June 26, 2014

Oh Boy!

Click here to see an email that I received from Twitter two days ago.

Twitter tells us that they conducted a survey (they have more "digital" information than almost any brand that ever existed - they could have used that information, right?) and found that 40% of Twitter users have never been influenced once by Twitter to buy something from a small/medium sized business.


Give this thread a read ... especially the comments (click here).

Or this one from Gallup, flawed though it may be (click here).

Or this essay combining several articles from the mainstream media (click here).

Social (and omnichannel) are finally being evaluated, challenged, questioned.

I know, you're going to tell me that Yelp is inherently social, and Yelp strongly influences where sales happen. Come on!! If a restaurant has great merchandise (food), customers want to talk about it. If a restaurant has poor service, customers want to talk about it. That's not social, that's rooted in merchandise + service + story. So yes, Yelp is inherently social and is "proof" that "social works", but Yelp doesn't exist if customers don't want to talk about great food or poor food/service. Without the merchandise, Yelp doesn't exist.

I know, you're going to hop on in the comments and yell at me and label me stupid. You'll ignore the thousands of cases where social doesn't work, and focus on three cases where it did work - you'll say that the thousands of cases are proof that people "don't get social" and "don't do it right". Ok. But why is it, then, that almost anybody can easily generate sales through email marketing or paid search? Why is it that catalogers, catalogers for crying out loud, can easily make money on what you consider a "dead" concept, but social fails repeatedly and you blame the victim for using it wrong?

And omnichannel isn't much different, folks. You're told omnichannel creates riches - and yet, companies like Macy's, the alleged best at the practice, can barely boost comp store sales above the rate of inflation. Then you have H&M, who generated billions in the United States without even having e-commerce until a year ago. If omnichannel is so powerful, wouldn't H&M have died on the vine?

I've analyzed more than 120 businesses since founding MineThatData. There are several metrics that routinely illustrate success. They are:
  1. Merchandise Productivity. Are you generating more sales per comparable item, year-over-year?
  2. Number of New, Productive Items. Are you generating more new, winning items, year-over-year?
  3. New Customers. Are you increasing the number of new customers, year-over-year?
  4. Ad-To-Sales Ratio: Are you able to generate more sales on the same level of ad spend, year-over-year?
We've gotten so far away from focusing on what matters that we don't even know what matters anymore. Get back to analyzing merchandise productivity. Get back to understanding customer behavior, longitudinally ... if the customer purchased 2 times per year in 2004 and buys 2 times per year in 2014, then what good did all of those marketing concepts (social & omnichannel in particular) do for your business?