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Blue Ocean Strategy: Stryper

By on Jun 11, 2015 in Featured, Marketing, Music | 0 comments

Stryper dominated the Christian hair band scene in the 1980s. Their religion provided an avenue for success that differentiated them from the booze-swilling, groupie-hunting rockers that defined the scene. In marketing terms, they found their blue ocean and, thus, continue to headline shows. Here are some lessons you can learn from Stryper’s success.

Great Customer Service: The Parable of the Corner Booth

By on May 27, 2015 in Featured, Professional | 0 comments

Early evening, in a small town cafe. Dinner. A few families, a couple of couples, sit at tables. Few customers, relatively speaking. An elderly couple walks in, heads directly to a corner booth. Waitress stops them, or at least attempts to stop them. They sit. She chides. “You need to sit at that table, over there,” she says. Over there, for the record, is a table 10 feet away, and there are only two waitresses. “This booth is empty, by a window. Nobody is in it, so we want to sit over there,” the elderly man says. “But you need to sit over there.” “Why?” “Because that’s the next place I need to sit somebody.” Thankfully, the stubborn couple refused to move and the waitress eventually surrendered. Personally, I would’ve moved — right out the door, letting everybody know exactly why I left. I never agreed with the sentiment that the “customers is always right.” A couple demanding a corner seat in a crowded restaurant would absolutely be considered wrong and appropriately forced to either wait or sit somewhere else. But in this case, no logic could explain the waitresses aggressive insistence they move. Look at your own business — do you have house rules that spoil your customers experience? Often, those rules came about organically and logically but experienced a rule creep where employees implement them without explanation. When I worked as a pizza driver, for example, we had a rule that deliveries to certain areas had to be at least $15. Although a written rule, we often made exceptions — and actually had regular, outlying customers who ordered $10 pizzas during slow times. If you do have house rules that can confuse customers, make them clear. Post them on your door, your menu, your website. Make sure your employees can always explain them — but also empower your employees to waive them when circumstances allow. The payoff will be not only be more [loyal customers](Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans), but customers who respect your time, energy and...

Prepare Your Customers For Exceptional Service

By on May 12, 2015 in Featured, Marketing, Professional | 0 comments

Alaska Air has developed a reputation as a company with strong customer service, and their employees certainly take pride in furthering that reputation. But the airline also does many small things right in before the customer even needs service.

Roger Clyne Makes Peace With The Media

By on May 6, 2015 in Featured, Journalism, Marketing, Music | 0 comments

Not one, not two, not just three errors. A half-dozen, at least, and ones that don’t even require significant research to fact-check. That happened in a recent review of Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers show in Boston*, when the writer made mistakes ranging from the number of albums to the theme of certain songs. Many people or companies, when faced with so many egregious mistakes, would demand corrections, retractions, apologies. They would send nasty emails to the writer and vent about the disrespect for months or years. Not Señor Clyne or his band of amigos. Instead, they did what they do night in and night out as an exceptionally hard-working independent band. They raised a glass to the writer. Here’s the thing: The article perfectly captured the loose atmosphere of a Roger Clyne show. It also portrayed his strengths, and his growth, as a songwriter. Even with (or despite) the factual errors, the article was great for the band and its fans. Many would argue it’s easy to ignore the errors in a positive article, but in practice that seldom happens. As a reporter and editor, I received countless complaints from the subjects of positive stories, often about obscure and or meaningless errors. One example: I once wrote about the preservation of a historic locomotive but misidentified its number. Organizers and others derided me publicly and to my editors because of this mistake — which did not change the substance of the story — and many of them attacked me personally. I’ll let you guess what happened when they contacted me for a follow-up. So should you ignore errors? No. Most reporters want to get the facts right and will make requested corrections. But use such a request as an opportunity to build a relationship with the reporter and the media outlet, not bash the media or accuse them of some deeper conspiracy. With this review, the band likely knew their passionate fan base would let the reporter know about the mistakes. But by thanking the writer publicly, they also primed that fan base for positive interactions with the reporter. This will serve them well in the long run. Not only will they almost assuredly get a positive preview the next time they visit Boston*, but other reporters will likely recognize the band’s humanity and more willingly cover concerts elsewhere. Here’s to life. *This post originally identified the city where the show took place as New York City. Yes, I made an error in a blog post about errors. Of course I...

Social Media Explained (As A City)

By on May 5, 2015 in Featured, Marketing | 0 comments

Many social media marketers still operate under metaphors that worked well two years ago but no longer come close to reality. So, in an effort to at least return to a funhouse equivalent, I want to provide some real-life comparisons for social networks — in this case, the areas they might represent in a city.

Gift Idea: Notebooks

By on May 3, 2015 in Featured, Philosophical | 0 comments

I have a quiver of gifts, including books, arts and (especially) crafts, locally-branded clothing, artisan food, and wine. In the past year, I have added another item that I highly recommend: notebooks.

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