Roy's Blog: Marketing

March 3, 2017

Marketers should appeal to the heart not the mind

We live in a product flogging world.

Products are pushed at us. Technology rains down on us through mass communications.

What businesses supply (as opposed to what we want) is jammed down our throats with the hope that we will bite-and-buy what they offer.

Today more than ever, however, purchase decisions are motivated by what people want and desire, not need.

People buy on the basis of what they yearn for and ache for; to achieve happiness in a world with pressure and stress on their lives.

Product flogging is intrusive and completely out of sync with this reality, and is a recipe to fail.

Happiness is driven by what we experience rather than what we consume in material goods. Fond memories of a family vacation are long-lasting. The new car is fun for a while but soon feels no different than just the one we just traded in.

This is a game-changer for product floggers. Rather than push features, technology and price, the challenge is to create broad-based appeals to the full spectrum of feelings that an individual has.

The marketer’s objective in this sense is to elicit a positive emotional response from the customer, rather than satisfy a consumer need.

“When people were asked to recall their most significant material purchase and their most significant experiential purchase over the past five years, they reported the experiential purchase brought them more joy and enduring satisfaction, and it was clearly ‘money well spent’ compared with the material purchase,” wrote Thomas Gilovich, Professor of Psychology, Cornell University in Determinants of Happiness.

Furthermore, experiences create more happiness than material goods because they are a personal expression of what we desire. They belong to us alone and no one else.

Memo to marketers: forsake your flogging ways and start creating personal experiences for your customers.

Keep Maya Angelou’s words in mind: “... people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The payback is long-term customer loyalty; the better they feel, the longer they stay.

Customer loyalty

These 3 steps will get you started.

1. Establish the EXPERIENCE CREATOR POSITION in marketing to augment in the standard product management role.
These are the experience packagers; the folks that integrate, brand and price the value elements necessary to deliver the complete experience that customers covet.

2. Include FEELINGS as a key element of marketing research. What experience would make someone happy, special and fulfilled? What does the person crave?

3. Measure the EMOTIONAL ELEMENT of your experience packages; “How did it make you feel?” not just “Did it meet your needs?”

The world is full of floggers.

If you want to make a difference and stand-out from the flogging herd, let experiences guide you.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 3.3.17 at 01:45 pm by Roy Osing
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February 20, 2017

The ONE way to create a memorable customer experience

There IS a secret ingredient to mixing a brew of remarkable customer experiences.

And it’s not just about your service strategy.

And it’s not just about the theory of customer behaviour.

So much is being written about how to build an effective customer experience strategy.

In fact advice and direction is “raining down” on organizations looking to establish “The Experience” as a competitive advantage.

Experience

Here’s my thinking.

I don’t think creating memories with an organization starts with strategy or study of consumer behaviour at all.

In fact I believe you can have a mediocre strategy and know sh*t about consumer behaviour theory and still deliver mind-blowing experiences.

The most common experience is created when two humans engage with one another. Yes, human-meets-technology creates an experience but it pales in comparison with the more frequent human interaction (I would argue in any event that the human - technology interaction should be modelled after the human - human one. It’s the benchmark that people use to set expectations).

The critical ingredient in human-to-human contact is emotion.

Does the server really care about taking care of the customer? Do they have the basic instinct and innate desire to serve others?

Because if they do, they will deliver crazy amazing experiences regardless of the specifics of the strategy.

Customer experience

These types of people would create dazzling experiences even if the strategy merely said “We intend to provide world class customer service” (YUK!).

“Head west” with your experience strategy but be obsessed with recruiting people who are born with the “caring virus”); who are “sick” with it and who naturally spread it to their colleagues.

Ask THEM how the human - technology interaction should look.

A pristine strategy without people who “love” people will go down in flames because execution is not an intellectual exercise; it’s achieved through acts of emotion on the frontline.

A vague strategy fuelled by human being lovers will deliver amazingness involuntarily.

P. S. And it’s NOT a training issue. You can’t train people to “love” other people. You can train ‘em to “grin” but that’s as far as it goes.

Just saying…

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.20.17 at 05:44 am by Roy Osing
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January 23, 2017

Once you create it how do you keep it? 7 factors that will sustain differentiation

A competitive advantage is hard enough to create; it’s even more difficult to keep.

It’s inevitable. Once you carve out your uniqueness in the market, the “competitive hordes” see it and copy what they like.

Everyone loves benchmarking the best, so once you step out and lead the pack, expect others to dissect what you’ve done and pick out their favourite morsel.

There is no preventing this. It’s one of the few things in business that CAN be predicted with certainty.

Once you’re “done” your work, it’s not over. You have to keep your feet moving.

You need to put in motion actions that will sustain your market position.

These 7 tactics will help.

1. Monitor the execution of your strategy monthly. Be obsessed with your performance. Dig into the revenue numbers. If you fall short, determine EXACTLY why. And then take immediate action to resolve (and monitor that).

2. Assess the value you provide. Is your value proposition still relevant? Are you continuing to address a real compelling need your target customer group has expressed?
Many companies have died by becoming complacent and assuming they continue to be relevant. They see margins decline and see it as a cost problem. It rarely is. It’s a revenue problem. They slash and burn their organization but spend no time assessing relevance.
They often cut out service and marketing capabilities that are sorely needed to rebound.

3. Create a strong social media presence to monitor what people are saying. Act immediately on any concerns raised over your performance.

4. Test your competitive claim with both customers and employees. Successful organizations have a clear statement of how they are different than their competitors. They answer the question “Why should I buy from YOU and not your competition?” in a compelling way.
Your positioning statement must meet the test of “Is it relevant?” (does it continue to address the high priority needs of the target group) and “Is it true?” (do you actually do what you claim?).

5. Stay close to your main competitors. Their actions in the market are useful in assessing if there are actions you need to take to sustain your momentum. Look for any activity they have had with your customers.

6. Continue to bear down on delivering memorable experiences for your customers. Competitive advantage is more about how people FEEL about you than the cleverness of your product.
“Emotional” experiences produce unforgettable memories which translate into your customers never wanting the exit door to find someone better.

Feel

7. Review your marketing plans and programs to ensure you are moving inexorably to “ME” and away from flogging to the masses. A focus on the individual drives you to create unique solutions for them personally. Catering to the masses dilutes your customer attention rate and your brand; heroes for people earns the right to do business with them for a long time.
Keep the move to “ME” going!

Driving your competitive stake in the ground is merely the beginning of a never ending journey of continual renewal.

Stay with it.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 1.23.17 at 04:49 am by Roy Osing
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January 6, 2017

Does “sameness” really kill?

BE DiFFERENT or be dead.

The implication is that if you’re NOT DiFFERENT, sooner or later you will be irrelevant and you will “die”.

Sameness kills.

The path to organizational death is predictable.

Sales revenue declines because the value proposition of the organization is limp; it has no distinctive substance.

People stop buying because the company’s offerings are no longer relevant; they no longer serve a compelling need. They lose their “edge” that was the original reason people bought from them and not their competition. Their product portfolio is now common and indistinguishable from that offered by others.

Customers migrate away, looking for more value for their money; to get their specific needs satisfied.

Price cutting is invoked as the salvation, believing that lower prices will increase sales volumes. Footnote: with a limp value proposition, driving prices down also drives revenue down. Most products in the commodity category are price elastic folks!

With revenues going south, management decrees that costs be reduced to preserve operating margins. Across-the-board cost cutting is ordered as a “balanced” approach which means customer serving functions get whacked; fewer frontline people are expected to handle increased volumes of calls (from the price reductions).

Customer service suffers.

Customers look for alternative suppliers. Degenerating service creates an immediate disloyalty response. Customers find it easy to switch suppliers since so many alternatives are in their faces; they are coveted by many other providers.

Revenues spiral downward; margins are squeezed; more costs are sliced from company operations; customers are casualties.

It’s a relentless cycle.

Leadership looks for a short term strategy to reverse the trend; they are forced to abandon a longer term growth view.

The organization looks to acquisitions as a “fast and easy” way to expand their customer base and bolster their revenue line. This process burns valuable time and people resources and is limited by financial capabilities due to shrinking margins and an unhealthy balance sheet.

Acquisition activities shift priorities away from fixing the @home value proposition issues to assessing potential acquisition candidates and determine how to integrate the winner into the buyer’s overall operations and culture.

Revenues continue to decline; confidence erodes.

The cycle becomes entrenched; the organization explores selling off assets to improve financial results.

No investments are made in solving the endemic value proposition issue they face.

It’s not a matter IF they will die; it’s a question of WHEN it will happen - how long can they hang on.

When customers start to leave, they are telling you that you are becoming irrelevant; you don’t have any uniqueness relative to your competitors.

You are the SAME as them.

Fix THAT problem and the revenue line will take care of itself.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 1.6.17 at 06:15 am by Roy Osing
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