You need an effective Marketing Plan before you do your marketing. But where do you start? One approach is to use market research.
An effective Marketing Plan can cover hundreds of strategies and tactics. So in this episode of the Marketing Strategy Show we explore a different way of starting to put together an integrated Marketing Plan using market research.
In this episode, our host Kym Heffernan was joined by John Wakeling, from Marketingheads, a multi award winning marketing researcher. John is an experienced analyst and brand developer.
The episode contains a discussion on both why doing your research is important and how it can help you setting the right goals for your business this year.
This episode contains a discussion on:
- Benefits of Research
- Different Types of Research
- Qualitative and Quantitative Research
- Research in-house vs. Outsourcing
- How to Use Research
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If you want more information from the podcast check out the transcript below.
The Research for Results Transcript
Kym Heffernan: Hi and welcome to today’s marketing strategy show. The marketing strategy show is all about getting the right marketing for your business. In our marketing strategy episodes we pull back the curtain with experts on a specialised topic and today is no different. We’re going to focus on something that’s often forgotten, called market research.
Why? Because very often I see today people have forgotten market research. Market research is people says that the client in the area of marketing analytics. Though the research is still relevant today, but it needs to be more than just a survey monkey three quick question to get actionable results. So, what I’d like to do today is talk to an expert on marketing research.
A guy who runs a business or a marketing research special. He knows all about marketing research and how that can guide your marketing strategy. His name is John Wakeling. His business is called Marketing Heads and today, I guarantee you, it will totally change how you think about market research and how you go about developing a marketing plan for your business.
Hey John, are you there?
John Wakeling: I am, Kym. Thank you very much for having us on today.
Kym Heffernan: And welcome. And thanks very much. We go back a few years now, and one thing I’ve always admired about your business is, the people approach marketing strategy from a whole different perspective, some people have a one page marketing plan, some people have a 50 page marketing plan, some people just go ahead and execute stuff, but you take a methodical approach to truly understanding the market you’re trying to sell to and then develop the strategy and then execution. I’d really like to explore that with you today but maybe before we do, why don’t you give us a bit of a John Wakeling background. Tell them on your history before Marketing Heads.
John Wakeling: Alright. Well we’ll try and stick with the business part of it. My background, I started my career in the pharmaceutical industry, so very much in the selling area, running a sales force and then ultimately running a marketing department. But look, since starting Marketing Heads, that goes back some 20 years ago, we’ve conducted market research across a diverse range of industry and these include Australian manufacturers, business to business, business to consumer, professional services, finance, transport, technology, public, private, family businesses make up a large proportion of Australian businesses. But also, I think our first client was a government organisation called [inaudible 00:03:11] we’ve also worked in local government. More recently we’ve done some work in the NDLS, this is a $22 billion market for people with disabilities here in Australia, and we’ve worked with them both, the for profit and the not for profit side of that, and more recently also working some membership organisation. We’ve also at the moment reviewing some of the work we did two years ago for one of those organisations. So, we’re reviewing what their marketing department have actually done and basically looking at ticking the boxes in terms of the recommendations and strategies. So, in an essence, our background is that we’re really marketers and we’re markers that do market research and then develop strategy, ’cause we have strong beliefs around getting it right and getting our clients return on investment.
Kym Heffernan: So John, how do you come about starting Marketing Heads? What was Marketing Heads all about back in the beginning?
John Wakeling: Because of the background, we identified there was an opportunity, well first of all, a gap in the market. I found that a lot of industries, they were really struggling around the area of marketing, not really understanding what it was about, and as a consequence of that, not really doing it very well, if at all. We really wanted to offer something to them and provide access, the same access that the large multi-national organisations have, to achieving this sort of exceptional results that they achieve. And one of the common denominators is that they do research, they do research, they do more research then develop strategies and then execute. So, we thought having being part of that organisation, we can take this to other organisations and assist them in being exceptional as well. That’s really the essence of why some of these organisations have been so successful. So, it’s knowing what the insides are, identifying the strategies that are relevant, tangible and actionable that will achieve traction, and we still see organisations that just go straight to the execution stage. They really just bypass the really important component that makes a difference to being able to communicate in a more effective way and achieve exceptional results and a return on investment.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, it’s so true John. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a different [inaudible 00:05:39] what we think is sellers [inaudible 00:05:44].
John Wakeling: Yeah, look, I mean if you’re thinking about why you believe research is important for instance, quite simply, it takes the guessing, hoping and praying out of the equation. I mean to us it just makes sense, also because your strategies are customer centric, they’re no longer driven by what’s talked around the boardroom and that in-house knowledge, it’s actually going to the customer and coming back with issues and opportunities that are customer centric, understanding what the gaps are in the market. I guess that helps to give you some understanding of why we believe research is important, also I think the other component Kym, with the internet, the world’s become a much smaller class, today I can order something directly out of China, I don’t need to go through a wholesaler and a retailer and that whole chain. So, the markets become a lot more competitive. If you’re a really competitive market, then you actually really need to understand what those insights are. ‘Cause how the heck do you differentiate and deliver a value proposition that is very, very different to your competitors.
Kym Heffernan: And I suppose that’s the challenge. A lot of people struggle to define that unique value proposition out there.
John Wakeling: Yeah. And it’s also then how do you create that relationship that is sustainable with that customer. And a group of customers. Many years ago we did some work in a courier service business and we’re trying to understand the difference between what customer services was. So what constitutes great customer services opposed to that which is expected. When you understand that, then the messages that go to the market with is very, very different.
Kym Heffernan: So what was the end result of that, John? Just as a really great example. [inaudible 00:07:42].
John Wakeling: What we found was that it was great service constituted the time it took for the courier to pick up, it wasn’t the time it took for the courier to deliver that particular item.
Kym Heffernan: Right.
John Wakeling: I mean, it’s bizarre.
Kym Heffernan: When you know the answer that you just said though, it’s obvious though, because you’re waiting for this. Why hasn’t this guy come, why hasn’t he picked it up? And that’s the first point of contact that you really see, that’s amazing.
John Wakeling: This is what we find when we’re doing research. We did a major project for a large multi-national diagnostic firm and they were wanting to launch a new project, a very large piece of [inaudible 00:08:27] equipment into hospitals and change the way hospitals did a particular process. They expected that because of the tendering system in the hospital system here in Australia, they would have to compete on price. We found that there are at least ten critical areas outside of price that were important to buyers. And these included, I won’t go through them all because the list is quite extensive, but things like compatibility with existing systems, you’re gonna tick off the waiting on that then in terms of how you go about buying, educating staff is another one, quality systems and maintenance, so if you don’t understand those ten criteria, you’re at a distinct advantage when you go to the market with your project offer because all you’re talking about is price, and you’re competing in a very different way. Whereas if you understand what this criteria is about, all of a sudden, you’ve got a very different messaging that then the buyer and the people you need to influence within that hospital system actually relate to.
Kym Heffernan: And I guess it’s even more critical in today, it was probably the same. But it’s just as critical today because these days, buyers want to be educated and they want to be sold to. Unless you know what you need to educate them on and help them, how can you do that?
John Wakeling: Well, I would expect, we interviewed lots of procurement type people and particularly for our Australian manufacturing clients, and they’re not interested in someone just coming into selling something to them. What they’re interested in is how can you deliver value to my business, that I haven’t even thought of yet.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah. That’s really an interesting point, just wanna explore that a little bit more in terms of what buyers are expecting. There’s a book that came out a few years ago called the Challenges for Help. I’m not sure if you’re familiar, but basically what I took out of it was that buyers don’t just want you to come and ask, tell me your paying points Mr buyer, and I’ll tell you how my product actually fits them. If you’re a seller out there in the market place to lots of people, you’ve got marketing insights I don’t get as a buyer sitting behind my desk. So how can you help me understand more about what’s happening and that’s sort of what you’re talking about, the research helps guide that.
John Wakeling: It does. I mean on of the interesting types of research that we do is around market perception. This is around client perceptions of how your organisation as a supplier, performs. So, one of the first areas we look at it is what are the performance metrics? One of the metrics that really matter, and which of the four or five that matter most to that particular business owner or CEO or buyer in a business, when you understand what they are, then all of a sudden you can start focusing in on those, the other thing we then do is say, “Okay, how does our client perform against those metrics?” So, if it’s something like quality for instance, how does our client perform? When the client is only performing 80% of the time, what that constitutes is 20% of the time they’re delivering a product or a service that doesn’t meet their need, it doesn’t meet their need for a quality product or service that they can on sell or do something with. So, for one particular client of ours, that 20% represented about $30 million worth of product going to the tin. I mean if you’re a small to medium enterprise business and it represents $50000 of product or service that isn’t of a high enough standard, that’s a significant cost to the bottom line, it doesn’t matter what size business you’re in. So, that’s one way of us constructing an opportunity then for a sales group for instance or a marketing manager within their business to think very, very differently about how they go to market, what are the strategies we then develop around these particular metrics that are in hindsight, really important and then, what do we need to do with our own business to make sure we deliver value in say, quality or customer service. It could be around things like propensity change and innovate. It could be around propensity to just simply meet the customers need in terms of building relationships. I mean in the annual CEO survey that we do, we identify some of those key success factors that CEO’s have identified to us that they go to utilise in the coming year. That’s why the website is free and anyone listening to this can go to that and have a look.
Kym Heffernan: I’ll put up a link for that too, John.
John Wakeling: Anyway, I’ve probably gone off track.
Kym Heffernan: No, no. I think there’s no one track, I think we really just want to explore that a lot more deeply. I think that’s something that I see a lot of research, with the label research is more about how can I improve my communication. You’re not talking about improving your communication here, you’re actually talking about improving how they go to market totally, their marketing strategy as opposed to a brochure or website.
John Wakeling: We’re often asked to come in and look at a website, look at social media, how can we make this more effective, whatever that tactical element is. The metrics that I’ve just spoken about, are the things that actually drive the effectiveness of those tactical elements. If you don’t actually understand that, then you just keep burning tens of thousands of dollars every month on ad words or SEI or whatever it might be, and unfortunately there’s a lot of people out there that that’s what they sell and they’re invested in that. Our investment is not that. Our investment is about how we can return to shareholders greater value then we’re perhaps currently getting in terms of bang for buck from their marketing. I mean a number of years ago, we interviewed CEO’s, we found that at least 60% of them believe that their marketing was ineffective.
Kym Heffernan: There’s a lot of cliché about that, isn’t it? That I know by advertising dollars are waste, I just don’t know which 50%.
John Wakeling: I mean that’s part of it and I’ve forgotten the guys name who was a very famous advertising agency out in New York.
Kym Heffernan: [inaudible 00:14:54].
John Wakeling: David, who talked about, I think I lent my book to someone and I haven’t been able to find it for a couple of years, but I often go back to that because when you go back to what really matters, then market research becomes very, very important, because what really matters is are the customers and we as marketing people and organisations, we all have our views on how to go about doing what’s the best way or marketing or communicating, but at the end of the day, why don’t we actually ask the people that matter how do you like to be communicated with?
Kym Heffernan: The customer.
John Wakeling: Now, where do you go searching for information and I know they all say Google, but in reality, what do they look out on Google? And then you can start thinking very differently about how do I SEO against that?
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, I mean in Google analysis and keyword analysis which you’re talking about is obviously important, but it doesn’t tell you what they’re thinking when they type those magic words into Google.
John Wakeling: No.
Kym Heffernan: And what you’re doing is saying, “What are they thinking before they type that into Google?”
John Wakeling: Or how do we set up our business to be the main source of information when they go searching for information on that subject and having really broad subjects doesn’t necessarily help because you can end up on page five and no one looks at page five.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, just using your courier example of before, if I’m googling how to find the best courier in Sydney, you might talk about fast delivery but if you’re talking about fast pick-up, that’s what they want to hear.
But I mean, one of the areas that I think we’re gonna talk, or wanted to talk about, I mean there’s lots of different types of research …
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, I’m interested in those.
John Wakeling: And yes there are, and I know that every time I go and stay in a hotel or I do something, I buy a product, I instantly get asked to do a survey but when you look at some of those questions, you actually can’t answer what you would actually like to answer, so the area that we find very valuable in the work that we do is the unprompted comment section, what people really believe. What they really wanna tell you. The product hasn’t delivered or it has delivered and it’s fantastic. So, the unprompted is very important but so is the promoted and we use both of those. Most of the work we do is either quantitative, so we’re trying to size up markets, opportunities, look for gaps, wherever that might be. It might be around pricing and things like that as well, but a qualitative component of it, which is where we really make a difference is, when someone says something to us, your courier was too late, what does that actually mean? And then you drill down and you really understand what that’s about. When you understand what it’s about, then you can do something about. You can also then construct your communication around dealing with that issue. The other thing we talk when we’re talking to potential clients is this chorus we go looking for. So this chorus is a whole lot of individual organisations, stakeholders that we’re interviewing, talking about that as an issue. If it’s an outlier, we may mention it to our client but there’s an issue there that they have to deal with individually, but if it’s not part of the main chorus then it may not end up as part of the strategy.
Kym Heffernan: That concept of chorus John, you mean by that the majority of people and it’s the majority, what do you call a majority?
John Wakeling: Okay. With the in depth qualitative market research that we do, we go looking for … for instance, we’ve got a manufacturing client, he can break his clients down into a’s, b’s and c’s. I think he has probably less than a 100 clients in Australia, he’s one of the largest manufacturers in his space. He’s local, he competes with Thailand and India and their very competitive pricing, so we would interview in his eyes, a very high proportion of those, but they’re like the major companies that he’s dealing with and represent probably close to 75% of his business. We would then look at whose in the other group of customers so that these, and we would interview those. We would also then look at who are the other stakeholders and opinion leaders in this market? Who are the people doing the chemical research or whatever it is, so we might go and interview them to look at how can our client be really innovative and think very differently about his processes, his manufacturing processes or his logistic approach, perhaps being able to measure using technology, different things that are going on with his product in the marketplace. So, it really depends on the client. So the work we do is very much bespoke to the challenge that that business has. It’s not a post two stamp approach. So, we’re not going onto say some online survey and sending that out as a response to whatever that challenge is. We’re actually going and doing face-to-face interviews. And those interviews can be anything from 30 minutes. Last year or the year before we did some in depth interviews with CEO’s in other states and they were three or four hour interviews.
Kym Heffernan: So the chorus is not necessarily a majority like I was thinking. It’s a common thread, is that how you would describe it?
John Wakeling: It is. But it’s from key influencers in the market.
Kym Heffernan: Right. Which may be customers and also other people, not just customers alone.
John Wakeling: Well, we often do both customers and non-customers. We often also wanted to learn why they’ve lost a customer or why they haven’t won a piece of work.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, that lost tender research.
John Wakeling: Often a lot of sales people will tell, they’ll just talk about price and they weren’t competitive enough, or they don’t like me.
Kym Heffernan: Or whatever else it might be.
John Wakeling: We’ve heard all sorts of stuff. And that’s all very nice, but at the end of the day, when you go beyond that and ask the really hard questions, is well what’s it really about, maybe it’s their product doesn’t perform and you can do something about that. You can improve a product or a service and deliver it better.
Kym Heffernan: That’s a great segway. You talked a bit about that manufacturer and courier company, what other success stories have you had with businesses and insights they’ve got from doing different types of research?
John Wakeling: As you can tell, we’re passionate about what we do and we love to lay out our success stories. For us, this is why we get out of bed in the morning, for us to be able to achieve sustainable year on year growth for a client, that for us is the pinnacle. I could have spent my whole career in the pharmaceutical industry marketing whatever it is, but for us, the important part is on challenged and that’s really what I love. The challenge though for us then is to, how do we achieve exceptional results for our client? What are the game changes in the market. So, in terms of results, we had a client, and we can talk about these clients because the work that we’ve done for them is a couple of years old and we have permission to talk. We won’t name them but we’ve got a client in the first year, we grew her business over 30%, over the next three consecutive years, we’ve continued to grow that business more than 30% and there’s a testimonial on our website about that from that client. We also helped a not for profit achieve more than 300% growth in the first year that we executed our strategies there. So, it was ground up research and the full execution. Not for profit community transport business, we not only changed their business model, we also changed the market attitude to community transport. We changed it from being a grudge purchase to being, “I’m interested, this could be fun”. And that really was part of the growth process, change the relationship from people in the community, to this organisation delivering community transport. For our commercial and our clients, I think the important part there is we also often get to write their creative brief from the research recommendations and strategy and sometimes also get to then manage that through to the tactical execution. That’s when we achieve the 30% growth or 300% growth because we maintain the intelligence that we’ve learned throughout that whole process and then can execute the other strategies, if you get what I’m saying. And that’s when we achieve our greatest results. We work in many different ways Kym, as you know. We work with some of our partners, we have quite a diverse range of those and sometimes they deliver the outcomes, we just do the research component. We can come into the process at any which point, other times where there’s no marketing group, we may in fact do what I’ve just described, but often we’re just handing it onto others in the marketing group and they execute. But the important part for us is the work that we were doing over the last 20 years. Today, virtually 100% of what we do is refer by others, and we value that very much.
Kym Heffernan: Can I just drill a bit deeper into the community transport John, what was it that you found that made, what are the two or three things that made the biggest difference? Was it understanding what their messaging should be or they didn’t understand their customers? What was it that the research uncovered that helped drive that growth?
John Wakeling: The respondents in this mark were our local government area, where there are 47 suburbs. The name of the business was also the geographic location for that location government area. Many other people we interviewed outside of that principal town or city name, didn’t believe that they could actually use the service.
Kym Heffernan: Right.
John Wakeling: We also found that they didn’t actually understand what they service was about, they didn’t understand what they actually delivered. From the customers that we interviewed, these customer satisfactory rating that we got from that group was probably the highest we’ve ever seen in any business. I mean the next not for profit we worked with had the least best case customer satisfaction result, so what we had to do was turn the message around and talk about customer service. We had to talk about the events and the opportunity for people who were outside of the area, it’s amazing how things actually work. We ended up with a strategy to rebrand that organisation and the rebranding resulted in us then being asked to assist our client to do a tender, they ended up winning that tender because their perspective was across all of Western Sydney instead of this particular part of it, and we also supported them with the strategies that we were going to market with. It’s just hard to remember everything that we actually …
Kym Heffernan: I think that’s a great example because I guess that sort of opens their eyes a bit and helps them see it because it’s hard sometimes when you’re in a business that’s selling to no particular group of people, have that external view, isn’t it?
John Wakeling: One of the things that customers talk to us about was safe travel, they didn’t believe for instance, that public transport was safe for them. No people living independently at home, over 65 years of age, often transport is a disadvantage, so most of all taxis and public transport, buses and trains, is not necessarily being safe, so one of the things we looked at was how do we turn that into a value proposition that will engage and create traction and then obviously results in that 300% growth? And so we developed a strap line around their business which said travel in safe hands. We also developed a new business motto around it, it being easy to access, easy to connect with the places you wanted to go and had to go to, for instance a for medical appointments and other things. The whole thing was driven by the research, developing a strategy, then into branding, then into communication. The communication then went onto they have 12 vehicles, 12 buses that they utilised to provide services and we also directed the path that we would use on those vehicles, previously the vans looked more like the Queensland State of Origin football team bus. It was all sort of our own but we wanted a completely different palette to it, we also changed the imagery on the vehicles and we basically created a storm. We’re obviously very proud of that and the CEO was obviously very delighted, as was the board.
Kym Heffernan: It certainly got them results in terms of doing. It’s an interesting point, you spoke about there, which brought on something you mentioned in the beginning of the interview as well, I think sometimes, and I’m probably guilty of this and a number of people as well, you see the research you do once, right? But things change and people go off course and markets change, so there’s a need I think, to do ongoing research, isn’t it?
John Wakeling: We think there is. It depends what the challenge in the business is when we go there. A number of years, going back to 2013, we were invited to the internal review of marketing strategy that somebody else was in the process of executing, our CEO was not happy with what they were proposing. They had done some research, we looked at their research and basically we said we can’t do anything with this, we’re happy to walk away but ideally you would redo this work and do it properly. Because all it was, was really just a survey, a tick and flick type thing and it made no sense nor were there any substantive support for the strategies that they’re proposing to execute and when you don’t have that choruses we were talking about earlier, you don’t have that support. You don’t identify what the game changes are in the market. When there’s non of that, you back into the guessing, hoping and praying sort of thing. The other issue was that the organisation they brought in was a very, very large multi-national advertising agency. This was represented a very small client for them so the care factor was probably fairly low. They got this opportunity back then and turned to us to do the research properly. We then redid that in 2015, so we were looking … earlier I talked about measuring quality. This particular client I was referring to then, so it was round about 80% in 2013. We saw them move up to around from 80 to a high 90’s in 2015, but we also identified that their customer service values had declined as well. So, we’re about to do that research again. So, when you have that longitudinal study, you can actually see changes occurring within the business. You can see the strategies that they’ve implemented to make those changes around quality for instance. We hope to see changes now. I think we’re doing that quarter one next year when we go back to the market around customer service and delivery on time and for issues like that.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah. So to be able to track that over time, which is what many large organisations do, which is great to see how you’re progressing. I think that also offers other opportunities, doesn’t it? Because you may not see opportunity but you’re out there asking questions which is an interesting question for you. Do you find it’s a customer or a client that ask questions directly, they get a different answer than if you ask as an independent researcher?
John Wakeling: Yes we do. The other thing that we do is, we offer privacy and confidentiality. So whilst we may have a customer list of people that is supplied to us, we actually go through and select who we will be interviewing. Both customers and non-customers and other stakeholders and we don’t tell our client who we those people are. We obviously advise them of that before we go in. So, offering that privacy and confidentiality changed the way people will talk to you and we need to maintain that confidentiality and in the reporting that we do. Often we have clients that say, “That was said by John” and we just don’t comment, ’cause they know their customers, they know what their customers are saying. What they don’t often get though is what they actually really mean when they say something and what that really looks like in terms of what customers intend to do in the future about it.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, I guess because they know that, they open up more, right?
John Wakeling: Well we believe so and we’ve experienced that on many occasions. There’s lots of examples, we just need to be careful about what I discuss.
Kym Heffernan: [inaudible 00:33:11] sort of a logical, sometimes people will tell you what you wanna hear as opposed to what’s really affecting them.
John Wakeling: We had one client in the building industry. He had given us a list of customers we interviewed, had had dinner with him the night before. As soon as I finished that interview, which we terminated early, because I mean we weren’t getting anything that was of any value. I rang the chap and said, “Who else is on this list that you went for dinner with last night that’s your best mate?” We would rather walk away from this project than interview people like that.
Kym Heffernan: ‘Cause you need to understand what’s really happening and not just hear yes, they’re fantastic people. You wanna find out what’s really happening.
John Wakeling: We think that we have an ethical disposition, if you like, to actually deliver results for our clients. And we’re very strong on both confidentiality and delivering great results. It’s not just words that we use, we actually like to deliver that. Why we have 100% referral rate, is because of that.
Kym Heffernan: I guess it’s also to this scheme of it all, it’s not something I can read a textbook on how to be a great interviewer or how to do market research or follow survey monkey’s blog, there’s a little bit of expertise and skills developed over a number of years to asking the right way as well.
John Wakeling: What’s really interesting is, my business partner Kaye McIntyre and I, we’re generally together when we’re doing in depth interviews. A female component of that is very powerful, and because we’ve worked together for so long now, she reads whether I’m actually getting information that we need and then she’ll come in over the top of me and ask it in a completely different way, in a disarming way, and yeah, we get the information that we need.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, someone who’s an observer to see what’s really happening because I guess sometimes if you’re in the one on one interview situation, you haven’t always got the insight [inaudible 00:35:23].
John Wakeling: But also allows us to capture the data. I mean often, when you’re having a conversation one on one, you don’t capture all of the information that you really need. So one of us is obviously taking notes, when the others are asking questions but I guess we plan it a bit but look, it works, it’s worked for us for a long time and often women think very differently to what men do, and they’re looking for things that are of value to them in the market that blokes just don’t see.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah.
John Wakeling: And we find that very … I particularly find that valuable and value that in having that female component in what we do.
Kym Heffernan: Do you actually record when you’re interviewing John, that’s an interesting question. I just thought of that. Do you actually record them?
John Wakeling: No is the answer. We can but then you’ve gotta go through a process of obtaining permission and what we don’t want to do is fright people off. It’s different to writing something down as opposed to capturing on tape, as say for instance we’re doing today. What we wanna do is make it informal, we want to make it informative and professional and I think the approach that we take, we do develop a research guide when we go in, our clients do have input into that research guide. Research guide is really to make sure we cover all of the areas that we’ve identified that we’ve wished to cover. For instance, there are particular metrics to an industry that are important and there’s obviously discussions around sometimes new products or services that our client wants to test the market on. They may wish to test issues around processes and systems, invoicing, levels of customer service. We’ve done reviews for instance on the capability of the sales force, what they actually do in the selling role, that’s always interesting.
Kym Heffernan: So the research part is not just the questions in that case.
John Wakeling: No, it’s not a questionnaire. It’s not a tick and flick. It really is looking at the subjects that we basically agree that we will cover in that interview with our client. So, the first area is obviously what do you know about Tim’s marketing business, for instance, might be a question. What do you know about Marketing Heads? How good are they on what they do? And then you really start looking at in hard terms how they value you against performance metrics. We need to lead into it in a soft way, what we’re looking for obviously is the hard data and now understanding the why’s? What’s this really about?
Kym Heffernan: John, this has been a fantastic interview. I don’t know how many times we’ve met and done presentations together for different things but I’ve certainly learned a lot today. I didn’t even know or understand.
John Wakeling: We love what we do Kym, we’re very passionate. The way we report is very clear for a board or a senior executive team to see where they’re falling down in their performance areas because we tend to use graphs rather. We do the whole page report but we actually do it in graph form as well, you’ve seen in some of our presentations.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, and I think it’s fantastic. I think no one wants to see all the detail, particularly these days and want to get straight to the point and say, “Well, what have you found out?” How you went about finding it out is really irrelevant to a certain extent, isn’t it?
John Wakeling: Yeah.
Kym Heffernan: It’s the insides. Any parting words or advice you’d like to give the people?
John Wakeling: I think it’s [inaudible 00:39:29] it’s to deliver a return on investment. Whether it be for you as an owner of a business or whether it be the shareholders. I’m working at the moment on a not for profit board, and I’m looking at how do I deliver value as a board member? How do I deliver, not just being another person sitting there around a table, but actually really deliver something that makes a difference to the services that they deliver to disability group. It’s all of those sorts of things and I think, as business owners, we need to start thinking very, very differently about the quick short answer, the quick short how do I get the results tomorrow, as opposed to how do I build a sustainable business? You look at the big family businesses in Australia that have sustained two, three, four or five generations. You know the Packers, and the Murdoch’s and organisations like that, that are billion dollar businesses. They didn’t look at just what was happening on the news stand next week or in three month’s time, they looked at how do I own this whole market. So, it’s a very different perspective and your investment strategies that you go to market with become very, very different.
Kym Heffernan: Yeah, that’s right. You can’t go to market without understanding who they are and what drives them to make decisions.
John Wakeling: When we set this business up, we wanted to earn the marketing space around market research and delivering strategy and delivering exceptional results for our client. Last year we were awarded the excellence in marketing award with the Wasabi’s. There’s a very good reason for that. We’ve also been nominated twice for a [inaudible 00:41:20] business award. I mean those things just don’t happen if you’re not delivering.
Kym Heffernan: It’s based on results and independent assessment of results. John, thank you very much for your time and more importantly, sharing your expertise with us on how to go about and the importance of research, it’s been really insightful for people and if people wanna connect with you, what’s the best way people can connect with you? Go to your website?
John Wakeling: Yeah, Marketingheads.com.au or just go to [email protected] or send me an email, or give me a call, 9869-3314 in Sydney.
Kym Heffernan: [inaudible 00:41:59] I’ll also put a link on there to the CEO survey which is really interesting reading for anyone whose …
John Wakeling: Well, it’s a different way of thinking. It looks at the way other CEO’s and business leaders are looking at their business and how they plan to achieve growth in the coming year. And we’re about to do that work again for 2019, so we’re doing that at the end of November. If there’s anyone there that might like to be included, we’re happy to include them in that research. Just drop us a line and we’ll extend a link to that survey so that they can be part of that, then we’ll actually [inaudible 00:42:33] the report to them in the first quarter of next year, so they’ve got those thoughts available from a large range of other CEO’s who are all trying to do the same thing, and that is grow business.
Kym Heffernan: Exactly. John Wakeling from Marketing Heads. Thanks again for your time, I really appreciate it.
John Wakeling: Thanks, Kym. Terrific! All the best.
Thanks for joining us on this episode of Marketing Show. We hope you got some practical, effective tips and ideas so your organisation gets more prospects and nurtures those prospects to becoming long-term customers. Just a reminder, the show is sponsored by The Marketing Strategy Company, who help B2B organisations develop effective marketing plans, winning marketing strategies and sales and marketing automation systems to turn their sales and marketing efforts into new customers and dollars through their marketing. Check out the show notes for this episode and The Marketing Strategy Company’s effective marketing plans and marketing services at themarketingstrategy.co. That’s themarketingstrategy.co. Until next time, happy marketing.