Thank You KitchenAid

Just thought I’d give credit to KitchenAid for doing right. We got a slow cooker for Christmas, and the ceramic inside had a crack in it. We didn’t notice at first, but it became apparent when the inside of the cooker was getting more and more messy.

Given my experiences, I cringe at the thought of calling any customer service.

My wife called last week.

KitchenAid did right. The customer service agent was friendly, and we got our new ceramic insert in the mail today. No fuss.

Guess what? Now they’ve won a loyal customer and an advocate.

By the way, the slow cooker makes a mean jambalaya and pulled pork.

The How. What Motivates You?

I don’t know how to classify this post. It’s half about motivation, and half about big ideas, branding, and marketing.

I’ve had this thought in my head for a while. It sort of derived from reading an article by Derek Sivers, which you can read here.

What marketer doesn’t know Seth Godin? As much as I respect his big ideas, there is not a lot substance in a lot of them in my opinion. Now that’s just a matter of what influences and motivates me.

I feel anyone can throw out big, somewhat obvious ideas. Few can execute those ideas effectively.

This weekend, while doing some blog reading, I came across a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk. He’s been the keynote speaker at conferences, and has been in the media quite a bit. I’ve never heard of him before this weekend. On the surface, when watching some of his keynote speeches, he seemed to me to be full of ideas like Godin. He talked about the need to love what you do and to be genuine. That way, the story you tell is rock solid, and your audience will be engaged. Plus work won’t seem like work since you’ll be loving what you’re doing. So I thought; great Gary, but how?

I was intrigued enough to check out some of his Wine Library TV videos. And there it was. Gary practicing what he preaches. To me, that smacked me in the face with motivation–to see him execute his big ideas in a big way. To see first hand his genuine love of wine and how he describes flavors when tasting, even someone like me with a small interest in wine can’t help but suddenly get the urge to indulge in some.

Maybe it’s the way I’m wired. I relate to execution (the how) rather than lofty ideas.

I’m so spurned by the Bills futility…

…that I have to be honest with my emotions and KNOW that I’m not being impatient with the Bills and their lack of effort in FA so far. Rather, the Bills have proven over the last decade + that they are inept. I’ve lost hope.

Year in and year out, I was patient. I had a wait and see attitude. No more. Sorry. It’s run out.

That doesn’t mean I’m not a fan. It means I don’t expect them to do well. Maybe Sunday’s will be filled with surprises, instead of letdowns. At least now when they lose (notice I say when not if), I’ll have expected it. And if they win, it’ll be a happy surprise.

Tropicana, what were you thinking?

Funny. My wife mentioned to me a few weeks ago that Tropicana’s new packaging makes it look like a cheap generic brand. I didn’t think much of it. Until I went out grocery shopping. Standing in front of the OJ section, and being a loyal Tropicana customer my entire life, I found myself staring in a trance like state in search of my favorite OJ. What my wife mentioned to me didn’t register right away. It took me a good 30 or so seconds for it to click. That’s right, they changed their packaging, and my wife is right, it looks horrendous.

And others agree:
http://www.nytimes.com/

Working in marketing, I know the arrogant reasoning that goes into these rebranding decisions.  Maybe “arrogant” is harsh, but here’s how it happens. Someone is bored with the look, and decides to change it. “Everyone’s tired of the look,” they think. They don’t take into account that they are around the product and brand all day long. The customers, whether the marketer likes it or not, don’t ponder branding all day long. With something like simple OJ, it’s a quick emotional tie/recognition. Nothing else. Customers interact with the brand when they see it on the grocery shelf, and when they pop open their fridge.

Working in web marketing and merchandising, if I got a dime for everytime I heard “the site is stale, it hasn’t been updated in a while” I’d be a multi $100 aire. Now I’m not stupid. Depending on what you’re selling and the market, fresh content is essential. What I oppose is the thinking that customers spend 24/7 on the site and “get tired” of seeing the same thing. WAKE UP CALL!!! A lot of your visitors are there for the first time, or come back weekly (not hourly). I’m NOT taking down the bestselling product because I’m bored of looking at it!!! And I’m fully aware of the power of personalization and dynamic content–this isn’t my point.

Perhaps some snob at Tropicana got sick of looking at the straw in the orange image. And didn’t consider their loyal customers’ bond to the image.

I’m not done!! Tropicana’s failed new design is artistic, yes. But art doesn’t always sell. I want OJ damnit, not an ego enhancer.

Agreed, but government needs to look in the mirror too

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior Democratic senator said Tuesday he will introduce a bill to end “the extravagant spending practices of U.S. banks” after reports that Northern Trust Corp, which got taxpayer bailout money, last week threw lavish parties around a California golf tournament.

http://money.cnn.com/

Companies can do what they want, as long as they are not subsidized by taxpayer’s money.

I’d like to see how much government waste there is when put under a microscope. Actually it would probably make me sick if I did. Can we end extravagant spending practices of U.S. government too?

Another Item for My G1 Wishlist

I forgot this in my last post.

On maps, I wish the map would orient itself to the direction you are facing (or driving) and have a compass icon integrated. It stinks when you are driving south, the marker moves down the screen. So when you have to make a right turn, you have to think of the map upside down (or hold the phone upside down).

Do you have a hate on for Microsoft?

I have to admit, I fell for it myself. Microsoft is so big and powerful that it’s hard not to point a finger at them whenever something goes wrong with the computer or when a security hole is found. I went into a Vista rant a while back.

I do have an undying love for MS Office though. Excel never ceases to amaze me. I just needed to get that out there…

Fair? Maybe. BUT a ton of other companies are given a free pass when things break, crash, or don’t work quite as well as they should. Granted Gmail is free, but it was down last night and is having problems this morning. I’m a big fan of Google’s offerings, but a lot of them have plenty of room for improvement.

The G1 phone has plenty of bugs (albeit minor), and even a security flaw, but they are given a free pass by fans. Actually, what’s funny about the G1 is that their uber-fans’ hatred is directed at the IPhone, not Microsoft per se.

Macs can’t do EVERYTHING, yet some shortcomings are ignored. The Microsoft hatred is blinding I guess.

There are a million and one products and services out there that are good, but not absolutely perfect.

What’s my point? Microsoft’s products aren’t THAT bad.

Abundance, Rate of Production?

This post is more of a note to myself to do some reasearch on this.

I just saw that Home Depot has posted a loss. I have to think some stores bring this upon themselves. I think they can be profitable, but their location strategy might be working against them. I live in Levittown, NY, and I have 4 Home Depots in easy driving distance (East Meadow, Farmingdale, Freeport, and Westbury). There HAS to be something wrong with that. Throw in 3 Lowe’s in just as easy of a drive (which there are), and there is definately something wrong with that.

“Gee Matt, which one of the 7 home improvment warehouses should I go to today? If I had a coin with 7 sides, I’d flip.”

I’m just guessing, but their margins are probably pretty thin when times are good. And when times are bad, well then they are stuck with a whole lot of inventory in too many stores.

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