Five Questions For Mark Goodman, CEO Twist Image

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Mark Goodman is the CEO of Twist Image. Twist Image is an award-winning digital marketing agency that connects today’s channels to tomorrow’s world by applying technology at every marketing stage and all consumer touch points. Mark was the Founder and President of FCB Direct which he helped build into one of Canada’s largest Direct Marketing agencies. He is a Board Member of the Canadian Marketing Association and is a recipient of the prestigious “Top 40 Under 40” Award from the Globe & Mail Report on Business Magazine.

One Degree: FCB to Twist Image is a big leap. What do you expect the major difference to be from your traditional agency experience and what you’ll find at Twist Image?

Not as big of a leap as one might think. At the foundation, marketing strategy development practices are similar between direct and digital. We create communications programs that revolve around creativity, targeting, offer structure, testing and measuring every step of the way. Of course, there is such a strong history of knowledge in the database marketing world to draw from, whereas in digital, the road is still being paved. So we need to balance the two strategies; in direct, we can almost guarantee a certain result, in digital, it takes a few more iterations to find the sweet spot.

The big difference is in the philosophy of the Agency and the team. Marketing in the interactive space is evolving so quickly. Twist Image has been successful by knowing where the space, and consumers, are heading. It is pretty much a full time job for us to stay at this leading edge to ensure our clients continue to win in marketing. Oh yes, one more thing. Speed of business is much faster online. We start and finish projects in hours, not weeks.

One Degree: You’ve got a solid direct marketing background. How do you think Direct Marketers have done when it comes to leveraging their experience when moving to the Internet?

I think direct marketers are a natural for online marketing. Both share a science for their disciplines, and both understand the importance of measuring results from prospecting right through to the final sale and continuing on to evaluate lifetime value of customers. Another core strength of direct marketing is in the rigour of testing. That has translated seamlessly to the online world. One other aspect comes to mind as well. Direct has always made interactivity with the communication a significant part of the creative because it generates more engagement with the offer and a better response. I have seen some great examples of online marketers using this practice with great success.

One Degree: Same question in reverse. What do Internet marketers typically miss that direct marketers have known for ages?

Direct marketers know two very important facts. Relevant data supports better targeting and more relevant and personalized communications. And secondly, personalization is a key ingredient in lifting response to your offer. Collecting and running the proper hygiene on your customer data does not come naturally to marketers who did not grow up with a database marketing strategy and infrastructure. As a result, online marketing efforts are not optimized and these advertisers are not building a history with which they can draw from to lower prospecting costs, increase ROI and model their experiences for continuously better results.

One Degree: Much of the stuff that gets Mitch Joel (Twist Image co- founder and One Degree Contributor) wound up these days is social media stuff that is VERY hard to put an ROI against. I’m wondering, as a direct marketer, what’s your feeling about Second Life, podcasts, blogs, and all this “engagement, experience, conversation” stuff vs. ROI and measurability of stuff like search ads, email, and banner campaigns?

Mitch, for sure, is one of Canada’s leading thinkers in the digital space and on the subject of social media. We spend a great deal of time strategizing about the social media side of the web and how we can optimally integrate these tactics into our clients’ total online efforts. As part of our agency’s strategic product, we have instituted processes to measure, at a macro level, the brand buzz in the social media. We are still striving to crack the code to measure this important aspect of the web in a more granular fashion. It is critical to stay abreast of the conversations that are being held about our clients’ and their competition so that we may devise programs to leverage these conversations, or respond if required.

One Degree: Can you tell us more about the possibility of opening an office in Toronto and how the Montreal and Toronto offices will divide work and interact?

Ken, more than a possibility – it is in our sights. As our agency has grown so dramatically in Montreal this year, and with the growing number of Toronto-based clients using and inquiring about our services, it really makes sense to have a permanent presence there as well. At FCB Direct, we started in Montreal and built a two office structure early on in our history. Clients appreciated having local servicing and it fuelled our growth in that market. We will start the office with strategy, project management and design services, and rely on the strong technology, programming, integration and usability teams in the Montreal office. I think Mitch and I will be on Rapidair quite a bit in 2007, and we really are looking forward to spending even more time in Toronto.

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