Tag Archive: company


SMRT

This has long been a pet peeve of mine…

Why do companies (in an attempt to stand out or be different) intentionally misspell their names?

(Heck, I intentionally didn’t get a Twitter account because “@CorporateAvenger” is one letter too long, and I couldn’t bring myself to settle with “@CorporateAvengr”.)

Today’s example is a company named “Bed Gard“…That’s right…”Bed Gard” (I’m even getting red squiggles as I type this…which is driving me CRAZY). The actual definition for “Gard” is: “a département located in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It is named after the river Gardon (or Gard)”…nothing even close to the definition of “guard”.

Here’s why I hate this practice:

  1. It makes you and your company look dumb
  2. It makes you and your company hard to find (Google offered to correct my spelling to “Bed Guard”, which changes your results from Pick-up truck bed liners to toddler bed guards…)

If I was, in fact, looking for a bed guard for my truck, I would have to accidentally misspell my search to arrive at the page for this product…This is not how you make sales!!!

(Also, as a side note, with smart phones on the rise the use of numericals or special characters will also cut down on your profits, as these require more effort on the part of the ‘searcher’ to arrive at your website or to search for your company on the web.)

So, why do companies keep doing this time and time again?

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A long time ago, I bought a Sansa Fuze Mp3 player (as it was half of the price of the iPod with the same amount of memory). It has lasted several years with moderate usage, it has lived through some very extreme environmental conditions, and it’s still working to this day.

Side Note: I’m also a fan of how SanDisk does business: the Mp3 player just acts like a folder when docked to your computer (so you can just ‘click’ and ‘drag’ to add new songs…no need to work through a software like iTunes).

Honestly, it has  been a great little Mp3 player, but it has some quirks that drive me crazy!!!

  • First of all, when you’re trying to move within your song list, you have to spin the wheel to advance to the next song (you can’t just click ‘down’ or ‘up’).
  • Secondly, there is no way to jump to ‘fast scroll mode’. If you want something in the middle of the alphabet, you have to scroll, scroll, scroll until you get there (I wish you could just press and hold)!!!
  • Thirdly, you cannot loop around the alphabet (as in, if you want to get from ‘a’ to ‘x’, you have to scroll, scroll, scroll through ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’,… all the way to ‘x’. You cannot just go backwards from ‘a’ to ‘z’ to ‘y’ to ‘x’).
  • Finally, you cannot create a playlist on the go. They provide you with a “go list”, which is one pre-named playlist to which you can add a (small) limited amount of songs, but you cannot create a second playlist without hooking the Fuze up to a computer.

Now, the thing that drives me crazy about these little deficiencies are that they can all be alleviated with software, they require no additional hardware whatsoever!!!

Hardware costs money, and some companies have limited cash, so I understand why some companies use cheaper components in their products (I don’t necessarily agree with it all of the time, but I understand it).

The thing about software is that there are only two things that separate the great from the mediocre: time and intelligence (and neither of these should be in short supply)!

(Now, before someone  gets on my case, I know we all have deadlines we need to hit in order to keep up our freshness index, but, if we are in too much of a hurry, we will end up producing a far inferior product that annoys people (anyone else cram for tests in High School/College?!?). Also, I know that your software abilities are limited by the chips on which your software is running, but these chips are cheap compared to most of your hardware components).

Therefore, with this in mind, I really see a strong link between software and overall quality of the product and the company which the product represents. If there are bugs, poorly designed features, or broken links on web pages, it speaks volumes more to me about quality than a cheap part used in an assembly.

I get that your company may not always be able to afford better quality parts, but how can your company not afford to simply pay attention?

This post was inspired by upsidedownturtle – please keep the suggestions and ideas coming everybody! I really appreciate your thoughts/feedback; that’s why I started this blog in the first place!!!

My wife keeps getting phone calls from Western Michigan University’s Alumni Association asking for money; even though she’s asked to be removed from their calling list several times.

Upsidedownturtle’s husband keeps getting phone calls from the University of Michigan’s Alumni Association, first engaging in spurious small talk, and then asking for money (they’ve even gotten these calls on Sunday nights)! They have also asked several times to be removed from the calling list, but to no avail.

There are a couple of trends I’ve noticed when discussing telemarketers with my friends:

  1. No one that I know of has actually taken these folks up on their offers
  2. Everyone has tried to get removed from the associated calling list
  3. Very few folks have actually been successfully removed from said calling lists
  4. Every person feels as if their privacy has been invaded by these phone calls

Now, I understand where telemarketing came from. For a while it was the only option for any sort of “personal” contact with customers, but, with the options available today, why the heck are telemarketers still as prevalent as they are?

Nowadays you can send a custom e-mail to your customers with ads, sales, and features which are custom tailored to their specific interests. When this is done well, your customers will actually thank you and look forward to your e-mails (Etsy does a good job of this; my wife actually looks forward to getting her weekly e-mail from them, and she even makes an event out of going through the e-mail and adding new items to her wishlist).

The mind and expectations of today’s consumer has also changed. We don’t want you to invade our privacy; we want you to work for our attention, and we want to look at your ad on our time (if we look at your ad at all). Yes, this requires more effort on your part; you can’t just read us a script and expect us to invest our  money in you. You need to invest some time and effort into crafting an ad that is tailored to us, as individuals, and design it and deliver it in a way that makes us want to play along.

Yes, you will have fewer views (more people may initially answer their phones than click on your ad), but the customers that you get from this form of advertising will undoubtedly spend more money and time with your company (and not actually be turned off from your company by your mode of advertising)!

…and, just for fun, here’s another blog from Seth Godin about Permission Marketing!

Do you notice anything odd in this picture?

How about this one?

If you didn’t notice, it’s the watch.

These pictures came from the Fossil magazine that showed up for my wife yesterday.

Now, how many of you ladies under 35 get into your fancy sun dresses, strap on your wrist watches, and then head into town?

Here is what I believe to be the flaw in this advertising: Fossil makes watches, and they do it well. Fossil also makes clothes (Did you know this?), and they still do it  under their ‘Fossil’ name. This leads to consumer confusion:

How are Fossil’s clothes? I have no idea! My perception of ‘Fossil’ is a watch company, not a clothing company, so I already do not take their clothing as seriously as I would take clothing from someone such as J. Crew.

‘Fossil’ is, and should only be a watch company. If they want to make clothing, they should open up another company with a new name. This way they can create a second solid position in the mind of the consumer and not confuse them with the association to the watch company (look at how Proctor & Gamble have handled Tide and Cascade and their dozens of other products: they have virtually re-invented their company several times by the creation of dozens of seemingly unique companies.).

We’ve already discussed the importance of company names, and I fear that the watch industry is not immune to this rule!

With the way that their marketing is being handled, Fossil is quickly becoming a Relic (Get it? Get it?)…

What’s in a name?

Yesterday, I was doing a study on two different companies, and they each had a variant of the exact same issue, so I felt it merited addressing:

Company A had a ‘three-word-name’. For sake of illustration and anonymity, we’ll call this company “David’s Plumbing Company”.

I had trouble finding their website (first giant indicator that something was very wrong), but, upon digging into it further, I found the following shocking info:

  • Going to “David.com” went to an unrelated website (remember, these names are made up for the purposes of illustration; I have no idea what is at “David.com”)
  • Going to “DavidsPlumbing.com” went to a competitor!
  • Going to “DavidsPlumbingCompany.com” also went to a competitor! 
  • The actual website was in this format “DavesPlumbCompany.com” – you had to know to shorten the first and second words to get to their website!!!
This essentially means that, if your customer thinks you’re at “DavidsPlumbing.com” or “DavidsPlumbingCompany.com” (that is the name of your company, after all), that you are essentially handing these folks off to your competitors!!!
Company B had a pretty good name. We’ll call this “Bob’s Law Firm” (again, these names have been made up for purposes of illustration!), but they insisted on going with a TLA (Three-Letter Acronym…get it?). Therefore, they became “BLF”.
  • Issue #1: This is where I, again, have to make reference to one of the most brilliant marketing works of all time, Positioning (Buy it, read it, love it). You should not use an acronym for your company name unless you are incredibly well known, or your acronym is substantially more convenient to use than your company name…and even then it is a stretch. An acronym simply does not hold the same place in one’s mind. It does not conjure up any images/memories unless you are so well established in the prospect’s mind that they have these memories readily available in great supply.
  • Issue #2: “BLF.com” (I repeat: names are made up!) belongs to a competitor!!! What are the odds?!?! To alleviate this situation, Bob’s Law Firm went with “BLFFirm.com” (that’s right…say it out loud: “Bob’s Law Firm Firm”). To make matters worse “BobsLawFirm.com” is available!
Your customers would not naturally know to look for “BLFFirm.com”, as that web address does not even really make sense, so, again, you are handing potential customers over to your competition!!!
If no one can find your website, how can anyone buy your product? If your competitor is easier to find (and, in a lot of cases, the customer may not even realize that it’s your competitor), why would your customer put in the extra effort to find you?
Company names have always been important, and company websites are increasingly becoming expected and downright necessary. You may have a dream name in mind, but you need to ensure that it plays nice with the web, or you will be losing massive amounts of sales for an incredibly inane reason! 

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you need to have WiFi. Period.

I don’t understand why some companies haven’t grasped this yet! If you have a restaurant, tire company, banquet hall, clothing store, antique store,  grocery store, etc, you need to have WiFi available.

You want customers to want to visit, and you want them to stay (the longer they stay, the more they spend)!

If Discount Tire had WiFi, and Belle Tire didn’t; I’d head over to Discount, so I can surf the web (and spare some of my limited data plan) while I was waiting to get my tires mounted and balanced. Also, I dread going to some clothing stores with my wife because I’ll sit outside the waiting room for (what seems like) forever, while she tries on clothes; if I had WiFi, I could surf the web, and I would put less pressure on her to make up her mind, so we could get some food!!!

Your company is probably using the internet for your own internal businesses purposes, so the cost would only be the router. Heck, if you get 1 more customer, or make one extra sale, that alone may make up your sunk cost!!!

So…What are you waiting for?

Customers. They are the boss.

Simple…yet stunningly beautiful.

Sam Walton

 

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

Sam Walton

Indeed.

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