All posts by royvandenhoogen

What customers want!

Last monday we had a very interesting guest-lecture from Irene van den Brink, from VODW. In her presentation she showed us how VODW creates ideas for companies or specific products. It seems to me very difficult to start with such a new idea. Because, how can you find out what a customer wants?

Irene van den Brink explains to us how difficult this can be, but more important  in which way you can try it. It can be complex, especially for marketeers I think, because we cannot switch of our knowledge. We cannot see ourselves as representative consumers any more. That makes it more difficult to imagine what costumers think of advertisements for instance. And this is a key factor for successful marketing for a company. Especially because the value of a product is perceived and determined by the consumer, not by the firm (slides session 10). Of course we know how to use marketing research, but will this bring a representative outcome in each case? Or is this almost impossible, since customers are more and more interested in transparent companies and increase their knowledge about marketing.

In this way we also talked about how Apple, especially Steve Jobs, uses marketing. Are they making special and good products, without research and sell it directly to the customers? Or do they know exactly what customers want by extensive marketing research? In any case, a company like Apple will have to be creative, innovative and different!

Steve Jobs about what customers want (is it megabytes, megahertz, or is it expression):

Steve Jobs about what customers want

A funny ad about what customers want:

What customers want

Comparison-sites turn out to be not fair!

In the course we discussed a lot about comparison-sites, especially with the guest-lecture of and business-case examples. Today the Dutch Competition Authority came up with an interesting research about 40 comparison-sites, specialized in savings and travel insurances. They conclude that 60% of the sites are showing wrong numbers and do not show enough products to compare. The Competition Authority explains that the consumers, in this way, are not informed well and therefore they can make wrong decisions for this really important products.

Also they explain that in about 50% of the sites it is not clear which company owns the site and in which way the make it profitable. In that way the shown information is not transparent. Therefore they recommend a Code of Conduct and the try to inform consumers about this problem. They give an advise to use different sites to complete the comparison, before the consumer takes there decision. Also they recommend to compare your findings with the ‘old-fashion’ information given directly by banks and insurance companies.

Henk van Don, board member of the Dutch Competition Authority says “Comparison sites are useful for the consumer when they are show the entire information, are transparent and fair. Otherwise it is not clear wether you get the right offer or not”.

My opinion it that such a Code of Conduct can be very useful and can make the comparison-market more fair, especially it can give a positive boost to companies that are doing right at this moment. They do not need to change much and they possibly will loose some competitors that are unfair right now. Mieke van Os has explained to us in her guest lecture that increased their sales when they showed their telephone-number and information about the customers. Such a simple difference brings in more fairness to the consumers and also the transparency of the company seems an opportunity to me. On the other hand Mieke van Os said that they do not show all the products in the comparison, because the consumers do not want such a specific result. But she also mentioned that it is possible to compare all the companies or products on their site, for the ‘die-hard’ comparison-consumer.

Concluding, comparison-sites give opportunities to both consumers and companies, but it is important to keep up the fairness! In that way, a Code of Conduct, as mentioned today by the Dutch Competition Authority will be a fine idea!

Customer Loyalty & Virtual Communities

The relationship between profitability and loyalty seems to be much weaker than expected and also weaker than the proponents of customer loyalty programs claim(‘The Mismanagement of Customer Loyalty’ (2002). According to this paper of Reinartz, Werner and V. Kumar, there’s is no evidence to suggest that loyal customers necessarily are cheaper to serve, less price sensitive or are effective in bringing in new business. So, in light of their findings many companies have to reevaluate the way they manage customer loyalty programs. Companies have to find ways to measure the relationship between loyalty and profitability. Hereafter the company can place their customers into the Choosing a Loyalty Strategy Matrix, to apply strategies to the different segments.

Concluding the article, there is no one right way to make loyalty profitable! An example of a company that is tries to achieve loyal and profitable customers in a good way, we think, is Agradi(

Continue reading Customer Loyalty & Virtual Communities

Your Film Festival

YouTube is launching their own film festival, named ‘Your Film Festival’. It’s a global competition to find the world’s best storytellers and provide one deserving entrant with an opportunity to showcase their film during the 69th Venice Film Festival. Entrants should submit a 15’ short film and upload it on from February 2 to March 31, 2012.

The viewers on YouTube choose the final ten movies that will be showed at the Venice Film Festival during august. The finalists will be assessed by a jury with chairman Ridley Scott and the overall winner gets $500,000. This competition is inspired by the documentary ‘Life in a day’.

This is a good example how to get customers involved and also to find new movie talents. I’m sure it will attract a new potential customers that usually don’t go to a film festival, or talent that think their movie won’t be showed at such an prestigious film festival like ‘La Biennale di Venezia’.

The announcement on YouTube:

Roy van den Hoogen