Marketing guru Seth Godin offers the following tips in a recent blog post http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/09/ad-blocking.html.

  • The best marketing isn’t advertising, it’s a well-designed and remarkable product.
  • The best way to contact your users is by earning the privilege to contact them, over time.
  • Making products for your customers is far more efficient than finding customers for your products.
  • Horizontally spread ideas (person to person) are far more effective than top-down vertical advertising.
  • More data isn’t the point. Data to serve explicit promises is the point.
  • Commodity products can’t expect to easily build a profitable ‘brand’ with nothing but repetitive jingles and noise.
  • Media properties that celebrate their ads (like Vogue) will continue to thrive, because the best advertising is the advertising we would miss if it was gone.

I believe there is some good advice here for churches. Instead of worrying about how to find people to visit your church, work on being remarkable, offering real change to people’s lives, and teach your people to share their faith!




Occasionally, I will use this space to rant or rave about the way companies treat customers. I believe there are lessons for all of us in these stories. Here is a tale of two companies. I recently purchased a Lenovo laptop from Best Buy. I love the laptop! It is solid state so it comes on instantly, lightning fast and very slim. However, I had a problem with the power cord. More specifically, if the cord wasn’t plugged into the “brick” just right it wouldn’t get power.

I called Best Buy/Geek Squad to see if I could simply switch out power cords. I got a huge run around from the geek. Since I hadn’t purchased their overpriced extended warranty they couldn’t help me. But, I protested, the computer is only a month old, and all I need is a new power cord. All he could do was explain why they would not help me, and at the same time, try to get me to purchase the warranty plan.

The computer is under a one year manufacturer’s warranty – why would I need two warranties? By the way, he never apologized for my inconvenience, or offered much help on resolving this simple issue.

So, I called Lenovo (IBM). From the moment the guy got on the phone it was a positive experience. He began with an apology. (Best Buy could learn from this!) He then went directly to solving my problem. He asked a couple of “diagnostic” questions to make sure the problem was with the cord. He then told me he was processing a shipment to send me a new one as we spoke. He apologized again. Asked if there was anything else he could do for me.

That evening, I received an email from the guy I spoke with at Lenovo letting me know that he had overnighted the part so I wouldn’t be inconvenienced, and he told me I wouldn’t need to bother sending the old part back. The new cord arrived the next morning. I received email and phone contacts from the company making sure everything was working now. Everyone was pleasant and polite. Now that is the way to treat a customer.

Take Away’s:

  • I am very likely to purchase another Lenovo product in the future
  • I am not very likely to purchase it through Best Buy
  • I am very likely to spread word of mouth advertising for Lenovo
  • I am very likely to spread negative comments about Best Buy

So any lessons from this transaction?


Stupid People Need Not Apply

OK, I know that title is a bit harsh, but….

So I am soliciting bids through Elance for someone to typeset the book I am planning to self-publish. Elance is an interesting company that connects freelancers with people looking for specific types of work. You can log in from either side (looking for work, looking for someone to do work).

The first proposal from a freelancer came through. This is the literal response from this guy:

Relevant Experience and Qualifications:                                                                     HI, i`m glad u wrote a book, and i hope it will be successful. Hope u will chose me for cooperation, i can type set your book, and also propose u some cover samples.

Approach to the Job:
First thing about design is making client happy. That`s why i love communicate with clients a lot, and hear their wishes. I would typeset you book in InDesign.

I’m thinking that perhaps he’s not the guy for the job. Why would anyone hire someone for this kind of job who doesn’t exactly have a grasp on the rules of grammar? I’d think that would be one of the qualifications for getting a book ready for print! You would think he would at least get someone who knows the rules to coach him on how to make a proposal.