From ‘points for purchase’ to ‘points for purpose’

Interview with Adam Posner by Carolyn Tate

The inaugural ‘Is there a TED talk in you?’ course was held in late 2014 in Melbourne with 18 participants. The course culminated in a graduation night where each of the participants gave their five-minute talk to an audience of 120 people. This interview with Adam Posner shows just how powerful the experience was for him and how he is using his talk to further his cause and grow his business in 2015. Our February 2015 program is now underway. You can book tickets to the Speaker Graduation Night here.

Adam Posner is the director of Directivity a company dedicated to helping companies make price irrelevant by reducing their reliance on discounting and improving their client relationships and loyalty. In this interview he shares his insights into what we can client loyalty really means and his experiences in being involved in the Is there a TED talk in you? program. (Check out Adam’s talk here)

Carolyn: What is your business all about?
Adam: Many of todays businesses are being driven by price as their products and services have become commoditized and undifferentiated. My ambitious purpose and daily obsession is to reverse that problem for companies and to help them grow profitably through marketing and loyalty strategies that make price irrelevant. I was given a brief by Bluescope some time ago to help them generate more leads. They were being treated as a dispensable supplier and being driven on price. We spent a lot of time with their sales team strategising around what they were really selling other than just steel. We realised that they were selling ‘knowledge’ not just steel, so we developed a whole business strategy around ‘steel efficiency’ that ultimately generated a 25x return on marketing investment. That’s why I do what I do! Adam has recently written his third book based on that case study –  “Making Price Irrelevant – becoming ultra successful by being extra valuable”

Carolyn: What led you to this point? What is your story?
Adam: 21 years ago I was knocking on doors selling a loyalty program called ‘scratch ‘n save’. It was a card with advertising on either side and it had 20 discounts hidden behind scratch panels. It was all about driving customers to retailers through offering discounts for loyalty purchasing. That’s when I started my interest in loyalty marketing and I came to the blinding realisation that customer retention is your greatest acquisition strategy.

Carolyn: What was your ‘Is there a TED talk in you?’ about?
Adam: How to build customer loyalty one surprise at a time. It came off the back of some extensive research I’d done that showed that people prefer the unexpected and that we need to give them ‘surprise and delight’ moments for their loyalty instead of just points. A great example of this is when you go to your local deli and they fill your bag then they unexpectedly pop in in a free dip or a block of cheese. We need to move people from ‘points for purchase’ to ‘points for purpose’.

Carolyn: Why did you do the Is there a TED talk in you? course?
Adam: I’ve always had an admiration for TED as a brand and for the people that can tell such powerful stories in 18 minutes or less. When I got the email from Slow School and saw the program and outcomes and the quality of the facilitators, I didn’t need to be convinced. It was a no-brainer and a simple yes!

Carolyn: So what were the challenges with doing the talk?
Adam: My topic was a challenge. Trying to find the key messages that could passionately and authentically talk about was tough. I didn’t think my topic was something people would be interested in compared to the talks of my peers. There were a number of talks about overcoming serious hardships and mine was more commercial. Refining the talk down to five minutes and making every word count was a real challenge. I did 11 total rewrites. At week two I was honestly ready to give up, but I pushed through by reaching out to my practice buddy.

Carolyn: What was the most rewarding and enjoyable part of it all?
Adam: I was the first speaker so that was great. I knew my talk really well, so I was able to go with the flow and not worry about every word I was saying. I was really feeling the energy; breathing, stopping and pausing. It was intense but really energising. I practiced every single morning with the dog. I got quite obsessed with it. It wasn’t just a side project for me. It took a lot of energy and I got intensely involved. The personal and professional growth was amazing. I also loved the ‘love notes’ we received on graduation night. They really meant a lot to everyone.

Carolyn: What skills did you learn from it?
Adam: I learnt about how to get clarity of message. I learnt how to present with presence and emotion and use breath throughout my talk. I gained a huge amount of self-belief. I learnt how to stay true to myself and not worry what others are doing or thinking. I became confident with being on video and learnt how powerful it can be for communication.

Carolyn: What will you do with the talk now that it’s public and online?
Adam: I am sending it with personal emails to clients and prospects. I’m putting it on my website and including it in proposals to new clients. I’ve been posting it on social media. It’s given me a reason to communicate with people particularly past clients or people I’d sent proposals to over the past year. It’s also opened up speaking opportunities.

Carolyn: What advice would you give to participants in upcoming programs?
Adam: Don’t compare yourself to others. Find the self-belief that you can do it. Put in the effort and you’ll reap the rewards. You have great facilitators so trust them and the other people in the program. Everyone wants to help each other and there is a great buddy system. In the end no one can do it but you though.

The next Is there a TED talk in you? will be held in April. To express your interest email In the meantime register for our next Speaker Graduation Night to see just what it’s all about. More details here.