Comments and observations on business, marketing and life: by Martin Donohoe

Tag: observations

‘Let us know what you think’

It might just be me, but increasing numbers of tv adverts have a strap line that includes something along the lines of ‘let us know what you think’ or ‘join in the debate at’. But for my money, any brand going out and asking consumers is kind of missing the point of social media and user engagement.

Take the current Kingsmill bread campaign for example, it’s positively cringeworthy. Forced examples of ‘Kingsmill Confessions’ are trotted out with an invitation to send in your confessions. I think most people would agree that the confessions to date smack of marketing invention versus true customer stories. If you go and visit the website, the confessions on there are simply boring. But to be fair, making mass-produced bread a buzz product is a particularly tall order! I do however love the same print on the footer of the site:

Whilst Kingsmill welcomes all confessions we would remind confessors that Kingsmill is a family-friendly site and anything that is deemed offensive will be deleted by the moderation team.

That seems to kill off the hope that there’ll be any truly interesting confessions…

In broad terms, the best social media campaigns have had at most, a slight push from a marketing team. If a product or service needs a multi-million campaign to get people to say something about it, then surely that means it isn’t remarkable or worthy of talking about in the consumer’s mind?

Bottom line, too much marketing department generated social media stands out like a beacon to the average consumer. Go and do something genuinely exciting or innovative and you won’t have to ask, cap in hand, ‘let us know what you think’.

Don’t forget the basics of (internet) marketing

A 12 month subscription to one of the well-known web marketing resource sites (Marketing Sherpa) came to an end a few weeks ago. Like many similar services, I’d found it useful but not so useful that I felt like renewing my membership – certainly not at the ‘full’ price anyway.

Existing customer = less attention

As I reviewed the value I felt that I’d got from this subscription, I realised that anecdotally at least, the amount of communication from the company had dropped off. This might be coincidental, but maybe not. It is common that so many companies will work very hard to win your business and then virtually ignore you once you’re signed up. I suppose it’s similar to the mobile phone networks who continually entice new customers with great offers and never improve existing customer contracts (although they do seem to do this now).

So first marketing point, maintain strong communications with existing customers, send them the occasional targeted, timely and relevant offer. As it approaches the end of their contract, maybe up the tempo of offers and reminders to get them to resubscribe. Remember build a relationship with your customer.

Hey remember us? We’re about to debit your card…

So having had no communication for seemingly a long time, an email arrives saying that to keep the same great service, we’ll debit your card for $xxx in 7 days – it’s great value. Maybe it is great value, but this process certainly wasn’t making me the customer feel valued.

Second marketing point, don’t take existing customers for granted or feel that they don’t need an offer or some other value.

Customer retention

I emailed the customer service team to say “thanks but no thanks” fully expecting that I’d get perhaps an inducement to stay, at the very least a ‘hey we’re sorry you want to leave’ message and an invitation to complete some sort of survey. What actually got was a one liner email “your subscription will not be renewed”. Concise? Yes. Blunt? Yes. The cutting edge of internet marketing in 2009? No!

Third marketing point, when you’re about to lose a customer at least try to win them back and failing that learn something from them by asking them why they are leaving and what you could do better and or differently.

Fourth and most important marketing point. Your company is your brand and needs to behave like it. If you are an internet marketing information source – you probably want to have the sharpest marketing and customer service that you can possibly have!

Perhaps it’s now time to give Marketing Profs or Econsultancy a try!

What does an email address say about you?

Two things have happened recently that made me think about this topic. I was reviewing the CV of a potential recruit. All appeared fine, the qualifications were good, but the email address was something along the lines of thebigdude@yahoomail.con – okay not exactly, but something

what makes a good email address?

what makes a good email address?

like that. This one small detail undermines everything else that is on the page.

But is isn’t just individuals that have odd looking email addresses. The second thing was seeing a van with an email address so long it almost ran off the side! I still see plenty of examples where what would otherwise appear to be switched on and professional businesses have free mail addresses or excruciatingly long URLs with lots of dashes in them.

Now, don’t get me wrong these services have their uses and like most people I have a gmail address and so on, but when presentation really counts why not sort out a decent url and address, especially if you are a small but professional business. Otherwise its the online equivalent of having a handwritten note as your shop’s signage.

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