Archive for June, 2007

Deterring Traffic = Huge Mistake

There’s a great sandwich shop about three blocks from the office called Lenny’s. Their sandwiches are some of the best I ever tasted and their service is rockin’ like Dokken! However, it’s a real hassle to get to because the highway becomes too congested with cars during the lunch rush. So I, and other savvy commuters, found a short cut. To take the shortcut you must go through a backstreet, then through a small local business’s parking lot, which connects with another backstreet that takes your right to the sandwich shop. It worked great for a while, that is until the owner/manager of the local business started purposefully blocking the entrance to the second backstreet from his parking lot with his car. I guess he was tired of the excess traffic.

He’s making a huge mistake and wasting a great opportunity.

First off, the small business isn’t on a high traffic street and doesn’t get much exposure to passing commuters. Most businesses want extra traffic but apparently this guy either doesn’t need it or is too short-sighted to realize he’s telling possible customers to kiss-off.

Second, the owner is missing a great opportunity. He could capitalize on the extra traffic by putting up a sign that said, “Show me a Lenny’s receipt with today’s date and receive 10% off your purchase!” Give that extra traffic a reason to stop by your business and a chance to buy your product.

If you’re a small business, it’s never a good idea to deter traffic.


Taking a moment to remember a remarkable person

I attended a memorial service for my college friend, R.O. Mitchell, this past weekend. He was 35 years old and was truly an amazing person.

If you were to meet R.O., the first thing you would notice was his size. The man was giant. He stood about 6’7″. The second thing you would notice was his equally giant smile. R.O. was a happy person who loved to learn about people and their cultures. He would ask you all sorts of questions about your background and soak up everything you had to say. He was a sponge when it came to learning about people.

Not only was R.O. an intellectual sponge, he was also a well of knowledge. The man was more than fluent in Spanish, German, and Chinese. Our mutual college friend Ito, who was a native Spanish speaker, would often comment about how R.O. knew Spanish grammar better than he did.

R.O. loved to share his knowledge of foreign languages through teaching. I mean that too; he truly loved to teach. We would have entire conversations about how much of thrill he got by helping others understand that they too could be fluent in another language. Not only did he have a passion for teaching, he was good at it too. I should know, he tutored me through my final semesters of Spanish.

R.O. had two other passions. One of those was ping-pong. As our friend Ito would say, “R.O. was Forrest Gump good!” It’s true. The man was undefeated in the dorm and, I believe, throughout the entire university. R.O. could put more spin on the ball than the best PR agent could spin a news story. And don’t even get me started about the trick shots he would send his opponent’s way…

His other passion was chess. R.O. was literally a chess master. He was the first African American to win the U.S. Junior Open Championship. The funny thing is half of the people at the memorial service, including myself, didn’t know he was a champion chess player. Which leads me to the last great R.O. trait I want to cover.

R.O. was incredibly humble. He wasn’t shy or bashful, he just never felt compelled to brag about his accomplishments. The fact that he reached his goals was good enough for him. He didn’t feel the need to tell anyone else.

I’m going to miss you my friend. Your shining personality, your helpful advice, and your incredible laugh.

God speed good friend.

Is your content worthy for social media users?

There’s a good article over on Search Engine Land entitled, “Is your content worthy for social media users?” Here’s the link to the post.

It’s good information that tells the same old story – know your target audience.

Remember, just because it’s a Web 2.0 site doesn’t necessarily mean that the same rules don’t apply.

Anyway, go checkout the article.

Which Wich embraces social media

Which Wich, the unique sandwich chain, has made a gutsy but brilliant move. The chain is promoting a blogger, Chris Thomas of Pour Out, who has vowed to eat and critique all of its 51 sandwiches.

What’s interesting is that Chris decided to do this on his own. When the employees at his local Which Wich noticed he was coming in every day, Chris mentioned that he was blogging about the experience. To make the long story short, someone (possibly the district manager) decided to promote Chris’s blog on every sandwich bag in the store. See image below.



This is absolutely fantastic and gutsy. Why gutsy? Because Chris gives an honest critique and says that some of their sandwiches are just plain bad. Why fantastic? Because the sandwich chain increased its popularity by embracing Chris’s efforts. Chris’s fellow coworkers and friends are now eating at the restaurant because of his blog. Heck, I’ve eaten there because of his blog! Also consider that Chris’s blog is somewhat popular and receives around 200 visitors a day. Imagine how many other people might be influenced by his reviews.

Good job Which Wich on embracing blogging and word-of-mouth marketing. But don’t stop now. I suggest you see what else you can do to help promote Chris, thereby promoting yourselves.

Can a blog create fans?

In response to a post by Mack Collier, a conversation emerged about whether a blog can create fans. View the conversation here by reading the comments. (Special hat tip to CK for her views too!)

Here’s my take. A blog about a product cannot create fans. Fans of products are created from the experience the buyer has once they have used the product. The product creates fans not the blog. That doesn’t mean a product blog is useless, far from it. What a product blog can do is create excitement and intrigue and help persuade a person to purchase the product. But it can’t create a fan.

On the other hand, if the product is a human-being and his views and opinions (think Seth Godin), then yes a blog can create fans. The difference here is that blog readers are experiencing the product by reading it.

So before you make your pitch to your boss or client that a blog will create fans, think about what you’re implying. Be sure you’re not setting false expectations.

If knowledge is power, then give it away!

You’ve heard the saying knowledge is power. I’ve found that statement to be true throughout my entire life. Chances are so have your customers.

If you give your customers knowledge, they obviously become more knowledgeable – more powerful. That feeling of power is emboldening and I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t like it.

So what does this have to do with marketing? If your company serves as a source of information, a source of knowledge, a source of power, customers and potential customers will not only remember you but will more likely buy from you too.

But there’s a catch. The information and knowledge you provide must be worth reading, easy to comprehend, benefit the reader, and you must be the only source that offers it.

As an example, think about the best white papers that you’ve downloaded or the best informative websites you’ve visited. I bet you remember the publishing company’s name and think of them as a key player in their industry. And when you’re in the need of a product that the publishing company can supply, I bet you’ll go to them instead of the umpteen other companies that offer similar products.

So the next time you find yourself thinking of a new product or feature you can add to generate more leads or revenue, you might consider the economic efficiencies and payoffs of producing an e-learning piece.

The Dip: A book review

Seth Godin’s new book The Dip is short. Very short. In fact it’s only 76 pages.

But The Dip’s length is not a bad thing. It’s purpose isn’t to cover all the ins and out of a topic. It’s purpose is to get the reader to think about one simple question: Should I quit what I’m doing or stick with it? It’s a simple question that can dramatically affect your business, department, or life.

Should you read The Dip? Yes, without a doubt and it will only take an hour to read. But I don’t recommend it because it’s short. I recommend it because it will cause you to do some deep level thinking about how you roll out your next product or service.

Here are my key takeaways from the The Dip:

The fact that something is difficult to accomplish or unpredictable works to your advantage. If it were any other way, there’d be no profit from it. “The next time you’re tempted to vilify a particularly obnoxious customer or agency or search engine, realize that this failed interaction is the best thing that’s happened to you all day long. Without it, you’d be easily replaceable. The Dip is your very best friend.”

“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner. Before you enter a new market, consider what would happen if you managed to get through the Dip and win in the market you’re already in.”

“If you want to be a superstar, then you need to find a field with a steep Dip… And you’ve got to get through that Dip to the other side. This isn’t for everyone. If it were, there’d be no superstars.”

“The problem is that only a tiny portion of the audience is looking for the brand-new thing. Most people are waiting for the tested, the authenticated, and the proven. Microsoft failed twice with Windows, four times with Word… The entire company is based on the idea of slogging through the Dip, relentlessly changing tactics but never quiting the big idea.”

“So, there’s tool number one. If quitting is going to be a strategic decision that enables you to make smart choices in the marketplace, then you should outline your quitting strategy before the discomfort sets in.”

Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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