Hire, Tire, Fire
I attended an interesting presentation by Virgin Radio at the Internet World show in London yesterday. Amongst many interesting and feasible responses to the threats posed to mainstream radio by the digital world, there was inevitably much talk of personalisation. This included a media player within their new website (not yet live) which allowed the user to programme their own music from the radio play-list.
Fairly standard fare I guess you'll be thinking, but I was very taken by their delineation of the tunes into categories that you wanted on high rotation, those about which you were not so keen and those you wanted to ditch - aka Hire, Tire, Fire. A neat phrase that captures the essence of how one feels about, well about almost anything.
The marketer's goal is to stay in the Hire section by making the customer feel that their day isn't complete without interacting with you in some way and thus preventing them from interacting with the competition. Failure to constantly improve the attributes of the product and the quality of the accompanying service sees you slip into the Tire section where the competition can pounce and relegate you to the realm of the Fired (in every sense).
For me though, that's not harsh enough. You dare not risk a dalliance with the Tired, because these days if you're not remarkable, you're history. The true taxonomy should be Hire, Fire, Dire!