I’m not one enamored of the Harvard Business Review. The ivory tower often isn’t the best vantage point.
That’s why I’m unimpressed with the recent piece by Bill Lee, “Marketing is Dead,” published in the HBR. The article does little to live up to the provocative title, rehashing conclusions most savvy marketers and advertisers came to nearly a decade ago (even the slowest among us arrived at them at least five years ago).
Why is marketing dead? CEOs are frustrated and customers are ignoring traditional media – just look!:
“In a devastating 2011 study of 600 CEOs and decision makers by the London-based Fournaise Marketing Group, 73% of them said that CMOs lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth, 72% are tired of being asked for money without explaining how it will generate increased business, and 77% have had it with all the talk about brand equity that can’t be linked to actual firm equity or any other recognized financial metric.”
So what? The percentage of Americans that say CEOs lack credibility is at 79 percent. Moreover, the turnover rate for CEOs is at a six-year high. Audiences have been tuning out from the traditional mass media for over a decade. Read more…
The much-maligned yet sickeningly-addictive social media scoring platform Klout has revamped their scoring system and disclosed more information about the algorithms they use to establish the rankings they publish about users. Overall I like the move, first because the scoring appears to be improving (and I say that as someone whose score took a ten-point hit) and second because the transparency will help silence some of the haters (of which I used to be one). Read more…
I’ve been using the geolocation check-in social networking platform Foursquare since November 10, 2009 – long before it was available in the area I lived in. I’ve racked up numerous badges and mayorships in that time, and it was great reluctance that I decided to revoke my own mayorship of Grand Rapids Community College today.
It needed to happen, however.
Now that Foursquare has reached a critical mass of users (in April of 2010 it reached 1 million and now it has 10 million users), it no longer needs early adopters to promote it and spur use in many more places. There are now people (students in our case) checking in on a daily basis, once that happens the venue should become a place for the “customers” of an organization – not so much its employees.
The reasons for this are obvious: Foursquare exists to drive engagement with an organization or brand and it’s primarily the customers that those organizations need to drive engagement with. There are still many opportunities to use it as an employee relations tool (creating special sites for employees to check in, and ways to offer rewards to those employees) – so if you’ve reached the tipping point, it’s time to shift how you use Foursquare to accommodate the growth.
Best of luck, prospective GRCC Mayors – may your signal strength be strong, and your checkins swift and lag-free.
Marketing Guru Seth Goden just wrote a post – the “Five ingredients of smart online commerce.” After a recent interaction with Drs. Foster & Smith, a pet supply company, I thought I’d see how well their site fared by Godin’s metric:
- “They sell a product you can’t buy at the local store.” [Success]
- “They understand that online pictures are free.” [Fail]
- “They use smart copy.” [Success]
- “They are obsessed with permission.” [Success]
- “They aren’t afraid to post reviews. Even critical ones.” [Fail]
[It should be noted that Godin doesn't allow comments/discussion/review on his own blog.]
To be fair to Drs. Foster and Smith – for the most part they’ve handled the transaction well: I was contacted promptly when I sent an email asking about returning the dog bowl I ordered (which was far smaller than the description posted on the website). When I tweeted my dissatisfaction, they refunded my money before they had even received the returned product.
However, what I can’t abide is how they handled my review of the product on their website. They have a section marked “Testimonials” for product reviews. I submitted a review noting that the size was incorrectly advertised and that the product was unsatisfactory. Rather than posting my review – they disabled reviews for that product (which they continue to sell).
In the era of social media – this sort of situation is actually a chance to improve your reputation because it allows the public to witness your dispute resolution process (by preserving it online for people to see). When you allow engagement on your website or social media presence, you create the possibility for people to happen across examples attesting to your quality
Here’s what should have happened:
- The negative review I submitted should have been approved/posted.
- Customer Service at that point should have initiated a refund (without me having to post a negative tweet).
- Someone should have responded to my negative review explaining the situation (I don’t blame Drs. Foster and Smith for the product description – they likely were misinformed by the manufacturer) and noting that my money was refunded.
- Then, I should have been invited to publicly rate my satisfaction with the response. (Some might worry that I would still hold a grudge and post a spiteful negative review – but then that spiteful act would have been preserved too so people could see that I was just a jerk even though the company attempted to satisfactorily resolve my concerns).
By going the route they chose – Drs. Foster and Smith is missing out on the opportunity to show other potential customers that I was ultimately satisfied with them. All anyone would see if they happened to search for background on the store (with the exception of this blog post) is my negative tweet and a tweet in response.
"...and you shall have no pie."As my parents tell it, when I was an infant my first word wasn't a word - it was an entire sentence. Very little has changed.
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