Precision like the Swiss – how to use it in your marketing

Marketing, messaging, Methodologies

When we were kids, we were always told about how precise the Swiss were in terms of their engineering and how a Swiss watch would be accurate for years to come….those were the days of the mechanical watches. As you roamed the streets of Geneva during those days , you could see shops where there were people with magnifying glasses on their eyes, putting in the various gears of the watch.

Now I went back to Geneva after a very very long time about two years back. Those watchmakers are gone. I wanted to showcase those watchmakers to my wife and son but couldn’t.

However what has not changed is the precision that the Swiss follow in all walks of their life. As usual, I had made Geneva my base and bought the Swiss Travel Pass which allowed us the use of all their train, bus and boats. If you are short on time and want to visit multiple places, the travel pass is the most convenient thing.

Everyone knows how beautiful Switzerland is and how safe it is etc. etc.

I am not sure however if anyone knows or speaks about, how synchronised the whole transit transport system in Switzerland is. You get only 3-4 minutes between interchanges, but you can be sure that you will catch all your linking transport. And this is not only about trains or only buses, but all the trains, boats and buses.

One day we decided to go to Interlaken from Geneva. After reaching Interlaken and admiring all the beauty from the land level we took the … the restaurant on the highest point. After having our lunch over there we decided to take a boat ride on the lake – all three of us love boat rides. When we reached the boat station, the next boat was not until about 3:30 PM ( I don’t remember the exact times now). The whole tour would take about 2 hours. So I was worried that we would not be able to take the train back to Geneva via Berne from Interlaken. We then started thinking in terms of avoiding the boat ride because otherwise we would reach Geneva past midnight. While Geneva is very safe, I generally have a fear of being so late in a foreign land.

Now this is where the drama comes. The steward at the boat was extremely friendly. Before he started boarding I got talking to him, sharing my dilemma. Once I told him the final destination he made out a itinerary for me, so that we would get a ride on the boat as well as not reach Interlaken at midnight.

So we got on the boat. After about 25 minutes of a boat ride in a chilly winter afternoon in Interlaken, at the second stop he asked us to get down. Right opposite the docking area was a small station. The challenge with the small station was that there was very little English so we were not sure if the train that was coming us would take us. But the steward had given us the train number and the destination.

So exactly in 12 minutes or so the train arrived. We sat in the train to reach the mainline station where would catch the train coming from Interlaken. The challenge – there was only a 3 minute gap and the platforms where the two trains were going to park were quite a walk. But our train reached there exactly as promised. We moved at a brisk pace to reach the other platform and to our surprise, the train we had to catch was just entering the platform as we reached.

I haven’t seen such precision, such attention to minute details across different transport systems in different cities like I saw it there.

Its things like these which make Switzerland such a “hot” tourist destination.

Why all this story – because if you can anticipate in advance how will each of your marketing pieces work and what will be the next steps and who will do what, when the prospect takes which step, then your whole system will work smoothly to get customers into your funnel and pass them on.

If on the other hand if any of the pieces are mis-aligned, then , there will be friction in your marketing which the customer will sense and you will delay his buying.

Till next time see how precisely you can match all the moving parts.

Carpe Diem!!!

Adventures – have a life – get experiences

Financial Independence

While I keep talking about compounding and investing it does not mean that you should not have fun and live a life.

I am actually wanting you to invest so that you can enjoy your life.  While some of my advice may make you wealthy in the long run, most of my advice is to help you live a life today.

A well lived life is about getting experiences.  In my view the best experiences are gained when we travel to different parts of the world and see different cultures and eat different foods.

I got this trait from my father, who showed us so many countries when we were kids.  The education and learning I got by travelling helped me become a more tolerant and considerate person.  It also taught me on seeing different points of view, appreciate different food habits and enjoy in whatever surrounding I am.

When I became an adult, I  decided  that India itself is a very big country and I made it a point to see and show my family various parts of India first.

There is a treasure trove of history, food and culture all across India – whether you go to Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra in the west, to Bengal & Assam in the east, to the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala in the south to Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh – there are snow clad mountains, to forts to human evolution – everything and no two states are alike.  That’s the beauty of India.  We have been to most of India, sometimes travelling the countryside by road and enjoying local fruits and foods and sights.

Then over the last 2 years  I have been making it a point to first show my family all the countries I had seen as a kid and then cover my bucket lists.

So I have taken them to Canada, Switzerland and France.  Some more countries remaining on the agenda include UK, Singapore, UAE and USA

I have shared earlier also that I have a huge bucket list – from seeing the northern lights and southern lights to seeing the giraffes in their natural habitat, to exploring the Mayan and Aztec civilizations and to see the Gold Coast.

This kind of extensive travel, often, is not easy on the pocket,  specifically for an individual who is earning a salary in India. Especially when whatever you save becomes 70 times less when converted into the US Dollar or about 85 times less when compared to the Euro.

That’s where the concept of buckets comes in.  Again this is not something I have invented.  I use this concept to build my asset allocation.  Some of the money is kept in cash equivalents for emergency purposes.  This is usually not with me because I would end up spending it.  Then I have a set of regular SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans) for mutual funds and stocks.  These are my forced saving methods where the money goes out of my bank account on a pre-determined date and I cannot do anything about it.  And then I have a bucket for my “bucket lists”.

Whenever I get some backlog of salary or allowances I put this amount into putting together my corpus to fund the initiation of my trips.  If I can find a way to pay for the tickets and the visa costs then I plan my journeys.  Usually planning a journey takes about 2-3 months.  During this time and till I complete my journeys I save whatever I can to pay off the travel bills without taking credit card debt.

Inspite of all this I am short of some amount always, because we always end up spending more than our budget.  That’s when I take some profits off the table from my investments.  This is not a good strategy because I only tell you that  the longer you keep the investment the better is the chance for compounding to do magic.  But the value of  the experiences which I can give my family have a much higher value so I do encash some of my investments to pay-off the expenses.

My advice to you also would be to always create a budget for gaining life’s experiences.  Using those experiences you can tell stories to your friends relatives and grand children.  That’s what will make your day and give you a richer life.  Wealth can follow.

Carpe Diem!!!