Tag: customers

Innovation & Marketing Strategies With Scott Monty

On Episode 112 of The Edge of Innovation, we’re talking with executive advisor Scott Monty about innovation and marketing strategies!


Connection to Innovation
New All Over Again
Influencer Marketing
The Common Thread of Marketing
Customer Experience Is Important!
Make Life More Convenient For Your Customer
Results of Focusing on Customer Convenience
The Obvious is Not Always So Obvious
Conclusion: “Stay Curious”
More Episodes
Show Notes

Innovation & Marketing Strategies With Scott Monty


Paul: Good afternoon, everyone. Today we’re talking with Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies in Canton, Michigan. Welcome, Scott. Are you there?

Scott: I am here. Good to be with you, Paul.

Connection to Innovation

Paul: So. Tell me. Where are we talking to you? What is your connection with innovation?

Scott: Wow. Uh…

Paul: It’s a big question, I know. We’ve gotta just put some handles on it.

Scott: Nothing like jumping right in. I like that. Well, I think there’s a few different ways to look at innovation. And I think innovation in its more common form is thought of in terms of what new wiz-bang thing are you inventing or creating. And, I think that’s perfectly valid.

My take on things actually comes by looking backward, if that makes any sense. I am a classics major from a long time ago. Communications and marketing professional. And what I’ve realized over the course of two decades in the business is that human nature remains the same. You know, we keep making the same mistakes over and over again. We keep reacting the same way to things.

And my message to executives when I work with them and their teams is to not think about the latest trend or technology per se, but to focus on the throughput, that line that we see that, that takes us through humanity for all time and then to decide how you’re going to interact with someone based on knowing that about them. And, you may end up on various platforms. You may end up with different ways of speaking to people. But in a lot of ways, we’re going back to the basics, the things that we knew from 40, 50, 60 years ago that worked in business that somehow we’ve thrown aside. And it seems like they’re new all over again.

New All Over Again

Paul: Interesting. Do you find that the people you’re working with think they’re new?

Scott: In some cases, but in other cases, people just kind of slap their forehead and go, “Oh, that’s so… It’s so obvious. Why didn’t I think of that?” And I think this is, again, human nature. We get so focused on what’s right in front of us and on the things that are most important to us that sometimes we neglect to pick our heads up and see the forest through the trees, as it were.

Paul: Right, absolutely. It’s a very obvious statement when you say it, but yet it’s something that everybody needs to be reminded of. Can you give us some anecdotes of where that’s happened just in your recent experience? Not necessarily naming names or products or thing but just sort of some context… Because I think there’s a lot of people who look at the landscape around them and think, “Everybody else has it more together than I do.”

Influencer Marketing

Scott: Yeah, that’s the common thing. And guess what — nobody has a playbook. You know, when we led digital and social at Ford from 2008 to 2014, we were doing things that had never been done before. We were the first car company to reveal a vehicle on Facebook. We were the first ones to really embrace influencers, right? And here’s a topic that’s really relevant now.

We hear all about influencers, influencer marketing, etc. Well, in 2009, Ford put together a program called the Fiesta Movement. And the idea was this. Ford was in the midst of reinventing itself of becoming one company all around the world instead of a bunch of different siloed organizations. And they wanted to share the same engineering expertise, the same marketing expertise, and really begin to work at scale.

And the idea was, well, if we’re going to create a car — let’s say the Ford Focus — it’s going to be the same all the way around the world. And the Fiesta had just snuck in under cycle but somebody looked at this small car and they said, “Hey, you know what? What is coming out in Europe this year. We’re going to bring it out in America the following year. Why don’t we bring 100 of these vehicles over from Europe and put them in the hands of 100 people who have Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, Flickr accounts, blogs, etc. — and again, this is 11 years ago — and give these cars to a hundred people for six months. And all the requirement was they had to make one video a month. And there was a common theme that everybody stuck to each month.

But the genius here is what Ford did was take all of those people’s feeds — their Twitter feeds, their blog, RSS feeds, etc. and aggregated them on a Ford-owned website and allowed that content to be viewed, unfiltered, unedited, in real time, which did a couple of things.

One, it showed how confident Ford was in its product design, that, people weren’t going to find anything inherently wrong with the car. But number two, it also showed that Ford is willing to take the word of third-party individuals —not only its marketing team — and that’s who people connect with. People like themselves. Right?

So, I recently talked about this as a case study when I was giving a strategic communications speech, and, again, this stuff is 11 years old, and yet it still works today because the principles are inherently the same.

Paul: Right. Right. It’s sort of like physics and mathematics. It really doesn’t change all that much. It’s really how we apply it.

Scott: Yeah, I like that.

The Common Thread of Marketing

Paul: So, that’s fascinating. What do you see as you’re dealing with different people? Is there a common thread of… I’ll just say it. Is there a common thread? I’ll go deeper on that as we go, of reaction or action or lack of action by your consultees, I guess? Is that the word? The people you consult with.

Scott: Why it’s interesting because whether you’re talking about the content that they’re producing online or the experience that they’re creating in real life at a store or a… wherever they’ve got customers coming in, they’re focused on getting attention. And, I’ve worked with a number of auto dealers, and there’s a group that continues to pay for new customer acquisition. You know, that’s where most of their budget goes — into lead generation. I think that’s the case of a lot of B2B companies. They focus on lead generation.

And at the same time, they’re not putting a lot of effort into the actual customer experience. What are you doing to retain your customers? What are you doing to make them feel like they’re part of a community, like you are bringing them value every day rather than they’ve just signed the contract with you?

And, and I think if people can get in the mindset of retention rather than attention that will start to turn the bow of this big aircraft carrier that we’re trying to swing around.

Customer Experience Is Important!

Paul: Okay. So, are you seeing that with the people that you’re working with, that they don’t, comprehend customer experience as the goal? They’re so focused on lead generation?

Scott: Well, I think they certainly want to do what’s right for the customer, but, again, it’s kind of lifting your head up and understanding outside of your own sphere. So many executives, brand managers, they get up first thing in the morning, and that’s all they’re thinking about is their company, their brand. And you can’t blame them. Again, human nature.

But I like to remind them that unless your brand is Dunkin’ or Starbucks, other people aren’t waking up first thing in the morning thinking about you. They have other priorities. They’re getting the kids off for school. They’re planning for 15 conference calls. They’re trying to put a PowerPoint together and on and on and on. So when people do have an opportunity to interact with your brand, what are you doing to bring them value? What are you doing to make things more convenient for them? What are you doing to make their lives a little bit easier through that busy day?

Make Life More Convenient For Your Customer

Scott: So, I’ll give you an example of how this actually came to life with an auto client. I got a call from a gentleman I’ve known for years, certainly from when I was at Ford. He’s the number one Honda dealer in the country. Number one used Honda dealer in the country. Number three, new.

And he called me up and he said, “We gotta work together.”

And I said, “Well, I don’t know how much more I can help you. It seems like you’re doing pretty well already.”

Well, this is a guy who’s never satisfied with the status quo. And he said to me, “Scott, dealers are dinosaurs. We’re dead, and we don’t even know it. The dealership model is broken.” And first of all, this was just music to my ears.

And I said, “Okay, well, how would you like to start?” Right? So, I went to his dealership, and it’s a little lot in Queens, New York. And I walked into the showroom, and cars are crammed into that showroom. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in an auto showroom in a city. They make use of every square foot of floor space that they can so that you’re turning sideways to get between the cars in some cases. So already the, the experience felt like it was, it was difficult.

Paul: Suboptimal.

Scott: There you go. Suboptimal. I love that, Paul.

So he explained to me that he had 180,000 people in his customer email database, which is impressive in and of itself. And he said sales are going pretty well.

And I said, “Well, tell me about your service offering.”

And he said, “Well, our service base…” I can’t remember how many he said. Maybe 12 service bases. He said, “We are booked out six weeks in advance. We’re 100% full.”

I said, “Okay, tell me more. When are you open?”

He said, “We’re open seven days a week, 7 AM to 7 PM.”

And first of all, I thought that was impressive because not every dealer is open on weekends. In fact, in Michigan, they can’t be open on Sundays. It’s one of the blue laws. But I looked at that. I said, “Seven days a week, 7 to 7. Okay, you’re operating at 50%.”

And he said, “What?”

I said, “Yeah, what about the other 12 hours of the day?”

And he said, “Well, who’s going to want to bring their car in at 10:00 at night?”

And I said, “No one. That’s why you’re going to go and pick their car up from them.” And you could have seen his head explode, you know, right in front of me.

And by selecting a couple of vendors and designing a process whereby it was completely transparent to the customer, almost like the Domino’s pizza tracker, when your car gets into the oven, so to speak. They’re updating you. They’re sending pictures of what’s wrong with your car, because so many people have a distrust with dealerships and wondering if they’re getting screwed. They’ll say, “Okay, here’s your old brake pads. Here’s what new ones look like. Would you like us to change them?”

And guess what? You’re comfy at home on your couch watching sports or the latest reality show or The Crown or whatever you’re watching. And this text comes through, and it’s as simple as pressing a button to say “approve” and signing off on it and then you know your car’s going to be delivered to you in your driveway the next morning before you even need to take it to work. That’s a level of convenience and customer design that didn’t take rocket science, and it really didn’t take a lot of comprehensive or complicated technology. It was just about changing your frame of reference to think like the customer rather than to think like a traditional dealer.

Results of Focusing on Customer Convenience

Paul: Right. What were their results so far?

Scott: There have been incredible results. The first six months saw a 36% lift in not only the volume but in the amount of each repair order which dropped directly to the bottom line, because there were very few overhead expenses. They had to put on an additional shift of mechanics, but that was minor.

But there was an added side benefit that no one saw coming. As they were open in the middle of the night and as Uber and Lyft drivers were finishing their shifts and driving by, guess what. These guys need an oil change just about every week, and they just found somebody that’s open their hours. And they’ve become the new best friends of this dealership. And when these guys put 10,000 miles on their cars each week, they’re going to need new cars or used cars in short order. So, guess where they’re going to go to start doing that?

So, not only have you created a sense of loyalty and convenience from your existing customer base, but you’re actually reaching new customers that would have never thought about walking in your doors before.

The Obvious is Not Always So Obvious

Paul: You know, it’s funny. When innovators talk about an innovation, before they say it, it’s not obvious. The minute they say it, it’s completely obvious.

Scott: Right.

Paul: And, you have to arbitrate that because the minute you say it, “Well, that’s obvious, Scott.” Well, it wasn’t before you said it.

Scott: Yeah, if it was so obvious, why didn’t you figure it out? Right?

Paul: Exactly.

Scott: Yeah.

Paul: And that’s a sign of a good innovation. It’s like that’s the night and day difference.

Scott: Well, you know, it’s interesting because, I’ve worked with a number of executives who will dismissively say, “Well, I need a solution for such and such, and I’ll know it when I see it.” Well, no you won’t because if you did, you would have already… You know, you would have mortgaged your house to get opening day shares of Netflix or of Amazon. It’s that kind of thing.

Paul: That’s a great point. I mean, I’ve understood that, but that’s a great point. “I’ll know it when I see it.”

“Well, why didn’t you buy Apple?”

Scott: Yeah, exactly.

Paul: Yeah. That’s a really good point.


As you’re aware we’ve been talking with Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies. There’s gonna be a whole bunch of show notes based on what we’ve talked about and we’ll have his contact information there as well.

So, Scott, thank you very much for coming on the show. We appreciate it.

Scott: It’s my great pleasure Paul, thank you.

More Episodes:

This is Part 1 of 3 our interview with Scott Monty. Stay tuned for Parts 2 & 3 coming soon!

Show Notes:

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