Thursday, 26 July 2007

The Dirty Harry of referenceability

Recently I have found myself becoming somewhat of a Dirty Harry figure when faced with unnacceptable levels of service; not sure how this has happened. The most recent example was when I had an issue with the way that Tescos decided to discount a single copy of the new Harry Potter book if you spent £50 or more on groceries.
a)They did not make this decision to the last minute
b) I had spent £140 in the store 12 hours earlier
c) The store manager looked like a Saturday boy to me (must be getting old), I suddenly found myself uttering the phrase "you have a decision to make here, are you going to tell me that my thousands of pounds of custom p.a. is worth nothing to you and charge me full price on these three books, or are you going to do the right thing? do you feel lucky punk?" (ok so I did not use the last bit).
Armed with my 'customer advocacy professional with a big mouth' credentials instead of a Magnum 45 and the near-riot that I was now starting in the foyer of the store the manager folded. Well-done Tescos; you were looking more like muggles than wizards at one point.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Breaking up is hard to do

Things gone wrong with a customer? Been de-listed?
It happens to everyone at some point; customer relationships have a biorhythm. Sometimes it’s not your fault, the new broom will bring trusted vendors with them; you can only move on and hope that your old contact gets the opportunity to affect change in their new role. If things have gone bad, perhaps you screwed up (it happens) in the past you might have said “this is bad but we can learn from this, move on and will not make the same mistake again”

I have some bad news for you.

We have noticed a trend in a few RFX forms in recent months. As well as asking for positive references companies are now asking for the contact details of customers that have de-listed you. This is a brilliant move; they get to find out why you were de-listed PLUS they get to find out who replaced you and why. As Ben McConnell says, “Google never forgets”; just don’t think that you can walk away from treating customers badly and start again if you want to win big business with a corporate. It's never been truer that what goes around comes around.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Here come the MIBs

The time of the ‘men in black’ creatives will continue a while longer however those that cannot connect creative vision with the business outcomes of marketing do so at their peril. OK so this ties into the ROMI discussion but this is more of a philosophical quandary; where does creativity meet business for a marketer?
I have worked with teams where the word of the creative director was the law, which is a fine, if slightly old-fashioned way to run a team. I have also had the same experience as a client; ‘creatives’ telling me how I am going to spend my money to enable their ‘vision’ with no concept of accountability (other than their agency being removed from my list of suppliers).
Breaking the mould, thinking out of the box are great attributes which drive our industry (and let’s not kid ourselves, it is still a 90% perspiration 10% inspiration world) however agencies need to wake up to the fact that the buck has to stop somewhere and asking their client to take a creative journey with no thought for outcome is soooooo last century; the creative bubble is actually becoming a goldfish bowl.

Friday, 13 July 2007

ROMI wasn't built in a day

Closed loop is not for the faint of heart; all good things take time and dedication. Every company with which I talk places Return On Marketing Investment as the biggest marketing issue they currently face.
Organisations are right to question marketing expenditure; ACP variation, clickthrough rates and volume-based metrics only tell a small part of the story and those dedicated enough to follow the circle through at least one loop are heroes in my book.
This is a motion that is going to increase; it means getting granular and being relentless, OK so technology and process will support it but they are mere tools - it’s all about attitude.What I can tell you is that delivering ROMI is the most rewarding part of my job; 25 years in marketing and only now am I able to have meaningful conversations about the value of marketing to an organisation; so somewhat more than a day to get here but like Rome some things are all the better for the wait.