Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make Marketing Customer-Centric.

My apologies for the poor photograph, but it's very lack of detail actually serves to back up one of the points I'm going to make. It features one of a series of advertisements that have appeared in train carriages in recent months and illustrates some dangerous business thinking. It's technology-centric, marketing-focussed and customer-indifferent.

It's technology-centric because it's promoting some dubious technology-enabled utilities. In this case, "travel alerts"; in another, "personalised timetables" and; in all of them, services that are cheap add-ons derived from the train company's ability to manipulate data rather than from any genuine customer need or request.

It's marketing-focussed because it's promoting these services by intruding on the eyeballs of paying customers who might prefer the inside of their carriages to be more aesthetically pleasing.

And it's customer-indifferent because of both its technology-centrism and its marketing focus and also because of its remarkable use of a QR code. No, this is not yet another post about the industry's fixation with this questionable technology. Just look again at that photo and note the angle of the poster. Now consider how that relates to me the passenger - something that the marketers clearly hadn't done.

Are they really thinking I will stand up in the middle of a train carriage - that hive of self-consciousness and timidity - just so I can aim my phone at an ad? Unsurprisingly, I didn't - hence the poor photo, but even if I had chosen to draw attention to myself, what chance would I have of contorting my phone to the right alignment as the train moved along?

Veritably, a multi-layered example of marketing because you can rather than marketing because you should; of marketing to the client and the industry rather than marketing to the customer; and of marketing to the future rather than marketing to the here and now.


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