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All that glistens..

Taitau is a Lithuanian brand of especially high quality – natural chocolate. We love it, so will you.

Greetings from Shunyi for Saturday 22nd May. Seems like just a few days back we welcomed May. Now it is nearly finished. Today we are playing with the old proverb about gold and other shiny things. Yep, we realise that glistens is more oft, correctly used when something is wet or moist, but again, that is a play on marketers salivation when some new “toy” is announced.

Actually the subject of today’s article is not so much new, we believe it was first talked about around the end of 2019. However the recent news of high prices has pushed it into the limelight and centre stage. Actually though, we re not are really talking today about this new toy, but rather the proverb. So what is it we are not taking about? NFT. Which sort of begs the question for most people; an en ef what?
An NFT is a non fungible Token.

Ok, we admit it. We had to look that word up too. And the word Fungible.
Turns out it is nothing to do with pizza or mushrooms. Non and token are easy enough to get ones head around, so here is a definition of fungible;

(of goods contracted for without an individual specimen being specified) able to replace or be replaced by another identical item; mutually interchangeable.

Thank you Oxford Dictionaries

So, in short, something that can be replaced with another identical thing. Non fungible means it can’t. Sort of a long fancy way of saying unique. Or one of a kind. Sort of, as we said.
So that just leaves token to get our heads around. Now most of us probably know what a token is.
That little round bit of magnetised plastic we pop into a vending machine or turn style when we ride Le metro, Tube or underground. Right? Err, well no.

You see, this is a MarTech term. And rather than come up with something easily understood, marketers have to wrap it up in something enigmatic. Not easily understood. Bearing very little relationship to the original word. So, in our non fungible case, a token is a digital asset. WOW!
A digital what we hear you say. Well, we did anyway.

What is a Digital Asset?

Let’s put this into something we can all relate to. A Digital Asset is something as simple as a photo, you know; JPG, PNG, or a Tweet, or art work. Doesn’t sound terribly special I hear you say. And you’d be right. What makes this special, and, by extension, so darned valuable, is block chain. Aha, are the lights coming on? No? Well, you see, once you create your digital asset, you link it to the block chain. THEN it becomes a one of a kind. With me now? In other words it’s “no fungible.”

As part of the block chain it carries a unique ID or bar code- what ever. So, and this is just us taking this to its seemingly logical conclusion, the original Mona Lisa is a NFT. Sort of.
That drawing is worth a few pennies. Why? Because it is the original. The plethora of copies on Amazon are two a penny. Because they are not originals.

So. with an NFT, you are paying for the rarity or uniqueness- not the thing. What’s this have to do with marketing? We will let Tom Fishburne, the Marketoonist explain that:

In the luxury world, brands like Gucci and RTFKT created NFTs for virtual sneakers.  The very high-end luxury fragrance house Krigler even introduced a virtual perfume with “inspirational artwork corresponding to your exclusive perfume and its olfactory pyramid.”

Please read for more ligh; Tom Fishburne; The Marketoonist.

and this article explains why brands and marketers are jumping on the NFT bandwagon.

The artist Grimes recently sold a bunch of NFTs for nearly $6 million. An NFT of LeBron James making a historic dunk for the Lakers garnered more than $200,000

Read more of NFT with Bobby Allyn

Finally as far as NFT’s go, this article takes a more indepth look

The Depths of Despair

Ok, lets wrap this with a quick visit to the glitters and gold proverb. If you have read Tom Fishburne’s article – and please do by the way, it is really rather good – you will understand where we are coming from. Otherwise the rest of this won’t make any sense – it it ever i did!

Anyway, we seem to be living in a time when brands, marketers and CMO’s are desperately trying to appear hip, up with the times. Now, we don’t think this is just the way we see it as others, more influential and insightful than us have said something similar. Well, sort of!
But, from our viewpoint, doesn’t it seem as if marketers have lost their focus?
Lost the plot somewhat? Or a lot?
It does appear, again, to us, that they are so wrapped up in showing off how clever, inspirational and with it – tech wise- they are, they have forgotten their job. Their purpose. Their reason d’etre.
(That’s French for reason for being – and us showing off!)

Ok, now there as many definitions of marketing as their are CMO’s sitting around navel gazing.
But isn’t a simple one: “the processes of promoting goods and services to a consumer?”
For decades, marketers have stated; “Customer is King,” chortled into their martini (shaken of course) and totally ignored the customer. Today, the consumer IS King or Queen. Things have changed. Especially here in China. Thank social Media for that. Again, in China, WeChat.

Customers globally are looking for more from brands today. More than just lip service or fancy footwork.Consumers today buy more than just a product. They need to feel valued. As a person. As an individual. Not just some number on an invoice or data sheet. They buy an experience. Chinese consumers are looking for a connection. We wrap all this up under the heading of UX.

User experience.

Think for a moment. How many times have you tried to contact a customer support person, only to get into some irritatingly inane conversation with a BOT that has no idea what you are asking? So, the business may have been able to halve its human support staff and reduce salary costs.
But if it also means losing customers, is that really a winning tactic?

Or, after posting an on-line question receiving an instant auto reply apologising for a delay or downgrade in service. Blamed on Covid and their response to it. Come on. Give me a break.
Your darned services has always sucked. It’s just brands jumping on the latest band wagon. Generally that is known as “Virtue Signalling” showing how sensitive they are to today’s issues and concern for their consumers: me too, me too, me too! One can almost hear the mournful cello playing in the background.

Maybe, like us, you are working and living in a foreign country. Well, foreign to you. Not necessarily the other people who live there. You have probably set your digital devices to your native language. Including your browser. In our case, that would be English UK. Our working language is British English. Yet, out of the blue we are spammed by some opportunistic US based firm with a Chinese language news letter. Clearly an enormous amount of time and care went into that campaign. More of a sign of desperation. Again, I ask you, do they really think that is going to win our hearts? A great user experience?

Get back to basics

So much commerce and business today takes place on line. Customers have plenty of choices, limited time. If you can not win them in the first few moments, someone else will. It is the same with B&M stores – brick and mortar or High Street shops. Ok, so your brand or product is not performing to your expectations. You need to do something. We agree.

However, what we are saying is, that throwing more money at it by way of the latest shiny thing, just might not be the best or only solution. Before you go investing in NFT, XYZ, tracking, profiling, robotics or OMG, might not some research, analysis and soul searching be better?
Maybe, just maybe, your product sucks.
Or your content. Are you firing at the wrong niche? As a serious marketer, you know there are many reasons why a product fails to perform. And sometimes, that calls for tough decisions. Maybe it is time to take a step or 3 back from Martech and refocus on the human component of your business- including the consumer? Radical thinking huh?

Otherwise you’re likely to be caught in the spiral to the depths of despair and our header image. Remember, all that glitters is not gold!

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In 2003 Everlyne Yu co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bic Brands.

She began Uengager, as a SaaS MarTech company focused on customer engagement in 2017.

Hello, Nihao, I’m Everlyne

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Everlyne hs been privileged to work with a variety of international organisations, from VW, Cushman Wakefield, Sodexo, Bristol Myers Squibb to local Chinese firms such as Midea, and OK Order.

If you’re looking for guidance, tips, advice on any aspect of starting or growing a business in China or training, coaching your existing China marketing team for excellence, be sure to check out Uengager. Home page and base for Everlyne Yu. Read her short bio – opposite left – or contact her direct – below – for a free, heart to heart chat.

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