Thursday, 29 November 2012

Chess, advertising and marketing dis-integration

Marketers talk about integration. I think that is frequently a cop out. The real problem is a dis-functional misalignment of the business. In effect the business is disintegrated let alone their marketing and communication efforts. Here are the classic symptoms.

Finance create products to maximise short term margin. Operations want volumes of leads. Sales want quality of leads. Marketing use other metrics like customer satisfaction and long term customer value. All these objectives are in conflict.

Of course the we have to work within the constraints of the business but sometimes they are so restrictive they make everything you do a failure by one or other of the above criteria. If marketing want to get up the food chain, be more commercial, they have to help the business become more integrated. Everyone sharing the same objectives and vision. What do we want to be? How does this translate into business objectives? What do we need to do and really importantly what should we not do?

Solving the marketing version of the problem, communications integration, whilst the business beats itself up is nice but not that useful. Someone once said chess and advertising are the two biggest wastes of human intellect. There is some wisdom in that. Too much effort solving the wrong type of problem.

Do you know an organisation that fits the profile?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Short termism is the key to business success

What i didn't understand properly and what even the less imaginative accountants acknowledge is that profit is not an absolute concept. You tend to think of profit as something factual and indisputable. But profit depends on a variety of factors like how you decide to depreciate assets, how you treat the expected future flow of revenues from service contracts and at what point the costs hit the bottom line. Of course businesses think they are trying to maximise profits but the interesting question is over what time period. Those in the business who have a shorter term horizon focus on reducing costs and maximising margin, those focused on the longer term focus on maximising the contribution from a customer. In other words if you rip off a customer the chances are they will piss off earlier than you hoped. 

Unfortunately it is a lot easier to reduce costs and increase margin which goes some way to explaining why so many businesses have such a short term outlook and are run by accountants and not marketers. The fact that us marketers have managed to create a reputation for being being unable to add up and being not very commercial also explains why we are not on top of the pile.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Who's best? Consultant or Planner?

What's the difference between a consultant and a planner?

A consultant identifies and solves the business problem.

People will buy more crunchies if you make them cheaper, expand distribution and run POS promotions through the trade.

A planner identifies the human challenge.

People have forgotten crunchies are much more fun than chocolate bars, they explode in your mouth.

Clearly both roles are important, they just require different parts of the brain ... rather than necessarily different people.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Social subversion

More subversive views questioning the value of social media and suggesting we focus more on content.

Personally i think social's value varies enormously by sector, is it a big purchase or is it something where purchase and consumption are frequent. Is information readily available? Is there inherent risk in the purchase decision? Is it a fun product?

The other point made is that majority of people who interact with brands in social media tend to be loyal high value or dis-satisfied. Certainly in retail it is hard to get the former to purchase more so what is the value of social in enabling them to influence the less frequent buying majority.

Interesting to see its the same old case studies referenced. Where's the new news?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Proving the case for CRM and loyalty

How do you establish a ROMI for a brand new loyalty CRM program?

This is the sort of thing we get asked all the time. To be honest i am not sure you can, not in a meaningful way, unless you have the Coke answer to the Pepsi question. There are too many unknowns. It's all a bit WHAT IF. Especially when you start chucking in social selling and media to the mix.

The irony is the value of the softer benefits are sometimes easier to calculate. Ability to trial new products: making discrete offers to customer groups; feedback and research; co-creation, influence. But these don't really matter as the question isn't really about ROMI, it is about a particular type of ROMI. The cross sell and retention version. The questions the business really want to answer are ...

How can we develop a relationship directly with the consumer, dis-intermediate the retailer, to sell more?
Is it smarter to spend on direct relationships than brand, advertising, in store etc?

Of course the way round this is to produce a spreadsheet (a.k.a. business case), layer some science onto the intuitive. And this is where the problem often lies, the program can get killed or stripped back before we work out what the real potential is. Marketing and agencies alike need to be far more experimental, more do less strategy. The results of this are probably the best inputs for the business case.

Anyway wasn't Tesco Clubcard an experimental pilot? It will never work.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Boris gets his marigolds on

The gov London remove graffiti, clean up your city ad is jaw droppingly lacking in insight, it makes me want to run out and buy some spray cans. To paraphrase
''... you know how you tidy up the flat when your mum comes round, well get this. It is not your mum, it's the world and it's not your flat it's London and its the Olympics. Lets clean up London.'

Only problem is you don't tidy up when your mum comes round, you sweep everything under the carpet, hide the recreational drugs and this i suspect is a far better analogy. And couldn't the advertising have used a bit of behavioural economics, we are not talking Jedi mind tricks. Focus on numbers involved, added a competitive edge, some reciprocation, set a target. Not just please do the stuff we can't be bothered to or forgot to cost in when we promised to open London to the world.

Then it starts to unravel in your hands. It is backed by 'P&G' because ... they make lots of cleaning products. Everyone must have been frothing over with excitement in that workshop.

I am still a bit confused by the strategy.

Q. Are we just tidying up the bits mum can see, can we leave a load of rubbish in the lodgers room?

Q. What happens next year, will the London Gov sponsorship pass to Dulux so we can get back to normal?

Q. Has the Eton for London election got anything to do with it?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

B2B: social isn't the start point

If we asked you what your tv strategy was, you would
understandably look a little perplexed. In fact whatever media we asked you
about you would think it mad to address in isolation. Social media is a vital
part of the media mix. However it is still in essence a communication channel,
albeit a very clever one. One that is flexible, one that allows you to be ultra-
responsive and to cap it all one that is measurable. It should be part of your
customer service strategy, help you reach influencers, support search and many
marketers use it as direct response PR and even sell. You can use it to inform,
engage, entertain, inspire. I am sure you have seen that chart on visits to
slide share.

So if you don’t need a social strategy what do you need? I reckon you need a content
strategy. You have to make yourself vaguely interesting, interesting enough for
the right people to want to talk about you, want to share what you have to say,
want to interact with you. It is less about what you want to say and what your
brand is and isn’t it is about having an opinion, perhaps zigging to
competitors zagging.

About Me

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United Kingdom
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.