Put me in coach, I’m ready to play!

September 24, 2006

Even if you don’t like baseball (which, btw is sick and wrong) you have to like the song Centerfield by John Fogerty.  Great melody and a great message.

The song is about passion for the game and a hunger to play it.  That’s sort of how I’ve been feeling about blogging of late.

Once my blog coach, Mike Sansone, turned me onto the power of blogging, I’ve been hooked.  Images_1

Mike’s an amazing combination of coach, cheerleader, and play coordinator.  He’s helped me with the technology, the culture and the nuts and bolts of blogging.  The generosity of his spirit is only eclipsed by his vast knowledge on the subject.  That’s what makes a player or a coach great.  Anyone can understand the rules of the game or even the mechanics of it.  But, when something ignites your passion and you can’t wait to step up to the plate again — that’s what makes a champion.  And in the world of blogging, Mike is just that — a champion.

So, if in the infancy of my blog I am doing anything right — clearly it is a credit to Mike.  I am pretty darn sure that any of the mistakes I have or will make along the way are all mine!

Thanks coach for helping me get into the game!

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Could you possibly show more apathy?

September 22, 2006

United Airlines Caravelle PhiladelphiaImage by j3net via Flickr

I hate to pound on the airlines.  They’ve been bloodied and beaten up enough.  But man, they make it easy to shake your head and mutter under your breath.

I flew United today from Des Moines to Denver to Jackson Hole, WY.  (You don’t get anywhere direct from DSM!)  When we landed in Denver, everyone waited like Pavlov’s dogs for the seat belt bell to ring and then leapt from their seat.  Only to stand there.  And stand there.  And stand there.

Finally, the flight attendant got on the PA and announced that the gate agent couldn’t figure out how to get the jetway to move towards the plane so they’d called in back up.

No apology.  No "we know you have connections, we’ll call them and explain" or even a "I know this is absurd but…"  Nothing.  She did however, go to the galley and grab herself a can of soda.  The only thing she could have done that would have been more insulting is if she’d started to file her nails.

I’m not ranting because I missed my connection (I didn’t) or because we had to wait 30 minutes (we didn’t) or that in the grand scheme of things it ruined anyone’s day (I doubt it did) but simply because if there is anything that will kill your business — it is apathy.

If you don’t have a passion for the work you do, the people you serve and the product/service you deliver — then stop doing it.  If you can’t get worked up over your work — find different work.

What does this have to do with marketing?  Everything.  But this things long enough today, so let’s cover that tomorrow, okay?

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Beware of the duh factor

September 2, 2006

I recently saw an ad with the tagline "the difference is our people!"  It doesn’t matter what business it was for because many businesses claim this as their unique point of difference.  No offense to all of the businesses that think this is what makes them stand out from their competition — but duh. Everyone claims that they have great peopler, ergo great customer service. And the truth is…most of them do.  To break through the marketingplace, we need to be about more than good customer service.

Why?  Don’t people want good service.  Sure.  But they also expect it.  It’s a duh.  A given.  If you don’t provide good customer service, you’re not going to keep their business.  Don’t you think most businesses are hustling to serve their customer?  That’s not a brand — it is a cost of doing business.  An expectation.

Another popular duh is competency.  Companies will tout their expertise as though their competitors are completely incompetent.  The reality is that’s just not true.  To create marketing materials or ads that claim "we’re good at what we do" is a waste of resources. Again, your consumer assumes you’re qualified to do your job.  If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be even under consideration. Skill-level or competency is a show me message, not a tell me.  It’s a little like honesty. If someone has to keep telling you that they’re honest, pretty soon you wonder why they are making such a big deal about it.

So why do companies rely on "duh" level taglines or promises?  Because it’s easy. It doesn’t require digging deeper to find out what really does set them apart from their competition.  Double-check yourself. Are you taking the easy way out and making a duh promise?

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September 1, 2006

Welcome to the blog of Drew McLellan, author of 99.3 Random Acts of Marketing and owner of McLellan Marketing Group, where strategy and passion collide!

My goals for this blog are simple — to have a dialogue.  To share my thoughts and expertise.  And to learn from yours.  I’m open to using this forum to answer questions, to explore possibilities or just to rant a little!

I hope you’ll come back often.  Invite your friends.  Make a few new ones here.

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