Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

Still not convinced that repetition matters in communication?

Okay fine. Here's proof that it does.

You know that song, The Twelve Days of Christmas? My neighbor-friend called me Friday night to help her family solve a mystery. They could not recall the last several verses of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

So c'mon smartypants ... what was the gift on the eleventh day of Christmas? Don't know do you?

What about the gift on the twelfth day of Christmas? It's a blank, isn't it.

Hey, at least you are in good company.

Think about the song for a minute. Take it apart.

The lyric about the partridge in a pear tree is repeated 12 times. It's drilled into our brains.

Two turtle doves (repeats 11 times)
Three French hens (repeats 10 times)
Four calling birds (repeats 9 times)

FIVE ......... GOLD ........ RINGS (is repeated in dramatic fashion 8 times)

I can even remember (without cheating)-- six geese a laying; seven swans a swimming. At least I think these are correct, with respect to the actual song lyrics.

Beyond that seventh verse, things get very hazy, very fast in my memory.

The reason? Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

Every time I hear or sing (sure, go ahead and cringe now ... plug your ears) The Twelve Days of Christmas several of those verses become etched into my memory banks by way of repetition. The rest of them never make it into my memory because those verses are never repeated with enough frequency.

Does your important sales or marketing message make it into your target audience's memory bank? Do you use the power of repetition to your advantage?

I encourage you to utilize repetition to get your message (your point, your brand, your benefit) remembered. Do so, and you may just be on the receiving end of those gold rings. However, if you choose to ignore the importance of repetition, you may wind up like so many of those not-so-memorable pipers or drummers.

I Am Not Lovin' It!!!!!

Yes, I am back on the McDonald's rant.

It should have been simple - three yogurt parfaits, a hash brown and a cinnamon roll ordered through the drive thru of the revolutionized Fast Food Chain.

Most of the food was a snack for my kids. I had 30 minutes that I wanted to spend with my wife and kids inbetween meetings.

After we were asked to pull up so that we didn't effect the speed of the drive thru (a.k.a. "keep the manager out of trouble in regards to the time limit guarantee,") I found myself inside watching the staff create my order after about five minutes.

After overhearing one of the managers on duty say that he should fire the entire staff. I again realized that the marketing for McD's is way off.

90% of the people in the place were above 55 (customers), no one looked hip (including me), the service was terrible, the floor was dirty, there were three managers on duty and 8 or more staff wandering around while two people tried to figure out how to make my yogurt parapets - arrughhhh!!!!

15 minutes later, we got out of there.

And here's the kicker - the fruit in the parfait was frozen and we couldn't eat it.

Come on down to my town and see how your Brand Chronicle Theory is working.

I am not going back. I mean it.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Blue Light Special

When I was growing up in the 1970's, I had relatives that worked at KMART.

I thought KMART was the best. It seems like I spent a lot of time there. I would go with my Mom, spend time in the toy aisle, eat hot dog on a grilled bun and get a milk shake. Even though you had to pay a dime to go to the bathroom, I still had a great deal of fun there.

As I grew up, KMART wasn't as fun anymore, but I still liked getting sports stuff from there. Baseballs, tennis shoes - I'd spend my time in the sports deparment.

Well, as I struck out on my own KMART lost me. The stores in my area are dingy, the products aren't managed well, the service - what service?

Switch gears, let's talk about Sears. My Mom would take me there for Toughskin jeans (they had knee patches that made them last longer). I didn't really like those jeans, but I didn't have much choice. I wanted a good pair of Wranglers.

My relationship with Sears followed the same line as KMART. It decreased over time, except for paint. Sears owns me for paint.

Something has changed though.

This past year, I have shopped at Sears more. It's interesting why they have earned more of my business. It has to do with my wife and kids. We did 80% of our back to school shopping for our kids clothes at Sears in the Land's End Department. Good sale, descent product, we bought.

And then, my wife went back to Sears to get some clothes for the fall at the Land's End department.

And then, I meandered over into a clearance sale and bought some shoes (two pair) at a really good price, and guess what - Sears is getting back into our household.

Now they have paint, kids clothes, my wife's clothes and maybe even some clothing from me.

That's a huge change. Secondly, they kept us out of Kohls.

Now, I know this is getting long, but here's what I would do if I was running the operation to combine Sears and KMART:
  • leverage the combined distribution system of both businesses to bring about tremendous savings in delivery costs
  • maintain and/or widen the demographic diversity of the target audiences for Kmart and Sears, target different customers with different messages for each businesses. This brings about stability to the overall company by diversifying it's customer base.
  • don't try to make the Brands something they are not. I can only feel so cool when I walk into either of these stores. Sorry - it's the truth.
  • combine the media purchasing power of the two Brands to gain added reach with your message
  • add a level of quality to the products. If I buy a shirt, wash it three times and it's ratty - I'm not coming back.

Summary: the combination of the businesses is a huge opportunity.

Now you are number three. The problem is that number three is a terrible position to be in, it's the least profitable and hardest to maintain. Get costs in line behind the scenes. Give me quality at a good price. Don't try to fool me. I'm almost a loyal customer again. Good luck.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Great New Search Engine

I've found this great new search engine that clusters search results into topic areas. Clusty is one of those multi-engine search tools. I'm not crazy about the name "Clusty" but it is easy to remember. It searches several of the more popular engines simultaneously (like does) and presents its findings by category. It also seems to generate more results than Google - finds results that Google or Yahoo miss. But the best part by far is the clustering., which is currently available and free in Beta version, makes searching much more efficient. If you're researching a person or a company, you can easily click onto the more relevant clusters to avoid all of the non-relevant resulsts and cyber junk. Give it a spin. You'll like it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Lou Carbone interview with Tom Peters

Tom Peters published an excellent interview with Lou Carbone, an authority on experience as an integral part of marketing and brands. It's worth checking out!

Lou Carbone has been exploring the dynamics of experience value creation and management for 20 years. He founded and currently serves as CEO of Experience Engineering, an experience-consulting firm whose clients include IBM, General Motors, Avis, Allstate, Audi, Blockbuster, RBC Financial, Office Depot, H&R Block, Taco Bell, Allina Health System, and many other leading organizations. Carbone collaborated with Steve Haeckel on "Engineering Customer Experiences," the seminal article that introduced the concept of customer experience.

He's the author of Clued In: How To Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again.

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