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Reaching the Goal. Missing the point.

I spent 4 years building the world's biggest Global Pet Portal for Mars Inc. It was fun. I got to get techy. I got to work with serious consumer knowledge experts. I got to meet, work and play with marketing people from every continent.

We had some great results, but to be honest the results were uneven. Why? Because we didn't do a good enough job of keeping people focused on the point.

Let me explain. The greenfield strategy was to provide 8000 knowledge articles about virtually every kind of pet in 6 languages and subscribe consumers to our newsletter service.  We knew that this would create a a tremendous number of touch points and held the potential of establishing strong relationships between the consumer and the brand ( as well as with its global product brands (PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®  WHISKAS®) and  a slew of national brands in various regions around the world.

The Germans, who with the American technology division sponsored the project, got it. Jan-Peter Tewes, (J.P. is now Managing Director at GROHE UK) made sure that the German effort focused on the content. He implement the loyalty programs. And tracked the business results.

The French somehow decided that site traffic was the key metric and so they featured lots of games. For the Russians it was email addresses and they signed up anyone they could with trial offer upon trial offer.

The Brits brought down our email servers with unqualified mailing lists with hundreds of thousands of names. The American marketing people made plans for even greater impact. I could never figure out exactly what the Dutch were up to.

The results came from the Germans.  They proved that the greenfield plan, that we had developed in Toronto, worked. A 17% lift in brand loyalty because someone takes advice from you is quite dramatic. The lifetime value of such a customer is extraordinary.

True business developers, like J.P., know that staying on point is how to exploit their greenfield for real business results.