Aarron Spinley

An irreverent series for marketers, builders, leaders, and thinkers. Not always right, but always forthright!

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When I wonder, did the marketing and customer experience people lose their mojo? There is an almost cheerleader culture in the ranks, where we repeat catchphrases, slogans, and mantras without stopping to think. It’s as if, someone ran off with our brain. Well, I beg to differ!

Do you like my introduction?

I‘m using “provocative appeals” theory, where the principal (me!) seeks to provoke an audience into engagement through anti-establishment, or even extreme narrative. Now, I hope it worked, because I so want you to read this. But also, I’m serious.

The “Profession” — I’ll use that term to wrap up everyone that operates in the marketing, CX, eCommerce, loyalty, et al — is in a period of great change. …

The shortcut confusing an entire profession

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Twentieth Century Fox: Inigo Montoya of “A Princess Bride”

How was your experience? Well, it was okay but the overall customer service wasn’t that flash. The, ah, experience, was a bit lumpy. New car? Yep, and I love the driving experience! Hey, how was that session today? Well, I liked their presentation, but experientially, I thought it was flat. By the way, I totes loved Spain last year. Now, that was an experience! And did you buy any more of those gadgets? Yep, but I nearly didn’t. The payment experience was horrible!

Ever notice that the word “experience” is everywhere?

Especially in customer operations: marketing, sales, service, and commerce. Go to a marketing event, read through a CMO forum, listen to a CX podcast. …

The pros and cons of customer survey software

Someone placing their finger on a “how was your day” rating sign
Someone placing their finger on a “how was your day” rating sign
Image: Unsplash/Canva

In my recent travels, I have been asked a lot about the role of survey tools within customer experience and marketing programs. And I get why. But there’s a bit to the answer, so this post covers the angles. Now I can save some time and just point them here!

The rise of survey companies in the digital era has significantly accelerated in the last few years. From IPO raises to mergers and acquisitions, there is a lot of chatter. And all of it on the back of increasing demand for customer data, and better yet, insight.

Ah yes, insight.

That most golden of gooses, in the modern era of engagement. …

A brand’s remedy to the dumb things we say about privacy

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Demonstrators protest changing privacy policies in Vienna. (Ronald Zak/DAPD/AP)

Not long ago, I was speaking at an event on the subject of experience economics and called for more bold use of data to make the customer experience more personal, and more human. I used a retail example, exploring a model for how we might greet people in-store, using information that we already know about them. Afterward, someone said to me:

“Oh, but what a breach of privacy!”

“Which part of our privacy?” I replied.

They didn’t know what I meant, and that’s the problem.

The Problem

Now, it goes without saying that corporate and social espionage is at the end of the spectrum that all of us, and I mean all of us, reject outright. …

The liberating truth that there is no normal in a post-COVID world.

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Credit: Nadia Hafid

In my family history, there is a sad and ironic tale. Someone of my bloodline I am told was the first-ever person to be run over by a car in New Zealand. Not the kind of “first-ever” that one might aspire to, but there you go.

And for some bizarre reason, I don’t even know if they lived or died.

How it works, and why it matters more than ever before

Pairs of white tennis shoes in a row, with a pair of bright red high tops standing out in the middle.
Pairs of white tennis shoes in a row, with a pair of bright red high tops standing out in the middle.

Ever been called out to by someone on the other side of the street? Steve! Steve! Hey Steve. Yeah… Steve? Can you hear m…

My name is Aarron.

Now, quite obviously, Steve must be very good looking.

And I’m sure he is a cool guy, but I genuinely don’t care if he is, or if he’s not. All I know is that I’m not him, and therefore not remotely interested in a conversation with someone who thinks that I am.

But you know what, if they call out my name, well then. I’ll holla back.

Our names are so very important to us. We were gifted them by a parent figure all those years ago and have been doing our utmost to give them color, character, and depth ever since. Once a mere option in a book of baby names, they are now intertwined with our identity. …

A case study of the brand paradox phenomenon

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As a matter of policy, I typically stay away from anything political. That, and hygiene products (kidding). And contrary to the headline, I’m not about to break that policy, because this isn’t really about Trump. Not really.

Still, I’ll start by saying that this article may be easier to consume, for my non-American readers.

This is because we, the rest of the world I mean, aren’t caught up in the division that grips the U.S. right now, which is a distinct advantage if you’re going to use Trump as a case study. Which I am.

As I write this, it’s a few weeks away from the 2020 presidential election, so this comparative, references the paradox of the Trump “brand”, up to this point in time only. Who knows what will follow. …

The underlying neuroscience of trust — and how to create it

Close up of two people’s intertwined hands underwater
Close up of two people’s intertwined hands underwater
Photo by cocoparisienne on Pixabay

There is so much white noise on the subject of “trust.” Go to almost any conference or check out the language used to sell just about any product, and you’ll hear all about “trust.”

Except…you won’t.

You won’t hear anything at all about actual trust, as in the neurological condition, nor the elements that inspire its presence in the human condition.

Instead, you’ll hear all kinds of weird and uninformed takes on the subject, especially if someone thinks it will help to sell something or make them sound more credible as a leader. I even heard one industry analyst from a prominent firm say that it was all about how you set up your website. …

How new digital tactics have distracted from the mission

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Major General Alexander Weyand (left), Commander of the 25th Infantry Division

In the last decade or so, the rise of the digital landscape has been like Christmas Day for marketers. There are constantly new shiny toys to wake up to over and over again, and new job descriptions have become part of the drapery. It wasn’t that long ago, that we simply didn’t have social strategists, eCommerce analysts, SEO admins, or customer data scientists.

All this newfound capability gave us wonderful new insight and expanded our creative horizons, but has it also distracted us from the true mission?

In 2017, the American Marketing Association (AMA) approved their definition of marketing, which is one of the most cited today. …

Let’s talk about the paradox of growth culture in startups.

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Image Credit: New Line Cinema, 2017

Have you noticed that kinda creepy trend in horror movies and thrillers? You know the one. The paradoxical use of characters that are supposed to be on our side, even lovable, but who do us the ultimate harm!

Think of Kathy Bates as the motherly rescuer of a car crash survivor, only to torture and disform her guest in the 1990 classic, Misery. Or those once-cute, but then pickaxe-wielding children from the 2006 nightmare in the forest, Wicked Little Things.

And yeah, that dreaded clown in IT of 2017 (cover image).

I found myself drawing a mental image of that red-nosed villain, as I pondered one the great challenges that founders and leaders face in modern times. You see, I reckon the deadly clown is a metaphor for the double-edged environments that we often find in early stage businesses. …


Aarron Spinley

I BEG TO DIFFER! Growth & brand theory from a top 10 global thought leader (Thinkers360). SPINLEY.CO

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