Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Most Important Eyeballs Are Your Own.

Forget focus groups, quantitative research and ethnography, the future of marketing lies with noise-cancelling headphones. Yesterday, I donned a pair as part of this art installation at St Pancras station and I saw the light.

The idea of the piece was to transpose the characters from the headphones onto the people moving through the station, its retail units and its food outlets. For a while it worked very well, but then I realised I was cancelling out the soundtrack and focusing solely on the silent interaction of the people around me.

Without the overhearings and the hubbub, it was a different sort of noticing - something akin to that experience of being in a country where you don't speak the language, but without the helplessness.

As long as you remember to leave your preconceptions at the door, you can learn a lot from the mass of non-verbal communication that's highlighted by the silence. It's not the future of marketing research, but it is revelatory.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Isn't Just A Typo, This Is An M&S Typo.

[Click on image to enlarge.]

I'm pretty sure this isn't what M&S chief executive Marc Bolland meant when he criticised the poor signage in his stores. But it was amusing to see this on the day the media is filled with his £600 million revamp.

While the usual bewilderment regarding the number of senior executives who must have signed off on the artwork applies, it's also chastening to note that store staff said the wall displays had been in place for about three months.

Do customers not notice such things even when they're staring them in the face while standing at the check-out tills? Or do they see it and not care? Either way, M&S can never again reject a potential employee on the basis of a typo in their resume.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Lowest Common Denominator Marketing.

Announcing that you're offering customers a great product for a low price is hardly revolutionary. But I thought the French Connection lesson had long since been learned.

Notwithstanding the moral responsibility that marketers share with all public communicators, the issue here is that of consistency. Short-term controversy generates noise and that's fine, but it is just short-term and it mustn't be allowed to distract from the overall tone of voice.

Standing out is only half the equation. You need to ensure you stand out for the right reasons.