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Cell phone facts…

By Dr. Burt Smith April 29th, 2014

You’re welcome to draw your own conclusions, I just thought you’d enjoy hearing these facts.

According to the Pew Internet Project’s 2014 Mobile Technology Fact sheet:

90% of American adults have a cell phone
58% have a smartphone
32% own an e-reader of some kind
42% own a tablet PC

That 90% of Americans how own a cell phone probably isn’t that surprising, but when you think about how rapidly tablet PCs have gained nearly 42% market penetration, that shows you how rapidly a product with real value can gain a following these days.

May you live in interesting times.” – Chinese proverb



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I have historically shied away from naming companies (or people, for that matter) by name in my blogging endeavors. That’s because I prefer to say only positive things about companies (and people), and also because sometimes companies (and people) can end up disappointing you. It’s kind of awkward to either have to “print a retraction” or just take down an entry I’ve posted where I bragged on a company or individual that ended up not being the caliber I want to be associated with, much less acquaint you with or be perceived as endorsing.

In some cases, I’ve even bragged on strangers who have single-handedly saved the brands of their organizations by giving professional service. Remember Sara? How about Bridget & DougI’m offering that as evidence because you may end up reading about a very disappointing experience I am currently having with the Kodak company…but you will likely be hearing more on their lackluster efforts later.

But on with today’s POSITIVE story…

I’ve been a customer of Richards Car Care for close to 10 years now. They were recommended by my father-in-law, who had a respected 45+ year career in the automotive industry, so they had the power of an authority figure as an endorsement working for them from the start!

But they REALLY wowed me when they went out of their way to help dear old mom. One day my mother, who’s in her 70s, was up here visiting her grandson (though she claims she comes to see his parents, too). There was some bad weather moving in later that day so we really wanted her to have the 3-hour drive behind her and to have her home safe and sound before that happened. As she was about to leave, we noticed a nail in her tire. Fortunately, it wasn’t flat yet, so I had her follow me a the short distance to Richards and we’d see if they could get her on the road. My optimism sank when we pulled up and I saw they were extremely busy, but I explained the situation to them and they made a point of getting her right in and back on the road.

I might be exaggerating a wee bit to say they treated the situation with such urgency that you’d have thought it was their mother they were helping, but it sure felt that way!

That was several years ago, but I’m STILL telling the story and I make a point of reminding them of it every time I’m in, often in front of a showroom of onlooking customers. 

You’ve heard me say often, to have MORE business, do GOOD business.

What stories are your customers telling about you?


If you’ve visited Amazon recently, you may have had your first  experience with Amazon’s new “Flip to back” feature.

Their “Look inside” feature has always been a hit, so this addition may not be that impressive to you, but I think its subtlety is precisely why it is noteworthy. The “Look Inside” feature lets you virtually “open” the book to a certain page, do a few keyword searches, and even read significant amounts of passages from the book without purchasing it. Just like when you shop for a book in a traditional, brick-and-mortar bookstore.

What was missing before is one other thing you probably do when you browse at a traditional bookstore. You first look at the cover, then flip it over to read whatever is on the back cover. Amazon somehow realized this, and has now found a way to let you virtually flip the book over and read the back cover on many of its titles.

A simple, subtle update, perhaps, but noteworthy because that’s EXACTLY how you successfully build any customer experience. You find out what they want, find a profitable way to give it to them, then you ask them how they liked it and what they’d like to see next time, and you find a profitable way to improve it so they’ll come back and tell others about the experience. And if they’re that happy, they make your competition irrelevant because if you’re giving them what they want, they have no reason to go to your competition.

Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.” – Malcolm Mudderidge


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Check out the cool commercial from Under Armour shown below.

My favorite part is when the announcer says “From the brand that reinvented the t-shirt comes the very first running shoe made entirely in a clothing factory…” 

I like this even though you may be saying, as you read this, that I’m contradicting myself based on my comments in some previous entries. And, as usual, YOU are probably RIGHT!

Yes, if they’re getting away from their core category and are now just slapping their brand mark on anything they think might sell, they may be spreading themselves a bit thin. If you’re asking, “What does a company that made  compression shorts and shirts know about shoes?”, your question may be very warranted.  Even though you’ve gotta admit, they did make some revolutionary contributions in that area.

I think the big question should be, what category are they in? If they’re in the “sports apparel” category, then athletic shoes seems to be worth a look. If they can deliver on the “From the brand that reinvented the T-shirt comes…” then power to them! Well done, in fact. If you notice, they also seem to be poking a little fun at themselves when they go on to say “…comes the first running shoe made entirely in a clothing factory.” They’re either boldly trying to change the game, or are just being remarkably candid. Either of those may be reasons consumers think they deserve a look.

The honest truth is, and I’ll deny it if you quote me, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s going to work or not.

Like so many things in marketing, trite as it may sound, we don’t know until we try. So at the very least, they deserve a little credit for having the guts to give it a shot. In fact, even if it doesn’t go so well, they’ll at least know that for sure, which could be counted as good marketing because it yielded a useful result!

Heck, even the Edsel offered Ford some profitable lessons. If that doesn’t ring a bell, click here for the story.

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