Find your customers and support them back

DISCLOSURE: I do not advertise.  Not in the traditional sense at least.  I also never say know to a request from a policyholder/friend/customer for a sponsorship/support of something they are involved in.

So I was at a zoo this weekend.  Washington National Zoo to be exact.  Great time, great place.  While at one exhibit I noticed this sign;

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Really neat exhibit and I am fine with seeing State Farm’s name there.  I respect them as a company and think this is a great move.  Why would you not want your logo in a happy place where lots of families are.  Especially since families are a huge piece of your customer base.  But then again you see State Farm almost everywhere.  They probably have customers in every physical space that they put their name.

So why “cold” advertise all over T.V., radio and print?  What if all their focus on advertising was directed by existing customers?  Now this is not say that they pick a particular sports team and sponsor them.  It is to say that if basketball is a common theme among their customers and in theory their future customers they should put the emphasis there.

I suppose it is quite possible that their marketing staff is, for some odd reason, afraid that if they back off on their advertising the business will somehow suffer.  I doubt it.  Especially  if you simply reapply that money.  Imagine if all the agents in one county worked together to sponsor a large activity in that area.  Now you can capture those customers as well as engage them.  Heck, your response rate would blow away anything you can do with your useless mailings.

Just a thought, go where your customers are and hang out.  Sure it may be fun to go  to a new space and make new friends but spending money to do that and diluting your brand in the process is likely all you are doing.

Now lets go to the other side;

My wife, her friend and my sister in law ran in this race this past weekend;

Now it was well run and well supported, had a nice course and from what my runners said it was a lot of fun.  They were also well taken care of and there was a great spirit.  Here is what caught my attention;

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Yes, that is the Nike Swoosh on a silver Tiffany pendant.  The back is engraved with some details about being a finisher of the event. Holy crap, this is way better than the beer mug, pin or finishers medals that I have received.  That Tiffany Blue Box in the finishers bag was awesome than I saw this pendant.  Talk about relating to your audience.  Sure there are 15,000 of these made for this event but in reality that is a tiny segment of the population.  They all knew Tiffany and Nike but now it is personal. Honestly it is nice enough that I would bet many will be part of a regular rotation.  Just a tremendous example of embracing your audience.

You can give out all the chatzkees you want and hope they stick around or you can give out something really awesome to less people and know it is going to stick.

Yes, in my brain it is time to advertise less and advertise better.  There is so much data available that why would you not want to focus on your audience and let them build your business with you.

Just a thought.

Two quick lessons from a cashier and a barber

Interesting day last week. Had a few minutes before a meeting so I stopped into Office Depot to buy some markers .  No big deal, like a $5 purchase and at 9:00 in the morning there is no one there. Then Bobbi and I met at the register.  I really like that Office Depot will e-mail me my receipt; 1 less piece of paper, easier for tracking.  Today Bobbi decided he wanted to make the decision for me and pressed “print receipt” .  I said Bobbi why did you do that he said he was moving things along.  At this point there were 8 or so employees in the store and 1 customer, none of which were on line with me.

The Lesson; DON”T BE BOBBI! Allow me to do the transaction how I want to do the transaction.  If you give me options let me choose them.  I may be open to a suggestion BUT don’t make the decision for me.  Any decision is better if I make it and I own it.  This goes for the decisions you make on your own and if you are helping someone buy something you are selling.

Later in the day, which actually had lots of solid moments besides these two, I went for a haircut.  If you have ever seen me I basically have worn my hair the same way for about 10 years.  Short.  There may not be an easier haircut then mine, get a #4 clip, run it all over my head, square up the back and side burns and walla your done.  Stat to finish should  be under 10 minutes so you actually make more per minute doing my haircut because it is so easy.  Now I value my time to much to wait for a particular barber and today’s woman has cut my hair before.  Today I left thinking somewhere in the world there is a trained monkey who could have been more gentle on my scalp, feel free to forward me a video.  Finally she whacked my head one time that resulted in a fairly loud “Jesus” being said and that was it.  Very happy that I had exact change.

THE LESSON; When presented with an easy situation take advantage of it instead of messing it up.  The clippers in a barbershop are a necessity, know how to use your tools at your “job” whatever they may be.  If you rely on tips as part of your income EARN THEM

That’s enough for now.  Just some thoughts.