Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Marketing money well spent

OK, the Super Bowl is over, and much of the conversation about the best tv spots, costs, impressions, etc. has subsided. (Writer's Note: THANK GOD!).

So, the cost in 2011 to air a 30-second spot was about $3 million. And remember folks, that does NOT include the production or any other ancillary costs. What did Eminem cost Chrysler for the much-talked-about Detroit/Motor City piece?

Why would U. Blogger care about such things?

Well, I stopped in the local Dunkin Donuts this week for a bagel and coffee. Nothing unusual. The normal cast of characters from the United Nations working behind the counter. No biggee. But, then it all hit me...

I had to stand and wait while the employees finished their animated conversation in some derivative of Pig Latin, or Swahili, or whatever the hell it was. And then, when they did me a favor and returned to speaking English, it was abundantly clear that they were annoyed with my entering the store and interrupting them. Now, I know that a $4.02 sale will not make or break the Kingdom of Dunkin Donuts, but as the old business school adage goes, multiply that number by a lot of pissed off people, and that business is going elsewhere, and someone in an expensive suit at Dunkin Donuts World Headquarters is going to notice. Where was all that money spent before Starbuck's came along? They ate someone's lunch when they came on the scene, that's for sure.

OK, so if you are still with me, you must be thinking... Where the hell is this going?

Here's my point... Do mega million dollar ad campaigns during the Super Bowl really drive your purchasing decisions? What about the way you are treated when you drop $3 on a cup of coffee? I bet you are going with Door #2. Me too.

So, why does business regularly forget about the front line (the idiots at my local Dunkin Donuts) who act like they are doing me a favor when they grab the money out of my hand? For some reason, I say thank you, when they hand me my order, and recently, I have been put off when the reply is "You are welcome." Wait a minute! Isn't that backwards? Don't I, the customer, deserve a thank you? I understand that "America Runs on Dunkin" (I remember the ads), but when I stop and think, it is they that owe me the sincere thank you!

You know, I would much rather be treated well, then see a cute, funny commercial with a monkey or a rap star, which, by the way, the cost for which comes out of the prices charged for the products I buy, to help them attract MORE customers. Is something wrong with this picture? Yep, I think so too.

Dear Mr. Business... please remember that customer service matters. Think about this.... when was the last time you saw a tv spot for the Marriott/Ritz Carlton hotel chain? Never? That's right and why do you think that is? Because, for the most part, their employees UNDERSTAND customer service. They spend their money training people to take care of the customers they have, so they will WANT TO COME BACK.

Which would you rather see? Yeah, me too.

Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 vs 2010

I know it sounds so trite, but new years tend to signify new chapters, clean slates and opportunities for us as individuals to say, ok, do over. I will admit that as 2010 turned into 2011, I fell into the habit of doing just that. 2010 stunk. Plain and simple. So, when looking to leave that behind, one will look anywhere for a new start. I was no exception.

The funny thing is that what I thought 2011 would represent has just recently gone from a new start to a second chance.

Hindsight can certainly be clearer than a crystal ball. So, in looking back at 2010, I have to acknowledge the lessons learned that I plan to carry into 2011 and beyond.

Listen. Talk. Stop. Pay Attention. Recognize. Be sincerely thankful and love with everything you've got.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Oh the difference a year makes

Hell, where to begin...

I could try to think of clever song lyrics or some other cliche that might fit the bill, but this is my journey, and I don't think even Sinatra has the words in his catalog.

I've seen a lot, and I have missed a lot. I've learned a lot about myself and others, and realize that the more I learn, the less I know. The more people I meet, the more I love my dog. And the more places I go, I wish I could show those things to my kids.

Ah, but they are not really my kids.

Funny, that topic, and how it was not supposed to be a chapter in my life. Ever. And yet it was. Maybe still is. I'd like to think that it still is, if only in memory.

Two little people who met me when they were 7 and 9 and their world was getting turned upside down. I had no idea what I was getting into, and neither did they, but what an impact they had on me, and hopefully I am not leaving them with a staggering therapy bill in their future.

They taught me how to look at the world differently, and they made me see the impact that love has, when all else is going to hell. I may have taught them how to behave at a 5-star restaurant, but that's nothing compared to what they taught me. From these two little people, I learned that love is really all that matters. They showed me how to go out into the world on days when it was the last thing I felt like doing. They taught me what it feels like to want to protect someone at all costs, because man, if anyone crossed them, I would have killed them.

They taught me the power of a hug, and I don't think hearing the words "I love you" ever mattered more than hearing them say it to me.

So, that chapter is over. It's not the same as it once was, but that does not mean that I am not still learning from them. And if I am the slightest bit lucky, they will someday remember that time together and hopefully the therapist will accept their health insurance.