Saturday, March 29, 2008

American Idol and David Cook

So, as TiVo enthusiasts, Dave and I don't often watch the "live" reality programming shows.... We've just not gotten into them. But, we have friends who gush about American Idol and we thought we'd record an episode. We finally got around to watching the episode from earlier this week.

Most of the performances were OK. Some painful. It was a little interesting since all the singers were singing songs from our high school years, as that week's theme was to sing a song from the year they were born. (!)

Only one performance really stood out to us and amazed us, the performance of "Billy Jean" by David Cook.

If you're like us and are living under a rock, you don't have to miss out any more. Here's a video of that performance.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Five questions for the author of Personality Not Included

One of my favorite marketing bloggers, Rohit Barghava, has a new book called Personality Not Included. As part of his book launch he offered to answer 50 five-question interviews from people with blogs. I could not resist the opportunity, so I submitted my top five questions, and here are his answers!
  1. Do B-to-B companies need to have personalities?
    This is a really important question - they definitely do need to have a personality because so much of BtoB sales are relationship based. When you look at the long lead times for sales and the fact that word of mouth is so important, it becomes clear that personality applies to BtoB businesses at least as much as BtoC brands.

  2. How do you make sure your newfound company/brand personality doesn't bite you in the butt?
    The best way to do this is to make sure that you are claiming an "ownable space" as I called it in the book that is appropriate. For example, focusing on the professionalism of your employees won' t work if you cannot live up to this promise.

  3. How do you measure the effectiveness of building authenticity back into the company brand?
    One of the key measures that works for this is the power of your word of mouth and referral business. This is the area where authenticity can make the biggest impact because essentially what you are focusing on is getting your customers to tell your story for you.

  4. Often passionate customers are also passionate detractors. How do you harness their energy in a positive way?
    This is a relatively easy question to answer, but not as easy to actually do. The best way to harness their energy is by LISTENING to them and actually acting on the points that they are frustrated about. Your passionate customers may absolutely be the most demanding, but wouldn't you far rather have them interacting with you and asking for more than defecting or not communicating with you? This dialogue is vital and the best way to take advantage of it is by having a good system to react to what you hear.

  5. Will taking an authentic approach to marketing (one with personality) win the support and or admiration of our critics in sales? :-)
    Taking an authentic approach absolutely has the power to win over a critic and turn them into a customer. There is a technique I share in the book called "Fallibility Marketing," which is all about how to use the moments when you screw up as opportunities to win over new customers and keep existing ones. Based on some of your questions, I think it's a section you'll find particularly interesting.

Monday, March 24, 2008

PC to Mac Adventure... learning process still :-)

This past week was crazy and hectic, so I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked getting to know my new MacBook Pro.

So far, here are my observations:

The hardware is great -- very sturdy and the key action is very nice.

However, I've struggled to get used to the touchpad. I even played with a few external mice to get the right feel. I wish there were more settings in the System Preferences area for adjusting speed and responsiveness of the touchpad and mice. The two available adjustments don't quite get the right feel, and in Windows, I could select from many different options to adjust mouse properties in the control panel.

The startup and shutdown speed on the Mac is impressive. If any version of Windows could get these two processes set up similarly, they would find user satisfaction to get very high. After all, we all experience this process nearly on a daily basis.

I've struggled with the application installation process on a Mac a little, especially when downloading and installing an application for the first time. On my first night, I installed Firefox and set up a bunch of bookmarks to sites with info on switching from a PC to a Mac. Then I started cleaning up my desktop from the extraneous icons on the hard drive and in the process deleted the application (whoops!) there went my application and all those useful bookmarks from an hours' worth of browsing and research. Since then, I've found instructions on this process, but I guess I expected the OS to install the application file to the application folder automatically. (Cause it's so easy, right? LOL.)

The OS interface is very attractive and easy to use, as long as you don't want to try to figure out how to customize settings. I'm still learning and researching here, so eventually I'll figure it out. In the mean time, can anyone tell me how to change the default location of my downloads? :-)

Thanks everyone for the support. This will be an interesting learning process, and since I love to learn new things, I'm sure it will be very rewarding.