Archive for December, 2012
The holidays are the busiest time of year for the Post Office and this year was no exception. The numbers below show just how much mail travels through the USPS between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Happy Holidays everybody!
Political gaffes follow a candidate from one campaign to the next. The campaigns of Romney, Biden, Clinton, Quail and Bush all confirm this. Remember Bush’s premature use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished”, Quail’s misspelling of “potato?” or even Clinton’s more famous situation that isn’t appropriate for this posting. A misspoken word or an entire scandal can take an entire mission off focus.
The same can be said for the million dollar blunders made by the five marketing giants below.
One of Turner’s cartoon networks launched a guerrilla marketing campaign in 2007 that involved putting LED signs throughout the city of the flashing cartoon man. A Boston resident thought it was a bomb and called the police, which resulted in the shutdown of public transportation system and a $2 million fine requiring Turner Broadcasting to compensate the city for its emergency response time.
Gap & Coke
In 2010 Gap updated its logo design in an effort to appeal to a hipper audience. Gap switched back to its original logo within two days because of the backlash from its true audience of people who love their basics and aren’t trendy people. Who knows what the logo change and change-back cost Gap, but it probably was at least a million-dollar lesson to stay true to its loyal customers.
Gap’s gaffe proves that history does repeat itself. Remember Coca-Cola’s similar gaffe in 1985? Coca-Cola launched New Coke in an effort to keep Pepsi from gaining market share, only to enrage its loyal customers who began hoarding the original Coke formula and selling it on the black market for hefty prices.
To extend their social reach, Timothy’s offered a coupon or a free sample for following them on Facebook or Twitter. The campaign was so successful, Timothy’s ran out of k-pak cups and later posted that free samples would be given out on a first come first serve basis. This went over like a cup of truck-stop coffee and despite an apology video; they were unable to recover from the gaffe of not being prepared to fulfill their published offer.
When Pepsi chose to pursue the International market of China, it failed to check the translation of its tagline, “Pepsi brings you back to life.” The phrase translates to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.” You may be laughing, but the marketing department and CEO of Pepsi weren’t. They were humiliated for not pre-flighting the phrase with native speaking Chinese customers. The cost of reprinting point of sale banners, signage and advertising cost just a hair more than the disgrace of Pepsi’s international gaffe.
Marketing Gaffe Prevention
While to err is human, there’s plenty of ways to reduce the margin for error. Here are a few suggestions to implement before you make history with a mega-marketing blunder.
Check your list twice
Don’t hit “send,” until you’ve checked your send-to list two or three times. Remember the agency employee who accidently dropped the F-bomb on Chrysler’s Twitter channel, thinking he was sending to his own peeps. Whoops.
Engage more eyes
Despite spell check and proofing, mistakes slip into marketing pieces because the individuals working on the piece go blind to their copy over time. Put a multi-tiered proofing team in place, as well as a pre-flight process for all your printed pieces and posts.
Take people out of the process
The beauty of print automation, is you do all the testing and proofing upfront (perhaps even for six months), but after that, all the data is pulled directly from your CRM or database and goes directly into the brochure, catalog, coupon, or direct mail piece, which eliminates the chance of human error. Print errors can cost a company millions. Verify your data, and partner with a company well versed in print automation if you need the assurance of 100% accuracy in your mailings.
In Philip B. Crosby’s book, Quality Is Free, Crosby estimates that the cost of quality for any company is 25 percent of revenue. Certainly far from free, but his book led to the “zero defects” movement that later was replaced by the Six Sigma movement because companies realized perfection was impossible. Six Sigma organizations are a bit more realistic, allowing an error rate of one in 1 million or less.
Whatever movement you’re following or quality assurance practices and systems you have in place, an error is costly to a company’s profits and reputation. Share your marketing blunders and any that you’ve headed off at the pass in the comments below. We’re all in this together.
ComScore, a company that follows and measures the digital world, released a study that shows QR code®* users are skewed heavily to young, affluent men.
ComScore’s research showed that in June 2011, more than 14 million U.S. mobile users scanned QR codes. Altogether, these mobile users make up 6.2 percent of the total mobile audience. Of these 14 million, 60.5 percent were male, 53.4 percent were between 18 and 34, and 36.1 percent made $100,000 or more annually.
What does this mean to your efforts? That QR Codes are far from mainstream. If you determine they make sense for your business then they need to be integrated into your multi-channel marketing with an understanding that those who do scan are more like to be affluent men.
ComScore’s study also revealed that the most popular source of a scanned QR code was a printed magazine or newspaper (50%); followed closely by product packaging (35.3%) and websites of PCs (27.4%). So until QR Code engagement in the U.S. increases from 6.2 % of the total mobile audience, your marketing planning should probably take into account a higher success rate with QR codes placed in magazine or print advertising targeted at young men.
But even more important than using that intelligence as a conversion edge, the most important factor in QR Code success is having something extremely valuable at the end of the QR scan for your customer to indulge in – a buy one get one free coupon, a invaluable piece of information that only a select few gain access. No longer will a link to your opt-in page work, or a link to your web page. You must have a plan to encourages the user to give up information so that you can continue to stay engaged.
More Data on Who is Scanning QR Codes in Magazines
Four percent of magazine readers who saw ads with 2-D barcodes actually scanned something at least once, according to research conducted by GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research in 2011. The research showed that 15% of people they surveyed who noticed any magazine ad in the first half of the year took action by going to the advertiser’s site via their address bar. The research also revealed that:
- QR Codes got a better response with men: 6% of men who noticed ads with codes scanned at least one ad, while 4% of women did the same.
- Younger people were more likely to swipe the QR Codes than older people: 6% of readers between 18 to 34 years old who noted ads with the codes followed the code, compared with 3% of people age 35 and up.
Now for the fun stuff, which ad(s) outperformed the others. A Porsche ad in Men’s Journal, a Microsoft Office ad in Working Mother (see add below) and a bedding ad in Hemispheres (an airline magazine) made the top performing ad list by earning up to 17% QR Code scans off their print ads.
Perhaps the Microsoft Office ad pulled well because it targeted women with a “senior executive attitude” of running their home office like that of a big corporation. What’s your takeaway?
Does this woman look like she is the head of the household and is that why it attracted women who scan 2d barcodes?
* QR Code® is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.
Business databases have moved beyond name, address, city, state and zip. Today’s savvy customer relationship management gurus capture purchase history, lifestyle, lifecycle, and lifespan info that enables them to engage, re-engage, and even dis-engage (that’s a fancy word for fire) customers when necessary.
Customer information that goes deep and reveals the lifetime value of that customer is imperative to long term business growth. To capture and record this data, a good software package is needed, but selecting the appropriate tool can sometimes be confusing. There are a ton of SaaS (software as a service) solutions that may make sense. Look into Salesforce.com, Sugar CRM, or Microsoft Dynamics. Plus, don’t forget to study industry specific packages. Be wary however of forcing the sales process to fit the CRM system. A good CRM solution should be flexible enough to fit your processes.
Who Should Manage Your Database?
It depends. If you’re a small business with a seasoned marketing person on staff, you probably can manage it in-house. The bigger your customer base the bigger the task.
The job of the database manager is to (1) build or buy a database that can capture and contain the needed data fields you wish to monitor (2) modify the database to add new areas of interest or products as your business grows (3) backup the system regularly (4) update customer info, purge customer info or initiate re-engagement campaigns as customers go dormant.
The best B2B relationship management (CRM) databases will allow you sophisticated functionality like multi-level SLA support, customer satisfaction surveys, timer-based escalation rules that are driven by complex criteria and automated issue re-assignments.
Your CRM system should also allow you to integrate with other software tools like your ERP or software, business management solution, website software, email tool, and even your accounting package.
What is the Most Important Data You Must Know or Might Forget to Collect?
A good customer database includes these four basic areas:
- Financial: Revenue generated from the customer’s transactions.
- Demographic: Describing customers in terms of their personal characteristics, such as age, sex, professional activity, etc.
- Geographic: Describing customers in terms of their physical location.
- Psychographic or Behavioral: Describing customers in terms of their preferred activities and actions.
A great CRM database plan allows you to collect and monitor competitor price, market share, and product features. It also allows you to collect data on the number of customer transactions, stores visits, and why they leave.
As you can see, you must plan well to collect the metrics that will guide your business. Businesses that don’t have a good database system or customer relationship management system are at a disadvantage in today’s world. Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, once said that “Datarati are companies that have the edge in consumer data insight. There has been and will continue to be an increased focus on data analysis as companies continue to invest in measuring social media, understanding customer value and modeling customer behavior.
What Should You Do With the Data?
Put it to work! The information you have gathered can be used to a great advantage. Look at what Amazon does with the data it collects as you shop their store. Each time you search for items Amazon tracks and knows what is of interest. Then, when you return, you are presented with items most likely to interest you. That level of data capture is huge in working to drive a business.
Other organizations use that data to personalize their direct mail with Variable Data Printing (VDP) a method of printing personalized promotional material using your database. The effect of customers seeing their names and preferences in promotions can give you a higher response and purchase rate. This response rate has been estimated to be as high as five times greater than with traditional static advertising.
Building or Buying a CRM System
There are so many great systems available, it’s really not necessary to reinvent the wheel. However, shopping for the right one for your business can be daunting. So much like going to Consumer Report for research, you can go to CRM Vendor Comparison and download the 2011 CRM Vendor Comparison Chart that shows 40 hours of research and a comparison of 30 CRM systems that range in web application prices from $40 to $100 per month for usage rights.
Once you pick and install one, staying in sync with your customers’ buying habits through their lifecycle and creating alerts to build that relationship can steady your company in poor times and send it through the roof in peak times. It is important to be aware of clients who are increasing their spending, as well as those who are coming back less and less. In such cases, the database can create an alert to cue marketing to develop a bounce-back campaign.
Knowledge is power. Storing it in a pliable database gives you power and strength. Why? To compete, you will need to know more about your customers and use the information to talk, engage and interact with their customers more often and more meaningfully in new and innovative ways (including dynamic content, blogs to social media networks).
If you don’t talk to your customers in an engaging, intelligent way, your competitor will.