Archive for December, 2008
Remember the Bill Cosby Show (the one where he played Dr. Huxtable)?
There was a scene in that show that I’ve never forgotten. Cosby is talking to his son and tells him: “I brought you into this world — and I can take you out of it.”
That’s exactly how I feel about this blog. I brought it into this world, and I can take it out of it. And that’s exactly what I’m planning to do.
This Friday will mark two years to the day that I published this blog’s first post. I did so having made a commitment to myself that I would create a great blog — one that would become a Top 10 Marketing blog.
Not that I had any idea what that really meant. I had no idea what Technorati was, no idea if there was a list of top marketing blogs, and actually had no idea what the top marketing blogs were. When I started this blog two years ago, I wasn’t even reading any blogs.
Needless to say, I failed miserably in achieving my goal.
And thank God for that. Because if I had really wanted this to become a top 10 blog I would had to have written about a lot of things that I don’t really care about writing about.
And had I done that, I would have failed at achieving what ultimately was the best outcome of writing this blog: Meeting a lot of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. (And that’s why, if you’ve ever contemplated whether or not to create your own blog, you should do so. Forget about all this “personal branding” stuff).
But I did live up to my commitment. In two years, I’ve published 360 posts — one every other day. And I can assure you that a helluva lot of time and effort went into creating those posts. In fact, probably too much time and effort.
And I just can’t maintain that level of time, effort, and — most importantly — the required level of mental energy.
So I’ve decided to commit premeditated blogicide. (Premeditated because I’ve thinking about doing this for a couple of months now). I’m killing this blog.
Just as I made a commitment to writing this blog, I realize that I will need to make a commitment to not writing it. I’m sure that every day there will be things that will happen, or that I will read about, that will make me want to blog about it. And I’m making a commitment to not write about it.
If it’s worthy enough, I’ll write it as an Aite Group alert note (which, if you’re interested, is available for free even to non-Aite Group clients). But I’m not going to write about here.
End of post.
End of blog.
Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.
Insiders hebben de site natuurlijk al lang ondekt. De Engelstalige versie van dit blog, www.searchcowboys.com staat live. Over een aantal weken zal ook deze site worden omgezet naar
de nieuwe lay-out en inhoud welke is gebaseerd op het platform v……
Ondanks de tragedie dat het kantoor van Yahoo gaat sluiten in
Nederland, hoeven de werknemers niet te vrezen dat ze geen nieuwe
betrekking kunnen vinden.
Als werknemers van Yahoo naar www.yahoonuverder.nl gaan dan kunnen ze terecht voor een bor……
About this time last year, I published a list of updated bank slogans for 2008. This year, I’m moving up to the big time and renaming banks altogether. Here’s a partial list of new bank names we need to see:
Old Name New Name
PFF Bank Poof! Bank
Integrity Bank DisIntegrated Bank
Hume Bank ExHume Bank
Security Pacific Bank In The Pacific Bank
IndyMac Bank InDeGround Bank
Downey S&L Downed S&L
ANB Financial A Necrophiliac’s Brothel Financial
By the way, if you wondering what these banks have in common, go here.
And if you need help understanding the name of the last bank, go here.
A new marketing organization has been formed that you should take a look at it. It’s called the Participatory Marketing Network. According to its web site:
Over the last 50 years, we have seen marketing evolve from “Push Marketing” to the “Permission Marketing” concepts popularized by Seth Godin. More recently, industry experts have proclaimed the coming of a new marketing model “Participatory Marketing,” and while their definitions may differ slightly, their concepts are united in their recognition that:
- We are in the midst of another paradigm shift that calls for new solutions that recognize and embrace consumer control and empowerment.
- The Internet and technology have fundamentally changed consumer and brand interactions forever.
- To succeed and build trust today, marketers must advocate for consumers and make them an active and willing participant in the promotional conversation.”
What I like about this concept is that it: 1) recognizes the need to move beyond push and persmission marketing, and 2) frames the model in a way that isn’t simply limited to social media and social networks. (On the other hand, I hope the network recognizes that just because marketers must meet the “participatory” challenge, it doesn’t mean that they can stop mastering the permission and push models).
The PMN is the brainchild of Michael Della Penna, who was a pioneer in the email marketing field as one of the co-founders of Bigfoot Interactive, and more recently, was Chief Marketing Officer at database marketing firm Epsilon.
Membership provides access to webinars (the first one from Charlene Li, co-author of the best-selling book Groundswell), white papers, and to proprietary Gen Y research that the network is conducting in conjunction with Pace University’s Interactive and Direct Marketing Lab.
There’s also a blog worth checking out.
I have a request: Would the person who first called a rewards programs a “loyalty” program please raise your hand?
Thank you. Now could you come a little closer…..so I can whack you upside the head for causing so much unneeded debate and confusion.
There is no shortage of academic research addressing the question of whether or not loyalty programs actually create, drive, or lead to customer loyalty. Any number of studies prove both sides of the coin — that these programs do drive loyalty, and that they don’t drive loyalty.
Many of these studies conclude that rewards programs either do or don’t work. What they fail to grasp, however, is that rewards programs, in and of themselves, may not be good or bad. Instead, how any one firm implements a rewards program may be the true determinant of success.
But there’s no shortage of rewards programs skeptics, and their mantra is familiar: “You cannot buy customer loyalty, you must earn it.”
Before we move on, let me say right here and now that no one — and I mean no one — believes that mantra more than I do.
But had our newly-smacked-upside-the-head friend not started substituting the word loyalty for rewards, the marketing world might be a more peaceful place.
You see, I could care less if the studies show that rewards programs lead to loyalty or not. To simply focus on the loyalty criteria misses the point. It’s like saying that batters “fail” if they don’t hit a home run every time they’re at bat (I know — ugh, a sports analogy).
My take: Beyond the question of loyalty, there are a number of strategic benefits that firms that effectively implement rewards programs can reap. Rewards programs are tools for:
- Targeting. Marketers spend a ton of money, time, and effort trying to figure out who to market to. Rewards program participation is like wearing a t-shirt with a bullseye on it. For any given product or service category, rewards program enrollment — and even more importantly, active participation — is often an indication of the emotional involvement a customer has with the product category, and maybe even the firm.
- Engagement. Many firms struggle to find ways to interact with their customers beyond blatant sales pitches that ask them for more business. Just as it is with two people, developing a relationship between a customer and a firm requires some degree of engagement (if you didn’t like the sports analogy, there’s a crude dating analogy that I could make here, but I’ll spare you that pain). Rewards programs are (or I should say, can be) excellent tools to engage customers.
- Selling. Forget whether or not rewards programs drive long-term, lasting loyalty. There’s plenty of evidence that rewards programs can increase sales. At the Loyalty Expo conference that was recently held in Orlando, Luc Bondar and a colleague from Carlson Marketing presented research they conducted that found higher rates of purchase among rewards plan members after they redeem rewards than other rewards program participants.
It’s time to put aside this silly argument of whether or not loyalty programs drive loyalty (and whether or not there are too many programs out there) and focus on the real issue at hand: How to design and implement rewards programs to improve marketing effectiveness and efficiency, and to better engage customers.
Who’s got a higher confidence rating, banks or George Bush?
The good news for banks is that the answer is banks. The bad news for banks is that it’s close.
According to the November Rasmussen poll, 35% of the people polled at least somewhat approve of the way the President has handled his job. That’s actually up 2 points from the October survey.
On the other hand, a new study released by market researcher Morpace found that just 38% of consumers are very confident in the banking industry. And that’s down six percentage points from the firm’s September survey
Given the events that unfolded in the past two months, that’s hardly a surprising finding. But what is noteworthy, though, is the decline in consumers’ confidence with their personal banks. According to the article in Marketing Daily:
“Banks have been rolling out messages of reassurance to current and potential customer alike. According to Morpace’s VP of Customer Loyalty Tom Hartley, ‘What the banks [have been] doing is communicating with customer more, through email, ads and other sources, doesn’t seem to be working in restoring their confidence.”
My take: I agree with Tom 100%.
Plenty of smaller institutions — community banks and credit unions in particular — have seen a nice influx of deposits over the past eight or ten weeks. Why? Because of their “safe and sound” messages? No. Because consumers are spreading out their deposits across institutions.
And quite frankly, I don’t think anyone believes any financial institution that touts how secure it is. Not when the CEO of one acquired firm goes on TV talking up his bank’s “bright future.” Or when another bank runs full page ads in major newspapers telling us how safe it is, only for us to find out more recently that is, well, not so financially secure.
So what should banks do?
1) Ignore the industry surveys. The economy is in the tanks, and FIs seem to be failing left and right. Of course the confidence rating of the industry as a whole is going to fall. Big deal. Your bank’s score is what matters — not the industry’s.
2) Stop trying to advertise your way to a higher confidence rating. Banks will build back their confidence ratings as new and existing customers experience a higher level of service. You cannot advertise your way to greatness.
3) Develop (or re-develop) an onboarding program. As new customers come on board, the key to their long term retention will be made or broken in the next 6 to 12 months. It’s critical for banks to recognize the types of relationships these new customers want to have with them. Are they simply spreading their funds across banks for security or are they abandoning old banks and looking for a new primary bank to have a relationship with? Quit wasting money on newspaper and TV ads, and put it into some marketing analytics efforts to figure out how to grow the relationship with the influx of customers who are coming in the door (thanks to no effort on your part).
4) Stay away from TARP money. (Are you listening credit unions?) I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but at some point taking TARP money is going to create PR problems for the institutions that took those funds.