Alternative marketing thinking


Archive for the category “Loyalty”

Dear Nike, I am not a consumer…

I have been a Nike fan forever.

Just looked in the shoe rack and there are 5 pairs of Nikes of varying vintage there. I wear Nikes for work and play, my kids wear Nikes to school. Recently a pair that I use for my morning walk lost a rubber padding on the sole. So being a fan, I thought why not write to the company whose products I so love.

The email id put me off a bit. “ While I do understand where the word comes from, I never think of myself as a consumer of anything. In Nike’s case, I am a fan, a believer, an advocate and more. I have a poster pinned up in my head from an old Nike campaign that goads me every morning, to wake up and run. It reads, “Either you ran today, or you didn’t”.

If I have to get in touch with Nike, alas, I have to come under the nomenclature “consumer”. I want to be a fan, perhaps a team member, a co-runner…

But I am only a consumer in their books. They have a section on their website under a link called consumer care policies. Care is a better word though. Policies, terrible…

All of this put a bit of doubt in my mind about my relationship with Nike, and since the mail was formatted, I shot it out.

Promptly comes an auto response from the server.

“Dear sender”

My relationship with Nike is coming apart 😦

P.S. To be fair to Nike. I did get my shoes repaired for free at the local Nike store.


Driving loyalty through customer experience

Most companies you ask want to run a loyalty program of some kind. If only things were this easy. At DestinationCRM Christopher Musico seems to have the answer. “Want customer loyalty ?”, he asks, “improve customer experience is his answer”. He quotes recent Forrester studies that co-related customer loyalty and customer experience. While the association of the two may sound like a no brainer, Forester analyst Bruce Timkin, who was leading of one of the studies, says that no quantifiable numbers had ever reinforced the connection. Read more in DestinationCRM.

Bank Of Twitter

Bank of America becomes yet another bank to embrace Twitter with a customer service stream. Manned by customer relations specialist David Knapp, customers can tweet him if they have problems with their accounts or general questions. Wachovia, which in August started an account to seek out and serve customers on this micro blogging platform, now has over a thousand followers. While some banks have active twitter accounts, there are others who have created accounts and not followed up on it. Read more in Finextra.

Do you have a customer experience management checklist?

1 to 1 Marketing Editor Ginger Conlon was at Strativity Group’s two-day customer experience management (CEM) certification course and came away with a list of things to do for companies looking to make CEM a part of their DNA. She suggest that companies value customer not from a market share perspective, but from a relationship perspective. “How many unprofitable customers”, she asks, “are you doing business with in the name of market share?” A one-size-fits-all is the enemy of any customer-centricity program. And unfortunately for many companies, it’s the prospect not the customer who’s king. When companies are asking customers to be loyal to them, they have to be ready to reciprocate. One of the interesting examples she cites is that of Apple and iPod, when they launched the device, they also made iTunes available–in other words, a complete customer experience: a device, software, legal downloads, and more. Apple was never in the music business, but they had to re-imagine the music business so that they could become the dominant player in the device market. So, when considering what more your organization can do, ask yourself, “Are there mature and tired markets, or just tired executives? She also suggests that for companies to roll out successful CEM programs, they need to listen to customers, and to ensure that every employee in these companies learn that customers are their most valuable asset. Read more on the 1 to 1 blog.

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.

Recession Marketing Strategies

Neil Steward has some advice for people looking for ways to beat recession blues. Here are the two best tips that we picked out of his list of seven.

Find ways to engage in conversation with your heavy users and fanatical consumers. More than ever, your brand’s stalkers are going to help you spread the word.

Get uber-focused on your goals. If your marketing tactics aren’t directly affecting your core business objectives in a positive way, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

The full list is here.

What Next For Obama’s 3 Million Database?

If you were one of the 3 million who received an e-mail or text message from the president-elect right before his acceptance speech in Grant Park thanking you for your support, you know that his outreach/marketing efforts and use of that database won’t end with his election.

Barack Obama and his marketing machine achieved unprecedented success in their use of direct/database marketing for a politician.

“We have a lot of work to do to get our country back on track, and I’ll be in touch soon about what comes next,” the personalized message from Mr. Obama read.

As effective as the database was during the election, many direct-marketing professionals said it can be even more important during his presidency.

Read more about how Obama could use Direct Marketing, his database and social networking during his presidency, from an Adage article….

Update: The first steps in engaging with people arounbd the world has already been sown, with a Change site

Rules Of Word Of Mouth. WOMMA’S Guide To Better Influencer Marketing

The Influencer marketing handbook from Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). Just the tool marketing and advertising professionals need at the time when more and more brands are trying to harvest the power of word of mouth.

The book which has been in the works for the past year is an attempt at understanding, defining, implementing and measuring word of mouth marketing programs. The handbook, available online on the WOMMA site, aims to provide practitioners of word of mouth marketing with the following information:

• Definition of an influencer and influencer marketing
• Types of influencers
• Methods to engage and thank influencers
• Guidelines for influencer self-regulation
• Bibliography of influencer communication research and practice.

The handbook looks at influencers from a historic perspective and discovers that the concept has been around for decades. As early as 1955 Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz wrote about it in their book, Personal Influence (Google Books link).

Their concept, still relevant today, is that some people have a disproportionate degree of influence on others and can be effective communications channels.

The WOMMA document divides influencers into five little groups, people with formal authority, like people in government who have the authority to make and implement laws that can change things around. The second bunch of people who can exert large amount of influence are experts and academics. Members of the media, media elite as WOMMA calls them are the third set of people who wield very large influence on subject matters they write about. Cultural elite make up the next group. Celebrities, musicians, artists and others who have their universe of followers. The final group are those WOMMA calls socially connected people with large number of friends in their social circles – Mavens – as Malcolm Gladwell has categorized them in his book The Tipping Point.

In the next chapter of the guidebook, WOMMA has laid out a bunch of simple, self regulating guidelines for the practitioners of word of mouth programs. From being honest with ideas that are circulated around in word of mouth networks, to have a program that listens, to respecting the rights of influencers, to asking influencers to be transparent about the programs they participate in, building respectful relationships with influencers, providing incentives for participating in brand programs and finally to thank participants of such activities.

The handbook has a final chapter on how to work effectively with influencers. Where once again WOMMA suggest that we as marketers and advertisers need to thank and engage with key influencers from time to time.

Here is a link to the handbook in full.

Moving on John Bell at the Digital Influence Mapping Project talks about the importance of word of mouth measurement in a recession.

And this study from word of moth specialists, Keller Fay group on America’s most talked about brands.

Understanding The Real Value Of Brands. Comparing The Best In Class Measuring Tools.

It is in downtime times like these that the true value of brands start to get questioned. Managers and marketers start to look at ROI numbers and how they are delivering for the brands they own.

Jonathan Knowles of brand consultancy Wolff Olins has a detailed post on the state of brand measurement and draws our attention to some of the most well established brand measurement tools. He lists out two kinds of outcomes when it comes to measuring brand equity.

He writes
There are two promising candidates for how this equity can be measured:
>> The first type of approach measures equity in terms of “outcomes,” such as the extent to which customers are prepared to stake their personal or professional
reputation behind a brand by recommending it to others or the price premium they
are prepared to pay;
>> The second type of approach measures equity in terms of the scale and nature of
the utility that the brand delivers to customers.

In the first case the measurements tend to be simple, according to Knowles. As simple as asking people their “willingness to recommend to a friend”. Simply understand a brand’s net promoter score (number of people willing to recommend a brand) to understand the growth prospect of a brand. You can read more about this approach in the book The Loyalty Effect by Fried Reichheld here.

Another well worn approach is understanding how many people are “willing to pay a price premium” advocated by Columbia University Professor Donald Lehmann. You can read an excerpt of this approach as you scroll down.

While the author loves the simplicity of the “outcomes” approach, he thinks that these approaches are limited in their ability to provide insights into what really creates this equity.

He moves on to compare the second lot of measurement tools. Ones that try to identify the size, scale and sources of equity. These well established tools include EquityEngine from Research International, EquityBuilder from Ipsos, Y&R’s BrandAsset Valuator, Brand Equity Model from Kevin Lane Keller, Brand Dynamics pyramid from Millward Brown and WinningBrands from AC Nielsen.

Jonathan Knowles concludes: Of potentially greater importance than a credible ROI model for marketers is the development of a robust methodology for defining and measuring brand equity in a way that meets the financial requirement for an asset, namely that it represents a source of incremental cash flow over time. This means that the focus needs to be on the metrics that capture and explain customer behavior, not simply customer attitudes. Such a measure of brand equity will represent, to quote Tim Ambler of the London Business School, “a reservoir of cash flow, earned but not yet released to the income statement.

Read the article in full here.

Designing A President

Cool Hunting has put together a piece that looks at how supporters of Democratic presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, have voluntarily come together to create a series of ideas that they believe positively help their candidate win the battle for the White House. The story is reproduced here in full.

Of the many history-making aspects of Obama’s run for President, the art and design that’s come out of it isn’t insignificant. From the identity of the campaign itself to Shepard Fairey’s pioneering grassroots poster, the Obama brand has taken on a life of its own. Naturally, the internet is fertile ground for expressing support and Facebook groups, websites for creating custom logos and even an iPhone app have all popped up in recent days. In the interest of bi-partisanship, we looked for similar examples supporting McCain but came up short. Send us tips if you find anything by following the contact link at the bottom of the page.

Martin Schoeller: Barack Obama
The consistently delightful crew at Hasted Hunt Gallery came up with a way to support their choice of presidential candidate, providing all of us the opportunity to purchase some great art at a great price. Working in conjunction with photographer Martin Schoeller, the gallery produced an edition of Schoeller’s stylistic portrait of Barack Obama. Typical of Schoeller’s immediately recognizable style, the image is brightly lit and tightly cropped.

The 11”x14” print is available for only $250 in an edition of 500, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Obama campaign. For more information, contact the gallery by calling +1 212 627 0006 or emailing info [at] hastedhunt [dot] com. — Jonah Samson.

Facilitating those who want their online identity to be consistent with their politics, Logobama is a website that allows users to easily create their own custom Obama logo by uploading a picture that you can re-size and position within the sun shape. Trick it out by choosing colors from a pre-approved palette and choose from a range of sizes that the program generates.

Obamatize your Profile Pic for October Facebook Group
There’s a glut of Facebook groups both in support of and against Obama but we like the simple premise of Obamatizing your page and some of the pics, like the Grateful Dead and Kiss mash-ups, are genius.

Obama ’08 iPhone Application
Finally a presidential candidate that is utilizing progressive technologies as a campaign tool, Obama’s iPhone Application “organizes and prioritizes your contacts by key battleground states, making it easy to reach out and make an impact quickly.” Available for download at iTunes. Image via Ben Smith’s Blog.

Jill Platner: Obama Collection
NYC-based jeweler created a line of jewelry “to show her suport for Obama’s message of hope and change.” The subtle sterling silver pieces include pins and lariat necklaces all handmade and all engraved with roughly-hewn letters spelling out “Obama” or “Obama Rocks.” Platner’s Obama accessories are available from her site.

Runway To Change
In an unprecedented move, the Obama campaign recently launched “Runway To Change“, a collection of clothing and accessories created by a cadre of big-name fashion designers. Like Pharrel’s tee that depicts Obama’s charisma graphically, Proenza Schoueler’s understated leather bracelet, the Wangster-worthy racerback by Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs’ button totebag. Needless to say, all proceeds support the campaign.

Trollbäck: Buttons for Barack
From the creative studio Trollbäck, these buttons are as clever as they are good-looking. There are four sets with each Trollbäck designer responsible for a button — unfortunately it seems like you probably have to know one of those designers to get your hands on one but you can see larger images on their site.

Obama Baggus
Silkscreened with a greyscale image of Barack that pretty much says it all, the Baggus work for those (like me) who just can’t quite see themselves wearing any endorsement across their chest. Plus they have that punk DIY appeal that seems particularly fitting given the spirit of the campaign.

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