Claire Eeles left me a really good thought on Facebook, so I thought I would share it here...
And having only one airline service NZ directly (Air NZ) is a real restriction! As fantastic as Air NZ is, the reality is that most affluent North Americans travel/upgrade on the mileage points. Absolutely standard practice. And it's impossible to buy/upgrade a seat on Air NZ if you're not a Koru Club member!! All the Kiwis end up sitting at the front of the plane & the target affluent North American tourist needs to spend $8k+ per person for a Business Class fare. From LAX or JFK you can go absolutely anywhere for that price!! NZ is on people's bucket list...but not always #1.
This is especially true for the Nth American audience. And I wonder if it would ever be revealed in Market Research. Little of the factors that inhibit purchasing at the final "activation" or purchase phase get revealed through traditional research processes. Too often marketing of nations focused on perceptions of the brand rather than on activating latent demand and existing brand awareness. NZ needs to focus on activating demand.
Interestingly, the factor Claire highlights is also true for Australia, but less so due to the wide choice of airlines.
I'm guessing it will take Microsoft time to integrate Yammer with Sharepoint, and during this time, hopefully, the will come to their senses. Yammer is wonderful for its simplicity, ease of use and convienience. So, why would anyone integrate it with the most complex, unwieldy, impenetrebable piece of software a user could ever encounter?
Any worries about what will happen to Yammer inside of Microsoft?
You never know what will happen inside of a large company, but Steve Ballmer met with David and they both are incredibly excited. They both know that Outlook has to change and I think, over time, that there will be a combination of Yammer and Outlook. Before that, Yammer will be integrated into SharePoint.
Surges in tourism driven by events like LOTR are short-term. NZ needs to present itself aggressively in key markets as the must visit destination. There needs to be a decision driver (I am amazed how many Aussies are visiting Cuba because they think it is about to change so much once Castro dies - they want to experience the romance before the place gets Americanized).
Fixing the brand means every person (including us who don't live there) need to take responsibility for the product and get it right. Service is still variable. Attention to detail is missing (why do we think the first thing a visitor should encounter is a duty free liqour store?). NZ's leadership brands (Air NZ for instance) have done an incredible job of creating positive experiences to be remembered. We need more. Especially in the major cities.
NZ should't confuse awareness with activation. I've yet to meet someone who doesn't think of NZ as beautiful and full of firendly people. (OK, they might not know where NZ is but that is something to be dealt with later). What they need to be convinced of is that the airlines servicing NZ are amazing and its one sleep away. You can wake up in NZ, in London, In Shanghai - they are all one sleep away.
NZ shouldn't confuse what is important to tourists with what will motivate them to come. Every NZer should be clear on the motivators so we can communicate them.
Finally, and this will be as hard as it is contentious, NZ needs to develop a "better together" value proposition with Australia. For so many, the trip downunder is the trip of a lifetime - they do it once. Why should seeing the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, the Sydney Opera House, Queenstown, Rotorua, Auckland - to name a few, involve a trade-off. Present them as a once-in-a-lifeitme package. You could easily theme them - the wine-lovers could do the Sounds, Barossa, Queenstown and McClaren. You get the idea.
I'm not sure about the logic that says a company that provides a free service - Facebook, Twitter, Quora -- should also provide free telephone support. Users shouldn't confuse them not doing this with not listening - I suspect it is pure business economics.
What drives me mad is when companies like eBay and PayPal, who charge for a service can't be bothered providing easy to access support. I'm experiencing this first hand at the moment with Billmelater. Some criminal managed to use my wifes name to set up an account - wrong social security number, wrong birthdate but her name.
Now, PayPal and Billmelater clearly operate a pretty weak fraud and risk process because the crook was able to run up a good chunck of purchases. We managed to track someone down who agreed that is was blatant fraud and they would deal with it. As an aside, we can't access the account to communicate with them, becuase, guess what, the password, birthdate and SSN are all fake.
And what did they do then, referred it on to a collections agency who insists on harrassing people rather than solving the problem with Billmelater and eBay. And who are you going to call in this instance? Nobody. They'd rather just rol the dice on you submitting to the harrassment and paying towards their negligence and incompetence. We won't - but I fear many will.
I'm all for anyone with a business that takes your money in exchange for products or services on the web being required to offer phone support. But for those that don't, I'm not sure how they would survive.
What is needed is a clear standard so that the PayPal and Billmelaters are forced to be accountable to the customers they pretend to serve.