Why is it that we feel the need to shorten word groupings to either initials, acronyms, or shortened nicknames?Read More
I was a bit taken aback that an individual who made a living selling online marketing service might consider maintaining an anonymous on-screen identity.Read More
Over the past seven years, the board has worked with me in establishing a SciCoh Sharks Brand demonstrated through a website, email campaigns, fundraising materials and apparel. It always gives me a warm feeling when I walk around town and see a young person wearing a SciCoh sweatshirt, T-shirt, baseball hat, or fleece beanie.Read More
Obviously, I have been in the marketing communications business way too long. I know this because I now have the tendency to dissect taglines–searching for hidden meaning, as well as the reason for their existence.
Here are two prime examples.
I was recently visiting Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. On the door of their Facilities Management vehicles, the slogan beneath their iconic shield is: “We Care”. To my occasionally cynical business mind, this tagline/slogan was developed only to combat a popular feeling amongst those familiar with this fine Ivy League Institution, that this particular department really didn’t care — or worse, couldn’t care less.
I am not saying that this is true, it’s just the way that marketing mind has been reconfigured over the past three decades.
Although, when you really think about it, why would an organization spend the time and resources developing such a communications device — if it wan’t attempting to squelch a popular belief amongst the general population? Why wouldn’t they care? Why is there the need to announce it? If I am paying a gazillion dollars for a college education, I would only hope that they care-even just a little!
I recently found another example of “sketchy” marketing copy on the label of a gallon of spring water purchased at a local convenience store. Not only is the plastic jug’s content spring water, it is “Select” spring water. This begs the question — are there multiple grades of spring water, as in gasoline? What determines which is regular spring water, mid-grade spring water or select? Does select spring water carry more important vitamins and minerals? Or is the regular variety more likely to contain leaf particles and pollywog residue?
My marketing copywriter pal, Jim Montgomery often describes taglines (or slogans) as barnacles that often grow on the bottom of a boat. From time to time, they just need to be scraped off. – Doug.
(I write this with my “snarkasm” filter cranked up to 11)
If you are like me, while on business travel, you are hanging around your corporate hotel room and suddenly it dawns on you. Hey! Wouldn’t it be great to have an exact replica of this room carefully tucked within my very own residence!
Sure this would be great–but think of the time involved in tracking down the exact bed runner, shower head, table lamp, the slightly used terry-cloth robe and the aromatherapy personal care products. Who has the time?
The marketing wizards at Marriott have developed their own in-room catalog–providing an easy-to-follow online shopping roadmap–making this far-fetched dream an easy-to-obtain reality. Prices range from $40 for the projection alarm clock up to $3642 for the Complete King-sized bed package (Euro Sham, Euro Pillow, Accent Pillow, Duvet Cover, Matelasse Deluxe Bed Skirt).
If you are like me, your fingers will want to immediately run (not walk) to www.shopmarriott.com. Enjoy! – Doug.
I live in Massachusetts and my oldest son just started college in North Carolina. Late last week, he notified me that his allergies were acting up and asked me to send him some Clariten tablets. I of course agreed and proceeded to place an order with online retailer, Drugstore.com. After filling out the order form, I was presented with several payment options. I chose the most prominent method, PayPal. Although it doesn’t provide reward points, I have always been a big fan of PayPal and appreciate the security that it offers.
It was a short time after the order was placed, that I received a confirmation email from Drugstore.com. My order had shipped–Good News! However, after studying the email, I realized that the medicine was on its way to Massachusetts and NOT North Carolina. Sure, this made me a little frustrated–but I chalked it up to my tendency to multi-task–despite what the experts say.
I decided that my next move was to attempt the order again. Instead of ordering the bottle of 70 tablets, I would order a package of 10. When the larger bottle arrived in my mailbox, I would just reship them to North Carolina.This time, however, I slowed my self down and methodically went through the ordering process–paying close attention to the shipping address. When this was complete, I clicked the PayPal button–and everything was perfect!
Soon after, the confirmation email for the second order arrived. Yes, the second order had gone through and the package was being shipped to…
I immediately called Drugstore.com to find out what had gone wrong for the second time! The customer service representative was very polite as I explained the series of events. He kindly explained that, yes, this was a problem and that they were aware of it. The way that their online system was set up, if you select the (extremely prominent) PayPal button as your payment option, the delivery address is automatically changed to your default PayPal address. In other words, upon entering ANY shipping address, whenever I pay with PayPal, my Drugstore.com order will be chipped to my Massachusetts address.
The customer service rep, with some hesitation, finally agreed to send me postage-free shipping labels so that I could immediately return the two orders, once received. Once the packages were received, I would receive a refund to my PayPal account.
So, from a customer service standpoint, if Drugstore.com realizes that this is a problem, why don’t they discontinue the use of PayPal until this issue is fully resolved?
This whole experience has caused me to rethink my business partnership with this online retailer. In fact, I was able to place an order for the 70 Clariten tablets through Amazon.com. I have received confirmation that my package is North Carolina bound–and not only that–I was able to make my purchase for almost $10 less.
On Friday, I received an urgent email from the college’s health office. They were checking through his medical records and questioned the date of when he received a particular vaccine. According to his medical records, he had received the shot at four months of age–when in most cases, this particular vaccine is not given until the child is at least a year old. In fact, because he received it so unusually young, the health office insisted that he immediately receive a new vaccine–if he wished to continue attending classes. It was the health office that suggested that I speak with his pediatrician, in order to confirm that a mistake was not made in transcribing the date of the vaccine.
After hanging up the phone with the college health office, I immediately picked up the phone to the office of his pediatrician.
We love our sons’ pediatrician and feel very fortunate to have had him as a doctor. However, as the years have gone by and his practice has grown–breaking through the communication barricades of his office have become extremely impossible.
Last Friday, I appeared to be on a lucky streak, as I hurdled the phone tree and was fortunate enough to speak with a live operator. A second point was scored when the operator proved to have fairly decent control of the English language. Actually, she gave every indication of understanding my problem and immediately put my call through to the Nurse Help Line.
Three points! I was on a roll.
Unfortunately, that is when I skidded and hit the wall. After being placed on hold for almost 20 minutes, I was asked to leave a message so that someone would return my call. That was Friday. Today is Tuesday. My son has already received the shot and everything is fine with the college health office. Will I ever receive a call back? I am guessing not.
Drugstore.com has poured millions and millions, into their marketing efforts, My son’s pediatrician is a wonderfully talented and dedicated doctor. Unfortunately, in both cases, the organizations will eventually fall victim to their own sloppiness, when it comes to servicing their customers. As a business owner for myself for nearly all of my 30+ years of professional experience, I know how much easier it is to work with existing customers, than convert new ones. Something that took years and years to build–can be gone in a nano-second!
For further discussion of this topic, I suggest that you download David Meerman Scott’s new ebook: Agile, Real-Time Customer Service. You will probably also want to check out his new book, The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to use agile selling, real-time customer engagement, big data, content, and storytelling to grow your business. –Doug.
I just got my hands on David Meerman Scott’s, soon-to-be business book blockbuster, “The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to use agile selling, real-time customer engagement, big data, content, and storytelling to grow your business”. As I am sure that you are aware, David is a marketing genius, great client and friend–and that we have spent almost a two decades working together.
I had nothing to do with the book design. That was taken care of by the talented folks at John Wiley & Sons, the book’s publisher.
I did, however, design David’s latest eBook: “Agile, Real-Time Customer Service”–as a precursor to the release of the new hardcover book.
For those of you in the business of sales and service (aren’t we all selling something?)–I highly recommend downloading the ebook [click here].
After quickly ingesting the appetizing content, I am almost positive your cursor will walk on over and order the book. Better yet, call your local bookstore and have them order a few copies.–Enjoy!
My wife and I live in a very beautiful Massachusetts coastal town. We have been living in the same house for over 20 years (31 Bow Street, Cohasset Massachusetts 02025) with our two boys now 19 and 16. One son will be off to college next year and the younger will be starting his sophomore year at Groton School, a western Massachusetts boarding school.
Starting next fall, Selene, Olivetti (my canine personal assistant and family canine) will be ‘empty-nesters’–no longer requiring all of the wonderful living space that our home currently offers. Our goal is to find a smaller home within close vicinity to Cohasset but with lower monthly expenses. In other words, we no longer need all of the space and would rather be using our financial resources for adventures.
Location, Location, Location.
First of all, let me say that we were extremely lucky when we found our ‘spot’ in the early 1990s. The nearly one-acre of land is located on the tip of Cohasset’s Little Harbor, a tidal pool that attracts Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets and many other types of waterfowl. We occasionally spot a meandering deer or a crafty fox on a morning hunt.
The views off of our back decks are incredible during all 12 months of the year–as we watch the rise and fall of the water and the gradual color changes in the seasonal foliage. When the home sale is made and we move on, we will surely miss this beautiful backdrop. Thankfully, I currently possess a collection of nearly 600 images taken each morning.
Part Morning Meditation & Part Viral Marketing
Being an early riser and always within close proximity to the world headquarters of EYMER BRAND Laboratories + Think Tank, my morning ritual usually begins with a photograph of our backyard and whatever variation of the sun that the sky has to offer. With coffee cup in hand, I upload each day’s photographic evidence my various social media outlets:
browse the full collection on various social media outlets
Upon reaching 100 photographs, I was nearly ready to stop. Then came 300. Then 500. Today, I shot #568. It was my good friend and faithful client, David Meerman Scott, who helped me get over the 250 photo speed bump. In addition to his kind encouragement, he referenced my viral real estate sales campaign in the latest version of his best-selling book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR.