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Flip_flops.jpgDue to the rising costs of cute shoes, effective January 1 our new prices will be the following…

That was how the owner of the place I get my hair cut announced she was raising prices! I’m one of many customers who got a chuckle out of it and, more importantly, still do business with her. This qualifies as good marketing not because it’s clever, but because it got results. I decided to do a little research and have learned that she has only lost one client since raising prices, and since that customer complained frequently anyway, she doesn’t consider that a big loss. She’s given herself a raise, the rest of the customers are still happy, so a win-win relationship has been maintained.

What the customer wants is VALUE. As long as VALUE is there, the customer doesn’t mind funding cute shoes for the team that provides it! 

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24 season 7_1.jpgIf the spoilers I’ve seen for the upcoming season of 24 are accurate, I may have just watched my last season of that otherwise awesome piece of television!

Please stop reading if you don’t want to hear what is allegedly going to happen next year on 24!!!

And if you really, really don’t want to know, you certainly wouldn’t want to click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CJ8OIDIrj0

Rumor has it that Agent Tony Almeda, who we all saw die last season, will turn up alive in the 2009 season. You’ve gotta be kidding me! Why would a show that has been everything but the typical show in terms of getting stale in its writing pull a stunt like this? Reminds me of the season of Dallas that turned out to be a dream back in the 80s. C’mon.

The fans support this brand. We are the customers and we deserve better. Let’s hope this is a clever, counter-intelligence tactic on the part of the writers of 24 to keep us all guessing while they come up with a real grabber of a plot line!

That one grievance aside, how cool is it that thanks to technology, you get as much bang for your buck in one episode of 24 as you did in a feature film in the 1980s? And how neat that the Internet exists, where we, the fans, the customers, can view and discuss things like this? What a remarkable time to be alive!

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grocery produce_1.jpgAs a follow up to the last post, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the grocery store that hosted the rusty mailbox also deserves a good finger wagging!

Offering a mail drop for customers is a great service. Good for them for doing so! However, since they see that rusty mailbox every day and I’m only in their store a few times a week, they should have been a little more proactive! They should have recognized that a rusty mailbox is a touch point for their brand! The store manager should have become outraged and jumped up and down as he called the USPS and told them to come refurbish or replace the yucky mailbox! “Don’t you know that a rusty mailbox implies dirty floors, produce that isn’t fresh, and old stock?” He should have said. “Don’t you know our customers deserve better?” He should have asked. “Don’t you know that both our brands are being jeopardized?” He should have demanded to know.

But I’m pretty sure that rusty mailbox means far less to the store manager than it does to me or the Postal Service. If you visited the store a few times, you’d probably agree. The store is part of a national chain whose name you would recognize. They do a great job of delivering low price goods, but they are currently getting my business only because they are the best choice from a bad set of choices.  Currently, they are the winner by default, and that ain’t much of a value proposition to hang one’s hat on!

As often as is comfortably possible I drive at least 2 miles out of my way and pay higher prices at a lesser-known but far more service-driven CVS. I drive farther and pay extra because the nice lady who works the counter always welcomes me. If I meet an employee at CVS, I am greeted. If I appear to need help with something, typically someone offers to help me before I have to ask. They earn my business, and I don’t mind paying a little more.

Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “In weakness, find strength, and in strength, find weakness.” Yes, the other guys may be bigger, but we can be better! And often all being “better” amounts to is taking better care of the customer! And the reason we call it ECHO Marketing is because we keep saying, The Customer IS the Answer!!!

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