August 23, 2010
Does Marketing Need to be 'Official'?
So it’s official. Relationship building websites work. At least that is the finding of a study on P&G’s customer experience website in Greece (the equivalent of www.supersavvyme.com).
This was one of the papers presented at the Academy of Marketing Conference, a convention of academics who study and research what we practitioners do for a living. The paper showed that broadening the customer-company relationship via the website increased positive word of mouth towards the website, and intentions to increase purchase of the company’s products.
So far, so good. Except they haven’t compared it to other relationship building websites. Or outside Greece. And the statistical differences are so miniscule you’d need a microscope to see them.
A second paper looked at whether loyalty cards increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Answer? Not really. The reason being that all stores have loyalty cards so it’s a must, not a differentiator.
What was interesting about both these papers is that the research process (which is incredibly robust, uses lots of very complex terminology and some graphs that make you glad you’re no longer at school) revealed what I would argue most marketers know by gut – that making an effort to broaden your customer’s interaction with your brand or company (as long as it’s relevant and useful) is going to make them more likely to want to do business with you. And that marketing’s job is to keep ahead of the game constantly. Once you have a good idea (like storecards) your competitors will catch up – meaning you have to move ahead of the pack again. That’s what makes our jobs so stimulating.
However, wile the academic community is pontificating about whether 0.03 is a meaningful statistical difference we are judged by whether it actually made any difference to the success of our client’s companies. So it’s left me wondering why we marketers are so desperate to have our ‘gut instincts’ validated by research?
Would welcome anyone’s views.
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