Category Archives: Marketing Curmudgeon

Voice Mail – What Do Your Customers Think?

Very annoying when you want to talk to a human and the system is structured to make that impossible … or incredibly difficult to do so. OMG!

Human interaction is where one has the opportunity to develop relationships, build a positive image and the marketer who doesn’t understand the value of that needs to be retired!!! Idiocy is the impression one gives as it relates to understanding the value of customer relationships and how they are impacted by the “endless” voice mail process. Caring about the customer’s interaction with your firm is not an afterthought but should be a major focus and voice mail can be helpful when limited and you provide personal interaction.

Remember it costs 5X as much to get a new customer as it does to retain one and 50X as much to gain back a lost client, Emotions play an important role in establishing a relationship with a customer or with those who are interested in the possibility of becoming one. Thus how do you think a voicemail program that goes beyond being helpful but is seen as an annoyance impacts the emotions of those that call your firm? Matter? How do you feel when you incur the Voicemail “mine-field”? Take a survey not only of customers, but employees as well.

If you like, go to our LinkedIn.com group “Smart Marketing for Small Business” or any business group and ask that question. Attitude is a key factor in the success of any business and, one that focuses on making itself very “User Friendly” will always rise above the crowd. Interaction with your target audience is key to building successful relationships. Eliminating or minimizing irritation in any aspect of your marketing efforts is smart marketing. Love your customer and at worst they’ll like you, especially when you make their effort in reaching out to you pleasant.

“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence –
only in constant improvement and constant change.” – Tom Peters

Do you agree or disagree? Let’s hear from you.

Les Wolff The Original Marketing Curmudgeon Also listen to our radio show, Smart Marketing for Small Business (Live every Wed @11pm EST) And visit our LinkedIn Group of the same name.

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Cutting Through The Cluttered Communications Landscape, 1 of 2

By: Leslie R. Wolff – A Marketing Curmudgeon

In today’s world we are being “attacked” by onslaught of communication messages daily by the hundreds, if not thousands. E-mail abound, the Internet has unleashed an information overload that is physically, as well as time needed, insane and impossible to absorb.

It used to be just advertising that look to grab our attention as these comments from The Financial Times reflected on a number of years ago.

“As consumers are bombarded with ever rising numbers of advertisements, companies are finding it harder and harder to be heard because of the clutter of competing messages.” Continue reading

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Why are there so few positive Customer Service experiences?

Smart Thinking … A Different Perspective

 By Leslie R. Wolff, A Marketing Curmudgeon

In my 40+ years of lecturing on marketing I always ask my audiences …
“How many really great customer services experiences have you had in the last year?” It is rare that anyone thinks they’ve had at least 3. Strange considering tens of million$ are spent in the area of Cu$tomer $ervice, why do you think the ROI is so poor?

In fact many marketing departments don’t even consider the role of customer service as a key element of their overall marketing strategy. If we look at the results nationwide survey after survey you get the impression many marketers neglect this totally. Is that the fault of the CMO, CEO, COO, CFO or all of them as a non thinking management unit when it comes to understanding the customer’s needs and perspective as to what they expect and what they get.

As a consumer you are aware of this, but how do your customers rate your customer service? Probably not too good unless you are one of the rare exceptions statistically, the odds are against you, but do you really know?

 “Do not hesitate to go the extra mile as you will rarely find it crowded.”

How do you define Customer Service? Obviously, it has to do with fulfilling needs of the customer. The key to excellence is constantly striving to exceed those expectations. Here are a few smart moves a company of any size can do that will enhance their customer service:

Proactive Attitude & Continuous Dialogue

  • Create a customer friendly environment where their concerns can easily be identified and quickly responded to.
  • Have a reward/incentive program established for employees where they can not only proposed constructive ideas, but can feel comfortable to reports “bad news” and not fear retribution because management has a “Kill the Messenger” mentality,
  • Create Customer Service Council in which vendors are encouraged to participate. They benefit from your growth that will come with an exceptional customer service environment.

Highest Quality Standards

  • Whether your company makes manufactured goods, provides services, or has a retail operation, you want to ensure every aspect of your business is on board the “Superior Quality” bandwagon.

Develop a Reputation for Integrity

  • It will raise you above the commodity-congested marketplace. How will this help? Maybe give an example

If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”

Communicate from the Customer’s Perspective

  • The most effective communication is that based on the WIIFM Factor (What’s in it for me?)

Understand the Power of the Internet

  • Think about the how the power of the Internet has given to the consumer to express dissatisfaction to0day. The impact of viral communication can be dramatic in hurting (or helping) a company’s bottom line.
  • Positive Spin on Internet use

If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos

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A few Smart Thoughts on Customer Service for your consideration and hopefully inspire and motivate you to be among the smartest marketers in your field. …

Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it.

“It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” – Peter Drucker

Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” – Tony Alessandra

 “Well done is better than well said.” – Benjamin Franklin

Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.” – Kate Zambriskie

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Join Les every Wednesday Night 11pm EST, for our internet radio show Smart Marketing for Small Business – Click Here for More Info

Les is CEO of Philadelphia based Smart Marketing Group a creative strategy firm focused on showing clients on how to outthink, not outspend their competition. Smart Marketing … for Small Business is based on his 50 years of experience, expertise in the marketplace. (www.smartmarketinggroup.com) E-mail him your question at smartmarketing4U@aol.com.

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Not Being User Friendly will be YOUR Business’s Pure Death – Dumb Marketing Move

This Dumb Marketing Move award goes to Pure Death Productions. 

So, you’re a hard rock band. That means you need everything “hard-core”. You need black clothing, skulls, and a scary name; but that doesn’t mean it needs a font that I can’t read. Just so you know, I’m not picking on them because its death metal…this is just bad.

Pictured below is a flier that I picked up while at a bar, because I thought it was so horrible.

They did quite a few things that you shouldn’t do in a promotion piece 1) they used a black and white theme, which is fine, but the design could have been much better; 2) the day and time are typed in black text with a white outline in a black box. If they made the box white, that would have been much better and it would have really stood out and 3) they also used text for the bands names that I can’t even read. This is the production company; they should realize if you’re promoting something, you want people to be able to read it!

Lesson Learned: Always remember it is important to be “User Friendly” in every way possible with your customer or prospect and it’s the most important in your visual communication. Just because you think something is cool and goes with the style you’re trying to portray – you need to look at promotion pieces with a new set of eyes. Even if your budget isn’t big, be critical, because if you’re not, it’s going to look unprofessional and it won’t be as effective as you had hoped. Use white space in your designs – it is your friend. And don’t be afraid to do something different that your competition is doing. If they’re using traditional colours, go opposite of them and be bold.

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“Outthink the Competition Rather Than Outspend Them”

Author: Leslie Wolff, CEO of Smart Marketing Group, speaks from experience as an entrepreneur, sales and marketing executive plus advisor and coach. Les has “walked the walk and talked the talk.” The knowledge that he imparts with passion has been learned in the toughest of schools, “Real Life!”, in the trenches, on top of the mountain and everywhere in between.

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Survey Your Customers – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to Deep Spring, a product of Coca-Cola.
Sometime what one considers a “dumb” marketing move is really a result of a management that doesn’t pay attention to its business or worse has a lack of a communication channels that consumers, trade customers or their own employees can’t make them aware of an ongoing problem with their product or service.
These thoughts went through my mind when recently on a business trip to Australia the following scenario took place.
I was staying at Jupiter’s Casino Hotel in the Gold Coast, an upscale establishment and I was fortunate to be staying on their “Executive” floor which had certain benefits such as continental breakfast, the availability of snacks during most of the day and non-alcoholic beverages all day long. It was the latter where the tale began. I went to the refrigerator in the late afternoon and took out what looked like a refreshing fruit based drink named Deep Spring – Orange and Passion Fruit. I took it back to a table with some snacks and sat down to relax and enjoy the great view. I tried to twist the cap off but after 5 minutes of trying gave up. Now I am 5’11”, 200+ lbs, exercise on a regular basis, consider myself relatively strong, so it was a little embarrassing to ask the petite hostess for help. She then told me, as she got out a tool to open it that everyone has the same problem. She said it is literally impossible to open without a handy tool.
What surprised me is this is a product of Coca-Cola, one of the more astute marketers of beverages. But for whatever reason they don’t seem to know about this situation or if they do they are ignoring it. Thus they get ore “Dumb Marketing (or Management) Award”.
Lesson Learned: You want your company to be user friendly! Don’t forget to survey your customers on customer satisfaction. You might be surprised what you find out about your product or service. You might want to keep it anonymous to get the true feelings of your customers.
_________________________________________________________________

“Outthink the Competition Rather Than Outspend Them”

Author: Leslie Wolff, CEO of Smart Marketing Group, speaks from experience as an entrepreneur, sales and marketing executive plus advisor and coach. Les has “walked the walk and talked the talk.” The knowledge that he imparts with passion has been learned in the toughest of schools, “Real Life!”, in the trenches, on top of the mountain and everywhere in between.

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Don’t Throw Your Customers Away During the Sale Season – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s dumb marketing move goes to Macy’s.

Black Friday. It gives sales a whole new meaning. It’s the start of the sales season, free shipping, and great discounts with a mix of crowds, chaos, and long lines. Macy’s, one of my favorite shops around, was a disaster in the aftermath of Black Friday.

I went to go look at the shoes because Macy’s has some of the best shoe sales every season.  Once I got there, I was severely disappointed with what I saw; shoes were in no particular order, the employees were less than helpful and couldn’t keep organized as to who was helping who. The displays were a mess and there was a no clear distinguished section for line and people just standing around.

Because the shoes were in such disarray, it was hard to really tell what was priced what because they were moved from table to table and different prices were posted. Also it was impossible to use the coupons that Macy’s has been marketing because “the items were already sale” so it wasn’t permitted to use them.  Macy’s is normally such a nice, orderly, and friendly store, but with the rush of the holiday sales, it’s best to steer clear unless you have infinite patience and an understanding of people and the craziness that comes with holidays.

Lesson learned: If you’re going to offer sales that are hard to pass up, make sure that your customers are taken care of and make sure that you can offer them assistance. Also, when promoting seasonal sales, make sure you make it possible for your customers to utilize all their benefits, including coupons and discounts.

_________________________________________________________________

“Outthink the Competition Rather Than Outspend Them”

Author: Leslie Wolff, CEO of Smart Marketing Group, speaks from experience as an entrepreneur, sales and marketing executive plus advisor and coach. Les has “walked the walk and talked the talk.” The knowledge that he imparts with passion has been learned in the toughest of schools, “Real Life!”, in the trenches, on top of the mountain and everywhere in between.

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Referral Programs, Think it Through First – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s dumbest marketing move goes to Netflix!

They’re a great company and have done some pretty good marketing, such as The Wizard of Oz anniversary where they allowed everyone to view the free stream of The Wizard of Oz on the day of the anniversary. But this one definitely takes the cake.
In the photo below, you can see that they are attempting to have a referral program. The only problem is you get nothing for referring your friends and family. Even if it’s a $1 off your subscription for a month. . .they literally give you nothing in return! Oh wait, there’s a circle that says “Thanks for sharing Netflix”.
So, I’m supposed to give out these handy FREE month’s subscriptions to my friends and family, which you can already get if you just go to their website?? What am I missing? From my understanding, you can’t even start a membership without having a free month. Sorry guys, you need to do better than that for me to want to share this. Three cheers for the dumbest marketing move!!
Lesson Learned: Don’t forget the “WIIFM” effect, “What’s in it for me?” Referral programs have a broader reach if you give a reward to loyal customers, who may eventually become brand advocates.
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“Outthink the Competition Rather Than Outspend Them”

Author: Leslie Wolff, CEO of Smart Marketing Group, speaks from experience as an entrepreneur, sales and marketing executive plus advisor and coach. Les has “walked the walk and talked the talk.” The knowledge that he imparts with passion has been learned in the toughest of schools, “Real Life!”, in the trenches, on top of the mountain and everywhere in between.

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