Thoughts on getting the numbers to work

Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don’t let this get around.
—Herman J. Mankiewicz

Dear readers and friends, crowd around. Having you join our luncheon once again is worth millions to me. Turns out Mankiewicz was inviting a colleague to write for Hollywood in the 1920s, but he could as easily have been sending you a spam email last week, suggesting you jump into business for yourself—after all, making millions is so easy right now! I’ve invited new friends and old to look into the ease and the ethics of getting the word out and growing your business today, and folks, it’s eye-popping, but it’s not all pretty. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know them—leave them a comment, and come on back to share your thoughts around the Maximum Customer Experience Round Table!

To lead off, in the short and sweet There’s a Ferrari in Here Somewhere, Jackie Huba at Church of the Customer reminds us that word-of-mouth (WOM) referrals are still more powerful than any other method of getting the word out about your firm—the ugly truth is that nothing else works as well, even though almost everything else is easier to control. Great chart to drive the point home, too.

“Unfortunately, for the typical individual salesperson or small company, the numbers simply don’t work.” Yeah, and I just said word-of-mouth is so powerful. What to do? Don’t get me wrong, I advocate doing everything in your power to increase WOM, but Paul McCord nails it when he Talks about the reality of WOM marketing, especially for small businesses. The False Promise of Word of Mouth Marketing at AllBusiness’ Sales Coach blog. A sharp reminder that a WOM strategy should only be a part of your marketing mix.

What about advertising? Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian, tries to figure out the role of the industry in Nothing To Sell but Uncertainty Note: The comment section here is as thought-provoking as the post itself.

This week’s stealth stunner in the ugly truth department is Ronnie Lebow’s We Have Become Cheap Whores. I felt a bit ill as I read it—there’s more truth in this killer post than in everything else I’ve read this month. And more ugly, too. Try to think about it from the provider side and from the customer side. Your head will hurt.

And if cheap isn’t low enough, consider The Audacity of Free! Chris Brogan says, “Sometimes free is a promotional matter, a loss leader, the chance to build some buzz, but sometimes, we get confused on how that works, too…. free is a choice, and it’s not your buyers who decide this, no matter what we like to think in social media kumbaya-ville.”

Lets finish up with a bit of ugly fun. Advertising sometimes gets a bad rap—yet it puts bread, one way or another, on everyone’s tables, and good advertising allows us to enjoy that bread a lot more, too. The very funny Rory Sutherland ties intangible (perceived) value together with everything from prostitution (oh, the search terms I’m going to get now) to Pernod in Life Lessons From an Ad Man. From TEDGlobal:

2.0 or Same As It Ever Was?

Craving dessert? Click here to see all the posts in the Round Table series, along with other great recommended reading from MCE!

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