What has been the impact of the digital revolution and is it time to revisit key principles in marketing? In this Q&A, we chat to AJF Partnership’s head of strategy and IPA Strategic Planning course chair (Melbourne), Pieter-Paul von Weiler, to find out.

TCC: Why do you believe now is the best time to change perspective and revisit key principles in marketing?

Pieter-Paul: Most advertising doesn’t work. This is the sad conclusion from a growing pile of research. Studies by Havas prove that most people increasingly don’t care about brands. Local research by Grey suggests that most Australians believe advertising can’t be trusted and that most advertising is forgettable. And in a regular survey run by MAP 57% of Australians can’t recall a single campaign when asked “what’s your favourite ad”?

We can ignore these inconvenient findings. Or we can put a spotlight on them and think about how we can make marketing better. The IPA Strategic Planning course “Changing Perspectives” does exactly that.

TCC: What has been the impact of the digital revolution on marketing?

Pieter-Paul: The world of marketing used to be simpler, but it is a lot more interesting now. Digital, social, A.I. and the rest make the marketing toolbox bigger. But marketing’s aim is still the same—build relationships between people and brands to drive sales. This remains the key reason why companies invest in it. What we need to improve is our understanding on how to best use our toolbox.

TCC: What do you think needs to improve in marketing?

Pieter-Paul: Too often we expect business to speak the language of marketing. But it should be the other way around. Marketing should speak the language of business better.

Focus on foresight, not hindsight. Help brands stay one step ahead of what customers want. Do more to uncover the real insights behind stats, facts and data.

Experiment more. There’s never been an easier time to start experimentation and learn from it. Kill the fear of failure.

Don’t be seduced by vanity metrics. We attribute importance to the things we measure when we should measure the things that are important. Always link soft metrics to harder business metrics.

And don’t forget the basics; emotion and entertainment still remains at the heart of what we do.

TCC: In your own words, planning for you is about ‘thought through simplicity’ – what do you mean by this, can you please elaborate?

Pieter-Paul: It is simple to make things difficult. But it is much harder to make what’s difficult simple. This sits at the core of good planning. And with the growing amount of confusion in marketing, planning can play a crucial role to lead the way to clarity. With a range of progressive thinkers from around the world joining this course the plan is to do just that.

Sources: Havas Meaningful brands, 2017; Eye on Australia 2016, Grey; Magnum Opus Partners Awareness study, 2017.

Pieter-Paul is the Melbourne chair of the IPA Strategic Planning course “Changing Perspectives”, to be held in Melbourne on 3-5 September and Sydney on 27-29 August (chaired by Justin Graham).

Course information:
IPA Residentials are designed for delegates to step away from the day-to-day business for three days of intensive mentoring, analysis, debate and interactive learning that can be applied the very next day. Accommodation and meals are included.