Posted on March 19, 2009 by Bill
I overheard someone asking for “the best of the best practices.” This just goes to show you that many so-called “best practices” are just noise. Sure, they may have been valuable for the company that first discovered them. But over time as the practices were passed around from one company to the next, the sharp edges that made them effective were worn down. By the time they reached mainstream and were called best practices, they had been reduced to “safe practices” or “boring practices.”
At best, best practices are simply minimal requirements. Best practices are to effective strategy as Wikipedia is to curing cancer – it’s a starting point. Never lull yourself into believing the pleasing (but false) notion that best practices will cure what ails you. You’ve got to go well beyond best practices and forge your own niche.
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Posted on December 22, 2008 by Bill
This is Part 3 of a small series called Festivus on Marketing (ending tomorrow of course!). You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
A couple of days ago we talked about the Festivus ritual of “Airing of Grievances.” Today we’ll talk about another ritual called “Feats of Strength.” Festivus tradition states that Festivus is not over until the head of the household is pinned in some sort of a wrestling match. As Frank Costanza is undoubtedly v-e-r-y strong, the almost insurmountable feat of pinning him must have taken a great deal of strength, courage and stamina.
But in business it’s great to know that in order to win the hearts of your customers, it usually takes a far less grandiose deed. Instead, it’s usually some small acts of humanness that we remember.
Zappos surprised someone who lost a loved one with flowers. DoubleTree delights arriving hotels guests with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Southwest Airlines spreads fun and humanness with their standup flight instruction that resemble comedy routines.
Surprise. Delight. Humanness. Repeat. Try it out – it really works!
By the way, a B-I-G thanks goes out to the refrigerator repairmen who not only fixed our refrigerator but also went out of their way to fix our garage door that had just broke. Pure awesomeness.
Have a very Merry Festivus Eve everyone!
[Photo Credit: M-J Milloy]
Filed under: Customer Service, Loyalty, Marketing, Seinfeld on Marketing | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 19, 2008 by Bill
Instead of my usual Seinfeld on Marketing, I decided to dedicate the next few days to a series called Festivus on Marketing (ending on December 23rd, of course!)
For the few of you out there who are not familiar with Festivus, it is a holiday that “prolific” Frank Costanza of the TV show Seinfeld created because he “hated all the commercial and religious aspects of Christmas, so he made up his own holiday.”
Here’s how Festivus was born:
FRANK: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had – but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way!
KRAMER: What happened to the doll?
FRANK: It was destroyed. But out of that, a new holiday was born. “A Festivus for the rest of us!”
Frank Costanza unknowingly created a small tribe of people who wanted something different by catering to “the rest of us.” And that is how most remarkable things are born.
In 1998, most of us were fine with the directory style of Yahoo! Then along came Google for the rest of us who wanted another way of “returning extremely relevant results” on the web. In 1971, most of us were fine with our flight travel. Then along came Southwest Airlines for the rest of us who wanted a “different kind of airline.”
The trouble occurs when we try to market to the most of us and concern ourselves with getting the most eyeballs or the most traffic to our website or store. When in reality it’s not about getting the most as it is about getting the few – “the rest of us” – who are passionate about what you have to offer.
Seek out “the rest of us” – we’re waiting for you!
Photo Credit: axelsrose
Filed under: Business, Marketing, Seinfeld on Marketing | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 8, 2008 by Bill
If you go to an exclusive club, inevitably you’ll encounter a bouncer trying to keep out the riff raff. They don’t let everyone in and that’s the whole point. A bouncer’s entire job is to create scarcity.
Bouncers are good. They are the gate keepers of the unique experience. We all need bouncers.
Because you can’t be everything to everyone. No bouncer means “enter the ordinary” (ever see a bouncer at an Olive Garden?). You have to decide who’s on your A-list and gets their hand stamped to come and go as they please. But maybe even more importantly, you must decide who’s not worthy to enter your club.
What is your bouncer? Does your bouncer have strict standards or does he sometimes slip and take the occasional bribe and let in someone he shouldn’t? Is your bouncer “beefy” enough (yuck, did I just say beefy?!)?
(Photo credit, sol proprietor)
Filed under: Loyalty, Marketing | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 2, 2008 by Bill
So the other day I had to get a new prescription for my glasses (my eyes ain’t what they used to be folks). The optometrist’s assistant led me into a small room to do some of the routine exams (I completely hate that blast of air in the eye test – that’s right, I’m a baby!)
Right away you could tell that the assistant had performed many, many of these tests and basically memorized a script. “Now stand up, pick up your chair and place it over here by this machine.” It all seemed very mechanical with no personality at all. Which is too bad. It could have easily been a time to inject some humanity into a sterile exam – at no extra cost to the company.
Think of the routine interactions you may have with customers. Have they become trite? Without feeling? Could a robot do what you do just as well or better than you? If so, it’s time to put the “person” back into personality.
What robot interactions have you had as of late? What can we do to make them more meaningful?
Flickr photo: by Dirty Bunny
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