2019.5.27 Interview

An Interview with author Hamaguchi!

During our Bigbeat LIVE event held in 2018, 12 of Japan’s top marketers came to give lectures. Those 12 lectures have been brought together and published into one book "Bigbeat LIVE 2018 ~ The challenges of BtoB marketers ~"

For the book we interviewed the key people involved in Bigbeat LIVE 2018. This article is an interview with the author and our company CEO, Yutaka Hamaguchi, about the book and history of the event. 

Unfortunately, the book is only available in Japanese at the current moment. 

We want to realize the ideal “marketing.”

Interviewer(Q): Before we start talking about the book, could you tell me about the process of hosting Bigbeat LIVE.  

Hamaguchi (H): We are an advertising agency that helps BtoB companies with their marketing activities. But I think marketing is mainly doing things to be “chosen.” But, what is that kind of marketing? Through this question we started Bigbeat LIVE to help with the realization of our ideal marketing.

In the advertising business, you have a project that has been taken to several competitors and you bid for it. Once the project ends the process begins again and you have to bid for the next project again. While I don’t think this process is bad, I want to change the situation. 

Q: What do you mean by change the situation?

H: I understand that for the client there are times they need that competition to get good results. Also, on the agency side, bidding competitions are important for finding new clients to form a relationship with. So, from the viewpoint of both sides, getting rid of those competitions would not be a good thing. 

But I don’t want us just to be working everyday to win those bids, I want us to focus our efforts on becoming a company that is chosen. This is my vision. 
Becoming a company that is chosen requires marketing of course. It’s better if we can get our clients to say, “I want to work with Bigbeat!”

For example, if there are three things that are similar, but one is 100 yen, one is 200 yen, and one is 300 yen, you still choose the 300 yen item even though it is the most expensive. Starbucks exists in this state of being more expensive but still chosen. 

So, what should we do to become chosen? 

We have to convey our way of thinking. That way of thinking is “marketing is the way to be chosen.” Its almost like a Zen Buddhist dialogue. (Laughs) 

Q: Is Bigbeat LIVE the place to convey your way of thinking? 

H: It is. Using the event, the speakers and myself can use the time to convey our way of thinking and create a mutual understanding with the audience.  
And we can realize our goal of expressing how to market.

There is also the goal of inner marketing.

In order to change Bigbeat and move us into the next stage, its necessary for our employees to hear from top class marketers so they can understand the gap between them and start working to closer that gap. 
It’s a little scary, but I want to try it. (Laughs) 

Q: So, using Bigbeat LIVE you want your employees to learn from their superiors and colleagues’ opinions and values? The audience can express their way of thinking, but it also becomes a chance for the speakers to explain their way of thinking. 

H: Yes, we can also make the space to do that in as well. 

In order to become chosen you must challenge yourself in new fields.

H: In the 2nd and 4th quarter of the fiscal year, we have all employee meeting at Bigbeat. In September 2016, the theme of my presentation was “go outside and play”. From now, go out of the office (and in fields you have not yet challenged before). 
Normally at an advertising agency you are doing a lot of conference events as projects for clients, but I wanted to try to do our own. I want to try to start doing the things we need to do in order to be chosen! 

And I wanted to take our owned media, "Nishitai!" and give it a renewal. I wanted to take it and make the focus of the media on us. On our marketing activities. 

This is actually pretty courageous for an advertising agency. Advertising agencies don’t really do these kinds of things. This is because one way of thinking is we have to work in the background unnoticed and just do what the client says.

But that’s not who we are. To put it in more extreme words, I want my employees to go out and play outside. I want the current members of my company to get good work, produce profits, become happy, and build a good future. Bigbeat LIVE is one of the ways I’m at trying to realize that vision.

The book is a communication tool to talk to the customer with.

Q: Why did you want to turn Bigbeat LIVE into a book?

H: I wasn’t thinking about turning it into a book at first.
But then we had the event in August, and in the heat of summer 500 people gathered with this sense of passion and hope. It would have been a waste to end all of that energy and emotion in one day. I wanted to create some kind of after event that would leave an afterglow from Bigbeat LIVE.

And not just Bigbeat LIVE, I thought about how we could create a way of communicating throughout the year. We thought about doing private events where we interview or consult with previous speakers from past Bigbeat LIVE events and report about them on our online media outlet, "Nishitai!" Or I thought about creating a social media community and convey interesting things about the event with the help of the speakers. In other words, show things before the event. 

Other than that we started started the Nama・Okyaku events last year. Nama・Okyaku are small 10-20 people seminars where we gather people who have been past speakers for us or who we are close to speak. 

But we had this great content for Bigbeat LIVE and I wanted to convey that content to more than just the people who read our online media or come to our events. I wanted more people to see it and have a deeper understanding of that content. The best way to do that was in analog book form. 

While it is most likely the same abroad, books still have a high status as a form of media in Japan. And while we can say the same things in with blogs, by making one book, I think that we can convey a deeper meaning and the readers will have a better understanding to the contents. 

We are also telling a story about the event. Before and after the event we get the word out there that ‘we are doing Bigbeat LIVE.’ 3~4 months before we release information through digital platforms (our owned media and on social media). Then we hold Bigbeat LIVE in August. Afterword we hold our small private events (Nama・Okyaku) . 6 months after Bigbeat LIVE we release a book about it and then start the process over again for the next Bigbeat LIVE. 

Our tagline is “Business that tells a story.” 
Bigbeat LIVE, our private events, and the publishing of our book are one story we are trying to convey. We are also trying to include the message “please choose Bigbeat” in that story. 

Q: Could you tell your favorite part of the book? 

H: There are a lot of specialized books like Kotler’s Marketing 4.0  or books titled things like ‘how to do digital marketing.’

Bigbeat LIVE 2018 ~ The challenges of BtoB marketers ~ is not just a book that talks about the the challenges BtoB are facing and what they are doing to face them. There are also stories of failures.
The book talks about a variety of companies from large corporations to companies made up of only 15 people. 12 marketers gathered to talk about their intentions and the struggles they are facing. Although I wrote the book, I really believe that it is unique. I want people to use the book to feel the passion from the speakers. 

Q: Could you please give a message to the readings for your last comments? 

H: I think the reason everyone is working is to make themselves be happy tomorrow and then next year. But in Japan, I don’t think you can really feel that. Now it feels more like, I’m working hard to make my future better. 

What can we do to build a happy environment?
I believe the answer to that question is ‘marketing.’

I want Bigbeat to use its books and its activities to become a marketing power for everyone to use. And if we are able to build good partnerships with a lot of companies, I would be happy. 
Q: Thank you for your time today.