13 Platinum Marketing Concepts
for the New Decade
Are you waiting for someone to lead and inspire you
for the boss to recognize you
for clients to thank you
for coworkers to help you
for the world to hail you?
Well here's a news flash:
They are all just sitting there too
waiting for you.
From a Minolta advertisement
The speed of sound is chasing the speed of light.
Business is moving. Faaaaast! And continuing to grow and expand and "change".
With nearly the speed of sound - if not light.
A short while ago I was in the market for a new laptop. My computer guru
had a brand new 30 day old machine. I decided I wanted one just like his.
Too late. Already that model was not available - the manufacturer had
moved on to something new. Rapid is the word for the business world.
The 24/7 approach to business is also how it is. Which is strange, if
you remember the decades of the '60's and '70's. When technology was going
to give us "leisure time". The work week would drop to 36 or
maybe 32 hours. Everyone would have 3 day week-ends - or 4.
It did not happen. In fact, the reverse is true.
Felice Willat, Founder of Day Runner, Inc., reminds of a time before
clocks. When we regulated time by the sun, the stars. There was a rhythm
to life, built around the seasons. Now there is no season - every thing
runs together - like city and suburbia. Instead of we controlling time,
time controls us. We feel we must be at the right place at the right time
or nothing will happen.
We have all seen the cellular phone take over lives. There was a time
you could walk away from the office. Turn out the lights and go home.
No longer. Frequently home IS the office. If not your prime location,
your second work station.
One definition of an entrepreneur is someone who stopped working for
someone else 8 hours a day so she could work for herself 14 hours a day.
Many working for others are pulling longer days, too. Certainly most marketers
Why is all this so? Because your clients expect you to be available -
no matter where you are, or why. Thus the cell phone craze.
True personal story; Many of you know I ride a real bike ... I
ride a Harley-Davidson. Many times the bike goes with me on business trips.
Of course, my laptop is along.
And the computer is also along when I am NOT on a business trip. Carefully
stashed in the saddle bag - ready for hook-up at the first stop. Why?
Because I have learned clients do not care where you are - they only care
they can get you. And they do.
A direct marketer The Territory Ahead, a catalogue company featuring
travel clothing, quotes Huckleberry Finn;
"Well, I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead
of the rest because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and
civilize me and I can't stand it. I been there before."
I am not sure we have been there before. Still, like Huck Finn, I'm going
out ahead of the rest. This is my "territory ahead".
13 Platinum Marketing Concepts for the New Decade.
1. The Return of Adam & Eve
Fortune Magazine selected the best products of the 20th Century;
... office - paper clips
... home -vacuum cleaner
... entertainment - paperback books
... clothes - nylon
... play - Lego toys.
A collection of basics.
Every decade there is a back to basics movement. It usually lasts about
3 days. This time it will last longer ... good chance the entire decade!
Why? Because fundamentals still work.
As we look at history we see the same principles repeated time and time
again, over and over. The differences are in "how", not what.
Sure, there are changes. Technology in broadcast, video, computers and
telecommunications, for instance. Advances in print production and personalization
Still, the bottom line is people. Robots have not taken over. And certainly
will not any time soon. Not in my lifetime. Probably not in yours. Star
Wars is still for entertainment. And since marketing messages are aimed
at people, the basics of communication hold.
As in the beginning. From the time of Adam and Eve.
2. We are more alike than unalike
Sailing ships of centuries ago began what today we call global marketing.
International wars expanded the concept. Following WWII "overseas"
grew like a weed.
The currently pattern was set in place with the 707 and DC-8.
The jet engine created a travel opportunity for millions. From 1959,
with the first jet flights across the States and then the ponds east and
west, people traveled. And learned they could do business as well as holiday
in a foreign port.
June 1, 1980 was the next big happening. A "crazy" guy from
Atlanta, Georgia launched CNN and the world has not been the same since.
Ted Turner created a major marketing happening. 11 years later the BBC
threw a satellite into the sky. And for the first time "instant"
was truly applied to news and sports and politics ... even war.
We were "in" Beijing in early June of 1989. The Berlin Wall
fell as we looked on. Civil unrest in Los Angeles, California, the streets
of Jakarta, Indonesia and Seoul, Korea became our learning ground. The
USSR broke apart before our eyes. We watched the Gulf War.
More than the baseball World Series from the USA, the American football
Super Bowl and the Olympics every 4 years. We also get World Cup matches
in football (soccer) for both men and women. And Rugby from through-out
Europe. Tennis from Hong Kong. The Tour de France. Australia rules football
from Melbourne. They each come straight into our living room.
We watch people vote in El Salvador and Israel. We see parliament in
action in capitals from Wellington to Ottawa to New Delhi.
Thus, the peoples of the world have become more and more homogenized.
Sure, cultural and language and history and experience certainly do
make a difference. Just not as much as in previous times.
And yes, those of us in marketing must listen to our market places. And
respond. Still know this fact; we are more alike than unalike.
3. Monologue is out - Dialogue is "In"
The monologue of mass media is not going away.
I may be among a very small group of marketers and direct marketers who
truly believe advertising is a good thing. The worlds most famous brands
have been built on advertising and public relations.
Names like Nike, Sony, Coca-Cola, Disney, IBM, McDonalds, Microsoft,
Xerox, Shell, Kodak, Pepsi, Toyota, Marlboro, Hilton, AT&T, Intel,
Hewlett-Packard, Volvo, and scores more got to the "top" in
branding with advertising. And this is good.
Why is this good? Simply because it makes the job of the marketer just
that much easier. Wouldn't you like to do direct for these brands? I know
I would ... it would be a piece of cake! And it would be fun, too.
Still - the concept of a monologue message is truly out. The marketplace
wants dialogue. And they are going to get dialogue or they are going to
go where they can. Today every buyer has a choice ... and they know it.
More and more they are choosing to interact with sellers.
Your customer expects you ... to Listen
... to Understand
... to Interpret
... to Respond.
i.e., have a dialogue about their needs and what you offer to fulfill
The time is truly ripe for marketers to meet the wishes of every prospect
and every customer. You do it with dialogue.
4. Use all 7 Senses!
And you thought there were only 5 senses. Really, there are 7.
Let's get the list out of the way first. The 5 you know are See, Hear,
Taste, Smell, Feel. The other 2 are Motion and Common.
The 5 are obvious. See, Hear, Taste, Smell. Feel. You know what they
The first new sense is Motion. Motion is how people react, their behavior.
How they "move". Physically their response to you, your message,
your offer. Sometimes you see it as you are 1:1 with them. Frequently
you "hear" it or hear about their behavior later. Motion is
a weather vane more than anything customers say or think. For it is what
really happens. It is what they do.
And of course Common Sense, because there is so little of it. A quote
from Mark Twain says it best;
"The most common thing about common sense
is that it's not very common."
As a marketer, when you use all 7 senses, what you are doing is truly
learning from your prospects, your customers, your best clients and your
smallest. Your long time "friends" and those new to you. You
absorb from all. And you get a more complete picture of the total marketplace.
Using all the senses available to you will make your marketing dialogue
just that much better.
5. Town Hall Meetings are "In"
Focus groups have never been a top of ladder thing for me. Until the
World Wide Web made them truly interactive.
Previous experiences seemed unreal. Not real people in real settings.
They always appeared staged.
Usually there was a single person who took the lead. No matter how good
the moderator was, it happened. And slanted the results. Not good.
Today you can gather your prospects and customers together "live"
in a conference room. Or you can do it "live" on the web - in
a chat room with an ongoing exchange. Or set a specific date and time.
Customers want to express an opinion. Just look at the growth of talk
When you give people a more positive way to express their feelings, they'll
jump on it. Then, when you do, know this; they want you
to listen. And, they expect you to respond.
The Town Hall concept from centuries ago is back as a marketing tool.
6. Making Love is "In"
Eric J. Smith, a mentor of long ago, said this to me;
"Make love to your customers ...
or someone else will."
Eric was right then - he would be more right today. The frequency / loyalty
programs begun by the airline industry in the early '80's and copied by
dozens proves it. The entire concept of customer relationship marketing
proves it, too.
Today there are 3 levels of customers;
... occasional customer - you're courting, you're dating,
you're holding hands, you're getting comfortable
... loyalty & frequency customer - you're engaged,
you're hugging, you're giving it the "good ole
... evangelist, advocate customer - you're married, true love
you're together for "life", retention is the stage.
Your "love" for each customer - from a purely rational point
of view - will be directly related to their spending and profit to you.
As it should be ... hey, this is business!
Yet, while all customers are not created equal and thus deserve unequal
treatment (they really do!) - all customers, if they are worth serving,
are worth serving well. Equal does not mean sameness. Good for one is
not the same as good for the other. As customers are different, so should
your marketing be different.
This idea ties to what you learn when your 7 senses are in action. It
relates to dialogue response, vs. one size fits all. It supports the idea
of Town Hall. All which help you "make love".
7. "Two-Gether" Marketing is "In"
"Two-Gether" is not mis-spelled. It is how I do it.
Well, because it means working "two-gether" with your customer,
with your suppliers, within your organization ... at every level ...
at every interaction ... for every reason. It is you and they becoming
a team, "two-gether". The 2 of you.
"... you can actually do better for yourself by
being cooperative and altruistic than you can by
selfishly refusing to cooperate with others."
So says Helena Cronin, writing about Darwinism and what we've learned
People first took to this "two-gether" idea in the 1980's.
When JIT - just in time - became a practicing manufacturing reality. With
suppliers working hand in glove with builders to become more efficient.
From the mid '90's "two-gether" mushroomed. Built to order
became a fact. Some always fulfilled to order ... 1-800-FLOWERS for example.
Paint stores mix your exact color. Restaurants cook your specific meal.
Lumber yards cut wood just for your needs.
Yet, it took on new meaning when Dell and Gateway began the process.
And now there are auto manufacturers doing the same thing. Big difference
from the days of Henry Ford, who told us we could have any color we wanted
... as long as that color was black.
"Two-Gether" Marketing is working well in the travel industry,
too. With partnerships built to serve the customer. Starwood Hotels &
Resorts is one collection ... Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Four Points,
Caesars and St. Regis. The Star Alliance, begun by United, Lufthansa,
Thai, SAS and Air Canada airlines, has expanded to
serve the global traveler. They market individually - they market "two-gether".
And you - the traveler - win.
Look around and see who you can join with for profitable
"Two-Gether" Marketing. You will definitely be "in".
8. Commitment is "In"
The base principle is everyone has to become committed and involved.
From entry level in the basement to the oval office on the top floor.
Although it is not necessarily a 2-way street. Customers today
expect you to make a commitment to standards, to performance, to service,
to quality. In return you just may get NOTHING! When you give 110% you
will not always get 110% back.
" ... the notion of somebody being "a Chevy man", in
way there were loyal Chevy men in 1957, is almost passe."
So says Paco Underhill. And he is right.
Loyalty is tough to build and tougher to keep. Frequency is easy to promote,
retention is not necessarily the result. Yet, the customer is the customer
- and know they want YOU to make a commitment to them. The turn-around
is the customer is quicker to bail and go another way. For little - or
sometimes (and this is scary!) NO reason. That IS how it is.
What should you do? Make a commitment! What is your choice? You have
a few options ... do it the way the customer asks ... ask the customer
to alter their thinking to go your way ... loose the customer to a competitor.
Recently I had a consulting opportunity. The buyer had an already in
place program that had hit the wall - was not performing at the same level
as in the past. They were looking for a bump UP. Something different.
Yet, every time I suggested something "different", there was
great hesitancy .
What did I do? I very carefully shared my point of view, and did what
the customer asked. And ever so slowly and ever so surely some of the
differences got tested.
It has nothing to do with right or wrong. It has everything to do with
dialogue, with using all your senses, with making love, with working "two-gether".
It really has to do with WII-FM ... What's In It
For Me. That's
what the customer says commitment is.
9. Extreme is Expected
Customers expect max performance. Extreme effort. Extreme selections.
And they expect extreme value. They expect "more than
expected". An oxymoron ... maybe. Still, when you add value over
and beyond expectations, that is how you win. It is how you will be measured.
It IS what the customer expects.
What is somewhat crazy about this is the customer is asking you to "eliminate
greed". Eliminate your need for profit first. To think first about
the customer. This is still an extreme thought for many.
Fact is, this time the customer is right. For when we put the customer
first we are much more likely to stay first ourselves. The old fashioned
every day attitude "we can get by" is no longer so. You can
NOT get by - and won't.
To begin, every survey shows price is not an issue when extra - extreme
- value is offered. Convenience stores around the world have proven that
fact. Conveniently located as you drive by, yet not always in prime locations.
A staff that does not express pride. Prices over and above other stores
frequently within walking distance. And still all of us shop at a convenience
store. Why? Because we get the "value" of convenience.
Value offered is what earns you Life Time Value. Continuous improvement
from continuously questioning the existing will allow you to be "extreme".
To be ahead. And to stay ahead.
Ko Nishimura, COO of Solectron says it this way;
"Never be satisfied. Never be
bound by conventional wisdom."
Yes, you must put a value on value. It must be more than a word. The
customer will ask What's In It For Me?
Why should I do business with you? What are you going to do for me?
On line sites such as Priceline.com, which allow you to low-ball bid
for various services, and e-Bay.com, an auction house, have been successful
because they offer value. The customer gets a good deal.
Think - then act "extreme". It is what is expected.
10. The Customer is Skeptical
Christopher Matthews of the cable television show Hardball has
a book by the same name. And produced a wonderful quote;
"Don't get mad. Don't get even. Get ahead."
Your customer is skeptical. They want to trust you ... they
really do. But ... he says he has heard it all before - so "prove
it to me" is the attitude. All gasoline is alike. All corn flakes
are alike. All telephone services are alike. If you're different ... prove
it to me. Get ahead by proving it.
Resources are available to marketers to prove it. i.e., testimonials
are "in". References are "in". Case history stories
are "in". Going 1:1 with your clients, in almost any setting
that works (see Town Hall covered earlier) is "in".
And still, personal dialogue without personal visits will not
cut it in the long haul. Since Adam and Eve face-to-face has been, is,
and certainly for this decade, will be the best way to "get
A prime reason people do not buy is they do not totally trust your message,
your product, your service, your people. Understand, right or wrong, skepticism
is spreading like a virus. Recognize your customer is skeptical. Then
work at elimination.
11. The Customer expect zero defects
At 99.9% level of accuracy 315 words in Webster's unabridged dictionary
At 99.9% level of perfection 2,240,000 books will be shipped with the
wrong jacket, in just the next 12 months.
At 99.9% level of efficiency - in the next 60 minutes - 18,640 pieces
of mail will be mis-sorted by the United States Postal Service.
At 99.9% level of precision - every day at the world's second
busiest airport - Chicago's ORD field, there will be 2 airplane
Customers expect 100% satisfaction ... and they expect it now!
Guarantees are mandatory - you guarantee your product / you guarantee
your service. AND you guarantee a level of customer satisfaction ... determined
by the customer.
Product and service guarantees are pretty much a given. Even those who
do not talk about them (a mistake - you benefit by talking about them!)
offer a guarantee. The customer expects you to fix or repair or
replace or refund. To do something. Today that happens - in every industry
The other guarantee is the customer satisfaction guarantee. Much harder
to make happen. As every customer is different. And they each have their
own level of "satisfaction". Which you must understand and fulfill.
How? Town Hall. 7 Senses. Dialogue. As you see, this all fits "two-gether".
12. Optional Channels of Delivery are Mandatory
Offering only 1 way to do business with you was never good - now it is
obsolete. It no longer works.
You must offer your customer multiple ways to do business with you. Banks
have done as good a job of this as anyone. You can visit an ATM - at your
bank, at another bank, at a kiosk in the mall, on a street corner. At
many off site locations.
Some banks offer drive-through service - where you do not need to exit
your car. Sometimes you'll find a drive-through ATM, too.
Of course you can go online with many banks ... and not just the big
boys, either. Many smaller regional or local banks offer services online.
E-mail and the World Wide Web has made banking faster, easier, more convenient,
more efficient. And 24/7, too.
Thief Willy Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, answered ... "that's
where the money is". Well, banks have discovered the same thing.
Many have extended full service to locations outside "normal"
locations ... "as that's where the money is". Grocery stores
being the prime example. Where frequently they are open 7 days and 12
hours - more than their "regular" locations.
TeleBanking has been around since the 1970's. It is now expanded - sometimes
automated for convenience. Phone service operates 24/7. TeleFax service
is also available. Recently I completed a rather complex set of transactions
with my bank - 100% by phone and fax.
Of course there is mail and banking. And night drops. And the real "bricks
and mortar" of the bank building itself. All "old" and
traditional - each still fills a customer need.
Today customers expect options. Give them several and your business will
13. Knowledge is Everything.
From the 1960's the computer industry has tried to convince us we are
in the "information age".
They were wrong then - they are really wrong now.
It is NOT information we are after ... it is knowledge. Today, ladies
and gentlemen, we are in "The Knowledge Era". It is a time of
knowing. And then using what we know.
Francis Bacon gets credit for "Knowledge is Power". Well, he
was wrong too. As knowledge is NOT power ... not unless you use it.
A basic principle of todays' marketplace and this decade is "action".
Information is certainly not enough. Even knowledge is not enough ...
we must know what to do with what we know. And then we must do it. Action.
Which is perfect for direct. Because direct is an action discipline.
You are suppose to do something. Call that number. Visit that trade show.
Take that demonstration. Visit that store. Redeem that coupon. Make that
donation. Visit that chat site. Fax that inquiry. Complete the application.
Talk with the sales rep. Mail the order. Do something - take action.
When you begin to know what the customer thinks, what they say, and then
what they really do, you begin to truly operate in "The Knowledge
Era". Knowledge can be your most powerful weapon. Knowledge IS everything.
Well, that's it. 13 Platinum Marketing Concepts
for the New Decade. Put them each to work for you and your marketing