Japan – #1 for Customer Service

A recent article in NYTimes Magazine “Where to Get the World’s Best Service” listed Japan as the country with the “World’s Best Service”  at 4.4 out of 5 points. . No other country was even close, with Thailand at number 2 with 3.9. (http://ow.ly/6xklu)

This should be no surprise to anyone who has traveled to Japan. Much has been made recently of the fortitude, resilience and kindness of the Japanese people in the wake of the earthquake/tsunami disaster. But “Service” has always been exemplary in Japan.

It’s the greeting you receive whenever you walk into a store, bar or restaurant; the polite bow from an airline worker as the plane departs; the small origami figure delivered with the chopsticks. In Japan, there are countless small efforts to make your day better. Every time I visit, I find a fresh way that the service mentality surprises and impresses me.

On one of my visits to Japan with new colleagues, I made a casual comment that my wife “would be thrilled to know that I’m so close to Mikimoto’s Pearl Island”. The next day, the meeting agenda had been rearranged by a couple of hours, and I found a car and a guide waiting for me to take me to Mikimoto!

What’s your favorite story of Japan’s famous service mentality?

Digital Publishing – The Death of Marketing through Print Media?

BMA-NJ’s recent event “Hybrid Marketing – Digital, Social and Print Media” gave a fresh perspective on the shift from print to digital journals and the implications to Marketers.

Joe Pramberger, President of Tech Briefs Media Group, shared his views on how digital media has brought new opportunities to the world of trade journals

As a publisher himself, Joe has encountered many of the challenges associated with new digital media, including the need for multiple workflows, decisions on App vs. web-based formats, and the means of delivery. He noted that using email to deliver a digital journal might result in an open rate of 15-20%; by using a series of three messages this can be raised to 40-50% particularly if teasing a reader that they are “missing out” on a specific article.

In recent studies by the Tech Briefs Media Group, they have found that readers profess to read 70% of digital magazines, which compares well with 2 out of 3 of print publications they receive. The pass-along rate is actually better, at 2.1 for print and 2.5 for digital.

To increase the impact for Marketers Joe highlighted the use of embedded video, which can double the time spent on a page. He also noted that 66% of readers enter keywords from an article into a search engine for more information so urged awareness of using the right wording in an ad or article.

The biggest changes for digital magazines are now being driven by the ubiquitous tablet. Tech Briefs data shows that 4.5% of their readership owned a tablet/e-reader in 2010, and this grew to 21% in 2011, with an additional 36% planning to buy.

Joe’s optimism shone through with his quote that e-readers are “not the death of print, but an increase in reading”, backed by data that device users read 12/5hrs/wk vs 8hrs from non-users.

Finally, Joe shared his view that the future will bring more immersive editorials and ads, the increase of micro-magazines, and widespread use of reader-editing and community engagement.

Next month, BMA-NJ  will continue the exploration of on-line marketing trends when Desmonique Bonet from Google will discuss the “Zero Moment of Truth”.

QR Codes – here, there and everywhere…

QR codes seem to be the “in” thing at the moment. I see them everywhere on brochures, ads and menus. At a recent  conference I attended, they were projected on to large screens, with a link to feedback surveys for each speaker.

So – are they really worth it? It all depends on how you use them:

1) Does it lead to something remarkable? Don’t just link to your standard webpage. Go to a page that has relevant content, an offer or a call to action. Otherwise, you might as well just print your url.

2) Does it look good on the page? QR codes can be ugly, really ugly. Take some time to make it blend in – use a color that matches your logo, try some customized graphics. Don’t just stick a B&W matrix in the middle of the piece

3) Does the technology work? At the conference I mentioned, many of the participants (including me) couldn’t scan the QR codes, even though they were about 5 ft high! Fortunately, the organizers also posted them outside the conference hall, where they worked just fine.

Bottom line – QR codes can be a great addition. But as with all items, they need to be an integral part of the piece, not just tacked on at the end.

Do you have any examples of wanton use of QR codes to share?

Use a Post-It Note to make your mark

I recently stayed at a Doubletree hotel in downtown Chicago, and saw a novel, attention-getting way to advertise the in-house restaurant – a Post-It on the mirror: Here’s why it worked:

  • Placement – everyone looks in the mirror!
  • Eye-catching/unexpected – my first thought was “Did the last guest leave a note?”!
  • Personal call to action – the message was an invitation from the chef, not just a faceless offer.

Don’t you think this has more impact than a l flyer left on the desk?

BMA Unleash – The Inspiration for this Blog

I was fortunate to attend the BMA (Business Marketing Association) conference in Chicago last month, and was inspired to become more engaged in the world of B2B Marketing. I’ve plied my trade as a B2B marketer in semiconductor and electronics industries for many years, but have always felt that most of the marketing books and discussions were intended more for consumer companies. So it was refreshing to be immersed in a group of people with similar interests, challenges and concerns.

BMA Unleash has a good mix of interesting speakers, from Google to Schneider Electric, IBM to GlobalSpec, with relevant information and new ideas. In this blog, I’ll start by reviewing some of the material that was presented, and expand on some of the topics that are of personal interest to me. I’ll also showcase any interesting or fun examples of good marketing as I come across them.

During the BMA conference, I was also invited to become Education Chair for the BMA-NJ chapter, so will reflect on the local BMA events in NJ as they occur.

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