Human Zoo


Download™ comes out on top

We're quite excited.

The University of Surrey Learning Tournament was run in May and the results are out.

Download™, our learning platform based upon Spaced Learning™, significantly outperformed the more tradition learning methodologies also tested. The test was one of the biggest ever conducted so the results are very robust and obviously independent. A full white paper will follow.

In the meantime the Business School are commissioning Download™ modules to better prepare graduates for the working environment.

It's early days but Download™ is already causing waves.


An incomplete marketing holy grail!

Every day I get excited about the technological whirlwind that now surrounds us and the potential it offers. And then, in equal measure, I get frustrated at the short-termism and lack of apparent thought that accompanies much of the current exploitation of that technology.

Have marketers got so caught up in the digital age that they have forgotten all the learning and disciplines of the past?

Marketing departments around the globe are investing $bn’s in Facebook but do any of them actually know their share of voice? Surely that matters? And, the mobile phone has the potential to be the ultimate direct marketing tool but where are the marketing platforms that will enable brands to talk to specific consumers or groups of consumers? By how much is mobile marketing currently missing the point?

Technology is a positive thing but when it drives the business and the marketer rather than the business need driving the technology then it is time to take a step back, reassess and approach the opportunity with focus. Those that do will reap the benefits, even if those benefits are simple saving some of the money that is currently being wasted chasing an incomplete marketing holy grail.


We’re inescapably human

A major multinational chemical company once asked me to run a seminar for their b2b marketing teams.  The theme I chose was, ‘Is sales promotion relevant to b2b marketing?’

I started by asking the assembled marketers if they considered sales promotion had a role to play in their marketing mix. To a man (and woman) they said no.

I then went on to examine the core mechanics of sales promotion, discount, added value etc. and to illustrate to them that they used these mechanics all the time as marketing and sales tool. The issue was that they associated the badge, ‘sales promotion’, as being relevant only to consumer marketing.

Although they waivered it is true to say that they were still not, or did not want to be, convinced that something as ‘frivolous’ as sales promotion could enter their professional b2b world.

I then played my trump card. When they had arrived earlier that day they had registered and picked up names badges. On the table with the badges was a bottle of Champaign and a poster that offered them the chance to win said bottle simply by placing their business card in a box and entering a free prize draw. All but one of the attendees entered that draw (and I think the one that didn’t had forgotten to bring business cards with them). Towards the end of the seminar we held the draw, award the Champaign and I then pointed out to them that, by running the most basic and, in theory’ weakest, of all promotional mechanics, a free prize draw, I had just built a database of the entire marketing staff of the company in question. They all looked very sheepish!

I could claim that, on that day, I ‘converted’ that marketers of that company and made them reassess the role of sales promotion within their marketing but, in truth, I don’t think I did. The prejudices ran too deep. The point is, and this was the real point of the seminar, that the ‘human factor’ permeates all aspects of business. The emotional and not just the rational have an effect on all decisions. The free prize draw was entered because individuals want to win the Champaign for themselves, addressing a selfish need even in a work environment. How many times does one company choose to do business with another, not on the basis of price, quality or reliability but on the basis of the personalities involved, the emotional, not the rational holding sway?

If businesses recognise and understand that the ‘human factor’ needs to be taken into account then they are that much more likely to achieve their desired goals. We are all part of the human zoo, but you have to understand the rules if you want to navigate through it successfully.



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