Friday, August 8, 2008

How not to retain a customer

Over the past week or so, I've received about a dozen automated calls from my trash service provider. I assume it's because my contract is about to expire and they'd like me to renew.

I wont mention the company name, but it starts with a "Waste" and ends with ...agement.

The recording instructs me to call a toll free number. At first I just ignored the calls. I generally don't take orders from recorded messages. But, after a few times, curiosity got the best of me and I actually made the call.

Incredibly, the call was answered by another recorded voice that instructed me to wait on hold! I still don't know why the heck their robots keep calling. Evidently, it's not important enough for any actual human being on their end to be bothered with. Their regard for my time, on the other hand, is non-existant.

Of course I will be using a different provider when my contract with these diva's expires, which can't come soon enough.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Six Degrees of Separation, It's not Just for Kevin Bacon anymore.

The Six degrees of separation theory, made popular by the Six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon game, got a boost this week from a rather extensive study conducted by Microsoft. Actually it's more like 6.7. The idea is that any person on Earth can be connected through acquaintances of acquaintances within less than 7 "degrees". One degree would be your friend, two degrees a friend of your friend, etc..

Of course the phenomenon would be less expressed in societies that prohibit or restrict communications. Connecting with someone in North Korea would be a more difficult task than with someone in London.

What does this mean from a marketing perspective. There are a few take-aways. First, come up with a consistent, but concise message. If you've ever seen "Johnny Dangerously" you know how badly the grapevine can screw up a lengthy message, even in just 7 generations. Keep it simple, memorable and to the point. Second, don't target your market too narrowly. While you may focus on a particular demographic, that demographic interacts with other demographics. Some of your marketing efforts should be directed at more general audiences. Let your message "resonate".

Perhaps the most important take-away is that any person you come in contact with is a potential conduit to billions of others. Take nobody for granted. You are always in the spotlight, even if you can't see it.