24 Hours of Observation

[:en]By Jeanniey Mullen, VP Marketing, NOOK by Barnes & Noble

Whenever I take my kids to an amusement park my mom and aunt love to go with me. They never ride anything. Instead, they just like to stroll along, sit and people watch. I have some friends who love to go to the beach and do the same thing. And, in 3rd grade, I had a teacher who used to make us repeat this crazy rhyme (yep, it was Catholic school):

“The wise old owl sat on an oak,
The more she heard the less she spoke
The less she spoke, the more she heard
Why can’t we all be like that bird?”This week, while I was traveling for business I thought it would be a good time to take a hint from my friends and family and put my people watching skills to the test. I wanted to act like that wise old owl. My hope that that I would walk away with insights on how to better connect with the customer when creating marketing plans. What I can say is that it was quite a 24 hours. Never had I been so quiet, and never had I taken away so much insight to apply to my efforts. Here are the top 3 takeaways:

1) Observation: People really DO follow the crowd in real-life situations.

At the airport we received a text that our departure would be delayed by 30 minutes. Yet, when 2 people (who must not have received that message) stood up under the “Group 1” sign at the normal boarding time I watch almost the entire rest of the waiting area get up and get in line. For what? It was a good 30 minutes before we were going anywhere. When I asked people why they were in line, not one person could give me a justifiable answer.

Take away: Find real-life brand ambassadors and influencers to drive crowds.

2) Observation: The art of customer service has been lost to the art of cost-cutting.

On the plane the wifi wasn’t working- for a few people. After multiple people called the flight attendant, instead of helping them troubleshoot she made the comment “Look you saved $12.99 be happy.”

Take away: A brand needs to define what the customer interaction goal is: Efficiency or Experience. It doesn’t appear there is room for both.

3) Observation: Innovation is everlasting!

At the hotel I saw a show on sushi-boat companies who have redesigned their circular displays to be more cost-effective, yet serve more people. I was blown away with the simple innovations applied to these businesses and the big difference they made, including a slot at the table where you could slide your dirty dish to make room for more sushi!

Take away: Sometimes, it’s the simple things that make a big difference. Fund innovation.

They may seem simplistic and basic, but these three items can make the difference in your organization and brand success.

What do you think?

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