Well not really 'a day'. In fact it doesn't specify which day. Just "A DAY". You will get a 'thought' when there is one worth getting. Maybe I should rename the site "Try to have a thought a day" YOU CAN HAVE 'MARKETING THOUGHT A DAY' RSS FEEDBLITZ EMAILED TO YOU BY VISITING WWW.MICHAELKIELYMARKETING.COM.AU AND SIGNING ON FOR THE SERVICE. (Not every day, thought. You won't ready them all.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Paradigm shock is freaking me...

People are approaching the collapse of western capitalism (financial meltdown) the same way they are managing their reaction to the disintegration of our biosphere (climate change). They tend to go into their shells. Then it's a little like mourning. Who died? The system that made them feel so secure. For so long.They feel like they've lost a loved one. Abandoned. They denied it at first, then became numb and powerless,but they say nothing about it, much. They are storing up their anxiety. The old paradgim worked for them. The new one is yet to emerge.How do you deal with scared people when you don't feel all that secure yourself?

Share the scare.

Ben Lee said it best: "We're all in this together...'

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Green groups are Greenwashing when they blame cows for climate change.
Cattle are not the cause of methane increases, according to new research by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a United Nations agency. “Since 1999 atmospheric methane concentrations have levelled off while the world population of ruminants has increased at an accelerated rate,” it reports at
“The role of ruminants in greenhouse gases may be less significant than originally thought, with other sources and sinks playing a larger role in global methane accounting,” says the FAO.
In 2003 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the concentration of the methane in the atmosphere was leveling off at the 1999 level. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledged this in 2007, with “emissions being equivalent to removals.”
This report is a dramatic reversal of the FAO’s position in its 2006 paper called “Livestock’s Long Shadow” in which it blamed cattle for most of the greenhouse and environmental ills. This was leapt upon by vegan, vegetarian and religious groups which urged consumers to avoid meat or reduce their intake to save the planet.
Professor Aslam Khalil, at the Portland State University, in an analysis of more than 20 years of atmospheric sampling, concluded that “global emissions and the lifetime of methane in the atmosphere have been constant, so the buildup of methane in the atmosphere has been slowing for as long”. Since 1999, there has been a non significant atmospheric increase of 0.3 ppb methane/year. This contrasts with the 10.8 ppb/year for the previous time period of 1979 to 1999. “Seeing that the total source has remained constant for at least the last two decades, it is questionable whether human activities can cause methane concentrations to increase greatly in the future.”

Marketing to the Stupid

"Defy Physics" says the headline on a billboard advertising a car. "Without precedent" says another. Clearly these are lies. Last time I checked, there has been no major advance on the same old internal combustion technology that Henry Ford used in the T-Model. But regulators - like the ACCC - let them get away with it. Because the law calls it "Puffery".

"Puffery is a term used to describe wildly exaggerated, fanciful or vague claims for a product or service that nobody could possibly treat seriously, and that nobody could reasonably be misled by," says the ACCC.

So, if no one could possibly believe that a car can 'defy physics', why say it? Because there are many who do believe it. The unkind would call them "The Stupid". These people also believe in weight loss programs, poker machines and politicians' promises.

The Stupid. A new psychographic segment.

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people," said H. L. Mencken.
"There's a sucker born every minute," PT Barnum is said to have said.
"Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it," said Stephen Vizinczey.

Monday, March 31, 2008

I just bought my first PC and I hate it

I am an Mac guy. Have been since 1985 when Apple had just launched Macintosh. I introduced Macs to a multinational ad agency network in 1985, a contract worth squillions. 23 years and 15-25 Macs later (personal and family machines), I was forced to buy a PC because of this special purpose software I have to use. Apple abandoned me by not having a solution that kept me in the fold. I think PCs are shitty, third rate machines that defy logic and can't do simple things. But I am now exposed to the Dark Side - Emperor Gates's plans to dominate the world. What is the point of building loyalty if you leave your customer hanging, short of an application?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

As the Globe Heats Up, Will The Consumer Go Cold?

Sitting in candle light during Earth Hour on Saturday I wondered: What options do we have for maintaining our lifestyles once the Carbon Cops have taken control? I see two potential scenarios, one of which could dramatically change the way you do business and live your life:

1. The Silver Bullet – No Change. “Clean Coal” technology is the only ace in the’s hand. If it works (it has ‘uncertainty’ written all over it) we will be able to continue burning coal for 500 years. Apart from paying more for power, nothing much would change. Plasma screens for everyone. The party goes on.

2. The Consumer Goes Cold – Disaster for Everyone. This scenario sees a major shift in consumer sentiment and a permanent change in habits. Fear and danger tighten purses. Products are no longer expected to be disposable. Instead of boasting about her new outfit, the young female consumer revels in recycled clothes and a more or less stable wardrobe. The skyrocketing price of energy robs consumers of spending power.

Can our culture of consumption change 180° in 25 years? Australians as a nation have encountered such a shift only once: World War 2*. Rationing, blackouts, empty shelves in shops... But there was no argument about the cause of the threat and the cure, and there was no consumer society. People in 1939 were not engaged in a feeding frenzy of historic proportions. No, society is likely to get gradually more restrictive with technology running to catch up.

This assumes, of course, that Cyclone Katrina’s angry cousin Katie doesn’t slam in through Sydney Heads, that the crops don’t fail and cause famine in China and that floods don’t cause Indonesia to disintegrate, sending the single largest movement of human beings in history fleeing south to our shores, as a flotilla of Tampas arrive looking for clean water and dry land. (The Pentagon, the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police, Professor Ross Garnaut, top brass in the US Military, and Senator Bill Heffernan have all raised this as a serious scenario in recent times.

The media doesn’t feature these scary thoughts. If consumers panic, they stop spending. Then marketers stop spending on advertising in the media.

We have time to change this scenario.

* While the Depression saw 30% unemployed, the wealthy and those who kept their jobs were better off because prices fell faster than wages.

The end is nigh!

The Service makes you smile in Sydney. The price might make you cringe in Auckland ($1.75 a litre.). But the loyalty scheme will make no sense at all.

This is the inevitable end of points-type and coupon-style loyalty programs. American Airlines invented the frequent flyer program and all the others followed, until everyone had one. SO no one has an advantage. Everyone has higher costs. (Including the mug customer,)

Friday, March 28, 2008

The bigger the bastard, the bigger the bastard.

Marketing student Alissa Tilla set us a cry from the heart: "Customer service is dead!" (Her email is below.) My response: Declare war.


The bigger the bastard, the bigger the bastard.


PS. It's the thing they don't teach you at marketing school: God is on the side of the biggest battalions. They can ignore the principles of customer-centricity and customer focus. Telstra, Qantas and McDonalds are so dominant in their markets, they can get away with anything. It is the eternal advantage of leadership. The lagging indicator is share. They gain sales from customers who hate them, who know they will dud them, and who would love to give them the finger. But inertia, fear and cynicism keeps them rusted on. To activate this hatred and turn it into share gains, challenger brands must do more than slash prices. They must build an activism, a lynch mob atmosphere, an "Aussie Home Loans" campaign (John Symonds is a genius) that is a crusade, like Branson's strategy. Belt the bastards so often you reforge their brand image, using their weakness (size and insensitivity) against them. You can speed the process by running a 'bad case study/anti-testimonial" campaign featuring heart-rending stories like Cancer Boy in "Thank You For Smoking", illustrating how brutal the big bastard is. In extreme cases, you could run some investigative probes into their operations, seeking weak spots. Always within the bounds of ethics, you can gain access to sensitive information via many avenues: eg. interview their staff for employment opportunities (many staff will reveal problems in interviews); set up a website to collect complaints from the big bastard's customers; keep an eye on corporate disclosure around issues like environmental claims, etc. Make sure your own nose is clean, though. In extremely extreme cases, a dedicated unit that trolls for bad news and disseminates it might be justified. Why not? Marketing is war. Consumers deserve more than they get. Big bastards deserve more than they get, too.

On 27/03/2008, at 9:57 PM, Alissa Tilla wrote:

Dear Michael,

I was reading a back issue of Marketing Magazine and saw your piece on bad customer service. I think customer service is dead! Recently I was served a raw chicken burger from McDonalds. The head office wiped their hands of the issue, claiming that the store needed to contact me; despite being a company owned store. One week later the manager called me; the voicemail message she left said that she was going home and would call me the following day. Another week on, and two phone calls later (from my end) I could not get in touch with this manager who was never at the store. When I finally spoke with her I was unhappy with her lack of empathy. The response from McDonalds has been underwhelming to say the least; impersonal, uncaring and not in a timely manner. To make matters worse, if I want a refund for my meal I suddenly have to deal with head office, writing a letter of demand. These organisations have become so procedural and clinical that they have lost any decency in their dealings with customers. These large organisations think they are invincible. Good on you for speaking out. It’s about time these organisations are put back in their place and remember what their main focus should be, serving the customer. In this case, I think Ronald would be very unhappy. Being a marketing student I am so aggravated by McDonald’s response. You need to continue to use your influence to make these issues public and start a revolution whereby the customer comes first!

I would love to hear back from you about what you think.

Kind Regards,

Alissa Tilla

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sales in 08? Traffic harder to get...

Getting people to your transaction area is harder than last year and won't get easier... but wait, there's help!

Fred Schebesta (online) and Dennis Price (offline) are experts on TRAFFIC. Let's hear their advice:

FRED: Traffic prices are increasing! Budgets are tighter and traffic harder to come by... that's just the beginning of the crisis.
Download your Free copy of Fred's report on:

"The Crisis in Website Traffic in Australia."

DENNIS: Storefront Statements

An entrance is an important aspect of store design and the primary rule is that an entrance should be inviting and not present a barrier to a prospective customer. This is achieved by:
1. no steps
2. good lighting,
3. wide enough,
4. no merchandise/fixtures,
5. easy access for pregnant/handicapped.
Because the front of the store is the most productive, many retailers crowd this area (aka 'trading out') to display specials, and create a 'discount' image.
Entry statements should be changed at least monthly. Retailers should not wheel out the same bins week after week after week.
The colours that are best suited for the in-store experience are not the same colours that are most attractive and visible or attention-getting at the entrance.
Entry statements must be designed with the context of adjacent tenants in mind - and this means achieving sufficient contrast to clearly delineate the retail store from its neighbour.
Entry statements should be co-ordinated with the window display. It creates a much better impact.
Designers have to do the important things right:
1. Repetition/ Rhythm
2. Framing
3. Contrast
4. Colour-blocking
5. Creating focal points
6. Clever iconography
7. Functionality (security, durability of materials etc.)
8. Layout, design and visual merchandising are the most effective, most productive, 24/7 sales tools available to a retailer - and the RetailSmart ones know it.
Dennis PriceIs a retail expert and lectures at Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Create your own league ladder and top it

Law #17of Human Nature: Lists Bring Order & Security
We have a culture based on ranking things and people. Letterman's "Top 10 Reasons Why Top 10 Lists Work" People love to have things ordered for them. Do it. You can make the lists up out of your head. The have authority, nonetheless. So, publish lists of the top 10 most successful customers in their fields. Or the top 20 most frequently complained about things in your industry. Or the 20 most amazing/stupidest things a customer ever did with your product. Look through your industry stats. There must be something you are first on the ladder about do your clients have more revenue that the other guys, even though the other guys have bigger turnover than you? Can you cut a whole bunch of competitors out of league ladder contention by making it a list of independent or "Australian owned" companies. Or don't even call it a ladder. Mitsubishi called itself "Carmaker of the Year" 3 years in a row. It ever gave a reference. I like their style. Sincerely deceptive. Authentically full of it. So pick a title:

Customer Service Bank of the Year
Agency of the Decade
News Source of the Century
Autralia's Favourite Mobile Phone
The Breakfast Cereal More Mothers Approve
The World's Most Enjoyable Beer

My wife is a finalist in the Rural Women's Award for NSW. She is one of two finalists. The organisers say they don't want the award to focus on one winner but on all the women who entered and who were finalists. But there will be only one winner... and how much media will the runner up get?