“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” so said one of the legends in advertising David Ogilvy. Yet how strange it is that marketers continue to nod to creative work that is sold to them as “intended for raising awareness of the brand” (read “it won’t get sales up …but it sure is going to get alot of people talking about your brand).
Who cares if the guys from Timbak 2 share a glass of milk whilst mulling for hours on length over the warmth/humour/crystal clear messaging of your advert…if your communication isn’t going to get them to buy your product then don’t buy that creative strategy from your marketing agency….don’t buy what you can’t use to sell your product: creativity too must sell!
Strange how the old adage of “customers being fickle creatures” is often forgotten when service is @ the heart of a business’ offering. In the words of Peter Cheales customers “will love you and give you loyal support for as long as you give them what they want, when they want and how they want”. So, I hate to be the bearer of sad news here but if you give customers a bad service, they will stop coming to your store.
Now you know that, that’s a reality, you as a service provider do not want to deal with more so now because of the wider variety of retail choice which is to date greatly fueling this behaviour in customers.
Yet, as obvious as that should be to most of us, I often wonder whether businesses have a check list they use to make sure that each and every facet of their business’ touch points, which a consumer is likely to have access to when consuming their product/service, reflects impeccable service standards.
Picture this – it’s a typical Saturday morning and I walk into my local supermarket outlet to do my grocery shopping. As I fill up that trolley deluxe, I’m humming away for the store, its layout and its cleanliness is just such a mood lifter…hey even that moody house wife’s glare who finds shopping such a bore..doesn’t get to me…until I get to the till.
I watch this interplay between the till packer, the till cashier and the shopper who is paying for her groceries. “Hello Ma’am – would you like some plastic bags…how many?” and boy oh boy…don’t get me started on the sense of urgency and efficiency as the till packer furiously puts purchases into the bought plastic bags and packs away the parcels into the trolley for this shopper.
Did I mention how the till cashier keeps grinning at the shopper stupidly. I read it as smiling of course (proof of the fact that the manual of “don’t forget to smile @ the shopper” is alive and kicking and has been read by this cashier).
Okee dokee it’s my turn now and so I gently push my trolley forward to pay for my groceries.
“Plastic?” I get asked.
Oh no she didn’t plastic me.
So I respond with a wide smile, “Iyenzeni…iphuma nama sweetie or is it buy one get 1 litre full-cream milk bottle for free?” (What about it?). Then wait for it….”Uya i funa na?” (Would you like one?). So I pleasantly respond “Oh yes I would love a plastic bag please.”
The till cashier’s question of course is said with a tired looking face as if to say “Ayi sisi, please understand I really am tired, but I have no choice but to work at this miserable place….”
Now as a sister I have all the understanding in the world. I know how little cashiers earn, but as a shopper and more so as a marketer, I detest bad service.
As your sister, I identify with and perhaps know what it took to get you here this morning, but let’s chat about that when we back ekasi or waiting for taxi’s @ Bree Street, shall we?
Right now as I stand in front of you, I am a shopper and the reason you get paid at the end of the month.
7 out of 10 shoppers who stop buying from an outlet, leave and cite no reason why they left.
If you think a cashier’s unprofessional demeanor in enquiring about my need for plastic bags will not get you to loose me as a customer, then trust me on this one, it will. I know a number of my dear sisters who have stopped frequenting certain retail outlets because they couldn’t stand the cashiers’ or sales personnels’ demeaning attitudes when serving them. And indeed “plastic” demeaning questiniong by cashiers was cited as one of the reasons why my dear sisters stopped visiting these outlets.
Global researchers in fact calls this kind of service “Shopping While Black” where black shoppers are made to feel unwelcome or unappreciated when shopping in retail outlets. A number of retail outlets who had been found to in fact instruct their sales personnel to have such demeaning treatment to certain races have experienced the wrath of expensive lawsuits in America. http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/story?id=7131333&page=
So, dear retail owners perhaps it is time to invest in “racial diversity in customer service” training for your cashiers. Please revisit that check list again and get rid of habits which are affecting your bottom-line negatively…but please, pretty please….
Don’t plastic me ever again!
In driving your discount promotion campaign instore to achieve incremental sales from non-users of your brand – which POP method really works best?
Better yet, in putting your brand on “Special”, should one reduce the price across the board using Shelf Price Reductions or should one dispense coupons at point of purchase?
Again, its not so much what we, as marketers think will work best – it’s what shoppers perceive to be effective in talking to them about the latest deal or special.
According to research conducted by research agency, Markinor (September 2007):
80% of shoppers find coupons effective in influencing them to buy brands they did NOT intend to buy.
60% of shoppers are likely to switch brands and purchase those promoted as discounted offerings as a result of a coupon promotion.
What about Shelf Price Reductions? Are they not just as effective?
Well, Shelf price reductions talk mostly to shoppers who were going to buy the product irrespective of the discount. So, any incremental purchases there – are likely to come from these loyal one’s pantry loading.
Couponing on the other hand enables a 2-pronged effective advertising strategy of brand switching as well as awareness of brand at point of purchase in that:
Firstly couponing encourages 60% of brand switching purchases to your coupon-promoted brand.
Secondly, a shopper merely looking at your brand increases consideration of your brand by 30 – 120% and so shoppers get to be made aware of your brand visually, given the distinct packaging of your product on the couponed pop message on shelf.
So, with 86% of shoppers stating that coupons encourage them to buy promoted brands and 64% of shoppers citing that coupons help them buy brands they could not afford ….when is your next coupon promotion?