Category Archives: Marketing

Can’t a Toothbrush Just Be a Toothbrush?

In their constant effort to out-innovate their competition, toothbrush manufacturers have just gone too far. The bristles of the brush are not just bristles, but “rubber massaging arms” designed to stimulate the gums. The arrangement of the bristles is to maximize the ability of your brushing to get into every nook and cranny of your mouth. Your life is improved because we took the time to arrange these bristles in just such a way. Who’s job is it to come up with this stuff?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a big believer in oral hygiene and take it very seriously.

Granted, from a marketing perspective, it is always good to be improving your product, but this has gone too far. Now the handle is “ergonomically” designed to fit your hand better. Now I don’t know about you, but even though I brush three times a day, I don’t spend more than a couple of minutes in this process. Why in the world does the handle need to fit my hand better, when its total daily use is 6 to 8 minutes? Do they really think that a more comfortable handle will make me brush more times, or longer each time? And all these fancy designs mean that now your toothbrush doesn’t fit into the hole of your toothbrush holder. They’ve actually made it less comfortable and more of a hassle.

Now many of you may say, David, is this really a battle worth fighting? Aren’t there more important marketing issues you should be addressing with your blog?

My point is this: Once all of the toothbrush manufacturers jump on the “ergonomic handle” bandwagon, then what choice will I have? I can’t not buy a toothbrush. Somewhere, there needs to be a consumer’s voice that says, quit improving something that doesn’t need improving.

Or, maybe I’m just in that kind of mood.

What are your thoughts?

David

Being Treated the Right Way

I continue to appreciate the great creative coming from the folks at Ebiquity in their TV ad campaign for Discover Card’s Late Payment Forgiveness. Using the concept of “we treat you like you treat you,” we see various individuals who, like anyone reading this, failed to get a credit card payment off in time to post by the due date. As an alternative to the irritating practice with most credit cards who charge a late fee, raise your APR, and lower your limits, Discover offers forgiveness if you use their “It” card.

What makes this enjoyable to me is the way it’s done, with the customer service person who looks, sounds and talks just like the customer calling in. Here’s an example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hHsyyFi1Ys

There’s so many messages going on here:

  • First, wouldn’t any one of us prefer talking with a customer service representative who is just like us, who gets us? Duh.
  • Secondly, forgiveness for being a human and making a mistake is always in good taste. We’ve all been on the wrong end of bad customer service.
  • Thirdly, these ads are always good for a laugh.
  • Fourthly, it’s easy to recall these ads and what they’re about – awareness of Discover Card’s new “It” card.
  • Lastly, there is unlimited variations that could be used, keeping the campaign fresh and new for a longer period of time.

As I have said on many occasions, good, solid creative can make the difference in an ad campaign’s success and long-term viability. Good marketing will always win out.

Can you think of other ad campaigns that you’ve enjoyed?

I’d love to hear,

David

Live by the Data or Die by the Data

 

I know that there are hardly enough hours in the day to take care of your customers and run the business, let alone, study and correlate all the customer-centric information which is now available at your fingertips. But, it’s never been more important than now. As Mr. Dave Frankland, an analyst with Forrester espoused, 2010 and beyond is the “age of the customer.” Customers are in more control than ever, and they are wielding that power by responding to companies that understand them and their needs.

 

Natalie Zmuda, with Ad Age talks about the obsession with “understanding, delighting, connecting with, and serving customers,” as the only real differentiator that many companies have. I would add to that, the intelligence to predict behavior as well.

 

Never in history have business owners had such a vast amount of information available to them about their customers’ behavior, which can be a strong predictor of a “potential” customer’s behavior.

 

Facebook can tell you how many people in your area have expressed interest in what you do based upon specific terms? Google has reams of information available on what people are searching for. There are software companies that have created social media dashboards that provide the ability to see what conversations are taking place about you, whether you “follow” them or not. And just as important, there are your own sales statistics that you keep.

 

It is not only important to track sales, but also to be able to know the source of the sales lead. Those lead sources should be broken down sufficiently to understand what action the interested party initially took to become a lead. What products were purchased from what lead sources? As an example, if you only track that a sale of product A came from the Internet, what you don’t know is what action was taken. Did the lead fill out a “contact me” form or did they pick up the phone and call you? Did they ask a question through Facebook or were they referred by one of their LinkedIn contacts? Did they click on a QR code that you had on a print advertisement or did they come to you from your YouTube video?

 

Being able to tie sales back to a very specific lead source allows you to calculate which kind of lead results in the highest likelihood of a sale. Where should you spend precious sales resources to get the highest return? Where should marketing dollars go to stimulate these high value leads? What kind of message is successful in generating quality leads? Would extending that message to other sources for leads generate the same kind of quality lead there? Would it be better to focus on those products that generate the highest margins?

 

So, your business can prosper by paying attention to the data that’s available or not, it’s up to you. And, if you need some help with this, let us know.

 

All my best in your “data mining”

 

David

 

I Got a Fever for a Testimonial

 

 

“Can I have a witness….Can I have a witness?”

 

Ah, the beloved testimonial, proof positive that you are as good as you think you are, that your product does in fact please people and everyone should trust what you say.

 

So why don’t more people ask for testimonials?

 

I think there is inherent doubt in all of us. In some, it’s hardly noticeable, while in others, it stands there and demands to be out front and noticed. There is a hesitancy to ask if someone likes your work or your product because they might just say, “no.”

 

But the testimonial, the witness to your company and what you work so hard to achieve, is like a gold mine. Testimonials foster trust in you by those you want to sell to. Testimonials are what can bring great satisfaction to your work. I’m not sure anyone out there starts a company just to make lots of money, although there is nothing wrong with making lots of money. It’s just that money alone is somewhat empty. But when someone makes a point of telling the world how great you are, why it’s almost a religious experience, a sure fired boost to the ego.

 

Here’s a big no no I’ve seen. To have a “Testimonials” page on your website and there’s no testimonials. Whoa, that is like a huge red flag saying, “can somebody please like me and what I do?” It’s better to un-publish that page so it can’t be seen rather than have a website visitor try to see what people are saying about you and find a big fat Zero!

 

Social properties like LinkedIn, make it easy to ask for testimonials but better yet, give someone you know a recommendation and they’ll likely give you back a recommendation. Or at least you hope they will.

 

So go ahead, ask for the testimonial. Can I have a witness?

 

What are your thoughts?

 

David

 

Expertise at Being an Expert

You hear it all the time, “Why John, he’s an expert,” or “You can get expert advice from Acme Insect Control.” And what exactly does that mean?

According to Wikepedia, an expert is defined as, “someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technical skill, whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain.”

I think the key here is “accorded authority…by their peers” because I sure see this word used a lot in the first person, especially when it comes to marketing and social media.

For the life of me, I’m not sure how anyone can claim to be an “expert” in social media, when most everyone is still figuring out the best way to use it in advancing their marketing objectives. There’s some good ideas out there for measuring and applying analytic tools and we’re all pretty sure we should be doing if we’re not, but I don’t buy “social media expertise” since we’re still in the very early stages of the medium. I don’t think anyone has really had enough experience to call themselves “experts.”

What’s more, even an expert sharpshooter will miss the bull’s eye occasionally.

I have never claimed to be a marketing expert. I have years of experience working with many size companies across many industries as well as seeing how different marketing media can be used cooperatively to achieve sales goals, but I sure can’t say I’m an expert. Every client’s situation is unique, and therefore requires a different approach.

I think most very wise people will say that the more you do something, the more you study it, the more you experience with it, the more you realize how much you don’t know. Sure, you can demonstrate moments of expertise, but this world changes so quickly that it becomes extremely difficult to remain an expert.

What do you think? I’d love to know.

David

The CMO Outsource