Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Very Chic: Chic and Town Hotel in Rome. Customer Service At Its Best

As I continue to travel both locally here in Australia and Overseas for Business it never ceases to amaze each and every time how excellent customer service is a powerful, meaningful and sustainable differentiator between one product or service and another rival product or service.  In fact for any business the most important question needs to remain how can we provide additional value to our target market audience regardless of the market or product offering.

To answer this, it is wise to consider that real value is a function of both price and quality. Now let us take as an example the very competitive market place that is the Roman Hotel market in Italy.

Obviously with Rome being such a  perennially important tourist and business destination the demand for rooms will always be high which puts a lot of pricing pressure on hotel managers and owners to provide fair and reasonable pricing for their rooms. This is understood by most businesses and it does not in itself, differentiate that business from others. However exceptional customer service does exactly that.

When recently traveling in Italy, I had the good fortune to stay with my wife Sharon at the renowned Chic and Town Hotel  (www.ChicTown.it ), in the heart of Rome at: 31 Via Dei Due Macelli, Rome just a stones throw away from the iconic Spanish steps.

It is beautifully appointed, centrally located and fairly priced which presented a genuine level of customer value, matched against its many rivals. But what really puts this business over the top is its exceptional and unfailing level of customer service that aims to exceed customer expectations and provides true, wow factor for all to see. A simple formula but a winning one that makes the Chic and Town and similar businesses in every market the best value for the customers dollar.

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Facebook Has a Bet Each Way On Its' New Dislike Button

Having Your Cake And Eating It Too

So if you've ever wondered what having your cake and eating it to looked like in the digital space try Facebook's latest effort in introducing a quasi Dislike button.

Related image

This week  Facebook allowed its users to show some form of disapproval in content by putting in a button that that allows users called a 'Downvote Button".  

This will give users scope and option to flag and hide comments on given posts but not the posts themselves that are made on public pages. This feature to date has only been available to a small test group of US members. 

Reporting to Facebook

Additionally this new feature also provides options to report a comment as either:
offensive, misleading, or off-topic, which then acts to hide the associated content.

It's no secret that Facebook has resisted the strong desire of the Facebook community to have a genuine Dislike button.  Facebook will  argue to that it has resisted as it's trying to unite everyone, but perhaps  the real reason for this partial retreat is that the first real cracks are starting to appear in the popularity of Facebook to competitors.  Hmm. If that trend continues, who knows we may get an actual dislike button in the not too distant future.

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Recent Data Showing How Much People Like and Dislike Key Social Media Sites

Large Sample

Recent polling data from a Harris Poll with over one hundred and eighty three million Americans and Canadians has provided some keen insights into how popular or unpopular each of the key social media platforms are.

Specifically the sample provides data on both how many users want the respective sites to continue as well as how many would like to see it stop operating. Additionally the poll also provided information on what percentage did not know about each platform.

For example Twitter has 330 million monthly active users, but 46% of the people surveyed would prefer to 'kill it and hope it dies', as the poll puts it. The level of dissatisfaction lessens with other key social media sites with Facebook coming in at 32% who hope the site disappears, whereas Pinterest  had only 26% of respondents who wished for it to cease. 

Perhaps most interesting is the fact that for some of these sites, over 70% of the polled audience did not know who they were.  This is both a real issue for these sites yet concurrently a huge marketing opportunity to raise awareness among users.

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Review Sites: The Emerging Key To Customer Acceptance

If ever there was a case to be made that customer service was even more important today than at any stage in the past, I suspect it revolves around the fact that Customer Review Sites are continuing to gain an even more powerful place within the social media arena.

There are now literally dozens of well established, respected and influential customer review sites that are widely known to the general public and in many cases, to the specific audience they cater to.

The list includes but is not by no means limited to:
  • Yelp
  • Google Reviews
  • Trip Advisor
  • CitySearch
  • InsiderPages
  • YahooLocal
  • Urban Spoon
  • DealerRater
  • JudysBook
  • Edmunds
  • Zagats.com
These and many more review sites are now the first port of call for many customers looking to gain insight into what the better options are and from this starting point, additional research is done a s a basis for the buying decision and ultimately the purchase.

For businesses the implication is simple. You need to continue to:
  1. Maintain the highest standards of customer service and quality delivery
  2. Drive positive referrals to customer review sites
  3. Include inbound links that drive the top line interest preferentially back to your digital hub such as your corporate website or blog.
    To learn more about any aspect of social or digital media marketing go to the latest Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry courses at:

    So until next time, good luck and good marketing.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Facebook Messenger Ads Now Available Globally

The new Facebook ads that underwent their initial testing phase through Thailand and Australia, have as of now been expanded to be available globally to add 2 billion plus Facebook users on messenger app.

Image result for facebook messenger app ads

The Messenger ads are now displayed in each Facebook user’s inbox, and based on the actual number of threads that user has, the phones actual screen size and the pixel density of the display.

Each messenger ad comes with a ‘sponsored’ label in the home tab of the Messenger app. Their formatted structure is that it appears as a typical news-feed ad, including the headline, copy, image, and calls to action.

This ad is a portal to take the reader to any designated landing page for example on the website of the business where specially designed offers and promotions await the incoming Facebook user.
If you receive a Messenger ad, at this stage there is no way to permanently turn off ads, however there is a downward arrow in the bottom right of the ad that provides options where the user can hide the ad or report sender to Facebook.

These Facebook Messenger ads now offer a greater ability to reach this vast audience globally.
AS always given Facebook’s in-depth user demographic information, all marketers should revisit who their target audience is and in so doing refine the demographics of the group for better targeting.

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Where Should Your Brand Focus First

In recent years social media marketing has been gradually gaining acceptance as a legitimate and when properly utilised, powerful tool in the marketer’s arsenal.

And with this rise in popularity and use, has also come a call from various business writers for marketers to forget about segmentation in the traditional sense and instead, adopt the approach of marketing their product to segments of one. 

This approach is predicated on the belief  that social media allows marketers greater insight into customer’s needs based on their new found ability to engage the prospect with a true dialog,  unavailable before the rise of the current day social media networking platforms. 

This potential is well established and where the customer is willing to engage online with the business, a better understanding of the unmet need can be obtained and act as a basis for tailoring solutions that exactly meet that individuals needs.   

 The rate limiting factor with this approach is that not everyone will be willing to engage with you and in the absence of a proactive and strategic approach to targeting, the result is likely to be an uncoordinated and ultimately unsuccessful effort.

The need for segmentation and intelligent target marketing has not been replaced by LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.  These platforms provide added insight but do not replace these key pillars that are so crucial to the overall marketing planning process.

With this said the conversation should then turn to what are the key criteria to think about when targeting for your business.
There are 3 that should be focused on. Namely:  customer attractiveness, customer growth potential and customer usage.

By customer attractiveness we are referring to how closely does a particular client or prospect match up with your stated target audience and brand positioning. 

For this you need to have a clearly thought out and concise description about who your ideal customer is and by extension who your target audience is. This should always be formally written down and contain the following key elements.

Specifically the statement:
n  Should describe a distinct place that the brand occupies with the target market.
n  Should differentiate the brand in a meaningful way from rival brands.
n  Should include a core benefit that will assist the user.

For example some years back as a product manager for a leading pharmaceutical firm I wrote a positioning statement for one of the cardiovascular products as follows:

Brand X is the blood pressure medicine of choice for mature hypertensives, which have declining kidney function, because it offers superior tolerability due to its dual pathways of drug elimination.

This statement includes: the target audience you seek to attract (i.e. mature hypertensives), the brand name (Brand X), the product category (blood pressure medication), the core benefit (better tolerated) and importantly the reason to believe in that benefit (dual pathways of drug elimination).
The closer an individual fits this target group the more attractive they are for our brand. 

The second criterion is customer potential. Here you are looking at how much of your brand a customer is likely to need to have their needs met. Let’s look at the example of two separate businesses that could buy your product. For example a restaurateur about to open a restaurant could buy a hundred chairs for his venue and therefore have a have a much larger need for chairs than a local convenience store owner about to open that business that will require only a hand full of chairs. Again as with the first criterion of customer attractiveness, the range will be from low to high.

The third criterion is current usage. Does the prospect or customer use the product already and if so how much.When you combine these 3 criteria you get a simple model as demonstrated below.

Figure 1.  The Target Market Analysis Model*   

You can imagine a numerical scale of 1 to 10 along each of the three axes, and altogether forming 8 possible quadrants. So which of these quadrants represent the optimal focal points for maximum impact?
A strong case can be made for two in particular.
The first of these is the group that concurrently has high potential, high attractiveness and high usage.

In other words the customer or prospect being targeted has high attractiveness because they fall squarely into the overtly stated target market definition contained within the brands positioning statement.

Fig 2.Typical Long Term Customer Profile with High Potential, High Attractiveness and High Usage Quadrant.

Secondly they also have high potential because they still require more of the product to have their existing customer needs satisfactorily met. Finally they use an existing high current level of your brand, which will usually have been built up as the relationship, experience and overall outcomes with the brand have proven beneficial over time.
Clearly this quadrant describes the dynamic of an established client with a high level of customer satisfaction, which would imply a higher level of loyalty to the brand and a greater long term probability of ongoing, repeat business. In any situation this is a critical group that needs to be analysed, identified and rewarded for their patronage.

The second attractive quadrant that should always be actively targeted is that of the high potential, high attractiveness but low (or no) current usage prospect. In this instance we see the potential or former customer, who still has a high degree of attractiveness to the business as they align perfectly to the specified target market, which also have high potential because they still use large amounts of this type of product to meet their needs.

Unlike the first group however who are avid users and already consume high levels of the brand, this group currently has a low level of current use and will require tactical effort by the business to convince them of why this product should be preferentially preferred over other rival brands. 

Fig 3. Typical High Potential Prospect Profile with High Potential, High Attractiveness and Low Usage Quadrant.

Although you can make a strong case that this is the more difficult group of the two to sell to because it still needs convincing, it remains the group with the greatest dollar potential for growth because the amount that can potentially be bought in the future is much larger than the earlier group.

Where ever possible a business should attempt to actively define and target the two influential groups outlined in this article, through its marketing and commercial efforts.
Although these targets are distinct groups requiring strategically different approaches to maximise the potential of each, they stand out individually and collectively as the groups with the greatest potential for dollar growth.

So until next time, good luck and good marketing.