Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Jobs for the dead

A newspaper report that the termnally ill are being given advice on how to get back into work has surfaced this week. The government spokesperson said, "we believe the terminally ill should be offered the same employment opportunities as everyone else."

But why stop there…

Dear Mr Cowthorpe

I was sorry to hear of your recent death, but thought you would be interested to learn about the latest employment opportunities available to the lately deceased. As you may know, it is government policy to offer the same work opportunities to the dead as to the living, and a number of exciting openings for the 'life-challenged' have become available this week.

Selfridges have a number of vacancies for the slimmer corpse, especially if you passed away whilst striking a fashionable pose. (Limited) expressions of interest are invited for those under 8 stone who pegged it whilst pouting, leaning forwards with one hand on a hip or indulging in a superman style 'legs apart, fists on hips' position to act as mannequins in our haute couture dept. May suit the longer term deceased given the weight requirements.

Arsenal FC
This well respected football organisation invite CVs from all cadavers regardless of race or sexuality - we are an equal opportunity corpse employer. The role is to join our largely silent and unanimated team of supporters to stand impassively behind the goal with a glazed expression. If that's you, please contact Joyce Fremlin, head of supporter recruitment (Bodies Division).

Note from UK.Gov. A similar position is also available in the back four of Wolverhampton Wanderers first team.

Government Departments - Highways Division.
The UK Highways Ministry have a range of national vacancies for Activity Observation Operatives to join our road maintenance department. Duties include; standing idly in groups whilst a loan digger driver moves earth in a laconic fashion; remaining immovable whilst a 13 mile queue of traffic backs up behind a row of cones on the A21; and standing in a hole staring into the distance whilst waiting for the 'right pipes to turn up'. Please apply to Fred Watts, highways recruitment.

If you or any of your recently deceased acquaintances would be interested in these positions, please contact our office by knocking three times on the table or throwing a glass ornament across the room before 1st March 2012.

Yours sincerely

Eileen Biggs. (Ms)

Monday, 6 February 2012

view from the fence...

I'm not really a marketeer, or marketer as I believe they prefer to be called nowadays. I'm more of a writer. Which means I observe and comment rather than steer. I find you often get the best view from sitting on the fence.

Like today. I received an email broadcast from two of the people I admire. One is Seth Godin who seems to have captured the zeitgeist of what's happening in this new model of business that the internet and social media have been the catalysts for. And the other is Drayton Bird, an old school marketer and writer who has a lot of pithy wisdom to divulge.

Today's missives were interesting. Seth was talking about how businesses are getting better at targeting their customer. His message was that the customer isn't necessarily the end user. Nike targets athletes and celebrates them because they don't really have a clue who actually buys their gear. Similarly Apple only ever had one customer. It was Steve Jobs because he was the voice, soul and vision of every apple customer. In short, Seth was saying, as he often does, focus on your real customer and build your business around them.

Drayton was talking about the Pareto principle and how businesses demand to get more sales often means they ignore the bottom of the barrel. The long tail I believe it's called in SEO terms. It's easy to keep targeting the top 20% who make up 80% of your income - but when you look at the figures sometimes those loyal customers cost a lot to keep loyal. Whereas the 80% who don't buy so often can be much cheaper to get an order from. In a nutshell he was saying don't let the stats drive your business.

What I thought was interesting, was, that although these views might seem a little contradictory, actually they both point to the same thing. The old model of looking at the numbers and going after the easiest return is no longer viable. For businesses to stay in businesses, they have to work harder. Harder at getting to know their customers better, harder at finding out what motivates people, not just what socio-economic group they're in. And harder at thinking ahead to what all these diverse customers will mean to their product line, their service proposition and their brand.

It also shows you can admire two schools of thought - even if they oppose each other. Time to get on my fence again.