For a business with a small marketing budget, social media feels like a no-brainer. Free communication channels to reach the world: a finance director’s dream come true. What’s the worst that could happen? No one sees it, no harm done. But watch out. A communications plan that starts with social media is at risk of being ineffective, and even damaging. We’re told social media fuels narcissism. It can also turn reasonable brands into self-important bores who only talk about themselves. Read More

Thought leadership | November 2018

Heinz Salad Cream is reportedly changing its name to Heinz Sandwich Cream. This is, we’re told, because people use it more in sandwiches than on salad. But if people have already figured out they can use salad cream in a sandwich, there’s no need to change the name.

Marketers seem to forget that most people think more about whether to pay for one hour or two in the car park, where there’s 50p at stake, Read More

Comment | July 2018

I was on the receiving end of an intriguing direct marketing effort a while back, one which was so successful in getting attention that several other people who worked around me were aware of it and following it too – and yet, one which generated no business whatsoever for the sender.

Here’s what happened. A package came for me, hand-delivered to the office. It was a silver cardboard box with a lid, like a smart over-sized shoe box, Read More

Thought leadership | June 2015

Selling has a bad name, especially in Europe. And here’s an American trying to tell us we are all selling, all the time. Sounds yuck? Fortunately it’s a lot more subtle than that. In fact he’s really saying that true selling is not about foot-in-the-door persistence but about listening, empathy, and seeking to serve others. You knew that already didn’t you? So you can skip the first section, where he redefines selling and illustrates how we are all natural sales people. Read More

Books | June 2014

According to the service profit chain theory, satisfied employees deliver satisfied customers, which means sales will rise and profits will grow. So in a service business, if you focus on keeping employees happy and motivated, that’s job done. Who could disagree with that? I can.

I once worked with a contact centre business in the US mid-west which had the happiest employees in the state, and probably in the entire contact centre industry in the USA. Read More

Comment, Thought leadership | February 2013

I heard the great Gary Hamel, co-author of Competing for the Future, give a talk on innovation a while back, at the London Business School. He cited the classic hotel clothes or coat hanger as “stupid” – this one. Because it is infuriating to use, isn’t it?

Professor Hamel used it as an example of poor innovation – and of course he’s right, it is rubbish for the end user, the hotels’ customers, Read More

Thought leadership | October 2012