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Archive for March, 2010

Take your dog for a wash – in a machine

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 by Paul Sloane

Two great ways to find innovative product ideas are:

1. Try weird combinations

2. Look for an unmet customer need

Here is an idea from Japan that does both of these.  It is a large washing machine for pets!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8571591.stm

What strange combination would meet the needs of your customers?

Put two products into the market and see which one does better

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 by Paul Sloane

How can you become more agile in a fast-moving market? An increasingly popular method of making quick decisions is A/B testing (or bucket testing). In its simplest form you put two versions of a product into the market simultaneously and see which one gets the better customer response. You then repeat the process by putting the winner up against another variant and trying again. Essentially you use a single-variable test several times over. Once a classic direct mail technique and now used extensively to test website response rates, marketers can use this method to check market reactions for a wide range of products and services.

For example with your website you can test small details one at a time, such as colours, offers, copy text, layouts and images. Multiple tests will show which items yield the greatest improvements. According to Wikipedia around two-thirds of web based companies use A/B testing including the likes of Amazon, BBC, Ebay – even Google and Microsoft.

You can use A/B testing to carry out market research on the fly. You can test different marketing propositions, website layouts, sales pitches and so on. You can also test different markets with the same product. The key element is to keep undertaking tests in which only one variable is changed.

Google Maps Street View – what next?

Friday, March 12th, 2010 by Paul Sloane

Where I live in Camberley has just gone up on Google Maps Street View.  It is remarkable to take a virtual stroll down your street as it was one day last year.  Have you tried this yet?  You can use it to look at the street where you lived as a child, the holiday cottage you plan to stay in, the new house that your friend has just moved into, your office and how the entrance looks etc.

This is just part of the revolution in geographic information and visual data that is available.  How can you use this in your marketing?  Well apart from making your own premises look as professional as possible it gives you a chance to do some market research on your clients or prospects.  Now you can look at somewhere before you go there and forewarned is forearmed.

The growth of useful data on the internet is staggering.  The continuing challenge is how to harness it for more effective communication, understanding, insights and marketing.

Tips for success with e-newsletters

Friday, March 5th, 2010 by Paul Sloane

I receive a number of e-mail newsletters and I send out a regular one of my own. It seems that the e-mail newsletter has become an essential part of the marketing mix for companies large and small. (more…)