SETH GODIN: If You're An Average Worker, You're Going Straight To The Bottom Wasting the digital dividend The internet means that many time-consuming forms of white-collar drudgery have disappeared, or at least been offloaded to cheaper people who aren't you, permitting you to spend more time on things that are actually productive and highly leveraged. No more standing in line at the copier, trudging to the Fedex box, waiting two weeks for a letter to be returned, leaving voice mails, searching for the right person to contact, waiting months to learn a skill or a fact, discovering that a project is hopelessly broken, and on and on. It's a little like the bump we got after the Cold War ended. The peace dividend was there, just waiting for us to repurpose our military, our military budget and our military research. We didn't. We squandered the window, wasted the money and didn't rush to fill it with the sort of top-down industrial projects (like high speed rail and efficient new forms of energy) that could have changed everything.
Looking for trouble Every weekend there's a line out front of the Avis rental car window on the upper west side of NYC. Every weekend, ostensibly computer-literate upper-middle-class yuppies waste hours trying to pick up a car when they could just use Zipcar. For this person, in this moment, a message about zipcar is not only not spam, it's a gift. Worth wondering why the company doesn't have someone standing out front with fliers. Along the same lines, why doesn't the local accountant sponsor the business section of the nearby independent bookstore? Blogs, of course, ought to be the perfect place to find people in trouble. The most effective marketing use of blogs seems to be when the advertiser/marketer uses the blog as an opportunity not to sell a product, but to attract people who are in the right mindset. Attract people in trouble-->Help solve their problems-->Build your reputation-->Sales happen.
Seven tips to build for meaning What happens after I click on your Google ad? I was thinking about great Squidoo pages (lenses) yesterday, and realized that many of them, along with many blogs, have the same goal: give someone a handle, a sense of meaning--context--so they can go ahead and take action. You have a blog to turn a browser into a raging fan for your candidate or your product.You have a lens designed to teach people what they need to know to confidently sign up for your tour.You have a landing page to convert Google AdWords clickers into buyers. With that in mind, here are a few tactical tips that might help if that's what you're trying to do online: Use numbers and bullets.
Starting over with customer service I've been writing a lot about this topic lately and thinking about it more. I have a radical proposal for you, but it takes a few paragraphs, so I hope you'll bear with me. Customer service is broken. Not just because of bad management, though we have plenty of that to go around. Customer service is broken for three reasons: 1. As a result of these three inexorable trends, companies are on defense. No wonder customer service is so bad. Well, one path is to yell louder at the companies, who will yell louder at their staffs. Another path is to blow it up and start over. I think the single factor that is killing this process and that is under the company's control is this: the desire to perform all customer service in real time. In fact, most customer service can be done quite well overnight. Given the choice between amazing, guaranteed service with a one day wait or interminable waits on hold with people who can't really help you right now... well, the choice is pretty easy. 1. 2. 3.
How to create a great website Here are principles I think you can’t avoid: 1. Fire the committee. No great website in history has been conceived of by more than three people. Not one. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. The web doesn't care When I first started talking about Permission Marketing ten years ago, marketers asked, "sure, but how does this help us?" A decade later, marketers look at Wikipedia or social media or the long tail or whatever trend is finally hitting them in the face and ask the same question. Here's the essential truth: This is the first mass marketing medium ever that isn't supported by ads. If a newspaper, a radio station or a TV station doesn't please advertisers, it disappears. That's the reason the medium (and its rules) exist. But the Net is different. It wasn't invented by business people, and it doesn't exist to help your company make money. It's entirely possible it could be used that way, but it doesn't owe you anything. The question to ask is, "how are people (the people I need to reach, interact with and tell stories to) going to use this new power and how can I help them achieve their goals?"
Scarcity One day, you may be lucky enough to have a scarcity problem. A product or a service or even a job that's in such high demand that people are clamoring for more than you can make. We can learn a lot from the abysmal performance of Apple this weekend. First, understand that scarcity is a choice. Why be scarce? Scarcity creates fashion. The danger is that you can kill long-term loyalty. Take a look at the guy in the photo. The problem is that our kneejerk way of dealing with scarcity is to treat everyone the same and to have people 'pay' by spending time to indicate their desire. Waiting in line is a very old-school way of dealing with scarcity. Principle 1: Use the internet to form a queue. A hot band that regularly sells out on the road, for example, could put a VIP serial number inside every CD or t-shirt they sell. Principle 2: Give the early adopters a reward. Principle 3: Treat different customers differently. Principle 5: Give your early adopters a forum to celebrate.
You should write an ebook I'm serious. Smart people with good ideas worth sharing can get a lot out of this exercise. To help you out, I wrote a lens about the simple details of how to do it. It's technically easy and when it works, your idea will spread far and wide. Seven years ago, I wrote a book called Unleashing the Ideavirus. Anyway, I brought it to my publisher and said, "I'd like you to publish this, but I want to give it away on the net." A Google search finds more than 200,000 matches for the word 'ideavirus', which I made up. It cost nothing. Changethis, which I dreamed up in a moment of weakness a few years ago, is still going strong under better management now.