Friday, 25 May 2007

I love you. I don’t respect you…

Today I was put on hold twice. Nothing particularly unusual in that regard, I make tonnes of calls during the day and find myself on hold, waiting for a page and being transferred plenty of times each day. What was particularly interesting was the contrast between the two “on-hold” experiences. Let me recap…

Call 1. The Marketing Message Wait: National Travel Agent. On hold for 4 minutes. Put on hold by personal assistant, to listen to “hold music” consisting of a 2 minute loop of the companies marketing message, detailing what the company can potentially do for me and how convenient they are to deal with (what with more than 200 locations Australia-wide – do I have to say Ironical??).
Call 2. The Radio Message Wait: National Real Estate Agent. On hold for 5 minutes. Put on hold by secretary, listening to 5 minutes of a national radio program.

I don’t know about you, but when I am put on hold I can get a bit irritable. Frustrated? Sure! Bored? You bet. Is this the best time to be marketing your company to me in an impersonal way? HELL NO!

In the first call, the Travel Agent's marketing department obviously was trying to take advantage of utilising every available opportunity to deliver to their customer's the “marketing message”. I was on hold. I was bored. I was irritated. Did they try to solve my problem? No. Was this a useful marketing exercise? I highly doubt it. Despite the repetitive name recognition that the marketing loop perhaps embedded into my head, telling someone how good you are when you are causing them irritation and inconvenience does not work.

Although, as marketers, we need to take advantage of any touch-point that we can identify with our customers, we also have to make sure we are choosing the right moments to interact with our customers, and that the message and conversation we have with them matches specific circumstances of the interaction.

Try this for example. Go up to someone you love. Punch them in the arm. Then tell them you love them. Wait. Do it again. If you manage to survive the next 20 seconds without being punched or screamed at, try it again. The person will be confused, probably wary of when you next approach them, and my guess is that they will start to think you are a bit of a prick. The problem is that the two messages that you are giving the person do not match each other.

When I was put on hold to the radio, sure this wasn’t ideal, but I was certainly less bored, not annoyed by boring marketing messages, and also got to catch up with the latest Christina Aguilera song!

What is wrong with sincerely apologising to your customers for the inconvenience? Solve their problem!!! If your customers are bored, entertain them. If they don’t have enough, or the correct information to be able to interact with you business easily, efficiently and quickly, give them this information.Now nobody likes being put on hold.

Nobody likes to be forced to line up in a supermarket for 5 minutes, for the privilege of paying for their items. But sometimes the inconveniences we cause our customers are unavoidable (despite our best intentions). The key to excellent customer service is, what are you going to do for your customers in response to causing this inconvenience and the privilege of having their attention?
Nat xoxo

Thursday, 24 May 2007

the "i found it" mindset of consumers

So I know that its technically sales, but they call themselves telemarketers and this is a marketing blog so I think its worth a mention.

This afternoon I received a phone call from a man offering me some "great deals on holiday packages". Its unfortunate that the bulk of the people hired to do this work are from the sub-continent as I have it on good authority that a lot of legitimate call centres these days have an unofficial policy of not hiring Indians due to the negative connotations the accent arouses in customers, but everyone needs to make a living..

The "telemarketer" spent the next 30Min's on the phone trying to tell me that the package deals he was offering were "excellent value", unfortunately being that I had an open browser in front of me at the time, I was able to check the REAL prices of the hotels in question rather than just taking his word for it that I was getting "$150 worth of free accommodation". After a long discussion I declined his offer at which time he started swearing at me about how I had kept him on the phone for $30Min's and wasted his time (he failed to see the irony in this statement) before I eventually congratulated him on his persistence and hung up the phone.

Why is this in anyway blog worthy information you ask? Well let me try and explain..

A site like or are great for travelers, because these days the under 30 market spend a good deal of time prior to travel researching accommodation/etc on the Internet before they head off to a far away land. The creators of these sites (and sites like them) understand the mindset of the modern day traveler and have created a service that lets the customer FIND the hotel (who are anctiously trying to fill empty rooms at the last minute)
themselves. People like finding these deals, they love telling their friends about how they stayed in the middle of Sydney in a 5 star hotel for $99, the sites and the hotels hardly have to market themselves at all as happy customers just keep pumping referrals though to their site.

I'm sure that the man I spoke to will sell a couple of holiday packages today, he was very persistent after all, but its unlikely that the customers will leave the transaction feeling as though "they found" a great deal (if in fact it even is a great deal). Why? Because people love to FIND a bargain. The same mindset that will see a customer spend hours rummaging though the "last season/seconds/out of stock" box at the back of a store hoping to find that ridiculously discounted garment also takes place when tracking down a great price for an item on the Internet (be it hotels or otherwise). Someone once said "people don't value something that comes to them easily" and i think this is true in the case of marketing. If a consumer feels as though they have had to put in a little effort to get the great value, they will treasure this far more.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A break in the connection...

Before I start this post, please let me apologise for the overuse of stereotypes, I am hoping that if your reading this, your cluey enough to work out the moral of the story..

So you wake up to your expensive linen and stop for a moment to look out your penthouse apartment window at the sweeping views of the ocean. After sliding into a $1500 suit you grab the keys to the BMW and head off to the office. Your first meeting for the day is a discount clothing chain store who have asked you to pitch them some marketing idea's you have to help them reconnect with their consumers. The question comes from the client "what do you think our customers want?".

I'll tell you what your customers want, they want what you have! But the cant have it cause they bust their balls day in day out in a job they hate for a boss they despise in a futile attempt to make the mortgage payments and pay for their kids school uniform which they cant and THATS why they are shopping at your store!

The problem here is that the people who are most in touch with the discount clothing chain brand are not the same people that are designing the advertising for said chain. Sure, I don't expect that every client passing though your doors will be a company selling a product you use on a regular basis, but it doesn't take a genius to see that there is something a miss here.

If you asked me to speculate what a Lithuanian farmer is looking for in a biscuit brand, i would quite happily tell you that I don't have a clue. I can tell you a whole stack of things that I "THINK" he might want, but chances are I'm guessing and chances are I'm wrong, but if I'm quick enough on my feet and can belittle my client with a long list of marketing catch phrases I can probably still win the contract. The question is, am I the best person for the job?

My point here (if its not already blindingly obvious) is that far too often marketers are entrusted with responsibilities they have no place accepting. The Gen X/Y market is no doubt where the money is in consumer products these days, the problem is that its not always Gen X/Y marketers that are sitting across the table from the client.

So if you happen to be reading this and you happen to own a discount clothing retail chain, you might want to spend a day sitting out the front of your store watching the types of people that shop there because chances are this is going to be more bang for your buck than asking an upper-middle-class-40-something what your customers will respond to..

Come one, come all..

So we are finally here! Yes after months of messing around with hosting and HTML code we have finally got everything up and running. So a quick introduction is in order so without further ado here is a very quick rundown of who we are and why we have cordoned off our own little part of the internet..

We kicked off Nudge Marketing after having spent years scratching out heads at the ludicrously ineffective marketing that gets shoved in front of us every time a marketer sees out eyes stop moving for more that 5 seconds at a time. Being a pair of 20-somethings and having been involved in the product development and marketing of a bunch of former employees, it became glaringly obvious that few companies had worked out how to market to our gen X/Y age demographic well and the rest could do with a little help (from us) understanding the world anyone under 30 lives in.

So we setup Nudge Marketing in the hope that we can help make the marketing process a little more enjoyable for customers and advertisers alike and maybe in the process help consumers to feel a little closer to the companies they buy from.

So this Friday we will be recording the first of the Nudge Marketing Podcast's, the aim of which is to discuss news and issues facing marketing in a world where running a 30sec ad spot in prime time TV isn't going to capture 98% of the country's attention.

Next post - the trials and tribulations of recording a podcast..