- All submissions immediately become property of the team
- A winner may be picked from the submissions
- Winner will receive $1000 and possibly some free Mavs tickets
- Of course, the winner receives bragging rights for having his/her design chosen
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
It's OK to be Fashionably Late
Can late-to-market firms succeed in hyper-competitive categories like online music services? The answer is a resounding "yes." Being first or early to market only assures you notoriety to say you were a pioneer. It certainly does not guarantee success. Otherwise, I would be writing this post on my Commodore 64 computer. Late entrants often benefit by being able to learn from the missteps of pioneers. And, for newer product categories the task of building consumer demand for the product has been borne by competitors that entered earlier. In the case of Google Play Music, the aforementioned competitors along with Apple have transformed how people consume music. Google does not have to convince people that they should listen to music online, only that they should develop a preference for Google's service.
Answer the Ultimate Question
The failure rate for new products is very high, with estimates being that 80 to 90 percent of all new products do not make it in the marketplace. Thus, the odds are stacked against a new entrant like Google Play Music. This enormous risk is mitigated by Google's brand equity. If you or I were launching a start-up music service we would likely be prime candidates to be added to the failure rate statistic. However, the launch of Google Play Music as a brand extension in the Google Play platform (which is itself an extension of the Google brand) gives it a level of credibility that most new products must work for years to attain.
For Google Play Music or any other product to succeed, the ultimate question of "what's in it for me?" must be answered. Customers have to understand how they will benefit from using a product or service. In this case, it is the seamless experience of using Google Play Music along with the suite of Google products. Personally, I am an avid music streamer- I love listening to music while I work. I am giving Google Play Music a try as I write this post (Craig Chaquico's Acoustic Planet being the album of choice). In the end, I will adopt Google Music Play if I perceive the benefits of the service being superior to Spotify or Pandora. Is it more convenient to access? Is the user interface experience preferred?
Google is a great brand but not a perfect one. It has had its share of product failures over the years, and there is no assurance Google Play Music will succeed. But, if it should fail it will not be due to the order in which it appeared on the market. Similarly, if you are exploring a business opportunity do not automatically be dissuaded if established competitors are present. They exist because no better alternatives have been introduced to the market. That could all change if your offering successfully answers the WIIFM question among your target market.
Forbes.com - "Google Continues to Play Catch-Up with 'All Access' Music Service as Critics Sound Off"
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
- Increase benefits
- Reduce sacrifices
Ditch the Big Thinking
Strategic planning is often about thinking big- more market share, percentage increase target for profits, specific dollar or unit volume for sales. We hear about BHAG- big, hairy, audacious goals. Apparently, there is no room for small thinkers in marketing. When it comes to social media, that is simply untrue. Digital marketing expert Mitch Joel recently posted in his Six Pixels of Separation blog about "The Small Wins from Social Media." Joel points out that the "big thinking" mentality that governs most marketing organizations found its way into social media marketing strategy. How many "likes" can we get on Facebook? How many followers can we add on Twitter? Restaurants, retailers, and others have run promotions giving away product and offering price discounts in a quest to amass a large social media following. Never mind that little thought may be given to what to do with the audience once collected, let's just up those audiencenumbers!
Small Ball" Wins
To borrow a baseball analogy, think of social media marketing as having the same impact that a singles hitter has in baseball. The performance may lack the drama of a home run, but consistency in getting hits improves batting average and helps the team. According to Mitch Joel, small wins in social media include getting customers to talk about themselves (rather than a focus on talking about the product or company), using blogs to develop a repository of critical thinking (as opposed to product promotion), and using podcasts to network with thought leaders and other influentials. Reach-oriented goals (i.e., the home runs) that are the norm in mass media-driven marketing are not necessarily a good fit for social media campaigns. Instead, Joel advocates looking for the small wins, advances in customer relationships and brand equity that are not as quantifiable and may lack the "wow factor" compared to size of audience.
Figuring out how to use social media as part of the marketing mix can be a daunting challenge. Simplify it by thinking small- use social media to achieve small gains in customer relationships and competitive position.
Monday, May 13, 2013
The Three Legged Stool of Customer Experience
Customer experience expert Shep Hyken discusses this situation using the analogy of a three legged stool. To effectively manage customer relationships, the three relationship "legs" must be made strong:
- Management must trust employees
- Employees must trust management
- Customers must trust the company
Needed: A Culture of Trust
One word describes what is needed to ensure that the three legs that support customer experience are strong: Culture. A culture of trust must be established in all three of these relationships. In particular, employees must trust management's decisions, programs, and leadership. Employee trust breeds confidence in the firm and empowers employees to do their part to deliver great customer experiences. Unfortunately, this leg of the stool often is damaged by managers' failure to get employee buy-in, solicit their input from the front lines of servicing customers, and not viewing the firm-employee relationship as a marketing priority. A culture of trust sustains the firm-employee relationship by educating employees on their role in serving customers, acknowledging their successes, and giving them permission to fail occasionally.
View Employees as Customers
It is disheartening to see companies that espouse to be "customer focused" treat their employees as an afterthought. Extend the marketing concept to the internal market, your employees. Of course, they are not customers in the same sense, and if you subscribe to the adage that the customer is always right you may want to reconsider it when it comes to employees. But, there is little room to argue that if employees do not have a great relationship with their own brand, they will not be able to advance customer-brand relationships as well as they could if their leg of the customer experience stool was stronger. What is the current state of firm-employee relationships in your organization? Are they doing their part to hold up the stool, or is it a weak point that could break if not addressed?
Business 2 Community - "Trust Enhances Employee and Customer Experience"
Posted by Don Roy at 1:51 PM
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Would it be unsettling if you learned that 4 out every 10 of your customers are thinking about switching to a competitor? For many business owners and marketing managers, it would be a nightmare scenario that could cause many sleepless nights. This statistic is not a hypothetical question for wireless communications providers. A recent global survey of 8,700 consumers by Nokia Simmons Networks found that about 40 percent of wireless customers would entertain switching companies. That figure is astounding in itself; it is further amplified by the fact that this figure is 20 percent higher than just one year ago. Wireless companies hold leverage in the form of restrictive contracts that include early termination fees, but otherwise it appears that they are vulnerable to customer switching behavior.
What Customers Want
According to the NSN survey, what matters to wireless subscribers is pretty straightforward:
- Voice quality
- Network coverage
- Contract conditions
Managing the Customer Experience
Knowing what customers value in their consumption experience is a starting point in managing customer satisfaction and minimizing customer churn. Going forward, one characteristic of companies that effectively retain customers will be a commitment to mapping and measuring the steps of the customer journey. In the wireless device category, voice quality, network coverage, and contract conditions influence satisfaction but are not the only determinants. Companies that commit to getting a more in-depth understanding of what customers want at every step in the customer journey will be better positioned to meet those wants and minimize dissatisfaction that could trigger a desire to switch to a competitor.
Here is a parting thought shared by Sarah Reedy, who wrote the article linked below: "Acting like you could lose a customer at any minute is the best way to ensure you don't."
LightReading.com - "Mobile Users Yearn to Churn, NSN Finds"