Posted May 27, 2009 12:51 pm by with 2 comments

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Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Chairman and CEO—OgilvyOne Worldwide


Once again SMX London was held at the rather grand New Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden. Unlike the typical chilly days of last November Spring was in the air and to begin the conference Brian Fetherstonhaugh of OgilvyOne took to the stage in front of a packed conference hall to deliver his keynote.

Brian began with addressing the concept that search was the holy grail of marketing. And even more so in a time of recession—the industry itself was still growing at a rate of 10-20% a year! He then told attendees that whilst OgilvyOne had worked with some top brands including American Express, Sears, Ford, Shell, Barbie, Pond’s, Dove and more. But as Brian pointed out, David Ogilvy was kind of crazy! “He was an “interesting and nutty guy”.

However Ogilvy, an early proponent of direct marketing, wrote down the rules that others after him would follow. The early days of the company was during the golden age of targeting, this happened during the era of the popularisation of credit cards, computers and the explosion of TV into fragmented multiple channel markets.

American Express

This was time when through its incredible success the America Express 2-page direct mail piece proved to be the most effective. 100 million new customers were acquired from a 2-page letter, that in today’s money only cost around 50p to send. The letter began with the line: “The American express card is not for everyone . . .”


In Dove’s ‘Campaign for real beauty’, OgilvyOne worked with a 50-year-old brand and undertook a new style of developing a campaign. It allowed women of the world to decide what beauty was and the Internet was at the centre of the campaign.

As part of the Dove campaign OgilvyOne used a viral film Dove Evolution to promote a workshop for mothers with teenage daughters so they could learn about healthy eating and related issues.

The film was put together with a £50k budget that saw it go from the Dove website to YouTube and then eventually to the Oprah Winfrey show. The short film to date has been seen by 500 million people worldwide.

Matching Luggage Syndrome

Next Brian addressed a common mistake by marketers when working on online and this is that the digital work looks like print work, the TV ad looks exactly like the print advert and so on. In Brian’s opinion this is “weak, lazy and ineffective marketing”. He reminded the audience that the media are different and so they are consumed differently. The same would apply to global campaigns.

However when it comes to investment in sigital/online marketing, Brian argued that marketers are not spending where the opportunity is. This is partly due to CEOs growing up with print and TV.

New Marketing Fundamentals: Four Ps changing to four Es

According to Brian the original benchmark of the four Ps of marketing namely: Product, Place, Price & Promotion have become outdated for online marketing. The concept was invented in 1967 and was a great reference for the pre-Internet era, however now in an advanced Internet age, the four Ps need to be replaced by the four Es: Experience – Everyplace – Exchange – Evangelism.

US Election

A good example was the US election. During the US election Hillary Clinton pursued a traditional four Ps approach to her campaign, however her opponent Barack Obama pursued the four Es.

He said things like: “We’re going to have change you can believe in, you deserve”.

It was similar to the approach of the Dove campaign in the way that Obama went on to communicate concepts like “We” can do something different. His centrepiece was the website the website invited people to engage and donate—the website was a runaway success and was created by a co-founder of Facebook. The campaign generated $700m. The average donation was $70–80!

There were fun games on the website like the Barack Obama game where the Obama character beat up the Hillary Clinton character. There were mobile campaigns where supporters could sign up for Barack alerts. When events happened it sent alerts to people’s mobile phones. If you wanted to attend a event it would show a map, other people who also have signed up and even ask if you want to go with them and maybe share a ride. . . .

The campaign was always invitational—but never shy about asking for the sale. Advertising Age voted team Obama marketers of the year ahead of Steve Jobs of Apple and Zappos.

Is search on the CMO’s (Chief Marketing Officer) agenda?

Brian reminded everyone to get budgets allocated! He suggested it is important to think about how CMOs spend their time, and what’s important to them. For example CMOs have to present to the board and they get asked to prove ROI—often to the board.

When it comes to CMOs, job security is on their mind. The average tenure for a CMO is around 2 years at the most.

Questions CMOs need to think about include issues concerning the marketing organisation. For example: Who is on the team? How do I attract them? How do I keep them? Etc.

There are also global matrix issues and around 20% of their time is answering the question: How do we spend the money?

Digital’s share is 15% of that 20% of the CMO’s time. Broken down this makes it around 3% of the CMO’s mental span and with search being around half of the 3% it is in essence 1.5% of the CMO’s agenda!

In view of this reality, Brian advised search marketers to hitch a ride onto bigger or faster moving trains. Also to learn to pitch things that are important to CMOs—one example was to see the value of search as research:

Search = Research

Online marketers can pitch search as research. CMOs love research—including early forms of discovery, keywords, segmentable aspects, identifying global potential and so on. An example might be to approach a CMO with “Here is what your consumer said last week. . . .”

More Lift—Less Attack

Don’t attack the other media as much: e.g. paid v. organic v. print and so on. It’s better to hook in with the proven channels.

50% of all spend is still on TV. What is the interaction between TV and search? Can you lift TV with online activities—if so, what percentage? Can you lift direct mail through SEO, PPC—if so, how?

Can you use search to build talent and attract the right staff to your organisation? Or assist communication amongst staff? CMOs like things like this.

Looking Ahead

At Ogilvy Brian pointed out where the organisation is focusing on spending time/money on the digital side for the next couple of years. This included:

Mobile, social media (social media may currently be higher on the CMO’s agenda right now than search), LBS & local search, digital POS and gaming.