Dwain Jeworski has been involved in marketing for a range of world-class companies across the globe. Whist Dwain is currently president of DB Marketing Services, he is placing ever greater focus on teaching his insights to others.
In this interview, Dwain discusses his wide-ranging experiences from working in marketing to traveling to China. He also shares his unique insights into the Chinese culture.
You have worked in a marketing management position for 25 years, so you must know a lot about creativity. How do you perceive creativity?
I love the creative side of the business, but you need to keep it in perspective. When you run a marketing campaign, the results typically break down this way:
40% can be attributed to being in front of the right people, in the right place.
40% of the results are determined by the offer.
20% of the results can be attributed to the creative.
So, creativity should not only focus on the visual, but also on reaching the right audience, as well as presenting the offer creatively. Saying “Save 50%” isn’t being creative.
Of the countries that you have visited, which is your favorite country to work? Which country do you least prefer to work?
I work with companies across the USA, as well as in Mexico, South America and China.
Brazil is a hot country for growth right now, and we are doing extremely well in the health areas there.
China is now facing the “lowest price” syndrome, as new factories open up there and India is starting to move in on manufacturing. The Chinese have relied on price alone as their main selling benefit. Now they have to learn other approaches, including quality, uniqueness, and branding.
The Middle East scares me…hopefully they find peace and stability someday. We are worlds apart.
You have worked in a lot of different places. Is there any specific project or company that you have worked for that you have especially enjoyed?
I have always admired and enjoyed working with the Fairmont Hotels.
I helped launch a world Spa brand with them, called Willow Stream. We followed a diverse group of women for 6 months, where they kept a diary. When the results came back, we found what women really want. Escape from the demands of daily life, human touch and quiet came out on top. We came up with “Find Your Energy” as the brand slogan using this information. The slogan took us on a path that really differentiated the marketing.
I also seem to get asked to set up an automated marketing system every other month. I love doing this, as the initial work leads to long-term success.
Can you tell me more about your experiences in China?
In China, I speak on marketing for a half day to a group of 150-300 CEOs of privately owned companies at an 8-day business school conference, hosted by the Doers Group.
Each school consists of a diverse group, and I get to spend time throughout the school’s 8 days meeting with those that want help with marketing. I get to hear the challenges they face and help them work through solutions. I have developed close relationships with the network of graduates as a result.
The group is unique, as we teach them to think laterally in business as well as how it is not all about the money. They leave the schools with a new outlook on all aspects of business, and most go on to huge growth.
How did you find adapting to the Chinese culture? Have you found working in China to be useful to your career?
The culture is easier to adapt than most think. If you approach it with a sense of giving, not taking, the people respond very well. Patience is the one thing we, from the West, usually neglect. This is a must when working within China. Trust cannot be gained without it.
China has broadened my perspective greatly on what is possible, as well as given me a new sense of scale. It’s unbelievable just how large the market is there.
In China, when you present new ideas, the first reaction is “In China we’ve always done it this way”. Once you get by this, they are very receptive to new approaches.
What did you learn from working in China? What useful knowledge did you acquire? Do you have any specific examples?
I do not speak Mandarin, so most of my conversations are through an interpreter. This communication process allows you to think about what you are saying and also allows you to think about what someone has just said to you. This encourages listening, something that is not always easy when meeting new people. This slowing down of a conversation actually deepens the understanding.
Another is that when people say something, they mean it. I was told that if I ever came to Hong Kong, to call a few hours before, and they would look after me while I was there. On my last visit, I chose not to, as culturally we do not like to ask for favors. The person found out I was there, came to my hotel, and called me. The first thing that came out of her mouth was “why did you not call?” I explained, and she told me that she knew I was coming, and wanted to ask me something important about an investment, then made me promise I would call the next time.
Due to the nature of your career you have done a lot of travelling. Is travelling a hobby for you, or is it just part of your job?
It is a part of my job that I have turned into a hobby. I enjoy the travel, and seeing new places. I get to choose when and where I travel, so it is never a chore.
Which country would you like to visit?
I have not spent any time in Europe, and Eastern Europe has always interested me. My family’s origin is in the Poland/Romania area. My father is the youngest of 19. Very few in our family have been over there, and I am looking forward to this trip.
Which national food do you prefer the taste of?
There really isn’t any food that I do not enjoy and I am open to trying anything. Indian food has long been a favorite, and recently I have discovered authentic German food. I cook Polish dishes, and our family recipes are in my head.
You have done a lot of travelling, so you must have a lot experiences. Can you tell me a funny story from your travels?
I have learned that it is always useful to know the two important words when travelling to a foreign country, ‘hello’ and ‘thank you”. If you can say those two words poorly enough, everyone will talk to you in English, without asking.
Communicating is always amusing. In China, I visited a large shopping center that gets very few Americans. As I walked through the aisle, store clerks kept grabbing my arm, and I said “hey, just looking”. After the fifth or sixth time, I realized that we instinctively say “just looking” to get rid of sales people in shops. They picked up on it as a greeting and used it to pre-empt us.
Can you tell me more about yourself? What are your most important short-term goals?
In the short term, I enjoy helping people with the transition of their businesses to the online world in marketing. There is no shortage of work in this group.
All of the clients/partners that I work with have become close friends. I am at the stage of my career where my goal is to apply what I’ve learned to help others. When you like the people you work with, the money takes care of itself.
What are your plans for the future?
Teaching has become a passion, especially in places where there is a strong desire to act on what I can share. Marketing is a universal language and I plan to help emerging markets to use it to expand their reach.
I plan on spending more time abroad. With my youngest son nearing graduation, I will be splitting my time between Florida and Canada, as well as continuing to take on consulting projects around the world. Retirement to me means a shift away from the “doing” to consulting, and I am fortunate enough to have the contacts to be able to do this in many countries.