Archive for July, 2010

The Crowd Can Be Wrong Monday, July 26th, 2010

In my new book, “Deja New Marketing”, I wrote about the wisdom of crowds or, maybe, the wisdom that crowds don’t have. My take is that the crowd is often wrong and is excitedly headed into the wrong direction a good part of the time.

For example, author John M. McKee writes about the airline industry and the rush to cut customer services and perks to improve profitability. Believe it or not, flying used to be a pleasant experience for most people. One airline that understands this is Singapore Airlines, which is consistently ranked as the best airline in the world year after year.

McKnee writes, “It’s (Singapore Airlines) also high in the rankings of “most admired” in any industry worldwide. Here’s their “secret”: While other airline leaders directed expense cuts to service so they could discount fare prices and “save” their company, Singapore’s CEO Chew Choon Seng reduced the number of flights but continued to spend on customer service aspects that would improve their look and feel to customers. Those who flew on Singapore experienced good service and good food. Increased customer approval ratings show this works. It would in any industry”.

Meanwhile, American Airlines, United Airlines, and the rest are charging you for luggage, pillows, and lousy headphones. The airline crowd is simply wrong. People want economical flights but want to be treated humanely.

Ignore the crowd. Better yet, do the opposite of what they do.

John Bradley Jackson
Top Dog

The BirdDog Group
© Copyright 2010
All rights reserved.

Source: June 14, Fortune

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Check Out Google Places Monday, July 12th, 2010

Google Places allows business owners to claim their business and customize their listing on Google Maps. Updated business details will appear on Google Maps, Google.com search and mobile results. It is free and easy to do.

You must remember that Google is the first choice for most web searchers. This is a must do for small businesses.

John Bradley Jackson
Top Dog

The BirdDog Group
© Copyright 2010
All rights reserved.

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Anchoring in a Negotiation Sunday, July 11th, 2010

It is legend that he or she who speaks first in a negotiation loses. Sometimes that is true but not always. This first offer is called the “anchor.”

The first offer is often price, but can be terms, quality, etc. A common response might be to offer a price that is 10% above your desired target price; this price puts you in the ballpark and gives you room to negotiate later. The difference between what you offer and what the other party wants is called the “gap. ”

When the gap is large, you should wait as long as you can before you anchor. The gap is often a matter of understanding the proposed value from one party versus the perceived value from the other party. When pushed to anchor in this situation, I recommend that you respond with questions about the other party’s perception of value to help you understand the size of the gap.

For example, a  customer with $20,000 to spend on a car walks on a Chevrolet car lot with the intent to buy a car. When the customer asks how much the brand new Corvette costs (my guess is$50,000) , the car salesperson responds by asking how much the customer wants to spend per month. This helps the salesperson understand how big the financial gap is between the car dealership and the customer. It also allows the salesperson to direct the customer to the cars in the right price range. By delaying the anchor, the salesperson can match the customer with the best car for the money (more or less).

If you can delay anchoring or get the other party to anchor, do so. If not, know that by speaking first you can get things started and still get what you want.

John Bradley Jackson
Top Dog

The BirdDog Group
© Copyright 2010
All rights reserved.

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Flock – Social Media Browser Friday, July 2nd, 2010

I have been using Firefox as my web browser for years now. It is fast, has a lot of extensions and it just seems to fit my needs. Basically, I was not in the market for a new web browser when I came across Flock.

Flock is billed as the web browser for the social media power user. While it is that, Flock’s other side is that it is a pretty powerful media aggregator as well.

For Social Butterflies

It allows you to keep track of your presence and your friends’ presences on all the different social media sites that you are on in a convenient sidebar. But I must say Flock is a better fit for Facebook users. There is a little blue thought bubble in the lower right hand corner of the Flock browser that lets you share whatever page you are on with your Facebook friends.

Additionally, when you are posting a comment on another social site in that convenient social media sidebar you have the option of simultaneously posting to Facebook and Facebook alone. So, as long as you do most of your social media activities on Facebook then this browser will work out fine for you. If you are more of a Twitter person then it will take a little extra effort.

But not that much extra effort. Like I was saying before, Flock lets you manage all of your social media presences in a single sidebar. You can make the sidebar stream so that you will see all of your friends’ activity across all of the social media platforms you are on or make it so that just your friends on Facebook are in the stream. If you are a little more daring, you can even put your friends on any of the platforms into their own group.

Say you have business friends on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and you want to make it so that you see what they are doing. With Flock you can put all of these friends together in their own group, so it no longer matters that Friend A is on Facebook and Friend B is on Twitter, you can track them both at the same time.

And respond to them. And upload pictures. And post to your blog. Really, you can do almost anything you can think of through the Flock browser. It is pretty cool but, if you are like me, you already have created workarounds on another browser, like Firefox, or with other services, like Tweet Deck.

For Media Consumers

Aggregating feeds can quickly become a pain for a number of reasons. Take me as an example. When I first started out using Google Reader I did what many of you probably did; add on as many feeds as I could. Suffice it to say, I ditched those feeds after a couple of weeks.

Then I started using other services like Digg and YouTube to find new stuff along with some sites like The Drudge Report for news. Fortunately, Flock makes aggregation fun again.

For example, right now I have a sidebar filled with all the different feeds I have, there is a bar along the top of the browser where I can keep track of media from Digg, YouTube and a number of other social media sites and I have The Drudge Report’s most recent headlines in the main area of the browser. Flock gives you the ability to save, blog, email and Digg items in your various feeds. Basically, Flock is a pretty good media aggregator.

Flock Conclusion

My big problem with Flock and with a lot of the different social media efficiency tools is that they are almost too good at what they do. You end up seeing a lot of interesting stuff about topics you are curious about and, before you know it, it’s 3 a.m. and you didn’t get done what you were suppose to.

If you use social media applications to promote yourself or to just stay in contact with your friends then Flock might be a good idea for you; especially if your main social media site is Facebook. But be forewarned, there are more feature-rich options out there for individual social sites like Tweet Deck for Twitter. If you are one of those people who check your friends’ statuses occasionally then there are simpler options for you, so stay away from Flock.

Media consumers might get some value out of Flock because it is a pretty robust feed aggregator and discovery engine. But, again, unless you are a power user who is looking for an all-in-one social media browser there are better and simpler options out there.

Personally, I won’t be replacing Firefox anytime soon. Maybe I’ll break out Flock every once in a while and see if it can change my mind about it. If that happens, I’ll let you know. But you shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for me to announce my conversion to Flock.

Travis Lindsay

Social Media Guru

The BirdDog Group

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