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.