September 28, 2007
Do we really need a new and more verbose definition of Marketing?
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) decided that its 30-year old definition of marketing was no longer good and that they needed to come up with a new one (via The Economic Times). The results are depressing.
Here's the old definition:
The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably
The new one:
The strategic business function that creates value by stimulating, facilitating and fulfilling customer demand. It does this by building brands, nurturing innovation, developing relationships, creating good customer service and communicating benefits. By operating customer-centrically, marketing brings positive return on investment, satisfies shareholders and stake-holders from business and the community, and contributes to positive behavioural change and a sustainable business future.
Yikes...the inmates are running the asylum at CIM!
How about something real simple, like Peter Drucker's view on marketing:
The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
September 27, 2007
So you think that message saturation is a new phenomenon?
In prepping for the interview with brand guru Tom Asacker tomorrow I ran across this fabulous quote in one of his thought pieces - this one his visual illumination on how to connect your brand to THEIR lives.
“Psychologists tell us that the mind is under a continual bombardment of ideas, all of which are trying to make an impression on it. The prospect, therefore, does not sit around with his mind a blank, calmly waiting for someone or something to capture his attention without a struggle. The salesman enters a field already well occupied and must fight for the undivided attention that is a successful sale.”
This was written in Modern Man in 1918!
That right 89 years ago...and who said that message overload is a new phenomenon?
Make sure to join us tomorrow - it should be fun.
Truth in Ad Sales
This is a hilarious video - what ad people really mean when they talk shop...
(for RSS readers, here is the link)
September 26, 2007
Do the dumbest marketers work for cell phone companies, or is it just T-Mobile?
10/03/07 Update: Somebody from T-Mobile got in touch with me and offered me a Blackberry Curve for less money than what new users buy it for. I took the offer. Thankfully someone at T-Mobile is watching out and taking action - but I still think they would benefit from making this a proactive program instead of a reactive one.
I am a T-Mobile user and yesterday I tried to upgrade to the Blackberry Curve. Even though I am long-time loyal T-Mobile customer, spending $180+/mo on their services, I would have to pay $400 for the new handset instead of the $250 that new customers have to pay. I was furious but the guy in the store could not do anything and recommended that I call customer service - which I did. Half an hour into that call I got the same response.
Obviously I am about to become an iPhone user until those guys screw up - no matter how much it will cost me to break my contract (earth to T-Mobile marketing - it isn't about the money, it's about principles on how you treat your customers).
It is of course not the first time that this has happened to me, as I am sure it has happened to you. This time around, however, I figured I would do some back of the envelope calculations to demonstrate the stupidity of this particular marketing technique/abuse campaign.
I am a very loyal customer and if they would have switched me and not screw up too badly in the future I could have easily been with them for another 4 years. At $180/mo, that is a loss of $8,640. I am also a big recommender when I like a product or service, and can point to many people who switched to T-Mobile because of my recommendations. Let's say that 4 people become subscribers every year based on my recommendations (might be more with a cool toy like the Curve), and let's further assume that 50% of those would have joined through some other marketing outreach program from T-Mobile. For the sake of this exercise let's say that those people who do sign up based on my recommendations would spend half of what I spent. That means that by losing those recommendations they would lose $8,640 in referral business the 1st year, $6,480 the 2nd year, $4,320 the 3rd and $2,160 the 4th year. And supposing that the customer acquisition cost, not including handset subsidies, is around $200/customer, the other 8 referrals who might have joined based on other outreach programs might have saved them another $1,600 in acquisition cost.
So the lost opportunity so far for not giving me the discount is $31,840. I know, it should be converted into its net present value to get the real number - but for a $150 rebate??
Now that is not all. I am sufficiently turned off with this idiotic marketing behavior that I am willing to write about it on my blog. With 18,000 unique visitors/month according to Google Analytics and close to 1,200 RSS subscribers according to Feedburner, I can only assume that a few people will not switch to T-Mobile because of my bad experience. Add to that the number of social networks that I belong to and where this recommendation will get syndicated, and the amount of lost business because of my negative recommendation could actually be far worse than the lost business caused by me no longer being a customer and referrer.
How stupid can this be? And when will the government step up and let us own phones that are no longer locked to a particular service provider?
September 25, 2007
The value of word-of-mouth
The latest issue of the Harvard Business Review has an article on how to calculate the value of customer referrals (article not online yet).
They conducted two studies - one in telecom and one in financial services. Some interesting findings from those calculations include:
- People refer way less than they say they do
- The customer referral value is higher than the customer life-cycle value
- The people with the highest customer life-cycle value are not the ones with the highest referral value
The importance of these findings are twofold. First you need to segment your customers along the customer life-cycle value axis, but also along the customer referral value axis. That will enable you to target your incentives to groups to either increase their usage or increase their referrals, or both. Second, this research shows that customers will low customer life-cycle value can in fact have a higher value to your company through referral value than those with high customer life-cycle value.
September 24, 2007
Two great telephone interviews coming up
On Friday 9/28 at 1pm I will be interviewing branding expert Tom Asacker, the author of the great book "A Clear Eye for Branding," as well as the blog by the same name. You can find out more information about the event and also sign up through the Facebook event page that was created as part of the Marketing 2.0 Group.
On 10/10 @1pm I will be interviewing word-of-mouth expert Jackie Huba, the author of "Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force," and co-author of "Citizen Marketers: When People are the Message." You can find more information about that session and sign up through the Facebook event page created for this interview.
Soon we will be announcing additional interviews, debates and discussions with other marketing thought-leaders - so stay tuned.
September 23, 2007
Senator sues God (no joke!)
This is a pretty funny situation - a State Senator from Omaha sues God.
(for RSS subscribers - click here)
September 20, 2007
She's Geeky - coming up soon!
Kaliya Hamlin, a.k.a. the Identity Woman, is putting together what looks like an interesting (un) conference.
Check it out at http://www.shesgeeky.org. It will take place Oct 22-23 in Mountain View, CA.
What is the marketing potential of LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace
Reveries.com conducted a survey on the potential of social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Myspace as media for marketing activities (pdf download of survey summary results and analysis are here). The main finding seems to be that marketers are in the very early stages of truly understanding the potential of these new networks - with only 18% of the respondents calling the potential of online social networks as a medium for marketing "huge".
Other interesting tidbits from the survey include the fact that marketers see "word of mouth" as the most promising aspect of social networking sites, and that many pointed out that marketers should participate in the conversations that take place on those sites without interrupting them.
Unfortunately, the reality is that many spammers have already invaded Facebook, Myspace and other similar sites. Go check the walls of the most popular interest groups in Facebook to see for yourself - many are littered with posts that are total sales pitches or with information that is totally irrelevant to the group's conversation.
September 19, 2007
Marketing Voodoo and Fufu Juice Descend on Conversational Marketing...
Following the phone conversation with David Weinberger last week, during which he expressed doubts about whether marketing can be conversational, I ran across this piece on conversational marketing by Joe Marchese on MediaPost's Online Spin blog.
Talking about best practices in conversational marketing he says:
"The best practice is to imagine your brand’s message as a circle and a community’s conversation as another circle; what you are looking for is the area where the circles overlap. Once you find this overlap, you can begin to look for ways to participate in the conversation and achieve your marketing goals at the same time. Three things to remember: First, speak frankly and understand that each individual you are communicating with is a peer, not a demo. Second, as my friend Rishad Tobaccowala pointed out so succinctly, if your product sucks, don’t bother trying to create conversations. Third, remember, conversation without permission is just interrogation."
Further in the article, he suggests that:
"as a marketer, (you) should be prepared to finish the conversations you start."
I think David was right...marketers will screw it up. For those marketers who even get what Joe is trying to say, I can just see them expanding their "brand message circle" to where it totally overlaps with the "community circle". I bet you some brand message "areas" will be turned into ellipses, squares and other fancy shapes just to make the overlap happen.
The very clever ones will claim that the shape of the "community circle" is not really what it appears to be. Surely some marketers will agree that the "community circle" of the "Empower Patients" group on Facebook overlaps with the "brand message circle" of heart burn medicine; or that the 104,633 people who belong to the "Foundation for the protection of Swedish underwear models" cause on Facebook might be interested in engaging in conversations with cruise organizers.
As for the other recommendations - I am not sure that I agree with any of them. For starters, not everyone you are communicating with is a peer. I know they are not a demo, as they are hopefully human. But what if the community consists of a bunch of doctors, and you engage with them because you have the expertise to help them in an area where they don't - say accounting. They are not your peers. Now this is more than bickering about terminology - being peers implies certain acceptable behaviors in conversations which are not appropriate if you are not peers.
And saying that if your product sucks you should not start a conversation is a potentially a misleading recommendation. For the longest time Google docs may have looked like a product that sucks for high end professional services companies that spend a lot of effort in creating sophisticated proposals, and who would not blink a eye at the money required to get a really high-end collaborative environment. For many of us freelancers on the other hand, it was a product sent from heaven - even if the app would crash periodically. The whole "innovator's dilemma" landscape is littered with products that suck but displaced very successful incumbents.
And can we really not end a conversation? Sigh...
OK - so let's try to summarize this:
- Markets = conversations
- You either have a legitimate reason to engage in the conversation - or not
- In some communities it is ok to talk about "crappy" products - in others it isn't
- Sometimes you have to have permission to speak, and sometimes you don't
- Communities are not always made up of peers
- => Marketing can be conversational if you can handle it; but most often it can't - either because of you or in spite of you...
See - easy to understand and no Venn diagram required!
I cannot wait until the conversation marketing experts talk to us like humans and not like demos :)
September 18, 2007
The new complete marketer
The latest issue of Strategy+Business has a good article on the new complete marketer (requires registration, but free here)
The article is making very similar points to the McKinsey article that got published earlier. They too talk about the need for broadening the marketing function, saying that : "Once a fairly discrete department within the organization, marketing is more and more often being asked to fulfill a far more significant, strategic role with implications for the entire enterprise."
The article also refers to a research project that they conducted in conjunction with the Association of National Advertisers, in which they distilled six themes that the best CMO's adhere to:
- Put the consumer at the heart of marketing
- Make marketing accountable
- Embrace the challenges of new media
- Recognize the new organizational imperative
- Live a new agency paradigm
- Remain adaptable
Some of these themes may seem simple and mundane, but is in how CMO's execute against them that determines the winners from the losers.
[Tags: CMO marketing strategy+business social media customer needs voice of the customer]
September 17, 2007
Markets are conversations, but should marketing be conversational?
His view? Perhaps not - marketing may be not be able to engage in the conversation without corrupting it.
One alternative, which we have implemented for a variety of clients - including the FASTforward conversation on Enterprise 2.0 for FAST Search, and the Mobile Messaging 2.0 conversation sponsored by Airwide - is to host a conversation that is sponsored by that company, but which is editorially independent from the company. We let our clients engage in those conversations, but their engagement is subject to editorial approval. For some of those communities we also started to set up editorial boards who help us make decisions on what is appropriate and what is not.
Of course there are other marketing functions that cannot not be conversational, but more on that later...
September 12, 2007
Do not miss the interview with David Weinberger this afternoon
This afternoon I will be interviewing David Weinberger on the future of marketing. The interview will happen over phone and is open to the public. You can register for the event on Facebook, or you can simply dial in 1-605-475-8590, the conference room # is 5785861.
We hope to see you there!
September 4, 2007
Funny Toyota ad in Brazil
(link for RSS subscribers)