Just When You Begin To Think They Are Serious About Marketing Accountability

Holding Marketing accountable has been in vogue for about 10 years now. Many companies claim to be pushing for it. The C-Suite claims to demand it from their CMO, and then your read an article like this one, and you have to wonder.

How can you claim to be accountable when you are increasing a budget for something you state you have no idea what it is doing for you? And how can this be ok with the CEO?


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What Is Marketing? What Is A Strategic Plan?

I was interviewed recently on IMTSTV on these two subjects. My surprisingly short answers are in this video. Take a look.


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What Is The Customer Really Using Social Media To Accomplish?

My colleague Mark Sprague found interesting research from IBM demonstrating the disconnect between what companies wish their customers/consumers were using social media for and what they are actually using it for.

Perhaps if we gain a better understanding of customer/consumer behavior, we can focus our marketing activities to achieve our marketing objectives. Or is that too obvious.

(click on the image to enlarge it)



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Bigger Words = More Money

In-N-Out_Burger_cheeseburgersMost of us have probably heard the disparaging remark that lawyers are paid by the word. Turns out they are not the only ones.

According to Stanford computational linguist, Dan Jurafsky, based on his analysis of restaurant menus, “The more expensive the restaurant, the longer the words on the menu.” He found that each added letter was worth about 18 cents more per item listed.

He also found that less expensive restaurants listed items as being about the diner, as in “Diner’s Choice” or “Have It Your Way,” whereas on more expensive menus the items were the “Chef’s Choice” or the “Chef’s Selection.” Can we conclude from this that people who dine at more expensive restaurants are less sure of their own choices and need guidance?

Unfortunately for marketers his research does not seem to tell us which is cause and which is effect. That is, does using big words make food seem more valuable? Or, does more expensive food take a longer description to justify its value?


P.S. The image is of a simple pair of In-N-Out Cheeseburgers. Not expensive, but sure do look good. Maybe that’s why some restaurants use images instead of words.

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Cross-Selling Works

chinesebuffetlineI was sitting in a locally owned fast food restaurant earlier this month and had the occasion to watch the counter-person at work. As each customer gave her their order, she would repeat it and then when they were finished, she would ask if that was all. Each person said yes. She then proceeded to recommend something else to them (and for each person it was different). 80% of the people said yes to her offer increasing the sale by 10%-30%, with one “add-on” actually exceeding the original order.

Cross-selling works, especially if you apply brain power to the cross-selling offer. As I watched this likely minimum wage worker successfully add-on to each order, I thought how easy it would be to pay her more based on her value to the store from her cross-selling. Many of today’s minimum wage workers are front line people who could potentially add a lot of value to their company. How is it not a win-win to compensate them to do that?

And for the rest of us, let’s remember, smart cross-selling (and even not so smart) works.


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Simple Solutions To Complex Problems

southwestoverheadmirrorAs regular readers know, I criticize the airlines a lot, and for good reason. And occasionally they do something really good, and I have to give them kudos. This one is from Southwest Airlines, and it was simple and cool.

For those who don’t know me, I am vertically challenged (that is a PC way of saying I am short). This is actually a benefit when flying in most ways, especially when it comes to leg room. However, it makes it very difficult to see into the overhead bins. Countless times I have stood on the seat to look into the bin to make sure I didn’t leave anything.

Turns out lots of people have that problem. And Southwest has addressed it.

They have placed a mirror on the top of the overhead bin on some of their newer -800 jets. (See the picture). This mirror allows us shorter folks to see inside the bin to make sure we didn’t leave anything. Kudos to you Southwest.


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The Problem With Process Management

goldilocksWhen we first talk with people about applying process management, they often think rigid processes or bureaucracy. People also can show countless examples of process gone wrong. My friend Allan Hauge, Vistage Chair in St. Louis, tipped me off to this article, which includes a stunningly great example of process gone wrong from a CEO who is a process fanatic.

In the article the CEO notes the biggest PR fail he has ever seen (and I would agree) caused by rigid adherence to a process. Every process is perfectly constructed to produce the results it does and that one was no exception.

To really be good at process management and the effective usage of process to accelerate the value of your business, you must realize that all processes must have some degree of flexibility built in because the world is a frenetic place. However, if you put too much flexibility into a process it will be unnecessarily expensive to run because the humans or equipment required to run it will be overly expensive. Like buying a precision cutting machine to make cuts that can be plus or minus 1/2″ with no loss of performance. Or hiring a PhD as your barista and paying him/her a PhD salary.

Conversely, allowing too little flexibility in your process results in the epic PR fail described in the article. However, the CEO notes how, in his own company, he either invested in flexibility or got lucky based on the story he tells about his own company.

Bottom line is that process management and process driven companies work better and gain a competitive advantage. If the processes used are designed with the Goldilocks amount of flexibility: not too much and not too little, but “just right.” Not easy, but then who ever said management was easy.



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