Tag Archives: customer relations

Myths, Marketing, And Money

OK, here’s a story about the importance of using myths, or stories, to market product. Yeah, I know, the idea of Las Vegas as a myth is not exactly a big “eureka!” moment, but it does demonstrate that even in a fantasy town marketers need to be reminded of the importance of the myth in the marketing process.

The New York Times ran this article about using stories to sell sake in their Dining and Wine section, but it really belongs in their Business section.

Las Vegas “whales”, as big gamblers are known in Las Vegas, come to town on Chinese New Year to celebrate and they celebrate in a very big way. Part of the celebration is showing, and enjoying, their success, and that involves having the best of everything, including the best food and drink. In keeping with that theme, Las Vegas restaurants look for something special and expensive to serve, something that is not easily found anywhere else in the world, and at the moment that product is sake.

Sake suppliers and restaurateurs have rediscovered that a great story sells higher priced product, so they now have stories about all their sake. Some stories parallel Hollywood movies:

  • strains of rice that were thought extinct until small batches were discovered and saved with new growing techniques – Jurassic Park
  • the prodigy sake brewer (yes, sake is brewed, like beer) raised from a young age to become a master and carry on a tradition – Kung Fu Panda
  • the ancient sake company, around for over 800 years, that is saved by the new owner – The Santa Clause

Yes, these are ridiculous movie comparisons. But that’s the point, they develop and use the myth to enhance the product. When myth is not enough, there are special names evocative of Asian philosophy and poetry: Ice Dome, Devine Droplets, Ancient Beauty.

There is really nothing new here, the Las Vegas crowd is just applying standard marketing techniques to create and enhance brand image in a commodity market. Rosser Reeves invented the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) in the 1940’s to help focus attention on finding the most important product attribute and then build the myth on that attribute. Patent medicine peddlers of the 1800’s crowed about all the ills their miracle would cure and regularly cured someone in the crowd of their infirmities.

We can all take a lesson on this and look at how we market our most mundane products. There is always something special about “our” product and we can find the myth that supports our brand over all other brands.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Marketing

Lessons Learned From The Lehman Letdown: Who Owns The Clients?

OK, the big news over the weekend and today was the crushing letdown of Lehman Brothers. Lots of news outlets are carrying the story, bu the lesson for businesses, especially small and medium businesses, was i a small quote from one of the Lehman staffers to the Financial Times. He said:

“I’ve had people calling me from telephone boxes. In the old days you’d just pick up your Rolodex and you’d bugger off. Now everything in your life is with the company,” said a former employee.

The point is that technology has made one of business’ age-old problems simpler: getting a handle on customer lists.

Traditionally, sales people kept their Rolodex with a list of customers and Finance kept a customer list, and neither list matched because the sales person met with a user and the finance department met with a customer finance person. Now days even a very small business can keep a single list of customers, and larger small businesses (oxymoron intended, companies are still defined as small businesses up to 1500 people) and medium business use applications like SAP to run hings and maintain customer lists that mine sales opportunities.

Collecting and maintaining that customer data was difficult when sales people maintained their own Rolodex, and the value of the information often left with the sales person. But now the value of the information can and should be maintained in a central database that informs and tracks customer activity in a way that enhances customer service and company sales, along with securing the customer list in a way that aids customer retention.

The business owns the customer relationship. The sales person may own the face to face relationship, in fact the sales person is instrumental in creating and maintaining the business relationship, but the business owns the financial responsibility as well as the customer access.

Does your business own the customer relationship? Do your sales people have outside lists of your customers? Do you have a plan in place to centralize the information so you can ue it as a strategic sales advantage and in case there is a need to recover the informationwhen a sales person is unavailable for some reason?

You would be surprise at the number of companies that still do not own their complete cutomer lists and the tumult that transpires when a sales person goes missing.

Let us know how you address owning the customer list and share the strategies you use.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business