In a new series for 2019 we will be featuring a Q&A with some of our clients and partners to understand a little bit more about them, their inspirations and their day-to-day roles and responsibilities.
First up, Simon Harrow from iGO4.
1: Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?
My name is Simon Harrow I’m head of digital strategy and innovation at iGO4. I previously co-founded and led venture backed software startup Elevaate, was COO at Kiddicare, and part of the senior management team at Morrisons.
I’m responsible for a number of functions within iGO4, including marketing, innovation and our customer first programme. In short, wherever a customer is impacted, I’m involved.
2: Tell us about WiseDriving.
WiseDriving is one of the market leading telematics brands in the UK – helping young and inexperienced drivers save money on their insurance, based on how they drive.
3: Why do you think telematics is so important to the insurance industry?
It’s important to the industry because it helps find low risks in categories of historically high risk customers. This means that customers are actually paying for truly personalised insurance based on how they drive rather than simply anticipated risk derived from where they live or the type of car that they drive. This helps bring down the cost of insurance for customers, helping them save money.
4: How are you looking to challenge the insurance industry?
By becoming more customer centric from simplifying the language we use, the experiences of our products and services, through to the way that you interact with our self-service offering. This is largely about bringing trust back to the insurance industry, helping customers understand what they’re buying to ensure their products and services meet their needs.
5: What underpins a successful modern marketing campaign?
I think your products, services, and experiences need to reflect the message that you’re putting into market.
6: What do you think are the three most important things to get right in the brand/agency relationship?
The top three things to get right in the brand-agency relationship is clarity about what you’re trying to achieve. Setting clear objectives over the longer term to make sure you are always pointing collectively towards a North Star.
Secondly it’s about trust. It’s about empowering people on both sides of the relationship to do the best work possible and not stifle creativity, or to make assumptions around what will and won’t work.
Finally it’s the ability to look beyond the immediate ask to make sure that as much value is being added to the relationship as possible. That means the agencies need to think about the broader implications of their ideas and actions but it also means that companies need to share more broadly than the specific tactical ask that often are shared with agencies.
7: What do you think will be the biggest innovations in marketing over the next 2 years?
I don’t profess to be an expert in marketing innovation but it seems to me that the continuation of data to produce more effective advertising, whether that’s through creative, targeting or channels. I am interested to see how innovative marketers are going to be able to work with increasingly harder legal frameworks to deliver real innovation to the end user.
8: Which marketing leader would you most like to have dinner with and why?
The marketing leader that I would most like to have dinner with is Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Disney are incredibly proficient at providing amazing functional experiences but also transcend up the hierarchy to create truly magical experiences that transform people’s perspective of the world. I think very few brands in history have done that.
9: What are the most common traps you see marketers fall into today?
I think there are some interesting traps that we’re starting to fall into. As an industry because we have had such good quality data for so long, hopefully steering the majority if not all of our decisions, I think marketers need to remember that our discipline is a blend of data and creativity. Beyond pure performance marketing – I would like to see more marketers not just following the data but looking for new opportunities where perhaps creativity wins. Only because that often provides the breeding ground for innovation that is exploratory in nature and not just exploitive.
10: What excites you about marketing today?
There are more ways than ever to reach your end customers, through business models where vertical integration means you own the relationship. I understand that broadcast media plays an important role but I think for the most interesting brands and business models it feels almost lazy. These brands and their experiences are most interesting when they drill into these micro moments, centered around authenticity, and I’m excited to see how that trend continues over the next few years.
11: What keeps you up at night and how are you going to solve it?
Believe it or not, it is actually the basics. I’m constantly thinking about how we are adding value to our customers and it comes back to my earlier point that I believe authenticity is the cornerstone of which great marketing campaigns are built on. So I’m always challenging to understand what value the business is delivering to customers and how we can create more of it in order to have our marketing feel more authentic and therefore be more impactful.
12: What’s the best campaign you’ve run at WiseDriving over the last 12 months?
The best campaign that we have run at WiseDriving over the last year has easily been a Snapchat campaign. We geo-fenced the top performing DVLA driving test centres in the UK and targeted a WiseDriving Snapchat filter congratulating drivers as they pass their test. Not only did they give the brand permission to share that moment of joy but it was also incredibly cost-effective as their space was undervalued verses the attention in the moment we were able to generate.
13: What does a typical day at WiseDriving involve?
As a young brand, no two days are ever the same. At WiseDriving we are constantly trying to figure out how we drive more value for our customers, our partners, and ultimately the business. This involves a huge amount of data mining to make sure that we are insuring the right customers for the right price while protecting loss ratios for underwriters. It’s then about figuring out how we take all of that value creation and simplify the message so the customers can understand what they’re buying and how they buy it. Making sure that the products and services that they get from WiseDriving are fit for purpose for their individual needs.
14: What are the top three things you look for when hiring?
Cultural fit, ability for growth, and immediate value impact.
Culture for me is always top of the list. Do they fit within the current cultural truths and aspirations of the business because if they don’t no matter how technically gifted they may be – it’s very difficult to make that work.
We obviously move in a fast paced environment, so I’m interested in somebody’s ability to grow. Not so much about what they’ve done but their capacity to learn new skills, to transfer skills in industry and market that moves as rapidly as ours. Knowledge beyond a couple of years old rarely has much material value. Having somebody that is able to constantly adapt means that there will be a valuable asset for years to come rather than solving a short-term problem.
Finally, on the other hand because we are still a young business we are looking for people that can hit the ground running. We don’t have the luxury of time in order to make sure somebody adds value to the business so I’m looking for people who are self-motivated problem solvers, willing to roll up their sleeves and immediately add value.
15: If you could wish for one thing what would it be?
That more people would see the value of brand. Because it is harder to measure, I often feel like teams beyond marketing don’t fully understand the wide ranging impact that a positive or negative brand perception can have. I believe you can spot businesses that take their brand seriously as part of the DNA vs those that don’t.
16: Thinking about the last 12 months, what do you think has had the biggest impact on the way marketers work, apart from GDPR?
I think the thing that has had the biggest impact on marketers over the last 12 months is actually a subtle change in consumer behaviour for certain demographics. The digital detox movement of people stepping away from their phones, combined with the increase of ad-blockers, means that the ability to put your message in front of people through digital platforms becomes slightly more challenging moving forward.