Archive for March, 2009
Its been nearly a good three years since VAGSG a forum that is created to serve the Singaporean (and Malaysian) motor enthusiasts. Vagsg has come a long way – from his humble beginning where whenever one posts, one can “FEEL” echos in the forum. HALLLLLLOOOOO…..
Now VAGSG stands strong at around 9000 members where activities have been planned both online and offline to foster growth and of course least but not least CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT – THE word in the marketing arena. VAGSG enjoys a strong return rate and it is a highly interactive forum as well.
How does one do that, the operating philosophy is very simple, just make users create contents (user generated contents) and let the spiders crawl through your web. That’s IT.
Actually thats not just it. I wish it was just that (haha). It was really a painful but challenging journey to make VAGSG what it is today. It is the de facto Audi and VW forum in Singapore.
The planning phase included:
- Differentiate – USP – unique selling proposition. We are an independent forum run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.
- Excite – By generating fun activities (online and offline), chat about the latest models, modification of the cars etc.
- Connect – this is done via offline ways, the intent is to get the forummers to meet one another and develop relationships and form a TRIBE. Its a long term engagement, encouraging customer loyalty and last by not least advocate positive word of mouth (yes viral again).
Our bounce rate of the forum is very encouraging (very low – I compared it with a fellow local automobile website) and the time spent on the forum is very encouraging.
That’s all from me for now. Will update more when I get the chance on the VAGSG forum story from its humble beginnings to what it is today. The e-strategies involved to drive traffic, attract and retain the forummers (offline and online) and of course will share the web analytics side of it, SEO and SEM as well. What I have learnt.
Lastly VAGSG has an army of supporters who cant wait to tell people about the forum and of course their rides and spread the positive word of mouth – yes its viral again.
Didnt Xerox research show, that is cost 5 times more to attract a new customer than to serve an existing, just let the customer do the job for you afterall your potential customer will trust them more, no? viral baby. The power of WOM.
Get it? I’m sure you did. The cartoon tells alot about creativity…but to you what really is creativity? Is it just a catch word for finding innovative solutions?
Creativity is a word that have been used over and over again especially in the media industry. A peruse of media company websites reveals countless mentions of CREATIVITY.
Before I get into it, let me first bring out the academia side of me (hehe), what is the definition of creativity. From wikipedia. Here you go.
Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts. Creativity is fueled by the process of either conscious or unconscious insight. An alternative conception of creativeness is that it is simply the act of making something new.
and Robert E. Franen from his book Human motivation had defined it as such
Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others. (page 396)
Three reasons why people are motivated to be creative:
need for novel, varied, and complex stimulation
need to communicate ideas and values
need to solve problems (page 396)
In order to be creative, you need to be able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. Tests of creativity measure not only the number of alternatives that people can generate but the uniqueness of those alternatives. the ability to generate alternatives or to see things uniquely does not occur by change; it is linked to other, more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, and the enjoyment of things heretofore unknown. (page 394)
Interesting perspectives of creativity from above and I do share the same as them. However me as a person who likes to simplify things. Here’s my attempt. Creativity is just something that I either consciously or sub-consciously create a solution which departs from the norm that tackles (or solve) the heart of the problem.
That’s it. A problem solver who is able to tell a convincing EFFECTIVE story. It just boils down to that. What do you think?
All media firms, will tell you they are creative, afterall they are in the creative industry, its their blood. Perhaps just ask them, what does creativity mean to you? Though a very simple questions and seldom asked, but when asked, the receiver will really ponder deep in its inner self and could even do him good. Afterall they are being compensated for their creative solutions. Hmm. how do they measure creativity? a link to sales figures? to bottom line? cause there is a belief out there that if you can’t measure it you can’t improve it? does it apply to creativity? I wonder…and waiting to be intrigued.
Many seem to have ignored the fact that the digital space has been around for more than an decade. It is no longer a new media as what the traditional media owners are trying to paint in the corporate world. A new generation of digitally savvy users are now every ready to experiment, explore and participate as a global online community citizen.
This maturing digital community has created a critical mass that is sufficiently large enough for marketing professionals to measure and make inferences on the behavioural aspects of different segments within the community. This is the insight which is sadly not practiced (as much as we would like) in the marketing profession as measuring and analytics is not a discipline which most practicing industry marketeers prefer to engage in (sad but true).
If so, is there a reason why?
Personally, I feel that this lack of discipline will come back to haunt them as the digital space (moving forward) offer the best and most effective means to measure and assess their customers’ preferences. It is only through this insight that the marketing professional can make evolutionary changes to their products and services to match their customers’ changing needs.
One lazy Sunday, whilst on the comfy sofa, received a text message from my twitter account. Blogger Seth Sodin has just updated his blog on Critics – an interesting read I must say.
Service marketers and academia have always advocated that one should not shun complains or negative comments on the contrary one should embrace them. The rationale behind it is your customer is giving you a second chance – he/she is basically say “Hey I like your product and I’m giving you a second chance”. This is where the company can shine by utilizing service recovery techniques. But humans are only humans…I share the same as Sodin and I quote him below.
If you’re a human being and you’re telling the truth, the answer is pretty obvious: you want to know which misguided losers had nasty things to say and you want to know what they said. In fact, if we’re being totally truthful, it’s likely you’re going to take what the critics had to say to heart.
But he adds a spin to it, telling us to ignore the critics, cause even if you heed the advice, they aint going to change – you just ignore them. His suggestion is to engage the “sneezers” instead – a term he used to describe +ve WOM advocates. Does this hold water? Perhaps or perhaps not. One can argue either way. But one thing for sure. Viral marketing especially positive WOM is a very powerful weapon and can unleash VIRUSES for your competitors.
Remember the ads from monster.com a couple of years back that asked, “what do you want to do when you grow up?” typically answers like “I want to be a fireman” “I want to be a doctor” blah blah blah. Nothing really exciting so to speak.
But hey wait till you see BBH’s 2008 recruitment drive, I have to admit it got my attention, it made me crave for more, it subconsciously activate my propensity to tell my all my friends about it (marketers would call it yes you got it viral marketing at work).
Seriously, this is one top advertisement (Well done BBH). if one of the goal (other than to seek recruitment) it definitely suceeded in generating positive word of mouth (at least from me).
Please enjoy the ad below and feel free to share (opps again a victim of viral marketing)
my first post on this newly created blog (hurray!). the point of this blog is to share my thoughts on research (to tell a story from data) particularly in the media world. my job is to translate numbers into stories i.e. develop insights to inspire company strategies.
naturally curious is ME!