15 May 2013
Our guest blogger this month is Nick Siragher, managing director of Shopper Anonymous Cambs & Beds. Good marketing communications may drive customers to your store (or other place of business) but if you don’t treat them right when they get there, you may as well have not bothered.
The New York Test is something I’m proud to have invented. It’s a semi-scientific way of determining if a town or city is a friendly place to be and whether the citizens are ‘nice’ or not.
It’s very easy to apply. Ask ten people at random for directions. If more than about six are generally helpful (when they can be) and are warm, polite and courteous to you, your location passes the New York Test. It’s judged to be a nicer location than New York. Anything between six and three is probably a fail. Score one or two and you’re probably in NYC itself!
I’ve noticed that locations failing the New York test also sadly score low on genuinely good customer service. By genuinely good customer service I exclude the ‘have a nice day’ style of non-genuine customer service favoured in the US.
So a correlation exists where nice people in nice town towns enjoy great service. Is this a revelation? Probably not. But there is something we can learn from this. More...
30 April 2013
Apps are potentially important and can generate closer links and more accessible interaction with customers but, argues Martin Chillcott of Hotchilly, they should be used as part of a planned strategy to achieve business-critical goals. They’re not a marketing ‘magic bullet’.
I was asked to speak at a conference recently and arrived early to listen to a session on Apps. The podium was occupied by two blokes dressed suitably ‘Shoreditch’ style, one very ‘creative’ the other quite serious and therefore presumably the ‘propeller-head’ of the duo. They were delivering a case study of how their ‘cutting edge’ App development had helped their client.
At the end of their session a member of the audience asked “how much extra profit was generated in this case study?”. With a barely concealed smirk to his colleague (‘I can’t believe someone could be so trite’); the creative one answered “I’m afraid you don’t understand…. (pause for dramatic effect)…..this is about more than sales”. In other words he had no idea! More...
27 March 2013
Manufacturing needs some marketing help says this month’s guest writer on the Metrix Marketing blog.
Mike White of Arvada Strategic Marketing suggests applying some marketing discipline to the image problem suffered by manufacturing industry – a problem which will hamper not just the growth of manufacturing in the UK but the UK economy as a whole.
Manufacturing has been a fantastic career for me. I have visited and worked in countries that I could only have dreamed of when I was younger and I have worked on projects that have made a real difference to people’s lives and the way we live.
Manufacturing has also given me a relatively good standard of living for more than 30 years – but throughout that time I have been constantly hearing that the sector has a poor reputation.
Summits have been held and conferences have taken place. The consistent conclusion is that manufacturing has a poor reputation and something should be done about it. Nothing really appears to have changed since I started as an apprentice with Lucas back in the 1970’s.
Many people in the sector are calling on politicians to do something about it – but should we be relying on politicians?
Engineers are problem solvers. Are we so busy solving the challenges of modern technology that we cannot solve the reputation problem of our own profession? How can we help ourselves? More...
15 February 2013
Ths month's guest blogger is Oli Worth of Greenwoods Solicitors LLP. He is a solicitor specialising in intellectual property dispute resolution, with a special interest in web-based and social media law. Greenwoods is a leading regional law firm which from its offices in Cambridge and Peterborough offers clients a full range of legal services.
Beleaguered HMV had enough on its plate before Twitter lit up with the sound of its staff being fired. Or rather, the sound of people Tweeting about its staff being fired. #hmvXFactorFiring, the explosive hashtag that appeared on HMV’s official Twitter account @HMVTweets at the end of January, revealed that there was a “mass execution” underway as 60 HR employees faced redundancy. The verified account with more than 60,000 followers had 'gone hostile'.
A lot is written about social media - almost as much as is written on social media! - but (entirely understandably) this tends to focus on its marketing benefits and drawbacks. It's accepted wisdom now that no matter what your personal thoughts on blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking etc, social media is something that most businesses can't afford to overlook anymore. The worldwide media storm sparked by HMV's Tweets proves that. But of equal interest, in an area that is still developing, are the legal ramifications of social media usage. More...
16 January 2013
This month’s guest blogger is Ken Davis, a director of management consultancy Drummond MacFarlane. He has some recommended reading for managers involved in setting corporate strategy.
When McKinsey Quarterly calls someone "strategy's strategist," and The Economist includes them on its list of the 25 most influential people in business management today, you know the person has been around for a while and they are well-regarded. Many of you will not be surprised when I say the person is Richard Rumelt. He is the chair in business and society at UCLA Anderson School of Management.
He is also the author of ‘Good strategy/Bad strategy’ - the best book on strategy I have ever read. More...
21 December 2012
This month’s guest blogger – Sue Kernahan, UK general manager of medical devices company Coloplast – argues that while strategy may be vital for business success it will inevitably fail if the corporate culture is not right.
Having a clear business strategy is vital for business success. If you don’t know where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there, you’re very unlikely to arrive at your business destination – or even to recognise it if by some stroke of luck you end up somewhere close.
Having and implementing a strategy is no guarantee of success, however. Many things can derail even the best of strategies, as my fellow Metrix blogger Professor Brian Smith has pointed out in his books and articles elsewhere.
One of the most significant of those potential pitfalls is corporate culture.
Conversely, a strong and supportive corporate culture can compensate for a poor strategy, delivering success despite strategic failures.
In fact, in my view, culture is by far the most important determinant of success. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. More...
14 November 2012
Our guest blogger this month, Phil Jones of Excitant, argues that we can improve the effectiveness of our organisations by reinventing management – fundamentally changing the way we manage.
Given a continuing climate of austerity, uncertainty and international competition, most executives are under pressure to improve their organisations through costs, productivity or revenues.
The focus for change has primarily been in how we operate: our business and operational processes. Over the years we have had waves of change including process re-engineering, outsourcing and, more recently, lean thinking. We are running out of ways to cut or optimise our operational processes, yet we still need to position ourselves for the future.
Can we make significant improvements another way: a way that involves a different type of answer? We know that our culture, our people, their behaviour and ultimately the organisation’s productivity are affected by how we manage. What if we turn our attention away from how we operate, towards how we manage? More...
24 October 2012
Our very first guest writer on the Metrix blog, Professor Brian Smith of the Open University Business School, returns this month with a challenge that is set out in the headline above.
Your company is wrapped in a knot of constraints and pressures, he says, and it is naïve to try to manage without understanding this.
When I was a young graduate trainee, I sometimes wondered how it felt to be one of those senior guys (they were almost always men then) whose word was law and who seemed to me to be all powerful. I imagined feelings of power and authority and looked forward to the day I’d get there.
When I reached that level, those memories seemed innocent and naïve as my dominant feeling, and those of my senior peers, was that of frustration. Why, I wondered, was it so difficult to get anything done?
When I moved into academia, I was surprised and, to be honest, a little irritated to find that there existed a whole body of research that spoke directly to these frustrations of senior managers. Surprised because I considered myself a pretty well-read executive and irritated because if I’d known this stuff earlier it would have helped me get things done. The problem is, as with much management research, all the good stuff is wrapped up in jargon and published in journals that managers never get to read. More...
26 September 2012
This month’s guest blogger – Gloria Milne, director of Milne Associates and former chief executive of Greater Peterborough Investment Agency – argues that companies need to look at the wider picture of their impacts on society when planning for the future.
The idea of ‘sustainability’ is increasingly becoming embedded in business thinking. Originally focused just on environmental issues, the concept is now being extended to many other aspects of business planning.
What sort of businesses are truly ‘sustainable’? The answer may have much to do with ethics and attitudes - corporate social responsibility, or CSR as the latest management jargon expresses it. More...
20 August 2012
This month’s guest writer – Neil Darwin, director of economic development at Opportunity Peterborough – reflects on the challenges of marketing a city. When it comes to marketing a city such as Peterborough, fundamental marketing concepts need some readjustment!
Classically, good marketing starts with an analysis of customer needs. What does the customer want? Then the diligent marketer – working with others, of course – goes on to create the product or service that will meet that need, at a profit to the business.
But for Peterborough’s economic development company – a publicly funded organisation run by a private sector board – the classical approach to marketing needs some adjustment to make sure business objectives are met. More...