Sunday, 28 December 2008

Pepperoni power - The best piece of marketing ever

I reckon it's Pizza Express.

a) the kids get a crayon set when they go there
b) i think i am getting a bargain with the kids menu so i am happy to spend a bit more on me.
c) at 10am during the week they invite school kids in, 30 of them, to make Pizzas. They (the kids) then tell their parents how to make Pizzas. And now every time we go past the restaurant they point out the 'Pizza Shop'. It's pepperoni power. No advertising required.

Clearly PE know their market, they price it accordingly (very of the moment), get the product and experience right. In marketing terms it sounds very old fashioned, a bit 4Ps.

I'm a fan.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Dusting down our customer retention models?

Are we going to see the return of the retention focussed consultancy?

We are already seeing clients with limited resources and a need to show immediate returns on investment so a campaign to retain, win-back and save customers could be an easy sell in, especially if you can utilise email.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Reinvigorating Brand Santa

Santa has won the hearts and minds of his customers. But growth is fuelled by population expansion, retention rates are average at best. The customer relationship starts round year three and fades year 7 to year 9.

Santa is privately owned so there is no financial reporting requirement. The business model is hazy; it is not clear how Santa makes its money. To grow the business you require cashflow or substantial capital. Property lease back is a non starter; they only seem to have seasonal concessions within a variety of retail outlets. Lapland HQ is not practical for other businesses of this scale. Opportunity cost of these assets would seem to be close to zero.

The solution to turning Santa around must lie on the revenue side of the equation. Here are our recommendations.

1. Santa, St Nicholas, Father Christmas, Papai Noel, Babbo Natale – the different names dilute the brand. Choose one name and stick to it. It worked for Snickers. Whilst a name that resonates with the Chinese market is tempting we feel an English name provides the greatest global reach. SantaServices gives you brand stretch.

2. Create added value services e.g. charge for different delivery options, delivering on Christmas Day should be the premium not the standard service. Charge for returns? Provide warranties? It estimated that 15% of presents are damaged on Christmas Day.

3. Merchandise yourself e.g. replica kits for children; think laterally! What would be the equivalent of the soccer away strip? What about a light suit for hotter climates. Don’t be a slave to red.

4. Investigate sponsorship opportunities. Formula 1 would offer the best benchmark. Look for brand synergies, but obviously avoid competitors like DHL, red letters days unless there is a clear income opportunity.

5. Branding. Make sure is on all packaging and clothing. “This present was bought you to by”.

6. Embrace digital. Letters posted up chimneys is a nice touch but difficult to believe it is practical. How do you manage surges in activity? And of course it doesn’t feel very 21cn. Email has to be the way forward. Make the website work harder, a personalised web experience is essential. And of course this year we are expecting mobile technologies to take off so integrating SMS is a must.

7. Brand experience days help your best customers embrace the brand. It is probably Pizza Express No.1 marketing activity.

8. Business is over-reliant on one man; no one is going to invest in a business without a clear accession plan. Consider an X-Santa factor show.

9. Give Mrs Santa more of a role cf Cameron and Brown. Older men into children can be perceived as unusual e.g. Michael Jackson.

10. One day a year! Enormous opportunity even if we don’t go 24x7x365. Of course it is possible more frequent Christmases may be difficult to market but the core competence is distribution and logistics. Look to provide corporate outsourcing solutions.

11. Develop retention program for teenage into adult years, you know all about random acts of kindness. Put the Christmas back into CRM.

12. Appearance is everything. Looking that comfortable in the present climate does not seem appropriate. Even Puff daddy is forgoing bling in concession to the crunch. Obesity and children is a hot topic. Think about going on TV with Gok or Gillian Mckeith.

And finally, don’t get pissed in public and learn to dance Salsa.

Please feel free to add advice, Santa does read every comment. In the next few weeks we will be discussing God, Germany and WH Smiths.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Death of consumerism

It is not dead yet but from where i am standing it is looking pretty ill.

This downturn is changing the way people think, and for some time to come. It started off with us subtley changing our purchasing habits; one less coffee from Starbucks (or decent coffee shop), no evening paper at the station, having a simpler meal in the evening. It was all very illicit.

Only a year ago we were saying we needed whatever and putting it on the credit card. Now look at us. People are proudly saying we can't afford it. No longer do we have to justify going out for a cheap Pizza by saying the kids love it. Or explain away the old car on the drive with '... it is so reliable so i can't bring myself to sell it, anyway i hardly use it'.

Now of course I know I like to be different, and I make no effort to keep up with the Jones's. But it is still a bit of a relief not to contemplate it. So if this recession puts a dent in consumerism and makes us a bit happier about what we have, rather than unhappy about we haven't got then that will be a big positive. I just wish there wasn't the economic misery to accompany it.

I suspect there is going to be one big opportunity for honest, transparent retailers. But in the meantime watch out Aldi, Lidl, money saving sites, voucher codes, camping sites, car auction, Pizza Express (occasionally), H&M, ebay, freecycle ... here we come. And happy to admit it.

I suspect it is going to be called something like 'virtous thrift'.

Actually the Chorizo from Lidl is very good, you should try it.

Friday, 28 November 2008

In dark times

We know there is a recession on, we 'enjoy' access to news channels 24x7 so why do advertisers think they need to prefix their messages with a reminder of the state of our economy.

"In tough times ..."

Do they think consumers have temporarily forgotten about the recession (yes we are in one) or are they trying to persuade us that we are worth it. Perhaps they are right, there has never been a better time to replace the 32" flat screen TV with the 42" version! Unfortunately it just comes across as jumping on the bandwagon.

Too many organisations don't bother with customer research, probably the first thing to go when budgets are tight. Shame for them really they could have discovered very easily that they are wasting much of their budget.

About Me

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Just curious about marketing, psychology, economics, business, irrational behaviour, people, models, communications, advertising, market imperfections, b2b marketing. I work in the marketing communications industry for OgilvyOne.