Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guy Kawasaki reminds us that we all need to work at "Enchantment"

I've been hearing a lot of positive reviews about Guy Kawasaki's latest book, "Enchantment."  It's been on my reading list for the past couple of weeks.  I was hoping to download it to my Mac Kindle, but it wasn't an option so I finally ran out to Barnes & Noble to purchase it.  Since I'm in the middle of writing an online course "Intro to Marketing/Marketing Management," which I will be teaching at Columbia University this Summer, Fall and Spring 2012, I wanted to see if this book should be added to the reading list in the course syllabus.  As it turns out, I will definitely add it for a number a reasons.  It's ideal for students learning about marketing a business.  But it's also ideal because we are human beings interacting inside and outside of the workplace.

The book's title "Enchantment:  The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions" sums up the essence of this book.  It's not rocket science, yet it is a concept that has been difficult for many to grasp.  Whether you are in the board room, or family room, this book provides a check list and plenty of anecdotes to highlight the do's and don'ts for enchanting people - customers, employees, family members, etc.  Treat others the way you want them to treat you.  Sounds simple.  But do we emulate that ourselves?  Not particularly well given the state of the world.

Throw the term "customer service" out the window and replace it with "enchanting customers."  At the end of the day, that's what you need to do to create influence by everyone.  It used to be about focusing on "key influencers".  However today's tools allow us to reach anyone and everyone.  Suzie NoOneHasEverHeardOf may be the best evangelist for your business.  But you won't know about it until you live and breathe enchantment at your place of business and (as Guy quickly reminds us) at home too!

We all need to hear these reminders over and over again so we start to embody the essence of enchantment. That's when it becomes part of our DNA.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Companies still try to figure out "their one thing"

I was at a workshop earlier this week and the speaker, Tom Doyle, brought up a scene from the movie "City Slickers" with Jack Palance and Billy Crystal.  "The secret of life is finding the one thing."  When Billy Crystal asks how would he know what the one thing is, Jack says "that's for you to figure out."
Here's that scene from YouTube:

Even today, with all the sophisticated tools and techniques, all the "Web 2.0" savvy people using more ways to get the company's message out there, there is still confusion around what to that message should be.

It's not about throwing the whole bowl of spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. It's about one single message that your customer can wrap their head around.  Sure your business might do everything, but what are you really good at?  What drives the most revenue for your company?

I was behind a truck today on the way to the office and it was for a local Upholstery business.  They highlighted "upholstery" and "furniture repair" - and then went on to say "free initial consultation," "references available" and there wasn't even a URL or phone # on the sign.  Really?  I was behind this truck for 30 minutes and although I could have looked up the company name on my computer once I got to the office (if I was able to remember the name), why would you put all these messages on the back of a track and have no call to action?  Why distract me with with sales messages?  Focus on Upholstery - why is your business the one for me to call?

I challenge your business to highlight and focus on the 1 thing you do very well.  Can you articulate it? Or does it have to be in the one paragraph, 30 second elevator speech?

Nail what it is that you do best and continue to drive your revenues.   You will be able to upsell or cross-sell your other products and services.  Just get them in the door first.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hooked on Apps? Join the Club. The Loyalty Club with KeyRing App.

I mentioned in a previous post that I have a Samsung Epic smartphone.  I can't live without it.  I'm more productive and more connected than ever before.  (If I don't want to be connected, I simply shut it off.)

One of my favorite app's (other than My Coffee Card by Starbucks), is the Key Ring app.  It has changed how I manage my Loyalty cards with 20+ retailers.  I used to have a wallet dedicated to just Loyalty cards.  You name it, I had it.  
  • Grocery stores such as King Soopers, Safeway and Albertson's (just in case)
  • Movie theaters:  Regal and AMC
  • Coffee shops:  Peaberry and Starbucks (I love my Gold card actually!)
  • Restaurants:  Garbanzo, Panera Bread, Macaroni Grill, etc.
  • Gen'l Retail shops:  DSW, Blockbuster, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, PetsMart
  • Plus alot more believe it or not
I actually would take the wallet out and tell the cashier "Just a 'sec while I get my card" and I'd hear the groans from the people behind me in line.  It was a little annoying, but worth it to get my rewards perks.

The Samsung Epic runs on the Droid operating system and the sky is the limit for apps.  I recently read that Droid apps just surpassed iPhone apps in volume.

I heard there were some cool loyalty management apps and I did a search in the App Market and found "Key Ring".  I installed it and quickly started scanning the barcodes from my loyalty cards.  If the card didn't have a bardcode, no problem.  You enter the loyalty ID number and it stores that.

Now when I'm at the retail store I pull out my phone, click on the Key Ring App and look for the logo of the store that I'm in.  There's a "card view" button and when you click it - it displays your card info.  The cashier either scans the barcode or enters the loyalty ID number.  It's that simple.  What did I do with my old wallet that was overstuffed with Loyalty cards?  Threw it in my desk drawer.  I hope I never have to use it again!

Got your QR Code? It's easy to do with PingTags

Check out my LinkedIn profile!

QR codes are popping up everywhere.  Retailers are using them to entice consumers to check out special offers.  The City of New York is requiring that by 2013 every building in NYC will have a building permit with a QR code to provide information about that permit.

It seems like a fad.  But I think it's going to be more than that. allows you to create a QR Code for free - that will link to any URL would like.  I picked the URL for my LinkedIn profile since I use this on the back of my business card.  People say "hey you're geeking out on technology".  I say - why not check it out and see the value in what it can do for your business!

I seem QR codes on buses and on the back of trucks.  I'm thinking - hmmm - how the heck am I going to use my BarCode reader to capture that code?  Thus far, I've been unsuccessful.  But on stationery objects like buildings, brochures, websites, business cards, signs, etc., it makes sense.

And if you want, you can get a designer QR code made that has a graphic or logo in it.  There are creative agencies that specialize in "designer codes."

How do you read them?  If you have a smartphone you can download a free barcode reader from your App store.  I use the Samsung Epic, which is a Droid, so I go to the Market to download my apps.  My choice was I-nigma.  It's one of the most popular ones out there.  It's awesome.

The rival to QR codes is MS Tags.  They have a completely different look - and so people will get start to recognize that they need the Microsoft reader in order to get the information from the Tag.  I haven't crossed that bridge yet.  I've mostly encountered QR codes on restaurant receipts.  But since it's Microsoft, I'm sure MS Tags will start gaining popularity.

You'll see more industry stats posted about QR codes as we move along.  It's a rapidly growing area.

I've waited a long time to do this, but I'm jumping in

I've blogged for clients, I blog in my personal life, but I've never officially blogged as a marketer.  Now that's going to change.

I'm a marketer with a focus on Internet technology.  I'm an early adopter that likes to keep up on the latest and greatest tools and techniques that help me do my job better.  I launched and back in the mid-90's and dozens of companies since.  I've been consulting for tech start-up's since 2000.  I teach for Columbia University in their new online program.  I love to learn - which is why I teach.  I'm held accountable.  So I research ALOT.  I subscribe to a zillion email newsletters and I take the highlights from them all and either blog or tweet about them.  Either way, you can now skip sifting through all the information overload and look for the key takeaways here.  That's my goal.  Snippets.  Key points.  I'm data driven and finding the articles that share industry data is like finding gold nuggets.

So welcome aboard.  I hope you find this blog informative and time-saving for you!