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I Just Got ‘Warm Transferred’. It’s A Southern Thing.

I Just Got ‘Warm Transferred’. It’s A Southern Thing.

I dig language. I dig analyzing human interaction. And I dig marketing. That actually means every interaction with every business is like a moment in the lab for me.

So I hit a triple play today when I was on the phone with a State Farm customer service rep. The rep told me she wanted to get me to speak to someone from my state. She said: “Let me warm transfer you to someone in PA.”

Dingdingdingding.

My prefrontal cortex woke up with a jolt. I have honestly never heard this before.

I knew of course what it meant: to be transferred to another agent with a live agent-to-agent hand off. Of course there should be a word for that!

Shouldn’t all transfers be ‘warm’?

This is customer service gold. Use it — do it! — and your customers will be delighted.

So at the end of the call, when she asked me if I had any other questions, I checked in with her: “Did you say ‘warm transfer’?

Yes, she said bemusedly. She then politely explained what it meant and added: “It’s a Southern thing, I guess.”

Well, that makes it twice as nice.

 

What’s the Return On Putting Your Pants On In the Morning?

What’s the Return On Putting Your Pants On In the Morning?

If you’re a marketer and are wondering how worth your time it is (and your budget) to go after the infinite social media channels out there, consider what that presidential candidates are doing this year (as reported by the New York Times in Campaigns Use Social Media to Lure Younger Voters):

Worth it?

Jan Rezab, the chief executive of Socialbakers, has an interesting reply: “What’s the return on putting your pants on in the morning? We don’t know… but we just know it’s bad if you don’t do it.”

This is a pretty cool riff on the ubiquitous and probably apocryphal “don’t know which half” quote from department store magnate John Wannamaker:  “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half.”

But it seems like maybe the half here that’s in question — the social media one — could actually be paying off.

Coye Cheshire, an associate professor at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley, suggested that updates might very well be a simple way to see how a candidate measures up to themselves.

“It is important for people to know whether or not a huge political figure shares the same taste as me,” said Dr. Cheshire, who studies behavior and trust online. “And creating a playlist on Spotify is part of what makes them seem more human.”

Don’t leave home without your pants. It’s one of those things you just have to do — same goes for social media.

 

Uberconference’s Beta Gamification Is Kinda Awesome

Uberconference’s Beta Gamification Is Kinda Awesome

Uberconference is the new kid on the block for online meetings. It looks like it’s gonna kick WebEx in the shins–if not in the mouth. So, yeah, I did this:

Uberconference's join beta input field

Uberconference’s Beta Sign-Up Form

 

And that brought me to this brilliant little game: Promote my interest in Uberconfernce and get points. Get enough and I get ‘to the front of the line’.

That’s pretty smartypants. And damn simple. Wonder if they did an A/B test–and what the lift is.

It’s scavenger hunt-esque.

Uberconference's Beta Invitation Gamification

Uberconference’s Beta Invitation Gamification

This also makes me think of the amount of time it took to build this company vs. WebEx. I’m sure it’s a multiple of 10.

 

 

Mobile + Social Has Got to Get Faster and More Meaningful

Mobile + Social Has Got to Get Faster and More Meaningful

Just took the girls out to breakfast at the Classic Diner in Malvern, PA and besides having great food and a zany time, I had a social media epiphany after seeing this:

Restaurant receipt and social media

Social media – a half start

 

Kudos for the Classic Diner for getting their social media Calls-to-Action (CTA) on their receipts–a great engagement point–but they should have gone a step further. But, really, it’s not all their fault–the industry has to step up a bit too. Let me explain:

The restaurant could have added short URLs–or better yet a QR code (although this would have precluded perhaps having two CTAs). But what would really create a tipping point is a one-step action that creates a better connection to the consumer. I think two things have to happen:

1. Mobile phones have to build QR tech right into the camera.

2. Businesses have to focus and decide what their engagement goal is.

If I had my way, Classic Diner clients would see a QR code on this receipt and by snapping a photo of it they would automatically ‘like’ the restaurant on Facebook. Or, better than that, they would sign up to receive direct–perhaps even custom–offers right from the restaurant.

Bottom line: businesses should make the connection experience radically simple and super meaningful.

 

Why Pinterest Should Pivot And Help The Real Contributors Of The Web Get Paid

Reviewers of the world it’s time to start getting paid.

There’s something wrong with the state of the internet. In particular, reviews.

We write them. We look through them. We rely on them!—even when they’re written by total strangers. They provide enormous value to internet users worldwide. They’ve transformed ecommerce. Yet we don’t own what we write.

Amazon does!

Can’t we snap our fingers and ask the silicon valley rainmakers to take the democratic ethos of the internet one step further and give individuals automatic intellectual property rights for the content we create?

Pinterest is almost there.

It allows users to curate what matters to them—but it doesn’t let us get paid if our curation brings value to a company or organization. I do recall them surreptitiously trying to swap out user-pasted urls with affiliate-laden ones. Hmm. Good idea–bad execution.

Gumroad is making waves by making any link an ecommerce storefront. Not sure if this can be executed as a default in one’s ‘lifestream’.

Yotpo is doing something interesting–using algorithms (what else!?) to find the best reviews for any product. And, Yotpo, will the writer of that ‘best review’ get something in return?

And then there is VRM–or Vendor Relationship Management. There’s lots of interesting things over there–for example, a few of their goals:

  • Make individuals the collection centers for their own data
  • Give individuals the ability to share data selectively
  • Give individuals the ability to control how their data is used by others

It’s good to know we’re heading in the right direction. Heck, there may be a startup being featured right this very instance who has solved the problem.

Regardless–let’s decide to turn the corner together and demand ownership of our thoughts and social content.

 

5000 Interviews, 5000 Errors: Social Media Let’s Famous Author–and You–Set the Record Straight

Good, little vid over on TechCrunch about Nicholas Sparks, the bestselling novelist and screenwriter (The Notebook and A Walk To Remember), on how, and more importantly why, he uses social media.

He says something almost in passing that is so critical about social media that often gets missed. Here he is (around 10:24):

“I have close to 1.2M fans on Facebook, for instance. That is my platform so to speak. It’s interesting. It’s a wonderful thing in that I’ve had 5000 articles written about me over the years. I’ve sat through 5000 interviews, right? Virtually every one has errors in them. Just little things. So this is your own platform. You can be who you need to be here.”

This is something that just did not exist before social media–that didn’t exist in earnest even 5 years ago.

Essentially, Sparks creates and directs his own interviews for his fans. This level of control and direct participation is really amazing.

And here’s the video:

MSNBC.com’s President Thinks Video’s Just For Flying Semis. Really?

Charlie Tillinghast, President and Publisher of MSNBC.com, posits: Video News Reporting for the Web is Different, “Talking Heads” Not Needed.

I won’t comment on the irony of this.

Anyway, he says that video has to be better than text–it can’t compete with text. And that the industry has to focus on using video in a way that presents things that can’t really be described.

He says: “Video journalism has to go more towards really excellent visuals. They have to film thing like animal phenomena. Or weather. Or accidents. Or combat.”

Really? Good luck with that.

Web video rules for a number of reasons which have nothing to do with shark attacks or people falling off chairs.

  • Video is great when you don’t want to read or can’t read. If you’re commuting or exercising, listening to or watching video is a great alternative.
  • Video permits you to get to know content providers more. No one really likes ‘talking heads’ per se, but if you want to get content straight from a source, it’s just really great to hear it from the author or creator. You get to the know the person so much better and in a different ways than you would just by reading. Think Charlie Rose.
  • Video permits people to demonstrate things. We all remember that writing assignment from 5th grade about describing how to make a PB & J sandwich—well, video is the optimal medium for that. Sure, it was a good writing assignment, but showing is superior to telling or describing.
  • Art. You can’t read a concert. You can’t read an exhibit at MoMA . But you can watch them!

This news exec is looking at the issue through his product and revenue source–not the medium or the consumer.

Brands 2.0 – Transparency, Not Mythology

I’m new to Douglas Rushkoff, but I’m digging what he’s saying over on FastCompany about the state of ‘brands’ and the future (now!) of marketing.

In short, ditch the inflated and created ‘branding’ that takes place at your org–just be transparent and really good at what you do. BTW: One good example of this is MailChimp.

Rushkoff On “Brands”

[But] it’s not about creating a mythology around the way a product was created, so it’s no longer “these were cookies made by elves in a hollow tree.” That’s not the value of the brand. The value of the brand is where did this actually come from? What’s in this cookie? Who made it? Are Malaysian children losing their fingers in the cookie press or is this being made by happy cookie culture people? At that point, all these companies come to people like me saying, “We want to become transparent. We want a transparent communication strategy.” And I’m like “Well, are you proud of what’s going on inside your company? Are you proud enough to pull up the shades and let people see inside?” It’s that easy.

Every company has a social media strategy whether they know it or not. You can have your dedicated social media person chasing down consumer complaints, but your real social media strategy is how are the people who work at your company and the people who buy from your company and people who supply to your company, how are they talking about you in social media? The way to make them talk about you [favorably] is by walking the walk of the thing that you do. And that’s so hard for so many of these companies because they’ve become so abstracted. They’ve become so distanced from the core competence of their industry. The job of a communicator–or someone like me–is to go in and say, well, just do something. Don’t outsource one thing and then make your company about that.”

Rushkoff On Marketing

In response to: “What will marketing organizations look like in the future?”

It will be companies that figure out how to communicate the non-fiction story of a company, so it’s going to look a lot more like a communications company than a creative branding agency. It’s going to look a little bit more like PR, in some sense. It’s going to be people who go and figure out what does your company do and how do we let the world know about that? There’s going to be a lot of psychology involved, except instead of it being psychologists turned against the consumer, it’s going to be psychologists going in and trying to convince companies that what they’re doing is worthy. It’s breaking down this false need in companies to hide from the public what they’re doing–except for the ones that do (need to hide).

We’re getting back to the basics–and I like it.

How Google Shows Content Marketing Is Easy–and Effective

So if you’re a marketing or web type, you most likely saw Google’s unprecedented video of its search meeting:

Video! The search quality meeting, uncut (annotated)

This really is awesome for a number of reasons:

The first–and most obvious–thing is that  Google is being more transparent around its highly secretive search “recipe”. It’s showing anybody who is interested what kind of meticulousness and rigor go into decisions to improve search.

The second thing, and the thing that matters more to me as a marketer, is that Google is showing what good SEO–and what good marketing–is all about: producing great content. This video, is  not professionally produced, nor is it staged or scripted. It’s just an honest peek inside their meeting.

So this is my observation: lots of firms have a treasure trove of good “content” happening every day in their company: it could be an epiphany regarding product development, or an anecdote from a client service rep about outstanding service, or a story about how useful a customer found a product… The take away is that marketing doesn’t always have to be the production of brand new “marketing” content, it can simply be opening the doors to show the real people behind the work, products and company.

Kudos to Google for walking the talk.