Human Centric Marketing with Paul Garrison

Interview with Paul Garrison
How and when did he come up with the methodology? How human centric segmentation is different from other segmentations? Is segmentation still necessary while brands have possibility to target customers directly? How artificial intelligence will change marketing?What is his formula for creating value?

Paul’s LinkedIn profile

Garrison Group web address

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Interview with Paul Garrison
How and when did he come up with the methodology? How human centric segmentation is different from other segmentations? Is segmentation still necessary while brands have possibility to target customers directly? How artificial intelligence will change marketing?What is his formula for creating value?

Paul’s LinkedIn profile

Garrison Group web address

Mete: So Paul, thank you very much for coming to my podcast. It is been a great pleasure to have you here. So, Paul you worked in marketing more than 25 years, right? And you started out at Procter & Gamble then you moved on to Coca-Cola first in the U.S. and then later Marketing Director for Central and Eastern Europe and then finally as Managing Director in Hungary. You established your own firm I mean advertising then Garrison Group. That is where I met you actually back in 2009-2010, right?

Paul: Yeah!

Mete: Actually when I was working in Efes and when I met you, my whole view of marketing has totally changed forever.

Paul: Was that a fundamental change?

Mete: Yeah, it was a fundamental change in the way I think the human factor and that emotions play a role in marketing so and that was the same time I was into behavioral economics and I was reading Kahneman and Thaler and all these stuff so I thought it is a great match.

Paul: Which you see another way to do it. Now, have a look at the consumer much more holistically. It is hard to believe we ever did it another way.

Mete: Definitely! What you do now actually, you also teach, right? You are a visitor Professor at Tuck School of Business.

Paul: Yeah, a little bit. My struggle schedule keeps you from doing a full semester now. So, I teach in a concise program for Maastricht School of Management in Netherlands. I teach in Vietnam, Egypt, Peru and I really like going to these developing markets, where things are going very quickly.

Mete: You are also the author of two books right? Exponential marketing and recently you have Human Centric Marketing. Why people do what they do. I know you are also into history. You have also books on history.

Paul: Yeah, I have. This is kind of my hobby. My history books are not successful as my marketing books, but I like it!

Mete: History plays a great role in understanding human so it is a perfect hobby for marketing.

Paul: When I first started with coke, I had lots of different markets and my mentor Sergio Zeeman says you gotta figure out you are the chief marketing officer time said you got to dig down what people care about. What is important to him, you gotta understand their history. You know, for example in Turkey is that I read the biography of Ataturk which was not covered that much in my history classes at the university and high school. Once you understand Ataturk and what happened through you really understand Turkey is a crossroads. How it is not Middle East, it is not Europe. In both places and understand the history of people really gets you know it is a first step to understanding who people are just understanding their history.

Mete: When did you come up with your methodology?

Paul: Initially, we turn on a Coke project. We are trying to find with their common and alternative beverages which is not the way to look at it all because consumer, people may drink a non-carbonated soda. They are drinking alternative, they are just drinking water and they feel like at that moment but we broker he business into non-carbonated, carbonated juice. You know, we had these categories that we built it into and it just was not adequate. We kept missing out on things. We missed out on Red Bull, we are late on ice teas and looking at through at the lenses of our eyes. Look was my first project. When I went down I started Garrison Group server with Coca-Cola. They said how different you looked at us like a learning laboratory. That was what I wanted to do and so I said let’s look people in their whole life. What is happening in their lives and how is that shape? Their purchase decisions in any particular category and broaden it and so start looking and relief from customers’ perspective. You always say you got looked through consumer eyes. So I set out to try to do that and then how we get a data source they can track how people and we finally settle down to a way of looking at a data source combination than source. Anywhere we’re doing business it looks at how people purchase across 500-700 categories. It is not just what they but it is a product what they will take home, where they go? They go to shop, dining vacation… How they use their credit cards? That kind of data source is not about any particular person but really mass in the data across thousands of people and they get groups that evolve on that they do likewise. And then we name those groups you know balancers. We find balancers (China, Turkey, U.S.A ). Those are what is can relate to that on the balance. These balancers like you want to do well and want to run their own business, they are very committed to do it. But yet they are really focused on being a partner to the wife, father to their children and it kind of feel guilty because they go kids play take-off time to go to kids, play at school. So that it a balance. Understanding tension points really defines it not just if they are busy is that they have this tremendous amount of responsibility. They are looking for ways to shortcut. That is a balancer. Then you look at we call Chardonnay girls or young white Turks and in Turkey or butterflies in Russia, those are young women to come that kind of “sex and the city” girls. You know they lots of shoes, lots of fashion, they’re out and about that big in social media. But then you find their tension points, their tension point is that they’re really on game all the time. You know their relationships and their friends. I mean that’s the game they’re in and they’re playing it all the time and it’s serious, I say it’s a game but they’re serious about it and they don’t want to be taken lightly people tend to look past me being artificial and shallow but they’re not. They are educated they’re smart they’re just really in the moment. So knowing them, we can figure out how, we’re doing a project in Portugal now,  how we do the design of the restaurant. Restaurants it’s very important to that. how we have an Instagram-able moment not just ambience at the location but the food, you know they want to take a picture of what they’re eating and put on instagram so open and which is with the sprouts on top or kale on top, you know, that’s a part of the dining experience. But for a balancer that’s not it, the balancer we show, look at our kids together we’re having a fun time we’re taking a picture with something there you know, the character or whatever it you sure but McDonald’s or whatever it happens to be knowing what the consumer is about it really key.

Mete: Actually, it is quite different than any segmentation that marketers are talking about right. It is not a category segmentation. It is not demographic segmentation. So it is certainly as you call human centric segmentation.

Paul: It is a bit of combination in between ethnographic research which is all about behavior. You know you’re from the beer business, you don’t wanna interview people what beer they like, observe what beer they like and how they make their decision in the night club, in the pub, when they’re with their friends, because that’s much more realistic then a focus group, a typical qualitative research.

People caught in the act of consuming and using your product so we also do that but we also have a quantitative when we are looking at how they act across a lots of categories. And then you add a little bit psychographic and there were some attitudinal statements about life. That is what human segmentation does.

Mete: Actually some people say now that its technology so much into our lives. They say that segmentation is no longer necessary while we can reach brands. Brands can reach people directly. They have an interactive relation through social media, mobile to one-to-one. What would you say about it?

Paul: Yeah, that is true. But what is your message going to be? What are you going to say? I buy a lot of stuff in amazon. or Alibaba in China. Alibaba has so much out there. Because they sell a lot of stuff.  So they have so much data on me. They keep communicating me based on what I bought last time. They won’t even get me books in general. Oh you are buying some business books. I am doing some classes where you bought some history book or some medical science books. They only catch me what I did last which is what we are doing at Coca-cola. We are looking at consumers very concisely. Amazon only knows what I did most recently but they never reject me could wait you know enough about this guy list he lives in the countryside but he does this urban stuff, he is really spent a lot of time with his kids. There is a lot of recreational things he likes these times and different kinds of intellectual pursuits. They could really be able to find out pretty quick. I am a balancer but they do not. They are thinking they are too busy looking at me as a fresh produce consumer when I go to hold. As a history consumer when I am doing research my entry books they do not. And then they only give me a history in general. They get me history based on what I think it was on looking at the American Second World War. They send me bunch of books on the second world war what last year I was reading some about Mandela in South Africa and they can’t confuse. They are too busy looking to two linearly right. They are not able to put me into a context of who I am as a person and the context is missing. So, one-to-one marketing you tend to reach them one to one on what they did most recently with you or what they are doing right now. That is how you communicate but you need to have context so you need to step back and say who is this person relative to their lives and then I am dying for solutions that can help me with my life. I am thinking things be this weekend. When I am traveling there is just so many information they can give me. They just start look at me and suggest ideas to me and I would be very welcome to because I would know them. They know who I am.

Mete: Right, so this reminds me of discussion in the ESOMAR Congress. Last week they were saying that big data gives you the behavioral information but it is definitely needs to the human factor is necessary to understand what are the needs of these people? What are the tension points as you say? Without combining the two you are missing a big piece there.

Paul: Segmentation allows you to do that because trying to get you know Amazon take just ne by myself and say who is Paul Garrison and put that together, it will be overwhelming. Even with all the computer technologies. So, they need to put me into a box where they can construct messages and they can you know try to put out contextual lifestyle messages for how many consumers on Amazon have. What they got to do is that that 100 million people it states use Amazon. Break it neither we have identified 23 segments in the U.S. that act operate almost like in tribe’s sociologists call them. That is my tribe, that is people that I can relate to their like. We do with IKEA. You know there is lots of different room settings in IKEA. We work with them on briefing they called in store communication. I am in and we believe of how to decorate that room setting for whichever target. Somebody was smart in this room decides and they are smart. You know why I did not like? Because I might have shown a girl but you know takes lots of mirrors got lots of bright colors just feels weird to me but then I see lets got the big chairs my kids can watch a movie together in and it is close to the it is got and open kitchen and the living room. When you walk into a pub you go through your people and this makes you feel like home. People like that. They do not feel the marketing is intrusive as long as you are trying to say I want to understand how talk to you. That makes sense to you that adds value to your life and then consumers are open to that.

Beneath you absolutely have segmentation. They break it into manageable pieces to frame your message. Gives you context.

Mete: All these tech companies try to use this AI –Machine learning – What we have been discussing that it is still not smart enough or it is not actually good enough to unlock those mysteries of human but where it will go? We are the feeling machines that think rather than thinking machines that feels, right but how AI will influence our future lives? How do you think AI will change marketing?

Paul: AI telling you this is who Paul is. Now Alexa can then have AI that starts a record and she starts to understand me. She can make suggestions like what I am into. In the morning I like news, she suggests news channels that I like. Afternoon I want to relax and wind. So she knew music is not my choice. Weekend is coming up, she offers me suggestions. That is AI so she starts forming based on what I do and how I respond. She could really open up. Amazon so perfectly positioned for that, but IKEA can do with watching with their frequent buyer programs. Grocery store can do that. Market central all these people can do that kind of thing and so then he is taken over to the FMCG Companies. Coca- cola for example… What you can do their consumer is they can start to take their market data. Now they might have directly with the consumer. They do not have that capability like Amazon working with echo and Alexa but they can take a beta that keeps going and they can put into even sales data on different types of stores. They are not only segmenting the types of consumers they have, but the type of outlets. We did that with Efes identified 50-60 HORECA accounts, restaurant bars and then who is the customers that go into that restaurant and then you sale data back from restaurant and then in real time about what they are buying what is the weather like all that stuff can go into artificial intelligence. The Sales guy can go in there with portable device and make suggestions what to buy/stock to the bar owner for that weekend. It really becomes very powerful, evolving, interacting.

Mete: Coming towards the end, I have this signature question I would like to ask all my guests. I am the topic of the podcasts is about. The formula for creating value. We discuss about my formula. What is your formula or what are the key elements, components for you for creating costumer value?

Paul: Really understanding who you are talking to if I want get action. A lot of people I work with data, people I work with 20 years ago. I think they like work with me because I am demanding, I can be a tough boss at times. They like me because they work for me it may be like me too I hope. In Hungary I had a guy named Chaba. He’s like knocking mountains down, walls, but he can get frustrated, he wasn’t good with working in teams. We were a big team at coke marketing. I got a project called Coca cola beach house and I said Chaba this is your project we are gonna build a beach house entertainment. You tell me how it needs to be, in the shop, music. He loves building stuff, man, he built in six months and it was the most successful event we ever did in Central Europe. I end up doing another tour in Ukraine also another one in Turkey at one point late 90’s. But Chaba would go through walls because I understood what made him happy what was not just from a career standpoint. Here is his background whose education here is what his career is and then I put them onto a track like everybody else. Working in advertising, if you want to get a good work out advertising people, you have to approach them as human beings and in their desires and their needs and their emotional. We are all emotional beings so you find that emotional drivers I always like to say people buy from emotional reasons and look for rational reason support so drivers for people these segments consumer segments or employees or advertising creative people. I want to work with partners, whatever happens to be, if I find out what their emotional driver are. I can impact that in a very positive way. I think something they want to know and then I. Then you put the details together rational support for, the details of what product needs to look like this. Needs to look like whatever it happens standing people to shoot is emotional human beings and what motivates them. They want you to understand them. We always talk about men and women. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Why can’t you understand me because we are too busy looking at him from our perspective instead of saying ok what shoes are you walking in and I’m not saying I’m an expert on how to deal with women, but you know the first step is communicating less listen more. Let them some time they need to vent. There’s a great video “it’s not about the nail” on YouTube and talks about how men and women communicate differently. You need to add value to somebody else’s lives. You cannot just go like I created this valuable thing. What does it do… You could turn explaining what it does as you say. Okay, what do you need in your life? Ok now I can find something of value right? Understanding of value matters.

Mete: That is the summary of human centric marketing and the same as same way for design thinking. Everything is about human centric. Having the human in the focus so Paul, how people can learn more about you? I know you also write articles on Turkish magazines on Brand Age.

Paul: In my LinkedIn profile cycle of articles typically I tend to do. I do more business articles. Those the sited Garrison group EU that they can find our articles. My book human centric marketing is that in Europe but it is in Turkey maybe next year. I will be working to get done.

Mete: Great news! Thank you very much.

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