26 May 2012

Redefining Marketing

Ana Isabel Canhoto, Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes, has written an interesting post on her blog, discussing ‘This thing called marketing'.

A few years ago, I had posted something related on my old Warwick blog on "Selling is not marketing". Anyway, Ana mentions that the definition she usually refers to is the one given by the Chartered Institute of Marketing which describes marketing as:
‘The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.’ 
This definition is my favourite as well. However, I feel that there is a need to update this definition.

As I commented on Ana's post,  the growing importance of Social marketing has presented some unique issues, where positive social change is the main objective and not fiscal targets. This may mean that the term "profitably" in the CIM definition may not be applicable all the time.

Furthermore, I would add 'and maintaining' just after 'satisfying'. From personal experience and what I have heard from other people, it seems that a lot of companies here in the UK  are totally ignorant or choose to ignore the concept "LOYALTY".

23 May 2012

Jubilympic celebrations

I was on air today morning on the Annie Othen Show on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire. I was asked to give my opinion on whether I thought businesses taking advantage of the Jubilee and Olympics (Jubilympics!) celebrations.

You can listen to the recording here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/p00rxydt

 In case you are not aware, the 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations are coming up soon. Everyone is getting into the mood. However, some feel that stores are taking advantage. One listener had complained that a shop had wrapped up her favourite sponge cakes in new packaging (the Union jack), increased the prices and reduced the number of cakes.

 Of course this is nothing new. Businesses do it all the time - "making hay while the Sun shines" and in this case, profiteering from patriotism. However, they have to remember that consumers are not stupid and they risk alienating their costumers, as it happened in this case with the lady and the cakes.

 I also touched on the union Jack themed products. I believe that the party products including paper plates, cups, napkins buntings and balloons will do really well considering that over 10,000 applications for street parties have been put forward all over the UK. However, you now see the British flags on all kinds of products ranging from M&Ms, cups to napkins and as someone reported on the programme, even on toilet paper and nappies. Well, I feel that's taking it a little bit too far. In other countries, people could go to jail for disrespecting the flag, if they did something like that. It would be interesting to study the national differences towards using the flag on products.

Do you think that putting the national flag on a paper napkin is right? I mean you will wipe your mouth on it and throw it in a bin afterwards on they could end on the floor with people walking on them.

 Regarding the celebrations and decorations, as someone who comes from India and has spent several years in Malaysia, I definitely feel that the celebrations have been rather low key considering that having the Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee are once in a lifetime events. I have to agree with my colleagues - it is definitely a great excuse for people to come together and celebrate. I definitely do not feel exploited - there are a lot of choices around and we need an excuse to have fun, especially during these hard economic times. It's good for the British economy as well - just look at all the publicity and goodwill which the Royal Wedding generated last year. It all ends up strengthening the national brand.

17 May 2012

VW engaging customers via social media

Volkswagen, the German car maker is actively targeting customers on Facebook by getting them involved in their advertising campaigns. No, I am not talking about customer generated advertising which is a popular buzz word today but rather about getting customers to say nice things about the brand or product (positive testimonials) and using these in their advertising campaigns.

This is not a new concept in advertising and businesses and organisations often use positive testimonials to promote their products. However, it is the way that VW is actively soliciting and appealing to the "ego" of customers or the novelty effect and making innovative use of the technology, which is quite interesting.

I took part in two of their campaigns - just for the experience.

The first one was the " Beetle Billboard Times Square Experience". All I had to do was "like" the new Beetle (targeted at Men) and my face appeared live on the Volkswagen Beetle Billboard in Times Square, New York for a few seconds. This was in October last year.

The second campaign was the Volkswagen "Big up the up!". All we had to do was say something nice about the new VW up! car ("bigged up the new up!") and they would then feature your FB profile on huge digital posters across the UK.

A great way to get customers engaged with the brand and product. Do you agree? Any possible issues?

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