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❱ 6<br />

Putting on the<br />

Ritz in Digital<br />

Customer<br />

Experience<br />

❱ 4<br />

How Account-<br />

Based<br />

Marketing<br />

Builds Better<br />

Relationships<br />

PM40050803<br />

VOL. 34 • NO. 3 • MARCH 2021<br />



An Interview<br />

with Shawn Stewart<br />

❱ 10<br />


3<br />


Vol. 34 | No. 3 | March 2021<br />


Publisher & Editor-in-Chief<br />

Steve Lloyd - steve@dmn.ca<br />


Jennifer O’Neill - jennifer@dmn.ca<br />


Steve Lloyd - steve@dmn.ca<br />


Tom Beakbane<br />

Steve Falk<br />

Christopher Daniels Deanna Ransom<br />

Bob Dowd<br />

Stephen Shaw<br />

LLOY<strong>DM</strong>EDIA INC.<br />


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SALES<br />

❯❯<br />

4<br />

Nine Ways Account-Based<br />

Marketing Builds Deeper<br />

Relationships with Customers<br />



❯❯<br />

10<br />

Retail Reimagined<br />

An Interview with<br />

Shawn Stewart,<br />

Senior Vice President,<br />

Customer and<br />

Triangle, Canadian<br />

Tire Corporation<br />


❯❯<br />

8<br />

Using Customer Feedback<br />

to Beat the Competition<br />


❯❯<br />

15<br />

Five Trends Shaping the Future<br />

of Global Payments<br />


❯❯<br />

6<br />

Putting on the Ritz in Digital<br />

Customer Experience<br />

❯❯<br />

18<br />

Part 1.<br />

The Unravelling<br />

of My World<br />

MY VIEW<br />


MARCH 2021 <strong>DM</strong>N.CA ❰

SALES<br />

// 4<br />

Nine Ways Account-Based<br />

Marketing Builds Deeper<br />

Relationships with Customers<br />


When customers<br />

feel heard,<br />

they begin<br />

to trust, refer a company to<br />

colleagues, friends and family, and<br />

spend more money. One-to-one<br />

customer relationships can build<br />

lifelong loyalty, but unfortunately,<br />

many of these campaigns are<br />

doomed to fail when companies do<br />

not adequately prepare.<br />

One of the most valuable ways<br />

to target and relate to customers<br />

is by implementing account-based<br />

marketing (ABM). ABM is a strategy<br />

involving the use of marketing and<br />

sales to build personalized customer<br />

relationships.<br />

ABM makes one-to-one<br />

relationships more efficient by<br />

targeting only the customers most<br />

likely to buy. By utilizing this<br />

“zero-waste” strategy, companies<br />

won’t use up valuable time or<br />

resources on mere possibilities.<br />

It’s also grounded in personalized<br />

messaging, which is essential for<br />

building brand loyalty.<br />

That’s why ABM is the integral<br />

foundation on which to build a<br />

one-to-one strategy. Here’s what<br />

marketers are saying:<br />

❯❯<br />

87 percent say ABM outperforms<br />

other marketing ventures<br />

❯❯<br />

80 percent say it increases<br />

customer lifetime<br />

❯❯<br />

86 percent say it improves win<br />

rates<br />

❯❯<br />

76 percent say it brings higher<br />

ROI<br />

Additionally, their 20 percent<br />

opportunity rate gives companies a<br />

significant leg-up on competitors.<br />

Creating deeper customer<br />

relationships that will bring higher<br />

ROI, loyalty, and efficiency—but<br />

first, companies need ABM.<br />

How to build customer<br />

relationships with ABM<br />

A one-to-one strategy combined<br />

with inbound marketing will result<br />

in the most rewarding partnership.<br />

Begin with inbound marketing to<br />

acquire a broad target market, use<br />

ABM to select specific customers<br />

within that market, and then<br />

adjust the products and services to<br />

meet the targets’ needs. Without<br />

each of the following steps, an<br />

ABM strategy will not lead to<br />

valuable customer relationships.<br />

1. Define ABM Goals<br />

The first action in any campaign is<br />

to define goals related to an ABM<br />

strategy. Some goals might include:<br />

❯❯<br />

Higher revenue<br />

❯❯<br />

Higher value from existing<br />

customers<br />

❯❯<br />

More engagement<br />

❯❯<br />

New target market segment<br />

❯❯<br />

Successful launch of a new<br />

product or service<br />

To successfully measure goals,<br />

attach KPIs to each one. With goals<br />

in mind throughout the entire<br />

campaign, mold every action<br />

thereafter to achieve the returns<br />

you want.<br />

2. Specify and Prioritize Target<br />

Market<br />

After identifying a target market<br />

from an inbound strategy, narrow<br />

the focus with ABM. Make a list of<br />

individual customers that fit the<br />

broad or “average” target market.<br />

Then select the customers that<br />

provide the most value to the<br />

organization. Those people are<br />

new “accounts” to go after—the<br />

people most worth the marketing<br />

investment.<br />

3. Build a Tech Stack<br />

ABM is built on data analysis.<br />

For any ABM campaign, tools for<br />

identifying accounts, tracking<br />

data, and measuring relationships<br />

are a must.<br />

Companies should get started<br />

with these:<br />

❯❯<br />

Data technology: Identify<br />

broad types of accounts<br />

❯❯<br />

Predictive software: Select and<br />

prioritize accounts<br />

❯❯<br />

CRM platforms: Create, manage,<br />

and track customer relationships<br />

❯❯<br />

Marketing automation and<br />

email platforms: Reach out to<br />

current customers<br />

❯❯<br />

Targeted advertising tools:<br />

Home in on the desired audience<br />

4. Align Sales and Marketing<br />

When sales and marketing don’t<br />

align, a company often will not<br />

achieve its ABM goals.<br />

While sales refers to activities<br />

that facilitate a sale, marketing<br />

refers to actions that create interest<br />

in business. Sales understands<br />

the audience but needs brand<br />

awareness; marketing can bring<br />

brand awareness but needs to<br />

understand the audience. To merge<br />

the expertise of both, encourage<br />

sales and marketing teams to<br />

collaborate on account plans.<br />

5. Talk to Customers<br />

One-to-one ABM campaigns are<br />

built on discovering customer<br />

needs. While there are many<br />

ways to do this, Jodi Harris said<br />

it best: “The best way to figure<br />

out what buyers really need is<br />

to talk to them directly.” Survey<br />

them and conduct A/B tests. Most<br />

importantly, remember to respond<br />

to the needs of a handful of<br />

high-value customers—they will<br />

appreciate the attention.<br />

6. Adjust Business to Customer Needs<br />

With every customer conversation,<br />

you’ll learn how to best serve the<br />

customer’s organizational needs<br />

and the customer’s trust in the<br />

brand will grow as. With each new<br />

piece of knowledge gained, use it<br />

to improve and personalize the<br />

product, service, or the business.<br />

7. Create Personalized, High-value<br />

Content<br />

Combining inbound marketing with<br />

ABM is powerful. On its own, quality<br />

content generates three times more<br />

leads than paid advertising and costs<br />

62 percent less, making it worth the<br />

investment.<br />

High-quality content has:<br />

❯❯<br />

A clear goal, topic, and strategy<br />

❯❯<br />

A powerful headline and hook<br />

❯❯<br />

Keyword optimization<br />

❯❯<br />

Consistent frequency<br />

Beginning with the customer<br />

in mind, create personalized<br />

content. Every blog, sales page,<br />

webinar, or newsletter should be<br />

highly relevant and valuable to the<br />

customer, creating a more positive<br />

experience and greater loyalty.<br />

8. Use Personalized Emails<br />

Email is still a powerful tool. Email<br />

generates 40 times more customers<br />

than social media, and ROI is an<br />

astounding 4,400 percent. The key<br />

to that ROI is writing emails that<br />

customers will want to open.<br />

To leave an impression and<br />

make the connection, personalize<br />

the email to customer. Try the<br />

following:<br />

❯❯<br />

Create powerful subject lines<br />

❯❯<br />

Greet the customer by name<br />

❯❯<br />

Close with a name<br />

❯❯<br />

Include relevant and appealing<br />

offers<br />

❯❯<br />

Be timely—don’t spam!<br />

❯❯<br />

Use images<br />

❯❯<br />

Offer tips for how to use<br />

company products<br />

9. Measure Results<br />

Revisit ABM goals: were revenue<br />

goals reached? How much did<br />

engagement increase? What is the<br />

conversion rate? Did the program<br />

accurately interpret customer<br />

needs, and were you able to<br />

meet them? If goals weren’t met,<br />

re-evaluate strategy.<br />

Solid customer relationships<br />

are built with ABM. Show your<br />

customers their value with a<br />

personalized approach. With<br />

these nine steps in mind, you’ll<br />

be well on your way to forging<br />

deep partnerships and building a<br />

successful ABM strategy.<br />

DEANNA RANSOM is the head of global marketing<br />

and marketing services for Televerde.<br />

❱ <strong>DM</strong>N.CA MARCH 2021

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// 6<br />

Ritz<br />

Putting on<br />

the<br />

in Digital<br />

Customer<br />

Experience<br />

❱ <strong>DM</strong>N.CA MARCH 2021


// 7<br />


Your driver pulls up to a beautifully<br />

lit, elegant entryway. The car door<br />

is opened by the doorman. It’s<br />

drizzling, so he opens an umbrella and leads you to the<br />

door motioning for his colleagues to gather your bags.<br />

Once inside a glowing lobby, you get smiles from the<br />

staff around you with hands outstretched guiding you<br />

to the reception desk. They offer to assist with your coat<br />

and bags. You are whisked up to your room. A welcome<br />

note and a small tray of treats awaits, “sniff, are those<br />

cookies still warm?”; the phone rings, and the voice on<br />

the line offers complimentary drinks, to be delivered<br />

along with anything else you might require. Your first<br />

impression could be compared to arriving home after<br />

school as a kid. Your mother asks about your day, a<br />

snack awaits and you are safe and at-home. And that is<br />

no accident. Studies informed the hotel industry that<br />

the comfort of a mother’s home is what, in the end,<br />

many guests desire.<br />

Staying at a great hotel is an amazing experience.<br />

They’ve had centuries to finesse their business model.<br />

The Ritz Carlton brand is synonymous with this<br />

idea of greatness. Its recent success (pandemic era<br />

notwithstanding) can be largely attributed to the datadriven<br />

guidance of Horst Shulze, their former COO<br />

and best selling author of the book Excellence Wins: A<br />

No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of<br />

Compromise.<br />

The order of the day is loyalty and trust<br />

Have you had an amazing eCommerce experience<br />

lately? Is there an equivalent to the smell of warm<br />

cookies in any eCommerce or digital engagement? Who<br />

is the “Ritz Carlton” of the digital experience business?<br />

Here’s what I’m thinking. That relationships created<br />

by eCommerce transactions these days are a huge<br />

compromise and for various reasons marketers are<br />

going to have to wrestle with how to become the best<br />

in the near future. Leaders who are growing their<br />

online business must define their brand not just<br />

by making it available online, next day, same day,<br />

curbside, no charge shipping, as that’s already a given.<br />

Once everything is online, which is fast approaching,<br />

the order of the day will be loyalty and trust, in order<br />

to secure returning customers. Otherwise, your<br />

customers are just a tap, click, or swipe away from your<br />

competitor’s screen.<br />

Up to this point, the industry’s focus has been<br />

acquiring visitors and shoppers. Unlike great hotels,<br />

less attention is paid to lifetime value and retention.<br />

In my view, it’s partly due to the way investors value<br />

eCommerce business growth in this new sector. They<br />

invest in expansion of market share, user by user,<br />

assigning a value to each new customer, giving a small<br />

nod to the problem of “churn”, which is a cold way of<br />

classifying non-loyal, uninterested customers.<br />

Churn just happens. Investors just pour more money<br />

into acquisition to solve the business model. Since it<br />

can cost hundreds of dollars to acquire a new customer,<br />

what is a brand willing to spend to retain them and<br />

build loyalty? It probably should be more. Maybe a<br />

digital brand has to throw their customers a warm<br />

cookie more often instead of just leaving one in their<br />

browser?<br />

Direct mail can send from online triggers<br />

What can be learned from the hospitality industry?<br />

I’m not sure eCommerce experiences are often<br />

imagined as hospitable, with a few exceptions. Human<br />

chatbot experiences can add a personal touch, a good<br />

supporting call centre certainly improves the trust,<br />

and unboxing impressions are elevated with beautiful<br />

wrapping and hand written notes. Even well trained<br />

and personable curbside and courier staff can help to<br />

elevate the experience.<br />

Printed mail, arriving in-hand and in-home, is even<br />

in the mix as triggered direct mail can send messages<br />

within hours of online triggers, and consistently<br />

improves outcomes. Our order of kitchen spices<br />

arrived recently, and with it an aromatic experience. A<br />

personalized handwritten note and the smell of those<br />

spices as we opened the package left a remarkable and<br />

lasting impression.<br />

As a digital marketer or service provider, the more<br />

often that you provide an actual physical, sensory,<br />

in-person and in-hand experience, the longer your<br />

impact will last. I don’t have to remind you that if<br />

you show that you care, and respect the customer<br />

relationship then you will build that customer loyalty.<br />

Doing that through cold digital tactics alone, by email<br />

or SMS or banner ads, or social media, will only give a<br />

shadow of the impression of your more physical and<br />

“real” gestures. Digital experiences can be boosted and<br />

their performance amplified if they are accompanied<br />

by other physical channels. Ignore them and you’ll<br />

leave money on the table. The marketer who uses them<br />

in concert will build a trusting and loyal customer base.<br />

Horst Shulze says there are three kinds of customers.<br />

Only one is your loyal customer. The others are the<br />

“unhappy customers” that will be “terrorists against<br />

your company” on social media, and the “satisfied<br />

customers” who will simply go next door for their next<br />

purchase on a whim. But “loyal customers” are willing<br />

to pay more, increase their business with you and<br />

recommend you because they know you care for them.<br />

In that case, we all want more loyal customers.<br />

STEVE FALK is President of Prime Data. He is busy helping digital marketers<br />

exploit personalized and physical tactics which support, amplify and<br />

improve their outcomes.<br />

** A Master Class on customer service with Horst Shulze is presented at the Growth<br />

Institute https://www.scaleupu.com/horst-schulze-excellence-wins<br />

MARCH 2021<br />

<strong>DM</strong>N.CA ❰


// 8<br />

Using Customer Feedback<br />

to Beat the Competition<br />


Whether the<br />

business is in<br />

manufacturing,<br />

telecommunications, or software,<br />

business success relies on customer<br />

delight. When end-users are satisfied<br />

with goods or services and the<br />

support they get as part of the client<br />

experience, customers will come back<br />

again and again. Just as important,<br />

companies can use customer<br />

feedback to beat the competition<br />

and boost the bottom line.<br />

Happy customers are loyal.<br />

Recurring customers save<br />

companies money on new lead<br />

generation. Customers can also<br />

operate as a cost-efficient source of<br />

new leads, serving as inadvertent<br />

brand ambassadors if they share<br />

rave reviews with others in their<br />

network.<br />

Gathering and analyzing<br />

customer feedback to ensure<br />

end-users are content is critical<br />

to business success. Positive<br />

comments can reaffirm a company<br />

is succeeding, while negative<br />

comments can help companies<br />

identify points in need of<br />

improvement.<br />

This data can improve overall<br />

offerings, giving companies a<br />

competitive edge. Here’s how<br />

companies can make the most of it.<br />

Your No. 1 Weapon: Customer<br />

Feedback<br />

Knowledge is power, and this is<br />

especially true when it comes to<br />

meeting customers’ unique needs.<br />

With detailed feedback from realworld<br />

clientele, companies can:<br />

❯❯<br />

Monitor ongoing customer<br />

satisfaction levels.<br />

❯❯<br />

Get insights into customers’<br />

unique needs.<br />

❯❯<br />

Improve product or service<br />

offerings.<br />

❯❯<br />

Show customers care and avoid<br />

alienating them.<br />

All of this can add up to greater<br />

customer satisfaction, to more<br />

easily win over new customers—<br />

possibly even taking them from<br />

the competition. Companies<br />

can also nurture loyalty among<br />

existing clients, as satisfied<br />

consumers won’t be tempted to<br />

look to competitors for products or<br />

services.<br />

Four Ways Customer Feedback<br />

Can Help Beat the Competition<br />

Here’s how companies can use<br />

customer feedback to enhance<br />

a competitive advantage in the<br />

modern business landscape.<br />

1. Understand Customers’ Needs<br />

to Best Meet Them<br />

Keeping clients happy means<br />

understanding their wants and<br />

needs. This requires detailed and<br />

specific data. Leaders don’t simply<br />

want to know whether a customer<br />

is satisfied or not. They want to<br />

know what did and didn’t stand out<br />

in the customer journey.<br />

❱ <strong>DM</strong>N.CA MARCH 2021


// 9<br />

For example, consumers might<br />

be perfectly content with a product<br />

but are turned off by a negative<br />

customer service experience.<br />

Important customer success<br />

metrics could include waiting<br />

time to have an issue resolved, or<br />

versatility of support methods (e.g.,<br />

live chat, email, telephone, etc.).<br />

Many businesses are quick<br />

to assume that dissatisfied<br />

consumers mean a problem<br />

with the product or service. The<br />

issue may be a much easier fix,<br />

like tweaking an ad campaign or<br />

updating a chat bot. It’s essential<br />

to understand customers’ needs<br />

better than the competition.<br />

2. Gain Customer Insights into<br />

Employee Performance for<br />

Superior Service<br />

Customer feedback is also valuable<br />

in gaining information about<br />

employees, especially those on the<br />

front lines who deal directly with<br />

clients. For example, when offering<br />

in-house telephone support,<br />

companies should ensure that<br />

workers are dealing with callers<br />

courteously and professionally.<br />

A simple training and feedback<br />

loop for customer-facing teams<br />

can significantly impact business<br />

success. In the case of a call center,<br />

the process might involve recording<br />

calls, reviewing positives and<br />

negatives, and using data to inform<br />

coaching and future training.<br />

With this added step towards<br />

accountability, companies can<br />

improve overall customer service<br />

experience. Many consumers will<br />

switch to a different provider after<br />

a bad service experience, so this is<br />

critical to use customer feedback to<br />

beat the competition.<br />

3. Gather Competitive Intelligence<br />

to Assess Advantage<br />

Companies shouldn’t just look at<br />

customer feedback—also consider<br />

the feedback consumers are leaving<br />

competitors. Scour the internet for<br />

reviews in public forums to see how<br />

products and services compare to<br />

those of the competition.<br />

Further, companies should make<br />

sure they’re meeting the benchmark<br />

set forth by others in the same<br />

field. For example, it might seem<br />

reasonable for 80 percent of clients<br />

to be satisfied, but what if the<br />

industry standard is 95 percent?<br />

There is room for improvement in<br />

this example.<br />

Reading competitor reviews<br />

can also help identify their<br />

weaknesses. Leverage this<br />

information to pinpoint<br />

opportunities to win clients. If<br />

clients complain about a rival’s lack<br />

of telephone support, highlight<br />

this as a value-added proposition if<br />

it can be provided with confidence.<br />

4. Avoid Reputational Damage and<br />

Losing Clients to the Competition<br />

Not all customer feedback is<br />

positive. That’s normal. If a<br />

customer isn’t happy with a<br />

company, be it the product or<br />

the consumer experience, find<br />

out why. There is opportunity<br />

for improvement while avoiding<br />

similar scenarios with future<br />

consumers.<br />

Additionally, targeting negative<br />

customer feedback allows<br />

companies to fix the situation.<br />

Let’s say a person purchases a<br />

product, discovers it’s defective,<br />

and then writes a scathing<br />

complaint. There is an opportunity<br />

to remediate the issue. If they are<br />

satisfied with the response, they<br />

likely will continue to the business<br />

relationship. It’s about turning a<br />

negative into a win.<br />

Elevating the consumer<br />

experience is becoming even more<br />

critical in the wake of the COVID-<br />

19 pandemic. The most successful<br />

companies in the crisis were those<br />

that were able to identify and adapt<br />

to consumer behaviors, needs, and<br />

experiences. That kind of flexibility<br />

requires granular, real-world<br />

data—which is where customer<br />

feedback comes into play.<br />

CHRISTOPHER DANIELS is the Chief Revenue<br />

Officer for Televerde, an integrated sales and<br />

marketing technology organization based<br />

in Phoenix, Arizona. Seven of Televerde’s<br />

10 engagement centers are staffed by<br />

incarcerated women, representing 70 percent<br />

of the company’s 600+ global workforce.<br />

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Lloydmedia also publishes <strong>DM</strong> Magazine, Total Finance magazine, Payments Business magazine, and Canadian Equipment Finance magazine.<br />

MARCH 2021<br />

<strong>DM</strong>N.CA ❰


// 10<br />


Retail Reimagined<br />

An Interview with Shawn Stewart,<br />

Senior Vice President, Customer and<br />

Triangle, Canadian Tire Corporation<br />

STEPHEN SHAW is the Chief Strategy Officer<br />

of Kenna, a marketing solutions provider<br />

specializing in delivering a more unified<br />

customer experience. Stephen can be reached<br />

via e-mail at sshaw@kenna.ca<br />

Traditional retailers learned a harsh lesson over<br />

this past year. Slow to make the transition to<br />

omnichannel commerce, they had misread the<br />

slow gradual rise in yearly online spending as a sign<br />

of shopper disinterest. Until the pandemic hit.<br />

The abrupt surge in online shopping left many<br />

retailers scrambling to respond. As foot traffic<br />

dropped off sharply due to restrictions on in-person<br />

shopping, they were forced to close stores. Unable to<br />

make up the difference in eCommerce sales, many<br />

retailers were pushed to the brink of insolvency.<br />

This financial carnage may have been the tipping<br />

point for the reinvention of retail. The industry has<br />

finally woken up to the fact that shopping habits have<br />

radically changed. And as product manufacturers<br />

open up their own digital storefronts, the era of retail<br />

hegemony may finally be over. Retailers will need<br />

to evolve beyond their historical role as the primary<br />

distribution channel of merchandise.<br />

In Canada one retailer has stood out above all others<br />

in transforming its business model — the century-old<br />

Canadian Tire. In the past the company has fended off<br />

incursions by U.S. giants like Walmart and Target eager<br />

to muscle in on its turf. The company’s resiliency is<br />

partly explained by its geographical footprint — most<br />

Canadians live within a 15-minute drive of a store —<br />

Shawn Stewart, Senior Vice President, Customer and Triangle,<br />

Canadian Tire Corporation.<br />

but also by its dealer network which gives the company<br />

a strong tie to each local community. In 2019 Canadian<br />

Tire was recognized as Canada’s most admired brand in<br />

Leger’s annual consumer survey. It rightfully owns the<br />

honorific “Canada’s Store”, a far cry from the days when<br />

it was mocked as “Crappy Tire”.<br />

This past year, despite all of the havoc caused by the<br />

pandemic, Canadian Tire increased comparable yearover-year<br />

store sales by 11 percent across its banners.<br />

Ecommerce sales more than doubled, an impressive<br />

feat considering the company actually backed away<br />

from online selling at one point, until it came to its<br />

senses seven years ago and began to invest heavily in<br />

its digital and eCommerce capabilities.<br />

A big part of the company’s recent success is<br />

attributable to its embrace of digital-first marketing,<br />

thanks to its 10-million-member Triangle Rewards<br />

program. Launched in 2018, Triangle Rewards is the<br />

❱ <strong>DM</strong>N.CA MARCH 2021


// 11<br />

digital version of the famously<br />

popular Canadian Tire Money,<br />

once looked upon affectionately<br />

as Canada’s second national<br />

currency. The Canadian Tire<br />

Corporation (CTC) Executive in<br />

charge of loyalty and insights is<br />

Shawn Stewart who took over the<br />

role six years ago. Amongst his<br />

many accomplishments has been<br />

the stewardship of the Triangle<br />

program and the creation of an<br />

AI-driven recommendation engine<br />

which powers seven million weekly<br />

personalized offers.<br />

Stephen Shaw: Your CTC<br />

stores did amazingly well<br />

this past year in spite of the<br />

pandemic. What explains the<br />

lift in sales?<br />

Shawn Stewart: Customers<br />

came to us as a one-stop shop.<br />

The thing with the Canadian Tire<br />

brand is you can always find things<br />

you never knew you needed.<br />

But we've really developed our<br />

presence in the essentials as well.<br />

The strength of our dealers really<br />

helped because they were very<br />

easily able to launch curbside<br />

pickup and new capabilities that<br />

we didn't have before COVID.<br />

And, in talking to customers<br />

throughout the pandemic, what<br />

we heard, loud and clear, was the<br />

strength of our brand, the love for<br />

our brand, and the appreciation<br />

for all the safety measures we<br />

were taking. Our e-commerce site<br />

was overloaded with volume, but<br />

we quickly got that right. And we<br />

actually acquired new customers,<br />

especially young adults, who joined<br />

the Triangle program for the first<br />

time during this period. We really<br />

focused from a merchandising<br />

standpoint on what we call<br />

"boredom busters." So, people with<br />

kids, spending a lot of time in<br />

their backyards, buying barbecues,<br />

patios, toys. All those core<br />

categories were right in our sweet<br />

spot. And the number of bikes we<br />

sold was just out of this world.<br />

Shaw: Were there merchandise<br />

categories that declined in<br />

sales?<br />

Stewart: The automotive<br />

business. People were staying at<br />

home and not driving as much.<br />

Although on the flipside, we have<br />

a segment that we call the “Auto<br />

Enthusiast” and they loaded up<br />

because they had time on their<br />

hands. They were tinkering around<br />

with their vehicles. So, a lot of DIY<br />

categories in that segment were up.<br />

Shaw: Were there supply<br />

chain issues? Take bikes, for<br />

example. Did you suddenly find<br />

yourself having a tough time<br />

restocking?<br />

Stewart: In that specific case, our<br />

SportChek business was closed,<br />

so we had a bunch of available<br />

bike inventory. And we’ve always<br />

had great relationships with our<br />

vendor base, so that put us in a<br />

good position to be the number<br />

one supplier in all the top-selling<br />

categories.<br />

Shaw: What permanent shifts<br />

in spending habits are you<br />

likely to see coming out of this<br />

pandemic?<br />

Stewart: We've mapped our<br />

categories of business to what<br />

we call internally “jobs and joys”.<br />

These are the everyday things that<br />

make up people’s life in Canada.<br />

And we talk to customers. We<br />

understand their sentiment, their<br />

confidence in the economy, their<br />

job security, their opinion around<br />

saving versus spending. And those<br />

are good indicators. But customers<br />

don’t always know what they’re<br />

going to do. And so, we’ve mapped<br />

out various scenarios. If demand<br />

continues the way it’s going, we’ve<br />

got a plan. If it tails off, we’ve got<br />

a plan. But we found our customer<br />

base is quite resilient. And we’re in<br />

a lot of essential categories, right?<br />

Shaw: We’ve seen massive<br />

consumer adoption of<br />

eCommerce this past year that<br />

caught everyone by surprise.<br />

How does that factor into those<br />

scenarios?<br />

Stewart: We’ve definitely<br />

leaped forward a couple of years<br />

in eCommerce growth. But<br />

overall, we still feel our strength<br />

is the local store — the ability<br />

for shoppers to get what they<br />

want immediately. There’s real<br />

attachment to the brand. We're not<br />

just another retailer in customers’<br />

eyes. They want to support<br />

Canadian brands. Many grew up<br />

with us. We’ve also got the unique<br />

ability through the Triangle data<br />

to understand the channel shift<br />

— and not just what people are<br />

buying, but what they’re searching<br />

for. A huge focus for us is using the<br />

Triangle Rewards grew from the well-known Canadian Tire money system<br />

online channel to support in-store<br />

conversion because we can track<br />

the customer across channels and<br />

store banners. So, now’s the time<br />

for us to engage our customers.<br />

Another thing we’re focused on<br />

is bringing customers into our<br />

“owned audiences”. How do we get<br />

them signed up for our mobile app,<br />

for email channels?<br />

Shaw: Like everyone else, I<br />

go to Canadian Tire for certain<br />

things. Once I was looking for a<br />

power washer and I used your<br />

mobile app to find the nearest<br />

location that carried the item<br />

I was looking for. It guided me<br />

right to the nearest location.<br />

Then I walked into this massive<br />

store and now I’ve got to figure<br />

out where to find it. So, is<br />

MARCH 2021<br />

<strong>DM</strong>N.CA ❰


// 12<br />

there still a gap connecting the<br />

experience end-to-end?<br />

Stewart: There’s definitely room<br />

for improvement. I actually think<br />

we have a best-in-class wayfinding<br />

feature called “Fast Find” in our<br />

Canadian Tire mobile app that<br />

many customers probably don’t<br />

realize we have. It’ll tell you if the<br />

product you want is in-stock and<br />

in which aisle to find it for each<br />

different store.<br />

Shaw: With your mastery<br />

of certain merchandise<br />

categories, there must be an<br />

opportunity to make the instore<br />

experience more engaging<br />

than simply finding and buying<br />

a product.<br />

Stewart: No, absolutely. There’s<br />

a lot of decision support we could<br />

be doing in the pre-purchase and<br />

post-purchase shopping stages:<br />

how to use your barbecue, how<br />

to set up your patio, how to enjoy<br />

the products you buy from us. We<br />

have a lot of great content. We just<br />

need to offer it up in a targeted,<br />

relevant way to enhance shopper<br />

knowledge and confidence.<br />

Shaw: You’ve got 10 million<br />

members of your Triangle<br />

program. Amazon has Prime,<br />

of course, but not the store<br />

footprint you do. Could<br />

Canadian Tire soon rival<br />

Amazon in retail commerce<br />

here in Canada?<br />

Stewart: Yeah. But we want to<br />

play our own game. Certainly, the<br />

data we have is just incredible.<br />

Like I joke with the team, Stats<br />

Can should be calling us every<br />

month to know what’s going on.<br />

We know Canadians. If you know<br />

exactly what you want, Amazon’s<br />

fantastic. You search a SKU [stock<br />

keeping unit] and get what you<br />

want. We’re not going to compete<br />

the same way. We think our local<br />

differentiation, the strength of our<br />

store network, and the interaction<br />

with customers across channels<br />

is key. And we saw it more than<br />

ever during COVID. Customers<br />

wanted immediacy. And so we<br />

saw them coming in droves to the<br />

store. Amazon’s formidable. No<br />

question. But we’ve got to play our<br />

own game.<br />

Shaw: Who do you view as your<br />

main competition these days?<br />

Stewart: Well, it depends on the<br />

Digital apps allow for more sophisticated data collection<br />

line of business. Canadian Tire<br />

has a broad set of competitors.<br />

SportChek and Mark’s would be<br />

different. We’ve got a bank, too.<br />

On the credit side we’re fighting<br />

for top-of-wallet status. I guess you<br />

could say it’s just about everyone.<br />

Shaw: That makes sense. The<br />

“everything store” has everybody<br />

as competition. Now, you’ve been<br />

quoted as saying that if you offer<br />

a killer digital experience, you<br />

may not need a loyalty program<br />

to understand your customers.<br />

As the guy running the loyalty<br />

program, what did you mean by<br />

that exactly?<br />

Stewart: If you look at the<br />

traditional definition of a retail<br />

loyalty program, its highly<br />

reward driven based on purchase<br />

frequency. You issue and redeem<br />

currency. “Canadian Tire Money”<br />

is an important part of our brand<br />

heritage, but the program’s got to<br />

offer much more than that. We’ve<br />

got great profile information on<br />

our customers — so it’s how we<br />

use that data. And it may not be in<br />

the form of loyalty rewards. Maybe<br />

its targeted discounts, or exclusive<br />

access to products. There are many<br />

different ways to create value for<br />

members that go beyond just<br />

having a loyalty currency.<br />

Shaw: Most loyalty programs<br />

are promotional programs in<br />

disguise. Figures I’ve read<br />

suggest that fewer than half<br />

of loyalty members say it<br />

makes them more loyal to the<br />

brand. Should loyalty programs<br />

become a gateway to a more<br />

meaningful experience?<br />

Stewart: Here we’ve stopped<br />

calling Triangle a loyalty program.<br />

We call it a “customer platform”.<br />

And I think words are important<br />

because when people think of<br />

loyalty programs, they think of<br />

the redeemable currency. As I was<br />

just saying, the power of Triangle<br />

doesn’t need to be Canadian Tire<br />

money. I think Canadians love it.<br />

And we've seen, as we launched<br />

Triangle, the halo effect on our<br />

other brands, like SportChek and<br />

Mark’s. Many customers didn’t<br />

realize they were part of the same<br />

family of companies. We should<br />

be thinking of what can we do<br />

in-store? What can do from an<br />

e-com perspective? What might<br />

we do with partners? So, a value<br />

prop that goes beyond traditional<br />

rewards is hugely important for us.<br />

Shaw: With so much customer<br />

profile and purchase data, how do<br />

you even think about segmenting<br />

a base as large as yours? What<br />

kind of segmentation model do<br />

you use?<br />

Stewart: We look at two different<br />

types of segments. One is a valuebased<br />

segmentation: current and<br />

lifetime value. We model potential<br />

value on a five-year time horizon.<br />

And all of this is done at a CTC<br />

level, across our banners and<br />

assets. And the other is simply<br />

behavioral: what are people<br />

buying, their needs states, and the<br />

intersection between them. You<br />

run the models and you can get a<br />

hundred segments. We landed on<br />

thirty-seven.<br />

Shaw: Thirty-seven? Not 35,<br />

or 40, but 37.<br />

Stewart: Yeah. It’s been<br />

incredibly useful for grounding<br />

the business in the customer.<br />

The 37 segments ladder up to<br />

macro segments. Our key target<br />

is a segment we call “the active<br />

family” who have young kids at<br />

home. They really over performed<br />

during the COVID period. So,<br />

we’ve started using segmentation<br />

to understand where our growth is<br />

coming from. How do we actually<br />

move customers across brands?<br />

For example, SportChek attracts<br />

a younger customer, and we want<br />

to grow that segment within the<br />

Canadian Tire brand. We know<br />

the entry point for them is often<br />

the camping business, so then we<br />

can build programs around that<br />

insight. It’s really powerful to<br />

understand the conversion paths<br />

that customers are taking.<br />

Shaw: Do you find it hard<br />

translating customer strategy<br />

into insights merchandisers<br />

can relate to?<br />

Stewart: Yeah, it’s a process.<br />

Since Triangle launched, we’ve<br />

made a lot of progress. On thing<br />

that’s helped is empowering the<br />

merchants to access the data on<br />

their own, using internal BI tools.<br />

So, as they’re reviewing their<br />

annual plans, they’ve got the data.<br />

And then the second is proving the<br />

business value. So, actually creating<br />

some use cases, such as “Let's use<br />

customer data to improve the<br />

pet business.” So, very mindfully<br />

bringing together cross-functional<br />

teams to pilot a program and then<br />

measuring the value. And that’s<br />

gone a long way as well.<br />

Shaw: Part of your personal<br />

background was working at Air<br />

Miles for several years. What<br />

learning did you gain that was<br />

transferable to your current<br />

mandate?<br />

Stewart: The power of the<br />

network effect. Being able to see<br />

customers going from one sponsor<br />

to another. That has very much<br />

influenced our approach here.<br />

The advantage we have is the<br />

ability to use data in an unfettered<br />

way. And then just the power<br />

of the customer data. Finding a<br />

better mix between the mass and<br />

targeted channels — the ability<br />

to prove not just that targeted<br />

marketing works, but it’s scalable.<br />

Shaw: Being able to cluster<br />

members by their affinities<br />

and interests, and then<br />

catering to those preferences,<br />

❱ <strong>DM</strong>N.CA MARCH 2021


// 13<br />

must represent a massive<br />

opportunity.<br />

Stewart: It is a massive<br />

opportunity. Particularly what<br />

we’ve seen in the pandemic. Home<br />

exercise, bicycling, the new hobbies<br />

that people took up. I think it’s<br />

perfect for our brand.<br />

Shaw: Do you have point on<br />

reimagining all of this?<br />

Stewart: Our team is accountable<br />

for everything customer related.<br />

But we need to amplify the retail<br />

value proposition. And so, we work<br />

closely with the banner heads.<br />

And it’s exciting. I think everyone<br />

recognizes that we do need to go<br />

beyond selling products.<br />

Shaw: How do you actually<br />

measure loyalty? Obviously,<br />

in part, behaviorally. But<br />

what about attitudinally?<br />

Emotionally? What are your<br />

composite loyalty measures?<br />

Stewart: We’re very good at<br />

tracking customer sentiment. We<br />

use net promoter score across all<br />

of our channels and endpoints.<br />

We track loyalty by segment. So,<br />

for example, we track a driver<br />

called “Cares About Canadians”,<br />

and that metric was off the charts<br />

during COVID, with the actions<br />

our dealers took, with our relief<br />

fund 1 . And then I would say more<br />

traditional financial metrics:<br />

lifetime value, repeat visit,<br />

retention rates, the number of<br />

active customers, how much each<br />

customer is spending. We’ve also<br />

got a panel of 180,000 Canadians<br />

that we lean on. I think it may<br />

be the largest proprietary retail<br />

panel in the world. And we leaned<br />

on that heavily during COVID.<br />

We also do these events called<br />

“coffee talks” where we’ll get 10 to<br />

12 customers in a room for just<br />

a casual conversation that really<br />

helps to know how customers are<br />

thinking, and to develop empathy<br />

with the customer.<br />

Shaw: You are collecting a lot<br />

of data. You must have created<br />

a “golden record” 2 by now.<br />

Stewart: We’ve done a great<br />

job of building that central view.<br />

We tagged the web so that if<br />

someone writes a review, someone<br />

logs into the website, someone<br />

uses the mobile app three times<br />

a month, we know all of that.<br />

So yeah, it’s a powerful tool,<br />

MARCH 2021<br />

Canadian Tire’s Triangle Rewards program is geared towards managing its portfolio of customers and banners.<br />

particularly understanding the<br />

impact of our digital activity on<br />

in-store behaviour. It’s been really<br />

enlightening to understand how<br />

the online channel helps in-store<br />

conversion.<br />

Shaw: How do take all of<br />

the data analytics you do and<br />

convert it into business language<br />

that other stakeholders, like<br />

merchandisers, can understand?<br />

Stewart: I’ll give you a great<br />

example. We launched a customer<br />

analytics tool — a BI platform<br />

that allows businesspeople to drill<br />

down to the category level, using<br />

the customer data. There was<br />

an end user at Mark’s who used<br />

this tool to develop an incredible,<br />

insightful view of their business.<br />

And we were not involved. So<br />

allowing people to just swim<br />

around in the data — not put<br />

too many controls around it. Just<br />

allowing the learning to happen.<br />

And Greg [Hicks] 3 , on our latest<br />

earnings call, was talking about<br />

the segments. And so, people hear<br />

that. They’re curious and want to<br />

learn about it. We’re providing<br />

the tools to allow them to do that.<br />

We’re in the background. Our<br />

team is doing all the plumbing and<br />

automation.<br />

Shaw: Do you own the<br />

technology budget, or do you<br />

still have to work with IT to<br />

ensure that you have that right<br />

infrastructure in place?<br />

Stewart: It’s evolved. Three<br />

years ago, we would not have had<br />

data engineers on our team. And<br />

today we do. It’s become more of a<br />

symbiotic team working together.<br />

So, we don't get into budget<br />

debates.<br />

Shaw: Boy, over my long career,<br />

I can tell you that marketing<br />

and IT were never copartners<br />

in anything. How does AI fit into<br />

the picture?<br />

Stewart: We issue seven million<br />

one-to-one offers every week to<br />

customers and that’s completely<br />

machine learning driven. But it’s<br />

early days. So, for example, from<br />

a supply chain perspective, we’re<br />

thinking about overlaying highvalue<br />

customer data to say, “This<br />

SKU is paramount to your best<br />

customer.”<br />

Shaw: You talked earlier about<br />

looking across the full span of<br />

the customer relationship with<br />

multiple banners and brands.<br />

Has that changed the way<br />

strategic planning is done?<br />

Stewart: We think about<br />

managing a “portfolio of<br />

customers”, and a “portfolio of<br />

banners”. For example, if the<br />

“active family” is our priority<br />

segment, we need to map their<br />

needs to the “jobs and joys” we<br />

talked about. And we do white<br />

space exercises to identify gaps in<br />

the experience where maybe we<br />

need to extend assortments, for<br />

example. I think we’re actually in<br />

a much better position this year,<br />

particularly with Greg and Susan’s<br />

[O’Brien] 4 leadership, because it<br />

encourages horizontal rather than<br />

vertical thinking.<br />

Shaw: Is there a need to find<br />

new talent, new skillsets, fresh<br />

thinking in order to accelerate<br />

your transformation?<br />

Stewart: Yeah. It’s a great<br />

question. And I’ll go back to what<br />

I said is this horizontal thinking<br />

approach. So, if I’m a merchant,<br />

or in marketing, I need to<br />

understand the customer journey,<br />

using the data we have. So, the<br />

ability to analyze and synthesize<br />

information is important. For<br />

a merchant, it might not be all<br />

about adding new product lines<br />

or brands. For a marketer, it may<br />

not be all about getting an offer in<br />

front of a customer. So, yeah, the<br />

use of information — being able<br />

to empathize with the customer<br />

— there’s no question: it’s all<br />

changed.<br />

1. The COVID-19 Response Fund donated $5 million to<br />

support relief and response efforts.<br />

2. A “golden record” is the most accurate and complete<br />

version of a master data record.<br />

3. Greg Hicks is the President and CEO at Canadian Tire<br />

Corporation<br />

4. Susan O’Brien is the Chief Brand & Customer Officer<br />

<strong>DM</strong>N.CA ❰

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<strong>DM</strong> Magazine is a Lloydmedia, Inc publication.<br />

Lloydmedia also publishes Foundation magazine, Total Finance magazine,<br />

Payments Business magazine, and Canadian Equipment Finance magazine.


// 15<br />

Five Trends<br />

Shaping the Future<br />

of Global Payments<br />


It is no surprise that<br />

the global payments<br />

industry accelerated<br />

substantially in 2020. As the<br />

pandemic birthed arguably one of<br />

the biggest digital revolutions to<br />

date, more and more businesses<br />

are realizing the importance of<br />

having a global payments partner.<br />

Multiple factors have been the<br />

stimulus driving half a decade’s<br />

change in just a few months.<br />

Acceleration of digital adoption,<br />

preference for real-time payments,<br />

investment in AI and automation,<br />

and M&A’s have been the leading<br />

factors that pushed the industry<br />

to transform. However, the<br />

most prominent change can be<br />

attributed to developing customer<br />

preferences for speed and ease of<br />

use at competitive rates.<br />

In addition, stronger demand<br />

for data security enhancement<br />

and fraud prevention by customers<br />

increased the momentum of<br />

innovation which forced new<br />

players to enter the market.<br />

Advances in technology such as<br />

SWIFT GPI, DLT and others have<br />

also been the key drivers in the<br />

rapid growth of the industry.<br />

Our research shows that<br />

the payments industry’s total<br />

addressable market is $3.6 Trillion<br />

USD in core markets, with $245<br />

Billion addressed by specialist<br />

players. The market has grown at<br />

8 percent p.a. driven by specialists<br />

taking share from banks which<br />

gradually experienced decline<br />

due to COVID-19. However, the<br />

industry is expected to bounce<br />

back and return to pre-COVID<br />

rates between 2021 and 2025,<br />

which means that the next five<br />

years will be crucial for players<br />

in the global payments space. In<br />

order to secure their market share,<br />

specialist players will have to<br />

garner deeper understanding of<br />

market volatility and performance,<br />

primary customer preferences and<br />

the strategies they can implement<br />

to remain competitive.<br />

The top five trends we predict<br />

that will influence the growth of<br />

the global payments industry in<br />

the coming years are as follows:<br />

Evolving customer needs<br />

1 will set the benchmark<br />

The provision for fast, seamless,<br />

and trackable payments will<br />

become table stakes rather than<br />

a differentiator for payments<br />

providers. For example, moneycorp<br />

online offers its customers the<br />

ability to not only make payments<br />

online in multiple currencies, but<br />

also store payment and recipient<br />

details, manage exchange rates,<br />

and track transactions all in one<br />

place. The function of making<br />

payments will become part of a<br />

broader value proposition, linked<br />

through API technology to other<br />

elements of business such as<br />

their ERP, CRM, and Accounting<br />

systems.<br />

Customers will become more<br />

sophisticated in cash flow and<br />

risk management which will in<br />

turn impact how they manage<br />

their finances and choose their<br />

payments partner.<br />

Enhancing technology to<br />

2 drive commoditization and<br />

reduced prices<br />

Our research suggests that half of<br />

businesses have their FX provider’s<br />

system integrated into their ERP<br />

software. This is a clear indication<br />

that technology is adapting to<br />

meet increasing customer needs<br />

as the majority businesses prefer<br />

payments providers whose<br />

technology fits seamlessly into<br />

their existing business model.<br />

Real time payments (RTP) are<br />

also gaining popularity and are<br />

becoming commercially viable in<br />

a number of regions. As per the<br />

latest FIS report, 54 countries now<br />

have active real-time payments<br />

programs, up from 40 in 2018 and<br />

nearly four times as many as in<br />

2014.<br />

Long term technology is likely<br />

to shift to alternative rails such as<br />

Distributed Ledger Technology.<br />

Payments providers will need to be<br />

able to function across alternative<br />

rails to ensure costs are optimized<br />

and service demands fulfilled.<br />

Increased efficiency will continue<br />

to drive down prices and enable<br />

reduction in service costs.<br />

Intensifying competition for<br />

3 every element of the value<br />

chain<br />

The ecosystem addressing cash<br />

flow management has proliferated<br />

in recent years. Today, fullservice<br />

players have a competitive<br />

advantage as they provide SMEs<br />

a ‘one-stop shop’ for all their<br />

business needs. B2B disrupters<br />

are successfully carving out a new<br />

niche for themselves using an<br />

end-to-end value chain model that<br />

satisfies the customer’s need for<br />

customized solutions.<br />

Increasing competition from<br />

fintech players is also making a<br />

significant impact on the industry<br />

as few global payments providers<br />

are now opting to onboard<br />

third-party payments solution<br />

providers as their partners,<br />

thereby further enhancing their<br />

value proposition. The payment<br />

gateway market was valued at<br />

USD 17.2 billion in 2019, and is<br />

expected to reach USD 42.9 billion<br />

by 2025. Convergence will be at the<br />

core of the transformation of the<br />

payments landscape, through 2021<br />

and beyond.<br />

Increasing cooperation<br />

4 between jurisdictions<br />

Customer demands for an<br />

interconnected international<br />

payments landscape will flourish.<br />

However, the political challenges<br />

of doing so globally will make<br />

the ability of a global payments<br />

provider to offer their services<br />

in multiple geographic locations<br />

extremely important. We are<br />

witnessing common standards<br />

of this being implemented in<br />

pockets due to the complexities<br />

of international standards and<br />

regulations. However, we are<br />

seeing a rapid uptick in cooperation<br />

between international businesses<br />

and regulators alike.<br />

Differentiators will become<br />

5 commonplace<br />

Specialist players will maintain a<br />

significant hedge in the short term<br />

as they will continue to serve the<br />

underserved segments, such as<br />

SMEs, a faster, cheaper and secure<br />

payments platform. However,<br />

eventually this will become<br />

the norm and other sources of<br />

differentiation will be needed<br />

like niche corridors, industry<br />

specific integration, and liquidity<br />

management to set your services<br />

apart from the rest.<br />

In a nutshell, the key strategic<br />

areas of focus for optimizing the<br />

value of business for all payments<br />

providers would be a combination<br />

of three vital elements - owning<br />

the customer relationship with<br />

specific client segments (e.g.<br />

SME’s), focusing on efficiency to<br />

drive down costs and constantly<br />

innovating to drive differentiation<br />

around products and services.<br />

To create a new generation of<br />

payments providers, studying<br />

emerging trends is the most<br />

important innovation task. Those<br />

that cling to old ways will be left<br />

behind.<br />

BOB DOWD is Chief Executive Officer of<br />

moneycorp Americas<br />

MARCH 2021<br />

<strong>DM</strong>N.CA ❰

MY VIEW<br />

// 16<br />

The Unravelling of My World: Part 1<br />

CONTINUED FROM page 18<br />

and the latest marketing research<br />

papers in the University of Toronto<br />

and York University libraries<br />

equally unhelpful. Nothing I read<br />

was relevant to my goal of making<br />

marketing communications<br />

more scientific. I needed to come<br />

at the task from another angle.<br />

When I studied neurophysiology<br />

at university, scientists had been<br />

making progress in deciphering<br />

how brains work. Twenty years<br />

on, I presumed there would be<br />

new discoveries, so I looked at<br />

all recently published books<br />

about the human brain. I enjoyed<br />

reading Steven Pinker’s How the<br />

Mind Works (1997) and other<br />

similar books, but these left me<br />

perplexed. In trying to explain<br />

how the mind works, he wrote:<br />

“Thinking is computation, I claim,<br />

but that does not mean that the<br />

computer is a good metaphor for the<br />

mind. The mind is a set of modules,<br />

but the modules are not encapsulated<br />

boxes or circumscribed swatches on<br />

the surface of the brain.” This is a<br />

literary conundrum rather than a<br />

scientific explanation. If thinking<br />

is computation, which is what a<br />

computer does, but the mind is not<br />

like a computer, then what is the<br />

mind really like?<br />

Pinker muses about another<br />

conundrum: “Once we have<br />

isolated the computational<br />

and neurological correlates of<br />

access-consciousness, there is<br />

nothing left to explain. It’s just<br />

irrational to insist that sentience<br />

remains unexplained after all<br />

the manifestations of sentience<br />

have been accounted for, just<br />

because the computations don’t<br />

have anything sentient in them.”<br />

From this viewpoint, there is<br />

nothing left to explain, except<br />

that it is impossible to nail down<br />

what sentience means or how<br />

consciousness evolved.<br />

Intuition can't be counted on<br />

After reading several books that<br />

describe the brain as a modular<br />

computation device, I retreated<br />

to university libraries to read<br />

papers on brain neurochemistry<br />

in the hope of figuring out the<br />

Tom Beakbane’s new book expands our understanding of marketing and how the human mind connect.<br />

conundrums. The papers by<br />

frontline researchers described<br />

remarkable advances that in<br />

their own right made sense, but<br />

the brain-chemistry discoveries<br />

were strangely disconnected from<br />

what Pinker and other authors<br />

had to say about widely accepted<br />

explanations of human behaviour.<br />

However, I discovered<br />

tantalizing insights in books<br />

by John McCrone and Michael<br />

Gazzaniga, who describe how our<br />

conscious mind could not be relied<br />

upon to report our motivations<br />

accurately. It was clear that the<br />

way we think we think is not<br />

how we think. The implication is<br />

that a manager’s intuition about<br />

human motivations cannot be<br />

relied upon. Books by Joseph<br />

LeDoux and Antonio Damasio<br />

led me to the conclusion that<br />

emotions and reasoning — at the<br />

level of neurochemicals — are<br />

indistinguishable.<br />

Rather than being able to<br />

understand what all this research<br />

was saying, I became progressively<br />

more confused. What had begun as<br />

a three-month project became an<br />

obsession. I spent days, evenings<br />

and weekends looking into<br />

what frontline researchers were<br />

reporting. I learned fascinating<br />

details about how the visceral<br />

nervous system was more<br />

complicated than the spinal cord,<br />

but also that this aspect of the<br />

nervous system had not been<br />

studied much. The gap between<br />

what was in the textbooks, what<br />

I was reading in the scientific<br />

journals and what would be helpful<br />

in running my business widened.<br />

The literature on psychology<br />

was particularly puzzling.<br />

Dozens of jargon-filled journals<br />

with statistical gurgitations<br />

reported results of hundreds of<br />

student surveys, but the research<br />

approaches didn’t fit with the<br />

techniques used by the marketing<br />

research professionals I had<br />

worked with; they also ran counter<br />

to the observations of ethologists,<br />

who study the behaviour of<br />

animals in their natural habitat.<br />

Alternative explanations are valid<br />

That prompted me to study the<br />

history of psychology. I read<br />

several books by Kurt Danziger,<br />

including Naming the Mind: How<br />

Psychology Found Its Language<br />

(1997). This book describes<br />

how the categorizations used<br />

in psychology are not objective,<br />

a realization that first came to<br />

him when he moved to Indonesia<br />

as a professor of psychology.<br />

There, exposed to academics<br />

whose psychology was grounded<br />

in concepts of the mind from<br />

Eastern cultures, he realized that<br />

alternative explanations of the<br />

mind were just as valid and, in<br />

their own way, as scientific as the<br />

psychological explanations he had<br />

been taught in the West. Categories<br />

such as behaviour, stimulus and<br />

response are cultural. Danziger<br />

wrote, “Contrary to common belief,<br />

these categories do not occupy<br />

some rarefied place above culture<br />

but are embedded in a particularly<br />

professional sub-culture.” It is hard<br />

for us to see, but the language we use<br />

to categorize mental events is not the<br />

same as the mental event itself. “The<br />

entire investigative enterprise is so<br />

immersed in language that it is simply<br />

taken for granted and its role becomes<br />

invisible.”<br />

Marketing professionals<br />

are particularly attuned to the<br />

peculiarities of different cultures.<br />

It goes without saying that the tone<br />

and terminology needed to address<br />

an audience of cardiologists<br />

versus an audience of lip gloss<br />

purchasers is completely different.<br />

The brief booklet on Total Quality<br />

Communications that I had<br />

planned to write for my agency<br />

was turning into something much<br />

longer. I was uncovering ideas that<br />

would be useful for every business<br />

manager. Three months stretched<br />

into two years.<br />

The more I read, the more<br />

bewildered I became. It was like<br />

noticing a piece of lint on an old<br />

woollen sweater. When I tried<br />

to pick the lint off, I found it was<br />

securely attached to the sweater;<br />

so when I pulled, out came a length<br />

of wool and another question.<br />

Why are marketing textbooks so<br />

unhelpful? That led to another<br />

length of wool and another<br />

question. Why are there so many<br />

graduates publishing psychology<br />

papers that have zero utility to<br />

managers of organizations? I<br />

pulled at more lint and found this<br />

led to ideas in brain science that<br />

led to mysteries of sentience and<br />

consciousness. This led to me<br />

yanking on the wool leading to<br />

culture and linguistics.<br />

End of part 1.<br />

TOM BEAKBANE is president of Beakbane:<br />

Brand Strategies and Communications, a<br />

company that has delivered over 20,000<br />

projects to Fortune 500 clients since 1986. He<br />

resurrected the concept of consilience after<br />

attempting to account for the gap between<br />

textbook theories of human behaviour<br />

and his experiences creating marketing<br />

communications. He closed the gap by<br />

tapping into his passion for understanding<br />

developments at the frontiers of science.<br />

Beakbane earned an honours degree in<br />

biochemistry and neurophysiology from<br />

Durham University in England. He lives near<br />

Toronto, Canada with his wife. They have two<br />

daughters.<br />

❱ <strong>DM</strong>N.CA MARCH 2021

Resource Directory // 17<br />






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13-07-04 10:43 AM

MY VIEW<br />

// 18<br />

Part 1<br />

The Unravelling<br />

of My World<br />

Or…how I started on a journey to close<br />

the gap between textbook theories and<br />

my experience in business. The process<br />

of changing my way of thinking took time<br />

and was unsettling.<br />


In 1998 I wanted to write a<br />

manual for my marketing<br />

communications company;<br />

it would be called Total Quality<br />

Communications. At the time I<br />

thought it would take about three<br />

months and its purpose was<br />

practical. I saw how manufacturing<br />

companies were using a number<br />

of management approaches,<br />

including Kaizen, Lean and Six<br />

Sigma, to improve product quality,<br />

reduce waste and operate more<br />

efficiently.<br />

As the owner of a marketing<br />

agency I figured that we should<br />

implement something similar. The<br />

field of marketing communications<br />

was changing rapidly, with TV<br />

advertising no longer working like<br />

magic and digital technologies<br />

advancing on multiple fronts. We<br />

needed to get ahead of the online<br />

revolution and make sure the<br />

communications we produced<br />

for our clients achieved their<br />

objectives as reliably as possible.<br />

In every case the approach to<br />

quality management begins with<br />

defining and quantifying precisely<br />

what is meant by “quality.” If you<br />

are a steel bolt manufacturer, you<br />

need to specify the dimensions<br />

and the tensile strength. Once<br />

the machine operators know<br />

how quality is defined, they can<br />

monitor their own performance<br />

without the need for management<br />

or the quality control department<br />

to check their work. As I had a<br />

degree in neurophysiology and<br />

biochemistry I hoped to spell<br />

out some general science-like<br />

principles about human perception<br />

that my staff could use to evaluate<br />

their work. By that time I had<br />

also had the privilege of working<br />

with some of the world’s leading<br />

packaged-goods companies and<br />

their advertising practitioners in<br />

London, New York and Toronto.<br />

I thought that if I bundled what<br />

I had learned together with<br />

scientific principles, my agency<br />

would be more successful.<br />

I decided to start by taking a<br />

quick look in the most up-to-date<br />

marketing textbooks to harvest<br />

their best ideas. But nothing,<br />

literally nothing I found had<br />

any relevance to what my team<br />

was doing day to day. Every<br />

entrepreneur knows there’s no<br />

substitute for practical experience;<br />

nonetheless, I found a puzzling,<br />

large gap between textbook theory<br />

A Three-Part Series based on Tom Beakbane’s new book.<br />

and the kind<br />

of information<br />

that is useful for<br />

business people.<br />

The books written<br />

by advertising<br />

and marketing<br />

practitioners,<br />

of which there<br />

are many, do<br />

not overlap<br />

with traditional<br />

marketing theory. It is the same<br />

with leadership.<br />

Lack of formal marketing<br />

credentials never bothered me<br />

Academic accounts of leadership<br />

theory are nothing like the skills<br />

needed to lead a group of people,<br />

nor are they like the approaches<br />

described in the biographies of<br />

great leaders. The gap between<br />

business theory and practice has<br />

been particularly apparent to<br />

me because, by North American<br />

standards, my route into a<br />

marketing communications<br />

career was unusual. I was never<br />

taught business in an academic<br />

institution. When I joined the<br />

marketing department of United<br />

Biscuits in London, I was no<br />

different from the other three<br />

Tom Beakbane<br />

recruits who were graduates<br />

from Oxford and Cambridge<br />

universities with degrees in the<br />

equally un-business disciplines of<br />

geography, chemistry and politics.<br />

My lack of formal marketing<br />

credentials never bothered me,<br />

because even before I graduated<br />

I had a string of marketing wins,<br />

which included promoting a<br />

photo-customization business;<br />

successfully launching the Durham<br />

University Industrial Society;<br />

and being awarded honorary life<br />

membership of the students’ union<br />

for running a student health food<br />

store, increasing its sales by 35<br />

percent and working with staff so<br />

that it made a profit for the first<br />

time in its history.<br />

Although I had never been<br />

taught business and marketing<br />

theory, if I ever came across<br />

anything I didn’t understand<br />

I’d read books and journals<br />

until, at the very least, I’d get a<br />

measure of my ignorance. Plus, I<br />

enjoyed reading about science and<br />

technology.<br />

While preparing to write the<br />

marketing manual, I found<br />

marketing textbooks unhelpful,<br />

CONTINUED ON page 16<br />


❱ <strong>DM</strong>N.CA MARCH 2021

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