Marketing Focus: 1. Dunning Kruger Effect 2. Modern Retailing 3. A Sustainable World

That explains a lot!
Australian Labor Party (ALP) political heavy-weights Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek, and Penny Wong appear to have at least one thing in common. 
They each exhibit the characteristics of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
It is not an affliction that is limited to politicians and politics. 

Some business owners and marketers (along with their entities, products and services) suffer from the condition, and its consequences.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority.  It is a metacognitive inability to recognise ineptitude, brought about by an error in judgement of one-self, or that which they represent.
In the case of the ALP leadership team, there is little evidence of acceptance or, indeed, recognition of the incompetence of the Gillard and Rudd Federal governments in the management of the Australian economy.  Big spending government and the attendant increasing deficits were the primary reasons for the record loss of seats in the September, 2013 Australian Federal election.
To the electorate, the turmoil associated with the Prime Ministership of successive Labor governments was secondary to the electorate.
One is often left speechless by the conviction and self-belief of Shorten, Plibersek and Wong in their public utterances when the reality seems to be so distant.
Similarly, one real estate agency in particular suffers from the delusion of what its co-owners and management team consider excellent branding.
The various uses in signage and literature of the colour combinations, red and white, red and blue, blue and white, red, white and blue and cream and blue are both inept and confusing.

If one is going to make a mark in marketing and in real estate one needs discipline and adroit application.
The Myer department store group suffered from similar disorders.
It had lost touch with its primary customer base.  Most initiatives of the previous management regime were, at best, incremental and marginal.
Some would contend that given Myer’s decline in recent times, the term inept is apt.

The relatively newly appointed Managing Director correctly stated the belief that the company had lost its relevance to many consumers.
Why then are previous Myer executives offering themselves as a conference speakers and being promoted as an iconic retailers?  Perhaps it’s a typographical error.  Ironicmay be more apt.
Likewise, a significant percentage of companies which contend and promote superior service may well be afflicted with the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
Too many businesses, owners, managers and staff members do not know sufficiently well their customers and their needs, aspirations, expectations and assessments.
Let’s be conclusive, albeit in a generalised sense.  Now is a good time for a reality check … and, possibly, for some remedial action.
The alternative could well be reflective of the probable future for Bill Shorten and the ALP.  That is, years in opposition, clouded in self-denial.
Barry Urquhart
Marketing Focus
M:      041 983 5555

Read on.
Article text and two commentaries follow below.

Contemporary retailing is a convergence of retail, theatre, entertainment, food and technology. 
It is both integrated and interactive.
Those who do not recognise, respect and utilise the new template inevitably languish in mediocrity and irrelevance.
Positive ambience and buying experiences are best founded on the sequential elements of choice, competitiveness, simplicity, excitement, engagement, productivity and service.
The human quotient is writ large in all aspects, and on both sides of the figurative counter.
This applies to those seeking to service and to satisfy the needs and expectations of consumers from the Generation Y and Millennium segments, 81% of whose spending occurs in-store.

On-line interactions and transactions are realities with all consumer segments.  However, on balance, the channels do not create new value.  In many instances, they simply compete on price and are participants in a race to the bottom.
The most effective countervailing force is emotion, which is best enunciated via theatre, entertainment, food and technology.

Global warming, climate change and sustainability are very topical issues for businesses, governments and the media.
They are by nature emotional and polarising.
Incumbent governments, individual businesses and commerce sectors find it difficult to secure and maintain advantages on those aspects.
Everyone, it seems, has an opinion, most of which are conflicting and, often, contradictory.
The challenge is to arrive at consensus, initiate positive actions and to achieve – yes, in a sustainable manner – advantages and benefits for people, nations, economies and local ecologies.
 A strong and prominent focus on the human quotient provides an appropriate and compelling reason why all entities and people should be driven to strive for, contribute to and be sensitive about sustainability.
Without a commitment to address and redress this current and evolving issue it is probable that life, as we know it, is not sustainable.
It is important that the debate and discourse not be distracted by accusations about cause and blame.
Each of the following cornerstones is important, but social is necessarily first among equals.  That is the outcome.
* Social

* Environmental
* Economic

The processes involving the Environmental and Economic aspects can and should be manipulated to achieve a utopian goal … sustainability of the people, the land, the environment and the economy.

Big data is big on … well, data.  In other words, information.
What it lacks is intelligence.

The leaders of customer-centric entities will fully comprehend these sentiments, and their implications. 
It is rare that a consumer or client exclaims:  You lack information. 
They do, however, repeatedly declare that service providers lack understanding.
Big Data, and data at large, provide insights and, more particularly, overviews on what happens.
To a limited extent they can and do offer perspectives on how things happen.
Thus, for those who do not have access to Big Data, all is not lost.

However, like surveys, they have innate biases, limitations and differences.
Take for example, on-line after–sales surveys.
They appeal to and attract a limited segment of customers, and an even lower percentage of people in general.

Time-poor individuals readily dismiss the opportunity to dedicate 10 minutes or more to complete a survey, with little evident, immediate and direct personally beneficial outcomes.
Time-saving initiatives in survey designs, like providing pre-coded answers, seldom, if ever, provide a complete and meaningful insight.
They imply the researcher or the company already know the answers and are simply seeking to assign percentages.
If it’s communication you wish to promote, then be sure that it is two-way.

A meaningful understanding of the needs, wants, values, aspirations and action determinants of customers is derived from a focus on the question, WHY? 
Attitudinal (or qualitative) research is invaluable.
It complements and adds both data value and meaning to the data which is retrievable from sales, service and call records, much of which is accessible from the cloud and is referred to as Big Data.

External professional researchers can be retained to formulate, document and conduct both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.  Their skills, experience and detachment provide for objective and pertinent analyses and conclusions.
However, that professional input should complement, not replace, the insights and understandings gained from the interactions between internal service providers and customers, clients, suppliers and associates.
Personal, informal interactions offer scope for recognising, responding to, comprehending and influencing a broad spectrum of nuances, perspectives and expressions.
People – customers and clients – feel valued when they are heard, respected and directly responded to.
Relationships are founded and enhanced, trust is promoted and integrity established and sustained when time, effort and resources are dedicated to encouraging and enhancing relationships. 
Big Data is one thing.
Attention to the little points of detail is another.
Remember, little things mean a lot.

The prevailing straitened times ensure that the margins for error are typically wafer-thin.
Strategic and operational decisions are most effective when they are founded on well-informed analyses.

Big Data provides invaluable, but only partial information.
So too do statistically based surveys.
Both provide perspectives on the big picture, even with one-on-one relationships.

In many instances, the findings gleaned from Big Data and surveys identify their intelligence gaps and necessitate engagement with existing, prospective and past clients, to address the issue of WHY?
Those businesses whose leaders encourage, facilitate and support increased interactions between their service providers and customers – external and internal – inevitably enjoy greater sales, customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, referrals and stability.
Specific skills, qualifications and training in research methodologies, practices and analyses can be, and are, readily complemented by the heightened sensitivities of engaged team members.
Those in the know generally seek more, achieve more and are more motivated.
One can never over-allocate time, money and resources to studying, understanding and intelligently interacting with customers.
They will ensure that knowledge about the big and the small things is retrieved and can be utilised to refine philosophies, beliefs, policies and practices.

An eminently sensible approach to pursuing more information, intelligence and understanding of existing, prospective and past clients is to deploy efforts and resources to utilise and to integrate Big Data, qualitative and quantitative research and interpersonal interactions and relationships. 
The most readily available pool for such is held by staff members.
Leaders need to be selective in the questions.
Many answers will be forthcoming, so that all will be “in the know!”

Barry Urquhart
Business Strategist
Marketing Focus
M:      041 983 5555

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