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January 24, 2006


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A lot of what Reicheld says in his latest book is not quite as new as it may look.

Much of the original research & thinking that apparently underpins his book seems to have been done by Rice & Hofmeier in South Africa in the early 1990s - that's right, 15 years ago!. Their "Conversion Model" which they described in their 2001 book "Commitment-led Marketing" covers much the same ground as Reicheld.

You can download much of Rice & Hofmeier's original research from their website at

It is sometimes amazing how original ideas get reworked as something new. I suppose that's what they call progress.

Graham Hill
Independent Management Consultant

The Myth of The Ultimate Marketing Question.

The Ultimate Marketing Question is only a myth. There is no such thing as "an ultimate marketing question" because, whenever you gather and measure data, you will find yourself constantly one step behind the consumer. What you are asking about has already happened. You can not be proactive. You can only be reactive - a poor tradition and pitfall for marketers.

In 20 years of turning around brands at P&G and other companies we have done away with question based marketing and replaced that activity by stimulating consumer minds with over 10,000 product dimensions - far more learning latitude than any previously available. We proved that when you ask questions, you do not get the voice of the consumer, you get the voice of the inquirer through the question being asked - a form of bias that will lead you astray. For example, Starbucks employs "specially designed" resources that help it gather and measure data. Already Starbucks is a step behind the market - observe as breakfast warming sandwiches serve sub par fare - further diluting Starbucks brand equity in attempting to please everyone. We've seen these last gasp marketers practicing their craft for 80 years now and have learned that the definition of failure is trying to please everyone or being all things to all people. That's what turns rapid growth businesses in slumbering mature brands. Too many tactical managers.
Martin Calle
Calle & Company

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