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!


Dealing With the Amazon Beast

One of the decisions I made when I published my book was whether or not to sell a Kindle Version online. I have the file, and can sell it direct without customers having to go through Amazon. The book page on this site has the link to purchase it that way. When someone uses that option, I only have to give Square their percentage, which is very small.

The difference is when someone buys the book on Amazon/Kindle about 60% of the cost goes to Amazon/PayPal/whatever company that distributes to Amazon. So for a book that someone pays $9.99, by the time everyone gets their cut, I get about $4. Luckily, this is an e-version, so it didn’t cost me to print. If I sold the print version online, I’d make practically nothing after printing costs!

Even with self-publishing, there are a lot of pockets to fill with the proceeds of your hard work. If you are thinking of self-publishing, I’d be happy to walk you through the process.




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?