Took weeks of jabs and then a wonderful right hook

And actually the right hook was delivered by Seth Godin.  Having read Thank You Economy and Crush It I knew I would enjoy Gary’s latest but for some reason I kept delaying.  See I am attempting to consume all I can on-line but like a few other authors who bring great value to me it was time for me to do a little something in return.  Actually three copies were bought; 1 for me, 1 for Holly and 1 for a new potential partner.  With my copy read and highlighted it will now go to a potential new hire so I can speed up there learning curve.  So the review;

Genuine is an asset especially when you are simply a genuine person as opposed to trying.  This book is overflowing with actual examples of how things work and can work better.  It is  much more of a playbook or written plan for what to do then what to avoid.  Fortunately there are actual examples, this is ridiculous by the way.  Never seen a book that actual shows examples of right and wrong.  Oddly, even when being negative he always gives the answer on how to fix it.  PLEASE this is not just some “idiots guide to …” this is a book for the brand new all the way to the established people in business to use for improving the bottom line.  This may be a social media playbook for many but the reality is it is a guide to doing business (period). Well worth the investment, only my mother has a better ROI.

I give away most of the books I read so below are the lines/paragraphs I highlighted:

XX; The incredible brand awareness and bottom-line profits achievable through social media marketing require hustle, heart, sincerity, constant engagement, long term commitment and most of all artful strategic storytelling.

9.  …a big announcement praising themselves, as though being last in line is something to be proud of:…..It’s embarrassing.  It pisses me off. (It also makes me perversely happy because their cluelessness has a definite upside for my clients, my friends , and for me.

10 Ignoring platforms that have gained a critical mass is a great way to look slow and out-of-touch.  Do not cling to nostalgia.  Do not put your principles above the reality of the market.  Do not be a snob.

12.  Native Story- telling doesn’t require you to alter your identity to suit a given platform: your identity remains the same no matter what.  I’ll behave one way when I’m giving a presentation to a client in Washington, D.C., another way while I’m standing on the train platform waiting to head home, and yet another way when I’m watching football with my friends that night.  But I’m always the same guy.

13. Once start-ups grow enough to join the ranks of corporate america, they often become overly cautious and start sticking to the safest, narrowest lane they can find.

16. Content for the sake of content is pointless

27 Jab at people, all the time, every day.  Talk about what they are talking about.

27. Social marketing is now a 24-7 job

35 The point is to give and give and give, for no other reason than to entertain your customers and make them feel like you get them

39 From now on, the difference between your content and your ads on facebook will be…nothing

40 Create content that no one cares about and Facebook will make it as difficult as possible for you put more of it out on its site.

80 Cone palace logo in the bottom of the picture or at the top left.  Have I beaten that horse to death yet?  INCLUDE YOUR LOGO IN YOUR PICTURE

82. Questions to ask when creating facebook micro-content

85 Twitter primarily rewards people who listen and give, not those who ask and take

85 Twitter is the cocktail party of the Internet- a place where listening well has tremendous benefits

86 Make a statement, stake out a position, establish a voice- this is how you successfully jab your twitter followers

116 Does the voice sound authentic

124 * High quality content; There’s a reason why real estate agents and chefs don’t photograph their own properties or food-no one would want it

152 It’s all of those things, but to get the most out of it, brands should approach it as a brandable, unique, micro-content exhibition space and sparring ring

152 It represents the perfect opportunity for brands to experiment with new creative storytelling forms,

154 Tumblr has always been more of a publishing platform than a consumption platform, but people do consume there just at an incredibly rapid rate.

178 Effort is the great equalizier

178 What matters is the effort you put into your work.  And never has effort counted more than it does tody

178 Budgets should have no effect on the amount of effort, heart, and sincerity that can go into your conversations with your customers

179 The real connection, and the loyalty, happens when they believe that you care about them both as a customer and as an individual.

179 Bigger businesses will be able to jump in on more conversations than others, but volume alone won’t raise a brands engagement levels- the quality of the conversation will

180 Effort.  It matters more than most people want to admit.

185 – about social media, about business, and about how they really are now one and the same


Let’s make rate increases more interesting

Generally, a conversation starts with  ” wow I got my renewal and the rate is up…”  followed by them explaining how they looked at last years policy and are now not happy.  How about this, if you are going to raise the rates you must put last years rate right next to the new one.  Followed by a sentence like;

” We raised our rates due to a tough year, sorry.”


” Your rate is up because we ran your motor vehicle report.  Please drive more responsibly.”


” Your rate is up due to the surcharge we applied for your at-fault accident”

Take the guesswork out of it.  Quite honestly being honest will make my job easier and may win you some loyalty points.  This may be being done on a small scale however it would be much more interesting if a state required this to be done.

Just a thought.

11 things from 11 years

So on the 11th day of the 11th month I have just finished 11 years in insurance.  Like most 11 year stretches there is a lot that has been learned.  But what stands out?  Well more then 11 things but I’ll pick 11 anyhow.

1. Reserve your loyalty for people not companies.  Although my first 8.5 was with one company, my last 2.5 have confirmed this statement.  You are a policyholder and they all like you as long as you are paying your bills and not having claims.  Mess up either of those two and see how much they like you.  Instead find a human being that can reciprocate your loyalty.

2. Whether you like it or not rates go up. Yes, I know your car is older, you have no claims, you’ve been with them for years(see #1) bottom line is rates are as much a product of the economy as they are your performance.  Yes, your performance will influence them but over time the economy,storms and other outside factors will have more of an impact.  

3. Be proactive or reactive just don’t be inactive.  This is great for exercising and just as great as it is for keeping your rates consistent.  Take your typical advertisement bragging about “$482 in savings…”  All that means is you overpaid for at least the last year if not the last two.  Remember the insurance companies need you more than you need them.  Review your plans at least every 18 months.  Two years is almost to long.

4. The insurance company that spends less on their advertising and more on current customers will win HUGE.  That’s right, you love your company so much but all they are doing is looking for new customers.  That rate increase is helping pay to advertise to new customers.  Does your company sponsoring a football game somehow make them better?

5.Reality is an agent who can only sell one company’s products can only do so much.  It hurt when people joined me with my current company and their rate went down by $1000 or more.  But two of these people said it best, “Bill you did the best you could with what you had…”  They were right.  But I would rather you spend more out of loyalty to a person than loyalty to a company.

6.When you get past the marketing and right to the core , all insurance companies are the same.  You pay a small sum of money to offset a large potential problem.  In the state of New York and likely others, all companies must play by the same rules and offer the  same basic coverage.  The basic coverage is the most important,  don’t get lost in all the marketing.  Most of the coverage offered is pretty much the same.

7. Like every business there are good and bad people involved.  Insurance is no exception,  a far as I can tell the good far outweigh the bad.  There are quite a few bad ones but fortunately most of their work is fixable.

8. Yes, many times really low rates come with some catches.  Lots of popular tricks to “save you money” but the reality is if you lose $100,000 and save $50 you didn’t save any money.  Scary how often this happens.

9.Like it or not credit score helps indicate future results.  This did not exist as a factor when I started and there was and continues to be many people against this.  My experience is it is true enough that it will continue to be a heavy factor in your rate. Sorry.

10. You are in charge not the company.  That’s right, if you take control of your rate you will continue to keep your rates level.  If you take charge of your claim you will have a better claims process.  Now if you sit back and expect a call center to handle everything you should not expect the best results.

11. Like the rest of your life, insurance is imperfect.  But like the rest of your life there is a lot you can do to make it better.  Someday there may be a company than genuinely wants to see your rate go down every year but until that time it is up to you.

Just some thoughts.

Thanks for reading.