Archive for December, 2009

Would you be worried if 40% of your customers used the wrong service

// December 24th, 2009 // No Comments » // Customer Service, General

postmanThe latest marketing campaign from the Royal Mail states that 40% of their customers currently select the wrong service; yes, they even want to advertise it.

The first question to ask is obviously, why?  why do so many customers not understand which service they require.

The Royal Mail’s answer to the problem is simple; each time you want to use a service visit your local branch, queue for 20 minutes and ask the counter staff for advice on which service is most suitable. Dooh ! do people have 20 minutes to wait and the desire to visit the branch each time they want anything. Is the postal service that complicated?

I’d be curious to find out why people use the wrong service. Is the information on services difficult to find? Could they not provide a simple leaflet on which service is right for you?

If Royal Mail truly believes that marketing communications do not change consumer behaviour, as their marketing Director Alex Batchelor believes, then why are they not practising what they preach. If they do believe that customer communication now changes brand behaviour, should they not listen to their customers and analyse why they are selecting the wrong service.

Royal Mail needs to change, not the customer !!!  - even Royal Mail  cannot change the market behaviour.


How not to run a railway

// December 21st, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Corporate Image

trainI travel to London each week, each time buying the same ticket, a super off peak return, but then I am told that if I get a super advance or advance it may be cheaper and the super off peak does not allow me to travel on all off peak trains; for that I’d need an off peak ticket.
The crux of the storey is simple…. I do not understand what the marketing people are thinking.

Do they not realise that their customers don’t have a clue about the bizarre ticketing system. I wonder if it is deliberate… I can only assume that they have worked out a business model which generates more money from confusing a small amount of customers than encouraging more people to use the railways.

Here is an idea. Why not make it really simple for passengers; at the very least publish lists showing which trains are off peak and which are super off peak in accessible places, like the company website   (yes, they do not have this information on their sites ! or anywhere else – how rediculous)

Or maybe simplify it further and have just one ticket, like an airline.

The truth of the matter is that the train operators do not understand what they are providing, either in terms of service or product. They do not understand the need to be customer focused to make things easy for the customers to understand.

The rail companies have a monopoly and because of this have failed to recognise or establish their competitive advantage. People use the railways because the they have to, not because they want to, I think that explains everything.

I think it comes down to Levitt’s marketing Myopia.


Best Use of Viral Marketing

// December 21st, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Advertising, Company management, Corporate Image, Customer Service, General, International Marketing, News Comment

I can’t help but applaud the genius of Sony in driving up music sales in the run up to Christmas, but at the same time can’t help to notice how suckered the public was into what appears to be a great marketing scam.

X-factor was sure to be number one at Christmas, after all the last 3 winners had all managed Christmas number one. So why not create a viral campaign praying on the hatred of X-factor in certain sectors of society and get them to buy, via download, another track which is also indirectly owned by Sony.

I think for this type of scan to work there are several crucial ingredients.
1. The cost of purchasing must be cheap… less than £2
2. The two products must be total opposites
3. There cannot be a direct link (as in this case)

4… those suckered have no idea that they are just funding a large company… like Sony.. although maybe some people knew, but did it anyway.

Maybe i am looking at this form a cynical standpoint. But deliberate or accidental it is excellent marketing.


Fun Social Marketing

// December 5th, 2009 // No Comments » // Social Marketing

There are some that realise for social marketing to work they must involve the consumer. There must be a reward for the behaviour change, rather than a penalty for non compliance.

I think these people have got it right….

Simply brilliant….



// December 4th, 2009 // No Comments » // Strategic Marketing

Every company has one; the girl in accounts or marketing who is simply there because she can’t find  a job anywhere else.

There is no help for these people, they have to go. End of.


Should Companies have personality tests?

// December 4th, 2009 // No Comments » // Personality, Strategic Marketing

People have personality tests for jobs, after all, personality is the foundation for everything we say or do..

So why should we not have corporate personality tests??

Companies are predominantly collections of people and resources. The company personality as seen by the customer must be similar to the personality of an individual. Ries and Trout would call it positioning, but I think it is far more than this, it is both external and internal. Perhaps a company personality test would show up the failings of the directors and that’s why they hate the idea so much.


Corporate Personality

// December 3rd, 2009 // No Comments » // Strategic Marketing

People have personalities, they are forged by our experiences, upbringing and influences such as our peers and parents. Our personalities influence everything about us. Clothes may make a man, but it is the personality that influences the choice of colour and style.

Companies also have personalities,  Google for example has a different personality to Yahoo, and British Airways has a different personality to Ryan air.


Sugar is Right

// December 2nd, 2009 // No Comments » // News Comment

“Moaning small business owners live in Disneyland” Sir Alan Sugar

The problem is simple, we have created a business environment where we encouraged  people to set up ‘me too’ companies.   We made it easy for people with no entrepreneurial skill to simply leave the company they worked for and set up against them.  The companies eventually fail from the lack of enterprise.

Where is all in innovation gone… companies need to innovate…

Companies who cannot get credit, cannot get credit because their business plans are floored, not because the banks are not lending.

Yes, small companies employ 6 out of every 10 private sector jobs and contribute over half of the UK’s GDP, but they must be sustainable over the long term.  The federation of small business (FSB) needs to educate small businesses of the need to market and be different, not ‘me too’


Murdoch (& Microsoft) vs. Google

// December 1st, 2009 // No Comments » // News Comment

I find this story somewhat bazaar. Even the behemoth that is News Corp. cannot change the internet; what is Murdoch thinking ?

Many think the same way,  they disagree with the buyer power leveraged by the internet and seek to change it, rather than embrace it.  Google understands the internet, it understands that buyers have the power and seeks to fulfil their  needs.  Murdoch is angry that people aren’t visiting his sites, but instead chose to read snippets selected by Google; Google benefits from free news as well as the advertising revenue from banners placed on its news site.

I can understand why Murdoch is angry, Google is gaining at the expense of News Corp, but blocking the news from Google is not the answer.  News Corp must understand why the Google site is more popular than their own.  They must think of creative ways of improving their sites so that visitors actually want to vis it them.  Google is only able to make money because News Corp. has nothing different to any other news website.