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Why Marketing will Never be Replaced but What Every CMO Must Change

As businesses become more social, there have been a lot of articles about marketing. Some have spoken about the need for marketing and IT to get together, if not even merge in some way (See the Forbes article last month). Others have proclaimed the end of the CMO’s position altogether, including the infamous piece by IMD’s President Dominique Turpin last year “ The CMO is Dead ..… Welcome to the CCO”.

Then there have been even more articles challenging marketing to show their worth and suggesting metrics to prove their ROI (See  Fournaise 2011 study of 600 CEOs or Forrester’s Marketing Performance Management Survey). The fact that there have been so many different pieces on the topic over the last year or so, suggests to me that marketing is still vital for and extremely attractive to business, but that it is in desperate need of reinventing itself.

For this reason I thought I would start (or is it join?) the conversation about the future of marketing, by proposing what I think will and won’t change and what needs to, at least in my own opinion. I would love you to join the discussion by adding your own thoughts, ideas and comments in the box at the end of this post or on social media where I will be sharing it.

What will change

  • Marketing can no longer work alone in a silo; it needs to become more collaborative and more commercial or business oriented. It can no longer remain fuzzy and hide behind claims that its ROI is difficult to measure.
  • Underst anding customer service opportunitiesThe sales funnel will be (has already been) replaced by the purchase decision journey, which will be a multi-layered, flexible representation of the route to purchase. For more on this, read “ How Great Customer Service Leads to Great Customer Loyalty”.
  • Advertising and messaging TO the customer will be replaced by valuable information made available FOR the customer. In line with the longer sales journey and multiple online consultations, advertising will become more informative, more useful, more timely.
  • Local will no longer be geographic but “Native”. Whether it’s language, habits or interests, customers will be targeted on their similarities that will rarely, if ever, include geographical proximity.
  • Mobile web consulting will become the norm, so br and sites need to become adaptive. Content will aim to inform, educate and entertain first and foremost, rather than sell, and websites will become flexible and adaptive to the differing screens and customer needs.

What won’t change

  • The customer is still the king, but content joins the ranks in almost equal position, needing more respect and value, and less commoditisation. For a great post on this read “ 5 Ways Content Marketing Must Change in 2014”.
  • Recommendations will remain a vital part of choice and decision-making, but they will no longer come from just friends and family. They will come from organised collection – think TripAdvisor or Angie’s List – or from (self) proclaimed experts through their Blog posts and faithful followers.
  • Customer (consumer) underst anding remains vital and in fact the need for underst anding will even increase as customers will be in constant evolution.

What must change

  • We are all swamped with messages and information and yet – perhaps because of this – our attention span is declining. Messaging must become shorter and simpler as people use headlines to decide whether or not to stick around.
  • In addition to the increased need for informative content, it will need to engage as well as (or is it more than?) inform. Storytelling will become an essential skill for marketers, both internally and externally.
  • Wearable technology will totally change our where and when decisions of messaging. The customer will not only be in charge of what messages are received but when to be “visible” to receive them.
  • The old marketing funnel to advocacyHaving changed the sales funnel to a path to purchase, the usual loyalty funnel no longer works. The simple path from awareness to loyalty will be replaced by a constant and consistent battle for trust. What’s more it will never be truly “won” as customers continue to be fascinated by novelty.
  • Marketing can no longer depend on creativity alone. It won’t be enough, as if it ever was, and marketers will need to get (even more?) comfortable with their BigData and its usage. Customer underst anding will come from multiple sources and market researchers will become underst anding analysts responsible for turning the unstoppable flow of information into the organisation, into palatable morsels of digestible stories.

One final word about the future of marketing. Already in September, Forbes published an article entitled “ The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends that will Dominate 2014”. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you give it a quick read, as it makes a nice, complementary piece to this more general perspective.

As you can see from the above, a lot more will change than will remain constant, and even those will need adaptation to the new world of marketing. Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially if you are, or aspire to the CMO role. 

If you need help in adapting to the new world of marketing, we can help, so why not contact us here  and let’s discuss your needs?

C³Centricity uses images from Microsoft,  Dreamstime.com  and  Kozzi.com

What’s Keeping Marketers up at Night and Solutions to Help them Sleep

A recent study by Adobe shows that despite all the changes in marketing in recent years, the one thing that still keeps them (you?) up at night is reaching customers. If you think about it, this is somewhat surprising in today’s connected world; you would think that finding customers would be easier.

Having had many sleepless nights myself recently, but for very different reasons, I empathise with them and so thought I would propose some solutions to this and the other major causes of marketing nightmares.

Reaching Customers

In the past, contacting your customers was limited to (impersonal) traditional advertising, (hopefully personalised) call centers and the use of (often outdated) lists of names and addresses. Packaging was rarely thought of as a means of communication and in fact has only recently joined the realms of media. Check out How Communicating through Packaging is more Informative & Personal for more information on this.

A recent article in CIO showed 14 different ways to connect with customers, none of which were through advertising. They included social media, webinars, personal visits, the sales force and employees.

SOLUTION: With the wealth of opportunities to connect and customers more open to direct contact with br ands and organisations today, it is definitely worth reviewing which ones you are currently using. Far too many companies base their communications’ plans solely on last year’s document, whilst the world is changing and new opportunities are being presented every year, if not every month. Be more creative, unique and personal; your customers will love you for it.

Improving campaign effectiveness

Process wheelDespite increased opportunities to measure, it is still difficult for marketers to show the effectiveness of their campaigns. I believe this starts way before the airing of any advertising, since most marketers are still stuck in the ineffective habits of multi-concept developments and long, drawn-out, old-fashioned testing methods. This means that advertising agencies cost two or three times what they would if they were only working on one concept at a time. It also results in slower time to market, which further increases costs. No wonder marketing is being challenged on the total cost of advertising!

SOLUTION: Instead of working with advertising agencies to develop multiple concepts, often all the way to pre-airing readiness, try new methodologies which can help decision-making earlier in the process. PhaseOne has one such tool, a unique methodology that identifies the messages that customers will take away, which enables you to then develop the most promising concept. This saves resources of time, effort and money, which can then be spent on other things, including better metrics.It anyway makes sense to re-evaluate your own testing methods and development processes on a regaular basis, to see if they are still relevant today.

If you would like to hear more about the PhaseOne tool and see an example of its use, check out the recording of a joint webinar we just ran here.

Digital Distress

It’s hard to keep up with all the changes happening in marketing today, especially in the digital area, when you also have to concentrate on your day job. Being independent, I have the luxury of more time and less dem ands on it, which often means I can usually help marketers with what has become an important additional aspect of their jobs.

In the Adobe study, less than a half of those marketers actually responsible for digital marketing felt that they were highly proficient, and the others were even less confident (only 37% felt they were proficient). My take on this is that marketers are beginning to realise that they are ill-equipped for the personalisation needed to be effective in digital marketing.

This highlights the need for improved underst anding of the customer, something that was always needed but in today’s world of individualisation, any lack in this area becomes very evident.

If you would like to read more on targeting, check out “12 things you need to know about your target customer

 

SOLUTION: It is vital that marketers better understand their customers. This goes back to the basics of marketing and the number one action of getting to know your target audience. Whilst social media and the internet provide a wealth of information marketers still need to identify the segment most likely to be interested in what they have to offer. It is impossible to go after everyone and without this first filter, it makes underst anding online behaviour virtually impossible. Therefore, find out where and when your customers are online and only then review their behaviour.

Reaching customers with effective campaigns and underst anding digital media better are the three main concerns of today’s marketers. I hope the solutions I’ve shared have given you some ideas. Feel free to add your own comments below; I’d love to know what your own concerns are so that I can write about the topic in a forthcoming post. I look forward to hearing from you.

Need help in connecting with your own customers or in defining which segment to target? Let us help you catalyse your customer centricity; contact us here

C³Centricity used images from Adobe Dreamstime.com  and  Kozzi.com

What Martin Luther King & Apple have in Common: Inspiration & Excitement

The world’s press is full of references to Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech this week. This is because Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of one of the key moments in American civil rights history, even if these days the 28th August 1963 is better remembered for King’s speech than the March on Washington itself.

Some claim that the speech was in fact something of an afterthought and came about because one of his supporters supposedly whispered in his ear to “Tell them about your dream.” His speech inspired thous ands of people then and continues to do so even fifty years on. It also inspired me to write this post, although I need to paraphrase it slightly:

“I have a dream that one day this world will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all products are created equal”

Even altered they remain inspiring words indeed, but unfortunately, when it comes to innovation, successful new products are rarely created equal. Why then did I find my inspiration for this post in them? Because I believe that the main reason many new products don’t sell as expected, is because they are sold as such – as just new products!

Today’s consumer has so much choice that product benefits on their own rarely sell. Consumers dem and so much more. They ask that they are in fact sold a dream! An inspiration to believe in a better world for them and their families.

Apple logo brings inspiration
SOURCE: Apple.com

Does Apple sell just a computer, an MP3 player, a mobile phone? No, they sell creativity, excitement and individualism. I am not criticising their products, they are of course fantastic, but rather highlighting that even if their products are sometimes said to be better than their competitors, Apple is selling each one emotionally. They have found a way to build excitement, longing and love into each one of them. Who else has people camping out overnight to be amongst the first proud owners of their latest product? Apple has enabled each and every consumer to feel unique, special, privileged, an individual. And in this mass market world that we live in, this is certainly something that we all desire, dare I say crave?

So what can we learn from Martin Luther King and Apple in launching new products that will sell? Many things I am sure, but here are the first three that came to me:

  1. Inspire a dream – why will your customer’s life be better with your product or service, and I mean emotionally not just rationally? Describe and picture their future with your product or service in it, and make them crave it even before it is launched.
  2. Build emotion – make consumers excited by the launch; build anticipation, make the wait an integral  part of the sell, so that they will be lining up to buy it. Use tease campaigns, get press coverage, talk about it in interviews and on the TV weeks, even months before launch if you can. Forget fears of the competitionve; they know more than you think and often more than your own employees!
  3. Provide individualism – make consumers feel privileged to have bought it, whether this is through great after-sales service, automatic club membership, personalised offers or limited editions; even limiting distribution can work, although this needs to be done very cautiously, as it can have the opposite effect and disappoint rather than inflame the desired longing.

With so many new product failures today – I have heard anything from 80% to 95% – consumers have become blasé about them. They dem and more and better and rarely stay satisfied for long. This is why innovation has become a major part of business planning and success – or failure. Consumers know that if they are not immediately satisfied, there are many more opportunities out there in the market and new products to try. Building loyalty comes from connecting with your consumer on an emotional level, so that there is no comparison to competitive products and services, even if they are in reality very similar or cheaper at a rational level.

What other keys do you see to new product launch succcess today? What would you add to my starter for three? Do you have your own list? Please let me know if I have “inspired you emotionally as an individual” to comment here.

For more ideas on successful innovation, please check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/vision

Need help in reinventing your innovation to inspire, excite and delight your customers? Let us help you catalyse your customer centricity; contact us here

This post has been adapted from one that was publised on C3Centricity Dimensions on March 15th 2012

Where’s Home? Using Br and Source as a Competitive Advantage

Thanks to sc andals in many countries in the last few years, the global Food and Beverage industry has been forced to recognise that consumers want to know where products are made and from where their ingredients come.

Most US retail food stores are now required to inform consumers about the country of origin of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat. The final rule to implement country-of-origin labeling (COOL) took effect on March 16, 2009 there. Sales of prepared dishes containing beef dropped significantly in Europe earlier this year and this resulted in lower prices for wholesalers and eventually also for the farmers. According to Reuters, a recent poll run by Consumer Intelligence in the UK, showed that more than 65% of respondents said they trusted food labels less as a result of recent incidents, so in fact the whole food industry has been impacted.

This interest in sourcing is happening in other industries too, but rather than seeing these dem anding consumers as a challenge, you can answer their thirst for information and turn it into a competitive advantage.  To illustrate how you can do this for your br ands, here are a few br ands, including some of the global heavyweights,  that have done exactly this.

Beverages

Wine, alcohol and coffee have always been sold primarily on origin, because it has a significant impact on taste and consumers’ enjoyment of the products. However the br ands in these categories have usually been built upon their blending expertise or regional knowledge.

SOURCE: Nestle.com

Although tea has also used sourcing to differentiate itself, it is only recently, with the launch of Nestlé’s Special T that a br and has built itself based upon the country of origin of its ingredients. Special T offers teas from five regions of the world, Japan, China, India, Ceylon and South Africa and claims to propose to tea-lovers the same quality and ease of preparation as the very successfulNespresso system.

 

Electronics

Apple.com

This post was prompted in part by the latest, rather indulgent campaign of Apple. The company has been running a cross-media ad campaign with the sign-off “Our Signature“, to state and reinforce its core values. Whilst it cannot claim American sourcing, it has cleverly made an association with the US through their claim “Designed by Apple in California”.

Some, dare I say many, consumers will “hear” American and attribute a better image to the br and than they would with the reality of Asian sourcing (no criticism intended). The ad is also, at least in my opinion, a covert attack on Samsung’s iPhone-threatening Galaxy range whilst also responding to the growing dem and in many countries to repatriate labour from Asia.

Apple has responded to their customers’ need for information by turning a possible perceived negative (Asian sourcing) into a positive (Californian design). Very clever.

 

Cars

Renault logo

Certain industries have perceived best-in-class country associations; take French perfume, Egyptian cotton or Italian fashion. German cars have also been seen as the most robust and well made, at least in Europe, even if they are not always the most attractive in terms of design. The German br and Opel has used the German quality associations as their selling point for both their Corsa and Meriva cars for many years. Thecampaign is so popular that there have been many parodies made and posted on Youtube, including one by French manufacturer Renault. In the latter video, the seller presents his new Renault Mégane with a German accent and phrases, in the exact same style as in the Opel ad; quite amusing and extremely flattering for Opel.

 

How a br and can use COE

According to Wikipedia, the country-of-origin effect (COE) is a psychological effect which occurs when customers are unfamiliar with a product (quality) and the image of the product’s country of origin has a “halo effect” on the customers’ evaluation of the product itself. The country associated with the product may be the country of manufacture, place of assembly, or even just the country in which the company has its HQ. A positive country image may allow marketers to introduce new products while quickly gaining customer recognition and acceptance.

Where is your br and designed, made, or assembled; are your company headquarters in a country with a strong perception that could be used to improve the image of your br and? If so, then you can use it to great effect whilst also answering your customers’ need for more information. A real win-win.

Do you have any other great examples of br ands using the image perceptions of its br and’s country source? If so, please share them below, we’d all love to hear from you.

If you would like to know more about br anding, check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage

Need help in underst anding your br and image and equity or defining suitable metrics? Let us help you catalyse your customer centricity; contact us here.

How Important Is Differentiation In The Luxury Category?

It has been a few weeks since we last had a guest post on our site. For this reason, it was a pleasure for us to receive the following article from Angelo Ponzi, who is Director at C3Centricity‘s partner PhaseOne. His comments on the luxury industry and how to communicate to potential clients is illustrated with examples from the watch industry.

As a marketer, you know that different audience segments have different needs and motivations for making purchase decisions.  And, regardless of the amount of money your customer has in the bank, the decision process leading up to the purchase of an Omega is longer than the decision to purchase a Timex. 

Br ands selling to the affluent know that their marketing efforts need to be highly persuasive and that they need to differentiate themselves with not only design, quality and craftsmanship, but also price.

Examining a slice of the luxury market — watches — a recent article in WatchTime identified 60 br ands that spent more than $1 million on ads for their watch br ands in 2012, according to Kantar Media.   Rolex (often considered the optimal sign of luxury) topped the list with more than $52 million spent on advertising. And, according to Kantar Media, watch br ands spent more on U.S. advertising in 2012 than ever before.

 

The multiple reasons for luxury br and purchasing

You and I know, however, that media spend doesn’t necessarily translate to sales or a strong positioning of your br and among consumers the way you intended.  Marketing of a luxury br and is also different than marketing mass br ands.  Luxury br ands need to convince consumers that their br and is worth the extra money.  Consumers of luxury br ands tend to buy for a multitude of reasons, which can include perception and self-worth.  The desire to own luxury br ands could be based on the individual consumer’s need for high quality, exclusivity, craftsmanship, precision, innovation, recognition, status or even envy among their peers. Sticking with the watch category as a point of discussion, while there were huge advertising investments made by br ands to help them tell their stories, how does a luxury br and market itself differently from fashion br ands?  How do these br ands in different watch segments approach their communications so their customers identify with their preferred br and and see that it is a reflection of who they are or hope to be? Based on recent research conducted by PhaseOne among 16 high-end/luxury watch br ands across North America, Europe and Asia, we found that br ands tended to cluster into three segments, both creatively and by price:  Fashion Br ands, Personal Lifestyle Br ands, and Luxury Indulgence.

 

The three clusters of luxury watch communications

Fashion Br ands (e.g., Swatch, Guess) presented themselves through an expression of trends and style.  In their advertising, Fashion Br ands highlighted the aesthetics of the watch and its role as an accessory.  For br ands that clustered in Personal Lifestyle Br ands (e.g., Raymond Weil, Tissot), they tended to add more specific personal or lifestyle interests in their advertising, such as music and travel, as a way to build a connection with the intended audience.  And the communications by br ands that clustered into the Luxury Indulgence segment (e.g., Rolex, Patek Philippe) tended to focus on quality craftsmanship and design to imply exclusive status and indulgency in opulent luxury. What is of most interest is that a br and’s communication alone does not carve out the niche in which it clustered.  After all, if you take a Fashion br and and produce an ad that contains all of the visual and descriptor cues found in br ands in the Luxury Indulgence segment, it does not make that br and a luxury br and.  What the research confirmed is that price also plays a significant role and that not only did these 16 watch br ands cluster based on their br and attributes and personality, but on price as well.

 

The essential questions for positioning

Therefore, regardless of if you’re a Luxury, Lifestyle or Fashion br and looking to reinforce your current positioning or to move up or down into a new segment, you need to make sure you ask yourselves the right questions prior to making a significant investment.  Consider these as a starter:

#1 Determine the cluster in which you currently compete or want to compete.

#2. Conduct an analysis of each competitor’s communication in order to determine how they use visuals and/or text to reinforce their position.  What “cluster” cues are they using to reinforce their positioning?

#3. Determine what br and attributes you and your competitors currently own.

#4. Determine the br and attributes you would like to own.

#5. Develop a br and positioning by breaking down the rational and emotional aspects of your br and that you would like your consumer to reflect:

    • Rational:

i.     What does the product do for me?

ii.     How would I describe the product?

    • Emotional:

i.     How the br and makes me look?

ii.     How does the br and make me feel?

 #6. Test your concepts before rolling out your creative campaign to minimise your risk and ensure your messages are persuasive and clearly resonate with your target audience.

Keep in mind that br ands in a cluttered market struggle the most to clearly differentiate themselves, therefore consumers tend to select br ands they are familiar with or believe are the leaders.  Having a significant point of differentiation, especially in the luxury category, is key to becoming a category leader. To see the findings of PhaseOne’s study on luxury advertising, click to download the whitepaper, “Luxury Advertising: Is now the time to break the mould?

If you would like some more ideas on how to improve your own communications, check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage

Need help in taking your communications to the next level, or in better engaging with your customers? Let's discuss how we can help you catalyze your customer centricity; contact us here today.

C³Centricity uses images from  Dreamstime.com  and  Kozzi.com

Here’s how other Marketers make Social Media more Customer Centric

There is so much buzz around the uses and benefits of social media today that everyone is doing it; but are they doing it right? 

DreamGrow recently announced the Top 10 US Social Media sites, which showed huge gains for YouTube and LinkedIn and falls for Facebook and Twitter. Whilst these results are for the USA, when was the last time you looked at the latest statistics of the usage in your own market?

If your customers have changed their habits, then wouldn’t it make sense for you to do the same?

With that in mind, I came up with four steps to consider, for the continued improvement of your business from br and-centered to a more customer-centric one.

The success of most businesses depends upon building lasting relationships with their customers. Show them that you really value them; Connect regularly with them; Satisfy their needs and excite them with solutions to their problems. Social media is taking over many aspects of this from CRM (Customer Relationship Management) by offering more people more ways to voice their opinion, good or bad, about the products and services they have tried.

Here are four things to review when improving your customer centric use of social media:

#1 Define the fit with your marketing & communication plans

Social media as part of plansReview all the current forms of connection you have with your customers. Think about the direct contact via call centres, CRM activities, promotions, sponsorship events and websites, or indirect through retailers, advertising and market research. Then think about how social media platforms can be effectively integrated to better engage with your customers to complement these connections.

Platforms like Facebook or Twitter may offer fast and personal ways to get closer to your customers, but they do not have the same impact as your other forms of connection. Therefore identify precise roles for each media within your plan, and don’t add social media just because everyone is talking about it today.

#2 Identify where to engage with your target audience

customer centric Social media channels
Choose the channels that your customer uses

Next choose the most appropriate platform(s) for your target audience. Do they spend most time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube or another social platform? When did you last update the numbers? Have their habits changed? Continue to share valuable content via different social media channels and monitor the results. Which channels generate the most engagement with the content you share? Don’t expect your own br and websites to attract your customers without engagement on social platforms.

A leading CPG company which will remain anonymous but for which I have worked, found that more than two-thirds of their br and pages were being visited by less than 20 people per month! With Alexa, Google analytics and many other measurement sites available, there is no reason to continue to support sites that don’t deliver. Be ruthless and scrap those that don’t meet objectives. (you did set their objectives when you set them up, didn’t you?!)

#3 Listen to what they want to hear

customer centric companies listen to their customers
Learn to Listen to your customers

Every connection you make with your customers provides an opportunity for you to also ask questions or provide information back to them. This is particularly true with social media, where more people are likely to complain or ask questions than elsewhere, at least in developed markets. Although you may not like hearing negative comments about your products and services, it is better to find out and correct the issues quickly, than to discover the problem through falling sales.

To attract your customers to engage with you in social media, there has to be something in it for them. Therefore it is essential to ask yourself “what do they want to hear?” rather than “what do we want to tell them”.

 

#4 Discover when they are most engaged in social media

The right message must also be at the right timeSocial media provides virtually instantaneous contact with your customers, which means that you must always be open and ready to respond; they certainly expect it! (no you can’t continue to offer a 9-5, five days a week service – if in fact you ever really could!)

In addition, you need to discover what time of day your customers are most engaged in social media. That is when you will be posting and publishing your valuable information and suggestions. If you are doing business on a global scale, you’ll need different teams for each region. Gather smart data on a global and local scale to learn which parts of the day best support your engagement and customer centric approach.

These are a few ideas I came up with on adapting and using social media in your marketing and communications strategy. What other points are important to remember? Please share your thoughts and ideas below. 

If you would like to know more about connecting with your target customers, then please check out our website at: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage

Need help in better using social media? Then let us help you catalyze your customer centricity; contact us here

This post has been adapted and updated from one first published in July 2011 on MirrorYourself “The Social Media Coach to Launch Your Business”

C³Centricity uses images from  Dreamstime.com  and  Kozzi.com

How to Take Local Br ands to Global Success

I remember reading an article in the Financial Times last year that challenged companies to search for a new style of  marketer. They weren’t speaking about the latest need for marketers to be both creative and comfortable with data. They were actually referring to the growing need for marketers to st and up to the challenge of taking local br ands global. The marketer who underst ands when local specificities make sense and when they don’t. (Read the article here)

In this networked, global market in which we live, more and more successful local br ands are being groomed for global roll-out. What does it take to repeat success at the market level when you launch globally? Here are my five suggestions to help you:

1. Underst and the market

This is the basis of any new product launch and applies just as well to global roll-outs as it does to local developments. Today’s consumers are dem anding, so find out as much as possible about them, their rational needs but also their emotional desires, whether or not they are articulated. For global roll-outs, an additional information concerning the comparison of similarities and differences between the customers in the local and future markets must also be considered.

2. Underst and the category

What does the product st and for in the eyes of your customers? Do those in the new market have the same sensitivities as the ones in the local market where your product has met with success? Will the consumers in the new target market perceive the same benefits in the same way? If not, is this really a potential market, or are you just rolling-out there due to geographic proximity? I am still amazed how many organisations base their roll-out strategy based on geography rather than the customer!

3. Position based on a Human Truth

Maslow's hierarchy of needsOne of the similarities that brings all consumers together is their basic human needs. Think parenting and wanting the best for your children, used by Nestlé’s Nido and Unilever’s Omo / Persil. Think women and their frustration at not being considered as beautiful as the retouched models in their magazines, used by Unilever’s Dove. Think of men and their need to charm and seduce women, to affirm themselves, used by Lynx / Axe from – you’ve guessed it – Unilever. These are needs that can be found the world over and which can form the basis of a very successful roll-out communication strategy.

4. Can you use your local heritage?

Many countries and regions have strong, stereotyped images that can play to inherent qualities associated with certain product categories coming from them. Think French perfume, Swiss watches, Russian Vodka, Italian fashion, German or American cars, Japanese technology. If your br and has a strong positive association with local tradition or nationality, then make use of it.

5. Don’t (just) think regional

Just because countries are geographically close, doesn’t mean their populations are similar when it comes to category image and usage. When planning product roll-outs, consider how alike the consumers are in terms of values, usage and behaviour as well as category trends, before deciding on the order of country launches. This way you are more likely to be sensitive to and better prioritize the markets most open to the new product launch.

One final comment on global roll-outs. C3Centricity’s partner PhaseOne, wrote a guest post for us a couple of months ago on the risks of implementing global creative. As global communication experts, PhaseOne knows what it takes to succeed in taking communication global. It makes a great complement to this post and you can read it here: “Why Implementing Global Creative is Risky

Many companies have effectively rolled-out local successes to other countries in the region, if not the world, but many more have failed. What would you add to the list to increase the odds in favour of a regional or global roll-out? I would love to hear your thoughts.

If you would like to  know more about improving your br anding and communications, then please check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage/

Whenever you identify a need to better underst and and communicate with your current or future customers, then please contact us; we know we can help catalyze your customer centricity.

This post has been adapted from one that was first publised on C3Centricity Dimensions in January 2012

C³Centricity uses images from  Dreamstime.com  and  Kozzi.com

Five Ideas to Improve your Insight Development

Last week I spoke about updating your market research toolbox and how to review your metrics. This week I want to take the next logical step by turning the knowledge you gather into actionable insights.

Insights are the pot of gold that many businesses dream of but rarely find. Why is that? Are you one of them? If so then I have some ideas on how you can get better at developing insights.

#1. Insight doesn’t come from a single market research study

Management often thinks that insight is “just another word for market research”. I remember one of my previous CEOs saying exactly that to me just before he addressed the whole team at our annual conference; you can imagine what a panic I was in as he walked up to the mike!

Insights are tough to develop and are rarely, if ever, developed from a single piece of market research. Each market research project that is conducted should be designed to gather information in order to answer one or more questions. Whilst it may enable a business to make a more informed decision based upon the objectives, insight development is quite a different process.

Insight development involves integrating, analysing and synthesising all the data and information you have about a category or segment user, summarising it into knowledge and underst anding, and then developing the insight. All br ands should have (at least) one insight on which its image, personality and communication is built. For example

  • AXE (Lynx in UK): (young) men want to attract as many beautiful and sexy women as possible
  • UK anti-smoking: smokers don’t want to have to live with the guilt of having damaged a child’s health through their smoking

Insight development will provide the basis on which you will define the actions that are needed to change the behaviour of your target audience.

#2. Insight development is based upon a desired behavioural change

When sales, marketing or management look to change a category, segment or br and customer’s behaviour, it is with the objective of improving their business results. For instance:

  • From buying a competitive br and to purchasing yours
  • From using your services once a month, to once a week
  • Moving customers’ belief about your br and from a traditional to a more modern image
  • Changing customers’ perceptions about your value from expensive to good value for money

Because insights are based on a desired behavioural change, they usually contain an emotional element that is communicated through advertising. The emotion that is shown in the advertisement is more likely to resonate with customers, who are then motivated to take the desired action.

#3. Insight development needs more than Insight professionals

Although this may sound counter-productive, insights really do benefit from working from differing perspectives to get to that “ah-ha” moment, that many refer to. A deep underst anding of customers and their reasons for behaving in a certain way, comes from looking at all aspects of their lifestyle. If you only review the actual moment when they choose or use a product or service, it is highly unlikely that you will develop that deep underst anding. What happens before and afterwards also lead to that choice or that of their next purchase.

This is why it is important to work as a team when developing insights. Depending upon the issue or opportunity identified, the team can be made up of people from marketing, sales, trade marketing, production, packaging, advertising, innovation, distribution. And these people don’t necessarily need to work on the category in question alone; sometimes it is by taking ideas from different categories that real insights are developed.

#4. Insights are usually based on a human truth

The insights that resonate best with people are those that are based upon a human truth. A human truth is a statement that refers to human beings, irrespective of race, colour or creed. It is a powerful and compelling fact of attitudes and behaviour that is rooted in fundamental human values. It is a fact that is obvious when quoted, but is often ignored or forgotten in daily business. Human truths are linked to human needs and although questioned in some circles today, Maslow’s hierarchy is still seen as one of the most relevant sources of classification of human needs.

Examples of human truths include:

  • Parents want to protect their children
  • Men and women want to find love
  • Children want to be better than others

If you are struggling to find an insight, it can help to review the level of need of your target audience and see how your br and can respond to help answer it.

#5. Insights aren’t always category specific

Following on from the above points, it is particularly interesting that once found, an insight can be adapted to be used with different br ands. There are many examples of this happening, particularly amongst major FMCG / CPG companies.

Insight: Parents want to protect their children so that they grow up happy and healthy

  • Unilever’s Omo: shows that a good mother lets her child experiment and learn – even if this means getting dirty. If you don’t know their advertising, then check out one of their latest from this long-running campaign: Unilever Omo “Dirt is Good” ad on YouTube
  • Nestlé’s Nido: illustrates this need as a mother providing the nourishment for healthy growth which allows her children to explore the outside world safely. If you would like to see a typical advertisement, check it out on YouTube here. Interestingly, Nestlé has used this same insight to develop advertising for its bottled water in Asia and pet food in the Americas too.

Insight: Young women want to be appreciated for who they are ie not models

  • Unilever’s Dove was the first br and to recognise and benefit from this insight. Their famous Real Beauty campaign resonated so well with young women that many other br ands copied it, especially their Evolution film. Here is one of their more recent ads that I’m sure will give you goosebumps.
  • The Swiss Supermarket chain Migros has a store br and “I am” which uses the same insight across all the health and beauty products. Somewhat unusually, the br and name itself is based upon the same insight, and its advertising repeats it several times: “I am – what I am“.

So there you have them, the five ideas that I came up with to help you to develop better insights more easily. Although you probably already have your own process for creating them, I know from experience how hard it can be to find insights from all the information you gather. I hope this short article has assisted you in your search for those “golden nuggets”. Do share your own ideas for making insight development easier, I would love to hear from you.

For more information on Insight development, please check out our website here: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/underst anding

Do you need help developing or updating your own Insight development process? C3Centricity offers a 1-Day Catalyst session, where we work with your team to review and revitalise your own insight process, or to define one if you do not as yet have a proprietary one.

Contact us for an informal chat about it. No obligation, just INSPIRATION!

C³Centricity uses images from  Dreamstime.com  and  Kozzi.com

Creative Messaging for Competitive Advantage

Most companies have issues with their products at times. Often they don’t immediately correct them unless they are considered to be significant and could have a direct impact on sales.

You could argue that this will always be the case eventually, so better resolve them as soon as they are identified. Some companies however are creative enough to turn what others might see as an issue into a competitive advantage. Let me give you a couple of examples.

 

Pringles Freshness Seal

Most consumers associate bulging lids and packs with a product that has deteriorated in some way. This is not at all the case of Pringles, for which a bulging seal under the plastic cap is a sign of freshness apparently, or at least is a normal phenomenon.

What I love about the br and is that whereas in the past the seal’s surface was used for communicating promotions and competitions, it is now used to send a positive message to their consumers about this situation.

On a pack I recently bought the seal was printed with the words “Bursting with flavour”. How is that for making a positive out of what might have been perceived as a negative? I love it! It adds to the br and’s image and also to the taste and pleasure expectations for the consumer who is about to open the pack. I can imagine that this came directly out of consumer insights, to answer a query about why the seal was always bulging, which as I already mentioned would usually be associated with a product that had “gone off”.

 

Heinz Tomato Ketchup

Another br and which has recently started using the “Bursting with Flavour” tag on their pack is Heinz. However I am not sure whether it has the same impact as it does on Pringles. Heinz started inverting their ketchup bottles in 2003, because their product was so thick it took time to slide down the bottle and onto the plate. This resulted in impatient consumers banging the bottom of the bottle, leading to the product being shaken out in a burst of splashes, not only on the plate but the consumer and tablecloth too! Perhaps this is where they got the original idea for the slogan.

Whilst I admire Heinz for putting different, and usually very relevant, messages on their ketchup bottles, the lastest one I saw didn’t live up to the others in my opinion. Why? Because the product is now much thinner and slides easily when the bottleis upturned. In fact it is so thin it doesn’t even need to be turned upside down anymore. As for bursting with flavour; it might have been appropriate in the past, but not any longer for this thin sauce. Pity.

 

The strange taste of Marmite

In contrast to Heinz, another well-documented example of a product that converted an issue to its advantage, is that of Unilever’s Marmite. Marmite claims to be a nutritious savoury spread, although non-Brits would describe it more as a very strange tasting concoction. Even UK consumers are divided in their opinion of it; they either love it or hate and there is apparently no half-way sentiment here.

Marmite created a very successful campaign around this love / hate relationship with the product which has now become a social phenomenon, and this divide has even been emphasised in their advertising and on the web. In the UK they even sell Marmite flavoured food – chocolate and cashew nuts – as well as br anded T Shirts, Kitchenware, Books, Cooking, Merch andise and more. How would you like your consumers to pay their hard earned money not only for your products, but for br anded promotional goods too?

In 2011, Unilever took the love / hate relationship into the kitchen, by developing and sharing simple recipes using Marmite for people who hate to cook. Each commercial of the campaign, called “Haute Cuisine, Love Marmite Recipes” ends with the “u” in Haute being blocked by a jar of Marmite, making “Hate Cuisine” and continuing the love / hate theme with which Marmite has become associated. If you would like to see some of the ads from the campaign, you can find them  here  and their website is  www.marmite.co.uk .

These are just three examples of creative messaging but there are many more br ands that have turned a negative into a positive and made it an appealing competitive advantage. Does your br and have an issue and if so could you turn it into a strength? Do you have any other examples you can think of? I would love to hear about your ideas.

This post has been adapted from one first published on March 29th 2012

For more ideas on br anding check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage

C³Centricity uses images from Dreamstime.com and Kozzi.com

Is your Br and Worth Paying More for?

This week’s guest post is from C3Centricity partner PhaseOne. Terry Villines, their senior vice-president shares some of the learnings from analysing the marketing communications of thous ands of premium br ands. Whether you work in the Luxury Industry or not, wouldn’t you like your br and to be worth more?

Every product category has at least one – a br and that costs more than the competitors; a br and that, even though it costs more, is successful at building the business; a br and that has been successful at convincing their target that they have a premium offering and are worth the extra cost.

For example, Rolex is clearly seen as a more premium br and than Timex or Fossil, and consumers are willing to pay more money for a Rolex even though all of these br ands provide those who wear them with accurate time. 

How are br ands ableto convince audiences that they are worth paying more for – regardless of category?

PhaseOne has mined over 1,000 pieces of marketing communications to identify guiding principles for establishing a premium positioning.  The key is to:

“Credibly promise that consumers will get more of what they want most from the product, promising more benefit than competing br ands”

Six specific types of benefits were found among the messages PhaseOne analyzed.  The inclusion of these benefits was associated with strong Premium Positioning.

#1.  Product innovation – your br and brings an enhanced benefit or a new benefit to the category.

#2. Human Worth Factor –  by tapping into the target’s self-esteem, a br and communicates how  the target is worthy of the more costly br and – “I’m worth it / You’re worth it”

#3.  Unique Production Process – the way in which the product is made results in delivery of a more significant benefit.

#4. Premium imagery – associating the br and with other things that are also premium in nature.

#5. Higher performance than competing br ands.

#6. Endorsement by a credible authority.

Interestingly, some of those things that we have readily accepted as contributing to Premiumness did not prove to be effective:

  • Claiming superiority alone does not confer Premiumness.  Positioning a br and as superior does not equate to the br and being worth more.
  • Having an abundance of features or advantages does not make a product worth more.  Features and advantages may contribute to a Premium Positioning, but they are not sufficient to establish the positioning on their own.
  • Marketing messages that contain breakthrough creative elements and premium production techniques do not translate into Premium Positioning.  Such techniques can reinforce a Premium Positioning, but they cannot create it.

We’re confident that these benefits can be tapped for virtually any product / service category.  Yet, it is likely that the weighting / emphasis given to them will vary.  For example, in a just completed study of the advertising for 16 Luxury watch br ands, PhaseOne found most messages cluster into only 3 of the benefit clusters:

  1. Premium Imagery – br ands focus on the visual aesthetics and the watches role as a fashion accessory
  2. Human Worth Factor – br ands add a layer of specific personal or lifestyle interests to suggest for whom the br and is most appropriate
  3. Unique Production Process – br and communications emphasis that the watch is made of high quality materials with precise craftsmanship.

How do you see br ands in your category successfully convincing their customers that they are worth paying more for whether it be durable goods (auto to washing machines), packaged goods (confections to sodas) or services (Insurance to Dentistry)?

If you would like help from C3Centricity on improving the positioning or communications of your own Luxury br and, then please contact us, we know we can help. For more on br and positioning, please check our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage

Do you yourself work on a Premium br and or perhaps you did in the past? Were you using another type of benefit that didn’t work? Then please share your experience here. Of course, you can also share what worked too, if you are feeling really generous! We would love to hear from you.

10 Things your Customers won’t tell you

Customer centricity has many organisations buzzing in anticipation today. Everyone seems to be talking about it and saying how important it is to the success of their business. 

We are all trying to satisfy our customers as best we can, but all too often we continue to take our own perspective, instead of theirs. Here are ten things your customers wished you knew about them.

#1. I’m sometimes irrational

Don’t ask me why I do what I do. Sometimes I don’t even know why I do things myself! If you really want to underst and me, don’t ask me questions, be a part of my life to underst and things from my own personal perspective.

 

#2. I like gifts

Yes I know I won’t tell you I bought something because I saw it advertised, but the promise of a gift really does help. We never get enough gifts, especially as an adult. Even if I know it is not that special, it makes ME feel special on an otherwise ordinary day, so go on, give me an unexpected treat.

 

#3. I like advertising

Yes I know I tell you it doesn’t matter, but I really do like watching some ads on television. Especially if they make me laugh or tell me something I didn’t know, or entertain me. I will watch them and even more than once, so your br and name might just be in my head when I next go shopping.

 

#4. I don’t like being taken for a fool

I know prices are going up all the time, but don’t try and fool me by putting less and less in the pack whilst maintaining the same pack size and price. One day I’ll notice and I won’t be happy – at all!

 

#5. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver

Also, don’t try to fool me by promising something on the pack you can’t or don’t deliver. OK you need to make your product or service look appealing to me, but if you over-promise and under-deliver it will only make any negative feelings I might have become even stronger. Even if I buy once, it’s doubtful that I’ll buy again if you have disappointed me.

 

#6. I’m just not that into you

With very few exceptions that I am really passionate about, most products and services I buy satisfy a need that I am looking to fulfil. There are usually choices available to me, so don’t take my loyalty for granted. Every purchase is a decision for me, so make it easy by always satisfying my continually exp anding needs. If you don’t, one of your competitors can probably do just as good a job as you do.

 

#7. Don’t confuse me with statistics

Whether it is offering different pack sizes at differing prices, or calculating fat / sugar content by weight instead of calories, I check your maths with my smart-phone today. I believe I should get larger sizes for less money per gram, and lower fat / sugar content for less calorie intake. I will check your claims, so don’t play the numbers game with me.

 

#8. Be happy when I complain

If I complain about something it means I care. You should be happy that I care enough to actually tell you when I am dissatisfied. Make it easy for me to contact you, give me a choice of mediums and make damn sure you satisfy me completely when you listen and respond. I will not only take my business elsewhere if I am unhappy with your response, but will probably tell the whole world about it on social media too.

 

#9. Respect my ignorance

I like to know what you are offering me. What ingredients you use; where they come from; are they from sustainable sources; can I trust you? Give me the information I need, when I need it. Don’t bombard me with too much, or hide less positive things from me. Discuss with me as an equal, don’t talk down to me, after all I pay your wages.

 

#10. Be thankful I’m not satisfied

I know I may sometimes be a pain, but be thankful that I buy from you, tell you what I think of it and ask for more, better, larger, smaller etc etc. My need for constant change and improvements will challenge you to greater things and if you satisfy my rational needs and emotional desires, I might just stay loyal. Oh yes, and don’t believe everything I say; as I said in the beginning I can be irrational, so underst and not what I am saying, but what I mean by what I say.

What are your customers saying to you? Are you listening? No-one knows them better than they do themselves, even if they don’t know how to express what they are feeling / thinking in many cases. They might not always know what they want, but they can always tell you what they don’t want.

What have you heard lately? Please share the surprising comments your have listened to recently.

For more information on customers, how to connect and underst and them, please check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/

The 10 Laws of New Marketing

Earlier this week, I gave a short presentation to a group of top marketing and communications experts on the topic of new marketing. If you want to know what I shared about the new customer and what it will change for marketing, then read on.

The meeting was the second part of a series of talks on building great br ands and most of the presentations were from creative agencies and global br and builders. I had perhaps the less enviable task of speaking about the new dem ands on us all as marketing and communications experts, and the things we are going to have to consider because of the new environment in which we work.

Following the very lively discussion after my presentation, I realised that we could all do with revising the unspoken laws of marketing and communications to meet the desires of these new customers, so here are my ideas, with apologies to any resemblance to the original decalogue:

 

#1. You must not have any other customer but me

Customers want to be treated as individuals and although we marketers may be segmenting and communicating to target groups, we should always treat customerson a one-on-one, personalised basis whenever we can.

 

#2. You must not take yourself seriously

Sometimes we get so tied up in what we are doing and our perceived importance of it, that we forget that our communications are just one of a very large number that our customers will see in a day. How many? Well guestimates range from 250 to 20,000, but who knows? What is more important to underst and is that it is their resonance and emotional link to our customers that matters, not how much we like them.

 

#3. Do not misuse the name of your br and

Our br and means something to our customers and it is essential to underst and what that is; what personality it has and how it fits into our customers lives. Their loyalty builds an intimacy with br ands that they will protect ferociously if we try to make (too many) unwelcome changes. As examples take the infamous failed launch of New Coke, or Cailler’s experience when trying to revamp their packaging.

 

#4. Remember to never observe a day of rest

Our customers expect to be able to connect with us on their terms. This means whenever, wherever availability, with the exact information and answers they need at that particular time. Don’t miss the opportunities given to you by your customers to communicate, by doing it in the wrong way, place or time, or even worse, not being available at all.

 

#5. Honour your parent br and

Many br ands in your portfolio are part of a family of products; some may even stretch across categories. Ensure that your br and messages, tone and content are coherent and complimentary. If you are using your company name in addition, remember that it’s image will also have an additional role in image building.

 

#6. You must not kill great ideas

Some of the best ideas for new products, services and communications come from customers. Instead of killing some of their ideas without a second thought, try to underst and not what they say, but what they mean by it. As an example take the well-known quote from Henri Ford “”If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Underst anding what your customers desire, even dream for, means underst anding the reason behind their requests, rather than the content itself.

 

#7. You must not be disloyal

Your customers vote for you with their wallets and in fact pay your wages every day. They deserve your respect and you must do whatever you can to surprise and delight them. Never fall short of giving excellent service. The extra mile is shorter than you think, but pays h andsomely.

 

#8. You must not steal

Your customers don’t expect you to offer exactly the same as your competition, so there is nothing to be gained by copying (stealing) their ideas. Be unique and st and for your values; you may not resonate with everyone, but your own customers will feel a much stronger link, because you will be satisfying them precisely.

 

#9. You must not testify falsely against your competitors

Following on from the previous law, don’t bother to compare your competitor to you unfairly. Customers are wary of false claims and are capable of making their own comparison, if you provide all the relevant information to them. In fact the result of the comparison will be all the stronger because they themselves have done it.

 

# 10. You must not crave your competitors’ properties

In every market there is room for good competition, so concentrate on what your product or service can do for your customers.  Don’t crave for what you can’t have or what you can’t be. Be the best you can and if that is still not enough, find a new way to better satisfy your customers, by going back to listening to and watching them. Knowledge and underst anding can provide the answers if you are willing to integrate and dig deep.

If you follow these rules, then you will be prepared for the new marketing challenge and be in a significantly better position than all of your competitors, to satisfy and delight your customers.

Have I forgotten an essential ingredient of today’s marketing and communicating challenge? Then please let me know below.

For more information on underst anding and communicating with the new customer, please check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/

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