Posting a Sewing Machine? Get To Know Thy Customer

Standing in a line waiting to be served in an Australia Post Shop, I spotted an array of goods for sale. Books, stationery and an assortment of gift ideas and gift cards. Impulse shopping is clearly alive and well, despite ongoing reports on retail slow-downs.

To my amazement, on the front counter sat a sewing machine! Yes. a $129 Brother LS2150 Sewing Machine. A sewing machine in an Australia Post outlet? A place that people frequent to buy stamps, post letters, collect parcels, apply of passports….

I had about 5 minutes to think about this strange merchandising decision. It’s also featured in their Christmas Catalogue Catalogue here. I also searched the sewing machine on my phone, which confirmed that the $129 price tag is a good deal. Target Australia lists the same machine for $229.

There were 11 others in the suburban outlet at 2.00pm on a Monday. 3 males. All over 40 years. And the rest were Women. All over 35 years. Several were over 60. Clearly, Aussie Post do their merch research. Although the sewing machine seems out of place, they do know their audience. I’m not sure how many they sell, but why not plonk a sewing machine in amongst other goods and see if it sells. Right?

Knowing your audience is critical. I sometimes feel marketers may get a little carried away with a marketing idea, campaign or “smart idea” without 100% verifying if it is 100% right for their market. I’m not a huge advocate for laborious research, however I do preach commonsense and well thought-out strategies.

I’ll let you know if I spot postage stamps at the local haberdashery store.

Time to get serious or shut up shop. A comment on the Click Frenzy fail

A great deal has been written on last night’s meltdown of the Click Frenzy experience. Twitter was set a blaze via #clickfail and people flocked to Facebook to vent their opinions and frustrations on what was supposed to be a sort of “coming out party” for Australian online retail.

I cringed when the Click Frenzy event was announced. Organised by a media publisher, the event was billed as Australia’s answer to Cyber Monday in the USA. The event required punters to “register” their details to access the great deals offered by retailers. I am yet to see the benefit of this process. Why make people register to flock to a central website? The plan was flawed me thinks! If I was the organiser (and I wasn’t, so creds to the initiative of those who were), I would have directed shoppers to brand online stores with promo codes to access discounts. That way, the “Click Frenzy” activity could have been measured via. number of code uses. Spread the load. Encourage people to experience visiting brand online stores as the first point of contact.

The fact that the main Click Frenzy site went down is inexcusable, and I think made a mockery of those trying to develop online store presences in Australia. Whilst semi-predictable, thousands of people trying to squeeze through a pea-hole caused the site to crash – not the internet to crash as suggested my media commentators this morning. If the Melbourne Cup website (thanks to @citrusagency) can survive 10 minutes of hell on that one day in November, then surely this website should have been geared up fo the onslaught they new would happen. Crickey, they even knew how many people would hit the site due to the registration process.

I know many people who registered  Some were first time web shoppers. The PR motivated them to try to shop online. Shit first experience. Who knows when they will try again…

While I’m ranting a little, let me also comment on the deals presented. I have looked at the “offers” for Click Frenzy. Average. Boring. Nothing different to a normal sale really.

With failed events like this, Westfield and AMP can breathe a sigh of relief. Bricks and mortar survive another day.





Do us Marketers live in a “Bubble”?

Does the average “Joe” actually think about marketing phenomenons such as social media and online shopping as much as we, as marketers, do? Do we get caught up and think about these topics too much and over-estimate online behaviour of consumers? Over-analyse? Do we over-hype? Are we in a bubble?

I think yes. When Pinterest got momentum in the market, screams were heard in digital marketing agencies, “QUICKLY…add the button to the website…or we will miss out!”.  Well..really? If you walk down your local shopping strip, I would bet that less that 10% of consumers would even be aware of what Pinterest is. Yes, it’s on the rise and millions of people “pin” every day, but how many are active online consumers?

Last year was the year of Facebook apps. Every brand I know invested in expensive applications allowing its brand lovers to upload photos, play games, share stories etc. to win prizes and join the conversation. When Facebook changed the look and introduced Timelines, tabs were hidden and hard to find. Today, anecdotally  I would say there would be few brands investing as they did 12 months ago in Facebook apps. If you want to win something, enter a competition on one of these tabs. Your odds are great. Right?

How many of your ‘non-marketing” friends have a twitter account? Standing at my son’s soccer training on the weekend, I asked 10 dads if they “tweet”? These dads were “C” level executives, high incomes. 1/10 said they have a twitter account. For the record, 3/10 use Facebook. None had heard of Pinterest. I know…small sample size, but interesting.

My thesis, and I know shared by a few colleagues of mine, is that we, as marketers, live in a bubble. And as digital marketers, a bubble within the bubble. We Tweet, Facebook…and Pin – most days of the week. Stop and put yourself in the consumers’ shoes and think about how much they see these are marketing vehicles. I believe these channels have a place in the marketing mix. But I do believe we over-estimate their marketing effectiveness and impact.

Setting the standard for the retail experience

I visited the mecca for coffee lovers, Nespresso store at Chadstone in Melbourne on the weekend. Again, a very impressive experience.

The Store

The fitout if stunning. It looks like a hotel lobby, complete with a staff member welcoming you into the store (which is somewhat the norm in the US). The product displays at clear and systematic, with the iconic ‘capsule wall’ behind the sales staff. It’s a capsule cave for the capsule community. Machines, glassware, capsule holders..and of course the Nespresso coffee pods.


The staff are exceptional. They step from behind the barrier of the computer registers to greet you. The step from behind the computer barrier to hand you your bag after purchase. They offer you a coffee post-purchase. They know coffee pods…

The Membership Card

11 months into my Nespresso membership, I am still wondering what this is for….no rewards yet (if that is the intention). They could be implementing a great powerful CRM program on the back of purchase history. I’ll stay tuned for that one.

In summary, a wonderful retail experience. World class standards every time I step into the store.

Integrated Digital Marketing – sound familiar?


The more I talk to marketers, the more I think that we need to start connecting the dots between the various and often disparate online and digital activities a company has active in market. Here are some principles of integrated digital marketing planning and implementation:

1. Unified marketing objectives and goals
Set your website, email, social, mobile objectives and goals together. Often we can see a direct correlation between email results and website traffic performance. With the rise of mobile and social as fundamental elements to successful activation, a central results dashboard provides a holistic view of campaign and brand performance online. One talks to the other.

2. Develop relevant messaging and ensure continuity
I still see the various part of the body not talking to each other. Open an email, see an offer, message or new campaign. Click to go to the website…and boom – different/conflicting messaging. Last weeks/month’s messaging creative. Successful integration relies on all channels singing from the same hymn book. One Consumer. One voice. Using a simple checklist helps. Trust me.

3. Appoint the anchor point for your online campaign
For years, the corporate website has been the anchor point for all campaigns. Key messaging and offers should anchor here. Should that be the default for all brands and campaigns? With the rise and rise of Social, will this become the central discussion and content point? Note the question marks. How relevant is the corporate website for your brand today?

4. Look at your consumer
Remember them? They look at you as one. Not as an email program, a mobile app and a campaign mini-site. They are the main reason for the integration of all activities. The unification of messaging will increase results because of impact of message, call to actions and consistency of voice.

Bottom line. Connect all digital channels together. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.