Gone Fishing

December 21, 2007

On vacation until after the New Year. I’ll write if inspired – but seems unlikely – as I have WAY too much work to do while away. (It is a good thing – to be buried in new business opportunities – it is.)



Sears & KMart want to spy on you . . . WOMMA Hall of Shame

December 21, 2007

OK, another candidate for the WOMMA hall of shame – and just in time to take (perhaps) top honors for 2007.

According to this story from Techdirt, when you join the “community” at Sears & KMart,

“What happens is that you are asked if you want to “join the community,” and then, without clearly explaining what the software does, Comscore’s tracking software is installed. After that, all of your online activities — including to “secure” sites like banking sites — is sent directly to Comscore, despite Sears’ website insisting that none of the data you share will go to anyone but Sears. “

Yeah right! OK people, let’s keep building the trust.  (Hat tip to The Daily Lark.)


Bacon Salt

December 20, 2007

Need I say more? First of all, I just like those two words put together. Salt makes everything taste better, and so does bacon. Put them together and you have MAGIC!

Bacon Salt

I heard the founders of Bacon Salt – on The Story – NPR and it might be one of the most powerful WOM stories I have heard. Blogging, youtube, tattoos, etc. No advertising.

Good Stuff.


Who owns the Community

December 18, 2007

I have been commenting about this issue on various blogs, and have a couple of “community” examples here, here and here – but based on Jeremiah’s post today, and Doc Searles post it is time to write my own.

I am (for this business) an old school kind of guy. I subscribe to The Cluetrain Manifesto – hence the title of this blog.

The COMMUNITY is owned by the participants. I think that brands trying to build their own community (with few exceptions) is sheer folly. (I do not include brand sponsored discussion forums for technical help/support)

I believe that brands cannot have conversations, and for the most part corporations struggle to have conversations. Conversations do not pass through the indignity of legal, policy and PR before coming out of your mouth.

Brands can’t participate in the community, but people working for brands CAN. They just have to be helpful and behave (and talk) like human beings. This requires putting the interests of the community ahead of your own brand/corporate interests – which I think is what makes it so difficult. (Get agreement on this important issue before dipping your toe in.)

All major brands/companies should be listening to their relevant communities – and if they have the stomach for it – trying to participate in a human way.


Bill Gates wants you to Appreciate Software!

December 14, 2007

 From Ben Worthen over at the WSJ Biz Tech blog.

Bill Gates to Workers: Appreciate Software

I don’t even know where to start with this one.   We know that Microsoft has transformed everyone’s work life.  But take a look at this Vista Fact Sheet and let me know how excited you are about it.

I think the disconnect is that Microsoft (and almost all other technology companies) have a feature/benefit focus to all communications.  This does not connect with consumers.

Connect to my emotions.  Make me feel better.  Make me feel cool.  Make me feel like a hero.  Make me feel like an outlaw.  Make me feel something.  Then I will care



The Evolved CMO . . . Listens

December 14, 2007

Interesting study from Forrester and Heidrick & Struggles.

One startling conclusion? Customer service and listening to customers is not on the top of their lists. Gonna be hard to know what they (customers) want if you don’t listen to them. (For the record, I am not a fan of letting innovation be driven by customers, but listening to what they say is a critical input for any good marketing or product strategy.

Study Identifies Strategies for CMOs to Evolve into Strategic Business Leaders – Marketing Charts

According to the survey:

  • One-quarter of CMOs are not involved in any way with customer service and support, distancing marketing from what customers are saying in the field.
  • Fewer than half of CMOs identified being the voice of the customer a top priority for their personal success.
  • Even fewer identified listening to/interacting with customers, and personal knowledge of customers, as crucial to their jobs.

“CMOs who can acutely tap into customer needs and evangelize them throughout the organization will be able to drive growth and strategy for the business,” said Jane Stevenson, Global Managing Partner of the Heidrick & Struggles CMO Practice. “At the end of the day, an evolved CMO is an enduring business leader, a strategy-driving, influence-wielding executive with a finger on the pulse of the organization and the customer.”


December 12, 2007

OK, I know this is a bit of blogger parody, but I called to cancel my Sprint cellphone service (yes, traded in the trusty Treo 650 for an iPhone) and the call took 32 minutes.   And that was my second call.  On my first call, I patiently navigated my way thru their phone tree to the “Cancel My Service selection – was transferred (I thought to the Sprint service cancellation department) to another branch of the tree where it rang once and hung up on me. I knew they were there, so I called the number back and instead navigated my way to the “Add  New Features to My Plan” selection.   Sprint answered quickly and cheerfully when they thought I was going to spend more money.  After giving my phone number (2nd time) and personal info to verify identity, I told the rep what I wanted to do.  She spent about 5 minutes asking me if I really, really wanted to do that.  When it was clear to her that I really, really wanted to cancel my service, she transferred me to the special “Service Cancellation Department”. Now that they knew my motives, things slowed down considerably.  After 16 minutes on hold, I was talking to a less cheerful, more serious representative from Service Cancellation.  We did the “could you give me your phone number and ID verification” dance again (HAVE YOU PEOPLE EVER HEARD OF A SCREEN POP!) and she proceeded to verify that I did in fact want to cancel my service, and no $49.00 per month was not a low enough price to get me to stay with them.  (More than $10.00 per month was too high.)  Once she was done with me, she had to transfer me to a “Service Cancellation Specialist”. After only 8 more minutes on hold, I was finally on the line with someone who could help me.  After verifying Phone Number & ID once again – and then verifying that I really, really, really did want to cancel the service, and no price or offer would keep me there, she pulled the plug and cancelled my service.    I have no particular animosity toward Sprint and the guys & gals in my local Sprint Store (Evanston, Maple Avenue) have been VERY helpful, this was a bit much to go through.  And it will sure make me think long and hard about ever signing up with Sprint again – for anything. TO’B