Tuesday, 8 September 2009

An open debate – acquisition vs retention

I always like a debate and I was recently having one with a colleague of mine  - I thought it such an interesting discussion that I’d post it here in it’s raw format…

8th September 2009 12:30 - Rachel

I think there's a piece on loyalty in advertising and DM... Previously they just blasted advertising messages to everyone in the hope some of it stuck... Or segmented communication based on some REALLY rudimentary data (I think geodem is an utter waste)... Now its backfiring - the value of media is in the knowledge and understanding of the intended target... Lifetime value HAS to be more valuable than response... Says that in the article in MediaGuardian that ABC (Audited Bureau of Circulation who validate newspaper and mag sales) measure web effectiveness by unique users per month, and for the online papers that's an issue as they think success should be measured in terms of repeat visits as someone dipping in once is of less interest to them than someone who comes back every day...

Anyway, there's an article there about something... Something really provocative to try and get a reaction out of the ad or media boys…

You also need to look at Twitter... [Some people] have sided with the masses who think things like the death of Michael Jackson being the No1 trend on Twitter within an hour is a sign of something profound, like those people who think they're 'protesting' about the abuse of electioneering in Iran by putting a green ribbon on their Twitter profile pic... People THINK it means something, that its a modern way of campaigning against injustice... But that's insane! Its incredibly easy to go to gov.org and put your email address down on a petition calling for more sanctions against China in response to more human rights abuses - but its NOT standing in front of a tank now, is it???

Some might call it the democratisation of the democratic process - but its set the benchmark at the lowest common denominator, and so stuff that REALLY matters is just gonna get lost in a load of junk. Someone's got to have that fight with the digi boys, and I dont seem to be able to get the words out...

8th September 2009 12:38 - Mark

I like the second bit.  I read a book – Bowling Alone– which talks about this.  How people used to be genuinely involved in things but this has declined so it now has no real meaning.  Using the example of Greenpeace – when they started using DM their membership ranks swelled and could be translated as a “movement”, however when they stopped it all fell away – these people weren’t really bothered – well not enough to actually do anymore than put some cash in an envelope.

Looks like Twitter is the same – people like to jump on the band wagon – to feign concern, but like you say, will they actually do anything about it.  The danger is that people given an opinion without giving it thought – and if people read too much into this they may think that’s where public opinion lies when in reality it is not.

First bit I’m not getting…  I understand the principle, especially around frequency, but don’t see the line of argument. 

8th September 2009 13:10 - Rachel

Both of the points were meant to be about acquisition without retention... Into a product or even an idea... It's lazy marketing when penetration is the main measure... 8million people think I'm great, but not one of them would p*ss on me if I was on fire... Mates vs friends... But as you say, its REALLY dangerous if politicians start thinking it actually MEANS anything. And you only have to watch the news to see the weight that the media puts on these online petitions, and Twitter trends... It's a worry. But of course it suits them, because it moves super-fast and that suits 24hr news... It doesn't really matter WHAT you're saying, so long as you're saying SOMETHING, and of course if loads of people are saying it it must be worth saying...

I can't BELIEVE some b*stard stole my idea :oO

On the advertisers bit... I was just thinking that mass-market advertising has been feted as the most effective communication and persuasion tool forever (Have you read Vance Packard yet??), and now their lack of real knowledge and understanding of their consumers is backfiring on them. Cost-effective attitudinal micro-segmentation - deliverable only through the digital WILL be the most effective marketing tool of the future.

And even in digital, the payback will require an evaluation of lifetime customer value as it will still be too expensive for a single hit. So its all about retention... And suddenly the ad agencies are interested in loyalty marketing... And the Media Agencies are beefing up their digital production departments whilst everyone tries to work out how to make digital advertising work... But they've taken the same rules as press and applied them to web - produce an ad in a pre-specified format, find the websites that have the largest number of people who meet a set of pre-prescribed criteria as having a propensity to buy your product, and place your ad in their way... and that's SOOO missing the point...

8th September 2009 13:23 - Mark

Hmmmm… not sure I agree with you entirely.  Yes when you know your customer it’s all about retention – but to acquire them you need to find them and by definition this means you don’t know who they are and so are limited in your ability to segment to reach them.

I think digital is great for retention – one to one relevant comms – but for acquisition I think it’s sh*te – based on nothing but my own experience.  Digitial is a pull based medium, I go online because I want something, I search it out.  TV, Press, etc. is different as I watch it/read it to be entertained – I’m open to new things being pushed to me.   For me, digital is about cross-sell (people who bough this also bought this – that’s relevant), it’s about referral (thought you might like this because I do), it’s about discovery (I want a new TV – lets read reviews/search/comparison).

Example: T-Mobile offer free texts – I saw it on TV – I went online to look it up and I’ll be blogging about it this week – TV works, but needs to fit into the overall purchase process.  It’s no longer just Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action – there is a host of other stuff in the middle such as Research, Validate, Compare – before I get to Action.

Acquisition through awareness will always be required and I think mass-media (albeit increasingly segmented) will always play a big role in getting them – however retention follows quickly otherwise you’re back on the hamster wheel to re-acquire later.

8th September 2009 13:26 - Rachel


8th September 2009 13:44 - Rachel

I'm in shock... You just disagreed with me... On ACQUISITION!!!!!!!!!!!!! :oO

I think you're half wrong half right... I think you should look up something called "Groundswell" marketing... Its my new favourite thing ;o)

….. the debate continues – feel free to chip in.