Wednesday 22 December 2010

Advent, advent - mein Kalendar brennt!

I don't know if anyone else feels that they have been bombarded with Advent Calendars this year, or whether it's just me.

Each year, there seem to be new and hugely pricey Advent Calendars piled high at Toys R Us, including an absolute "must-have" (from 10-year-old viewpoint) from Lego Star Wars (very seasonal.)

Then there are those sales promotion jobbies that normally sell for 49 cents in Aldi that are thrust at you by the furniture stores and the like.

And this year, more and more online offerings. I have definitely had them from Telekom and from my bank. The things pop out of every website you attempt to look at like manic Yuletide jacks-in-the-box and have to be carefully negotiated around.

The first Advent Calendars date back over 100 years and were originally for children to "sweeten" the time before Christmas. In terms of behavioural economics, they make a complex concept (time) concrete - how many times must a sleep before Father Christmas comes? It's the same principle as taking a ticket at the deli counter or being told how many people are in front at the Post Office counter. The idea is to make you feel a little less helpless.

Although I am not sure that any parent who gives in to buying a Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar feels less, rather than more, helpless.

Tuesday 14 December 2010


Nearly six years after first seeing the Web in mobile, I have capitulated and got myself an iPhone.

What may be of interest to anyone looking at this particular Customer Journey is, firstly - how long it was. I mean, six years of knowing that I could have all the benefits of mobile internet at my fingertips and not doing anything about it!

And then there were the two "nudges" or "moments of truth" that shoved me to the point of no return. The first of these will have all the Customer Journey Academics nodding sagely. Last time I was in England, I couldn't check in over the internet. Which meant that, but for the legendary kind-heartedness of Lufthansa (what?), I would have been separated from my young son on the plane.

But the second one is both silly and frivolous. You see, when I was in London, I bought a rather natty iPhone cover. So I just had to get something to put in it.

Right - off to become a fully-fledged Apps bore.

Wednesday 8 December 2010


Everyone seems to be on a journey of some sort these days. And decisions about what we buy, whether it's a car or a coffee can be mapped out in detail in Customer Journeys or Customer Engagement Cycles.

Customer Engagement appeared in the marketing lingo in the early 2000s, along with the concept of Touchpoints. In some ways, CE has become the Holy Grail, replacing such simple measures as Customer Satisfaction (which only looks at one point in time) or even Customer Loyalty (which doesn't have the emotional component.)

Gallup introduced an 11 question metric for CE back in 2001 which includes 3 measures of loyalty (overall satisfaction, intent to repurchase, intent to recommend) and 4 overall emotional attachment factors:

CONFIDENCE : always trust X, X always delivers what they promise
BELIEF IN BRAND INTEGRITY: X always treats me fairly, X can be counted on to reach a fair and satisfactory resolution of problems
PRIDE: proud to be a customer, X always treats me with respect
PASSION: X is the perfect company for people like me, I can't imagine a world without X

Back to the Journey - this is then the stages that a customer travels through, typically something like awareness - consideration - inquiry - purchase - retention. And there are plenty of visual depictions of this ranging with funnels, arrows, boxes, cycles and all the other delights to be found on Powerpoint.

Just two words of warning here. The idea of "stages" and names that echo old communication models such as AIDA do tend to suggest a linear and rational process. While it may be helpful to try and visualise the Journey, it's always remembering that "the map is not the territory", as Captain Scott and others found out to their cost.

And however much we may try and rationalise this into a process, human decision-making is not rational. Think back to the last time you bought, say, a pair of jeans. Did you draw up a nice "consideration set" with a table of prices and availability? Thought not.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Internet in analogue

You can't turn on the internet these days without hearing something about the internet. If it's not protests about Google Street View, it's the latest fuel for disrupting diplomatic relations from WikiLeaks - or some chat about the Internet of Things, which will soon be upon us.

I ought to remember the first time I saw the internet, but I must admit that I can't. I do remember email addresses with numbers longer than an IBAN or whatever those things are called and we did have it all up and running at home by the end of the last century.

As part of something called Internet Week Europe, the digital arm of RKCR Y&R, Saint, had a clever idea - to get people in the industry and schoolchildren to draw the internet. The results are here. There are plenty of Google logos, worlds, 60s graphics, brains and lolcats.

Although it's a great idea, unfortunately the website suffers from at least two of my frustrations with the internet. Maybe I am being thick, but I can't seem to view the pictures properly in full size without going through a complicated procedure.

And the commentary is littered with apostrophe-related mistakes: "the industry with all of it's wisdom" and "the industries finest." (sic)