Tag Archives: customer satisfaction

How Big a Hurdle Is Ad Blocking in 2017?

17 Feb

Ad blocking is becoming an enormous problem for online marketers, going from a nuisance a couple of years ago to a major threat today. ARE YOU PREPARED TO HANDLE IT?

Technopedia describes ad blockers as follows:

“An ad blocker is a program that will remove different kinds of advertising from a Web user’s experience online. These programs target certain kinds of ads, such as pop-ups, banner ads ,and other common forms of online ad blockers work in many different ways. Some are standalone programs, while others are features of more comprehensive customizing services, or add-ons for a particular browser or operating system. Some browser-specific programs, like PithHelmet for Safari, or other programs for browsers, like Opera, are designed to work well in a particular environment. Others work with Windows or another operating system to block pop-ups or other kinds of ads.”

“Users have a wide range of options for blocking out different kinds of ads. Some programs delete cookies and other Web markers to effectively limit ads. Web proxy programs like Privoxy can be effective ad blockers. Some users will choose to block Adobe Flash in order to block annoying video ads, which are now common on some websites. There are also freeware programs that may use simple principles to block out advertising.”

So, how much of a threat is ad blocking in 2017? Even though eMarketer has scaled back its estimates slightly; ad blocking is still growing significantly. As eMarketer notes:

“eMarketer has scaled back its estimates of ad blocking users in the U.S., reducing the number to 75.1 million. At that level, more than one-quarter (27.5%) of US internet users will use ad blockers this year. While the estimate has been reduced, growth is still significant, at 16.2% in 2017.”

“Ad blocking is much more common among desktop/laptop users than smartphone users. For smartphones, the incidence of ad blocking is less than 8%. That’s partly because mobile ad blockers are often not as effective — especially within apps — as they are on desktops and laptops. Ad blocking continues to be far more prevalent among younger people. This year, 41.1% of millennials will use ad blockers, r estimates. The use is lower among Gen X internet users at 26.9%, and for baby boomers, ad blocking is at 13.9%.”

 
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US Ad Blocking User Penetration, Desktop/Laptop vs. Smartphone, 2014-2018 (% of population)

 

What Was Hot in 1997?

16 Feb

We tend to spend a lot of time looking at the “hot new things,” such as connected vehicles, virtual assistants, and a lot more. But, as marketers, we seldom look back to the past to see what was hot then in terms of fads and long-running successes. What hot high-tech products from 20 years ago can YOU name?

Recently, CNET published an entertaining slideshow: “Flashback fun! Return with us now to the thrilling days of the late 1990s, when the Interweb was young, the CD was king, and the cloud was a white, fluffy thing that floated above your head while you gabbed on your cordless telephone.”

 

Click the image to see the CNET slideshow. Which of the items shown in the slideshow were fads; which were long-run successes?


 

Don’ts for Businesses Using Social Media

30 Jan

In this new era of fake news, alternative truth, and inflammatory messages on social media, it is a good time for us to appraise (or reappraise) our own use of social media. Are we doing the best we can to avoid careless mistakes or inflammatory language?

Recently, Annie Pilon described “20 Taboo Topics to Stay Away from on Your Company’s Social Media Channels” for Small Business Trends. Here are some of her observations. PLEASE keep them in mind when utilizing social media and reacting to comments by others:

“If you use social media to promote your business online, you’ve probably put a lot of thought into what types of posts to share. But sometimes it can be just as important to consider what NOT to post on social media.”

             “Making fun of specific groups of people can go too far.

Even the occasional complaint about customers can be enough to damage your brand.

Avoid complaining about your employees online.

Customers want to know that you have a team that they can trust.

Nonconstructive criticism about public figures can seem petty to your social media followers.

You don’t want to be too intrusive when asking questions of your followers.

Be careful not to share anything that’s not true, as it can make your business look bad and lead to your followers being misinformed.

Healthy competition can be good for a business, even on social media. But there’s a big difference between a friendly back-and-forth and trash-talking.

Social media also isn’t the place to share sensitive or confidential information about customers.

Don’t share with followers every time you’re having a bad day or just feeling ‘blah’ about your business.

Posting anything illegal, whether it’s drug use or even just speeding, is a very bad idea.

Stay away from sharing any content that could be considered controversial.

It’s also best not to post anything that’s irrelevant to your audience.”

 

Click the image to learn more from Pilon.


 

Great Books to Read in 2017

26 Jan

As we continue to look ahead to 2017, there are various books that provide valuable information and that are highly rated by reviewers. Here are a few sources for YOU to check out, by topic.

Click the images to read the reviews.
 

“5 Must Read Books That’ll Inspire Entrepreneurs in 2017”


 

“12 New Books to Help You Build Wealth and Get more More Done in 2017”


 

“11 Great Business Books to Read Right Now”

 

“20 Books Every Marketer Should Read in 2017”

 

“Top 15 Best Books on Social Media Marketing for 2017”

 

A Customer Service Infographic

9 Jan

Last week, we wrote about one aspect of customer service — the firm’s return policy — and its impact on consumer satisfaction.

Today, we are presenting a broad-based infographic on good customer service that was developed by  Exponential Solutions (The CUBE) Marketing. Thanks to Steve Hashman, one of the company founders, for providing the infographic.
 

 

Customer Service Means a Good Return Policy

3 Jan

Now that the 2016 holiday shopping season is over (except for spending gift cards), a vital question to consider from both the customer’s and retailer’s perspective is: What kind of return policy best serves my needs? For many consumers, the answer may be: an unlimited time frame to return a purchase. For many retailers, the answer may be: holding down costs as much as possible. In either case, the return policy is a key element of customer service.

These are some return practices disliked by consumers: [Note: Many good retailers do not follow these practices.]

  • An overly short time period to make a return for a full refund.
  • The amount of the refund for a gift item when the gift recipient does not have a receipt.
  • A discounted refund merely for opening the product’s box.
  • The time to process a refund for a return.
  • Items excluded from refunds, such as computer software.
  • The shipping fee to return a purchase made online.

 
Two of the acknowledged leaders are Amazon, whose return policy is easy to use and consumer friendly, and L.L. Bean, whose return policy has received various honors and awards.

As a prelude to a YouTube video about returns at L.L. Bean, Business Insider’s Sam Rega recently stated: Here’s what makes L.L.Bean’s ‘100% satisfaction guarantee’ the best return policy of any retailer.”
 

 

Technology and Planned Obsolescence

27 Dec

As we approach the end of 2016, we are going to present some of the most popular of the nearly 1,500 posts that have appeared on Evans on Marketing. Today, we cover the topic of planned obsolescence.

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As defined in Evans Berman’s Marketing: “Planned obsolescence is a marketing practice that capitalizes on short-run material wearout, style changes, and functional product changes. In material planned obsolescence, firms choose materials and components that are subject to comparatively early breakage, wear, rot, or corrosion. In style planned obsolescence, a firm makes minor changes to differentiate the new year’s offering from the prior year’s. With functional planned obsolescence, a firm introduces new product features or improvements to generate consumer dissatisfaction with currently owned products.”

In recent years, NO company has applied planned obsolescence more than Apple. Yes, this practice has led to rapid advances in the technology of music players, tablets, and smartphones. But, does Apple’s philosophy also spur consumers to buy new product versions that they don’t need?

Apple has recently been criticized for its planned obsolescence strategy. Do YOU agree with this criticism?

Consider these observations by Catherine Rampell, writing for the New York Times:

“The new software and recent app updates from Apple offer fancy new features that existing users want; maybe the battery is sealed with tiny five-point screws for aesthetic considerations. Perhaps, but this isn’t the first time that tech analysts and random crazies on the Internet have noted that breakdowns in older Apple products can often coincide with when upgrades come onto the market. Many have taken this as evidence of ‘planned obsolescence,’ a term that dates to the Great Depression, when a real-estate broker suggested that the government should stimulate the economy by placing artificial expiration dates on consumer products so people would buy more.”

“There is, however, a simple way to effectively render an old product obsolete without fleecing your existing customers. Instead of degrading the old model, companies can offer innovations in the new model that make upgrading irresistible. Apple succeeded at doing this for a while, offering new iPhones that included major improvements. In the past, consumers were so excited about the cool new features, like Siri, the voice-activated interface, that they may not have minded (or even noticed) if their old phones started to deteriorate; they planned on upgrading anyway. This time around, that’s less true. The iPhone 5S and 5C offer fewer quantum improvements. Consumers are more likely to want their old phones to continue working at peak condition in perpetuity, and to feel cheated when they don’t.”

[Note from Evans on Marketing: Many consumers still believe that Apple practices planned obsolescence with its latest lines of phones, tablets, and computers. In 2016, for the first time in years, had a quarterly sales drop. Do YOU agree or disagree?]

 

 
Click the image to read more.

Illustration by Kelsey Dake

 

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