Thursday, May 23, 2013
Would You Sue A Loyal Customer?
We continue to see examples
of corporations fighting the social media driven tide of change. We witness lawsuits filed against Yelp
in an effort to remove a bad review. We hear about company reps inserting themselves in blog discussions
only to end up in wars of words that they can’t possibly win. And now another brand, this time it’s
Nutella (part of Ferrero SpA), taking legal action to silence a loyal customer.
11:30 am edt
Yes, lawyers for Ferreo have
requested a cease and desist action against one Sara Rosso who is so fond of their product that she not only blogs about it,
but has actually had the nerve to establish an annual celebration which she calls World Nutella Day.
She created the event in 2007 and has celebrated it each year on February 5th with some 40,000 Facebook
fans and 7,000 Twitter followers.
will brand management catch on? When will they realize that a communications revolution has taken place
and that customers now own the brand images? Anyone with a cell phone can shoot a video, anyone can write
a blog or post a review, and anyone can write (or not write) about a brand however they please on Facebook or Twitter.
Communication channels are open to the masses and it no longer takes an advertising agency or a production company
to shoot a commercial or produce a print ad. Rather than fighting the inevitable it’s time for marketers
to accept and embrace this change. It’s time to: 1) build strategies that help assure that customers have a positive
experience, 2) strengthen relationships with their brands, and 3) help the customers to be more knowledgeable about the brands
and to have more quality content to share, online and offline, with their friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Even the NFL needs "customer" relationships
The NFL (National Football League in the USA) is a hugely
successful, tremendously profitable business. Right? Well yes, as long as the fans keep
paying for tickets, personal-seat licenses, parking, expensive beer, team merchandise, etc. And as long
as they keep filling every seat so it looks good on television and continues to assure those mega deals for the league.
1:54 pm edt
the heart of all that financial success are the season ticket holders. In many cities there’s a years-long
wait for the opportunity to buy. In some markets season-tickets are handed down from generation to generation.
As the result of such success, some management groups have taken those producing that stream of revenue for granted
-- Communications from the team in some cases consisting solely of the annual invoice and a schedule.
Recently however, some teams (especially those with less success on the field in recent years), have begun
to recognize the concept of the Total Customer Experience and the need to produce more VALUE for the customer.
They’ve been forced to start thinking of season-ticket holders as critically important paying “customers”
with whom they need to build relationships. Some examples:
The St. Louis Rams just holding a party today. Season-ticket
holders will have the chance to meet the coach and general manager. And shockingly the event is offered
to them free of charge.
Indianapolis Colts went one step further last year with a luncheon for season-ticket holders at which they met both
coaches and players.
The Atlanta Falcons gave their season-ticket holders the chance to privately
quiz both the coach and the owner.
The Jacksonville Jaguars teamed with local restaurants
and retailers to offer season-ticket-holders packs of discounts they claim were worth up to $3,000 in savings (We think Jacksonville
might be off on the wrong track there – but that’s a story for another day. At least
they did try something.)
The big news of course is that NFL teams are beginning to recognize those who fund them and that customer
retention and customer relationships are critical.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Should You Spend More on Search or Social?
There seems to be an ongoing debate regarding the relative
importance of search vs. social media.
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On one side there’s Nathan Safran
and his recent article, “Can We Please Stop Hyping Social As The Marketing
Messiah?,” in which he reports that “during the 2012 holiday season
34% of retail website visits came from search. 40% were direct. (A mere) 2% were from social”. Safran
further reports “15% of respondents always or often turning to social for shopping or product research, while 97% say
they always or often turn to search”.
Safran are numerous proponents claiming that it simply fear of the unknown and dependence upon “ineffective” programs
of the past that are preventing some marketers from taking advantage of social media and the word of mouth and two way conversations
We would like to offer a third position.
While neither side seems to admit to it, we see obvious differences between corporate social media and individual social
media. While certainly corporations can produce temporary spikes in awareness and millions of likes or
views with a contest that offers great prizes, coupons and product discounts, or a great video that may not be the greatest
impact that social can offer. We instead believe that it is the social media content that is produced by
those tens of millions of individuals, and the mentions of their favorite movies, restaurants, doctors, baby strollers, etc.
that leads their personal friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-worker connections to be aware of and consider those brands
– which is what leads to all those searches and direct online visits that Safran references.
believe that individuals have taken control of social media and that the most cost-efficient way to achieve growth is by working
with them. And for a number of categories we know how to do it.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
In Consideration of Content Marketing
I just read an article titled: “What comes
after content marketing?”
10:31 pm est
It sounded like a familiar story I have seen too many times before
(e.g. “Customer Satisfaction, now what?, Where do we go after customer relationship management? etc.) We’ve barely
all learned the term, and someone has already decided that we have wrung all the benefits possible out of content marketing,
and that it’s time to move on. Just as with satisfaction and CRM, my only thought – you’ve
got to be kidding me!According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content
marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage
a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”.
A failure to fill-in the blanks in that definition might be what’s causing some marketers to believe that content
marketing has so little to offer them that it’s time to move on.
The issues in that definition that
we all need to address are: 1) Who is that target audience we are trying to deliver the content to? 2)
How can we efficiently and most effectively deliver the content to that audience? 3) What kind of action
can we reasonably expect to drive?
believe that the most effective uses of content marketing is to deliver shareable, bite-sized pieces that educate, build emotional
ties, and entertain existing customers, turning them into advocates, who build image, awareness and purchase consideration
for the brand with friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and even strangers (online). If you accept
that strategy then we’ve got a long way to go before any of us have achieved the full advantages of content marketing.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Finally Somebody Quantifies the Value of Word of Mouth
Companies today generally recognize the benefits
of word of mouth, but most view the phenomenon as a magical, immeasurable, unmanageable force – or a reward
for good customer care. A recent story in Ad Age (Feb. 6, 2013) finally sheds some light on the quantification of the impact
of “social voice” (the combination of offline and online word of mouth). According to research
conducted by MarketShare, a 10% increase in social voice results in a sales lift of from 0.2% to 1.5%.
4:31 pm est
Some might be quick to dismiss such small percentages, but it does means for example that
a company currently generating $100 million in annual sales could, through a program that identifies their best customer advocates
and stimulates their activity, to produce more frequent and more positive word of mouth, gain an additional $200,000 to
$1,500,000 in revenue.
much would it cost to generate that kind of lift in word of mouth? For corporations that can identify their customers
by name, and even better yet for those who also know the email and street addresses of those individuals, the stimulation
of the social voice can be accomplished relatively inexpensively. Those who are already buying your product
or service, and who are emotionally linked to your brand and who possess the “communicator gene” need only be
provided with a bit more motivation, given some additional content, and pointed toward opportunities. The
bad news is that such a lift in word of mouth won’t just happen as the result of good service. It
can however be accomplished for a modest cost by the marketer willing to step forward away from the perceived safety of the
traditional approaches. The potential sales gains are waiting to be enjoyed.