New, actionable ideas are the long-term lifeblood of both large and small firms. It is rare that a business can survive over time with just the products being marketing today.
Many companies recognize that idea generation and assessment are aided by following a series of steps. Others are totally haphazard in their approach and hope to eventually have a “eureka” moment.
As Laura Montini, reports for Inc.:
When it comes to great ideas, intuition is ‘more powerful than intellect.’ That’s according to the late Steve Jobs. Many experts would agree that truly transformative ideas rarely come from one individual with a high IQ. Instead, these researchers, executives, and entrepreneurs believe that innovation is largely the result of freewheeling collaboration — with just a few guidelines.”
“Below Bluescape, creator of collaboration software and hardware, organized a few of these experts’ insights into four main steps. Take a look a the infographic below for tips on creating an effective idea strategy.”
by Joel R. Evans and Barry Berman
In this post, we continue our discussion about gaining the loyalty and increased patronage of current customers. Our focus is on the value of frequent-shopper programs.
WHAT IS A FREQUENT-SHOPPER PROGRAM? It is one awarding special discounts or gifts to people for their continued patronage. In most such programs, customers must accumulate a certain number of points (or their equivalent); these points are redeemed for cash or gifts. Here are examples:
- More than 70 million people belong to the American Airlines’ AAdvantage program. By traveling on American Airlines, and its recently acquired US Airways, and members of American’s One World Alliance – as well as patronizing participating firms such as Marriott and Hertz), people can earn free flights.
- With Dunkin’ Donuts’ DD Card Perk Rewards Program: “Points will be earned when you use an enrolled DD Card as payment for Qualifying Purchases at participating Dunkin’ Donuts locations. Earn five points for every dollar spent. Every 200 points will get you a Reward Coupon for a free beverage.”
- The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card offers online-exclusive $100 cash rewards bonus after a customer spends at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening There is 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores, and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery store and gas purchases each quarter. There is no annual fee.
- Loyalty programs are not just for large firms. Boloco is a small New-England based burrito chain with a very strong customer loyalty program. Customers receive a free item for every $50 spent. This is how the firm promotes the program.
Among the advantages of frequent-shopper programs are the loyalty bred (customers can accumulate points only through patronage of one or a few firms), the “free” nature of awards to many consumers, and the competitive edge (distinctiveness) for a firm that is similar to others. Frequent-shopper programs also let existing customers know they are important to the firm and encourage them to shop more often. As a result, a good frequent-shopper program can actually increase the profits of a retailer (rather than decrease them).
Here are several hints with regard to setting up and carrying out an effective frequent-shopper program:
- Make the plan easy for people to understand, as well as easy for them to participate.
- Make the plan easy to administer by the firm.
- Make sure that points can be redeemed for items which are of value to customers.
- Do not set the point totals that are needed to gain a benefit from a frequent-shopper program (either a discount or a prize) so high that customers will be frustrated and thereby abandon the program.
- Have a range of gifts and discounts to encourage higher patronage by current customers. Introduce some new prizes on a regular basis.
- Run some special promotions that are keyed to frequent-shopper points (such as “Double Points Day”) rather than to run-of-the- mill sales (which everyone else will just copy).
- Promote the program in and out of the store.
- Publicize the big award winners. This creates excitement for all.
- Keep prices competitive so that people do not think they are getting points in exchange for paying higher prices.
- Constantly re-evaluate the program to see what is working and what is not.
Marketing budgets in 2015 are expected to grow, in some cases, for the first time in years.
As Nicola Cooper reports for Responsys:
“The Econsultancy Marketing Budgets Report 2015, created in association with Oracle Marketing Cloud, delves into marketers’ expected spend for the coming year and is a great opportunity to see whether you are facing similar challenges to the rest of the industry and inform your priorities for the year.”
“Because a customer’s decision to buy now involves many interactions with a brand, delivering an orchestrated approach is essential for any brand to attract and retain customers. It’s clear that our industry is aware of this; this year’s report indicates that nearly three quarters (74%) of the companies surveyed believe they are working towards delivering unified customer experiences, rather than standalone campaigns or interactions. In addition, 71% of the companies surveyed say that they are focusing on ‘breaking down internal silos to better co-ordinate and integrate [their] marketing efforts’. Marketers are unifying marketing strategy as well as unifying the marketing teams delivering those campaigns.”
“More generally, the findings also indicate that marketers are more likely to be increasing overall budgets for the year ahead than at any time since the launch of our first Marketing Budgets Report in 2010, during the height of the economic crisis. Winning areas include marketing technologies and digital marketing, as a result of stronger boardroom support.”
Click the image to read more.
Many times, companies tinker with their logos, their slogans, and other branded materials. They want to “freshen” things up.
Four recent rebrandings (Gap, Starbucks, Vodafone, and AirBnB) are the subject of a recent analysis by Erik Devaney for HubSpot:
” If you’ve ever been part of a company or worked on a product that’s undergone a rebrand, you know how absolutely crazy it can be. From establishing goals, to iterating on designs, to actually implementing your branding changes on your Web site and across all of your marketing channels, it’s a lot of work.”
“I was part of a rebrand at a startup a few years back. The company at the time was shifting direction and targeting a different audience, so a rebrand made sense. We had to come up with a new name, new logo, new colors … new everything! Needless to say, there were a lot of brainstorms, a lot of late nights, and a lot of general craziness right up until we flipped the switch on the new branding.”
Click the image to read about rebranding at Gap, Starbucks, Vodafone, and AirBnB.
There are millions and millions of apps out there — some better than others. :-) One clever new app is from Adidas, called Confirmed.
As described by Kyle Stock for Bloomberg:
“Are limited-edition sneakers still special when buyers can reserve them via an app, like a pizza or a pair of movie tickets? Adidas hopes so. The German sportswear giant just launched Confirmed, a mobile platform that will let sneakerheads skip the long lines at Foot Locker, obscure shoe lotteries, and the occasional disturbance of the peace that come with the sale of a rare pair of shoes. ‘You hear a lot of chatter and frustration that the existing system is somehow rigged for friends of friends or VIP customers,’ said Simon Atkins, the company’s vice president of brand activation. ‘We saw a real opportunity to change the paradigm with customers.'”
“Here’s how it works: Consumers who download the app, register with personal details, and allow push notifications from Adidas will get offers to reserve limited-edition shoes and apparel as they become available. Those who respond first are given the right to buy the products at a certain time and place, both in Adidas-owned stores and other retailers.”
Click the image to read more by Stock.
A pair of Adidas “Year of the Goat” sneakers celebrating the Chinese New Year that go on sale on Feb. 19 for $130.
by Joel R. Evans and Barry Berman
Too many firms concentrate on how to woo new customers and, thus, they do not pay enough attention to what they can do to gain the loyalty and increased patronage of their repeat customers. For example, when was the last time that YOU ran a special sale just for current customers, communicated with your current customers via a phone call or direct mail piece, encouraged current customers to recommend new ones by giving the former a gift for doing so, sent birthday, anniversary, or holiday cards to current customers, offered extended shopping hours just for current customers, etc.? Unless you are actively engaged in all or most of these activities, you can do a better job in this area.
Why It Is Vital to Target Current Customers, as Well as New Ones
- Develop a database with the appropriate customer information. This could be done by giving your shoppers a small prize for filling out a short form and then updating the information periodically. Computerization is not necessary to do this, although it helps.
- Set up some type of frequent-shopper program that can reward people for their continued patronage. The program does not have to be complex. For instance, many car washes give out punch cards (or a similar variation) whereby customers can earn free services based upon a certain number of washes.
- Communicate with these customers on a regular basis. Mail (E-mail) them a letter at least quarterly. Call them at least once per year. Customers are often quite impressed when they receive “friendship” rather than “sales pitch” letters and calls. People like to feel appreciated.
- Run special events for good customers. This also lets them know how important they are to the firm.
- Offer extra services, such as free delivery or more liberal re turn policies, for good customers.
- Do not reward your new customers at the expense of the current ones. Think carefully about having promotions that offer benefits to new customers that are not available to current ones, such as reduced credit terms for first-time car buyers. Try to run promotions in a way that also offers benefits to current customers, such as also having special trade-in terms for people who have bought their previous car from the same dealer.