AniBlurbs (Column)

Anibal's thoughts on Online Marketing Strategy, Service Design, Tech, Innovation, Business and more…

Do Rosario’s Three Laws of Customer Centricity

The Three Laws of Customer Centricity (Beta)

1.    A company may not wilfully and knowingly harm the interests of a customer/partner/stakeholder or, through inaction, allow a customer/partner/stakeholder’s interests to come to harm.

2.    A company must, to the best of its efforts and resources, service the customers and put them at the centre of every business decision, except where providing such services would conflict with the First Law or Third Law.

3.    A company must protect its own long-term interests and existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.


The above was an idea I derived from the famous Three Laws of Robotics, a set of three rules written by SF author Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), which almost all positronic robots appearing in his fiction must obey.

I was thinking of coming up with a “Three Laws of Customer Centricity” adaption, but I think the model still needs some tweaking here and there. Any ideas?

              





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Conversion Optimization: User Interface Basics

CoTweet’s Creative Director and co-Founder, Kyle Sollenberger, has rounded up ten design fundamentals on User Interface Design over on Think Vitamin. Below you’ll find a small subtract of some of the key takeaways to keep in mind with UIX:

Know your users’ goals
“Obsess over customers: when given the choice between obsessing over competitors or customers, always obsess over customers. Start with customers and work backward.”Jeff Bezos, CEO amazon.com

Your users’ goals are yours, so learn them… …Find out what interfaces they like and sit down and watch how they use them…

Stick to web-wide Interface Design conventions
Users spend the majority of their time on interfaces other than your own (Facebook, MySpace, news  sites, etc.): There is no need to reinvent the wheel…

Consistency
“The more users’ expectations prove right, the more they will feel in control of the system and the more they will like it.”Jakob Nielson

Your users need consistency. They need to know that once they learn to do something, they will be able to do it again… …A consistent interface… …increases their efficiency.

Provide feedback
Always inform your users of actions, changes in state and errors, or exceptions that occur. Visual cues or simple messaging can show the user whether his or her actions have led to the expected result.

Don’t EVER punish your users
No matter how clear your design is, people will make mistakes… …Design ways for users to undo actions, and be forgiving with varied inputs; no one likes to start over because he/she put in the wrong birth date format…

Iterate, iterate, iterate
…It is often said when developing interfaces that you need to fail fast, and iterate often…

As Creative Director of CoTweet Kyle -“@iamkyle”- Sollenberger oversees all design activities—from the layout, appearance and usability of products to the representation of corporate identity. Be sure to check out Kyle’s full post and more examples on Carsonified’s Blog.





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Spreading a Viral: Honda Demonstrates Content Integration on Vimeo

Honda recently did a take-over on Vimeo.com which was much talked about by marketing insiders.

Instead of posting or explaining the concept here, I’d like to suggest you’d first take a look over on the site and experience it for yourself -especially if you’re a creative/interactive professional and haven’t seen it already.

[Performance warning: close down any other browser tabs/windows or any other application that has a direct net connection right now, I know I suffered from some serious lag the first time.]

Apart from the novelty(?) factor of this kind of creative content-integration, I’m not quite sure where the real added value for Honda and its customers lies in this particular case.

I’ll get back to that thought in a moment though; first I’d like to point to a section on the page that caught my attention. It clearly depicts how a viral starts spreading (see the 2 images below):

Honda Insight Vimeo TakeOver

Honda Insight - Vimeo Take over Stats

The table contains the statistics of said video on a daily basis, i.e.: how many times it was watched, “liked” and how many comments were made on the page itself, all in relation to each other and non-cumulative (note that the numbers are displayed on a per day basis!).

Clearly, the usual exponential viral mechanisms are at work here, which is fascinating in of itself, yet I believe that despite these pretty impressive numbers this mini-campaign as is will not enjoy a widespread viewer base and live up to its true potential, mainly because of the following 4 reasons:

  1. The content isn’t “spreadable”;
  2. A lack of a clear call to action;
  3. The quality of the content itself and
  4. There’s no follow-up.

The content isn’t spreadable, technically speaking:
Notice how I didn’t embed the video right here as I usually would, instead referring you to Vimeo, because there was no other way you could undergo it the way it was meant to be experienced.

In other words: people will first have to go to the Vimeo page and have a true broadband internet connection(!) to experience it smoothly and in full effect; detach the video from the context of this page and it becomes just another (attempt at a) cool viral. Pure branding, zero capitalization of the ensuing conversations.

Nowadays it’s more effective to take a channel-neutral and/or federated content approach to reach out to your audience on the net, and part of that means making your content spreadable through widgets, embeddable video’s, etc.. The Vimeo video is embeddable of course, but the page -and thus the experience- is not.

There’s no call to action:
The concept itself doesn’t trigger the visitor to do anything: You just sit and watch, just like on TV…

The creative team apparently embraced the technological and creative possibilities that the internet offers in marrying video with a webpage, yet somehow failed to capitalize on the buzz that it generated and thus at the opportunity to generate leads.

Honda‘s rich media take over is no interactive advertising but more akin to an online guerrilla advert, which could have been done offline, possibly generating more buzz and brand-awareness outside the digerati niche.

Then again, it was created by Wieden & Kennedy (Amsterdam), a traditional agency with it’s roots firmly grounded in offline advertising campaigns.

The quality of the content isn’t worth spreading:
If it’s aimed at the Marketing/Tech/Creative niche: they’re already accustomed to these “Breaking-The-4th-Wall” take-over actions by now on YouTube or dedicated viral mini-sites, and this example isn’t remarkable.

If it’s not aimed at said niche, then one has to wonder why on earth it was posted on a niche social video site like Vimeo.com in the first place…

Adding all the numbers together from the stats image above, there are over a 1.750 likes, 300+ comments and 177.000 views generated in less than two weeks(!), pointing to a cult hit and/or people watching it more than once (it’s not clear whether Vimeo filters out non-unique views/cookies).

On the other hand, the numbers in the table don’t depict all mentions of the video across the Social Media space, and it was only posted a few days ago, so this is just merely the tip of the iceberg. Here’s hoping that Honda’s campaign team has access to social media monitoring tools from Radian6 or TrackUr and have activated their BackType Alerts to keep a clear overview.

All in all, in terms of buzz and people interacting with the page this is no bad example of content integration at all, it’s just a shame there’s no apparent follow-up or integration in, say, a 360˚campaign for maximum effect.

Now of course at this very moment we have no idea what Honda’s campaign objective was in the first place: It could be a proof of concept, trying it out for a small fee, with little risk, before scaling it up on YouTube allowing the numbers game to come into play, leading to massive exposure and off course more ways for the community and consumers/prospects to interact with the brand.

As I’m a firm believer in the merits of content-integration instead of plain display bannering, for me personally it will be very interesting to see how this plays out and if Honda will release an evaluation on their company blog or industry titles like Ad Age or ReadWriteWeb.





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Why the Click Is the Right Metric for Online Ads (On Adding Value and Thinking Beyond the Display Advertising Business Model)

“…many advertisers in the past gave most of the credit for a sale or conversion — which in the web world could include anything from visiting a website to printing an online coupon — to the last ad clicked on or seen by a consumer. But that means brand-focused sites such as NYTimes.com and MarthaStewart.com and even social-media sites such as Facebook and MySpace lose credit because they are often not where a consumer will see that last ad. And when they lose credit, they lose advertisers, and when they lose ad revenue, well, you’ve read that story.

“Publishers have a lot to gain,” said Steve Kerho, VP-analytics, media and marketing optimization at Organic. Mr. Kerho has been doing lots of analysis on how online-display ads affect search and conversions and found that in some cases, a display ad can increase a search ad’s click-through rate 25% to 30%. If he had simply measured the clicks from search, he would have missed the display ads’ influence.”

Source: Adage

So… If we’d translate the above model to, say, a real world situation; that’d mean that the sales guy in the local electronics store should get a piece of the provision pie, and maybe you’re neighbourhood whiz kid should be offered a small fee too, since they were the ones that influenced you before you decided to shell out on a new bleeding-edge desktop and order it directly by mail-order, no?

Of course, the conclusion presented above is preposterous to say the least. Not giving full credit to the last click shows a lack of common sense and of everyday reality:

If we’d were to apply this model to the offline advertising industry we’d might as well start charging less for TV ads during the Super Bowl or advertisements in general, since it has never been empirically proven that said ads actually sell significantly more cars, to name but an example.

(Actually I hereby challenge thee naysayers to tell me why the fledgling automotive industry in the US can’t be saved by throwing more money against Interruption Campaigns now that the going is though… Odds are it’s because it just doesn’t work that way nowadays…)

Publishers would of course love to use such a model, since suddenly those abysmally low Click Through Rates on social networks ´d become a license to print money, yet that’s not where the problem lies: it’s about engaging with the visitors of the Facebook’s of this world if and when they feel like it, adding value to the community, giving them something to talk about or a good reason to get rid of their friends. The engagement model is a far more viable one since it makes it very clear for all stakeholders what the true value of those brand interactions are for everyone.

Conjuring op schemes to charge more for a product -display banner- that, on it’s own, has failed to truly deliver on its promise up until this very moment, is not the way forward out of this recession. The research budget would be well better spent on innovation, adding value to the visitors, strategic alliances -you name it, just do not waste it on taking undercover pot-shots at “Go -Emperor CPC- Gle” et all.

There is one thing that does ring true about the statement that a conversion shouldn’t be attributed to just the Last Click alone; and that’s the reoccurring coincidence that carefully crafted, creative Crossmedia campaigns drive word-of-mouth & website traffic, allowing for a tighter control on conversion, ánd they also have the uncanny ability to tip the Attitude scale in your Brands’ favour. A little…

It’s common sense and it’s what marketing should be all about: influencing as many factors as you can to get the prospect to turn into a consumer, making her loyal, spurring her on to buy more and in the end becoming a brand-ambassador.

The communication mix as well as the quality of your product combined with the customer centricity level of your organization all contribute to that end.

As well as a million other tiny factors (does the sun shine, did THAT girl on the train give you a smile, do you have enough money to spare, etc., etc..)

Yet, if we’d follow the philosophy of Mr. Kerho to it’s conclusion, it’d mean we’d have to split the Cost-per-Click revenue and spread the wealth over all communication channels and creatives -and not just the display banner- in order to get a somewhat “fairer” representation of value/conversion for money.

[The Adage article starts with this quote: “The great paradox of the web is that it’s an interactive medium and everything can be measured. And that’s wonderful — unless you’re measuring the wrong thing.”

I’d think what they should be stating is: The single greatest asset of the web is that it’s an interactive medium, perpetuously capable of reinventing itself. And that’s wonderful — Unless you don’t keep your feet firmly on the ground and try to look at opportunities with a positive mindset!]





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Service Design and Customer-Centricity (What Every CMO Should Act On. Now)

Alain Thys at Marketing & Strategy Innovation weblog on your TRUE core-business:

“no matter what books or gurus may say, customer-focus is a top-down game. from childhood we have learned to follow the example of those that lead us, and that means that customer-centricity should be mindset of all c-level executives. not in words, but in actions…”

“…of course, no self-respecting CEO will reorganise a business around the customer without a solid business case… …the CMO’s second step on the customer-centricity ladder is therefore to demonstrate the financial benefits of “happy customers” to the organisation…”

“to really focus on the customer, companies will need to… …tear up the detailed customer interaction and scripts. show staff and vendors how to listen and care. not only in the front lines, but at every level of the organisation. every department eventually affects the customer experience…”

He goes on to mention five steps to make your organization truly customer- (and prospect!)-centric:

  • Step 1: start at the top
  • Step 2. show them the money
  • Step 3: start with the people
  • Step 4: help them do the right thing
  • Step 5: make it clear you mean business

Now, the real problem addressed here by Alan, of course, is “isle-thinking” or Department Silo Mentality SyndromeTM -a state of mind inherent to the way we humans are hardwired by evolution/mother nature, as any anthropologist worth his salt could tell you.

When bands of humans grow past the dunbar number, things (read: the consumer) tend to slip out of eye-sight or get dehumanized quickly; this is bad thing for your brand advocacy hopes, so this challenge requires a thorough rethinking of your Service Strategy (Service Design) and maybe even a restructuring of your organization chart…

The above is probably going to require some serious change management (skills) -see point 5 mainly-, effort and lots of lots of passion, training, coaching & patience. Lots. Of. Patience…

Read the whole post over at FUTURELAB: Future Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog.





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