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Tim Peter

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August 24, 2018

What is More Important than Marketing? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 227)

August 24, 2018 | By | No Comments

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What's more important than marketing? Photo of team working together to improve customer experience

What is More Important than Marketing? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 227) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 13m 32s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

What’s More Important Than Marketing? Transcript

Well, hello again everyone, and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. Today is Friday, August 24, 2018. This is episode 227 of the big show, and I think we’ve got a really great show for you.

Before I get into it too deeply, I want to thank our sponsor. We’re brought to you by Solo Segment. Solo Segment focuses on AI driven content discovery and site search analytics that unlock revenue. You can learn more about how to improve your search results and customer satisfaction for your site visitors by going to solosegment.com.

Now, it is funny, I didn’t do this on purpose, but it is funny that we’re talking about customer satisfaction because I heard a great couple of stories in the last couple weeks that I wanted to share with you. The first is I was having dinner not long ago with Mark Schaefer who is a long-time friend of the show. He’s a fellow instructor at Rutgers University, Rutgers Business School, and we were having some discussions about how people think about your brand in the longer term, and what makes them choose your brand in the longer term.

Mark reminded me of a McKinsey study from several years back that I thought was fascinating, and I thought was really, really worth reviewing. It’s from 2012 or 2013, so it may seem slightly out of date, but I want to point out that I think what the study talks about has only become more true over time, and I think experience shows and data shows that it has become a much bigger deal over time. And it really was focused on what percentage of revenue for most companies did marketing directly influence?

Now, before I answer the question, I want to point out I’m a marketing guy. I’m all about "are we creating great marketing that drives people to our brand and our business?" So, I would love for this to be a really big number, right? I have a vested interest in this number being, you know, epically large. But what the data shows is that marketing maybe influences about 30% of purchase decisions. You know, most of what influences purchase decisions is something other than marketing. And I suspect this is still true.

When I talk to companies, when I talk to clients, when I talk to other customers, they often talk about the other things that drove their purchase decision beyond just, you know, they saw a great ad, or they saw a search ad, or they thought the website was really great, right? And it really gets back to something I’ve talked about before here on the show, which is how customer experience is queen.

I had a funny experience years ago. I worked for a hotel company, and one of the brand managers for one of the brands that I worked with was fairly frustrated, you know, came to me one day and said that she didn’t believe the website did a great job of conveying her brand’s value proposition. And so I asked, I said, "What is you brand’s value proposition? What differentiates your brand from all the other hotel brands out there?" And I’m not saying this to be mean to her, but she kind of had a blank stare for a few minutes, and she said, "You know, it’s a fair point. I’ll know it when I see it."

And I thought, okay, that’s something maybe we need to work on a little bit, right? Because obviously the experience that someone had in one of our hotels from the moment they walked in to the moment they checked out was going to shape their perception of the brand far more than anything we could do on the web, especially at that time. I mean, this is not last year. This is several years back. And what we could from a user experience perspective was somewhat limited at the time.

And I think there are a handful of really interesting stories that illustrate what I’m talking about. One of my all time favorites is actually from 10 years ago. It’s when Howard Schultz returned to Starbucks as the CEO to turn the company around. They were struggling, and he rejoined the company. One of the first things he did was he cut the marketing budget, and again this is not something I want to see happen very often, but he cut the marketing budget to put more money into training, into training their baristas to make a good cup of coffee. He was interviewed in Harvard Business Review and he said, and this is a quote and it’s a relatively lengthy one. He said, "Unlike almost any other product or consumer brand, we have not been built through traditional marketing or advertising. It (meaning the company) has been built by the experience that I’ve just described and the only way we can succeed and sustain growth and new development and innovation and new dreams is the foundation of all of the future of the company is linked to the basic elements of one cup of coffee, one customer, and one barista at a time."

I think that’s an exceptionally wise point of view, because he’s really focused on how do we create a great customer experience every single time a customer interacts with one of our people providing the service, the barista, and with the product, the cup of coffee.

There’s another story I heard not long ago about Method soap. These are the people who make, you’ve probably seen these very cleverly designed soap dispensers in Target, in your local grocery store, etc., and there was a fantastic interview on Mixology with the CEO of method about how they chose in the direction that they did. And the story I had heard that led me to this interview was that they said cutting steel is a marketing expense, and what they mean by that is building the molds that shape the bottle that they put the bottle in is actually where they put their marketing dollars, right, because they were trying to create this great experience.

And in this Mixology interview, the CEO Andrew Ryan said, "That’s the role of design and the fragrance and the branding and the fun of it." So we would have people who essentially, what would happen is they would see it on the shelf because of the design. They would buy it, they would smell it in the stores, they’d buy it because of the fragrance, they would get home, use it, see what works, and eventually turn the bottle around and see that it’s good for them, good for the planet. That’s what helped create this cult following, and that’s what drove a lot of the loyalty. I’m going to continue this quote because it’s really fascinating.

He said, "When you talk to Method customers, you’ll find two different camps. You’ll find people who could care less about the environmental credentials of it. They just love the whole design experience of it. Then you can find people you really don’t care too much about the design, but they love the fact of our commitment to sustainability and human health."

So they’re really thinking about the overall experience right down to the packaging as opposed to a great ad campaign, or a great marketing effort.

Now, at the time, that interview was from 2012, and at the time they had had over $100 million in revenue at Target alone. Sorry, the interview was in 2017 and he said four or five years ago, so in 2012 or thereabouts. So we can safely assume they were making more than $100 million in revenue focused on design, and they were just sold to SC Johnson earlier this year for an undisclosed sum. So clearly this was having an effect. And remember, they’re competing against the Proctor & Gambles of the world who spend more money on advertising and more money on marketing than any other company in the world.

Now why did it work? Well, it worked because their customers told their story. One of the things I continually talk about with clients is, you know, how can we get customers to participate in the creation and curation of a positive brand story, or our positive brand story? Because if we can do that, we’re putting ourselves in a position to win. We’re putting ourselves in a position to really succeed.

There was a great piece on VentureBeat about how Open Table used just a little bit of data, and you’ve heard me say that, you know, content is king, customer experience is queen, and data is the crown jewels. But using just a little bit of data to understand customer intent and what customers were trying to accomplish, and then changing the product, changing the experience to actually being more useful for the people using it, and thus get them to use it more.

So again, it’s really about how you create this great experience that will get your customers to want to talk about you, to want to use you regularly, to come back again and again. Now, that doesn’t mean that marketing isn’t valuable. Again, if we’re giving credit to marketing for about 30% and you would not want to walk away from 30% of your business by any stretch. Nobody would. So this isn’t that marketing isn’t important, it’s that we have to remember the other 70% too. That’s what’s more important than marketing.

What is the customer experience you’re creating? What data are you using to build that customer experience and learn what’s working, and make it, in the words of Seth Godin, more remarkable for your customers? Because if you can do that, if you can create this extraordinary experience that gets people to com back again and again and again, you may find out that marketing is less than 30% of your benefit and of your results because you don’t need it to be, because your customers will do the work for you. And if you can accomplish that, you’re putting yourself in very rare company indeed.

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. I do want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today’s episode as well as an archive of all past episodes by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that’s timpeter.com/podcast. You can also find us on Spotify, on iTunes, on Stitcher Radio, on Google podcasts, whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for that. You can find me on Facebook using the URL faceobok.com/timpeterassociates, on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter, and via email by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that’s podcast@timpeter.com.

Once again, I want to thank our sponsor, Solo Segment, focused on AI driven content discovery and site search analytics to unlock revenue. Check them out at solosegment.com to improve search results and improve your customer satisfaction too.

With that, I hope you have a wonderful weekend, a fantastic week ahead, and I will look forward to speaking with you again here on Thinks Out Loud next week. Until then, take care everybody.

Tim Peter

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July 30, 2018

The End of Millennials (Thinks Out Loud Episode 224)

July 30, 2018 | By | No Comments

The End of Millennials (Thinks Out Loud Episode 224)Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


The End of Millennials (Thinks Out Loud Episode 224) – Headlines and Show Notes

Have we reached the end of Millennials as a marketing demographic? No. But if you think about them as adults under forty, you might have a better sense of what they mean to your business. Today’s episode of Thinks Out Loud explores that in detail. And here are the show notes to help you learn even more.

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 46s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Tim Peter

By

July 24, 2018

6 Insights Into How Technology is Changing the Hotel Industry: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

July 24, 2018 | By | No Comments

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How is technology changing the hotel industry? Abstract view of hotel and tech

Late last year, we took a look at 10 tremendous insights into the trends driving hotel digital marketing in 2018. An overarching theme of the piece was the critical role that technology plays in driving changes in guest behaviors and hotel revenues, especially revenues of the direct booking kind. I suspect that’s a topic still near and dear to your heart and especially important as you start gearing up for next year. Given that, it seems fair to ask, how is technology changing the hotel industry? And how can you use those changes to benefit your hotel?

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to take a look at these questions in detail. But here are a few thoughts to get you started:

  1. Key Hotel Technology Stats Worth Watching. Obviously, there’s lots of change going on. How much change? Well, this set of 15 mind-blowing stats about digital trends in travel and hospitality from CMO.com offers critical insights. Among the most interesting?
    • Some 43% of guests use smartphones to research their hotel/accommodations — underscoring why it’s time to stop calling mobile a trend. To be fair, only 25% use their smartphone to book, which signals that the guest experience during booking still needs help. But let’s not forget: With most guests carrying one or more smartphones, tablets, and laptops during their journey, you host more devices each night than guests — and that’s shaping the way they plan, book and experience travel every single day
    • J.D. Power says that hotel mobile apps don’t get downloaded very often, and get used even less for check-ins/checkouts; but guests that use those apps are more satisfied — and more loyal
    • Data from Adobe suggests that half “…of travel and hospitality companies today are gathering and using real-time data”
    • Another Adobe stat says that fewer than one in five “…executives at travel and hospitality brands said they believe their company is a digitally mature organization.” That’s a huge benefit, because it suggests you’ve got plenty of runway to improve relative to your competition — at least if you choose to take advantage of it.
  2. It Ain’t Just About Technology. Sure, technology is important. But it’s secondary. It shouldn’t be a secret that great marketing technology won’t save you from a bad hotel marketing strategy. Your success depends not only on having the right tech, but on having an excellent strategy and effectively executing that strategy. It’s fair to ask, “how important is technology to hospitality marketing?” but if you’re focused solely on the tech, you’ve got your carts and horses the wrong way ’round.
  3. Guests Continue to Take Ownership of their Experience. PhocusWire put together a must-read piece that explains why hotel rooms belong to guests, not hoteliers . As you might imagine, guests have clear expectations of the experience they’re looking for each time they step into “their” room. The technology that they encounter — whether hands-on or through a front-desk agent or concierge — influences their overall guest experience. Guest will remember waiting to check-in, order room service, or schedule a spa treatment because your system is too slow. Similarly, Amazon launched a version of its Alexa system for hotels at HITEC this year, which is particularly interesting given that Booking.com says business travelers are ‘warming’ to chatbots. Your guests are getting accustomed to technology serving their needs. Is your service growing along with them?
  4. Want to Get There Fast? Plenty of Potential Partners Exist. Does all this talk of tech leave you terrified? Well, you don’t have to go it alone. For starters, Skift put together a great round-up of its top travel startups to watch, which can help you figure out the tools and tech to help you excel. While some aren’t yet ready for prime-time, entrants like the (somewhat) more mature Fornova, Journera, and MisterFly might fit nicely into your overall strategy and help your properties get ahead of the curve next year. And, of course, there are plenty of exceptional hotel marketing/distribution consultants and agencies out there who can help you put the pieces of the puzzle together to grow your business.
  5. Troubling Trend: Too Many Hotels Continue to Sit on the Sidelines. You’d think given the facts outlined above that hotel marketers would be racing to assemble that puzzle for themselves. But SiteMinder offers a very thoughtful report showing many hoteliers remain in a ‘holding stage’ assessing the best tech trends. That’s a shame, given how important technology is to your overall hotel marketing and distribution strategy. What are you waiting for? Don’t forget, the OTA’s surely aren’t in a holding pattern. Booking.com went shopping for more metasearch capabilities and landed HotelsCombined to go along with its earlier pickup of Momondo, Cheapflights, and Mundi last year, as well as FareHarbor this April. And Expedia has made a huge move into packages in just the past few weeks with its Add-On Advantage offering. This isn’t about the future. This is about what your guests experience — and expect — right now.
  6. Even More Change is Coming. Finally, don’t forget that the changes in hotel technology we’re all dealing with are just the beginning. Whether it’s virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, AI or something else altogether, the next major disruption is right around the corner. For instance, there are all kinds of reasons why AI will change hospitality marketing forever and why voice, VR, and AR might be more hope than hype in the next few years. Keeping on top of these trends matters. What’s most important is for hoteliers to stay focused on the benefits of digital marketing for their property, and to stay in touch with how digital changes guest expectations and behaviors. Because no matter how much technology changes the hotel industry, your guests will continue to expect a great experience. And that will never change.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing customer behavior will shape your marketing going forward, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

June 29, 2018

How to Differentiate Your Brand (Thinks Out Loud Episode 222)

June 29, 2018 | By | No Comments

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How to differentiate your brand

How to Differentiate Your Brand (Thinks Out Loud Episode 222) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 30s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Tim Peter

By

June 22, 2018

How to Compete With Amazon (and Expedia and Google and…) (Thinks Out Loud Episode 221)

June 22, 2018 | By | No Comments

How to Compete With Amazon (and Expedia and Google and...) - Woman seeking differentiated productLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


How to Compete With Amazon (and Expedia and Google and…) (Thinks Out Loud Episode 221) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 47s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.