Come Hungry. Leave Full.

November 20, 2012

If you weren’t at the November 15th Breakfast Speaker Series (BSS), you missed a great event! So great, in fact, that we have two very different recaps of the event (below and here) for you to check out. Be sure to attend the next BSS event – the always popular ad agency panel – in late January 2013 – watch the BCAMA Events page for details.

By Ben Suh

The first Breakfast Speakers Series (BSS) event of the year began at 7 am on November 15th with registration and numerous hungry marketers from different fields making their way to the breakfast buffet and grabbing their morning coffee. The event commenced with the introduction of Station X, BCAMA’s new creative partner, who created the new brand identity of “Come Hungry. Leave Full” for the BSS. Station X will also be collaborating with the BCAMA on future events and materials.

This introduction was followed by the feature presentation by Canadian marketing legend Ken Wong, a distinguished professor at Queen’s University and a partner at Level 5 Strategy group and BBVA Compass.

Ken provided humour infused with knowledge as he debunked the great marketing myth and offered alternative perspectives. According to Ken, the great marketing myth is that marketing is all about volume. For instance, in a down economy, organizations cut prices to hold volume, but in a recovering economy, they cut prices to recapture the lost value. Ken mentioned that the perpetuated marketing myth is the reason companies don’t do the obvious; instead, they proceed in doing the opposite of what they should do. He also discussed how customers want the highest value at the lowest cost.

Ken demonstrated an excellent example that demystified this myth. He asked a member of the audience to time him as he changed the price; it literally took only a second and a half to change $1 into 99 cents. He continued by stating how the price cut would attract customers to receive that one cent off and how competitors would follow suit change their prices to 99 cents, which would also only require a second and a half. Ken then asked the question, “How much can you make in a second?”. Not much, obviously. This is what he calls the ‘short strategic window of opportunity’.

An alternative strategy offered by Ken was to combine all the costs and revenue that would have been produced by cutting prices and then to invest that money into a new value proposition, such as 24/7 service, customer relationship management or another mway of creating a competitive advantage. Now, the competitor requires more time and resources – the longer strategic window of opportunity – to offer the same value proposition!

Ken also presented research on how to survive in a world filled with customers who want the highest value at the lowest cost. Surviving companies consisted of four different types: preventers, promoters, pragmatists and progressives. Ken focused on the progressives and revealed that companies should strive to follow the same strategy as these companies. So what makes a company progressive? They are able to weed out the inefficiencies and reallocate costs to support a new value proposition.

The morning concluded with Ken explaining how an action requires flow from the head to the hand, but on the way, it must pass through the heart. Ken emphasized the need for commitment from both the company and its clients to one another in order to ensure future success.

After a quick Q & A session at the end of Ken’s presentation, the winners of the member draw were announced – the lucky winners received tickets for Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, who was recently named the BCAMA’s 2012 Marketer of the Year.

This posting was written by Ben Suh, a BCAMA volunteer and a fourth year marketing and management of information systems student at Simon Fraser University.