Sunday, May 27, 2012

Don't Call Us, We'll Call You

We brought the kids yesterday to Bass Pro Shops, where to my metrosexual amazement, my son was in redneck heaven.  It was like watching a pig in mud.  Don't know where he gets the passion for fishing and hunting from, but I should likely administer a DNA test, because its not from me.

Watch out for sharks and gators...
Let it be known, the lessons we learn in the new digital and social marketing world that we live in are always applicable in the physical world, and vice-versa.  For example, as we were walking from guns back to bows to the waterfall, where parents were gathering with their kids for Aunt Mikki's Kid Fishing in the pond around back, we were not-so-subtly accosted by a gentleman.   I thought he was just providing directions to where we should congregate.  No, actually, he was selling discounted rooms at some family lodge Bass Pro Shops owns in Branson.

The lodge looked nice enough.  He wanted everyone to pay attention, even my son, who just wanted to put a worm on the hook of his fishing pole and fish.  Still, I let him go through his pitch, out of courtesy and curiosity.  I said, "thank you", but we don't have the money right now to buy a vacation, and that I would be happy to take some information to talk with my brother and his family when we planned our next vacation.

I'm not sure I could have said something that should have turned off a sales person more that, "I don't have money to spend."  But, that wasn't enough.  He would not let us go.  I then politely mentioned that my son was itching to go to Aunt Mikki's Kid Fishing activity, and I was not going to plan a vacation right now.  Only after a little more cajoling did he let us go, expecting us to come back after the fishing.

Intent is just as important in the physical world as it is online.  He could have spent that time with someone who gave a poop.  I mentioned specifically, I plan these sorts of family vacations with my brother and his family, so in a way, I was not the sole decision maker, and certainly, though an advocate, my son was not.  This is something you can find out in the physical world that you most times cannot in the electronic world.  Lastly, I had somewhere else urgent to go, so he did not respect me as a customer, which is as critical in the electronic world as in the physical.  Pushy sites are just as bad a pushy sales people.

As I think back, the only question he asked all of us is what we like to do.  He should have asked if I was planning any family vacations in the future and he would have been able to cut the sales call down to 5 seconds and everyone would have been happier.

Friday, May 11, 2012

An Amazing Concept

When I grew up, we received 4 TV channels.  I remember my brother and I, in the winter, watching TV together, lying down in front the TV with our feet on the baseboard heater, probably much too close to the TV, which has undoubtedly caused permanent damage in later years.

free comic know you want it...
As Seth Godin has said about the TV Industrial Complex, communication and marketing to consumers has changed.  When I grew up, when there was a commercial on TV for Captain Crunch, it was obvious that we needed to go to the store immediately and buy some Captain Crunch.  The TV said so.

In the current age of information overload, spam mail, spam email, and getting Groupon'ed to death with emails and mobile notifications, people don't have the time and patience for outbound marketing anymore.  We fast forward through most TV commercials.  We read out news in 141 character bites. It's a huge challenge for many brands, but I would contend that this puts the largest stress on the most important element for brands to keep their customers engaged: a great product or service.

I know.  I'm amazing.  Hold the applause, please.  Hey, having other reasons for customers to come back for great content is awesome, but if you don't deliver on the goods they care about the most, ain't no one gonna care anyway.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lead by Error

I've been off the blog wagon for several weeks, and it's not for lack of interesting stuff to talk about, just that life in the startup has been all-occupying.  We've made amazing progress, yet, I keep looking up and the mountain is not getting smaller.  Yes, this is actually fun!

As with any multi-person venture, large corporation down to small startups, leadership is important.  Setting a vision.  Clear goals.  Passion.  Mentoring and improving the team.  Honest, data-based assessments.  Leading by example.

One of the most difficult leadership skills is admitting mistakes.  We always want our kids to tell the truth, admit their mistakes and clean up their messes.  To lead well, you need to admit when you err, correct it and move on.

Our employees are like our kids, and they don't necessarily learn from what we tell them.  They more often learn and inherit traits from what they see us do every day.