Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Tipping Point at Work in Curacao Referendum

In the previous post post I made some observations about the referendum campaigns in Curacao. Here is my most interesting observation still.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, "The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips and spreads like wildfire". He suggests that these so-called social epidemics are created by a combination of "connectors", "mavens", "salesmen" "stickiness" and "context".

  1. Connectors are those people "who know lots of people";

  2. Mavens are people known for their objective knowledge and who pass it along without self interest;

  3. Salesmen are those communicators who do not only speak but also convince;

  4. Stickiness refers to the memorability of the message;

  5. The ideal context is when all of the above comes together at the right time.

Nothing really new for a communicator or marketer. But when was the last time you really thought about these?

How do you think the different referendum campaigns in Curacao did on these points?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lessons from marketing politics and ideas in Curacao

All politics is for local consumption, so too this post dealing with local politics. If you are somehow related to Curacao, you know that on May 15th we had a referendum, of which the result was 52/48.

Throughout the campaigns I was burning to post my observations, but since marketing is not an exact science, I did not want to publicly take the risk.

In the aftermath, what do I think we in Curacao have learnt about political marketing strategy?

The power of emotions

Not just any emotion, the relevant emotions (of the relevant target market); not just emotional content, but the inference, context and form of the emotion. As is the case in consumer products market, marketers who appeal to the right emotions in politics, also do best. Over the past 20 years, marketers, including those in Curacao, have relentlessly trained consumers to choose a product based on emotions (not reason). That's the only decision-making process that today's consumer really knows. He is no longer able to decide based on reason. Hot temperamented people like Caribbeans certainly cannot.

Know your market

Quantify the target segments, understand what motivates each segment and use these core motivators as the starting point for any strategy. Finding a "common motivator" is ideal. But if that does not exist, applying the motivator from one segment across all segments doesn't work, not even in small Caribbean markets.

Mirroring your competitors' position is not a viable strategy

If your competitor positions itself as "for the youngest people", will you position yourself as "for the oldest"? If she says "my product is the cheapest", will you say that yours is the most expensive? Intuitively that does not make sense. Why not, you wonder? Because everyone in the middle is left unserved, untargeted. Marketers know there is a larger market in the middle than at any extreme.

My most interesting observation is in the next post.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Guestology; Disney term

Not just knowing your guests in terms of demographics, psychographics, need, wants, experiences and expectations.

But understanding your guests: understanding their motivations and analyzing and interpreting objective data in such a way to yield profit enhancing marketing strategies.

The only way to do so is by engaging customers in conversations, through techniques such as focus groups and in-depth interviews.

Analyzing results of Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Here are some interesting observations from Mark David Jones, President of Small World Alliances, and former Disney man:

Dissatisfied customer damage

You think 5% dissatisfied customers is acceptable? Think again. Consider that a dissatisfied customer broadcasts his dissatisfaction 20 to 30 times. And that word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of advertising.

To get the damage done by dissatisfied customers: Multiply your number of annual customers by the percentage of dissatisfied customers. Multiply that number by 20 or 30 for the number of negative advertising images you generate in a year. And remember that w-o-m weighs more than paid advertising.

Extremely satisfied customer earnings

On the other hand, a customer who is merely satisfied is not an advocate. For someone to be your advocate and generate positive word-of-mouth for you, s/he has to be "extremely satisfied". How many "extremely satisfied" customers do you have each year?

If your advertising budget is restrictive, as is often the case in a small market, you know where to invest your money for the most efficiency.

Mark David Jones gave a workshop in Curacao last Friday during CTO's 5th Tourism Human Resources Conference.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Pitch for BusinessRICH boot camp

Just a pitch for an event organized by my friends Arnout Druyvesteyn and Janine Lie-A-Kwie.
They are developing their Coaching Business throughout the Caribbean. Perfect strategy if your domestic market is small... expand to other markets

A two day business boot camp for business owners and managers
who really want to improve their business

Visit their site

Guest speaker: ActionCOACH Lee Huffman (USA), serial entrepreneur, international speaker, author

June 11, 2009 (8:00 am - 9:00 pm) & June 12, 2009 (8:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Marriott Hotel, Piscadera Bay, Curacao

Once-only introduction fee ANG 995,-. FREE for our current clients.
Price includes lunches and dinner, workbook & materials.

Register before June 4, 2009 here or email

Monday, May 25, 2009

Latin American economies

Last week I attended the 39th General Assembly of ALIDE - Asociacion Latinoamericana de Instituciones Financieras para el Desarrollo - including the Caribbean. While Caribbean economies are well-known to me, it was a welcome refresher in Latin American economies.
The key take-aways for me were:

1. between 2000 and 2007 poverty in Latin America was reduced by 10%, meaning that 40 million people rose out of poverty.

2. if you want to know what the future areas of growth will be, examine what the main research areas in U.S. universities are. Now these are energy, and water

3. in Latin America also the growth in tourism can be exponential with targeted investments in tourism, as the case of North Eastern Brazil shows.

So, it leads me to think how small economies can use this knowledge to their advantage.

Online marketing - gaming

I spent a workday at the beach learning about the online gaming industry and the latest developments in online marketing in general. How much the industry has changed since I was first introduced to the concept many years ago. It has kept me wondering how to apply the learnings to other similar industries and markets.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Take the longer survey “Participating in the global economy through knowledge sourcing and providing”

If you are really interested in the topic and can spare a few more minutes, please also take the survey. If you can, please also ask a colleague, client or supplier to do so.

Knowledge Service Provider

Knowledge Service Sourcer

Thank you in advance. If you want a copy of the report, be sure to include your email address.
Please feel free to leave any comments. The survey is in its beta phase, so I can use comments on the questionnaire also.

Some background

Reason for the poll and survey

Globality: everyone wanting to sell everything, including their knowledge, to anyone anywhere in the world.

Having worked across the Caribbean from Bermuda to Haiti and much of what is in between, I have developed an academic interest in the topic, especially with regard to small states. Can we apply strategic/business innovations produced in Curacao to St Lucian, Maltese, Andorran, Bajan, Cape Verdian businesses, markets and economies and vice versa?

The topic also interests me with regard to economic policies of small states. How can small states benefit from the globalization of knowledge?

Research Question
To what extent do KSP’s sell their services across borders, thus participating in the global knowledge economy? This with particular interest to KSP’s in small ststes/territories/markets and/or emerging markets

What are Knowledge Service Providers (KSP's) and Knowledge Service Sourcers (KSS)?

For the purpose of this study KSP’s are individuals or companies such as advisors, consultants, designers, health care providers, trainers, researchers, recruiters, lawyers, accountants, even artists, etc., in the broadest sense of the word.

KSS’s are all those individuals or companies who buy services from KSP’s established in their market or elsewhere

What's in it for you?
Since participants can elect to receive a copy of the report, you will get an insight into:
1. If you are ahead or behind the curve in terms of providing or sourcing knowledge across borders
2. What the key success factors to sell your services internationally

Take Poll: do you participate in the global knowledge economy?

I am writing a paper and want to know to which extent knowledge service providers (KSP), i.e. consultants, recruiters, trainers, designers, analysts, etc., have international engagements, and thus participate in the global knowledge economy. I am particularly interested in small KSP’s in small and/or emerging markets.

If you are a provider, please follow this link to my Linkedin poll

If you hire consultants, use this link

If you are really interested in the topic, please also take the survey
Knowledge Service Provider
Knowledge Service Sourcer

For more info

Thank you, also for your comments

Monday, January 26, 2009

What to expect from a telephone survey

In my previous post I outlined when telephone surveys may be chosen over face-to-face (personal) surveys. What should you expect when you are called for a telephone survey?

  1. An interviewer that clearly states his/her first and last name and the company s/he is calling from.
  2. If you are called at an inconvenient time, you may ask to be called at another time. In our case, interviews are conducted from a central location. You may also call back.
  3. While the interviewer may ask your name, the information you provide will be treated confidentially. Your name is important for the research company when double checking the interviewers' work. It will not be released to our client, NEVER.
  4. A questionnaire that is designed to last no longer than 10 minutes. The actual length often depends on how much commentary the respondent delivers. You should know that, at each question, the interviewer can only record one of the options (multiple choice answers) she gives you. She cannot record any other comment. So, it is best to limit yourself to choosing one of the options. At the end of the interview you will always have a chance to make free flowing comments.
  5. You will not be called by a sales representative based on your answers. You will not be asked questions in a manner that suggests that your answers will be used to call you later to sell you something. This is a market research exercise, not an exercise to generate sales leads.

Telephone surveys vs face-to-face surveys

You may wonder why companies elect to do telephone surveys rather than face-to-face-surveys. We do so mostly for efficiency and speed. Convenience for the respondent and quality control may also play a role. How so?

  1. When the questionnaire is short (up to 10 minutes), it may take more time to travel from one respondent to another. Telephone interviews are more efficient.

  2. When the type of respondent are geographically dispersed, it may also take more time to travel from one respondent to another.

  3. The respondent may be very mobile or finds it inconvenient to make an appointment that lasts only 10 minutes. The same matter would be resolved faster over the phone.

  4. Since telephone interviews are usually conducted from a central location, under supervision, it is easier to control the quality of the interviews.

Telephone surveys are less personal. When the survey entails sensitive issues, this is always a reason try to decrease the respondent's possible discomfort. to For that reason, it is desirable, whenever possible, to inform respondents that they will be contacted and to give some background of the purpose of the survey. Read also my post What to expect from a telephone interview.