Danish news publisher, Berlingske Business, shares their insight on 'Entangled Marketing – Keep Your Customers Alive'. A book created by Vertic's CEO, Sebastian Jespersen and Co-Founder of Rapp Agency, Stan Rapp. Below we have translated the article into English. Read the orginal article here.
Here are the men behind the advertising history’s next chapter.
Stan Rapp was the inventor of several concepts that have driven the advertising industry for the past 40 years. Sebastian Jespersen is Danish, and with his digital marketing agency, Vertic, he has gained a solid foothold within both the US and Asia. Together, they have written a book on the future of marketing.
Two years ago, marketing legend Stan Rapp came in second on a pitch whilst working at his former agency Engauge. For Rapp, who is often referred to as the godfather of direct marketing, this was a rare occurrence. Desperate to meet the man behind the winning bid, he had a mutual friend arrange a lunch. The man behind the winning pitch was Sebastian Jespersen, and the two immediately clicked. Now, they are together writing a book about the advertising world’s next super trend.
Sebastian Jespersen is founder and CEO of the 12-year-old digital marketing agency, which specializes in direct marketing by often partnering with other leading direct marketing companies such as professional Social Media network LinkedIn. In other words, Jespersen is a mere rookie compared to Stan Rapp. Yet when the pair met, it quickly became apparent that despite the age difference, they shared the same belief about an imminent direct marketing quantum leap.
An integral part of the consumer’s life
It dawned on Sebastian and Stan, that by collaborating, they would finally be able to put words to the next big marketing trend. Their book “Entangled Marketing – Keep Your Customers Alive”, is scheduled to be published in 2015. The subject of the book can best be translated with intertwined marketing and according to Rapp and Jespersen, this is where the advertising industry needs to go in the era of the Internet.
“I have asked myself for the last 15 years what the Internet has meant to marketing, and now I think that Sebastian and I are able to answer the question. The Internet has brought the possibility of entanglement. It is no longer about selling; it is about becoming an integral part of the consumer’s life. Consumers have become too smart for us to sell them something. We have to win them to our side and become part of the community, who believe in the brand. And then we can start selling”, Stan says.
Rapp is the mastermind behind trends that to this day continue to define how we interact with brands. Stan has both the credentials and reputation to impress most, and internationally acclaimed TV-series ‘Mad Men’ also draws on Stan’s experience.
The introduction of a new super trend usually means that something else is passé. In this case, this would affect the concept of direct marketing, a concept Stan Rapp actually helped to feed. The same applies to “one-to-one marketing”, as Stan Rapp was the first to describe this perspective in his book “Maxi Marketing” from 1989. It was his first book, and it builds on the experiences and struggles of several decades on Madison Avenue.
Fans of the TV-series “Mad Men” may feel that they know exactly how Stan Rapp’s daily work life looked and felt, which is not entirely wrong. The creators of the series have done their job well, Stan says.
In “Mad Men”, one-to-one marketing was depicted through the purchase of a container-sized personal computer – much to the dissatisfaction of the creative teams.
Stop shooting with buckshots
Early in his career, Stan Rapp argued that the advertising agencies should stop shooting with buckshots.
“In the first part of my career, I spoke against the major television campaigns, because mass marketing went over the heads of people. The idea was that the campaigns had to be creative, but actually they were just stupid”, Stan Rapp says. In the “Mad Men” days it was all about mass marketing. The message was rumbled out as well as it could be done through ads, and later on via TV commercials. With the introduction of computers, one-to-one marketing grew and was quickly followed by direct marketing, which is still the major trend. But it sidesteps, the two authors believe. The recipients are simply becoming more or less immune to messages; even if they hit those using tools of direct marketing.
“My partner Tom Collins, with whom I wrote “Maxi Marketing”, was the first to use the term one-to-one marketing. Now we will change this definition, fundamentally and forever”, says Rapp.
The two co-authors complement each other, as if they had known one another for more than two years. They return again and again to a metaphor from quantum physics, which also seems to fit in their relationship; two particles come close together and act as one. “When one particle rotates, the second particle rotates at the same speed. Although they are far apart, they behave as if they are only one particle” Sebastian says, and transfers it to the relationship between consumers and brands in entangled marketing.
“You have an equal and meaningful relationship. The consumer has the opportunity to influence the brand, and the brand can respond in a meaningful way. That is the new”, Sebastian says.
Rapp and Sebastian are early out of the starting block; very few companies today have this kind of cohesion with their customers. “Many big brands create a very close relationship to consumers, but they are not utilizing it to the fullest. They are too focused on the transactions – on customers to buy the product. Instead, they should focus on keeping the customers alive figuratively. Harley Davidson is a good example, Nike is another”, Sebastian says. Stan Rapp deepens: “Harley Davidson owners own more than a motorcycle. They own the relationship with all the other Harley Davidson owners. Every fifth year they gather with other motorcycle owners, they learn to drive on the bike, they help you to talk to your friends about the motorcycle. You become entangled in so many ways. Apple is another example of a brand that consumers have taken into their heart and as a part of their personality. Cohesion is so strong that users stick, even if the company makes mistakes or launch defective products to the market” Stan says. “When the iPhone 6 came out, it dawned on people that one of the models could be bent. Other brands would have seen sales figures fall dramatically, but because it was Apple, people quickly forgot because they have reached the point where the product is a part of the self-understanding of the person who buys it. This applies to Apple and a few other brands”, Stan says. According to Rapp and Jespersen, all types of businesses and industries can use entangled marketing, and performance goes across the entire marketing industry’s toolbox.
Sebastian Jespersen highlights Vertic’s work for the pharmaceutical company Leo Pharma as some of the closest you can get to entangled marketing. “There are no examples of outright Entangled Marketing, but what we have done for Leo Pharma comes very close. It created a meaningful relationship between Leo Pharma and their patients. It cuts across all channels and includes everything from e-mail to the website for dialogue with the nurse and so on. All channels will learn from each other and learn how users react, and it will be updated across” Sebastian says. The keyword is proximity. Extreme proximity. “Whether it is a corporate client or a consumer, it must be personal. We have access to a huge amount of information, but the key is to look directly at what the most important thing in a certain person’s life is”, Stan says.
Listen to customers
Of course there are pitfalls. It is not hard to create cohesion between the brand and consumers, the two authors believe. But if the relationship is not maintained the right way, it will end and create significant damage. “If the brand forgets an entangled consumer, they also forget themselves”, Sebastian says and continues with an example: “Maybe it was exactly what happened to Nokia. They had a stable product that everyone – at least outside the US – was in love with, but they were so introvert that they developed their own platform instead of working with others. Even if it was for the benefit of consumers, Nokia forgot to listen to their customers, and what was important to them”, Sebastian says, referring to the Finnish mobile manufacturer, which in recent years fought a hard battle for survival of their mobile business, eventually sold to Microsoft in 2013.
Entangled marketing is a product of time. Both born of, and dependent of the Internet.
“Mass marketing was all about how to influence people with messages and massive branding of a specific brand name into people’s consciousness. Direct was about how you did things for people and with people. Then came the Internet. It was like a rocket engine under all of what we tried to do with direct marketing. Previously, the problem was that direct mail is expensive, and that there were limits to what you could do in a direct relationship. That was completely changed by the Internet”, Stan says.
All of his points links through the history of advertising. For Sebastian Jespersen, it is not without humbleness and admiration that he is now working with one of the grand old masters in the field. “I meet so many people who are over-enthusiastic about the technology itself, but to meet the person who has defined some of the essential disciplines of marketing and put words to the core principles is very rewarding. Although Stan has been in the industry for so many years, he is more aware of the entrepreneurs and the new way to get in touch with consumers than I am. It is a great inspiration to me”, Sebastian says. However, there is no junior/senior relationship between the two. Rapp is equally fascinated by Sebastian’s experience in digital marketing. “We have good chemistry. My experience tells me that there are people who I instantly identify with because of their intellect and personality. After a few moments with Sebastian, I was thrilled – interested to hear what he had to say and the things that excites me excite him” Stan says.
The last book
The book Entangled Marketing” will be his eighth – the seven previous books predicted in each of their time for the next big trends in marketing. But “Entangled Marketing” will be the last, according to the plan. With Entangled Marketing the brand will be a part of the consumer’s life and personality. Right now it’s hard to see how one could develop marketing longer than that.
The definition of entangled marketing according to Rapp and Jespersen: “Entangled Marketing is a new business model that enables organizations to create a supportive, enduring and mutually rewarding relationship between the brand and the customer.”