Marketing Spikes Asia McDonald's

Marketers need to be comfortable with ambiguity, says McDonald’s Richard Murphy


By Charlotte McEleny | Asia Editor

September 21, 2016 | 3 min read

Mcdonald’s CVP of digital, growth and foundational markets Richard Murphy called on marketers to become more comfortable with the uncertainties of technology, citing the adage “it’s no longer the big that eat the small, it is the fast that eat the slow.".

OMD Spikes

OMD and McDonald's at Spikes

Murphy was speaking alongside Stephen Li, chief executive at OMD APAC, about the anatomy of fear in the context of modern, risky marketing strategies at Spikes Asia today. The discussion focused on the ways in which brands like McDonald’s can start to become more comfortable with unknowns.

Murphy, said: “We know the outcomes but don’t know how to get there all the time. This makes me feel nervous and fearful because I don't have the data points to make the decisions. It is about being comfortable with ambiguity, the idea of being able to fail fast and go again. As you do that you have to focus on key points like sales targets, brand engagement targets and ROI because it helps us focus on how we get there.”

He said that an important difference in being brave and being reckless came down to planning for the failures.

“A lot of it comes down to the best judgment we can make with data and asking ‘what are the consequences?’ and having backup plans. You go from fearless into reckless when you don’t do that, particularly when multi million pound budgets are at stake. We need to become comfortable with ambiguity and turn it round by asking ‘under what circumstances would that be ok?’ It’s about asking how make it right not ‘why should we not do this?’”

With a small number of vocal marketers giving similar rallying calls but the majority of marketers remaining risk-averse, Li closed on a remark that many in the industry would agree with: “If we could have more clients being that way, and not just when sitting on stage, then that would be better for all of us.”

Marketing Spikes Asia McDonald's

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