Category Archives: Business serendipity collection

The best marketing trend I have seen so far in 2016

Every new year seems to come up with a term or two describing a new concept that promises to change the landscape of marketing and business forever. However, there are always some concepts that remain with time and prove their importance, while others disappear as quickly as how they appear and are often referred to as “buzz words”.

So, the question now as we are already starting 2016 is what marketing trends have done well so far?

Because if they are truly effective marketing ideas and tactics, we are better off paying close attention to them in order to get ahead in the game.

As one makes a quick search on the internet, it is quite easy to find many articles and answers regarding the marketing trend of the year. For example, onBOOSTtheNEWS, there are different predictions regarding the future of 2016, for example, “the year of bigger, braver, bolder content”,  ” the year of live streaming”, “the year of online shows”, “the year of improving online ads”. For me, among all the predictions, what I have seen so far is the rise of real-time content marketing: the marketing trend of 2016.

Why do I have this kind of feelings? 

Since the emergence of Facebook and Twitter, we have seen the true potential of consumer-generated stories. Facebook is like a big platform for people to update and share their stories. People are attracted to the feeling of connecting with friends wherever they are.

I can see what my friends did today, where they went, what made them happy.

Twitter, on the other hand, have done a great job of keeping on-going conversations around hot topics and issues.

People feel more like connected in real time with friends through their conversations.

However, nowadays, it seems that people just don’t feel enough with knowing what people did or what people are saying.

The concept of watching exactly what people are doing and what people are experiencing in real time is so attractive that Periscope, Blab and other similar apps have been earning insanse word-of-mouth these days.

Through some of my initial experience with these apps, I feel that Periscope has done a great job of connecting experience regardless of geography.

Periscope-for-Android-aa-710x426

Everybody can be a news reporter or a travel blogger easily with Periscope’s user-friendly interface. And this is not only attractive to users because they can watch real-time experience. This is also undoubtedly attractive to business to reveal behind-the-scene, office view or a typical customer experience with the brand. Even though this app still has a limited presence in Asia and Europe, I can see the future here. Just take an example in tourism, this app can totally change how people capture travelling experience, which is totally inexpensive for tourist agencies to offer real-time interesting what-to-do in their destinations.

blab

Blab would be kind of different in terms of the discussion format it adopts. Everybody here can become a reality show host with catchy topics. It is a really great way to build our online presence and reputation by interacting with visitors who are interested in us and our topics in a truly authentic real-time discussion. After the event is completed, we can even upload the whole discussion on Youtube as a podcast, which is such a creative way for marketers to publish contents. I have read some reviews from active users here, and many of them agreed that Blab helped them widen their social and professional network amazingly. This is definitely worth trying for people who want to discover interesting topics and people around the world in no “dead-time” or pre-recorded formats.

Indeed, the rest of 2016 is still there to explore soon if real-time content marketing can rock the world. For now, the idea of connecting with people in real time through authentic live streaming videos seems appealing to me.

What’s about your predictions for 2016?

Do you agree with my ideas? Or would you add any? I would love to hear more from you and join the discussion that will shape the marketing landscape this year!

3 things I found out about clothing subscription. The last one is the one I am obsessed with.

I just recently applied for an internship position at some startups, and realized that I wanted to know more about the business that I was applying for.  So, as a result, I made a 3-hour search and found out the first thing: most of them are in the subscription business.

This is actually a very promising market. Indeed, the number of  startups out there offering similar services tells everything.

But this is no ordinary market – this is market of personalized service. And this is no ordinary market of clothing – we need to deliver what a customer love to wear regularly and make her satisfied everytime she receives a new box of clothing. This might seem not that difficult if we look back on the progress of technology and computer intelligence.

However, right when I made a quick search on the internet, I knew that something was not exactly right. Among the positive feedback and reviews, we can easily find negative reviews that are very intimidating, which could prevent one from the idea of starting the subscription. Comments following these negative feedbacks can be like:

“You saved me from literally entering in my credit card details!”

BOOMS! We lose the customer right there.

The siutation can get even worse if this negative review ranks first in Google search. We can see that this does no good to the subscription business, which is based mainly on trust and loyalty.

But now I am not reading the review of the clothing subscription service anymore.

I am reading a brighter side of review – from a marketer – to see how the customer (even though as cynical as he can be with emails) is so happy with the email he received from Everlane- the online clothing retailer. Surprisingly, it is not the quality, the design or the delivery time that the author is talking about. It is the email. Yes, you are not getting wrong. People are writing blog posts just about an email that they received from the online clothing retailer.

I am not going deep into this but there is one thing that is very clear here. People want personal touch as much as possible. We do not have salesman or saleswoman to make our customers feel happy but we actually have more contact with our customers than we think. When the relationship becomes more personal, people become more tolerant. In the case of personalised clothing shopping, are we seeing the same thing? I read one comment on a blog review expressing how they feel that the customer service is unhuman with the email address: hi@abc. It is such a small detail, you are right. But we know that people do care about such small details.

But how much should we personalize our communication? from our email? from our social media post?

Or should we get in touch more with the reasons people like or dislike their subscribed box?

Or should we be present on most media platforms and reply every feedback or review instantly to show that we really care?

Whatever popping up in mind right now is all correct. Though ridiculous as it may seem, first and foremost, the more intelligent technology become in understanding people, the more human touch should be provided to understand people.  When I consider you as a friend who tries to help me, I am more tolerant towards your mistakes and help you improve. When I know that you simply want to earn money from me, a small mistake can be the reason for me to leave you.

We don’t have other kinds of relationship here.

Next, information is the key. Everybody wants the best things or, if not possible, the best choice. However, there are negative feedbacks about the bad quality and design of the subscribed clothes all over the place. Why would a sensible person choose to subscribe the same service after reading such bad comments? unless she wanted to write another soon-to-be-popular “honest” review.

However, there is one twist around this: by providing and receiving more information about the clothes you are offering.

Firstly, provide more product details and better presentation.  I myself never feel enough with a few images and some short descriptions. I always want more photos from different angles. I always want to see more product information: where is this clothes manufactured? where should i wear it? what is the cost of producing one piece of clothing, etc. I want to reassure myself, and I bet that many people would want the same thing. What we want to reassure ourselves is that this is the best choice, the best decision we make after considering all the product information. So often, people don’t know much about what they buy and turn disappointed when they actually receive the clothes. If I already knew that this fabric was produced in China with acceptable quality, and I still bought it for the design, I would not become that disappointed receiving the delivery. In short, more information, clearer expectation, less disappointment.

Secondly, receive feedbacks and make adjustments. This might not be a matter of second. But we need to find out our true customer satisfaction with the quality. Email or call randomly some customers and ask for their honest feedback for improvement. If they do think it is bad, we need to change the supplier, find other sources, change the design. Because in the end, it is the customer loyalty that keep subscription business alive. They may even appreciate our effort with the message: We are not scamming you with bad quality products. We are on our way to offer you the best.

Last but not least, share your story with customers.

I may be quite obsessed recently with my bachelor thesis about storytelling, but honestly, who don’t like story? There are so many competitors out there offering the same subscription service, so why should I choose you? If you tell me the story why you start this first or stories of people like me, something like “because you won’t need to compromise time and fashion”, “because you can feel beautiful and surprised every day without losing focus on your life goals”. If I am in your story, I like your clothes design, and I see that you are responsive to my feedback,  I can be your loyal customer for a long time. What I buy is not limited to convenience, indeed, it is the belief, the lifestyle, the dream that i buy into.

So what’s in it for clothing subscription business:

1) have more personal relationships with customers in different ways and on different platforms

2) provide more product information and listen more to what the customers has to say. Listen, understand and change to stay in customer’s heart.

3) tell stories, make our customers believe, and then write the stories together.

Honestly, i guess that this is easier said than done. But as soon as one business starts the wheel, it will undoubtedly become the leader and finally set the expectation for the rest.

Here’s why we should add storytelling to our market segment. The thesis research blew me away with this.

Imagine a market where you are not only identified with your age, your  nationality, your income, your whatever but  also for what you  BELIEVE!

It was exceptionally a warm day when I was visiting a friend in Helsinki.  We were jabbering on our way home when we came across an old bookstore. I have always loved old bookstores with all the nostagic  atmosphere and chance to run into a beautiful serendipity. This time, it was a whitish and greenish book back in the first shelves near the counter. The title catches my attention right away: “The Dream Society – How the coming shift from information to imagination will transform your business” by Rolf Jensen. It might have been because I obviously seemed to be glued to the book, my friend offered to buy me the book right away. The book is no doubt an interesting book to read, but it is only until recently that I find some connections between what the book has to say and what I have observed and experienced.

A few months after I finished the book, I came across a business with the so-called storytelling stratety. It was Everlane, the startup business that disrupted the fashion retail industry with the story about transparency. “It would be so cool to see the true cost of producing the tee I am wearing”, I told myself.  I was inspired, but I also wondered whether my friends would also be interested. They are urban students between the age of 18 and 24, which fits right into the target customer segment of Everlane.  It was the reason why I started my thesis of Digital Storytelling with the representative example from Everlane to test quantitatively the impact of the storytelling tactics.

 

digital storytelling
Infographic about Everlane’s transparency story

My surveys are now ready to be distributed already, but last night, after some conversations, I just realized that my friends who were also from Vietnam and around my age would not necessarily be inspired by this same story by Everlane. This reminds me of the way Mr. Jensen describes the future markets in the Dream Society. There will not be Market for Products, but instead Market for Stories. In other words, if i identify myself with Everlane, I choose to tell the story about me with the belief in transparency. For my friends, even though they are from the same background, they may have a different story that they want to relate themselves to instead of transparency.  There might have also been other reasons for my friends’ indifference: Vietnam’s disposable income is not that high yet, my friends’ preference for stories of other well-known brands, etc. If this is the case, market research here plays a very important role in helping companies either identify their target customers or identify the story market that have not been tapped into.

I am now still working on my thesis, but hopefully I can find some cool things to get updated with the storytelling market. For now, I feel inspired and excited about this new territory. The Dream Society, written and dreamt in 1999, is not that far away.