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Rory Sutherland, vice chairman of Ogilvy UK, once famously said that when everyone else shouts ‘paper’, the rewards go to the man who shouts ‘scissors’.
Crescent Textile Mills is engaged in the business of textile manufacturing comprising of made ups, processed fabrics and yarn made from raw cotton and synthetic fibers. Like most fashion, apparel and textile companies in Pakistan, they launched a flagship brand by the name of Cres Home Store this year and their director, Ahmed Shafi, sought out an agency specializing in conversion marketing. In June 2014, they hired MWM Studioz.
In what Sasha Strauss calls “the time before now”, agencies create strategies and execute them to the letter. They created a creative calender to plan out what would be broadcasted (often one way) to the target audience. Their clients approved this, felt safe and in control. Not so much anymore.
Now agencies (must) recognize that users want a conversation, not a monologue. It can be a debate, and one where listening is prioritized over speaking. Agencies must also realize that external events occur, far outside their control. So when the city where your market is based has an Ebola crisis, will you insensitively continue promoting two-for-one offers? Sports wins, innovation announcements, competitor strategies are outside our control. Are they and the behaviors they create accounted for in the creative calender?
“Strategy does give you a direction, but it should not shackle you into one box,” says Ahmed Shafi, “we don’t know when or who will score a touchdown in the Superbowl. So will you fixate social engagement around a pre-created calender? Conversations occur in real time. You can go in with your ideas, but in the end, listening matters (and is rewarded) more than speaking.”
While most agencies focused social and digital engagement consider conversions as the number of buyers divided by the number of visitors, MWM Studioz instead considers what was spent against what was earned in numbers.
“Likes are, for the most part, worthless.” proclaims Ahmed. “They are at best a perception building tool. But what brands forget is that customers are smart when it comes to social and digital. They know fans can be bought. They know not to judge a book by its cover. They know to associate value and purpose with themselves. The CEO of MWM Studioz, delivered on this and focus on conversions.”
Industry experts shared that customers in this category seek quality and Crescent, with its 500 to 700 thread count products, has delivered for decades. The product cycle is such that on average sheets are purchased every 3 to 4 months. Crescent’s are purchase every 8 months and are slow moving items. So the sweet spot is between new and returning customers.
Danish applied behavioral economics to translate offline in-store browsing & buying behavior into the online space. Crescent’s product quality, compared to others, for example with 500 and 700 thread count.
Research in this space shows that the average order value at competing eCommerce stores in the high end category is PKR 2,200 to PKR 2,500 while Crescent’s is between the PKR 5,000 to PKR 6,000 range.
In light of this success story and its unorthodox approach, its worth noting that Dr. Jules Goddard of London Business School attacks the idea of ‘best practice’ since and notes that if everyone does the same thing, you get clutter and get commoditized in your offer and brand perception. To conclude, no-one benefits from this: not consumers, not businesses, not share-owners.