Has Crowdsourcing Gone Too Far?

Have marketers thrown in the towel on making decisions?

Specifically, I’m wondering:

Where is the line between using informed judgment to make solid, on-strategy decisions, and just opening the proverbial office door to say “Hey customer, you decide.”

Credit: Binghamton Mets.

Credit: Binghamton Mets.

The prompt for my contemplation is a re-naming contest initiated by a minor league baseball team in upstate New York.

It’s part of a business and brand overhaul initiated by new owner John Hughes, who purchased the Double-A Binghamton Mets (affiliated with the New York Mets) in December 2015. The team had been owned by a local group for 24 years. Continue reading

Shake My Head Marketing (Automation Run Amok)

Beware the unintended consequences of marketing automation gone awry.

Even one or two misdirected emails has the potential to threaten the customer experience and brand goodwill that your company has worked so hard to build.

For example, imagine my surprise to see this Planet Fitness email after I returned from the gym last night:

 

Planet Fitness - We Want You Back - 2

Wow.  Guess I was lucky to get in.

Continue reading

Turn Customer Listening into Learning and Go-To-Market Action

Good things can happen when you listen to customers.

Consider Hostess Brands,  which “has nurtured retail sales of its products nearly back to their pre-liquidation level of more than $1.3 billion in 2012” as reported by Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal.

Credit: Captain Cupcake1 Flickr

Credit: Captain Cupcake1 Flickr

This summer, the company expanded the Hostess brand product range with white and wheat bread along with hamburger and hot dog buns.

Why is Hostess getting into bread?  They listened carefully to customers and realized there was a business opportunity. Continue reading

Master of Disguise – Texas Roadhouse CEO Goes Incognito for External Learning

“It’s important that I not be recognized when scouting. I have Bubba teeth to dive to another level. The goofier you are, the more folks don’t care about telling you stuff.”  Kent Taylor, Texas Roadhouse CEO

Photo: Texas Roadhouse Facebook.

Photo: Texas Roadhouse Facebook.

Getting closer to your business operations, employees and even competitors doesn’t require a trip to your local pop-up costume store.  Save that for this year’s Halloween shopping.

Kent Taylor, the founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse provides a funny reminder that business leaders need to avoid the ivory tower syndrome and get out into the market for real learning. Continue reading

CA Winery Blends Packaging & Consumer Insights To Create New Products

Photo: Stranger & Stranger.

Packaging is often an under-appreciated and under-utilized marketing asset.

I’m not talking about the marketing joke with the basic theme that every new brand manager wants to change the label design.  Rather, let’s explore how packaging (both structure and design) can become part of the actual concept and go-to-market strategy.

A California winery has just launched a new range of wines, that in my view, addresses a fundamental issue with buying wine:  more often than not, consumers lack basic wine knowledge and are thus intimidated, confused and uncomfortable buying wine.  But it’s not their fault.  It’s the fault of the wine industry.  I speak as a former wine importer and distributor who used packaging to address this hurdle. Continue reading