The role of ‘marketing’ has changed over the years; blurred by the addition of new technologies and differing interpretations of the job description. Whether people would want to admit it or not, some businesses treat marketing as little more than a glorified name for advertising, as if it’s some form of necessary evil that costs money they’d rather be putting somewhere else.
For Darren Woolley, founder and global CEO of TrinityP3, this fragmented approach to marketing creates a wasted resource that should be working with other elements of the organisation to increase opportunities and profitability.
“There is a huge opportunity today for marketing to be the business driver, to actually drive growth,” says Darren. “However most organisations haven’t structured their marketing the right way to deliver that performance. Marketing is often seen as the promotions department that works to the side of the business, when it needs to be involved in the driving of the business.”
This approach places marketing back into the analytical side of business rather than a creative add-on – a philosophy that extends from Darren’s own background.
Darren started his working life as a scientist at the Royal Children’s Hospital Neuropathology Laboratory in Melbourne, undertaking research in myopathies, neuropathies, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Repetitive Strain Injury. He then established a chemical recycling company called Resolve, which whetted the appetite for the commercial side of life, before falling into advertising in his mid-20s through the famed Copy School program. After some 15 years in advertising, where he even served as the president of the Melbourne Advertising and Design Club, he saw the opportunity to set up TrinityP3 and bring all of his skills and experience together.
“It’s a combination of my analytical science background, and an appreciation and understanding of the creative process, and the value that creativity can add to business,” he explains. “The company’s focus is how to maximize the value from creativity in business.”
While this may sound like a simple concept, it is a fundamental shift in thinking for many people – and it starts with considering the broad role of marketing within the organisational framework.
“Marketing is still often executed as a cost to business,” he says. “That means that there is a budget set aside for marketing and the budget is spent – and yet there is very little accountability or measurement in the top-line contribution that marketing is making. When you’re doing that, you’re not optimising the performance for marketing, you’re largely just executing a marketing plan.
“When treated as a full business discipline, marketing has huge application. What we’re seeing is that marketing is still being pigeonholed into a very narrow focus, and only a few businesses have really expanded the opportunities that marketing presents and really drives the top line. That’s what marketing does when it’s fully applied to a business; it drives the top line and growth for that business.”
In Darren’s view, if marketing is brought into the corporate strategy it can become the glue that helps all of the respective areas to optimise and perform better. Furthermore, with constant advancements in technology, those capabilities are now enormous; however, perhaps ironically, marketing is often marginalised in that process.
“Technology has enabled marketing to have much more influence with customers, and provide much greater insight back into the business about what customers and potential customers are doing,” says Darren. “Online engagement gives you huge opportunities to actually track performance and behaviours, and changes in behaviours. You can track leads and you can look at conversion rates – it provides a huge amount of insight and data.”
The challenge however, is that many organisations are not set up to operate that way. With advances in technology, many organisations keep adding new platforms and tools as a ‘bolt-on unit’, rather than integrating it into the core of the operations.
“We often see these businesses that keep adding new elements like social media, digital advertising, events and more – so they end up doing lots of different things, but none of them well.
“In actual fact, what they should be doing is to sit and think about restructuring marketing within the organisation to adapt to the changing world, and to adapt to their changing strategy. Most marketing departments still have the same structure that they had 20 or 30 years ago.”
Clearly, this belief is at the core of TrinityP3’s offerings and operations, and something Darren believes sets it apart from competitors.
It is not a cookie-cutter approach, but rather a top down approach that changes with time and client requirements.
“We get inside our clients’ marketing functions and look for the opportunities to drive value through marketing into the business. This approach is one that builds on the inherent strengths of the marketing function and helps identify the barriers, structural obstacles and processes that stops marketing delivering full value to the organisation.”
Naturally, this means that TrinityP3 needs to work closely with its clients, as no two organisations will have exactly the same needs. Darren again reiterates the non-cookie cutter approach.
“We don’t use a cookie cutter approach, because there is no single best practice. There’s no particular model that suits all people. The first thing that we do is we spend a lot of time, very quickly I will add, to deep dive into the current state, because there’s no point moving forward until you know what you already have.
“Ultimately, we reach a position where we can say, ‘Here’s where we are now, and here’s an agreement on where we want to move to’ and then it’s a simple matter of analysing the two states, current state and agreed future state, to identify what are the steps needed to get there.”
It’s an analytical and personal approach to business development, driven by marketing, and has proven to be extremely successful for TrinityP3. Operating with a small administration team in Sydney, Darren has grown TrinityP3 to have offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Sydney and Melbourne to establish a genuine global presence.
Importantly, Darren also finds it personally rewarding to see businesses grow with TrinityP3’s help.
“We’ve had some big breakthroughs in restructuring marketing, so that it becomes a lot more customer-centric, and becomes the bridge between the products and services. We’ve made some fundamental changes to some organisations, and that’s rewarding for us.” BFM