Monday, December 27, 2010

mission statements: burn them all

I really [really, really, really, really] don't like mission statements. They are all self-serving claptrap. They serve no benefit to the customer whatsoever. So, in turn, customers ignore them. Or go elsewhere to a site/organization that cares more about the customer than they do their own grandiose.

And here is a classic example  I came across when researching my previous entry in this blog. It comes from the home page of the website of the Serco Group plc.
At this point, picture me putting two fingers in my mouth to illustrate that reading this is making me sick.

Two things:

1 Write down on a piece of paper what the Serco Group do. That is, what they manufacture/develop/sell - anything. Tell me anything about the Serco Group from that mission statement. I could say, tell me without going to its website - but even when you get there, it is still difficult to tell what they do. 

2 Which breaks one of the cardinal rules of home page design: Let visitors know why they should stay on your site. In less than a second. Boooiiinnnggg. Too late, they've already bounced back to the search engine. Wave goodbye to that potential customer. 
Footnote to this second point. As visitors can arrive on any of a website's pages from a search engine of link, every page should let visitors know why they should stay on that page, and so, your site.

techie designers: a perfect example of bad practice

I have lost count of the amount of times I have come across this error. It is a perfect example of why a marketer should head up any web-development team. 

The University that employs me recently added new facilities to the staff 'portal' on our website. The platform used has been provided by a company called 'Serco'.  Now, when you buy in proprietary software it always has elements where what the customer sees on their screen can be personalised to suit  the organization that has purchased that software.

Techies, of course, have no interest in that content. They have no need to. It is nothing to do with them. It has nothing to do with how the software functions. So users can end up seeing messages like this one:

 A marketer [or a decent one] would have ALL content checked before the system goes live - in print, it is called copy editing. I would call it absolutely essential in any publishing environment. No, better still, I would call it the right way of doing things. Full Stop [or if you are reading this in the USA; Period]. 

Oh, yes, I would also have made the header grammatically correct  - the software's default would say 'welcome to' and then if would probably insert the title given to the application [by the techies]. Hence, a missing 'the'.

I would also have looked to change the images to some from my organization - but I could live with the mice and hands if I had to.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

a good goodbye

Leaving aside the fact that after having to register in order to find out more about buying online  and then being bombarded by promotional emails - at least when I clicked on the 'unsubscribe' button, M&S's marketers were doing a bit a research to see what  they were doing wrong.

when an option is no option

On a whim, I thought I might go away for the New Year  and found my way onto this website:

Trouble is, I wasn't sure where I wanted to go, so I selected the 'Any Destinations' option [let's not even go down the road of pointing out that it should be 'destination' singular] - but it told me I couldn't search on the option it had given me.
Two points - why list it in the drop down menu if the option isn't an option? And secondly: why isn't it an option? Surely I'm not the only person who would consider anywhere if the price/dates/flights were right?

nice viral touch

Me and the chaps at work decided to go out for a Christmas meal [just an excuse for some drinking really] and so I booked us in at Wetherspoon's 'The Lampton Worm' in the city centre - and when I sent off the enquiry I got this message on the screen:

Not intrusive, and I'm not sure how successful it will be, but it reflects some thought being put into the pub chain's marketing.

email enigma [that's a code joke]

Do I even have to make any comment on this email I received from KLM?

joined up thinking

Doing a bit of Christmas shopping I noticed this survey 'enticement' on the receipt as well as a discount code for first time online shopping, AND facebook and twitter listings.
To be honest, the till receipt is so small it is all hard to read [as you see it on screen is roughly the actual size] - but at least they are making the effort to integrate their off- and online marketing. Below is the feedback page.