Tag Archives for Choice
What can a blog post about search vs. social network influencers turn up about shirt manufacturers and their role in consumers’ jobs-to-be-done?
Here’s a comment from a guy named Carl Mistlebauer at the Fred Wilson blog, AVC, which should show you how observing, analyzing and using data in new ways can make people and products into a success. Carl, as it turns out has done a lot of things.
The owners of an apparel manufacturer retired. They shifted their business to Carl, who decided to pursue a “size-centric” web 2.0 model for selling shirts on the Internet.
When we decided to build our first e-commerce site we did so believing that B2C would only be the “icing” on the cake, not the cake its self (that would always be retailers).
The reality is that even with going into it as an after thought, and even with all the mistakes we made, we still ended up having to shut down our B2C after 6 months because we could not handle the business from an inventory standpoint (our internet efforts not only created a dramatic surge in B2C sales but it also saw a dramatic increase in our B2B sales both from new retailers interested in our product and increased sales from our existing retailers).
Something happened when Carl’s team flipped the switch on the Internet model. They got customers they didn’t know they had, or that they wanted. He had always thought that retailers were in his business model. It turns out, they were not.
Now, our traditional customer has always been a middle aged white male who is middle to working class; we also only sold pocket tees.
So, then the second go at B2C we had added tee shirts and long sleeve tees. All of the sudden we started getting sales from women, younger males, and a much broader racial demographic.
At this point I realized that B2C was definitely in our future and would eventually be our future (I still was not able to accept that our retailers would not account for less than 75% of our business.)
But what accounts for this shift? It turns out that knowing how a very specific kind of shopper does his or her shopping is the key.
The basic problem is that a 350 lb or 500 lb person shops differently than the mass market does. Thus the trouble with dealing with consultants and companies that provide services is that they think “t shirts” and then rely on their own experiences to come up with solutions; I would give them a whole 15 page document of information about our market, our consumer, and the psychology of the big and tall consumer and I would end up being presented what I call “a mass market plain vanilla solution.”
Then a couple of years ago I found out that we were selling more big and tall tee shirts than JC Penney’s did in a year, that all I had to figure out was how to offer the big and tall consumer the same options that the mass market enjoys because first of all, none of the major players in big and tall can provide these options (Threadless, Custom Ink, Cafe Press, for example) due to their size and off shoring all production, and secondly, all I had to do was figure out how to connect with college and high school age big and tall kids (male and female) then I would be locking in their loyalty for years to come (JC Penney is attempting this with their new big and tall retail stores – but again, its brick and mortar and not consumer centric.)
Then again, over the last 6 months I have visited over 15 college campuses in states with a high percentage of obese population and I realize that I need to really focus on women; that’s a whole other world for me.
Right now my real struggle is with the fact that while I have a vision of what I want and where I need to head and I have coders plugging away attempting to turn my vision into reality its obvious that there is a person missing between me and them; I just cannot seem to use the right terminology or something but it sure feels that we are speaking two different languages….
Speaking two different languages. There is what the business proprietor believes the market will do, and then there is how the people in the market behave.
How do you get to the central mental and emotional core of what the individuals in that market do? Jobs-to-be-Done is one of those ways. Slow down the film. What is the person doing, thinking, feeling and wanting at the moment of choosing?
What job do they want the e-commerce site to do for them?
For Carl, it seems his customer wanted the e-commerce site to offer everything that eveyr other t-shirt provider had ever provided, but, for her.
There’s a different business in thinking that way.
This blog post relates how one American Airlines flight attendant changed my experience of a flight for the better, which led to me enjoying what will likely become my favorite European city, Barcelona, Spain.
American Airlines Flight 66 Will Board in Three Hours
But I’m feeling a little rough.
That brings me to my perception of the business culture and consumer-facing style of American carriers. Compared to the carriers I frequent most — Asian carriers like Cathay, ANA, Jet Airways, American carriers have some annoying consumer-facing habits.
But when one thing happens to change that, it makes a huge difference.
Two days ago, I was standing in Terminal 8 of JFK, speaking on my phone to my father. I was trying to figure out, “Where do I go to check in for my flight?” There were no signs that indicated which flight was which, or where I should queue up to get my boarding pass. Not even on the little digital displays above the ticketing counters. There was one woman facing down a sea of a hoarding mass of people, who were trying to funnel into the one velvet rope line. It was like looking at the scene outside of Tenjeune in New York on a Friday night.
I waited in line, oblivious to what else I should do, until my turn came to speak to the woman gatekeeping the teeming mob. I felt like I was in a riot scene in a Thomas Hardy novel. And what did she say when I inquired about which section of the line I should stand in? She said this was the re-booking line, that the line for check in was automated and it was to my left.
I don’t often fly American Airlines internationally, and their setup in Terminal 8 is a little confusing. There are no customer service signs anywhere — that I could discover — indicating what is supposed to happen at this terminal.
It’s an international terminal. I am sure you could bet that most of the passengers are in this terminal preparing to fly back to an international destination. It may be their first time in New York City. No wonder there is a teeming mass of hoarding rioters standing outside of a velvet rope facing down one woman who is EXASPERATED, to say the least.
Is this human? What is the design thinking that goes on here? Is this the culture of command and control? All I know is that no expense is spared to make me feel like a frustrated, stressed out, and discombobulated traveler about ready to spend seven hours on a plane over the Atlantic.
I hate turbulence. It frightens me. It makes me uneasy. It is one of the reasons I cannot sleep on planes. The logical centers of my brain tell me that the plane cannot fall out of the air because of turbulence. Physics tell us that the extraordinary amount of lift generated by the wings sailing through the skies at over 600 mph mean that the plane is basically pinned to the sky.
Except when it isn’t.
So, I am on American Airlines flight 66, an Iberia codeshare to Barcelona, and I am riveted to my seat and sitting straight up, leaning a little forward, kind of in a panic.
The plane is literally rocking and rolling its way past Newfoundland and up towards Iceland, and I cannot move. I hate this feeling! I hate it. Any moment now, my irrational, reptilian brain informs me, this plane is going to flip over and plummet 33,000 feet and leave us sprawled against the Atlantic Ocean like smooshed sea cucumbers.
I have put up a review of the Samsung Focus using Windows 7. I’m taking a stab at examining why I use certain types of smartphones, and why a phone that is new to me actually seems to get something done for me that an iPhone cannot.
If you would like to leave feedback, please do so. Here is a link to the review
An MIT scientist Dr. Deb Roy was charting the “word births” of his first child as he learned to speak. After filming about 90,000 hours of video in each room of his house, Dr. Roy then took the data and funneled it through a whole mess of semantic engines and analytsis tools.
He happened upon an interesting discovery that has prompted him to start a venture capital firm and use his language birth methodology in the advertising industry. The discovery could shape new ways of looking at how people engage in social media, a territory that feels ripe for disruption in how consumers and brands interact. But first, the kid learning how to speak.
The discovery has to do with how both the teacher of the new word and the leaner of the new word change their frequency of speaking as one learns the word being delivered.
First, the video that shows his son learning to speak the word ‘ball’:
The video shows:
“Caregiver speech dipped to a minimum and slowly ascended back out in complexity.” In other words, when mom and dad and nanny first hear a child speaking a word, they unconsciously stress it by repeating it back to him all by itself or in very short sentences. Then as he gets the word, the sentences lengthen again. The infant shapes the caregivers’ behavior, the better to learn.
Dr. Roy thinks something about this process can be deployed in research about consumers, and how people engage with content on TV.
Roy is now taking the amazing research capability and team he’s developed and applying it to commerce. He’s on leave from MIT and has founded a VC-backed company calledBluefin Labs that applies these same high-powered analytics to relate, not the speech of a child to that of a father, but events broadcast on TV to conversations taking place in social media, the better to chart “engagement” with the State of the Union Address or Jersey Shore or a car commercial.
The article doesn’t say exactly what the parallel is between engagement in media and learning how to speak, but there is something there with how the programs Roy used to whittle down thousands of hours to the points of most importance.
Maybe brand managers can utilize this technology to figure out when consumers finally click with a brand. Does it really take constant exposure, and constant interaction, the way a child needs a trainer to take on a new word? Or is branding more about a single moment, or a blending of word, action and emotional energy?