Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Is Marketing the new Finance?

Has Marketing finally come of age within business models? Are we now going to see CMO's take their rightful place on boards? I'd say yes, on the undertaking that the CMOs are commercially and technically astute and know their NPV from their VPN and that they can demonstrate that their Marketing activities can measurably drive true value, be it long or short term.

Here's a view from the Chief Economist of Google to back that up.

Understanding modern mums...Cupcake

Living in what is cited as the area in which most babies are born per capita in Europe, it is interesting to see how the commercial world has reacted to take advantage of such a skewed demographic. Enter Cupcake, a meeting place for future and present mums (and sometimes dads) to pamper both mother and child. The club (it's membership based) offers a café, a crêche from 4 wks to 5 yr olds, baby and parent classes or just classes and personal training sessions for you (I came across Daddy Karate being promoted).

Nothing too extreme you say. But then there are treatment rooms - from manicures to massages, facials to tanning etc. And when combined with the crêche facilities and baby classes, suddenly the club comes into its own. It focuses on what primarily mothers seek, rather than a pure add on service offered by the gym chain. Add therefore it was no surprise when the second branch opened recently.

In a world where one reflects on every minute and asks whether we used it wisely or not, I can see more and more of these types of club growing in popularity. It gives parents a place to increase little Oscar's development while burning off that unneeded second pasta helping the night before. While its current pricing structure would render it a luxury establishment, it may be with time that something more mainstream comes into play. Well done ladies for your spotting the growing untapped consumer need.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

It's all about attitude

I attended a conference this week, where Damian Hughes, a sports psychologist and speaker on leadership, talked to the attendees about leadership styles. He was fascinating to listen to, and I would highly recommend him as a motivational speaker. He covered a lot of areas, but the one part that stuck most in my mind was around individual attitudes and their importance in the change process. Changing behaviours in organisations begins with altering individual behaviours, which in turn begins with individual attitudes. Damian talked through many topics, but two that stuck with me were:

1) Don't worry about being ridiculed.
Arthur Schopenhauer, the German philosopher, said that ideas tend to go through three stages of being:

- ridiculed (that'll never work)
- violently opposed (not while I'm working here)
- accepted as self-evident (of course that's how we do things).

If you are in constant fear of being ridiculed, you'll never get your idea through to being accepted. Likewise, if your colleagues are aware of these stages, everyone can help to allow ideas to grow.

2) You choose the day you're going to have
He reminded me that every day I can decide the kind of day I'm going to have. It's up to me to decide how I want the traffic jam, the cold weather, the last minute presentation changes, to affect me. My attitude to how I react to these petty examples will help define the outcome to the day. No-one expects a 100% positive individual 7 days a week. Yet, you know that the days you arrive home exhausted wanting nothing more than bed, probably had much to do with how you approached that day.

So, keep positive and you're half way there.

Customer obsession

Having spoken to colleague bloggers, the one point that comes across time and time again when deciding a blog theme, is to ensure that whatever you choose is something you're truly passionate about. Otherwise, you'll quickly find that times between updates get increasingly longer.

For me, that topic is how great organisations find the right set of ingredients within their business to develop truly great customer experiences to their commercial advantage. Likewise, in working this through, it's equally as interesting to look at those who don't quite get there, to understand what's going on and what to take out of it.

Hopefully, you'll find this of interest. Please feed back to help me continuously improve.