Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meet The New World, Same As The Old World.

Just when I'm sure I have nothing new to say, I see that other people are saying nothing new and getting talked about.

The particular insight that caught my attention came from a Lufthansa social media executive who declared that businesses should "Make your product your ads and your customers your ad agency."

Product has always been the first P of marketing and always will be and word of mouth is the best advertising money can't buy. But to talk about outsourcing your marketing is a dereliction of duty, even if you say it at a social media conference. Outsourcing marketing is what got us into a mess in the first place.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Looking Through Your Customers' Eyes.

A local supermarket has a checkout aisle designated for customers who are using a basket rather than a trolley. It's a common feature designed to speed shoppers through rather than have them abandon their purchases when stuck behind a line of full trolleys in another aisle.

The problem is that its speedy processing of customers means that its queue is often the shortest in the store. Cue the tired, distracted shopper with a full trolley who quite naturally joins the shortest line, usually unnoticed by the harassed till operator until they've unloaded their trolley. Cue the frustration of shoppers with baskets whose exit is now delayed.

Why does this happen? It happens because the signage indicating the status of each aisle resides high above the shoppers' heads. It's visible from a distance but the designers, the user experience gurus and the store management (I've asked) have neglected to consider when their customers make their checkout choice.

Occasionally a shopper is exploiting the situation, but generally it's an honest mistake. They're looking at eye line to determine the most efficient way out of the store with their shopping. They're definitely not gazing upwards.

The managers have thanked me for my observation and said they'll retrain staff. In other words, they'll add further burdens on busy low-paid staff when the simple act of placing an eye-level sign at the checkout entrance would get their customers to self-regulate.

It's not enough to claim that you put yourself in your customers' shoes, you've got to put yourself behind their eyes as well.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Make Marking History?

Further evidence of marketing's identity crisis. Though the parallel with marking one's territory has some validity.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Much Do Customers Care?

I think Umair means to highlight the importance of corporate purpose in the mind of the consumer though he tweets a little ambiguously. If that's a correct interpretation, then he's positing a prevalent thesis. One that's certainly useful to think about, albeit one that equally can lead us astray if we focus on purpose at the expense of the basics.

Look around at what people do and look at your own behaviour. A "moral" element might be the deciding factor in a choice between equals. While I'd like it to be different, I'd currently contend that most of the people, most of the time don't care - for a variety of reasons that include but are not limited to personal finances, convenience and ignorance.

That said, never, never forget that some of the people some of the time still constitutes a very big market.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Memory Of The Future.

Memory of the future is the provocative phrase that I came across recently that refers to the brain's ability to use memory to picture and plan future events. I term it provocative because of its combination of memory a word that evokes looking back and future that evokes looking forward.

Being ignorant of its neuroscientific origin, I immediately conjured up the idea of memories of what we were told the future would bring - the ones that usually involved personalised-jetpacks and dehydrated food.

Inevitably memories of the future are usually unfulfilled, but the whole concept is so redolent of ambition, aspiration and lost opportunities that it seems to me to be a rich seam for marketing to mine. While it's uniquely individual inasmuch as it combines memory of what we expected the future to look like and what we hoped our own personal futures would become, it taps in perfectly to the whole idea of consumption being about creating that future.

I'm not sure yet where this lead, but if your product/service could promise that our memory of the future is, in fact, our future, that would be a compelling first step.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

50 Ways To Leave Your Customer.

The Jet Blue flight attendant who quit his job via the emergency shute and the fake Dryerase resignation video were the big things online yesterday.

Both earned admiration from many quarters, but how many of you thought of the lesson for your business? What was being admired was people who had supposedly fired their customers. Steven Slater had had enough of rude customers while "Jenny" was sick of her customer i.e. her boss.

If you choose someone to be your customer then they are nearly always right and your behaviour should reflect that, but you don't have to accept everybody who wants to be your customer. So, if you admired Steven Slater and/or Jenny then you should surely run your business the same way. You'd feel better about it and you'd have a better business because you'd care more.

Old Spice Addendum.

AdWeek reports that, “According to Nielsen data provided by Old Spice, overall sales for Old Spice body-wash products are up 11 percent in the last 12 months; up 27 percent in the last six months; up 55 percent in the last three months; and in the last month, with two new TV spots and the online response videos, up a whopping 107 percent."

If it's up 11% in 12 months, it could probably only be up 107% in a month if the sales had been negative in the interim so I think my original suspicions seem credible.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

App Infatuation.

Briitsh Gas have an iPhone app. They told me so in a press ad. It will show how my consumption has changed year on year, quarter by quarter.

That's interesting information, but I don't need an app for it. I can see it on my provider's bill already - at a time when I'm more likely to be thinking about the issue and where they already have my attention.

Just because you can have an app, it doesn't mean you need one or that your customers' experience will be enhanced by having one.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Customer Survey Dissatisfaction.

Modern life is replete with customer satisfaction surveys impinging on seemingly every digital, telephonic or physical interaction and CEOs citing how x% of their customers were "either satisfied or very satisfied" with the service they received. It's also replete with dissatisfied customers.

So before you undertake one of these exercises, perhaps you should ask what its purpose is. Are you seeking to elicit genuine information or are you box-ticking? Do you want to learn or to obfuscate?

What does satisfaction actually mean? We all have different satisfaction spectra determined by our previous experience, so it's pretty meaningless to survey it. Even if we were consistent in our appraisal, there's the timing issue. Our satisfaction is dependent upon our happiness relative to when we're surveyed because memories fade.

Crucially - the dissatisfied customer, the target you're really trying to find will either have forgotten it happened or more likely will no longer be a customer and their dissatifaction will not be captured.

The key to increasing customer satisfaction is to improve your product and service. It's not to bias a survey.