To be or not to be digital

Advertising Age has an article on their site stating (based on Forrester Research) that marketing budgets are moving from non-digital to digital. As a fact this may be correct, but the point is that these choices aren’t being made for the sake of technology but because channels are measurable in terms of ROI. Here is the link to my comment.

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Twittering Away Time

Twittering Away Time & Money | MarketingNPV

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Putting customers first

This is a post to all native Dutch speakers. Here in Holland we’ve got a new radioshow about how organizations do (not) focus on their customers.

BNR Nieuwsradio is sinds vorige week in de ether  met “De grote klantenshow”. In de eerste uitzending (tevens als podcast nog te beluisteren) waren te gast Will Wurtz, Egbert Jan van Bel en Ruud Huitenga, marketingmanager van Jumbo supermarkten.

Wat nog niet aan de orde is geweest is de koppeling tussen klanten en de winstgevendheid van organisaties. Is dat de sleutel die nog een tijdje verborgen blijft? Want dan kunnen we echt spannende discussies gaan krijgen. Voorlopig blijf ik zeer nieuwsgierig en ben blij dat door een klassiek medium als radio dit onderwerp bij een grotere groep mensen over het voetlicht wordt gebracht.

‘De klant moet weer centraal staan’, is het adagium van menig ondernemer in reactie op de huidige crisistijd. In dit programma houdt BNR de vinger aan de pols bij ondernemend Nederland.
Hoe klantgericht zijn zij? We weten allemaal hoe prettig het is om als klant goed geholpen te worden, maar waarom lukt het de bedrijven waarin we werken vaak niet?

De grote BNR klantenshow gaat over het evenwicht tussen de klant gelukkig maken en tegelijkertijd winst maken. Dit is niet het zoveelste programma waarin consumentleed centraal staat, maar een programma dat juist ook vanuit het perspectief van een organisatie de relatie tussen klanten en aanbieders van producten en diensten onder de loep neemt.

Never the twine of thinking, saying, doing shall…

Last week I read this interesting post by Luis García de la Fuente at his blog titled “Why Social Media May Never Work as a marketing channel.”

He cites the following passage from a post at Opposableplanets.com :

In the age of social networks we find ourselves coming under a vast grid of surveillance – of permanent visibility. The routine self-reporting of what we are doing, reading, thinking via status updates makes our every action and location visible to the crowd. This visibility has a normative effect on behavior (in other words we conform our behavior and/or our speech about that behavior when we know we are being observed).

and follows up with this questioning:

That´s exactly what I think. And that´s because many marketing studies and surveys doesn´t work properly: people know they are being observed, so they say what they think they are expected to say.

What part of social media conversations or blogs are really spontaneous (that means original, and therefore valuable) and what part are just ‘mirrors’ in front of mirrors…???

Initially I agree that using Social Media has a normative effect on our behavior and that it is always very hard to really know the customer through market research and questionnaires. In general customers don’t say what they do and they don’t do what they say.

This is something marketing always had to deal with since the fifties. Through trial and error one could create a proxy of what was working in the market, albeit with hindsight. But then along with lower prices on computers came databases in the eighties loaded with facts on customer behavior. One could now clearly see customers ‘walk their talk’ and ‘putting their money where their mouth is’. Variables (i.e. offerings, channels used, price)  in a marketing program could now be tested and measured very accurately.

The $64.000 question that still remained unanswered was to know what the customer will do tomorrow. To the rescue came the technology of datamining. By using complex algorithms it became possible to predict the future behavior of customers. The biggest benefit of this technology is that one does not have to think up the marketing variables that will have the most influence on the future (profitable!) behavior that marketers are looking for. Given the ROI variables of a marketing campaign the marketer gets a list of customers ranked by probability of response and a cut-off point on the list where profits peak. Each next address being used means profits diminish. Traditional marketers find this very hard to grasp. They are so hard-wired on sales, volume and share of market that they can not make the mind shift to thinking in profits and that there is an optimum where one should stop.

Now getting back to Luis’ post. From a business perspective it isn’t necessary (economically viable) anymore to understand your customers the way that was required in the ‘older’ days. On the other hand, from an intellectual standpoint (or for the fact that we are sociable animals that love to watch each other),  it remains interesting to get a grasp on society by pondering the questions of how and why. To be or not to be is still the question. Although being fake in these digital times seems to be an acceptable alternative as well.

Information R/evolution

One for the weekend to get back fresh on monday and rise to the occasion.

This video was made by Mike Wesh. “My videos explore mediated culture, seeking to merge the ideas of Media Ecology and Cultural Anthropology.” Check out his website at Kansas State University.

2009Q1 marketing budget 20% down: ROI time!!!

Forrester put out a report last week:

“Our (Forrester) Q1 2009 Global CMO Recession Online Survey reveals marketing leaders under pressure to deliver results.”

Whether they like it or not, the CMO’s are under a bad moon. Budgets are down seriously by 20% consequently leading to cost-cutting on mass media by 60%. Ouch!!!!

Special attention (bold emphasis by me) for Forrester’s first  recommendation (out of four):

1) The report showed renewed focus on return on investment measures for marketing — this is a healthy development that will help you post-recession. ROI analysis will eliminate, or at least minimize future marketing nonsense.

Before Marketing ROI there is creativity

Design the customer experience that the customer is willing to pay for.