Capital One’s Marketing Director Dominic Grounsell Talks About Oystercatchers

Dominic GrounsellDominic Grounsell: I mean, we really wanted to get the Oystercatchers in for three reasons. I think the first one that was clear to me that we were very much running to stand still, with a smaller group of people in the marketing team trying to do it ever more amounts of difficult often technical types of marketing and direct response base, with burgeoning ambitions in brand and engagement marketing. It was clear to me that we didn’t have the right processes in place with our agencies to deliver the new volume of work, and I think I was hearing more from the agencies they were unclear around our expectations, around the roles and responsibilities and I think in a world where, as a marketing director, you can see so many improvements that you need to make, but you are probably too close to the problem to make significant changes or the right changes. It was clear to me that I needed an objective and sort of consultancy to come in and add their expertise to the problem.

Dominic Grounsell: What amazed me most around the process that we went through was Oystercatchers was just how simple it was. I’ve been through a number of different agency review processes over the years and it was by far the easiest one that I’ve ever done. It felt very much like speaking to the team at Oystercatchers, getting them engaged with the problem almost released me from the problem itself. And in addition to that, I think the solution that we came to was entirely bespoke and felt like something tailored to our organisation which is to some degree different from other marketing organisations; so we couldn’t take something off the shelf. And I think the final point that I would say – one of the most impressive things was the level of expertise and experience that the team had in the agency world, the industry. So often, agency review processes are academic exercises and this process didn’t feel that way. It felt like we were listening to people who understood who the players were, how they were motivated, they understood our business and in that respect, the solution that we got was much more appropriate for the problem that we were facing.

Dominic Grounsell: I think that the most unexpected thing beyond, I suppose, my already high expectations of what Oystercatchers were going to deliver was the quality of the report itself. The meeting I had, the initial meeting to go through the report, I was speechless to say the least around the depth of the insight that we were able to get from the process. And as I said, once you have done a number of these processes that are more academic or more numerically driven, to see an extremely thick document with so much richness in it that we could then go on an action was extremely pleasing to me and I was very, very happy that we had invested the money, and I felt that we had got more than just a set of scores. I’m lucky enough to know that my new boss, at More Th>n, has worked with Oystercatchers and has also contributed to this video and therefore I would hope that he and I can work together with the guys at Oystercatchers in the years to come, to continually improve the way that RSA and More Th>n continually works with other agency partners. I do believe there is value in independent objective advice in this space. Agencies and clients are so often entangled in the emotionality of the relationships they have, and having someone come in and be third-party and a pair of fresh eyes on the problem is incredibly valuable and can yield much better insights than if you try to go it alone.