Alternative marketing thinking


Archive for the category “Customer Fightback”

Web Comforts Those Who Lost Trust In Their Banks

If people no longer trusted their banks, why would they trust some start-up with their most private financial information? As it turns out, interest in these sites is up, not down. Burned by their banks and the stock market, people seeking help with budgeting, saving and investing are turning to sites with names like Mint, SmartyPig, Cake Financial, Wesabe and Credit Karma. Visits to online personal finance sites are up threefold over last year, said Jim Bruene, founder of the trade publisher Online Financial Innovations, and many of the sites say they have grown quickly since the crisis worsened in September. “The worse the news was, the more people started using Mint,” said Aaron Patzer, founder and chief executive of the company, which is based in Mountain View, Calif. “People realize they need to get a better handle on their money.” “It’s the wisdom of the masses,” said Michael Healy, 33, a recruiter in San Francisco who discusses investments on Cake Financial. Marc Hedlund, co-founder and chief executive of Wesabe, said: “Oftentimes you don’t want to talk about stressful financial issues with your friends. Online, you can come in an anonymous way, talk about the things you’re struggling with and get feedback.” Read more in NY Times.


Lies Well Masked

In their attempt to get consumers to look at unnecessary products and services as relevant to them, some marketers and advertisers have, over the years, invented diseases and medical conditions that never really existed. Yes! Ipana Toothpaste for collapsed capillaries. Royal Typewriters, for people who suffer from shift key fatique, while working typewriters. Here is a small list. Also an interesting article on how advertising can ruin your health. The scourge continues to this day, with some people blaming the pharmaceutical industry for using humdrum medical information to make the industry more relevant and profitable.
Here’s more on an attempt to rebrand medicine.

Better Customer Service, Better Loyalty, Better Profits

According to a recent Harvard Business Review study, U.S. companies lose half of their customers every five years, with two-thirds of them claiming that customer care was their reason for leaving. Pleasing people, on the other hand, really pays off: Studies show that improving customer loyalty by 5% can increase profits by a whopping 25%. More in the Motley Fool.

Social Media In Mumbai Attacks

Bloggers, twitterers, amateur photographers and videographers showed the world the power of social media. In fact many news networks carried pictures taken by amateur photographers. Vinukumar Ranganathan, saw his pictures being used by BBC and Wired Magazine. He even featured in this story in Guardian, More stories of social media coming alive in Mumbai, here, here and a wonderful example of a new media mash up here.

Living The Oprah Life

In Chicago, 35-year-old actress Robyn Okrant (Lo) has started a blog called, recording her year-long efforts to live as Oprah would have her live. She watches the program, tracks what products Oprah says she “must” buy, she reads the magazines, makes the recipes, buys the Favorite Things, as recommended by Oprah Winfrey. The experiment, started on the first of January, has been expensive this year. By January 18, Lo was seeing evidence that Oprah’s advice at times conflicted with her own non-billionaire lifestyle. And by Early July, Lo estimates that she’s spent 440 hours and $1,600 so far following Oprah’s advice. When her rent increased, she and her husband moved to a cheaper apartment rather than threaten the project. Read more on her blog, and in Chicago Reader.

France Propose To Ban TVCs

French President Nicholas Sarkozy has proposed a ban on commercials on television and to support the ban with a small tax on the internet and mobile phones. France, like other countries around the world, is struggling to find ways to keep cultural industries, like video and music, afloat at a time when their traditional audiences are waning. And Sarkozy feels that some dramatic measures will be needed to turn the tide over. More in the International Herald Tribune.

Entertainment, authenticity, giving up control, recalibrating risk and the power of networks.Youth marketing the P&G way.

David Knox, Brand Manager Walmart team at P&G is a specialist in marketing to teens. Speaking at the IEG annual sponsorship conference, David presented a picture of Youth in the US and what smart marketers are doing to connect with this increasingly elusive demographic. The slides of his presentation are up on Slideshare.

Like our philosophy that urges brands to grow young, Dave and P&G have come to realize that Youth is not a demographic anymore, but a mindset. He believes that Generation Y is not an isolated demographic, but a group that can give marketers and advertisers a glimpse of how others will behave in the future.

Youth in America believe that stress is a way of life today. But they are optimistic about the future. Most believe that they can personally achieve the American Dream, of being simply happy, no matter what they do.
There is a we-volution taking place at the moment. With places like services like Kiva and Prosper leading the social lending change. Other examples of this phenomenon are Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and UK based MyFootballclub, where 50,000 fans have come together to create a football club. Another example of this revolution is the community centred online apparel store Threadless, where anyone can submit a design or an idea, which is voted for by visitors of the site. Creators of the selected design then get a share of the sales.
For most young people lives have become completely digital. Their computer is the No 1 item they cannot live without. And they live a connected life, either through their computer or their mobile phone.
Being socially conscious is on the rise among the young. And brands like Product(Red) and
Innocent are examples of brands that operate in this space.Media for the young mindset is everything around them. With community, self expression and personalisation being the key.

Marketing to youth according to Dave is all about entertainment, authenticity, giving up control, recalibrating marketers tolerance to risk and using the power of networks.

Jones Soda is a good example of a brand that has given up control, by letting users create their own bottle labels.

One of the biggest shifts that’s part of Dave’s presentation is the role of companies that own and manage these brands. He says companies need to think like Venture Capitalists, who bet on many ideas and are willing to have a blockbuster or two and many failures.

Of the other examples he quotes are P&Gs own, BeingGirl portal that’s now operational in 27 countries. Youth travel site STA Travel . Tween Fiction series MacKenzie Blue, that was created by a buzz marketing group for Harper Collins. Nike’s work with graffiti artists and their ID store.

Facebook Forces A Rate Change

Nigel Hollis at the Millward brown Blog has an interesting post on how a small student protest on Facebook forced a bank, HSBC, to climb down on a rate increase. The point he makes is not so much that some 6,500 protesters on a social networking site could force a bank to do a climb down. His team at Millward Brown did a quick poll in their offices among new graduates, which showed that only 4% of them had heard of the protest through Facebook itself. While almost nine times as many – 35% – had heard about it through traditional news media. The rest, in the majority, were unaware of the issue. So while the Facebook revolt was a catalyst for the wider news coverage, it was the latter, the traditional media outlets, which really caused HSBC to take notice. Nigel concludes that social networks are a great place to seed marketing campaigns, but to get them to flourish you will need to add a good dose of traditional media coverage. We think there is another little thing that maybe worth noting. That anything that happens on Facebook right now is worth talking about. Just like Second Life had all the buzz a few months, right now it’s Facebook time. Read the whole post here.

Managing Brands On The Web

One of the harsh realities of living on the web is that companies can no longer talk at their customers. As Walmart recently found out when they launched the Roommate Style Match group on Facebook. Some 1,000 members joined. The idea was to market dorm furnishings to college-age audiences, but several hundred vehement comments surfaced about Wal-Mart’s labor practices, hijacking the brand’s message. BusinessWeek recently ran a day long session with IDEO and a bunch of marketing managers to discuss how best to use social media as part of the overall branding message. The article talks about a blogger, who complained about a fake North Face fleece jacket bought on eBay. Today, readers exchange anecdotes about North Face products on his blog—and, he says, the company’s counterfeit team points customers to his site, turning a potential brand-damaging consumer into an ally. The problems that brand will face with real people writing real stories of brands online is a big one indeed. Even in India, sites like and have become channels where people openly discuss issues or great experiences they have had with brands. Searching for Eureka Forbes on Google bought up real user views from users on mouthshut and complaintsboard. Want to work in an hot, emerging industry? How about one that helps brands manage their image online? Link to the BusinessWeek article.

Global Branding Problems

Even as banks chase the benefits of higher share prices, innovation and better efficiencies, one problem of having big, global advertising campaigns, The Banker Magazine feels, is these campaigns very rarely affect relevant to local issues. Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer at Landor Associates, speaking for the article says that there is research to prove that most retail banking customers around the world are largely unimpressed with grand advertising claims about global resources. These claims tend to be irrelevant to their personal banking needs and potentially even negative, implying ‘too big to pay attention to me’. The article ends with an unwitting incident that occurred to Goldman Sachs recently. On February 22, the Financial Times ran a front-page story on how the co-presidents of Goldman Sachs each pocketed about $53m in cash and stock following a record 2006 performance. A few pages on, the bank ran a large advertisement about how it was helping to develop capital market instruments to fund immunisation programmes in 70 of the world’s poorest countries. Read the full article.

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