A day unplugged

It was only one day. No digital devices. Which meant no YouTube, Facebook, Skype, chat, email, Farmville, etc. Seems simple and easy enough. But the results were anything but. This experiment among college students resulted in all the tell tale signs of addiction and withdrawal.

Unplugged experiment

What does this mean for you as a marketer? It  means if you aren’t present in these places that college students are addicted to, then you are going to be in big trouble, if you aren’t already.


Really, Cable Guy?

My cable went out last week. I hate when my cable goes out. Not because of the missed TV watching but because its such a pain to get it fixed. First, you’ve got to call the cable company to schedule a day and time for a cable guy to come out to the house.  Then, the only available times always seem to be a 4 hour window during working hours which pretty much kills the entire day. All this being said, something happened during the cable guy’s visit that was a pleasant surprise.

The cable guy showed up within his 4 hour window and was a nice enough guy. I chatted with him while he replaced our box and did some testing just to make sure it worked. But the surprise came once he was done with his work. He handed me his business card and told me if I had any problems over the next 10 days to call him directly and he’d come over immediately to fix it. Really, cable guy? Now that is the way to provide good service. There’s a big difference between a company standing behind their service and an individual standing behind his service. I understand that its AT&T that is telling the cable guy to do this, but its a great approach. As a result, the cable guy takes pride in his work, the customer has a direct line to someone that can help him if needed, and the sense that the service was provided correctly is much higher. I don’t say this much, being an iPhone owner and all, but nice job AT&T.

Is there an opportunity for your service to do something similar to this? Its worth thinking about.

What I’ve learned

Six months ago my wife and I welcomed twins into our lives. Its been an amazing, frustrating, tiring, incredible journey, and it keeps getting better.  And as I sat trying to think about what to write, it occured to me that having twins has tought me a few things about marketing:

1. Having kids creates all sorts of challenges including diapers, feeding, sleep, safety, etc. I will pay you good money if you can help me alleviate any of the issues that go along with these challenges. This holds true for most services. Demonstrate how you can alleviate a problem and the consumer will be interested.

2. Show a genuine interest in my children and I will talk to you all day. The business lesson here is to develop the relationship first, sell the service second. Even if you don’t sell your service initially, the person becomes a part of your network.

3. I need to trust you if its for my kids. Trust is key when selling any service.

4. The two places I go when looking for information to aid in a buying decision is the Internet and my network. If you don’t have a positive presence in either place I won’t contact you.

Are you unwittingly making this disastrous sales mistake?

A great blog post from Jill Conrath, author of Selling to Big Companies. Thanks for sharing Paul Dunay. Remember, selling is about them, not you.

Are you unwittingly making this disastrous sales mistake?

Quotas are a bad idea

Do you set quotas for your employees? Most industries do use them to a certain extent. Its a great way to let employees know what is expected of them, right? And if they don’t hit quotas we know why these employees are failing, right? Wrong.

Quotas only work to motivate employees to reach a level just above failure. They hit their quota and their done. How many employees will far exceed their quotas? Very few. So if not quotas, then what?

The best way to motivate employees is to train them properly and make them feel as if they are a valued part of the company. Nothing motivates someone more than an intrinsic feeling of importance. A feeling that they are doing something that is of value. Something that counts. Don’t believe me? There are numerous studies that show this to be true.

This video explains it better than I ever could. Its about 18 minutes long but well worth your time.

The Science of Motivation

Relationship versus transactional

I heard a great discussion on the Rob Black radio show yesterday about relationship versus transactional businesses. The gist of if was this. Know which one your business is and operate things accordingly. How do you know which one you are? Here are some guidelines:

You rely heavily on word of mouth business.
You see your customers on a regular basis.
You know things about your customers outside of what they purchase from you.
You take the time to make sure your customer gets what they need.
Discounts don’t usually drive more business.
You use the term “client.”

Your focus is on getting the sale processed quickly and accurately.
You focus on giving the customer what they ask for not what they need.
Discounts increase the volume of orders.
You use the term “order” and the term “customer.”
You know little about your customer outside of what they purchase from you.

These are just some of the indicators of Relationship versus Transactional. Both of these models work if done correctly. The key is to know which one you are and market your business accordingly. I will go into the marketing aspect of each in future posts.

How NOT to use Facebook

As a habit, I follow closely what my companies competitors do…press releases, articles, service offerings, etc. And now with Facebook its as easy as becoming a fan of all my competitors to follow exactly what they are up to.

One of the companies I follow is Adecco. Great company, tremendous amount of success. No one can fault them there. But what they are doing on Facebook is the wrong way to go about using social media. Here is a recent example.

In one of their recent posts to Facebook, Adecco touted that the job market was showing signs of recovery and provided a link. That’s good information for their fans. Adecco is in the market of finding people work so any information on the job market makes sense. The problem came when their fans started to comment.

“Adecco stinks, the girl in the Falls NY area passed over submitting me for jobs i was wanting instead using me for a warm bdy for grunt work, Steamed!!!!”

“Be carefully what you say they deleted my comment last time I said something they didn’t like.”

“If you have any talent at all…don’t go to Adecco cause they don’t care about talent…”

Now, no company wants to see comments like this for everyone to see. But unfortunately, its part of doing business. And the bigger you get, the more likely it is that there will be people that will say negative things about you. That in itself is typically not the problem. The problem comes when you do not respond the right way. So how did Adecco respond? They deleted the negative comments and replaced them with positive comments. Positive comments by their employees non-the-less.

“Adecco is the best company ever!”

“You’re def right (name), it IS!!”

This is NOT the way a company should use Facebook. The proper way is to address the problems right then and there. Show the world that you know the proper way to deal with unhappy customers. Complaints on Facebook are an opportunity. Don’t try to sweep them under the rug. They will simply show up somewhere else. And you won’t be able to simply delete them there.