Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Damage 16 Cents Can Do

I recently received this letter from my health insurance provider.  It's stuffy way to remind a me that I forgot to include the 16 cent fee on my last bill.  This extra fee (which will no doubt escalate in the future) is added to insurance premiums as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

Perhaps the craziest part is that my insurer paid more than 16 cents in postage to get that fee back- and destroy some goodwill in the process.

Instead of sending this petty, overly corporate reminder to squeeze 16 cents out of me, what if they sent a letter that basically said, "hey, we see that you missed this 16 cent fee, but we appreciate having you as a customer, so we got it this time."

That seems like a more effective strategy to get customers to remember their PCORI fees and score some loyalty points in an commodity industry that too often is boiled down to the cost of a premium.

Side note:  One suggestion for Medical Mutual of Ohio that may help with the procurement of PCORI fees on the first try is actually including it with the "please pay this amount" total on their invoices. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Money Than Brains

"More money than brains."  That self-explanatory expression is one that my father would often use to describe people making unwise financial decisions.

Snapchat, the app that lets users send and receive messages that disappear after their viewed, just turned down a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook last week.

Snapchat just celebrated its second birthday in September and although it hasn't made a single dollar, social media behemoth Facebook was willing to shell out $3 billion to buy it - an unfathomable amount of money to buy a company that won't return a single dollar to them on day one or possibly ever. 

Despite all the brain power that exists at Facebook, an offer of this magnitude based on Spanchat's unproven potential is simply a more money than brains offer.  The only thing that could be dumber is to refuse it.

After only two years on the job, the founders of Snapchat could have joined Mark Zuckerberg in the "more money than brains" club. They passed up the cleanest exit strategy they will ever get.

It's been suggested that Snapchat's founders believe it can one day exceed last week's $3 billion valuation, as they see high potential for generating revenue selling virtual goods.

The obvious problem is that Snapchat is more valuable without virtual goods.  If investors are given a balance sheet, there is no way they'll get to $3 billion.  The numbers simply don't pile up as fast when users must become customers.

But without one, in its cozy make nothing, sell nothing virtual reality, Snapchat still has limitless potential to those with more money than brains.  For their sake, I just hope they never have to prove it.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Importance of Product Extremism

I have a small confession to make - I spent more than five hours of this past week shopping for the perfect pair of boots.  Actually, I couldn't afford the perfect pair.  Thus, my crusade became finding a pair that was most similar to these beauties in every way except for the price tag.

I looked over hundreds of pairs of boots, dissecting every detail trying to find a similarities in color, style, materials, product origin, sole, lining, stitching and laces.  Even the most mundane detail would often become a deal breaker.  In case you're curious, I was finally able to settle on this lovely pair.     

Shopping for five hours for a single pair of boots might sound completely crazy, but if you're a marketer, you should love this person.  When even the most miniscule detail can be incredibly important, every detail is another opportunity to differentiate yourself.  Secondly, they're enthusiastic about the product, so consequently, they'll wind talking about you.  

Build your product and your brand with this extremist in mind.  This will prevent you from becoming average.

Not-So-Subtle Hint: If you (or your team) are not product extremists, then you actually have a serious problem.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

See You Next Sale

Although upping the ante on incentives is a sure bet to drive traffic, they won't add any value to your brand after today.   

Building and sustaining a brand over time requires a digging deeper and selling the intangibles.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Work Jerk

Don't be work jerk.  Find a resolution to your problems before you look for the person or people that caused them.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Magnificently Mundane

Car dealerships aren't typically known for their marketing genius; however, the Kings Toyota dealership added a really nice touch to their website.

Their address and phone numbers are right in the banner of their website.  It's a mundane detail that definitely won't win any design awards, but now their customers don't need to click around or dig for the information.  They've made it easy to access this information.

Don't bury the information that customers will need most - instead, plaster it everywhere.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Is Belvedere Vodka Selling With a Fake ID?


Belvedere Vodka, the premium Polish vodka brand recently launched a new advertising campaign focusing on the brand's heritage.  Belvedere's pitch is that it's made with the finest rye, distilled four times according to a 600-year-old Polish tradition.”

I became immediately curious about the Belvedere's heritage positioning because the brand, at least to me, felt new.

As it turns out, Belvedere vodka isn't even of legal drinking age yet.  According to its wikipedia page, production of Belvedere began in 1993 and, three years later, was introduced in the United States.  It's the recipe that's six century's old; not the brand itself.

But by putting this figure in it's ads, are they trying to obfuscate how long they have been part of that Polish tradition?  A twenty-year heritage definitely doesn't sound as storied as an attention-grabbing 600-year heritage.    

According to an article in AdAge, Charles Gibb, the President of the Belvedere brand, explains that young millennials desire authenticity and "a deeper understanding" of the products that they choose to consume.  And as the article outlines, Belvedere certainly isn't the only brand of spirit trying to capitalize on this intelligence.  

Obviously, nothing would be less authentic than fudging your age by 580 years.  Could Belvedere develop it's heritage-based marketing position without this grand number?  I believe they could.

Vodka is still a major part of the Polish heritage today.  In fact, it's taken so seriously that to be considered Polish vodka, by law, it must be distilled in Poland, must with polish ingredients and have no supplements other than water.  Belvedere is made with Dankowskie Gold Rye from the central region of Poland and water from its own wells.  Belvedere is pure vodka. It has no other choice but to be.    

Sure, 600-year tradition grabs attention.  But if millennials are looking for a "deeper understanding" of brand before they endorse them, perhaps the latest Belvedere campaign could have been as pure as it's vodka.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing.