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2014 in review December 30, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Uncategorized.
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The kind folks at Word Press prepare a year in review for clients. If you missed any of the posts, please swing by and check them out. Thanks for reading, looking forward to sharing more material in 2015. Happy New Year!

Jack

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Marketing Rule- Carved in Stone September 23, 2014

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On a recent vacation trip to Maine I felt compelled to visit Freeport Maine, the world headquarters of L.L. Bean, the infamous outdoor gear, clothing and home goods store.

Part of my need to visit Bean was the long-term connection to their catalog. Growing up in the pre-Internet world of 1960’s and 70’s permitted me to experience the power of catalog marketing. When the L.L. Bean book arrived in the mailbox it was a big deal. My Dad enjoyed the outdoors, owned hunting and fishing gear, and often ordered their “old school” chamois shirts that literally lasted decades-or your money back. Years later, while teaching integrated marketing communications at Roosevelt University, I often brought L.L. Bean marketing materials in to my lectures (particularly the catalogs) to illustrate direct marketing best practices in use at that time.

Like many catalogs of the era, marketers, graphic designers, writers, proofreaders, photographers and printers created literal art. They captured the notion an “experience” long before modern use of the term “brand experience.” This was a different type of connection, in days when people did not travel as frequently by air due to the great expense, these catalogs provided a “travelogue;” using paintings, line drawings, copy, typography and graphic arts in combination to transport you to far away hunting and fishing destinations you could almost feel when you perused the book.

After spending hours looking at their advertising and product museum, and of course, shopping in their 100,000 square foot plus store, I was struck by an engraving on a stone outside the main entrance. The inscription read:

Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings, and they’ll always come back for more.”

Leon Leonwood Bean’s

“Golden Rule,” 1912

This is a common sense business principle or “code” that L.L. Bean obviously lived by. The mere fact the town of Freeport was literally built around his company, one that has survived the Great Depression, two world wars, recessions and other challenges is a testimony to the long-term soundness of this very simple business foundation.

IMG_1665 IMG_1666If more of today’s businesses installed a similar stone by the employee door, we’d all spend less time on the telephone and online having people “apologize for the inconvenience.”

Planning for 2015- Starts Now July 28, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Customer Service, Event marketing, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Uncategorized.
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A client new to the marketing field recently asked me when to begin planning for next year’s integrated marketing activity. Typically I advise clients to begin serious work in August/September of each year.

Depending upon whether an organization works from a calendar or fiscal year will impact this rule of thumb, however, late summer, early fall is a good time to begin work.

While facilitating marketing planning sessions, these are some of the key areas I cover:

  • Results– what has worked this year?  What have we learned?
  • Research– what are the clients saying? Are you providing answers to their “pain points”? Is there something new they desire?
  • Social for the sake of being social– is there a distinct strategy behind your Marketing and strategysocial media or are we doing this because everyone else is?
  • Objectives where are we at year-to-date? Where can we realistically aspire to be? (This is the tough conversation that requires “looking in the mirror” and resource allocation.)

Of course there are many more finite areas we cover in a planning session, but these are the non-negotiable items from my vantage point.

Another issue that leaders often fail to cover is accountability and “policing” the plan. Have you established clear responsibility centers? Which individual(s) are responsible to maintain the marketing calendar and help everyone stick to the plan?

As we all enjoy what remains of the fast-moving summer (here in the midwest anyway), August is often a great time to organize a planning session. And hey, you can meet outside, no one said we can’t catch a few rays while getting the work done…

If you have any questions on marketing planning or facilitating your strategic planning meeting, please feel free to contact me at jmacholl@wisdombridgemarketing.com or on my Skype line (847) 305-1594.

Enjoy the day.

Jack

 

Details + Service = Satisfaction May 4, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing Planning, Uncategorized.
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There is much debate today about the value of social media tools like Twitter. Certainly there is no shortage of opinions being shared in real-time, 24-7, so smart organizations are monitoring their activity and protecting their brand image with vigor. The example below clipped from my e-mail is based on a Twitter post I placed online after having a few closets done in my new home.

The Container Store is one organization that clearly works hard at education for in-store employees and field installation experts (elfa System shelving). They are attentive to the details, phoning you to explain why a product is on back-order, sincerely displaying concern for any (albeit minor) inconvenience and circling back after a purchase to ensure customer satisfaction. Additional detail coverage includes little things, like installation people cleaning up, putting shoe covers on to protect your home’s interior, explaining what they are doing and offering helpful suggestions takes detail attentiveness to the value-add level. After four months of working with a general contractor who didn’t get this concept, I’d say The Container Store could make additional fee income teaching companies how attention to the details equates to client satisfaction and a long-term (profitable) relationships.

Jack Macholl @jackmacholl I love the follow-up service from the Container Store. There is a genuine concern for product delivery and satisfaction. – 01 May The Container Store @ContainerStore Follow Follow @jackmacholl That’s great to hear! Great service is #WhatWeStandFor 12:42 AM – 03 May 14 Reply to @ContainerStore Retweet Favorite

A Good Problem to Have January 31, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Image, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Sales, Site visibility, Uncategorized.
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I once heard a business owner say that having too much business is a good problem to have. Lately, I have encountered several situations where it is very difficult to secure a quote for services (particularly in the building/renovation trades). Not returning phone messages and leaving requests for quotes unattended in an e-mail box presents a poor image for the company, creating an instant sense of doubt in the consumer’s mind.

bigstock-Turing-Leads-Into-Sales-Crm-C-44974501

Leads to Customers

Today there are many  tactical articles written about ways to increase web site traffic, generate sales leads and make the phones ring. Perhaps a more urgent need would be helping business owners find proven response methods to convert estimate requests in-hand and also acquiring the human talent to meet existing market demand.

What lead conversion and staffing models work in your field?

Is Cash Making a Comeback? January 7, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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Over the past few days I’ve received an e-mail from a local restaurant offering a 20% discount, discussed building material discounts and seen gasoline for a dime per gallon less if cash is used versus credit card. In spite of the improving economy there appears to be a growing trend of sensitivity from merchants that wish to avoid paying interchange fees to their credit card processor.

This could be the result of accounting advice or perhaps a lean toward stockpiling more cash in small businesses that are having difficulty accessing bank credit. The “cashless society” that was predicted back in the 80’s has  yet to fully materialize and may be realized further down the road.

Is this a trend or maybe a paradigm shift brought by necessity and change?

Be Relevant, not Big January 5, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Communications, Customer Service, Interactive Marketing, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Uncategorized.
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Marketing and strategyWe read and hear a great deal about “big data”, enormous data sets (minute details)  collected about customers that can become so large it is almost impossible to process with traditionally used business software. The buzz is about spotting trends and connecting with prospects/customers on a more intimate level made possible by technology.

What I’d like to see is relevance, the product recommendations marketers make based on fundamental customer behavior (what you’ve purchased recently, account types you hold at a bank, what credit card you carry, spending levels, etc.)  There is nothing more mind-boggling in this era of “big data” than to receive a postal mail or e-mail about a product I already have with the company. Focusing on five or six fundamental variables is the starting point I suggest. If your customer data doesn’t contain the basics or worse yet, you can’t properly access essential data you’re not even in the game.

Customer Interaction- At Least Pretend December 31, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand personality, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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My final post of 2013 won’t be a “7 things you need to know” article, I wanted to leave you with some food for thought for the New Year.

Yesterday I decided to drive my car through a wash near my home as our midwestern road salt levels are already off the charts. The lady in the booth was on her iPhone and did not interact verbally her conversation trumped the customer interaction. Not only is this rude, it’s just plain horrible customer service. Certainly, many service jobs are not glamorous, but to simply point, take money and turn away is not portraying a quality image.

Today we’ve grown to accept self-service or perhaps marginal online chat and phone representatives as commonplace . From my vantage point certain businesses must still use face to face service as their central tool. It’s important to monitor the activity and attitude of those you have in customer-facing positions, make sure they’re at least acting the part.

A happy and safe New Year to you all.

Jack

What Money Can’t Buy December 28, 2013

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I just finished reading What Money Can’t Buy, a thought provoking book by Michael Sandel, a Government Professor at Harvard University. His recent work discusses how pretty much everything in our world now has a market value. Many of the things that can be bought and sold may astound you – it did me.

Today we see everything from “branded” police cars, stadiums and subway stations to “purchased friends” that raise one’s popularity on Facebook. Are there certain things in life that should have no price?

Dr. Sandel does a fantastic job of providing pro/con arguments about some of the most pressing moral arguments in our time.

Is everything for sale? Why not pick up a copy and share your opinions.

Customer Interaction- literally December 7, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Uncategorized.
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Santa arrives at Edison Park.

Today Santa came to Edison Park on Chicago’s northwest side. Part of a merchant traffic builder event to extend the post Small Business Saturday holiday shopping season momentum, local residents came out to enjoy a moment of community spirit. We hear a great deal about building interactive, online communities. Today we experienced an event, perhaps difficult to quantify from a marketing standpoint, but human and important nonetheless.