Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Social Media Marketing And Permission Marketing : The Return of Disruption

Social Media marketing is on the edge to become a major relationship medium for brands. The way it has been designed enable brands and customers to discuss, and interact in a very unique way, something which is not comparable to any other known medium.

Nevertheless, a French study shows out that French customers perceive social media marketing to be intrusive, and hence, are reluctant to its raise.

Permission Marketing
Seth Godin book “Permission Marketing” has changed deeply the way companies interact with companies, promoting one to one CRM techniques, and mainly pull marketing campaigns, asking for the customers’ permission to deliver promotional messages.

The concept is simple: due to the multiplication of media and brands, customers are overloaded with commercial messages which they are not asking for. Hence, in order to get the attention of customers and to optimize advertising budgets, you should set up a contract with the customer, to provide him an accurate and targeted messages, which will be delivered at the frequency and through the media he wants.

Social Media As A Permission Marketing Threat
Hence, when companies are discussing via social media, there is somekind of disruption that could appear. Of course, a customer could decide whether or not to follow a brand on Twitter or to become a fan of it on Facebook, but still, with community management springing up, brands are listening more and more to what is going on in social media.

I've attended a ecommerce diner where one of the invitee asked if social media users wouldn't feel oppressed by being watched by brands. If they talk about brands on social media, that doesn't necessarily mean he wants to discuss or even get in contact with it.

Community Management To Be defined
Is social media a threat for permission marketing? I believe that social media marketing experiences the same problems that occurred with emailing not so long ago. As the medium is relatively cheap and new, people are not really mastering the medium, and hence, are more in a disruptive mode. Moreover, there is a lack of tools to run this kind of techniques.

However, there are some ways to create bonds with customers thanks to social media marketing without being disruptive. When a customer adds a brand on its Facebook, it is a strong sign that he wants to establish some kind of relationship with the brand.

I believe this feeling of disruption results mainly of the large amount of messages spreaded on social media, which create a lot of noise.

That was the very same thing with emailing in the early age. The media was so cheap and easy to use spamming became an easy job. But permission marketing has been designed, which helped a lot to establish an ethical code to optimize the customer relationship. That would probably be the same with community management.

What do you think about it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Zara Embraces Ecommerce

Zara has decided to launch an online store. Even though H&M has already done such a move, this is a great news because it shows how companies are moving fast toward a multi channel distribution strategy. Nowadays, it is important to provide a 360 degrees customer experience. Inditex vice president qualify this move as not important on a strategical point of view, but would allow Zara to enhance customer experience.

I don't agree. I believe that adding up an ecommerce platform changes dramatically the marketing approach. Hence the website will provide more product information, and will also provide more online advertising capabilities, thanks to more efficient keywords campaigns (based on a return on investment strategy, and not only to a number of contacts generated basis).

What do you think about it?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Social Media Marketing Fails To Convince Women

Social media marketing has showed up recently, but is on the edge to spring up fast. Of course, so far marketers are still struggling to figure out how to get the most of the new social communities to establish a strong relationship with customers.

Hence, a recent study explains that women, which are in most of the market one of the strong decision maker in one household, don't consider social media to be an important part of their decision making process.

Although marketers have paved major inroads to reach online audiences, their efforts seem to have gained little traction with female consumers, according to new research. A study by ad:tech Chicago and Q Interactive that analyzes how women engage online with brands finds that 75 percent of women reported that social networking sites have little bearing on their purchasing decisions.

Sites have "somewhat" of an influence over 21.9 percent and greatly influence only 3.3 percent of users. The data, which represents online survey answers collected from over 1,000 women from Aug 11 to 14, 2009, was presented yesterday at ad:tech Chicago by Matt Wise, president of Q Interactive, and Jonathan Ashton, managing partner for, Chicago.

When asked what the most important factor in making a purchasing decision as a mother, price (47 percent) and quality (45.7 percent) topped the list.
Brand ranked fourth highest at 2 percent behind "other" responses (3.5 percent).

The underlying problem seems to be a lack of positive engagement. Although 52 percent of female users have "friended" a brand, feelings of neutrality (64 percent) and negativity (19 percent) were the most common reactions when women encountered brands online. Only 17 percent said the experience was positive.

Only 10 percent of women said that participating in brand-related activities, such as finding information (8.7 percent) and writing reviews (1 percent), was their most common social media activity. Sending private messages to peers (34.6 percent), sharing photos (13.4 percent), and chatting (12.8 percent) ranked as women¹s top-three social media activities.

Of course, those results might appear deceiving but they are just the result that social media marketing is still raising. The hype has gone, and we enter an era where the mass market is mastering the tools, and appropriating them in the every day life.

Also marketers should understand that socia media are not going to replace the consumption of other kind of media, and hence, people are not going to facebook as much as they are currently watching TV. There will be a normalization process which will occur soon, as TV consumption will steadily decrease.

These figures must be taking in account though, to match women's needs in their decision making process.

What do you think about it?
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Army Of Influencers

Leaders of opinion are a common target for marketers and PRs. They are suppose to influence people in their purchase and lifestyle. But the Internet, and more specifically the Instant Internet has changed the concept of leaders of opinion.

First of all, anyone could become a leader of opinion, if he wants to. You don't need to be a star, highly educated or so. You simply need, as would say Henri Kaufman "a pen... And a good idea". Well, I should be more precised. You need an Internet access, and something to say.

Secondly, which results of the first point, there is an army of influencers. There is no minority which could influence people. The Internet has enabled anyone to post, to be seen on the web, and hence, anyone could influence its community. That is the reason why PR must reinvent themselves, and turn into community managers that would be able to understand and leverage this mass of people which communicate and speak about brands and products.

I wanted to share with you this article:Over 100 Million Consumers Worldwide are Word of Mouth Advocates, Ground-Breaking Research by Zuberance Shows

This article explains how the game has changed, and how there are millions of influencers that are playing an active role in the customer decision making process. And thanks to mobile Internet, it will become even more true.

Advocates’ Recommendations are #1 Influencer of Consumers& Business Buyers’ Purchase Decisions

More than 100 million consumers worldwide are Word of Mouth Advocates, a massive, highly influential, yet under-leveraged sales and marketing force, according to ground-breaking research by Zuberance, the leading online Word of Mouth marketing company.

Advocates are people who frequently recommend brands and products. Empowered by Social Media, millions of Advocates are:

  • Evangelizing their favorite brands and products on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, and on other social networks, online communities, and forums
  • Writing positive reviews on sites like, ePinions, and Angie’s List plus on e-tailers’ and manufacturer websites. (TripAdvisor boasts more than 20 million reviews while Yelp has 5 million user reviews with positive reviews outnumbering negative by 6:1.)
  • Posting positive comments about brands and products on YouTube, on blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo or even creating advocate blogs like ”Slave to Target”

In addition, millions of Advocates are spreading positive Word of Mouth about brands and products in face to face settings, such as offices, restaurants, golf courses, trade shows, and more.

”Army of Advocates”

”An army of Advocates is evangelizing companies, brands, and products online and offline, and these recommendations lead directly to purchases,” said Rob Fuggetta, Founder&CEO of Zuberance. ”Yet many companies are missing a major opportunity to increase sales because they are not identifying and mobilizing these influential Advocates,” Fuggetta added.

In the U.S. alone, about 30 million U.S. adult Internet users are ”Word of Mouth Influencers” - adults who are opinion leaders and whose advice is sought, trusted, and acted upon by other consumers, according to eMarketer.

Advocacy is a global phenomenon. According to GfK Roper, 80% of consumers surveyed in 25 countries across five continents frequently recommend brands and products to their friends and colleagues with the average consumer recommending 3.7 brands. The total adult population in the 25 countries included in the Roper study is more than one billion people.

Advocates are Brand’s Most Effective Salespeople

Advocates’ recommendations drive sales. Numerous surveys by independent market research firms have shown that Word of Mouth is up to five times more influential than advertising, email, and search engine marketing. According to a study by Forrester Research, Inc., 84% of business buyers said peers’ Word of Mouth recommendations influenced their purchase decisions while only 24% said blogs impacted their choices. In a global Neilsen survey, 78% of consumers said they trust Word of Mouth recommendations from other consumers while only 26% trust banner ads.

Key Findings of Zuberance Research

The Zuberance study found that:

  • Approximately 40% of a company’s customers -- a surprisingly high percentage -- are highly likely to recommend the company and its products or services to friends or colleagues. Among the companies included in the Zuberance study, the percentage of company’s customers who are highly likely to recommend ranged from 25% for a business products company to 76% for a consumer electronics manufacturer.
  • About 25% of a company’s customers are Advocates. This percentage can vary, depending on several factors including the type of company or product and how easy a company makes it for highly-satisfied customers to spread positive Word of Mouth.
  • Depending on the size of its customer base, a company may have hundreds of thousands to millions of Advocates. For example, a consumer electronics company with 10 million customers may have approximately one to two million Advocates.

Ground-Breaking Word of Mouth Research

Zuberance’s findings are included in a ground-breaking, five-part research report on the power of Word of Mouth Advocacy. Entitled ”Mobilizing Advocates, Driving Sales Now,” the report is one of the most comprehensive ever on Word of Mouth Advocates. To date, Zuberance has surveyed over 100,000 customers across numerous multiple industries and verticals including automotive, consumer electronics, consumer software, housewares, travel and tourism, and business products and services. In addition, the report leverages research on Word of Mouth and Advocates by highly-respected market research firms. The first report in the Zuberance series - ”An Army of Advocates” - is available now at

About Zuberance

Zuberance is a leading online Word of Mouth marketing company. Global 2000 companies and others are using Zuberance’s ground-breaking Word of Mouth marketing platform now to identify and mobilize their highly-satisfied customers (AKA ”Advocates”), cost-effectively increasing sales. Headquartered in San Carlos, CA, Zuberance is backed by Emergence Capital Partners, the leading venture capital firm focused on early and growth-stage Technology-Enabled Services companies. For more information, visit Zuberance at, call 800.962.0590 or email

Monday, September 14, 2009

L'Iphone et la Customer Lifetime Value: Etude de cas

La Customer Lifetime value et son calcul sont au coeur de la stratégie de relation client. Ainsi, en prévisionnant les revenus futurs issus d'un client, on est capable d'adapter sa stratégie commerciale, par exemple en faisant une offre au prospect importante qui les convertira sur le long terme.

Je viens de lire l'artice suivant: L'iPhone, gouffre financier pour les opérateurs de téléphonie ?
Celui-ci expose le fort coût d'aquisition pour les opérateurs mobiles des clients Iphone. Ainsi, ces téléphones sont largement subventionnés. Orange a ainsi établi un partenariat avec Apple afin d'avoir l'exclusivité sur une période de temps donné afin de pouvoir assurer la rentabilité de son investissement de départ. Cependant, Apple est en train de modifier sa stratégie commerciale, mettant ainsi en péril la profitabilité des clients Iphone.

En effet, les très bons chiffres de vente de l'iPhone – 5,2 millions d'exemplaires vendus entre avril et juin – ne garantissent pas des revenus en proportion aux opérateurs. Par exemple, pour SingTel, un fournisseur d'accès océanien, le téléphone d'Apple plombe les résultats, avant impôts, de l'entreprise de 3 à 5 % selon les pays, note l'étude. "D'après nos recherches, aucun opérateur n'a augmenté sa part de marché, son chiffre d'affaire ou ses bénéfices grâce à l'iPhone", écrivent les auteurs. "Au contraire, certains opérateurs, comme AT&T et SingTel, ont dû envoyer un avertissement sur résultat à cause de l'iPhone."


Les opérateurs vendraient-ils l'iPhone à perte ? Pas exactement. Pour savoir si un téléphone est financièrement intéressant pour un opérateur, deux paramètres entrent en jeu : le coût d'acquisition de l'abonné, c'est-à-dire ce que l'opérateur débourse pour attirer le client (rabais sur le téléphone, campagnes marketing...) et le revenu moyen par abonné, à savoir ce que le consommateur rapporte à l'opérateur. Pour l'allemand T-Mobile, le coût d'acquisition d'un client iPhone s'élève à 317 euros, et le revenu moyen mensuel, à 77 euros. Les deux chiffres sont élevés : pour T-Mobile, un client iPhone coûte cher, mais il rapporte également plus qu'un autre. Sur le long terme, l'entreprise peut donc espérer réaliser des profits importants.

Les opérateurs ont été d'accord pour cette stratégie, car l'explosion des ventes d'Iphone leurs permettaient de mettre en avant leurs forfaits Internet mobile et de générer ainsi des ventes à valeur ajoutée (upselling).

Mais ce cas précis montre bien à quel point la notion de customer lifetime value est fondamentale en CRM. Car celle-ci peut soit permettre de gagner de fortes part de marché en étant plus aggressif que ses concurrents, soit mettre en péril la santé d'une entreprise. Reste alors aux opérateurs mobiles de développer des stratégies de relation client adapté, afin de garder ses nouveaux clients acquis, afin d'assurer un retour sur investissement suffisant pour ne pas perdre d'argent.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Branding To Lead Customer Behavior

I have attended the customer behavior class of SUNY Oswego as a student in 2004, which was held by Ashraf Attia. I usually refer to this experience as one of the most important one, which led me to work in the customer relationship management field. I deeply believe that companies aren't focused enough to both the decision making process and behavior of shoppers.

But what really matters in marketing is to influence customer behavior. “Successful brands are collaborating internally—cross-departmentally—with customers to create tangible behaviors that ultimately prompt purchase.”

Branding evolved in that way. Brands must not provide an image of what the product or service should inspire, but about the experience the customer will get.

A New Premise
The definition of branding is seldom agreed upon, yet “brand equity” is considered a measure of success. As a result, brand-focused marketing pros often feel misunderstood. Smart, capable operational executives can’t accept that the ultimate value of brands cannot be measured like every other function of the business.

The opportunity now is to redefine brands in terms that marketers and operational executives alike can embrace. That emergent definition is to base brands on the objectively measurable, real-time aggregation of everything marketers and their customers do together. That’s different from the old-school definition of focusing on awareness and influencing how customers feel.

Experts like author Jonathan Salem Baskin say branding is evolving away from artsy strategies that create “mental states” toward a behavior-based science. It’s all about creating measurable, valuable experiences.

Think of campaigns that prompt customer behavior—like when T-Mobile launched its myFaves campaign in 2007. The company prompted customers to call their top five numbers for free. It also prompted customers to think about who those five people were in their lives. It made people do something. Contrast this example with Verizon’s “It’s the network” campaign (which doesn’t prompt customers).

Baskin is steeped in brand advertising (Nissan, Limited Brands) yet questions the central tenants of traditional practices. He recently spoke on the subject at the Direct Marketing Association’s Leaders’ Forum and authored the book “Branding Only Works on Cattle.”

Now branding is important. This is the image which will vehicle the company. It should be managed properly. It remains difficult to scale the power of a brand objectively. But what is sure, it is that without brands, it would be hard to get into the mass market.

Now new tools could be used to measure your branding effort. The idea of branding score is common. But this new approach is great. Speaking about customer experience, branding has a great role to play in it.

Customer relationship management encompass branding, as the brands and what it vehicles is a vital part of the relationship between a customer and the company.

I really like this article
, because it gives an other picture of how a brand should be conceived and managed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Out Of Stock Is A Total Turn Off

That is a basic of the retail industry. Probably one of the first lesson I had while I was a section manager at Auchan: You should never be out of stock. You must have at all time your product on the shelves. Because that is a disaster for the customer if he can not find the products he needs, especially when he is determine to buy it, and needs it now.

Somehow, people believe that if the product is out of stock, people would substitute it with the very same product from another brand. But it seems unlikely. Recent study has shown that customers are not taking substitute if by any chance the products they want is out of stock.

Gina Bingham, senior category manager of convenience and grocery for Pepsi-Cola North America, Purchase, N.Y., said energy drinks bring in some of the most fickle cold-vault customers. "They have the highest walk-away rate at 13%," she said, citing Pepsi's Cooler Study 2008. "The energy consumer has already made the purchase decision before going to the store." She further noted that the energy-drink consumer on average spends about 12 seconds choosing a beverage and will give about 30 seconds before giving up on the purchase.

Meanwhile, Dr Pepper Snapple Group convenience-store consumer study, conducted in conjunction with Meyers Research, shows 52% of the 1,200 consumers surveyed planned to buy a cold-vault beverage when they stopped at the c-store, and 54% actually did buy a cold beverage.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group's Miner added: "Gas-trip shoppers buy more drinks and snacks than those that don't buy gas. That's good reason to try to get more gas buyers to come into our stores."

Further data provided by Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group shows 77% of c-store beverage shoppers would substitute a product if their choice were missing, 15% would go to another store, and 8% would delay the purchase or note make a purchase at all.

Also, 65% of respondents said they came into the c-store that day knowing which beverage brand and product they wanted to purchase, rather than making the decision on site. And that statistic rose to 76% for shoppers who purchased a carbonated soft drink.

Matt McCourt, director of c-stores for Information Resources Inc., Chicago, added that recent research shows 65% of all shoppers now make shopping lists at home, before leaving for the store.

Hence, it is very important to keep a great supply chain and an in-store organization that enables products to be constantly available on the shelves. On a customer relationship management (CRM) point of view, this is enabling your customers to switch to another store. The fact your customer is sure it will find over and over again the same product in your store is probably one of the main factor that would insure its loyalty. Indeed, not being out of stock is a vital part of the customer experience you provide.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

E-Coupons To Boost In Store Sales

I deeply believe in E-coupons. First, they are a great way to boost in store sales. Secondly, they cut most of the costs of paper coupons.

E-coupons could be used for different reasons:
  • Driving consumer traffic: This is even more true when coupons are advvertised on specific websites with coupons, and adwords campaign promoting coupons on strategic keywords.
  • Building loyalty: Mainly through emailing campaigns. Also, Carrefour provided e-coupons on its websites, as they were asking people to download it thanks to a radio campaign.
  • Increasing sales and attracting new customers
Be Careful With Your Coupons
Now coupons campaigns must be taken seriously. The ultimate goal is to get a high return on investment and hence, a profit. Therefore, it is important to measure your generosity rate, the difference between what you offer, and how much the customer will pay in the end. Of course, it depends of your mergin rate.

However, companies are still figuring out the new dynamics of managing the array of coupons and how fast they can spread.

Marsh Supermarkets had to halt a recent Facebook deal Apple Store Discount on Office 2008 for Mac - Home and Student Edition . Click here. offering $10 off a $10 or more purchase as the coupon spread much further and faster through the social networking site than the Midwest grocer had intended.

"It just went everywhere. We did not anticipate that," company spokesperson Connie Gardner said. "We would not have issued it if we had known."

Most notoriously, KFC faced traffic jams and overwhelming demand this spring at several restaurants and ultimately offered rain checks to cope with unanticipated demand for free grilled chicken meals offered in a coupon posted on TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey's Web site.

Overall, electronic coupons lack the reach of print because consumers must seek them out -- as opposed to finding them in the mailbox or on the front step, Brown said.

Experts say both electronic and traditional print formats are likely to grow, though it will be a while before they match the all-time peak in coupon use of 7.9 billion in 1992. In 2008, consumers redeemed just 2.6 billion coupons of all types.

Therefore, e-coupons could be a very powerful tool to boost sales, and hence be a link between your sales strategy, online marketing effort, and your retail experience and sales.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Zakia Halal et le marketing ethnique

Au début de la période du ramadan est apparu sur la télévision française des publicités pour la marque de produits Halal Zakia. L'apparition de ces spots fut un événement, puisque c'est la première fois qu'une marque de produits "ethnique" fait de la publicité sur un média de masse national. D'ailleurs les médias nationaux ont repris la nouvelle.

Il est sûr que des marques de ce type doivent bénéficier de la crise, où les annonceurs à la télévision ont sensiblement diminuer leurs budgets. Mais c'est aussi un formidable coup marketing.

Je pense personnellement que c'est une bonne chose. Beaucoup de gens semble choqué par le fait qu'un produit à caractère religieux (puisque les produits halal sont dédiés spécifiquement à la communauté musulmane) puisse passé à la télévision. Mais je pense qu'il est positif de voir des produits ethniques, c'est à dire clairement dédié à un segment de population identifié, avec des besoins spécifiques, s'inviter à la télévision.

Aux Etats-Unis, il n'est pas rare de voir des publicités pour des shampoings dédié aux noirs américains (cheveux crépus), ou pour des produits alimentaires de la communauté hispanique. Dans une société multi culturelle, où les modes de consommation deviennent de plus en plus différents en fonction de son milieur social, les média de masses, mais aussi les produits doivent s'adapter, et ce segmenter plus finement pour répondre au besoin de chacun.

C'est pourquoi je suis très content de voir des publicités de Zakia Halal à la télévision française, et j'espère que de nouvelles initiatives viendront prochainement.

Et vous, qu'en pensez vous? Je serai ravi d'échanger à ce sujet avec vous.