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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

It’s not uncommon to find ‘experts’ go so wrong in their trend predictions, but to freely admit it in ‘print’ and re-calibrate oneself is not.

Ask any retailing expert, guru or know-it-all worth their weight in consulting fees and they will all tell you the same thing: the future of physical stores rests with “experiential” formats that present shoppers with an immersive atmosphere that can’t be replicated online. But what happens when they are wrong? Over the past year or so, two of the most high-profile new retail startups in the country – Pirch in the kitchen and bath business and TreeHouse which was billed as the green home improvement store — have either shut their doors completely or drastically scaled back their operations. Each was considered by all manner of retail observers (including yours truly) as the poster child for the future of retailing, yet each failed to achieve success. And somewhere in the telling of these two tales lie some lessons for other retailers trying to sort out how to keep all those physical doors open.

The retail guru Warren Shoulbergwho ‘loved Pirch and TreeHouse…and said so to anybody who asked‘ is reassessing the retail scene of the ‘experiential’ kind in his recent blog post. What is best about his blog: his posts are short, readable in minutes affording an easy peek into an expert’s mind. And, I thought, they have applicability far beyond retail.

Read his crisp insight here.

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“Good service design is important for the overall user experience. Yet, it is even more important at the end of an experience (or exposure to a brand) due to the Peak-End Rule and Recency Effect. Placing the business needs before the user’s needs, breaking the user’s flow and not addressing a user’s need at the point of their need are primary culprits in designing a poor experience.”

Chris Kiess writes in his article “Service Design — How to Fail at the Checkout and Ruin Your User’s End Experience” appearing here.

While he talks about “8 ways I see retail merchants like Target, Walmart or Meijer fail in service design as it relates to the end of the customer experience and the final impression they make with consumers,” there’s an interesting snippet about a negative perception and how it could be turned around.

First about the perception:

“The biggest faux pas of superstores is having too many checkout registers and not enough cashiers. Most people would probably not be concerned during the holidays (or any other time) if they sauntered over to the checkout and there were ten cashiers at all ten registers with lines behind each. This would give the customer the illusion the store is busy and they are doing everything they can to help customers move through the checkout process. But, what generally happens instead is you walk up to the checkout area after finding everything you need and there are thirty registers with only five in service. This, I cannot understand. On the surface, it gives the impression the store could do more. After all, there are twenty-five more registers and surely they could open one or two more of them. It boggles the mind that a store would feel the need to install thirty checkout lanes and never use them all at one time.”

He suggests:

“This is largely about human perception. The simple fix is to cut the number of registers installed and use a greater percentage of them during busy times. This would give the impression (and shape perceptions) a greater effort is being employed to move people through the lines.”

A thought:

The suggestion could still leave at times a few unattended counters. So why not have counters that could be rolled in from back of the store on need basis and wheeled away when done? Just as many as needed, leaving no visibly unattended counters at any time.

Also could the stores do like the airlines doing in-line check-in with staff going around with their special devices? Of course, it needs some adaption to allow for handling the purchases in the cart.

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Image from here.

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Went to a well-known shop in Chennai this morning to buy sweets for Mumbai friends.

On the glass-door at the entrance was this message greeting customers:

Am given to twisting and turning in my mind messages leaping at me. Nice amusing game while it lasts. So it was this time too. Went up to the manager and suggested a word, just a word, may be added to the message to make it…

He thought for a moment and broke into a smile when it hit him. He said he’ll get it done which I doubt very much.

Anyway, here’s the suggestion made:

While welcoming all customers, new and old, light is now specially shone on the repeat customer – the most sought-after in any commerce. Hinting at habit forming?

Adds an engaging dash of intrigue: Why do they come again? Unique fare, good prices, courteous staff, nice ambiance…some tribal knowledge to flaunt when in company?

To think a mere adverb, usually trite and superfluous, could work a magic on the message!

The nice little game left me feeling good for a short while.

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Can teach Marketing/Advertising a trick or two!

From Jineesh Mathew:

jineesh mathew

 

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This is an edited extract from an interesting post on a topic much written about. from James Altucher, one of the few offering down-to-earth counsel that I like reading.

Cognitive biases are used in almost every sales campaign, business, marketing campaign, movie, news, relationship, negotiations, everything. Almost all of your interactions are dominated by biases and understanding them is helpful in standing up and seeing things for what they really are.

James takes up a rap song of all things and analyzes it for ideas how to be get better at persuasion!!

The song “Lose Yourself” is from the movie 8 Mile. Although I recommend it, you don’t have to see it to understand what I am about to write. I’ll give you everything you need to know.

Eminem is a genius at sales and competition and he shows it in one scene in the movie. A scene I will break down for you line by line so you will know everything there is to know about sales, cognitive bias, and defeating your competition.

First, here’s all you need to know about the movie:

Eminem is a poor, no-collar, white-trash guy living in a trailer park. He’s beaten on, works crappy jobs, gets betrayed, etc. But he lives to rap and break out somehow.

In the first scene he is having a “battle” against another rapper and he chokes. He gives up without saying a word. He’s known throughout the movie as someone who chokes under pressure and he seems doomed for failure.

Until he chooses himself.

The scene I will show you and then break down is the final battle in the movie. He’s the only white guy and the entire audience is black. He’s up against the reigning champion that the audience loves.

He wins the battle and I will show you how. With his techniques you can go up against any competition.

After he wins it, he can go on to do anything he wants. To win any battles. To even run the battles each week. But he walks off because he’s going to do his own thing. He chooses himself. The movie is autobiographical. 300 million records later he is the most successful rapper in history.

Here is the scene (8.55 mins) with explanatory subtitles:

 

In case of a problem playing it here, it may also be viewed on YouTube.

James also generously provides for supplementary reading here.

Also helps to know if you wish to do all you can in a competitive situation. For instance, you could show your competition as not in the prestigious ‘313’ group (quite the opposite of its negative connotation in the clip!)…

All in all a great effort, so effective in laying it bare for us in the shortest possible way. Thanks, James.

Of course, there are tomes on the subject to read if you so wish.

 

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words matter more than you would know, says Jack Dean – he should know from his extensive experience over the years, sitting on both sides of the table.

NightingaleCXO

Though he talks about B2B marketers, obviously it applies to other segments too. Excerpts from his article appearing here:

Have you ever noticed that the words and phrases used by CXO Buyers are somehow different? Their language is different. Their conversations are different. More formal, more direct, more reserved.

I don’t have studies or survey data to support what I’m about to say, but I know with certainty, having been a CXO Buyer influenced by them, that WORDS MATTER. When I was sitting on the other side of the desk as a CXO Buyer (and now during role play conversations in sales training workshops), I used the word choices of B2B marketers as a reliable predictor of their character and professionalism.

Of course, there are other aspects of personal character that are continuously being observed by CXO Buyers (e.g. like how you are dressed, how you treat your colleagues, what you say about your competition, how you control your emotions), but your word choices are, in my opinion, the most important predictor of character and professionalism…

If you believe that you have good-to-great “business-appropriate” language skills, recognize that that capability is a potential competitive selling advantage. My best recommendation is to actively seek out opportunities to CONVERSE with customers, especially CXO Buyers. Phone calls are better than emails. Face-to-face conversations are better than PowerPoint PDFs.

You get the idea … “professionally” flaunt your communication capabilities in order to differentiate from your B2B marketing peers.

My advice is simply an extension of the quote, “Deal with the world the way it is, not the way you wish it to be”. Use your business language skills to your advantage.

 

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Source: Image from aircomfortchairs.com

 

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…where to spend the bucks!

A lightly edited excerpt from an article by Josh Elman appearing here. Though dated, the anecdote and the concept are still relevant, I thought. And for companies not merely in the product space. Here we go:

twitter-bird-white-on-blue

Pretty much every new app has the following problem: lots of people sign up but don’t stick around.

I frequently get asked what are benchmarks for retention after one day or one week. My answer tends to be the same for products in the early days:

Ignore the benchmarks. Find the patterns in the stories of people who do get your product. Figure out what converted them and got them so excited to keep using your product every day or every week. In the early days, your main focus should be to attract and create more and more of those “core users” who deeply use your product. Over time you can try to increase averages, but first, you just need a core and strong base.

Most people look too much at the “big data” and try to draw conclusions. In the early days of a product you have to talk to people. You need anecdotes much more than data. You could say The plural of anecdote is data.

To collect anecdotes, you have to talk to actual users. The best users to call are ones who can help you understand why they tried your product and what hooked them. I like to look for bouncebacks. Bouncebacks are users that have tried your product, bailed immediately and didn’t find it useful, came back to try again for some reason (at least 1 week later, or even better, 1 month later), and then got hooked.

The first step is to identify some bounceback users to call…

From these patterns, you can invest in revising your marketing and improving your product and onboarding. Revamp your messaging to focus more on the messages that brought people back and got them engaged. Update your product and onboarding to simplify whatever the users did the second time to get fully engaged…

We learned from early users that many of them signed up for Twitter and thought it was just a megaphone. When they had nothing to say, and didn’t otherwise understand the product they bailed. When they later heard about how valuable Twitter could be if they followed their reverend or the food truck that broadcasts its location every day, they came back and tried again. But this second time they specifically sought out people to follow and had a good experience. We rapidly rebuilt our onboarding to focus much more on following and finding the right people which caused significant increases in how many users were activated after signing up. We revised our messaging to talk much more about finding and following the right people on Twitter instead of talking about tweeting and broadcasting.

I recommend doing this exercise of interviewing new bounceback users every 6 months. You’ll learn a lot about how to keep improving your adoption and activation.

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Source: Image from publiclibrariesonline.org

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