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Unsubscribing? Not so fast!

Just decided to go hog wild and get rid of email subscriptions that I haven’t looked at in months. So after unsubscribing from about 10 emails it occurred to me that not one organization said to me: “Hey, we know you’re busy, how about instead of unsubscribing you take a little vacation from us. Say for about 6 months. We’ve got a lot planned and we’d like you to experience it.”

I would have done that 9 times out of 10.

Sure, I’ve seen ‘reduce the frequency’ options, but really when people go for an unsubscribe they’re already kind of annoyed–so going from three times a week to once a week just won’t suffice.

My concept is just “back off!” or “I think we need a little space from each other.”

A big PAUSE button, really.

Anything to lower the unsubscribe rate, right?

Mixed Messaging: How Blackberry Flubbed Its Tablet Launch

Folks, the tablet/pad market is ablaze–and RIM was the last one in the room. Well their catch-up efforts just walked through the door. So far? Not impressed with their positioning.

RIM has always been the corporate device maker–because of their security protocols; however, they’re only lightly leaning on this differentiator.

In their massively heavy ad space on NYTimes.com, they start with “Introducing the world’s first professional grade tablet.”

That makes sense.

But then they show the tablet in use: screen shots of the NYTimes.com, video, games… Why wouldn’t they put in the Office products or graphs or charts?

And then the name! Playbook. Sure, this has sports connotations which are perfectly suited for biz, but it also denotes the stuff my kids do: play. How about something that connotes ‘professional grade’.

I think if RIM wanted to leap frog back over the competition it should have started from its strong point: get the the IT managers excited. It’s not a bad place to be–ensconced in major corporations. It’s a market in and of itself.

Is Google Making Product Documentation Obsolete?

Ok, I’m still amazed at the value Google provides, AND how it makes lots of companies (their documentation) look silly.

Case in point: I was trying to figure out how to prevent Adobe from automatically opening pdfs after I create them. I started (of course) by going to Acrobat (Pro in this case) and looking around its menus.

You know, Preferences?  Nothing.

Then I tried Google. I searched: “how to prevent Adobe acrobat from opening newly created pdfs”

The first result had my answer. It was Tek Tips. Never heard of it before–basically a poorly designed forum for tech Q & A.

But low and behold there was my answer. In less than a minute.

Note: Adobe wasn’t even on page one.

To be fair, I went back and used Adobe’s help files. I entered my search and hit enter. Nothing happened. Nothing. Fail.

My Marketing Manifesto–Two Sentences That Cut Through The Nonsense

I had an epiphany today when I was toting my two girls around in a wagon:

  1. Here’s my definition of ‘brand’ (arguably the most dubious term in a marketer’s lexicon): The spontaneous emotional and intellectual feelings a person has about a company or product.
  2. And here’s my definition of marketing (or what a marketer’s job is): to capture the essence of a company’s or  a product’s brand and to repurpose it in a variety of ways in order to make more friends.

Poets Can Be Marketers–Marketers Should Be Poets

I’m on record for thinking it’s an easy hop from being an artist to being a good marketer. And this Charles Bukowski quote reminds me ever more.

An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way.

Marketing is about robust communication on the head of a pin. It’s about the ability to distill–to take the complexity out of a thing without taking out the thing that makes the thing a thing. Wait, I just turned into Bukowski’s intellectual!

Natural Language Search–Give It A Try

I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve been testing Google: I’m using natural search language. I think the results are as good–if not better.

Instead of googling ‘outlook restore pst file’ I’ll use ‘how do i restore a pst file in outlook’.

Is anybody else doing this?

It’s so much easier from a user’s perspective–um, my perspective.

Here’s why I might be doing this?

  • Google is all about good UX (user experience)–so I’d expect them to be thinking about…
  • Crafting a human language question probably gets users (searchers) closer to their intended target–versus a user trying to distill their thoughts into ‘keywords’. Think of it this way: Simply tell Google what you want.
  • I’ve seen savvy bloggers creating titles like this.
  • Perhaps it’s Vlingo! An awesome voice to text iPhone app.
  • I’ve been experimenting with writing content right into email subject lines.

Really, it’s about getting to the point. And fast.

I Almost Got Into A Fight Over the Word ‘Gerrymander’

This is most certainly true. And for the folks who know me, fisticuffs are not in my DNA.

Of course, this happened when I was younger–and at a brew pub–but the metaphorical significance prevails.

So there I was, gesticulating wildly to an interlocutor, spinning a yarn a mile wide whenI dropped the word ‘gerrymander’. It was admittedly not a perfect fit–but some aspect of it worked for me. I recall needing a word that connoted (not denoted!) ‘defining the shape of something for political ends’.  ‘Gerrymandered’ popped out. Nice, I thought.

Here’s a quick look at what happened next:

Friend-of-a-friend: “Hey, you can’t use gerrymander like that!”

Me: “What?”

Friend-of-a-friend: “Gerrymander means…[insert political science definition here]”

Me: “I know that–but I’m free to make words conform to my needs–language is pliable per user. I get to do what I want!”

Friend-of-a-friend: “That’s ridiculous! And sloppy!”

Me:  “That’s creative–and fun!”

So if you plotted the hostility on a graph it would look like a hockey stick.

All the other ‘friends-of-friends’ had to send us to opposite sides of the brew pub–DINGDINGDINGDING. It was like a boxing match… And somehow, about every 30 minutes, we would cross paths and the debate would burst open like a baked potato in a microwave.

Since I like make the world easy to understand, I’ll make this grand conclusion: Some folks just like to stick to the rules. And some folks (ahem!) think there’s just too much darn fun to be had breaking them.

The world is indeed a black and white cookie.

The Subject Is The Message, Says Me and Jack Dorsey

My friend lambasted me for sending him an email where I only used the subject line. There was no message in the body.

I actually recall thinking: this is unconventional, but more efficient. I’m gonna try it though!

Said friend compared me to his mom! Somehow, taking this utilitarian approach is old school or unsophisticated.

I’ve been doing it at work too. Why not! It’s certainly the most read part of your message, right?

Well, me and Jack Dorsey are on the same page. From the Huff Post: Twitter Co-Founder Jack Dorsey On The Power Of Tweets:

“Dorsey also told Rose that he uses text messaging “a lot more” than email. Email, Dorsey explained, “[is] not great for communication because it’s not focused on the most important thing. The subject is the message, and that’s the message. The subject is in the message in the IM. It’s bringing the content to you right away.”

Customer Service 101: Don’t Be Grumpy

Customer Service 101: Don’t Be Grumpy

I saw this great sign today on my walk to work.  Such a metaphor!

First rule of customer service is to not be grumpy. If you’ve got that, you’re half way to a gold star.

I think a little extra sleep on the part of this sign maker might have yielded something ‘nicer’ like:

  • Sorry, you gotta go that-a-way >
  • Looks like a door–but not really a door. Try around the corner.
  • Sorry! Entrance is actually over there >

I went the extra mile and added a bit of play–always a good idea to try to make someone smile a bit right before you start dealing with a customer service issue, no?

Customer service is about empathy–just inhabit your customer’s mental state and you’ll make friends and provide exceptional experiences.