With new findings from the British Promotional Merchandise Association suggesting that free give aways of promotional merchandise can increase the levels of new business, it’s a great time to review how this might benefit our businesses.

We may all have enough free pens and usbs with various branding on them to last us a lifetime. But with the survey showing that 56% of respondents feel more favourable towards a brand after receiving a promotional item, and 79% saying that it would make them more likely to do business with the brand in future, we can see that promotional items can have a part to play in the marketing mix.

The key benefit of promotional material is that it keeps a brand in the front of a person’s mind. A pen or key ring sits on a desk or in a bag as a daily reminder of your brand. So when they’re in need of your product or service, your brand name could spring to mind above a competitor.

With this year’s Olympics making sport take centre stage, seasonal trends have seen low cost items such as Frisbees and sports bags being used to promote many brands. And with winter approaching, ice scrapers and tyre-checkers will soon be on the map. What you have to remember is to make a good fit between your brand and the item you’re sending out, as it’s more likely to create a credible engagement with your potential customer.

Read more…


Another EXcellent EXperience

It was around about this time last year that I wrote about my summer cruise experience aboard the Celebrity Eclipse. As well as it being a very enjoyable holiday the ship’s customer relations team covered themselves in glory by the way they managed a couple of ‘problems’ we encountered as we sailed the Mediterranean. (If you want to know what happened then click here.)

As a result our customer experience was so good that it prompted us to book this year’s holiday with Celebrity X Cruises on the Celebrity Silhouette sailing from Venice to Rome via Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro.

Once again we couldn’t fault the ship, the holiday or the ultra-efficient customer relations team who sorted out another couple of ‘problems’ we had (it sounds like we are serial complainers – we’re not really, we just like the taste of free champagne).

Overall, Celebrity X Cruises must consistently register a very positive net promoter score among its customers. However, there were a few things that kept niggling us throughout this particular cruise, especially the blatant, over-zealous attempts by the sales and marketing team to get us to spend money. Here are just a few examples:

  • At least 8 of the daily ‘Top 10 Tips’ printed in the ships’ newsletter weren’t tips at all, they were advertisements for things like drinks packages, health and beauty treatments and excursions.
  • No mention of the fact that at Ravenna in Italy there was a fantastic free beach right next door to the harbour. Instead we were told how wonderful the old town was (according to a fellow passenger it wasn’t) and that it would only cost $12 each for a 10 minute shuttle bus journey to the town centre and back.
  • Bari the deception was even worse – the information sheet actually said there were no walkways from the harbour to the old town and that “for your own safety” you were strongly advised to take the shuttle bus. Yes you’ve guessed it, it cost $12 each for the return trip. In fact there were walkways and as long as you observed the Green Cross Code the risk of being run over by a lorry was non-existent.

Individually they may seem a bit trivial but collectively they created an impression that we were at best being misinformed and at worst being fleeced. I wouldn’t recommend this as a sustainable marketing strategy.

There was also a certain amount of ‘cheesiness’ about the way anything remotely involving some form of mental or physical activity was branded a ‘Celebrity Life Activity’. From the Karaoke to the dancing classes to the deck party to the pub quiz to the ‘you-name-it’ the ubiquitous ‘Celebrity Life Activity’ pop-up popped up.

Similarly there was a misguided enthusiasm by the Celebrity X Cruises marketing team to slip in a capital ‘X’ whenever and wherever they could. The pinnacle of this lack of creativity came on the night they held a rock and roll themed party on deck. What else could it be called but Celebrity RoX. This eXciting, eXtraordinary ‘Celebrity Life Activity’ even had its own amazing PowerPoint slideshow, obviously sponsored heavily by ClipArt.

Perhaps I’m being a bit unkind, they probably tried hard but I think someone in their marketing team needs to go on a CIM Fundamentals of Marketing course PDQ  so that they learn to see things from a customer perspective and start being a bit more honest and a lot less cheesy.


Were you one of the 26.9 million people in the UK and the 1 billion people worldwide watching the awesome opening ceremony of the 30th Olympiad?

I was glued to the TV, mesmerised by the creative genius of Danny Boyle: Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Mr Bean, the Queen, Mary Poppins, the Arctic Monkeys and a volunteer cast of thousands to name just a few highlights. It was way past my bedtime when the ceremony concluded with the highly symbolic lighting of the Olympic cauldron but it was well worth the bags under my eyes the next morning.

It was very quirky, very funny, very poignant in places … and very British. In fact if you ask me it was a magnificent celebration of Brand GB, love it or loathe it.

There’s obviously been a lot said by the world’s media about the event – some got it, others didn’t – but whatever the point of view everyone agreed that it was certainly different. And isn’t that the point about brands: shouldn’t they have their own distinct personality; shouldn’t they be differentiated from the competition; shouldn’t they evoke an emotional response? Equally, don’t most brands have their advocates and their detractors?

It struck me watching the drama unfold that we ‘Brits’ have a lot to be proud of and, regardless of how many medals we may or not win over the coming weeks, London 2012, with a little help from David Beckham and friends, will deliver a positive legacy for Great Britain both at home and abroad. In the midst of a double-dip recession and the debacle of the first test against the South Africans, this was just the fillip we needed.

Of course I am biased – of all the cities I have been to in Europe and the USA London is still my favourite – plus it’s where I spend half my working life these days. But next time I’m in town strolling past a group of Japanese tourists on my way to the Ministry of Silly Walks I may have a bigger grin on my face than usual.


It’s always good to get insights from marketers in other fields, so this month, media consultant Kevin Tewis shares with us his insights for transforming the X Factor as the 2012 show is due to start any day. With the X-Factor now up against the likes of The Voice and Superstar in terms of popularity, it needs to make the most of its success.

This article aims to inform SYCO, the production company behind the X-Factor, how they can improve the X Factor 2012 with a three stage solution. There are many stages that I could suggest; however, I have chosen three key options that I believe feel offer significant business advantages (both short and long term) in order grow market share, gain organisational sustainability and increase profits and profitability.

I present the options in order of their perceived importance.

Strategic option 1 – entry process

First, Fremantle and SYCO must improve the contestant entry process in order to capture higher quality singers and grow consumer faith in the X Factor brand quality and credibility.

Currently, there is very minimal support at the audition process when supporting the Fremantle production team and it is critical that this changes imminently and is made a priority to music employees who develop acts and produce albums. Critically, this means pre-entry A&R development. It is important that this strategy is clearly explained in detail to demonstrate where the gaps lie, so that this can be addressed in order to improve SYCO’s business performance and profits.

The professional advice of SYCO employees that will be on offer to support Fremantle production staff will be extremely useful in identifying and securing vocalists that have a real chance of making it to the finals and the all important recording contract. Ensuring that world class acts are not lost due to the sheer weight of applicants will be of critical commercial interest to the music industry, Sony Music and SYCO’s brand management. Put simply, good acts must not be lost by a bad process.

With new competition from new UK products such as ‘The Voice’, it will be highly critical that this year’s vocalists for the X Factor are the best ever on a TV programme of this format. This type of strategic activity will also help SYCO manage any negative media that the company constantly faces and help build a robust positive corporate reputation.

Conclusively, the message is simple: better talent equals better ratings (BGT 2012).

If implemented to my brief SYCO will gain:

  • Higher market share
  • brand credibility
  • Stronger talent
  • Increase in TV ratings
  • Positive media attention online/offline
  • ore sustainable products and higher sales
  • Secure longer term financial revenue streams.

Strategic option 2 – restructure the format of ITV2 Xtra Factor

Secondly, SYCO, Fremantle and ITV must implement a new engaging format that is more fun in order to improve the ITV2 audience ratings. To increase consumer interest and provide ‘new’ reasons to tune in, the judge’s dressing rooms should be used as backdrops/sets. Whether the main show has provided rich content with excellent performances of perhaps a quip/fall out between judges resulting in an obvious emotional disconnect will provide TV gold moments that will explode through social media. This will, in turn, help fight off any competition from other rival reality shows.

Using a mobile crew to whisk through to the judges dressing rooms and provide premium behind the scenes footage would be a first for this type of show.

There are many options for improving the presenters on the Xtra Factor and one of the key areas I would recommend would be to secure very confident and quick witted presenters in order to capture the humorous market to lighten up the format and make it a key talking point. It is vital to stay clear of ‘re-inventing the wheel’ with the typical bog-standard sub-prime presenters. This type of activity will increase audience size by providing more rich content and keep the excitement going for longer. Encourage ITV1 viewers to stay on to increase ITV2 viewers in order to capture SYCO sales.

If implemented to my brief SYCO will gain:

  • Higher audience rating to the Xtra Factor
  • Improve quality of content
  • New exciting set and never before seen insight
  • Increasing brand credibility
  • More sustainable products and higher sales
  • Secure longer term financial revenue streams

Strategic option 3 – The X Factor 2012 ITV Live Final

Finally, this year’s live X Factor final could prove to be a TV concert phenomenon, attracting the largest audience yet. By using the arena format SYCO could improve business performance by integrating other key artists into a concert style format along the lines of the USA Jingle Ball. A longer ‘Live Aid’ style of show with more key acts, more celebrity collaborations and more releasable live products will in doubt ‘wow’ music consumers and encourage purchases.

SYCO could implement a lottery style concert ticket system which is a very successful business model in the USA with big live brands and high profile music artists. The lottery system pricing would be set accordingly (under £3 per applying audience member) in order to gain upfront finances that can help fund the production and cover business costs.

In the USA market this process demonstrates this disclaimer: The lottery system does not guarantee tickets, it provides effective crowd control and customer safety, and gives customers the same chance of being first in line.

If achieved then there is a further commercial option to capitalise on a Christmas album and thus gain sustainable competitive advantages. This content would be recorded ahead of the live show with confirmed celebrity acts and advertised during the show (and commercial breaks) to purchase. In short ‘Now that’s what’s I call X Factor 2012’.

If implemented to my brief SYCO will gain:

  • Higher market share
  • Increased brand credibility Increase in TV ratings
  • Positive media attention online/offline
  • More sustainable products and higher sales
  • Secure longer term financial revenue streams

If you would like to discuss any of Kevin’s strategic recommendation to improving commercial performance, of which there is many more, please feel free to contact him.


As you’re putting your entry together for this year’s Women in Marketing Awards, take inspiration and advice from judge Allyson Stewart-Allen of International Marketing Partners.

The deadline for entries is 6 September 2012.


A personal view of the London O******s

I remember I was on holiday watching BBC News 24 when London was awarded the 2012 Olympics and I was genuinely delighted that the world’s best athletes would converge on our capital city for the Games of the XXX Olympiad this July.

I was even more pro-Olympics when I was privileged to hear the story of the successful UK bid from David Magliano, former Director of Marketing for London 2012 at the marketing conference we held at the University of East London last winter. He was truly inspirational and had one or two delegates in tears. Honest.

However, since then I have to admit to becoming a bit disillusioned with it all. This is mainly due to the impact the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 is having on marketers.

Two weeks ago we held a marketing law update session at the University of Hertfordshire where Sarah Kelly, a senior solicitor at Pitmans spoke about the restrictions placed on marketers by the Act, In essence, unless you are an official sponsor you are not allowed to associate any marketing, advertising or promotional activity with the games. For example related words and phrases, such as ‘London 2012’, ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ cannot be used in marketing communications. For a summary take a look at LOCOG’s statutory marketing rights document.

This is a personal view, and not that of the CIM, but I think the end result of all this is that the true commercial benefit of the games being held in London is not going to be realised. It is only right that that the brand and official sponsors should be protected but is this taking things too far?

It is not only affecting businesses but also local communities. An article in the Independent talking about the failure of the Olympics to involve more people in sport contained this quote from Tim Lamb, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, “The Olympic rings are so well protected that it is next to impossible for a grass-roots club to associate itself with 2012. That makes it difficult for communities to feel like the Games are actually reaching their doorstep.” What a shame.

At the marketing law workshop I was going to show a clip from You Tube of the ‘Have I Got News for You’ episode that featured Paul Merton and Ian Hislop joking about the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 but couldn’t. Unfortunately the link now shows this graphic – says it all really.


This month, London’s Kevin Tewis, shares with London marketing professionals his insights about premium fashion brand, Jack Wills.

Jack Wills has many stores in Greater London, and has had the fortune of being a luxury clothing brand that has not compromised its pricing strategy or structure even at the hardest economic times in the company’s history and is seemingly still delivering supreme customer value without breaking a corporate sweat. The youthful university marketed brand shows no sign of stopping as the company continues to growth from strength the strength leaving competitors standing in a midst of price wars and promotions that simply are not differentiating enough to secure repeat customers.

Annual results filed on Companies House reveal that profit before tax increased 57% year-on-year, rising from £6.69 million in 2009/10 to £10.49 million in 2010/11. Last year saw the university outfitter open its first US store, and operations in the new territory helped group turnover jump from £64.7 million to £92 million over the course of the year, a rise of 43%. Its Rest of the World division, which includes the new US business, reported sales of £1.65 million for the 12 months to the end of January, compared to £1.05 million in the previous financial period.

Jack Wills is not shy or shameless with its aggressive snobbery strategy with brand positioning to the ‘well off/well to do’ affluent segments of university customers and their paying parents. The brand delivers very high quality garments across male and female ranges and has an extensive, attractive set of peripheral products such as sports hand luggage, towels and stationary, some at sky high prices.

There is a very Eton feel to the brand and upon visiting a store they are exceptionally are well fitted and executed with lush detail that supports either a full day out at the Henley boat race, a shopping trip to Chelsea or a day at the Polo championships with HRH Prince Henry Windsor. Where does brand Wills gain its core sources of competitive advantage when price is such a key component to marketing?

Social media demonstrates strong evidence of a real ‘love’ for the brand and there is vast evidence to suggest Jack Wills has truly understood its marketable areas and has captured, nurtured and captivated its customers, existing and new, who continue to purchase without price becoming a negative.

One of the critical success factors, surprisingly, is the length of the lifecycle of some of the product ranges. Typically male shirts produced at key times, such as Christmas, have an incredibly long fashion lifecycle which is highly unusual as many youth markets have an interstellar desire to swap tastes and trends and historically often don’t adhere to a clothing brand loyalty. It is perceived by youth consumers that it is ‘cool’ to wear Jack Wills fashions for more than a year and they are respected as ‘vintage years’ as if they were a Dom Perignon champagne or a Rioja wine from the nineties.

Fascinating to understand then that in 2, 3 or 4 years time the products have retained their style, distinctive colour and even look brand new (ageless) providing key insight into the success of the brand’s strategy. One of the value propositions is created through well designed, quality products that have a robust posh reputation with a long lifecycle (value for money) that is not limited to current mainstream fashion trends.

This ensures that a key source of Wills differentiation strategy and competitive advantage comes from its monarchical style attitude through the marketing of its quality products, attitude to consumer markets and its strength in management, striding forword with militant intent.

A similar business/marketing model with a proven track record has been demonstrated by the iconic USA brand ‘Abercrombie & Fitch’ (A&F). A&F uses an integrated blend of fashion sexualisation twinned with cutting edge preppy style and superior material quality along its unisex product ranges. And it prides itself on having ‘vintage years’ within clothing ranges that are priced as highly as £120 per T-shirt.

Such expensive pricing models help Abercrombie & Fitch to force a living elitism and a strong brand identity supported by its highly loyal customer base whilst remaining in traditional malls. There is a public relations element to this business activity but in essence it creates an elite brand community that appreciate this type of high end product ranges which again help create differentiation from competing clothing brands in malls.

Jack Wills in comparison has a stronger strategy in principle and could potentially give the brand the ultimate competitive advantage in this clothing segment as they do not sexualize their brand. They purely keep it focused on royal, affluent and university students that clearly identify with Eton, Oxford and Cambridge. With the Wills brand moving to USA markets the consumers in this territory embrace links to royalty and British heritage, as these consumers fully understand the linkages.

The USA has an enormous university culture and with multiple brands already cashing in on the lucrative opportunities that exist through student customers. Jack Wills has highly relevant core competences and products that are easily adaptable scalable and deployable to this customer group. Looking at the financial and market growth potential, executed correctly this could be nothing short of phenomenal. Perhaps then Abercrombie & Fitch should be watching with pinpoint intelligence and brand radar scanning for this new kid on the block, Jack Wills, else it could we be ’Abercrombie & Flinch!’


As Britain slides down the rankings from position 10 to 13 in the Future Brand’s Country Brand Index, a global study of country brands, it shows how factors such as economic problems and unrest have a negative affect on a country’s brand.

It’s not surprising. One minute Britain is basking in the pageantry of the Royal Wedding, relishing our history and sense of occasion. The next, the streets are full of rioters and unrest.

Having a strong country brand is pivotal as it influences the perception of tourists, investors and buyers of British products. Can we recover? The signs are positive having just won the bid for the 2017 World Athletics Championship, and Brand Britain marketers are hoping that the London 2012 Olympics will give us an opportunity to showcase a fresh image.

Let’s take inspiration from the countries who’ve improved their brand. Japan’s increased its ranking despite the earthquake, and Thailand is showing a strong performance in tourism despite political upheaval in the country. Brazil has seen a boost following successful bids to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, and Canada which took full advantage of promoting its natural beauty throughout the 2010 Winter Olympics tops the Index.

I’m hopeful that next year Britain will have a fantastic year. With campaigns such as Visit Britain’s tourism campaign to inspire the tourism industry to promote our country in the run up to the Olympics, we’re heading in the right direction.

I’ll be playing my part by working with British companies to help them market themselves effectively. Read more…


Mike AshtonI recently had the pleasure of speaking to a meeting of the London region of the CIM, sharing the platform with Anthony Thomson, chairman of Metro Bank.

My theme for the evening was marketing’s readiness to lead change and develop powerful customer experiences. After 8 years as CMO of Hilton International, striving to transform that great brand’s customer experience on a global basis, I had a few ideas I was keen to share.

The challenge facing just about any business today is leading and managing change in order to improve competitive performance.  Managing change is a complex and costly field.  It’s fraught with pitfalls and success generally requires specialist knowledge and experience.

Yet despite this, how many businesses hire specialist managers or external support with a proven track record of delivering successful change programmes? In my experience very few, which is perhaps why so many change initiatives falter. The pattern of “launch it – neglect it – re-launch it” is a familiar one yet CEOs, COOs and CMOs continue to make the same mistakes.

When it comes to brand and customer experience, marketing should surely be the catalyst for major internal change…change that transforms what customers receive…change powerful enough to influence customer buying decisions. Marketing should be the glue that holds everything together, harnessing the energy and talent of all key functions to achieve the desired outcome.

The question is, are marketing departments and CMOs, sufficiently equipped and influential to lead the change that’s required….to secure the necessary investment…to persuade and unify senior colleagues and inspire people behind a shared vision?

A recent CIM survey suggests that in far too many cases the answer is NO, a conclusion reinforced by continuing debate about the lack of robust financial, operational and broad-based commercial skills that are essential for anyone wishing to influence business strategy and shape customer experience.

In my experience of leading and managing change across organisations like Hilton, Stakis Group and ScotRail and with clients at ABCG, the most common barriers to successful change continue to be:

  • Failing to identify all costs and plan adequate investment  2-3 years ahead
  • Failing  to anticipate & plan for the operational complexity of change and resources required
  • Failure to deliver sustained programmes of engagement and communicate over time
  • Failure to identify & remove the infrastructure that stifles change & rewards ‘old’ behaviour.

These prickly issues are at the heart of managing change and shaping competitive strategy.  In my view, these are issues with which CMOs and aspiring marketing leaders must be conversant if we’re to play the leadership role our chosen discipline demands.  So may I humbly suggest that it’s time to dig into the nuts & bolts of what really makes out businesses run, to build our experience and with it our credibility and demand to be heard at the most senior levels.  We owe it to our customers.

Mike Ashton’s website is


Here’s something to get your teeth into! The chocolatiers at luxury brand Hotel Chocolat are offering London members the chance to win the ultimate pamper package for the chocolate lover in your life. Worth £75, this luxury hamper is brimming with chocolate goodies including milks, darks, truffles, nuts and caramel canapés.

All you need to do is answer a few questions to be entered into the prize draw. The deadline is 25 November 2011.

If you haven’t been to one of Hotel Chocolat’s stylish shops, it really is a must. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere and discover their devotion to making exciting, adventurous chocolate by unearthing exceptional ingredients and using plenty of passion. Hotel Chocolat continues to be a British-owned phenomenon brazenly committed to real, authentic chocolate.

To find out more, drop in and bliss out with their free in store chocolate tasting or go to

August 29, 2011

A word from Phil Preston


in Regional Director


Of course there’s only one thing to write about this month … my summer holiday. I have just returned from two weeks bobbing about in the Mediterranean on a big boat. The big boat in question was the Celebrity Eclipse, a 122,000 gross tons floating luxury hotel cum resort catering for nearly 3,000 demanding passengers.

This wasn’t the first cruise ship my wife and I have been on – over the past 8 years we have been happy to spend as much of our children’s inheritance as we can on cruise holidays, alternating between P&O and Princess Cruises, but this year we fancied a change.

We chose the Celebrity Eclipse not necessarily for the itinerary, the service, entertainment, bars, restaurants, gym, casino, pools, cabins or the cost. The other cruise ships we have been on all offer similar facilities and services. What did it for us was the attraction of the Celebrity brand – and in particular the contemporary, genuinely exciting and unique design of the ship itself.

From the fully grown tree suspended in mid-air in one of two 12 deck atriums, the modern art and sculptures that adorned the stairwells and The Lawn Club (it really was grass) on deck 15 where we played boules each evening before getting ready for dinner, the only way to describe the on-board experience was “cool”.

I think it was Tom Peters who once said, “Design, as I see it, is arguably the #1 determinant of whether a product-service-experience stands out … or doesn’t”, so making something “cool” seems like a pretty good marketing strategy to me.

But if you are really going to win hearts and minds you have also got to deliver exceptional customer service as part of the whole package. This is where Celebrity Cruises also excelled – or to be more precise, redeemed themselves.

The second part of our cruise experience story relates to the Pool Butler “service”. On the basis that there were not enough sun beds for every passenger Pool Butlers would remove towels from any beds that were unoccupied for more than 30 minutes – freeing them up for other passengers to use.

Not a problem if you are taking a quick 10 minute dip in the pool, but what if you want to take more than 30 minutes for lunch and don’t want to have to search for another premium spot on the sundeck when you get back? You are on holiday – you don’t need this stress! Why should you have to leave a note on your bed saying “Gone to lunch, back soon” (yes, I actually tried this).

To cut a long story short, on two occasions my wife fell victim to over-zealous Pool Butlers removing her towel from her sun bed even though she had not exceeded the 30 minute limit, and when she complained to the officer in charge of the sundeck she got little sympathy.

Fortunately, guest relations were more understanding and not only apologised but also instantly provided us with two large, extra-soft gold coloured bath towels, normally reserved for passengers occupying suites, to use on our sun beds for the rest of the cruise. We were assured that the Pool Butlers, or “Pool Bullies” as we nicknamed them, wouldn’t dare remove them, even after 30 minutes. That evening they also sent a note of apology to our cabin accompanied by a bottle of champagne.

So next year we will be cruising on the Celebrity Silhouette, the newest ship in the fleet – essentially the result of a luxury brand living up to and exceeding its promise. We just need to buy a couple of large, extra-soft gold coloured bath towels and we will have another stress-free holiday.

If you are interested in the subjects of Customer Experience Management and Design keep your eyes peeled for two CIM events taking place in London. The first is on 29 September when leading customer experience consultant Mike Ashton, former Senior Vice President, Marketing & Brand Management of Hilton International and Anthony Thomson, Chairman of Metro Bank take to the podium. And early next year the CIM Creative Communications market interest group hope to run a session on Design in partnership with the Design Business Association.

July 1, 2011

A word from Phil Preston


in Regional Director

Last night I watched “Made in Dagenham”, the true story of the late sixties campaign by women at the Ford car plant in Dagenham for equal pay. It wasn’t until 1970 that the Equal Pay Act was passed by the UK Parliament – a fundamental right that we now all take for granted.

It was really a story about reward and recognition – it wasn’t just about the money, but about the company recognising that regardless of gender there should be equal pay for men and women doing the same job.

So reward should go hand and hand with recognition. To quote a line from Love and Marriage, the 1955 song made famous by Sinatra, “you can’t have one without the other” if you want a relationship to last.

This was certainly the message given by Giles Pavey from dunnhumby at the CIM Summer Marketing Conference in Chelmsford last month. Giles talked enthusiastically about the good old days when the owner of the corner shop knew all his customers personally and this desire for detailed customer insight is really the driving force behind the success of the Tesco Clubcard.

Giles opened his presentation with this quote from Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, “There are only two sources of competitive advantage: the ability to learn more about our customers faster than the competition and the ability to turn that learning into action faster than the competition”. Which is exactly what Tesco does – it collects vast quantities of transactional data on individual shoppers and uses the knowledge it gains to influence customer behaviour in real-time by issuing personalised “rewards” in the form of direct mail vouchers, point of sale incentives and online offers.

There’s a lot more to it than vouchers and price promotions though – if you want to know more you will find a copy of Giles’ presentation on the marketing conference micro-website. You’ll find several other conference presentations there too.

Even though you may not have the resources of Tesco or dunnhumby you can still apply the principles. Basically, if you can understand what motivates behaviour then you can design incentives or interventions to influence it.

Just don’t overdo the generic promotional offers though, as they will encourage promiscuity rather than build loyalty. It can also be expensive as this recent snippet from the CIM’s weekly Cutting Edge news bulletin highlighted:

Discounting during the recession has led to an estimated fall in UK profits of more than £20bn, according to a recent KPMG survey. It says that 49% of respondents have entered into pricing wars with competitors and many feel that they don’t have enough time to create a long-term pricing strategy.

So, perhaps it’s better to personalise your product offering or customer service; or maybe just say thank you every now and then.

We all like a bit of recognition. That’s true not only from a marketing perspective but also in the workplace and in life too. Blimey, I’ve gone all profound!

November 15, 2010

Personal branding for success event

by Stephanie

in Branding, Careers, Events

Gain two CPD hours and a whole lot of knowledge from attending this event arranged by the Croydon and South London team.

Held on 2 December at the Jury’s Inn, Wellesley Road, Croydon, Personal branding for success will demonstrate the value of having a clear personal brand. Whether it’s a product such as Tiffany, or a person such as Richard Branson, a brand is a promise of what you can expect when you buy it, use it and experience it.

This event’s speaker, Lizzie Pawsey, is an experienced facilitator and executive coach. She will take a strategic marketing approach to the impression that a brand creates and the impact it can make.

By the end of this workshop you will be able to:

  • Recognise the importance of a personal brand
  • Learn the key steps in building a personal brand
  • Understand how to use your personal brand to its best effect.

Read more…

Hi there!

Haven’t been in touch for a while as life has been crazy. I have started a new job and my parents were over here for three weeks and they then got stuck in Singapore because of the Icelandic volcano – life has been pretty interesting.

I got invited to a pot luck party the other week. I don’t know about you but I had no idea what that was – but one of my Aussie colleagues explained to me it basically means you go to your cupboard or fridge and bring something from there – bring a plate with a difference I guess. I ended up making cheesecake as I figured people wouldn’t really want alfalfa sprouts and carrots for dinner!

So what’s going on here? 

Read more…

May 6, 2010

Viral marketing at it’s best

Tweet With the new John Lewis advert making a noise around the viral networks, it’s got to be every marketers’ dream. Create an advert, and then get free coverage as news sites and all sorts of social networking sites post it and talk about it. Perfect!   For those of you who haven’t yet seen [...]

Read more…
April 12, 2010

Making Believe

Tweet This was the title for a talk I went to at the ICA last week, about the human instinct towards storytelling and how we react to stories when we’re overwhelmed by narratives.  And these days, stories are all around us. Individuals, brands, politics and organisations use stories to construct, distract, disrupt, persuade and position.  [...]

Read more…
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