101 Top Industry Experts (UNCUT)
Cambridge Who’s Who: On What topic’s do you consider yourself to be an expert?
DP: Anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t consider myself to be an expert on any topic, I am in a constant state of learning but in respect of this tremendous honor I guess my dedication to learning, career experience, and track record, leads others to consider me an expert in Consumer Behaviors, Digital media Marketing, Marketing Strategies and Planning, most facets of Business and Business Management.
What Characteristics help separate you from your competitors?
DP: I am one of those people who truly believe absolutely anything is possible. For me the question is never: Can it be done? The question is simply: How can it be done?
One of the tests required during my MBA studies was an EQ Test or Emotional Intelligence test. The test indicated above average emotional intelligence, high scores in self-awareness, and an extremely high stress tolerance level.
I make a conscious effort to not to be thought of as the “Know it All” type, I prefer to be humble and grateful. I am an introvert by nature, I wouldn’t say I lack confidence, but I am sometimes quiet and reserved. I think that persona is often misjudged because it lacks that boisterous bravado that is so prevalent in my business. What can I say? I grew up on old Hollywood, watching guys like Jimmy Stuart, John Wayne, Fonda, Crosby, Sinatra, Martin, every movie I watched had a moral lesson, I had role models like my Dad a 101st Airborne Ranger. I am a doer not a talker, I believe in ideals like loyalty, integrity, and honor. I don’t get overly emotional but inside there is this driving force to give my all at everything I do, to go above and beyond, because the only option is to be considered the best at everything I do.
If I had to describe myself, I would say I am a complete contradiction.
What motivates you?
DP: Pride in a Job Well Done! Every since I can remember I have dreamed of “Making a Difference” of achieving more than my parents did. To make them as proud of me as I am of them. Not necessarily from a business perspective, success in business is actually the means to the end for me. I see so many great people making a positive impact on the World, people like; Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Paul Newman, Bono, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, the list goes on and on. I always say “Go Big or Go Home” so when I say “Make a Difference “ I mean on a scale they write about in history books.
What motivates me? The phrase “it can’t be done”
What Lessons have you learned as a professional in your field for the past 15 years?
DP: I have learned that you never have all the answers. Sure you can draw upon past experience and learning, but you always have to keep in mind that no point in time is exactly like another point of time in history. Think about the speed of change, the TV was almost as big as a freezer just 75 years ago, now we are un-tethered from wires and watching TV on phones less that a quarter inch thick. Over the past fifteen years we have seen amazing changes, entire industries dismantled, by (retail, music, print) others industries have had to completely reinvent themselves. For that matter oppressive brutal regimes have even been toppled, by the power of something as simple as the free flow of information, and mass connectivity of the Internet to one another through Social Media Portals like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Did Google invent the sharing of information? No of course not, people have done that since cave men drew pictures on walls, but there has never been a point in time when one ideal or piece of information could so quickly be shared with the masses, but its not just mass communication its unfiltered mass communication from a trusted source, your friends and family. Your immediate circle.
I have learned over the years that technology is not a replacement for human capital.
In the New Marketing Economy, every team member from the Groundskeeper to the Owner is critical to the overall consumer “experience”. You can tear down all the Silos you want but in the end it always has been, and always will be the human connection who is most important to the equation.
How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?
DP: Well first of all, one thing is truer today than ever before “Your Brand is not what you say it is it’s what your customer says it is” Businesses can’t afford to be mediocre. They have to be in it to win it; today’s customer is the most valuable marketing tool any business has.
The new market economy demands a new level of transparency. Businesses must understand that consumers have the ability to research and assimilate volumes of information in a matter of minutes. Mobile devices and smart phones allow consumers to do comparative geographical location based product and service analysis in real time. The Internet provides consumers with infinite choices, and consumers are leveraging that information to make comparison valuations on quality and experience.
We are witnessing The Perfect Storm a convergence of Maslow’s Law of Diminishing Returns as it relates to the human condition (Hierarchy of Needs), and Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerated Returns, which is an expansion upon Moore’s Law regarding the doubling of technology every 12 months, in which Kurzweil describes an exponential growth of technological progress. This technological progress is creating affordable mobile connectivity for the masses, it is no longer one consumer influencing ten, its now one consumers immediate circle of influence being one hundred and fifty.
As consumers are transitioning to self-actualization, the highest level in Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” consumer satisfaction, or “happiness” as Maslow references; It is no longer driven by things, “satisfaction / happiness ” is now driven by “the experience”. How can this be relevant to the Dealer? Let me break it down like this. For the last ten years or more consumers desire to receive best deal, internet connectivity, information’s demand to be free, have all placed downward pressure on profit margins. The good news for businesses willing to strive for exceptionalism is if things no longer motivate consumers, if satisfaction/happiness is driven by “the experience”, then price is no longer the motivating factor in the buying equation. If price is not the centerpiece of the purchase decision, then just as quality of product and experience improves for the consumer, quality of sale (profitability) and consumer loyalty for Brand also can improve.
The window of hope is small however, businesses that cannot shift the organizational mindset to; “profitability being a bi-product of the consumer experience in other words from selling products and service for profit to selling an exceptional experience”, will continue to be squeezed out of the supply chain. Why because the Internet isolates inefficiencies. The internet makes it possible for manufacturers to connect with the consumer and effectively service their needs, consumers want to deal direct with manufacturers they perceive middlemen as additional expense. Product manufacturers, Service Providers, and marketers who understand that true Brand Dominance is achieved through consistent representation of “the brand experience”, will flourish.
What short term and long term career goals are you pursuing?
We plan to become even more involved in cause marketing initiatives.
I absolutely love how unsung heroes like Doctors without Borders, and companies like; Tom’s Shoes are impacting people’s lives. For that matter some of the best reality TV I have seen are the shows like Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice Charity Episodes, or Ty Penninington’s Extreme Makeover, Come on have you ever watched an episode without tearing up? I believe most consumers are just like me, they don’t want anyone telling them what to think or feel, or when to be charitable, but they do want to be involved, they want to feel good about the companies they are supporting, they expect those organizations to do good and act with a sense of civic responsibility.
There are so many great causes that need help, Digital and Social Media Channels are the perfect platform to share the human condition, and to celebrate the capacity of the human spirit. I believe we can help facilitate relationships between communities, businesses, and charitable organizations. Together I know we can “Be the Difference” that makes the world a better place.
Over the next 6 months we are also planning to bring our Digital Media operations to the international stage, expanding operations in foreign markets like Germany and Canada.
How do you plan to achieve these goals?
In terms of our work with charity organizations, we will continue to offer a helping hand as opportunities arise.
As for our expansion, we already have a few clients in those markets and as their success is building we plan to capitalize on their momentum to gain additional market share. I was fortunate to make some great lifelong international friends throughout the course of my MBA studies. After seeing our successes here in the states they have become unwavering supporters and partners, brothers really, and we are excited to have the opportunity to adapt our winning strategies to those markets.
What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in the pursuit of your goals?
Well I guess fear of failure is always in the back of my mind but I don’t look at as a obstacle for me its more of a motivator something that drives me to attack the fear and overcompensate by trying harder.
When you think about it my entire career in Digital Media has been about overcoming obstacles, when I started in e-commerce there couldn’t have been a handful of people that understood how to harness the power of the Internet. For many companies the net was a destructive force against profit margin. Most often as a contrarian, its been my mission to convince business that the Internet can be a facilitator for explosive growth. Those profit margins do not have to be sacrificed. I can tell you it’s never easy to go against conventional wisdom, and industry norms.
The most difficult obstacle is convincing Business that these are not passing trends this is the new market economy, and that whether they choose to participate or not will not keep it from happening
Break down the things we have discussed in this forum, and you will find I’m not really talking about any extraordinary earth shattering new ideas, brand management, reviews and recommendations, superior customer service, corporate culture, civic responsibility, it may sound revolutionary but its not! Those concepts have been tried and true since the beginning of time. Sprinkle a little discussion about technology, Internet, and social media into that conversation and all of a sudden its practically voodoo. Somehow over the last 50 years or so, many businesses forgot the intangible power of a reputable code of conduct, and quality products and services. Choosing instead to buy market share, with media blitzes and super sales. I think Martin Lindstrom says it best in his book Buy-o-logy. “The human brain evolved we learned to tune out those interruption based marketing messages”.
The Internet does not change the core principles of a well run organization it just illuminates the inefficiencies then squeezes them out of the process.
It empowers the consumer with choice and information. It instantaneously provides the necessary inputs to make educated well-informed decisions.
Sure in one-way David Andrew &Co. is all about facilitating change, but in another that’s not the case at all, its actually more about facilitating a harmonious relationship between innovative technological trends, adaptive consumer behaviors, and sound business fundamentals.
Did you ever consider pursuing a different career path or another profession? If yes, how did you end up working in your current field?
As a Voice Performance Major in college, my first passion was music, but two very powerful forces, capitalism and self-interest; quickly overpowered those dreams and the reality of the struggling artist became all too real.
What are some questions that an individual interested in your services can ask to ensure a more productive relationship?
I don’t think it’s a matter of which questions as much as it is about complete transparency and trust. Today marketing is three dimensional, its not just about a fancy ad campaign, or a new website, it starts with the culture of the organization, if the culture is not in sync with the direction the client has to be prepared to buy-in to the necessary change and be the champion for that change, gathering other key people along the way to help facilitate. That’s not always an easy thing to identify, especially if the client was instrumental in building the organization. There is a tremendous amount of trust that goes into allowing an outsider to make structural and strategic recommendations, there is even more trust involved in implementing change that sometimes is not fully understood beyond conceptualization.
The client has to feel comfortable enough to share the things that are really right with the business or organization, “that secret sauce” but they also have to be open and honest enough to recognize, share, confront, and challenge those things that might be really wrong. It’s very much like allowing someone to peek in your closet then straighten it out as they see fit. That’s a difficult thing to do. If a client can have an open dialogue and do their best to communicate their vision, then champion change initiatives, recommendations, and marketing strategies, there will be a successful outcome.
We work from referral, so our clients need to be successful beyond there expectations so there will be no hesitation in referring our services, or we can’t stay in business. Bottom line we don’t win unless our clients win.
What is your favorite work-related task to do and why?
I love every aspect of what I do, but it’s really the creative process that I am most passionate about. I live for taking something good and making it great! For coming up with that “out of the box” approach that leads to the discovery of “Blue Oceans”.
Who have been your mentors or people who have greatly influenced you?
I have been so fortunate in my life to have some tremendous life coaches; some never realized the impact they had on my life. I don’t think I will ever be able to answer questions like these without mentioning my parents. My mother convinced me that there was absolutely nothing in this world I could not achieve if I set my mind to it. To this day I have no idea if that affirmation came from what she truly thought or what she felt with her heart. Either way she convinced me, and I miss hearing her tell me. My Father for giving me really big shoes to fill, it drives me everyday. My wife who helped me find balance in life. My daughter who instantly transformed my being the day she was born. Dr. Ken Hawkins who made music a part of my life, and taught me the value of hard work. Growing up Family friends Jim Borden and Bruce Harrington who were the best neighbors any family could ever ask for, they treated me with respect reserved for men, found work for me to do that kept me too busy to get into trouble and left me with a little spending money in my pocket. A man from the great state of Texas, named Michael Davenport who could very well be one of the greatest business mentors ever. There has never been a better coach and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with him. He taught me the power of networking, to view business like a game of chess, and the importance of strategic planning.
Influences from the corporate world include, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs and Allen Mulally.
Influences on the world stage include, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai whose unparalleled vision has created an oasis beyond compare.
I am a big reader so there are many influencers such as:
- Milton Friedman author of Capitalism and Freedom
- Chris Anderson “Free The Radical Future of Price”
- Martin Lindstrom “Buy-o-logy”
- Mitch Joel “Six Pixels of Separation”
- Malcolm Gladwell “Tipping Point”
- Chris Brogan “Trust Agents”
- Stephen S Hall “Wisdom From Philosophy to Neuroscience”
- John P. Kotter “The Heart of Change”
- The New Rules of Retail “ Robin Lewis & Michael Dart”
- Erik Qualman “Socialnomics”