Archive for December, 2009

Pizza Time! Domino’s Keeps it Real

When a company is this bold, transparent and carries such swagger to reinvent its age-old secret recipe, it’s bound to turn some heads and raise some eye-brows—but all in a very good way.

Domino’s Pizza gives itself a kick in the back when it makes a “public” confession to its customers that’s like “Yeah, we gotta suck it up to our cardboard-feel pizza crust”, and wants their customers to give them a fair shake so that they can start all over again. Literally, their chefs decide to start all over from sauces and cheese to crust and toppings. Never have I seen a turnaround team so engaged and painfully open about their reactions to customers’ feedback, but they’re surely doing the right thing and making their campaign fun and compelling to watch & follow, hence a great social media project.

Domino’s Pizza’s social media campaign involves the following steps (tactical) that brings out profound learnings (strategic) for all marketers:

Step 1:

Document what customers are saying about their pizzas (the fact that they loathe Domino’s Pizza for the various obvious reasons)

Step 2:

Engage their in-house master chefs to investigate what has gone wrong

Step 3:

Create a new recipe; reinvent the way they market their pizzas using social media

Step 4:

Re-engage their existing customers and ask them to give Domino’s another chance

Classic marketing techniques but applied in a fundamentally open, transparent, graceful yet revolutionary way. Here’s to a praise-worthy brand that truly cares, listens, acts and improves! Good job customers and great job Domino’s on directing negative customer feedback into positive energy to re-focus on creating better products.

Watch the Pizza Turnaround Campaign:

Related posts:
HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Blog on How Domino's is Using Customer Feedback and Social Media Outreach
Capturing Your Customers' Full Value
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Marketers need to be better storytellers than Tiger Woods

Peter Jeffrey of the Wall Street Journal did a great job on this spoof of Tiger Woods’ never-happened verbal apology to the public. The ah-ha moment for me: be honest, transparent, and a better storyteller (or find a better script-writer) than Tiger Woods.

Humor: How to Apologize Like a Tiger WSJ’s Peter Jeffrey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haNyo5deYXE

Related Post on MarketWatch: http://www.marketwatch.com/video/asset/humor-how-to-apologize-like-a-tiger-2009-12-17/A12FD673-420D-4A41-AD80-E6610CA7C9F2

2010 will be a busy year of customer relationship building…for marketers

When Bruce Temkins of Forrester Research says on his blog (http://experiencematters.wordpress.com) that 2010 will be a busy year for customer experience, he says it right. Strategy, technology, knowing and building relationship with your customers, restoring purpose in your brand, and the list goes on, are all part and parcel of the busyness marketers will experience next year.

The other day I was a participant (@AdaMarcom) on a Twitter chat #sm38 with Charlene Li (@charleneli) and other great marketers discussing social media, she said social media will be a key differentiator for businesses in 2010, where companies/brands who do well in this arena will increase customer loyalty, I was a bit skeptical.

Yes, social media tools on websites can help differentiate your products from your competition. They will make customer experience more pleasant and welcoming. But when most companies are going on Twitter and Facebook, responding to sales inquiries and handling customer service questions, then what could have been a differentiator is now part of life (the way of doing business). Companies are expected to provide satisfactory customer service, be it via a social media tool, a mix of social media tools or over the phone and email. More so in 2010 and the years to come, given more choices and increased exposure to brands in the media (online, TV, print and events), customers are becoming more knowledgeable than ever. They’re not only becoming selective and knowledgeable about the products themselves, they’re also getting pickier than ever about their shopping experience, how companies handle their orders, and what sources/sites they’re getting their products from.

“Don’t think of social media as an incremental “thing” to be handed off to a consumer. Your social media strategy is an extension of your company’s behavior,” said James Kelly on Forbes.com’s CMO Network in an article named “CMOs: Don’t Give Up Those Brand Reins!”

Customer service experience, with a smart choice of technology and social media tools, is going to be the key differentiator of marketing success and good company behavior in 2010. May I call it the “all-around” customer service experience? When I can pick up the phone, send an email, tweet my question, post on a Facebook fan page about the product I’m considering, finding help to research the product I’m purchasing, rating my experience with the product (and the process of getting the product into my hand), YouTubing the way the product works if it’s really that cool to warrant a video of its own, I think that’s ultimate all-around customer service experience.

Customers still dominate the center-stage of product marketing; they still have the reins the last time I checked. Though Time magazine just announced the “Person of the Year” to be Ben Bernanke, I think the ultimate person of the year is “I” the customer.

Let’s end with this thought on customer loyalty, and we’ll expand on this discussion in my next post: “Real value of social media/technologies is that it creates deeper relationships. How do you measure relationships?” tweeted by @charleneli on the Twitter chat #sm38. Building strong customer relationships will help unleash the true value of social media and technologies, hence giving you the best bank for the buck you spent on achieving it.

I believe with the thinking of creating deeper relationships and measuring them, we as marketers will head the right direction in 2010.

Related posts: Are you capturing your customers' full value? 
10 Customer Service Trends in 2010
Social Media Convergence

Two sides of the table: Agency vs. Client

Seth Godin hit it on the head of the nail again. He posted a blog today and turned my thinking upside down, inside out, like no one ever has, on the subject of being a great client. “Is there such a thing?” you may ask. Of course there is. Having been on both sides of the table, trying to be innovative on the agency side, and trying to keep innovation flowing as a client, I’ve never thought about my role in the light of “fostering.” But Seth said it well, and here’s my reaction to his bullet points.

I have here counter bullets of what you’re supposed to do if you’re on the other side of the table — that you’re the innovator. I think these bullets will serve as great reminders for anyone who wants to stay innovative and to become your client’s favorite innovator:

If you’re the client… If you’re the innovator…
  • Before engaging with the innovator, foster discipline among yourself and your team. Be honest about what success looks like and what your resources actually are.
  • If you can’t write down clear ground rules about which rules are firm and which can be broken on the path to a creative solution, how can you expect the innovator to figure it out?
  • Simplify the problem relentlessly, and be prepared to accept an elegant solution that satisfies the simplest problem you can describe.
  • After you write down the ground rules, revise them to eliminate constraints that are only on the list because they’ve always been on the list.
  • Hire the right person. Don’t ask a mason to paint your house. Part of your job is to find someone who is already in the sweet spot you’re looking for, or someone who is eager and able to get there.
  • Demand thrashing early in the process. Force innovations and decisions to be made near the beginning of the project, not in a crazy charrette at the end.
  • Be honest about resources. While false resource constraints may help you once or twice, the people you’re working with demand your respect, which includes telling them the truth.
  • Pay as much as you need to solve the problem, which might be more than you want to. If you pay less than that, you’ll end up wasting all your money. Why would a great innovator work cheap?
  • Cede all issues of irrelevant personal taste to the innovator. I don’t care if you hate the curves on the new logo. Just because you write the check doesn’t mean your personal aesthetic sense is relevant.
  • Run interference. While innovation sometimes never arrives, more often it’s there but someone in your office killed it.
  • Raise the bar. Over and over again, raise the bar. Impossible a week ago is not good enough. You want stuff that is impossible today, because as they say at Yoyodyne, the future begins tomorrow.
  • When you find a faux innovator, run. Don’t stick with someone who doesn’t deserve the hard work you’re doing to clear a path.
  • Celebrate the innovator. Sure, you deserve a ton of credit. But you’ll attract more innovators and do even better work next time if innovators understand how much they benefit from working with you. 
  • Ask what success means for your client. Tell your client what success means to you in relation to your client’s success.
  • Lay down ground rules and lay out a road map with which you can reach a creative solution, and explain to your client how you’re going to get there. Find out what your client’s ground rules and road map to innovation is like.
  • After writing down the ground rules, if you think some of them are getting in the way of innovation and creativity, revise them.
  • Discuss the importance of simplicity vs. efficiency, that your client doesn’t need to sacrifice sophistication nor efficiency with simple design.
  • Get the right people on your team, even if they’re smarter than you. Having people who are very good at what they do on your team is better than getting generalists who try hard to be good at everything.
  • Talk about innovations and decisions with your client. Make it clear from the get-go that decisiveness and a risk-taking mindset is key to the successful execution of innovative ideas.
  • Be honest about resources and constraints with your client. Be transparent about the truth, you’ll earn your client’s respect that way.
  • Don’t work for cheap. You know the market price of your work, so don’t accept less and spoil market.
  • Don’t concede to issues of irrelevant personal tastes from your client. Your client may have weird tastes and pet-peeves but your client may not be the only consumer of the product/service that you’re innovating. Your audience is king, your client is not.
  • If you sense someone on your client’s team is consistently killing innovation, pull the person aside and have a one-on-one discussion about innovation. This is a great opportunity to “educate” someone who might not have gotten it yet.
  • Your client may be the faux innovator, and you can’t run away from him. If the client continues to supersede your job to innovate, maybe you need to change your strategy or simply walk away.  
  • Celebrate a good client. If your client offers you plenty of room to innovate and make things happen, you should recognize the wonderful relationship and do even better work. 

About capturing your customers’ full value, read more on http://wp.me/pvnpY-85