Thursday, February 23, 2012

Needlepointed Cliches Turned on Their Heads

I saw a shipping company truck yesterday with the slogan "Thinking about boxes is our business; thinking outside of them is our passion." This twist on a very tired and overused slogan reminded me to preach, once again, that our best marketing efforts maintain the consistency of our product branding and message but sometimes just give it a little freshening up or new technology and reach boost. Yes, for the umpteenth time, our "digital dialogue" should represent the best of our F2F customer engagement and we CAN personalize it but providing the following:

1. Diversity of access. People have different learning styles; technical comfort levels; and time constraints. How MANY access points do we offer to our content, message and products? Do we provide a balanced blend of "standard" RSS, email subscriptions, and "Follow us on" options against inserting and validating NEW media and mobility applications?

2. Responsiveness. Are we insuring that any interaction application (blog comments, "get more information", "chat with a LIVE support specialist", etc. are sufficiently provisioned and that we are establishing the right expectation with our subscribers, customers and potential audience? Those that followed my Tweets a couple of years ago with Verizon Wireless will be very aware of my opinion about companies that provide a social network customer support option and then neither empower the responders to help NOR resource the support channel appropriately so that customers get timely and pertinent responses rather than auto-responder templates scripts.

3. Spelling and Grammar and Grace STILL Count. First, if you expend the resources to buy keywords and then misspell them throughout your content, um, that should be an obvious problem. Second, people notice egregious misuse of the English language. Certainly, make your tone and content audience appropriate, but indulge me with a little attention to proper sentence structure, punctuation and professionalism. I recently took to grading (yes, letter grades..) some Live Chat and customer support emails, just to make the point that introductions and closing and some please and thank you insertion are not only appropriate but can change the tone of a customer interaction dramatically, even if the underlying issue cannot be solved. Try it!

4. Mobility. As much of a tangible written-word advocate that I remain (actual books; no Kindle), I gently remind us all that not everyone can read our blog posts, sites, and other erudite commentary on their Smartphones, etc. unless we have optimized our content to be accessed this way. Know your audiences and consider making the content and interaction accessible to the X% of your customer base that wants the coupon now and wants to walk it into a brick and mortar store and display it on their Bberry rather than print it out and forget it on their kitchen counter.

Just some randomly organized musings for a early and rainy (surprise) morning, somewhere east of the Emerald City.

As always, my regards,