Monthly Archives: April 2007

Customer Service not Customer Systems

A local hospital subscribes to the Planetree system of patient care. They pump it on every promotional piece they have. Every commercial is tagged with it.

My challenge to the hospital would be to randomly select 100 patients and ask them what it means that the hospital is a part of the Planetree Alliance. My bet is that a super majority don’t have a clue and don’t care.

When you have to educate your customers that you’re both a part of something and what that something is, you’re working doubly hard for nothing.

People DO know what good customer service is. They DO know when they get an authentic experience with your organization.

Stop trying to live up to a buzzwordy system and start delivering an above average customer experience.

You won’t have to teach people what that means. You just have to deliver.

Media and Marketing in a Tragedy

A few observations about the events this week at Virginia Tech…

Change of the Guard
Where did all these kids immediately turn to for information? They didn’t huddle around a radio. They didn’t gather around a TV. They didn’t even pick up a phone. It was all internet and Facebook. What medium are you using to reach a 22 year old?

Content not Production Value
Some in the media have looked unfavorably at the cell phone footage of the shots being used on the air. But it has become CNN’s most viewed and downloaded clip of all time.
The truth is that it no longer matters what it looks like. It matters what the content is. Look at most of the stuff on YouTube. If it looks like it was “produced”, it’s not as well viewed while the amateur looking stuff is gangbusters. It’s going to take a major realignment of the thinking of media and marketers (including me) to get to the point that polished delivery is not always what the public wants to consume.

Why did he send the package to NBC? The only major network address that I can rattle off the top of my head is 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NY, NY. What about you? That’s an example of a long term brand strategy. A peacock is just a logo.

NBC gets a double whammy of good and bad. On one hand, I’m sure they saw it as an exclusive delivered right into their lap. But on the other, it’s a curse. What do you do with it? Holding it makes people mad. Airing it makes people mad. They picked one of the two bad choices they had.

Citizen Journalists
The kid who shot the cell phone footage and the kids who taped the S.W.A.T team through the peephole have provided content that hangs in the realm of battlefield journalists. People and cameras will increasingly become more prevalent and high profile as time goes by. How long before a “scandal” of improper use of citizen journalism? How long until a citizen journalist becomes injured or gets killed while holding up a cell phone camera?

You can’t own information
A colleague and I were discussing the Virginia Tech student newspaper website today. They have stripped it down to bare bones updates (because there really is only one story on campus and to help handle the server stress.) But there is a legal disclaimer at the bottom of the page about having written consent to reprint/republish/etc their intellectual property. He had actually sent them an email suggesting a Creative Commons license.
Trying to hold on to content is now useless. You want people to take what you’re creating and spread it. Your lawyer wants you to place hurdles in people’s way. You need to make it easy as possible.

There are lots more points on media and marketing about all of this – Jeff Jarvis has made some good ones.


You own a pizza company.

You bake a pizza and have the delivery driver randomly pick a house out of the phone book to deliver the pizza to.

The owner of the house has to “opt-out” of the pizza delivery.

Sure, some people might be hungry and accept the pie. But can you imagine how annoying it would be to have to decline pizzas all day because there are thousands of pizza places in your town delivering like this?

And aren’t you wasting a lot of time, energy, and dough by sending out so many wasted pizzas? It would be much more efficient and productive to only deliver pizzas to people who order one. Why are you ticking off your entire market base by randomly delivering pizzas that people don’t want?

Now replace the word “pizza” with the word “email”

I’ve noticed a recent up tick in the number of legitimate companies that are adding my name to their list because they really think I want to hear from them. The emails have unsubscribe options all over them because that’s what the guy learned in the $99 email marketing seminar down at the Airport Marriott.

Just because you offer a way for people to opt-out doesn’t mean that you’re not a spammer. You’re a spammer when you send people things that they didn’t ask for.

Second No-Life

Excellent story here with GigaOm (via Hugh) on why marketing in Second Life doesn’t work.

I have never really understood the Second Life hype or the rush for companies to “build” a marketing campaign in SL.

My presumption on why every company feels that they have to have a presence in SL is that BigCorp started a Second Life initiative. And then MegaCorp felt they had to keep up with the Jones. And once BigCorp and MegaCorp were there, then WannabeCorp based their whole bloody online strategy around it. Etc. Etc. And then the politicians showed up.

Inserting your marketing in Second Life to reach online users and build an online marketing strategy in 2007 is like trying to slip cans of New Coke into a basement full of Dungeons & Dragons players in 1985.

The whole Second Life marketing issue/problem is just a good example of what companies are doing wrong when they try to market through any social networking site, whether it be Second Life, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.

Each of these sites is like a private party with either invited guests or people who show up and become guests over time. When you show up with your Amway sample case, people are turned off.

Quit trying to “insert” yourself into online communities and create your own community around your product.

Big Marketing on a Small Budget webinar

It’s always a good thing when you’re invited back.

I have been contracted by HealthLeaders Media to participate in another healthcare marketing webinar called Big Marketing on a Small Budget. It’s coming up soon on Tuesday, April 24.

My co-presenters, Rhoda Weiss and Ken Trester, have extensive backgrounds in healthcare marketing and really know their stuff. In the preplanning calls and emails, we’ve been very excited about the content we’re putting together. The webinar will focus on getting the most out of a healthcare marketing dollar.

If you’ve attended my seminar “Shoestring Marketing”, you’ll recognize alot of the content that I’ll be bringing. My key takeaway in that seminar is not to solely focus on cost but to look at overall return on investment. I’ll also be discussing some new methods that have high ROI.

You can find a complete description and agenda for the webcast here: