A VP of Marketing from Wiley Publishers wrote me a few weeks ago and offered me a book to review. I asked why and her comment was that she noticed that I have a lot a post about customer obsession and that my subscribership was healthy. I said, “sure, send me the book.” I’ve started to read it and I think it’s interesting, but I won’t finish it. But, I did find this gem about Toyota and how it has created word-of-mouth buzz through its presence in Second Life and Whyville. What I especially liked in the book was a section on Toyota Word of Mouth Marketing.
Toyota Scion and Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Here was an especially interesting part about customer obsession, Toyota, and creating buzz through Word-of-Mouth Marketing:
In 2003, it [Toyota] launched its new Scion brand, aimed at a hip young audience of 20-something drivers, using a marketing campaign designed primarily to generate word of mouth. Sales reps in goatees and sunglasses were dispatched to bohemian neighborhoods in cities like New York and San Francisco to distribute Scion-branded CDs, clothing gift certificates, and copies of alternative lifestyle magazines like Urb and Tokion — all to induce young people to take a test drive and talk about Scion with their friends.
Toyota has retained and expanded this edgy marketing approach. When it introduced a new Scion model — the boxy Scion bB — in December 2005, the company initially pretended it was launching a new MP3 player to compete with Apple’s iPod. Flyers and stickers implying as much blanketed urban neighborhoods to fuel rumors. Toyota even outfitted salespeople at 54 HMV music stores in Japan with shirts and bags carrying the bB logo. The truth didn’t come out until the car was unveiled on December 26, 2005 at a Tokyo club — complete with a new pop single that a local band dedicated to the vehicle.
Now, Scion is going even further to genereate buzz — into what online gamers call the metaverse. In July 2006, Toyota announced that the new Scion xB was being “released” for sale in Second Life and Whyville, two popular online fantasy communities — the first automaker to infiltrate these worlds. Avatars (online personas created by real-life, game-addicted humans) who “live” in these worldscan buy Scions, take out loans to help pay for them, customize their vehicles, and take their virtual friends for rides around cyberspace. Not even a single dollar (or clam — the official currency of Whyville) ever enters the coffers of Toyota from these fictitious sales. But the compnay hopes the strategy will generate even more talk about their brand…and, perhaps, real-world sales.
Great way to create buzz; in fact, Wiley Publishers writing me and sending me a book to read and review is a manifestation of that approach. As in product development, manufacturing, and in satisfying the customer, Toyota also leads the way even in marketing.
Lean Six Sigma Examples
I can’t endorse this book yet, but below is the content of the inside flap:
In today’s world, organizations of every kind”from for-profit businesses to government agencies and nonprofit groups”are experiencing huge difficulties in attracting and retaining clients. With competition intensifying, consumers becoming more demanding, and old ways of creating loyalty losing their impact, it’s no longer enough to offer just a good product or a useful service. Today’s consumers are looking for something more”an experience that will truly enrich their lives.
As the Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels and a global leader in the travel and tourism industry, Jonathan Tisch establishes strong and lasting connections with countless customers every day, by providing them with experiences that are unique, memorable, and deeply rewarding. And now, in Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough, he wants to help you do the same.
In an appealing and personal style, Tisch”with the help of business writer Karl Weber”distills the important customer relation lessons that he has learned from his successful career in the hospitality industry, and discusses how these lessons can make any organization more customer-centric. Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough will also show you how to improve every customer touch point; understand what customers really want and need; and design organizational structures to meet those needs. These ideas are brought to life through stories
of triumphs achieved and challenges faced by organizations ranging from In-N-Out Burger, Commerce Bank, and Urban Outfitters to the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Santa Fe’s Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and New York City’s 311 system.
The proven insights that fill these pages will help you:
- Use technology to create intimate connections with customers”without losing the human touch
- Find ways to expand your organization’s offerings beyond the basic product or service you’re known for
- Recognize your customers’ needs for physical and psychological safety, and develop innovative ways to meet those needs
- Perfect the “art of the welcome,” in both physical and virtual spaces
- Balance the growing demand for transparency with realistic needs for security and confidentiality
- And much more
Blending thought-provoking ideas with down-to-earth advice, this engaging book reveals why creating an intimate, positive, and long-lasting connection with customers is the key to success for the twenty-first-century organization, and illustrates how leaders in any field can accomplish this goal. Entertaining and informative, Chocolates on the Pillow Aren’t Enough offers a detailed look at how the right customer experience can produce long-lasting success for any organization.