Don’t Retreat Marketers. Ben Franklin to the Rescue.

What the heck is going on in the business world?

Judging by all the negative stories, one would think that a plague of incompetence has afflicted commercial teams across the country.

However, beyond the obvious blunders (e.g., United and airport security personnel), some of the backlash is a bit perplexing.

Are corporations and their marketing teams failing at higher rates or is something else going on?

I suggest the latter. That’s partly because social media has, for better and for worse, totally disrupted the way so many now get and process their information.

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Poor Integration and Sales Bombardment Equals Bad Customer Experience

It’s hard to create good customer experience when sales teams are not aligned and compete against themselves.

Credit: iStock

When customer-facing personnel from the same organization, including across different divisions, are not integrated, customer experience is likely to suffer. It may go unrecognized, but eventually the ultimate one suffering is the company itself, with lost sales.

Poor integration, combined with lax management, can cause the classic “left hand, right hand what the heck is going on syndrome.” And the terrible question: Who’s managing the customer touchpoints?

Thanks to Cision and PR Newswire, I’m such a victim. Good news, though. It’s a mild case and I’ll be fine. Continue reading

Why “Pop-up” Thinking Can Boost Your Marketing

What can marketers apply from the “pop-up” go-to-market concept popularized in recent years by Halloween costume stores, and now chefs?

iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

First of all, think about “pop-up” as a business mindset, not just a retail brick and mortar tactic.

Applied this way, pop-up thinking encapsulates a range of important ideas such as customer choice and variety; experimentation and testing; and an agile, asset-light business approach.

For example, writing in The Wall Street Journal, Jane Black highlighted how chefs are using a modified pop-up model to build their brands and make money. A common approach is to join forces with an existing restaurant owner and “take-over” the physical space at a designated time to produce and deliver the chef’s concept. As Black explains, “permanent pop-ups also feed diners’ hunger for all things new.” Continue reading

“See Thru Can” Is Vivid Example of How Packaging Can Drive Marketing

Despite the yearning for disruptive marketing ideas, the challenge in much of the day-to-day world of marketing is identifying and applying new ways of thinking about existing products or services.

Take canned vegetables. The process of canning goes back about 200 years. So what’s the marketing team assigned to launch a new brand of canned vegetables to do?

Use packaging innovation as a marketing change agent.

South Carolina-based McCall Farms has introduced a new brand of ready-to-eat vegetables called Glory Farms. The kicker: the products are packed in “see thru” composite containers.

Credit: McCall Farms/Glory Farms.

Credit: McCall Farms/Glory Farms.

The packaging innovation achieves three crucial, marketing and sales objectives: Continue reading

5 Pointers for Writing a Letter to Your Customer

We all get “letters” from companies we do business with. Most go right in the garbage.

But, sometimes, a letter stands out.

The letter I’m going to tell you about was noteworthy because it reflected these 5 Pointers for Direct Customer Communication:

  • Be Authentic
  • Be Relevant
  • Keep it Straightforward/Concise
  • Convey appreciation/thanks for the business
  • Provide a Call-to-Action


“A few personal words.”

kingsize-brand-manager-letterThat was the title of the letter I received after a recent purchase from online retailer KingSize.

The one-page communication was a surprisingly good example of customer relationship engagement — that almost didn’t happen. That’s because the envelope and letter felt like just another typical piece of unneeded “junk” mail and I almost threw it out twice before reading the letter.

So, what made me read?

It was the title of the letter’s author: Brand Manager. That stood out to me as a marketer and former Brand Manager myself. Continue reading