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Aarron Spinley

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

Credit SPINLEY.CO

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…


A quite brutal poll — and what it means for local brands

Credit: BBC

So, get this. Three in four Australian consumers reckon that brands outright lie to them in marketing communications. Lie to them.

Kapow! Bam! Whacko! Smack! Boomfa!

But before we turn this into a 1960s re-run of Adam West’s Batman (look it up), let’s just all acknowledge: this is one heck of a zinger to local brands.

That headline statistic from a late 2020 customer loyalty survey commissioned by the agency, Customology, was among many that ultimately found, that the majority of Aussies lack any kind of trust in brand communications.

Ain’t that a slap in the face to all that…


How you can beat your competition by learning how to evolve

Credit: Dreamstime

Ever notice that some things just don’t go together? Until they do, that is. For instance, two things that will never go together — certainly in my house — are brussels sprouts and ice cream. That’s a personal worldview.

Yet one of our favorite summer refreshers is a wonderful piece of invention that combines shiraz with gin.

I’m not kidding.

There are probably weirder examples I could have picked, like ketchup and pizza, cottage cheese and mayonnaise, pickles and orange juice, or mango and panini; but I’ll stick with my provocations on brussels sprouts and ice cream, shiraz and gin.


It’s not just awkward, it’s plain wrong

Image Credit: HerWay

Journey Mapping has been such a misunderstood practice. It’s true. This was, and remains, a cause of great angst to its many proponents. But despite this, it is still widely lauded. A perceived pillar of customer-centricity no less.

In my world of marketing and customer engagement, I have to fess up that we do like to adopt favorite children. Especially the ugly ones. Buzz words, ill-conceived methods, undisciplined destruction of meaning, institutional immaturity spawning institutional confusion.

And in the case of Journey Mapping, we’ve doubled down on a mistake, unable it seems, to self-correct.

Yes, the practice endures, mainly through…


Once the penthouse, now the outhouse. So who leads now? And what’s next?

Credit: FEC — Top Retail Design Fails

There are very few industries that celebrate their peers like the retail industry. Gala events and ritzy award ceremonies dispersing lavish praise on an almost monthly basis.

We’ve all seen the social media pics. Glammed-up guys and gals at the photo wall, euphorically hoisting a trophy and screaming down the lens in triumph.

“It’s been a tough year,” they say. “I love my team.”

And among all the hype, an insistence, both underlying and in-your-face, that retail is the unquestioned leader in all things customer experience, and digital, and other shiny things.

But it ain't. Not remotely.

And that’s a…


Our obscene complicity with harmfulness and a call to action from the Interactive Advertising Bureau

Credit: Getty Images

All over the world right now, a whole bunch of performance advertising folks are sweating. There is wrenching of hands, clammy palms, and for some, quite deep anxiety. Feathers, my friends, are ruffled.

And all of it, because of Apple.

Yes, that old fruit impersonating tech giant, who we all love, and occasionally hate, but mostly love. Mostly.

Truth be told, Apple has gone and opened up a can of worms that should have been opened long ago. Their new operating system, iOS14, will now require apps to get your permission before arbitrarily collecting your information.

Ergo, a whole lot…


And the big lie we tell to hide it

Henry Ford. Source: Hindustan Times

Anyone that has followed my work, knows that one of its mini-trends is to call out industry myths. Mainly because there are so many that undermine growth. I guess that’s why I call my column, “I Beg to Differ”.

But this piece is about something more insidious than a myth. I reckon we have a deeply engrained falsehood, right at the roots of our profession.

They say the most toxic lie is the one you tell yourself.

And that’s precisely what the industry does. It’s not necessarily intentional. Not most of the time anyway. But it is, nevertheless, the cause…


And embrace the rise of individualization

Photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash

Making a statement like, “It’s time to move on from personalization” is kind of a big deal to me. Huge, in fact.

I’ve written a lot about the importance of personalization. I’ve even given keynotes on the subject. So penning this title felt, well, kinda incongruent. A flip-flop even.

And on the surface, it is. But actually, it’s not.

That’s because everything I have published has been about the next chapter of personalization, reflective of the major shift that is occurring in mature marketing organizations the world over.

In early 2020 I wrote a piece on ZDNet that forecast a…


The shortcut confusing an entire profession

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…


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.

Aarron Spinley

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

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