May 8, 2018

Monday Morning Quarterback Marketing Digest. Ok, it is Tuesday again; it seems like I am not good with Monday deadlines. Here are some marketing thoughts and research that could help you this week.

CUSTOMER SERVICE STILL MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE – My wife Marty needed to buy walking/hiking shoes. So, we headed for REI. Why? Because their brand reputation is so strong. But the shopping experience was not. We could not find a sales associate that had time to help. The person helping her was somewhat knowledgeable but showed no real empathy in solving a difficult shoe issue. He seemed overwhelmed with dealing with 2-3 shoppers. But he never called for backup. When we left, one of three people at checkout (not busy at all) said “Oh, you should have come up here and asked for help.” That’s right, it is our job to help you sell us something. Gee, sorry, I forgot.

Still needing shoes, we headed over to Dick’s Sporting Goods. What a difference. Her sales associate, Alvin, was fantastic. This giant of a man (semi-pro football player and now a coach) appeared genuinely interested in solving a small woman’s footwear challenges. He was extremely knowledgeable, caring, and a good listener, and my wife and I were impressed. When other shoppers arrived, and he could not handle them, he quickly called others to help. Alvin not only searched the store inventory but went online to check the company’s entire inventory. We ended up special ordering shoes, at a price 20% less than REI. The lesson: sales is still a people business… and empathy is a secret weapon today. That is why I teach customer service. Does your team need a customer service tune up? For as little as $20 a person we can help you. We may even hire Alvin as a special guest at your training. He was that good. Contact me at Mark@dennettgroup.com

ARE WE FACING A LOOMING SOCIAL MEDIA PUSH BACK? – Most Americans think the internet has had a positive impact on their personal lives, according to an ongoing PEW Research Study. But now Americans are beginning to question the value of connectivity on society. While 70% still believe the internet has been a good thing for society, this has declined by a modest but still significant 6% since 2014. You can read more here. So, do not depend on social media for all your marketing. Sure, it is very important, but some of your customers are not happy with it. Contact me if you would like a link to the study (Mark@dennettgroup.com).

FUTURE PROOFING YOUR BUSINESS – I attended a Rotary conference this past weekend where I had the chance to finally hear Jim Teece’s popular “Future Proofing” talk. Jim (the owner of several businesses including Ashland’s Project A) gave a great presentation. Of course, I might be bit biased, since some of his thoughts were similar to the philosophy I shared in my 2010 Powershift Marketing book. It was nice to learn I wasn’t crazy at the time. I loved a couple of his word images (“Millennial mudslide,” “Honor the past, change the future”). Good tips. By the way, my book is still available and relevant. Contact me if you would like a FREE copy (Mark@dennettgroup.com). 

SELF-INTEREST VS. BAD CONDUCT – Because this is election day in some states, I thought the latest PEW Research was fascinating. As of May 1st, 80% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree with Trump on many or all the issues, up from 69% in August. Even 42% of Democrats agree with his policies. What’s happening?

The majority of Americans support Trump’s policies. What they don’t support is his conduct. Democrats remain critical, with 85% saying they don’t like the way Trump conducts himself, but 62% of Republicans don’t like his conduct either. Bottom line: many people are willing to overlook conduct, if they perceive it is in their self-interest to buy into or support a policy. Contact me if you would like a link to the study (Mark@dennettgroup.com).

That is it for this week. Let me know if there are any specific research or marketing questions you are thinking about that I can cover in my weekly update.


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