alhodg

Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Tesco + Facebook = The end of high street shopping?

In Marketing, Online on March 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm

According to the wordcloud on my blog, two of the things I like talking about the most are Tesco and Facebook, so there’s no surprise that this article caught my attention:

Tesco launches Facebook-based virtual fitting room

http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/9164-tesco-launches-facebook-based-virtual-fitting-room?utm_medium=feeds

(courtesy https://twitter.com/#!/engagingbrand)

In one of my previous posts, I posited the idea that as soon as large retailers, like Tesco, start to properly adapt to and exploit social media channels like Facebook, all forms of physical shopping – malls and out of town, too, not just the High Street – would be in real trouble.

(Read the previous post here: FB hoax – the online mall and why Facebook will never charge you)

Here’s the final paragraph from that post:

“People still like to meet people, and clothes shopping particularly requires physical interaction, and is a very social experience, but FB is so near to being able to offer a similar experience that the shopping malls – especially the smaller regional ones – should really start to worry.  Just as malls killed off the High Street, maybe online will kill off the mall?”

Well, today’s announcement seems to even begin to tackle this basic need for ‘physical interaction’ by taking it all online.  I think it’s interesting that Tesco in particular have developed this ‘online fitting room’ given that I’m not sure they even have physical fitting rooms in their stores. Theirs is not high fashion – it’s based on “it’s cheap, so even if it doesn’t fit me properly, it’s no real loss”, so really Tesco are looking to radically increase the levels of social interaction involved in buying their clothes. Do you know anyone who’s ever been on a genuine clothes shopping trip, with friends, to a supermarket?

This is why this announcement is a double threat to physical shopping. Not only are they looking to move clothes shopping online, by launching on Facebook and including social sharing, they are looking to directly attack the ‘social shopping’ experiences that traditional fashion outlets like River Island, H&M & Topshop (forgive me if I’m out of touch with female fashion brands – I’m a 32 year old man) can offer. Forget that Tesco currently sell manky clothes – this can easily change, and the power of market research information they will get from social sharing and commenting will help them do this rapidly (note how Primark managed to gain press attention by offering a few ‘designer’ items in amongst their other pap).

The High Street is a 70s concept that was destroyed by the Mall in the 90s. Now the combination of a severe and long-lasting recession, and the maturation of online retail across a wide range of sectors and age groups, will I believe, start to kill off the Mall by the time the decade’s out.

Physical spaces have to think of something else to do. Something that is unique, that there is a high demand for in the UK, but an undersupply. Something which is highly social, but definitely requires the physical body to experience.

I’ve got 2 words for you.

Water.

Park.

The Marketing Lighthouse

In Marketing on October 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

In many of the places I have worked people have put time and effort into developing new products, new services etc…solely in response to the competitive environment, such as new competitor products or pricing structures.

Obviously it’s important to respond to what’s going on ‘out there’ but often the money and manpower allocated to the ‘new’ propositions takes resource away from the core products and services, which are often what you customers are really interested (especially in these straightened times).

It can be a brave thing to do to when your competitors are rushing around with ‘new’ stuff to do what you already do, but better. It can lack visibility publicly, but won’t go unnoticed by your existing customers.

Anyway, being a fan of wanky business-speak and aide memoirs, the idea of spending as much time critically examining your own business than other put me in mind of of lighthouse. It’s primary job is to look outwards and shine it’s light on potential danger, but for every sweep of its beam, it also casts its light internally, on land.

So, I give you – the Marketing Lighthouse!

The Marketing Lighthouse

Social Media is redefining the role of the marketing department

In Marketing on March 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

There’s no doubt that Social Media has changed the game for Marketers, but so far this has just meant internal marketing departments adjust to new methods of communication.

However, if you consider what exactly SM does for the relationship between the company and the customer, it should actually fundamentally change what the marketing departent does.

Traditionally, an internal marketing department will get involved with ‘big idea’ marketing – finding new niches, new markets, how to fill them, defining the message, and then rolling it out. There’s a lot of work to be done in this, and this is what fills most of a traditional marketers time.

If you’re customers are really active in Social media, though, you should throw this out of the window. That’s because, much more than ever, SM gives a very public forum to customers experiences, both good and bad.

You can’t control the message – the brand if you like – anymore, so why try? Wouldn’t it be much more effective if the marketing department spent it’s time analysing the minutae of every single customer touch point, and ensuring that the people involved at those points understand what the company stands for, and how their performance affects the brand, its value, and the company’s profitability.

Scrap the design agency – fancy pants graphics only really matter if your product is ‘high-brand’ (like Nike, where the name means so much more than the product). For your website, usability is all. If it looks terrible but works great, it will get noticed (Ryan Air’s website looks terrible – deliberately so, I think – but searching and booking is still easy).

As I say, you don’t control your brand anymore, your customers do (haven’t they always?) so why put your effort into a logo redesign, when monitoring and responding to negative and positive comments on the social web could enhance your brand much more, and create those all important cyberspace advocates that help drive traffic, and demand, to your product.

Most marketers are still only just waking up to the game-changing nature of Social Media, perhaps because it will take time for the digital natives to come through to the key positions, but it does seem from the number of  ‘Understanding Social Media’ courses around that they are waking up.  However, will they be willing and able to adapt and do what the most successful social media sites, like Facebook and YouTube did – forget about the ‘look and feel’ and the fancy ‘fun’ bits of marketing, and get right down to functionality and customer experience?

I fancy that those that do will flourish.

Do misleading movie trailers work?

In Marketing, Movies on January 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm

It’s been interesting to see how Love & Other Drugs has evolved over the few weeks since it’s release in the UK.

When I was first aware of it, I’m sure I saw the poster and assumed, as you would if you’d seen the UK poster (below) that it was a fairly standard Rom Com, though perhaps a little elevated by having Aniston, Barrymore or Bullock in it.

Love & Other Drugs UK poster

Is this poster misleading?

Since then I’ve found out the plot of the film (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758752/) and have heard reviews (although not seen it) and it’s had a couple of Golden Globe nominations, and suddenly it looks like a different film – an emotionally tough film about whether love is worth chasing if it is bound for ultimate tragedy.

Incidentally, when looking for the above poster, I found the below, which I presume is the US version, and seems much more sombre and ‘indie’ in theme (although it still looks like Gyllenhaal is giggling, and Hathaway looks less bozz eyed, somehow).

US poster more loyal to film?

US poster more loyal to film?

Nearly a month from release (and it was released in the tricky post-Christmas period, where kids movies still rule) and it’s still hanging around at No. 6 – not bad for either an indie flick or a bog standard rom com.

So, the question is, how many went expecting a Rom Com, and of those that did, did they enjoy it, or feel conned? I’m not MORI, so I can’t tell you that, but it does raise interesting questions about whether it does any actual lasting damage if you do ‘con’ people  into the movie with misleading, or at least mis-targeted, advertising.

Standard Marketing theory would have it that you should never mislead your customers – your job is to make a product which fits their need, and find ways to let them know about it.  However, Hollywood seems to have a track record of putting that aside if it thinks the product doesn’t fit a given niche, and blitzing people with a version of the film they think they’ll like.

Take 2008 smash hit Slumdog Millionaire, for example:

Feel Good Hit of the Decade, with electrocution and eye gouging

This film was apparently almost straight to video, so someone obvously decided to rescue it it present it as a sort of Sound of Music for the Noughties.  Now, whilst the denoument of Slumdog may leave you feeling good, in the words of Dr Mark Kermode, there’s an aweful lot of Shawshank, and not much Redemption – the lead character is hung upside down and tortureed within the first 10 minutes, a small child has its eye gouged out for fiscal benefit, and the main character’s brother is a right bad ‘un and no mistake. Feel-good film of the decade?

However, the volumes that went to see it (£23m Box Office gross) clearly suggests that it’s that audience, and not the ‘gritty portrail of poverty-stricken India’ audience that turned up – but were they bothered? I find it unlikely that so many people went to see it because they loved Shallow Grave or Trainspotting, but it’s hard to find reaction to the film that is not gushing.  Rotten Tomotoes rates it at 94% collectively, with only 14 out of 221 rotten, and most of these come under ‘not my thing’ rather than ‘not the film I expected’.

So it seems the film was so colourful, engaging and entertaining, that by the time people came out they’d forgotten the marketing message that drew them there in the first place, which backs the idea that in movie world, you can lie to your audience as much as you want before hand, so long as the film has impact.

As Time Out critic Dave Calhoun said of SM:
“Slumdog Millionaire’, a film so upbeat and colourful that, by the time you’re relaying its infectious air of optimism to friends, you could forget that it features orphans, slaughter, organised crime, poverty, enslavement and police brutality.”

However, it’s easy to forget that drawing in the wrong audience can have conseqeunce.  My future  Mother-in-law went to see SM, I’m sure based more on the poster and trailer than any reviews, and didn’t like like it, not because it wasn’t a good film, but because she couldn’t get over her empathy with the poverty and brutality – eg/ it disturbed her.  Unlike many modern movie goers, who were have been desensitized by video nasties and TV violence, her preferred viewing is more Sound of Music (and I don’t mean it’s gritty portrayal of life under Nazi rule) or Miss Marple.  However, she knows this, and avoids the films that look likely to shatter her version of reality.  She was conned into the movie and I’m not sure that is fair.

So, Love & Other Drugs will probably get some Oscar nominations, which will boost it’s box office even further, but may at least get the message across that it’s a good film worth watching, but not to expect a fluffy piece of hankie fodder.

Maybe I’ll take the missus on Valentines Day and see what kind of mood it sets!

AlHodg

PS. Any other misleading film advertising – please add your comment, especially if it left you feeling conned.