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7 posts from September 2007

How to Get Serious about Customers

070908zJiffy Lube is the first Houston company I've seen get serious about managing customer experience. Here's their pledge. They've also hired Craig Linington, who has 11 years experience in managing customer experience for McDonalds. PRNewswire: Jiffy Lube International Adds Seasoned Operations and Customer Experience Executives to Senior Management Team, 2007-Sep-5: [Craig] Linington is developing the strategic framework, standards and processes to optimize and sustain the desired customer experience across all 2,200+ Jiffy Lube service centers.

How to Suck in the Fans

070911y If you want a model loyalty program that will show you how to suck in the fans of your product, look no further than the Dairy Queen Blizzard Fan Club. At Promo Live, they shared the fact that nearly 1.4 million members have played their online games in the past 3 years, and the latest promotion, Blizzard Sweet Sounds, is ratcheting up success with 3 million plays so far. Even more than a great web site and email newsletter, they have a great offer on every Blizzard cup to register at the web site and get a two-for-one coupon at your next purchase. Of course, you'll also get to enter your birthday, vote on your favorite flavors, etc.

How to Have Fun with Customers

070913yThere is no doubt that the people at Moosejaw know how to have fun. Their web site is fun. Their monthly contests are fun. Even their terms and conditions are fun. Since the only way I'd be caught on a mountainside is dead, I had to find out about them from a marketing article in the NY Times: Reaching More Customers With a Simple Text Message, 2007-Jul-16, by Bob Tedeschi:

A recent [cellphone text] message sent to customers, for instance, conveyed the news that someone had told Robert Wolfe, one of Moosejaw’s founders, that he looked like Ben Stiller. It then asked customers whether that was a good thing and promised points in the company’s rewards program for those who answered “correctly” (meaning yes). Sixty-six percent of the customers who received the message voted.

I try to keep it fun for my customers by making this newsletter easy-to-read, upbeat, and decorative. I don't always get it right, but I keep trying.

How to Improve the Odds in Word-of-Mouth Marketing

070915x Okay, I learned about "weak ties," the people who we know more functionally or formally than our friends and family, several years ago. Connecting with your weak ties is the best way to keep up with what's going on in the wider community, including business and job opportunities. Email, blogging and now social networking sites have made it much easier to stay connected with your weak ties, and marketers are dying to have product endorsements circulate through them.

Now marketers have to learn about "moral hazard." When your weak ties share information, they will be more or less free with the information depending on the risks of being wrong, of being "old news," or of increasing competition for a limited resource. (For example, I probably won't tell you about a job I'm trying to get for myself, especially if I think competition for the job will increase as a result.)

Search Insider: The Strength Of Weak Ties and Search, 2007-Aug-2, by Gord Hotchkiss

...a successful viral campaign is largely dependent on those weak ties being motivated to pass along the information. It needs to be remarkable in some compelling way (i.e. Godin's Purple Cow), it has to eliminate a scarcity mentality, it has to feel authentic and, to appeal to the mavens, it has to have the feel of news.

How to Brand with Annual Reports

070919x_2 Now here's system synergy: connect your branding system with your accounting system. If you've got to send an annual report, it may as well communicate the brand. Origin Design has a new study on best practices for Annual Reports: The first in an annual series, this study analyzes a number of energy-related annual reports with two objectives in mind: disclosing 10 best practices for energy annuals and passing along collected metrics that enable IR professionals to benchmark their annual reports against those of their peers.

How to Use Newspapers

A local newspaper is not just a place to put ads. It's a networking vehicle. If you have potential customers reading a newspaper, then you should sit down with that newspaper and think about the information those people are taking from it. How can you become part of that newspaper's information flow? Dropping in the occasional ad will make little difference. Consider the point-of-view of media consultant Jeff Jarvis. He used to be a journalist, then an editor, and now he's trying to talk the newspaper industry into healing itself. How can your business be part of the solution? (Photo by Sanja Gjenero, from StockXchng)

070922v_2 BuzzMachine: Towns are hyperlocal social networks with data (people that is), 2007-Jul-11, by Jeff Jarvis: Local is people. Our job [as journalists] is not to deliver content or a product. Our job is to help them make connections with information and each other. In truth, that was, long ago, the job newspapers saw for themselves. That’s why they lived to get as many names in the paper as possible. They knew: Local is people. Newspapers gave us news that mattered to us and would be trivial to anyone else. Newspapers were small and local and served their communities — and their advertisers — better.

How to Understand your Customer

When you have a clear system in place, you can update and evolve the system, but you don't just keep changing with the times. Everyone expected the publishers of one of the most successful email newsletters, Daily Candy, to cross platform--to build a shopping portal, to go RSS, to send mobile alerts, but that's not what their customers signed up for!

Here's what I signed up for with Daily Candy: something pretty, light and engaging in my inbox every morning.  I'm not planning to shop but to just see what's new and cool, taking a little break from my hum-drum existence.070927w

Advertising Age: A Single-Platform Player Surviving in a Multiplatform World. 2007-Sep-3, by Abbey Klaassen: They have eschewed other line extensions, such as TV shows and print titles in favor of launching local and lifestyle-targeted versions of the newsletter....They're not even destination sites; the largest,, falls below Nielsen/NetRatings' minimum reporting guidelines of 500,001 unique visitors for all months but October 2006....said Catherine Levene, chief operating officer at New York-based Daily Candy..."What every company needs is a strong relationship with audience and marketing partners."...Its various editions today boast a collective 2.5 million subscribers (900,000 unique) and has spawned a crop of imitators.