TLF Gems Newsletter February 2022

Your monthly CX and insight newsletter from TLF Research

I’ve had very few ‘lightbulb’ moments in my career when I suddenly realized the solution to a hard problem. For me, waves lapping the beach is a much better analogy. I wear down problems with persistent and repeated effort.

Ken Kocienda

I'm a big fan of newsletters (I guess it would be pretty hypocritical if I wasn't!). A lot of the content for TLF Gems comes (directly or indirectly) from my favourites, and many of them I read without fail. And yet, like many people, I'm wary of putting my email address into every popup box that promises me exciting content straight to my inbox.

It's a great example, I think, of a general truth with marketing and customer experience: you can't fake it.

If you consistently deliver value to customers (or readers) then they will learn to trust you and your reputation will spread. If you don't, you won't engage or retain them. Persistent effort, not grand claims, is what will make you stand out, whatever it is you do.

Thanks for reading,

Here are 6 things we think are worth you time this month

Decision Time

Oliver Burkeman with some great advice about the importance of making decisions, rather than waiting to build up more knowledge or information. Deciding means choosing, which also means choosing what not to do. "...somewhere – in the confusing morass of your work or your life or whatever problems you're currently facing – lurks at least one decision that you could make, right now, to get unstuck and get moving."

Read: Decision Time

The New Normal

Interesting use of Google shopping trends data to classify the changing interest in different items through the pandemic as either "Normal", "Unusual", or "New normal". The Unusual category shows things which spiked, but then returned to usual levels (flour, sewing machines). The New Normal category suggests a growing focus on the home, whether as office (computer monitors, mouse pads) or living space (freezers, cleaning supplies). "How the Covid-19 pandemic is shaping our shopping searches."

Explore: The New Normal

Emotional Labour

I found this interview with the sociologist who invented the term "Emotional Labour" fascinating. Emotional labour is the work that many people have to do as part of their jobs to display, or perhaps even feel, certain emotions. Think of flight attendants who have to be cheeful, or debt collectors who have to be just the opposite. Here, Hochschild explains how the term has been broadened beyond its original meaning. "The point is that while you may also be doing physical labor and mental labor, you are crucially being hired and monitored for your capacity to manage and produce a feeling."

Read: Emotional Labour

No One Knows Your Strategy

How many of the senior leaders in your business understand your strategy? In this case study 97% said they did, but only a quarter were able to list 3 of the 5 strategic priorities. "To increase the odds that their strategy is understood throughout the company, top executives should acknowledge that they may have a problem with alignment, agree as a team on strategic priorities for the entire company as a whole, make sure their direct reports understand these objectives, and ensure that leaders at every level in the organization communicate what corporate priorities mean and for the company overall."

Read: No One Knows Your Strategy

Target's Choice Hacking

Interesting post about the tricks Target uses to sell customers more stuff. "Target is one of the best-loved brand in the world for very good reason — they use psychology to create an experience that people not only love, but always makes them feel like they’re getting a deal."

Read: Target's Choice Hacking

Top Reads: Do Open

This book is probably the reason you're reading this. David Hieatt (of Hiut denim as well as the Do Books and Lectures) explains how email newsletters are central to his marketing strategy, and why creating and sharing content is the best way to build a community and a brand. It's a short read, but a goldmine of good advice on newsletters (and writing in general). "...newsletters are one of the most cost-effective ways of talking to your customer that a business can ever have."

Top Reads: Do Open