I kind of walked into marketing when it got boring.
But then 21st Century came along. And I actually think this is the best time to be in marketing, I tell this to everybody. I think if you are a student of marketing, and you love marketing, this is an amazing time to be in this profession because one to one is back, we now know people and we know their interests. And we still have mass – 4.1 billion people are on social platforms. It’s this combination of one to one and mass is Mass 1:1. I’m not going to take credit for the term, it was actually coined by Mark Pritchard, who is the Chief Brand Officer at Procter and Gamble. I worked there actually at the beginning of my career for the first nine years. And P&G was also a great Sprinklr customer doing some amazing things to move from a mass blast, as Mark calls it to mass one to one precision, and it’s very exciting to see them do that, along with some of the world’s biggest companies are moving to this type of approach. And I’ll talk about some examples of that as well.
So let me go through six different examples of mass one-to-one inaction. And these are all large brands and some of the greatest brands in the world. And the first example I’ll use is McDonald’s. So McDonald’s had, for many years used focus groups as a way to determine new menu items, and they would test them in stores. And the challenge they were having with focus groups is that people were, you know, I’ve never loved focus groups, I always sort of jokingly say they’re a way to pay people to lie to you. Focus groups were getting increasingly complicated because people were badging themselves with food. And so they would sit down in front of others, and they would say, “McDonald’s should sell more salads and more healthy alternatives” and all this other kind of stuff. And so they would dutifully try that out, and no one would buy it. And so they said, “Why don’t we take a different approach”, and they became a Sprinklr customer, and they said, “What are people actually asking for when they’re publicly expressing love or desire for McDonald’s?” It turns out, people really wanted to have McDonald’s breakfast items at different times of the day. It’s the afternoon, I really feel like pancakes. Super hung over, I really need an Egg McMuffin right now at midnight, or I would really love to have hash browns with my Big Mac for lunch today. And so they used that to determine which items they were going to sell, and they launched All Day Breakfast. But what they did, and this is a great example of Mass 1:1, is the way they launched it was they went back to those people who had said, I want pancakes in the afternoon, and we go back in time five years, so you’ve got a kind of a running five-year view of the modern web at Sprinklr. And so sometimes it’d be like from November, 2018 and they’d go, “Hey, Grad, in November 2018, you said you wanted pancakes. Well, now we have them”. It blew people’s minds, partly because they were being listened to, partly because they were being responded to, and partly because they had actually done the thing that they had asked for. So everybody, just like heads exploding, started talking about it, retweeting, it became a top trending topic on Twitter, got picked up by the mainline media who tend to look at that. And then the launch just exploded from there and has generated billions of dollars in revenue for McDonald’s. So great example of mass one-to-one advertising and marketing.
Care is another area where, you think about it, your customers are the people calling your care lines and your best prospects for the future customers are your existing customers. Dell understands this really well. And they have tons and tons of mentions out there, like tens of millions of mentions, and so they actually use Sprinklr to proactively predict and solve problems and what they found is you can actually see a problem, like say fan noise or screen flicker or something like that. They’ll start to crop up in the social platforms and in the discussion groups and Reddit and places like that, in the blogs, in review sites, that’ll start to appear two to three weeks before returns begin and before people start calling the main customer care lines. So they can actually get in front of these problems and fix them in advance, and also reach out and solve problems for people on modern channels where they prefer to be. And so they’re seeing an improvement in both customer set, and obviously a reduction in cost because they’re doing it in asynchronous channels.
Disney actually has done some cool stuff with their launch. So again, you could argue this is not exactly one to one, but they created 115,000 different versions of their advertising to be able to show people that no matter who they were, and what kind of interest they had, there was something for them on the Disney Plus channel, and they hit their five-year subscription goal in one year. Most people have seen the results. Disney Plus has been really successful, but they use this because the call is potentially one to few. But still, who’s done 115,000 different pieces of creative. Now we’re seeing this regularly happen at Sprinklr all the time. Usually it’s 10 to 20,000, we have had customers do up to 8 million pieces and one customer do 8 million different creative ad units in a space of about 100 days. And it was an incredibly successful campaign as well.
One of my favorite examples is a really old company called Rustoleum. And they make paint, in fact they make the paint that the Golden Gate Bridge is painted with. So that little basket that goes back and forth. And once it gets to one end of the bridge, they paint the bridge all over again, it goes back and forth continuously. So Rustoleum, that’s what they do. Now they have a lot of really interesting paints, things like tub and tile paint or glitter paint and sparkle paint and all sorts of stuff that just generally people don’t even a) know they exist or b) expect them to exist. And so what they do is they’ll go, say with sparkle paint, they’ll go to Pinterest boards and find people who like sparkle and say there’s sparkle paint. And they sell a lot of sparkle paint that way. Or they’ll look at people who are talking about doing a renovation or bought a new house and they’ll say there’s tub and tile paint if you want to change the color of your tiles the color of your tub without ripping it out. And they sell a lot of tub and tile paint that way. In fact, they do this for more than 60 different products. And it’s been an incredible motion for them to be able to essentially go one to one to the people who need their product. And obviously they can’t do that on TV, they can do it in mass media.
Siemens, very interesting company, a large German conglomerate, and they produce thousands of pieces of content every month, with hundreds of thousands of assets and lots of different workflows. And what they wanted to do is they wanted to actually improve the quality of the creative that they are issuing and reduce the cost. And they found they were producing tons and tons of content that was unmeasured, and uncoordinated, and they didn’t know how to make the best of it. And so what they’ve done is they’ve concentrated everything into Sprinklr. And then what they do is they then use that to take the stuff that works best and expand that on a global basis. And it’s been very successful.
And then finally, I want to talk a little bit about Dyson, which is how to deliver products on platforms, there’s a new thing called Conversational Commerce. And in Messenger, you can actually have a flow where you can buy a product right within the flow, and then you have an agent connected to it. And the agent can handle multiple buyers at the same time and bots are used as well to mediate some of the exchange. And now you’ve got the convenience of online and the high touch of a retail store, it’s a great combination. And we’re seeing a massive move to this across our whole customer base. So that’s just a bunch of different examples of Mass 1:1. And I think Conversational Commerce for me is maybe the ultimate expression of it, because it’s not just Mass 1:1 advertising but it’s actually Mass 1:1 selling.
So second truth, a true customer profile needs to include both transactional and experience data. I’ll talk about what I mean by that. So many of us or most of us, I would say, have got pretty good transactional databases in CRM systems in excellent products like Salesforce and others. Microsoft has got Dynamics, and there’s a bunch of things out there. This is structured data. And it’s generally solicited, it might be survey data, but it’s generally solicited and very highly structured, and works inside the relational database systems of all these CRM systems. But now there’s this whole new world of information out there, which we call experience data. And this experience data is unstructured. It’s unsolicited. It comes in a lot of different types. It can be emojis, it can be videos, it can be names, it can be images, it’s a lot of stuff. Very hard to fit that into relational database. You need to bring these two things together, one way we like to describe it is that the transactional data is sort of like your pool. It’s temperature controlled, you know what the salinity is, you know it’s clean, it’s beautiful. And then the experience data is like the ocean, also very cool, but just you need different tools for it, you’re never going to really completely control it. And so together, these things create a 360-degree customer profile. Many people use Sprinklr as a CDP, and they see XM profiles in there with both types of data integrated. This is a good friend of ours, Beth Jackson, who’s a VP at Twitter. And she talks about social as being a way of allowing brands to create one on one relationships, you’ll see this word one on one keep cropping up. And Bev has been a leader in this space for many, many years.
So the last thing, the last modern truth is that customer expectations have changed. And this is not going to be super surprising to anyone on this call. But it’s worthwhile just touching on some of the changes that have occurred, just to magnify the amplitude of it. So the first thing is, there are, as I said, 4.1 billion social users on the planet, which is a pretty good percentage of the 4.7 billion internet users, which is, by the way, incredibly exciting, like we are getting super close to getting everyone online. It’s just, we got to get that last 2 billion online, but that is really amazing progress. So that’s the world we live in today. And they prefer increasingly to be on modern channels. This is from a Mary Meeker deck, if you follow Mary Meeker this is from a couple years ago, if you don’t follow Mary Meeker, you should follow Mary Meeker. Really awesome stuff that she does. This chart, try to look at the bottom right-hand corner, you can see that folks in the older generation actually really liked synchronous connections to brands, and they like the phone. And so, great. And so we still use a lot of phone services, especially in Customer Care departments. But look at the generations as they get younger. I mean, even Generation X isn’t a slacker here, but particularly Generation Z and Generation Y, strong preference for social and strong preference for chat and on the web. And these are all asynchronous communication types. Now, this is two years ago, and some stuff has happened in the last couple of years that has accelerated this unquestionably. As we spend all day long on Zoom calls, it’s becoming impossible to say, “I got to go call customer service department for an hour”. Can’t do it, I’m going to need to do that asynchronously. So this is becoming more important than ever, as people migrate to these, what we call modern channels. And you think about this, they’re on these channels, there’s billions of conversations every day, 65 billion messages sent every day on the planet, which is incredible. You’ve got to listen to it. And I would say at a minimum, all brands should be listened to people who are talking to them or using an @ mention or hashtag. Many brands still aren’t. But I’d say most brands get that they should be doing this. We also recommend that you should really also be listening to people who are talking about you without @ mentioning you. Because actually, increasingly, customers are getting used to good listening protocols by companies. And so they’re not actually putting @ symbols in front anymore. So you got to capture everything, you’ve got to listen to a broad scale of customers. And what really gets interesting when you start listening to your competitors, what people are saying about them and then finally, what’s really interesting is to listen to the category. So for example, it’s fascinating to listen to someone addressing you directly say, @Nike, it’s good to find everyone who’s talking about Nike. It’s really interesting to hear about Adidas and to hear about other brands. But boy, wouldn’t it be great to talk about marathons? It’s the people talking about the sports and that’s the conversation that you want to be part of if you’re going to do true mass one-to-one marketing.
So, one thing about the world today is that we’ve got identity and interests from people and these identity and interests are translated to a customer who knows that we know these things about them. So customers have got a set of things, I’m not going to go through every one of them here because you can read them, but they kind of want you to find them and resolve their issues and you should be personalized and hey, you, as a company, you’re going to need to win me on this stuff. And I do feel like a lot of times we operate very much like the movie Fifty First Dates. It’s from a few years ago, but it’s Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in a movie where Drew Barrymore has got a particular type of brain injury that means that she’s got amnesia. So every morning when she wakes up, she doesn’t remember what happened at all. She has complete amnesia. And so Adam Sandler is romancing her and every day he learns more about her, but each day is like a new first date. And it’s like how marketing sort of works sometimes like you go to a company and you may have spent hundreds or thousands or sometimes even millions of dollars with that company. And they, they don’t know that. They don’t know you; they don’t know what you’ve done with them before they treat everyone the same. And that is increasingly becoming unacceptable and frustrating to customers, because they know that you actually have that data, you just haven’t figured out how to access it, or how to use it. So don’t get into the Fifty First Dates problem. I don’t know who this guy is. But what I like to say is that the brand experience, what you’re landing with your stakeholders is the brand. And so whatever you think your brand is, whatever you want your brand to be and whatever brand character statements you’ve got, and strategies and all that kind of stuff, that’s great; you should have that; doesn’t really matter. The experience you’re landing is your brand. And quite frankly, the experience you land gets talked about by others. And as you saw on the previous slide, 95% of people will talk about a bad experience. So if you land bad experiences that will become your brand.
Okay, now, there’s always one more. So there’s one more thing. So I know there’s three modern truths on the slide. But I do have one more thing and that’s this idea of unified, so unified is better than integrated. Let me talk a little bit about this in more esoteric terms for a second. So generally, in most categories in most markets, they start off with a set of integrated or best of breed applications. Even if you think about the iPhone, the iPhone is essentially the story I’m building here. Before the iPhone, we all had notepads, and we had calendars, and we had the hundreds of things that an iPhone can do all in separate pockets, and in separate parts of our desk, etc. The iPhone essentially unified all those things into a single platform, which is sort of this evolution that always occurs in any category. So I would say that we’ve seen it happen in healthcare, Epic healthcare has basically taken that market over now. They were sort of pitching a unified approach years ago, and it finally started making sense, as the changes were occurring in the way payment occurs to hospitals, and outcomes became really important. And so Epic could show superior outcomes from a unified platform and there we go. It’s happening all across multiple different categories, and it’s starting to happen to Martech as well. As we look at these Martech stacks that we’ve built, that in some cases people are winning awards for the complexity of their stack, I think the Stackies are the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. It’s not working, the latency is too high, it’s too complicated, it’s expensive, it’s hard to manage that many vendors and so people are moving to a unified approach. And we are at Sprinklr, a unified CXM platform. So we are part of that movement, there are a lot of advantages to unified and this is again, general advantages. But you’ve got a single customer profile; you’ve got way less attack surface for phishing and for any kind of hacking; you sort of de-risk upgrades because if you’ve got an integrated stack, one upgrade, and one application can bring the whole thing down; and there’s many other reasons why people are doing that. So that’s another sort of truth that we believe in and is important to us.
Now, how does all of this work? And this is kind of an interesting little set of builds here. So if you think about mass one-to-one, I’ve talked a lot about it, given some examples and talked a lot about having to hear what people are saying and then do something about it. So you really need everything integrated into a single platform so that you can both listen to and react to. And I’ve divided this into five steps. So I think step one is really gather, you’ve got to gather from as many places as you can, in Sprinklr’s case, we pull from 400 million different data sources. And we can combine internal data that you have inside your company, with the external data from everything from the social platforms, to messaging platforms, to blogs, review sites, forums, and now all TV or radio, all newspaper and all magazine. So just everything is in there. Because that’s a lot of stuff, you need to be able to sort that. So we’ve been building a very sophisticated AI platform for about eight, nine years now. And this allows us to be able to sort and identify content in a way that you can react to it and manage it in a timely fashion. That leads to this profile that we talked about – the 360-degree profile. That profile allows you to collaborate and the collaboration thing is key. Because if you see what typically happens to most marketing orgs or most orgs in general, is that the silos are where the experience breaks. It’s that breakage between groups that lets the customer down. And so if you have a single profile, everyone in the company can see what’s happened to that customer and they can then react appropriately and behave in a way that the customer feels like they’re known, and they’re seen. And finally, then you need to be able to engage and sell. And we have a variety of different tools and applications built on top of our platform that allow people to engage in social selling, or social media management or care or influencer and advocacy marketing, and all that kind of stuff; these are all the kinds of different things you need to be able to do.
But really, at the end of the day, what you’re building is a system where you’ve got to go from insight to action. So these are the five steps just kind of end to end. And you’ve got to be able to know what people are saying, make sense of it, get that in a way that you can react to it, collaborate around it, and then do the kinds of things that people want to do to be able to talk to them. So that’s kind of a nice way to think about how mass one-to-one is enabled by unified CXM system. So I’m making good time here. So I’m going to go into what I call mass one-to-one moments. I’ve been on this hobby horse for a while now. And I am a little confused as to why more people aren’t doing this; there are a bunch that are which is great. But this seems like the most obvious thing marketers can do. And it is practiced way too infrequently. So I’ll go into that and show you what I mean.
So moments, so humans broadcast their life moments they want to celebrate, and they want to connect with others who they have a shared experience with. If you think about this networked world we live in and how it works, it’s actually amazing. If you remember my three columned diagram, where I talked about the 19th, 20th, and 21st century, what’s interesting about the 21st century is people are not just connected to brands now, but they’re also connected to each other. And when you’re connected to another person, you want to tell them about the things that have happened to you. So in this networked world we live in, the core of it, and the key conversations that are happening, are conversations around life moments, they may be small moments, you know, had an ice cream today. And they may be big moments, I graduated today, but they are moments. Forrester’s got a great study on what they call life stage and life cycle marketing. They’ve got this nice curve way of thinking about it. It’s a diagram of intensity from a data standpoint, on the y axis, and then customer intimacy on the x axis. And so mass marketing, not surprisingly, low intimacy, low data intensity, not that mass marketing is bad. It’s not a judgment diagram. But it’s just that’s kind of how it sits. And you need mass marketing, but you also need to do other things. So, many people are now doing event triggered marketing, marketing automation, and the popularity of tools like Marketo has driven that. So that’s, I think, getting more common. It’s based on actions you take on a website or other things like that. So event triggered is getting more common; what is not nearly as common as I think it should be is life stage marketing. And this is the moments I was talking about. When something happens, why not celebrate with that person, why not talk to them.
And what is very rare, is life cycle marketing, which is once someone is inside your franchise, you then watch what’s happening to them, much is happening in their life, and be able to recommend new products to them as their life changes. Insurance would be great example. So if you’re an insurance company, you’ve got a customer, right now, when I have a change in my life, I have to call my insurance company to get things changed. Wouldn’t it be amazing? Wouldn’t it be something else? And instead of me having to call them, they called me and said, “Hey, Grad, I see you just got engaged. Are you going to need some new kinds of insurance?”, or “Congratulations on your wedding”. These are both true things for me in the near future. “Congratulations on your wedding”. Here’s how to think about your insurance portfolio now, or “Hey, we saw you just bought a new car. This is how you can save money with our car insurance premiums”. There’s no reason why they people can’t do this right now with their existing customers. But because they haven’t built those CXM profiles, they don’t get around to it. So that’s the model in Forrester.
One thing I think I would note is that there are many life paths. Sometimes people try to duke this out and sort of fake it a bit with demographics. But be very careful with that. Demographics can be correct in the aggregate, but inevitably wrong at the personal level. It’s sort of like if you look at an ant colony, you can generally predict the motion of the whole ant colony, but it’s impossible to predict the action of a single ant. And the problem is, we need to know the action of a single ant in order to sell to somebody. And so I’ll use myself as an example. There’s no demographic that would show that I’m someone who would be a newlywed in the near future. But I will be and so I’ve gotten, by the way, zero marketing based on that fact, zero marketing when I announced I was engaged, it’s crazy. And all sorts of changes are occurring in my life that will be very similar to the changes that occur to anyone who becomes a newlywed. And so marketers need to get more thoughtful about going after what people are broadcasting, what people are saying, not trying to go after gross level demographics, which is very much a mass marketing type of thinking. I’ll give you a few examples because sometimes people go, “Well, do people really talk about this stuff?” Yeah, they do. Just in the last week these are people talking about real estate, having trouble buying a house – 600,000 life updates. And maybe every single person on the planet isn’t doing a life update this week, but a lot are. And I would say, as a marketer, get to those first 600,000, and then you can start taking care of the rest of them after that.
I’ll give you some examples. This is for cars. So this last week, people more than 14,000 times said they’re actually buying a car, I mean, very deliberately, I am buying a car. Not I did buy, I am buying. It is shocking how little marketing is going against these people. Like there’s nothing. Even the car companies who are actually in the business of selling cars, don’t say anything, but certainly you’d want to see more loan and insurance and all that kind of stuff. And here’s an example what that could look like. So here’s an actual post. This is someone named Koda from June 19, so recently, he was thinking about buying a car, and I’m going to do something and what you could do is you could respond to them. And here’s a sample response from Capital One, “Hey, we’re here for you Koda”. And of course, that’s the Uber station wagon from Vacation, the ultimate fam wagon. But there’s no reason Capital One can’t do this kind of thing and sort of market against that. Let’s talk about new jobs and promotions that generally generates all sorts of things, new houses, you know, new cars, jewelry, rewards, etc. People like to treat themselves well; 30,000 mentions of new jobs in the last week. And then relocating is another one, people are moving and going different places, almost 30,000 mentions of relocating as well, here’s a couple who are changing their life around a little bit, moving to a new city, Nationwide could welcome them to the neighborhood. Why not get out there and connect with them, they’re actually talking about it.
There’s a lot of talk about babies, it’s amazing actually, it’s like 10x, our very first category on babies, nearly 150,000 mentions in the last week, and of course, that creates all sorts of interesting buying and selling opportunities. And so, here’s an example, this is actually kind of cool. This is using the Image Search Inside Sprinklr. Because you’ll notice, there’s not really a lot of mention of baby in here. So we’re picking up the emoji and we’re picking up the image. Because it’s sort of nuanced that this is actually an announcement. But then, you know, why couldn’t a real estate firm say, “Hey, you’re probably going to need another room”. So these are all examples of where moments can be marketed against and scaled against.
I’ll end with some examples from my own past. And so this is from Microsoft, obviously, Xbox and Office. And what we did with these is we actually took these, and these are responses to comments that people actually made. And a couple things I’ll just point out here. One is, you’ll notice that the handle is built right into the ad. So you know, Jesse@bels4, that’s built right into the ad. The second thing is that you can see their responses, they don’t make a ton of sense, because you don’t see the original post, so they are responding in line to something someone said. And the third thing, and this is the thing that’s most surprising to people. These are really pictures of the people. They’re posterized. But the gentleman with the beard, for example, would recognize himself in that picture, he’d be like, “Oh my God, that’s me”. These are the people. That’s the person’s dinosaur suit. This is the couple. These are the people getting married, these are actually the people from their profile photos that are having these conversations with Xbox and Office. And what is amazing is when you do something like this, when we did thousands and hundreds of thousands of these, when you do something like this it changes people’s emotional connection to the brand. And I actually think what’s going on, I’ve thought about this a lot over the years because it was shocking to me how positively, we never had a negative comment, how positively people reacted.
I think that there’s this concept of a digital good, if you’re familiar with Line in Japan, they do a great job on this. These are essentially a type of digital good, because it’s creative about you, and it recognizes you and celebrates you. And so there’s value in this digital good that’s created for the potential customer prospect. So what that does is it creates a sense of reciprocity between the target and the brand, which is, you’ve given me something of value without me asking for it. Wow. I’m going to reciprocate with affection or love or gratitude, 98 ½% of the time retweet it because these get retweeted. And what’s super cool is that, as we mostly know, organic has essentially dried up as a channel, your followers are unimportant so you can really get to your followers anymore without paid. But this is an interesting hack on that because you essentially get organic amplification. And some of these have gone to generate millions, and in one case, 63 million views for Microsoft. So really, really, really interesting tactic. Not enough people are doing this. And I’ve shown you a bunch of different examples. But we are moving to a world where this will be what everyone does one day. And so I think the brands that get there first will drive some element of competitive advantage. It does require changes in your systems, you got to think differently about content, you got to think differently about your agencies, how you brief stuff, you got to think differently about conversations, I’m going to end with one story about conversations I think will be potentially hair raising, but I love this story. And it just makes you operate in a completely different fashion. You know, at Microsoft, we had to organize ourselves into customer experience centers, and kind of pot it up and make sure that people were sharing and moving quickly. And you do have to take some risks, I think this is the part where maybe people get a little uncomfortable, but it’s in that discomfort that you may find innovation, because we got very used to, over the course of the broadcast era, we got very used to being offensive to no one, I guess is probably the way to put it and sort of, but not potentially, that compelling to anybody but definitely not offensive to anyone.
And the result of that is this sort of tapioca-like, I’m not anti-tapioca or anything, but just tapioca-like, approach to marketing doesn’t have a lot of impact and doesn’t work very well in conversation marketing, and it’d be like going to a party and meeting somebody and say, “Hey, how you doing?” They’re like, “I’m fine”. Okay, you know, it’s just like, I’m really not going to spend a lot of time with this person, because there’s nothing there. They’re not willing to say anything or do anything in an interesting way. So there’s one more Xbox example, I’ll just do this verbally, because it’s not really anything to show. So Xbox got a user complaining. And the user was complaining that the first-person shooter that they were part of, they’d lost their squad, so that the friends that they’d been playing with had disappeared and so they didn’t have a squad anymore. And it’s very hard to play these first-person shooter games, without a squad – Call of Duty was the game. And so he was sort of complaining that was kind of hard to find a new squad in Xbox. And he was kind of complaining in a slightly edgy way. But gamers are a bit like that, and Xbox uses that. So Xbox responded super helpfully and gave him some suggestions on what he could do. And his response was very negative, and kind of, sort of slammed Xbox, and it was a really unpleasant response, like a really unpleasant response, and inappropriate and not called for, because Xbox was just trying to be helpful and it’s a person that’s doing these things. You don’t need to talk to people that way. Anyway, so that’s what he did. And so Xbox had a choice. They could a) not respond at all. It’s legit, and then just gets pushed to the bottom of the pile, b) respond helpfully again, which like, nothing wrong with that, and I think there’s a legitimate case to be made there. Or c) what they did do. And what they did do is they said, “Ah, now we see why you don’t have any friends”. I just love that so much. It got on Reddit. Thousands of people weighed in on this. Not everybody thought it was great. Most people did, but not everybody. And it was a little bit polarizing and bit negative for some folks, but it created a strength in the brand-voice, and it created conversation. And it created amplification. It was a brave and wonderful moment and they’ve gone on to do a lot more stuff like that, and they’ve got a great voice on the brand now. So that is it for the formal presentation. We have lots of time for questions. So I want to thank you. I do have lots of ways to be connected to so I’m the only Grad Conn in the world. So I’m easy to find, I do do a daily podcast, which somehow, I fit into the day, called the Unified CXM Experience. A lot of fun, we talk about different things. Woe befall the company that gives me a bad experience because they end up being featured. Right now I’m going downtown on Rooms to Go, they get featured on the podcast liberally. But feel free to DM me on Twitter or kind of come at me any other way you’d like. Happy to talk to you, particularly love connecting on LinkedIn. And, and you can also read my blog, where I talk about a lot of these things as well. And that’s it for, for today in the formal presentation, let’s head back to questions.
Fantastic Grad, thank you so much for that presentation. Lots of fun information there. Everyone in the audience, now is the time to ask the question that you’ve got on your mind, you do that by pressing that Q&A button down in the bottom of your screen. So let’s go ahead and just jump right in, Grad. So to kick us off, in many ways, we’re going back to the one-to-one approach of marketing, like you talked about in the beginning here. But at scale. So why are so many brands and CMOs struggling with something that should be kind of familiar?
Well, I don’t think it is familiar. And this is like, as I was trying to set this up at the beginning, this is a, this is a huge mindset shift unless you’re like twenty, and there aren’t that many CMOs that are twenty, you’ve been trained as a broadcast marketer. And you’ve lived in a broadcast world for a long time. To shift your mindset from broadcast to conversation is extremely difficult. And I’ll give you a little story on the way I think about it, I find it quite helpful. So, my favorite communicators are comedians. I love the way comedians communicate. Now, if you think about what comedians do, it’s quite different from what brands do. So the interesting thing about comedians, is that all comedians have the same creative brief, or at least the same benefit statement. So if you think about what the benefit for a comedian would be, it’d be you know, typically, the way you write a benefit statement is to convince the audience that blank, right? That Tide cleans the tough stains, so a comedian would be to convince the audience, right? Anyone guess? Think about it for a second. To convince the audience that I am funny. Every comedian has exact same benefit line. Now the reason why and their brand character are often quite different. But their benefit statement is identical. Now, if a marketer took that creative brief, and attempted to execute it, the marketer would look at that and say, “Ah, convince the audience that I am funny and they would walk onto the stage and they would say, “Okay, I know that repetition works. So I’m just going to start saying it, man”. “I am funny. I am funny. I am funny. I am funny. I am funny”. And probably seven times, I think, before people remember a message, right? I am funny. I am funny. I’m at seven now. And I know that I got to get the reach going. So I know that multimedia works. So I’m going to hand out some pamphlets and maybe have a testimonial from someone in the audience. Yes, Grad’s really funny and people will leave that performance, and someone will say, “Hey, how was how was the comedy act? And they’ll be like, “Well, you know, I mean, he said he was funny”. Like, they got the message. But they don’t believe it. They don’t believe the fact that he said he was funny, but he wasn’t so funny. What does a comedian actually do? A comedian goes onstage, and the comedian sends out a stimulus. So she’ll tell a joke. As you hear the joke, you react to it. Not always, but often you’ll laugh. And while you’re laughing, sometimes laughing very hard, but while you’re laughing, you think to yourself, you conclude, “Wow, she’s really funny”. And when you are asked later on, someone says, “How was the act?” “She was hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing”. But the funny thing is that people say like, what were the jokes? People always say, “Well, what was she talking about? What are the jokes?” And you know, you can never remember, right? Like, I don’t know, it was like, it was like a mother-in-law, an octopus. But you can’t like kind of put it together, right? And so what you do is you say, “She was just hilarious”. You remember how you felt, and you remember the conclusion that you drew from it. So this shift for brands is really hard because brands have gotten really comfortable just telling people stuff. “I’m just going to tell you what to think about me”. Conversational marketing and what we’re talking about right here requires I send a stimulus that may or may not work. Not everybody thinks every comedian is equally funny. And even comedians who are very famous and very funny and very successful, not everybody thinks they’re funny. And so you’re going to have some people that aren’t going to respond to the stimulus correctly. But you’ve got to find that stimulus that gets that conversation going. That is really hard. That is really hard. And so I’m not surprised that CMOs are struggling with this. But you know, we’ve got to figure it out.
Fantastic. So, Grad, we have several questions here, from the audience about how these principles apply to B2B marketing, where they’re present, can you draw on some examples you might be able to share?
Yeah, so actually, my job at Microsoft, I was CMO for Microsoft US. That’s a B2B arm. So it’s basically mostly commercial, a $30 billion commercial business. And so I was using this stuff in that business. And of course, at Sprinklr I do all this every day. And, of course, Sprinklr’s 100% B2B. There are two things about B2B, one is a little bit jokey and a little bit snarky, but I got to make the comment. The other one is a little bit of an observation about what you’re really selling in B2B. So people kind of get wrapped up in their shoelaces on this B2B B2C thing. And the thing that’s kind of cool about B2B is you’re still selling to human beings. Like, the same human being who is buying an Xbox, is also buying a CRM system, or is also buying a CDP, or is also buying a CXM system. The same person. They buy paper towels, and they buy software. This idea that somehow, they’re completely different people and we need to talk to them like they’re robots is really bizarre to me. The thing about B2B is that all B2B products, all B2B products are selling the same thing. And they very rarely are the marketer sophisticated enough to understand what they’re really selling. They all think they’re selling their product, and they all talk about their features. Most B2C marketers have moved past that a long time ago. But they’ve regressed to just speeds and feeds and features. But that’s actually not what they’re selling. But what every B2B marketer is selling is, they could be a nail manufacturer, they could be a B2B SaaS, like Sprinklr, or they could be you know, bulldozers, whatever it is, they’re all selling the same thing. Do you have any idea what that’d be? They’re selling career success. When you make a decision to work with a vendor, you’re betting your career, there are two curves, right? How can I advance my career? And what are the chances of me getting fired by making this decision? And the fact that B2B companies miss that emotional connection and miss the ability to get someone to think, “Wow, I’d love to do business with these people, because I think they’re going to help me be more successful” means that they’re not thinking about the problem the right way. And that is perfect for conversational marketing, perfect for connected stuff, perfect for what we’re doing in the world we’re talking about – the networked world. I mean, it’s the best for B2B.
Do you see the life stage concept also applying?
Absolutely, you know, if you think about when someone is talking about changing jobs, you know, often they’ll be moving to a new job. And very rarely is someone hired and told, “Don’t change anything”. Especially these days, it’s like, get in here and rip this thing down and build a new one. And so it’s a great opportunity to go in there and so you can actually do really, really precise account-based marketing and go after everyone who’s changing jobs that’s within the target audience you’re going after. So you’re selling to marketers, for example, you can go after all of them, talk to all of them, be connected to them in a way that they look at you as a friend and somebody who’s supporting them. One thing we do at Sprinklr when anyone in our circle of buying committees gets promoted, we congratulate them and we send them a little piece of creative just like I showed you in Xbox showing them moving to the new company and usually it’s like a bobble head version of them you know, sort of there was one person she was moving to Lyft you know, we put her in a Lyft car, driving her over to Lyft. People love that kind of stuff. They frame it, they make it their profile photo, they retweet it, they send it to their friends. The next time we have a conversation with that person, what kind of conversation is it? It’s a great conversation. Our sellers often comment – they’ll sit down in a room and it’s a warm room because they’re like that’s really cool what you guys did, that was really awesome, and we’re not selling when we do these things. We’re often just being human beings. Just talking to people, being nice, joking around, sort of celebrating their wins, being part of their lives. And then when it comes time to buy something, it’s like, you know, we’re here to support you. We’re here to make this happen, and it’s a very different way of thinking about selling.
Awesome. So Denise is asking about your Microsoft Xbox example with the posterized social media images, exactly how did you do that? Like how, how does one create a posterized image? And how do you do it at scale?
I’m not sure if it’s a super-duper technical question about the actual art program which I’m not able to answer, because I didn’t make it myself. But there are tons of programs that posterize images, it’s pretty easy technology. But the key thing is how we organize the team, I think that’s probably potentially where the question is going. So what we had to do, we played with lots of models, I mean, we failed three solid times as we were setting up the CXC, like complete meltdown, like nobody left like, you know, total, like nuclear annihilation, right. So three solid, terrible catastrophes. And we finally on a fourth attempt, sort of got it right. And we worked with a company called JeffreyM, who’s great. They fill a lot of the temporary roles at Microsoft. And they’re really great at finding really smart, young people who are early in career. And so they were they were fantastic partners, we built it up, we found that what we needed to do is sort of sit … we tried one model which as an agency, we tried another model, which was completely in-house, what worked was sitting them kind of in between agency and in-house. That sort of worked really well. And then we had another agency, we tried on the agency front with content, we went through some of the world’s greatest agencies, couldn’t do this, because the turnaround is like super-fast, we were producing hundreds of pieces of content a day. So we ended up finding a smaller agency and then hired a bunch of their creatives who actually came in- house and sat with the community managers. And so it became a bullpen. So community managers go “I got a hot one here” and then in Sprinklr, they would just move it because Sprinklr is a collaboration platform, they would move it to that person, they would look at it, the creatives would come up with an idea, pretty quickly, they weren’t trying to create the next greatest ad campaign in the world, just like I want to respond to this person, posterize it, do the message, and then get it back out again. And if you do that, you can actually produce shocking amounts of content. So it scales pretty quickly. But it does require a completely different way of thinking about things, you’re obviously not doing creative briefs, then you have to put a lot of trust and faith in your people. So again, I’m not trying to make this an ad for Sprinklr but when I was at Microsoft, one of the things I really appreciated with Sprinklr is that the governance structure allowed me to gate this stuff. So when someone was new, there were multiple levels of approval, and I could change those levels at will all the way up to me if I wanted to. And I could also bring in other brands and it was a great way to in legal, you know, a great way to kind of make sure approvals were in place. And then as someone got more experienced, and we knew that they knew how to do it, we could sort of push that governance level back down again. And so you could scale but also scale without risk.
Excellent. So next question is, “Do you have any advice for attempting this type of strategy with disconnected data systems?” You talked about how when they’re all consolidated, it works best. But what happens if you’ve got purchasing data in one place, marketing data somewhere else, no API connecting them? So merging manually before communications go out? Do you have any advice for how to make it work with that kind of a structure?
No. Sorry. I don’t. I don’t know how to do that. Yeah, I don’t; I mean, really, completely disconnected systems? I don’t know. I don’t know how you can. You can’t do it manually. Let me try to give a better answer. I was momentarily terrified and overwhelmed by that question, but I think the way to manage that situation, is to choose to hero on one thing. To try to merge manually or try to even merging three API’s is very problematic. Very difficult to do correctly. But what you can do is say, “Well, what do I know that’s relevant? What do I know that’s relevant? And let me just do a good job on that”. And I will say that there is this old expression, I don’t know how many people at P&G used it. But I had an ad manager that used it all the time, and he ended up becoming CEO. So I think it’s probably a pretty good expression. Bob McDonald, this is a Bob McDonald expression. And we used to get stuck in these kinds of bizarre academic arguments at P&G because everyone was straight out of school. So we kind of continued a very much of an academic way of approaching things and I remember we were on a multi-month argument over fifteen frames of a Downey commercial. I was Downey brand manager. Fifteen frames, as you know is half a second and fifteen frames would either add a picture of a mother hugging your child at the end of the ad, or fifteen frames could be added to the demo in the middle, showing that the bubble didn’t break when it hit the towels and that’s what we were arguing about for a long time. And you know how town cycles work. So the town cycle had expired; we hadn’t renewed so we were off the air completely. And Snuggle was kind of out there, that damn bear, you know, running around, being cute and everything. And we weren’t on the air. And this was going on, this kind of battle royale. And so Bob came in one of these meetings and he kind of like listened to the arguments and we both made our sort of reasoned arguments about why it should be this way. And it was my boss that I was arguing with. And Bob said two things. He said, “Well, first of all, the person who gets fired in here if he didn’t make his numbers is Grad so let him make the decision. And secondly, you’ve been off the air for two months, you’re not going to get on the air instantly, you’ve still got to traffic this thing and everything else. So you’re another couple weeks away from even being on the air. And meanwhile, the snuggle bear’s running around beating us up”. And he says, “I would argue that halitosis is better than no breath at all”. I love that expression. Right? And I think sometimes we’re so worried about having it perfect that we wait until some great moment. Just get out there. You know, you can’t get to every single person who’s talking about buying a car right away. Okay, well get to some of the people that are thinking about buying a car. Just like somebody get out to someone, for God’s sakes. And then you’ll sort of figure out how to do more, faster as you kind of get that motion going.
Awesome. Okay, our next question comes from an attendee saying, “Congrats to you and your fiancée. And thank you for the great presentation. Do you have any suggestions for how a newbie in the Pharma industry can develop mass one-to-one marketing and where to go for social listening of doctors? Any pointers for where to begin?”
Yeah, well, that’s actually a really interesting question. My brother actually works in Biotech and his wife works at Merck, so in Pharma, so I’m sort of familiar with it. And it’s a challenging industry because of the regulations. So you have to be to be quite careful. I did quite a bit of consulting with one of the very large Pharma giants in a Sprinklr capacity, I was like in there and they became a Sprinklr customer. And what was really interesting, I was doing, actually a mass one-to-one presentation, not dissimilar from this one, but a slightly earlier version of it. And they were all excited, but they said, no one will ever let us do this. I said, “Really? Are you sure?” and so we had a meeting, and I did a presentation with a whole bunch of examples. And they actually invited their lawyers. It was a super intimidating presentation because the whole front row of this conference room was just lawyers. And they’re Pharma lawyers, right? And they’re all dressed in suits with ties and stuff. And I’m running around in my chucks and what they would do is, the marketing leader would stop me like every two minutes because I would show an example and talk about how it worked. And she would stop me, “Okay, thanks. Thanks, Grad, hold on a second”. And then she turned to the lawyers, and she said, “Can we do that?” “Yeah, we could do that”. “Okay, keep going, Grad”. And then I’d do another. “Could we do that?” They’re like, “Yeah, you could do that”. Obviously, they kept saying yes, the reason why they kept saying yes is that the beauty of this mass one-to-one stuff in Pharma is it’s not making any claims. And I think the thing that we’ve lost, this is again a mindset issue, we’ve lost this … I don’t know why marketers are so afraid just to like, make people like them. Like you don’t have to always be selling stuff to people. Can we just have a conversation and make someone smile, make someone feel good about themselves, make someone’s day and then that will return to you. I think again, this is an obsession of measurement. But by over-obsessing on the measurement we’re actually under-delivering on brand and we’re not connecting with people the way we can. You will eventually be able to measure it but maybe just say something nice about the fact that they’re having a baby or something like that. You don’t have to like and buy my product is not necessary. And so I actually think Pharma has a huge opportunity here because it’s so restricted because of the claim-based nature of what it does that it would actually be, I think, very refreshing to watch a Pharma ad or see Pharma communications that weren’t full of disclaimers and all the different ways I’m going to die from using their products. The worst advertising ever, right? It’s like, here’s this great product that you know you can dance on it. They’re always dancing on the beach. You’re dancing on the beach with this product and meanwhile the announcer is going, … and this can happen, and this can happen, and this can happen, and this can happen, and this can happen, this can happen, this can happen, it’s like two ads. It is the weirdest advertising. So I think Pharma would go a lot further if they could be less claim obsessed.
I love it. So we really are out of time. But maybe one quick, rapid-fire question here at the end. Do you have a book, a favorite book that you would recommend?
The Man Who Sold America. It’s a story of Albert Lasker. It’s the story of the beginning of why creative started becoming important in advertising. If you haven’t read it, you should read it. If you don’t want to read it, you should get out of marketing.
Perfect. Thank you so much Grad for an amazing presentation today. And thanks again to Sprinklr for sponsoring our webinar. As a quick FYI to everyone here, as you exit Zoom, there’s going to be a window that pops up with a very short 30-second survey, we’d love to hear what you thought about today’s session. Thanks so much for joining today. And we’ll see you again soon.
And that’s a wrap on the MarketingProfs webinar and today’s rerun. I want to thank Valerie Witt for being a great host. I also loved the questions I was getting from the audience. It’s a really, really fun webinar to do and I’d do it again in a second. And hopefully you learned something about Mass 1:1, and particularly about how to do life stage marketing. I am really curious about who’s going to really light the candle on this stuff. And if you are doing life stage marketing using the data coming off these modern channels, could you send me a note, just DM me on Twitter and say, “Hey, Grad, I’m doing some pretty cool stuff with life stage marketing and getting some great results”. I’d love to have you on the show. I’d love to talk about it. I’d love to profile you. This is the next frontier for marketers today and we’ve all got to get on it. So life stage marketing, moments marketing, that’s where it’s at. And summer reruns is where the Unified CXM Experience is at right now. I am your host, Grad Conn, CXO at Sprinklr and I’ll see you in a rerun … next time.