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Interview for Bulgaria 2010

  1. Mr. Owen, how would you answer to an 18-year old person, who is asking you: I want to become a marketing expert, where and what to study?

    Well, firstly I would tell an 18 year old person that to become an ‘expert’ you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time at the ‘sharp end’ of the business. 

    You will not become a marketing expert until you have at least 10 years experience…

    …probably a lot longer.

    In those ten years, you will make a lot of mistakes.  You will learn from those mistakes and you will become stronger as a result.   You learn more from mistakes than successes.

    But, before you start, you must understand how marketing works.  Start from the beginning.

    Read the books of the greats – Caples, Hopkins, Ogilvy and others like them. 

    They taught us all how to sell.  And their greatness is still very relevant today.  Don’t ever forget that.

    You will learn so much from them and they will give you a solid platform to build on. 

    What should be taught in a marketing academic program in order it to be good one or – if it’s more convenient for you –what should not be taught?

    Many things. 

    But one of the most important, is that all marketing these days – and this will be more so in the future, is direct marketing

    Mass marketing is dead and will never reappear.  We are now in the era of the individual. 

    The recipients of marketing communications are now in charge.  And they know it. 

    They are not interested in you, your agency, your brand, your mission statement, how long you’ve been in business, how many machines you have, how much you care, or irrelevant stuff like that. 

    They are only interested in whether you can provide them with relevant benefits and value.

    Would you share with us your favorite slogan?

    “It is far, far more profitable to service an existing customer, than it is to find a new one”.

    That commandment should be pinned in every marketer’s wall, together with this one…

    "The sale merely consummates the courtship, at which point the marriage begins. "
    Professor Theodore Levitt, Harvard Business School

    What kind of people are doing well in the direct marketing and communication business?

    People who study. 

    People who test. 

    People who understand the power of words. 

    People who listen and learn from people who are better than them.

    What influences the market more – the customers or the industry?

    The industry has no influence. 

    The only thing that matters in this business is customers.

    Andy Owen
    Birmingham, England
    November 7th 2011

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