The fabric of the one person

I’ve got a hankerin’ to do something here. I’ve been letting this go, in favor of another blog where I’m a member of a team of writers:

(see my posts at Beggars All Reformation and Apologetics)

There’s a blog that gets about 300 visitors per day; its subject matter, church history, is something that has been near to my heart for a lifetime. As a young writer, I was very conscious of the fact that I really wasn’t proficient enough in any subject to write about it proficiently; now as an older writer, who has studied the subject with something akin to a life-and-death kind of passion, I am at home writing in that world.

At any rate, God and Christ are the center of my life, my “eternal presupposition”. From there flow my my life, my passion, my family, my work. They make me who I am. The overriding cry of the Reformation, “to God alone be the glory,” is, or should be, the motto of my life.

These things are the center of my life, they are my anchor, but of course the winds of life blow one in many different directions. My career, my wife’s search for an ongoing career (I wish she didn’t have to work but we need the money), trying to usher my children in good directions — and my other interests, including politics, business, economics, and how they tie together — all of these things are woven into the fabric of the one person.

Well, I’m waxing poetic. It’s 3:30 am, so maybe I can be forgiven for that, eh?

“We’re already doing that”

As part of my routine calling of past contacts, I called a bank that I had worked for in the past, and I told them about a predictive modeling software solution that gives community banks a structured way to create and enforce a sales culture within branches

They said, “we’re already doing that.”

But I think maybe not.

Just below, I alluded to “the old days” still being with us. Does anyone remember driving past a bank branch (or even seeing an ad from a bank) and seeing the words “Loan Sale” on a banner? I am embarassed for the folks who’d put those banners out. That’s one step above simply begging a customer for business.

There are various degrees of business intelligence involved with marketing. I’m going to relate several different marketing angles that I receive from three different book stores. See if you can tell the difference:

1. As someone who has purchased or rated [BOOK] by [AUTHOR], you might like to know that [THIS NEW BOOK] will be released on August 15, 2009.  You can pre-order yours at a savings of $8.48 by following the link below.

2. YIPPEE! Bargain books abound at [Bookstore], or

3. John, loyalty has its perks–here’s a $10 coupon just for you!

Another leading “Rewards” program sends me “40% off an item of your choice” coupon. It’s embedded with a “30% off all Dummies(r) Guides” (which I’m NOT currently shopping for), and “Hit DVDs Sale — $4.99 Selected Titles” (which I’m also NOT currently shopping for.)

All three of those aproaches are the type you’ll see in a variety of different marketplaces. But who is the one that’s really going to appeal directly to me as the customer? Clearly, the appeal (#1 above) is the most sophisticated, because it’s actually a part of an individual relationship that they know they have with me, and it’s one that they nurture.

Which do you think is most effective?

“Social Media” cited in improvements to customer satisfaction

“A growing number of businesses are tracking social-media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to gauge consumer sentiment and avert potential public-relations problems,” according to the WSJ this morning.

“Ford Motor Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co., among others, are deploying software and assigning employees to monitor Internet postings and blogs. They’re also assigning senior leaders to craft corporate strategies for social media.”

Ford was able to avert a PR crisis with a fan website because of the quick response of its “head of social media.” PepsiCo responded quickly to criticism of a potentially offensive ad in a German-language publication. And an “emerging-media team” from Southwest Airlines shaped a positive media response to an emergency landing, citing Tweets that praised “great work by crew and customers onboard.”

“Social media have magnified the urgency of crisis communication,” says Shel Holtz, a communications consultant in Concord, Calif., and co-author of “Blogging for Business.” He says seemingly small incidents can quickly spread into bigger PR problems via the Web.”

Companies can’t get away with bad behavior because social media puts them under too much scrutiny; it only takes one blog post or tweet or YouTube video to kick-start a flood of criticism leading to damaged reputations and lost customers. All those conversations are the motivation companies have needed to start providing excellent service, if for no other reason than to avoid fast-spreading conversations about just how bad they are.