Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ZMOT - Intro

(0:58) There's a concept in marketing known as the Moment of Truth, developed at Proctor & Gamble in 2005, defining two critical moments of a consumer purchase. The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is when the consumer encounters a product on the shelf and makes the decision to purchase. The Second Moment of Truth (SMOT) is the experience the consumer has after they have bought the product. For a product to survive it must be successful in both Moments. For years the principles surrounding these Moments of Truth have been followed by successful companies.

(0:47) Google took a fresh look at this concept to determine what impact the internet has had on a consumer's Moment of Truth. They realized that with the wealth of information available to consumers today there is another Moment of Truth and called it the Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT (pronounced ZEE-mot). Jim Lecinski of Google wrote a terrific digital book, Winning The Zero Moment of Truth. Given the origin of this concept, it is steeped in consumer products. However, there are many examples of its use across markets. I believe the applications to the marina market are many.

(0:34) I'd like to take a few Minutes to introduce you to some of the concepts because I believe they are critical to success in the new information age that we all live and work in. Here are his major conclusions:

* The buying decision journey has changed. ZMOT is a vital new addition to the classic three-step process of stimulus, shelf (FMOT), experience (SMOT).

* What was once a message is now a conversation. Shoppers today find and share their own information about products, in their own way, on their own time.

* Word of mouth is stronger than ever. For the first time in human history, word of mouth is a digitally archived medium.

* No MOT is too small. If consumers will do research online for houses and health care, they'll also do it for Band-Aids and ballpoint pens.

* The MOTs are meeting. Our mobile devices are MOT machines. As mobile usage grows, the zero, first and second moments of truth are converging.

(0:06) I delve into more detail in the following Minutes and try to relate some of the concepts to the world of boating. It's a new world which means new opportunities for those willing to adapt.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You've Got a Friend

(0:55) Every review or comment that is submitted to ActiveCaptain comes through my inbox. There was a time when I read every one - it was a great source of marketing knowledge. Today we receive far too many for me to read them but I do skim, glance, and read over some.

(0:49) Over the past few weeks I have noticed numerous reviews addressing how marinas handled situations where a boater was in need of help. It may have been an engine or mechanical problem, a grounding, or even a sick pet. The boaters were typically passionate about how well, or poorly, their situation was handled. They may be some of the most passionate reviews I have read.

(0:39) That got me thinking about how critical it is to handle these high emotion situations well. A little help at those times will be remembered forever. The boater needing help will tell hundreds of other boaters, be more likely to write a positive review, and come back over and over.

(0:32) It also got me thinking about two pieces of advice I've given in previous Marina Minutes, "The VHF radio can be one of your best marketing tools" and "It's hard to write something negative about a friend." Let boaters in trouble know that you are a friend there to help when they need it most.

(0:24) Make sure that the person monitoring the radio - remember someone needs to always be monitoring the radio - is trained on how to offer assistance to boaters in need. Be ready to accommodate boaters needing help by either bringing them into your docks or directing them to an appropriate location. Have emergency numbers readily available.

(0:16) This is the time to go that extra step. Do not hold unreasonably to rules or policies. Do not tell the trawler limping in on a single engine that the face dock is for mega-yachts. Don't tell the anchored sailboat with a medical problem that only slip holders can tie-up a dinghy. When we are in crisis the smallest act of kindness will be appreciated and remembered. You will be rewarded many times over by the goodwill generated. Plus it's just the right thing to do.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Increasing Reviews - Monitoring

(1:00) You know it's important to focus on what happens before a customer leaves a review. Make sure you've set realistic expectations and that the experience exceeds those expectations. Provide a Wow factor. Ask for the review.

(0:54) But what you do afterwards can also have an impact on future reviews. This includes your reactions to updated reviews and new customer reviews. It is critical that you monitor your reviews and respond appropriately. Do not leave this important medium to chance.

(0:47) Every boater who leaves you a review should receive a response. Every boater.

(0:44) Responding to a positive review reinforces their good feelings making the boater more likely to return to your facility, tell others about the experience, and write future positive reviews. This in turn motivates other boaters to also write reviews. Who doesn't like to know they're being listened to?

(0:35) For maximum impact thank them in person if possible. It's not unusual for a boater to leave their review while still at your facility. The moment a review is written, we send you an email. By monitoring the reviews that come in, you can stop them on the dock or even stop by their boat. This type of personal interaction will have a huge impact. In fact, they often result in a gushing email to me.

(0:20) Respond to negative reviews to let them know you are always listening. Let everyone know you are interested in their experience. It's your chance to turn around a negative experience or at least get them to give you another try. But don't delay. The National Association of Retail Marketing Services 2010 study showed that 95% of unhappy customers will return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.

(0:06) Let the boating community know you are listening. They will reward you with more reviews and more business.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Increasing Reviews - Why

(1:05) It is important that you make the most of whatever marketing budget you have. When was the last time you evaluated your marketing programs? It is likely that strategies that may have worked in the past are no longer having the same effect.

(0:54) There can be no denying that user reviews have risen to the top for influencing customer decisions. So, it only makes sense that they should weigh heavily in your marketing plans. However, I find that some marinas are uncomfortable and even skeptical of the review process. This is not a view you can afford to keep any longer.

(0:45) Why? Because no matter what you feel, customers are embracing user reviews and in a big way. Don't take my word for it. Just look at a handful of the hundreds of studies done in recent years:

- 97% of UK consumers claim to trust online reviews and over two thirds state that product ratings and reviews are the most helpful feature when researching products. [Jupiter Research, 2007]

- 87% of respondents said they would trust a friend's recommendation over a review by a critic, while 84% said they would trust user reviews over a critic. [Marketing Sherpa, 2007]

- 75% of consumers do not believe companies tell the truth in their advertisements according to Yankelovich research. Further, consumer reviews are trusted 12 times more than product descriptions by the company according to analysis by eMarketer.com.

- Review readers noted that reviews generated by fellow consumers had a greater influence than those generated by professionals. [comScore/The Kelsey Group, October 2007]

- 97% of consumers who made a purchase based on an online review found the review to be accurate. [comScore/The Kelsey Group, Oct. 2007]

- 88% of respondents reported that they had posted or planned to post positive reviews about their online shopping experience. [Nielson, 2007]

- 94% of reviewers reported wanting to support good travel service providers as being their main motivation for leaving a review. [TripAdvisor, 2007]

(0:07) User generated reviews are becoming the single biggest influence in the decisions your customers are making. Now is the time for you to embrace this medium and use it to build your business.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Increasing Reviews - Asking

(1:02) The single best way to increase the number of reviews you receive is to simply ask for them. As simple as this sounds, it is rarely done. It is important that every member of your staff who interfaces with boaters are trained to do this.

(0:54) Asking how your customer's experience was should be a standard part of every transient checkout. Encourage happy boaters to write a review and provide them with a link to the website - "I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay. I hope you'll tell other boaters with a review on ActiveCaptain." Consider including the website link on your checkout documents and circling it to remind them. Of course, if they're wearing an ActiveCaptain hat you can simply tell them you look forward to reading their review.

(0:40) Many marinas collect boater's email addresses as part of their checkin. Every one should receive a thank you email which includes a link directly to your ActiveCaptain marker making it easy for them to leave a review.

(0:29) Make sure to include a link on your website. You can place it on your homepage or consider having a Testimonials page highlighting what boaters have written about your facility. You're welcome to include your reviews from the ActiveCaptain site if you credit us and provide a link.

(0:22) Whenever a boater compliments you, your staff, or your facility, it is the perfect time time ask for a review. "I hope you'll tell other boaters on ActiveCaptain." I think you'll find that savvy boaters understand the importance of online reviews today and will want to keep their favorite marinas in business.

(0:14) Don't forget your long-term slip holders. Who knows the advantages of staying at your marina better? Ask them to let the boating community know why they have chosen your marina for their homeport.

(0:08) Building and maintaining a top notch marine facility takes hard work and dedication. Don't be shy. Be proud of what you have accomplished. Ask boaters to help you spread the word. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.