Session 3 – The F1 approach

GeekMeet is a regular roundtable of ecommerce minds from the consumer branded world, sharing learnings from their everyday work. Under Chatham House rules, the forum provides a vehicle for like-minded individuals to freely discuss trading conditions, issues, trends and innovation while benchmarking online marketing strategies, people and agencies. In this third session, the topic was consumer-centric marketing.

Could big, brash Formula One hold the key to unlocking your digital business? Absolutely, according to David Rawlings, guest speaker at Piper’s latest popular Piper GeekMeet session.

The conversion rate guru runs NuHi, the scientific growth agency, and his techniques have helped to propel the sales of some of the UK’s biggest brands. He explained how the motor racing industry and even NASA provide some interesting lessons and models for transactional sites of any shape or size.

Rawlings first told how race teams generated an astonishing 243 terabytes of data from their vehicles during the 2014 US Grand Prix, which was constantly analysed and tweaked by engineers in order to achieve the perfect run.

He then broke down the aerodynamics of an F1 car. How does it manage to travel so fast and with such extreme power without spinning wildly off track? He said it all boils down to a heuristic: Net Power = (Thrust – Drag) x Grip. Thrust is the force from the engine propelling the car forwards, drag is the air resistance pushing it back and grip is the friction from the tyres keeping it on the ground. The bigger the thrust, the faster the car will drive.

Seen through this prism, Rawlings applied the principle to consumer branded businesses. Here, to improve a brand’s value proposition, the heuristic is: Net Force = (Value Force – Cost Force) x Reception. Value is the appeal and exclusivity of a product, cost is the price a brand pays to bring it to market, while reception is the level to which customers truly understand and believe in it. If value far outweighs cost, a product is likely to fly.

However, just as even the most supercharged F1 car is entirely useless without grip, a business that fails to communicate to or win the trust of its customers is doomed to failure.

Rawlings went on to cite one corporate giant that has successfully grasped this concept and gone on to witness exponential growth. In stark contrast, its main rival has adopted the strategy of making wild and abstract claims to customers. As a result, it’s seen both sales and popularity plummet. ‘Clarity trumps persuasion every time,’ said Rawlings.

He moved on from aerodynamics to aeronautics, highlighting the value of the ‘wind tunnel’ approach. If it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for any innovative business, especially those targeting customers direct.

For consumer brands, he said one of the most effective ways to gauge and improve conversion rates is to split-test marketing messages and web pages – a subject that went on to provoke a lively round-table discussion.

The session was attended by founders and senior members from a diverse range of consumer brands, from fast growing SMEs to some of the country’s biggest household names. They shared their different perspectives, the challenges of creating a more persuasive online value proposition – and divulged their own tips to gain pole position in the race for sales.

For more information, please contact:
Leon Hughes, Associate Partner
Phone +44 (0)207 727 3842