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When prompted on the marketing he sees daily in his travels, JD doesn’t hold back his views.

“Retailing, in general, is still living in a sea of sameness – like living in a time warp. Very few are changing tack or rebranding to take advantage of the new world in business.
“The old ways of marketing are ineffective – given that the ways we communicate have changed dramatically over recent years, with online and offline marketing messages flashing at us all daily. We are bombarded with an excess of 3000 of these a day. Yet, we ignore 99 per cent of them! They are invisible to us because they are lame and boring and lack the necessary ingredients to capture our attention.”

A franchise example
In his recent travels, JD detailed a prominent franchise brand that has taken a strong, effective action recently.

“I’m a big fan of what Michel’s Patisserie has done recently. They recognised the need to exaggerate their brand culture and made it an actual patisserie. They recognised that ‘theming’ is important to a brand, just as Disney does, for example, with all of its properties. This theming allows them to differentiate their offer from competitors and stand out clearly in their marketplace.

“I would barely have noticed a Michel’s Patisserie among all the other similar-type businesses in a shopping centre previously, but now with a well-constructed, themed approach that is consistent with their brand position and culture, they have clearly separated themselves from the ‘sameness’ competitors.”

One-size-fits-all approach to marketing
JD explains that, when broken down, the ideal marketing model is essentially the same for any business, regardless of size. He calls this framework his ‘Wheel of Wow’.
“You can take my Wheel of Wow and apply it to your business today – no matter the size of it. However, be certain to be really honest with yourself about it. You may well have a loyalty program, for example, but do you and your staff fanatically drive it with your customers?

“My point is, you cannot just tick off a ‘yes’ to having a loyalty program to drive repetitive trade (one of the parts of the Wheel of Wow) if you do not drive it hard at the transaction/service level consistently.”

Wheel of Wow components
In explaining these in more detail, JD gives further insight into his unique yet formulaic approach.

“Extensive research in your audience should always be the trigger for the changes you make. Thus, the first step in the Wheel of Wow is to find out who your most profitable customer is – and then look for more of them.

“Then create a ‘wow’, which could be a new look (such as Michel’s Patisserie has done), a new offer, a new product or even just a new way to present an existing product in a much better way.

“Then adopt the problem/solution mentality to all of your marketing. In the Michel’s Patisserie case, it is a nice environment to enjoy your coffee and cake.

“The fourth part of the Wheel of Wow is to ensure that your online presence reflects this new ‘wow’ you have and does what it is supposed to do in benefit-based headlines and testimonials encouraging customer patronage/purchase as well as, crucially, a data collection process to be able to contact customers with offers.

“The fifth part of the Wheel of Wow is to generate repetitive trade. The most efficient way to do this by far is to get customer contact details, so that you can send them offers. I’m simply stunned at how poorly this final piece of the wheel is done by the smallest to the largest retailers.”

This final point from JD is probably the one that shocks him the most. When pressed further on the significance of this lack of data collection, he says very confidently “that over 95 per cent of all retail businesses fail to collect data – absolute madness”.

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