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Archive for June, 2007

The Most Important Question That Retailers DON’T Ask!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Let me know if this sounds familiar: You walk into a retail store and the “greeter” says hello with a big smile. Or when you are paying for your items the cashier asks you if you were able to find all of the items that you were looking for? I imagine a number of you are smiling and saying yes that has happened to me in fact probably yesterday.

It isn’t by luck that this happens. The greeter and the cashier are trained to do that. They have been instructed what to say, how to say it and frankly it can be very successful.

Recently I walked into Best Buy and Academy Sports in Grapevine, Texas. I went to Best Buy for one reason. I was looking for Letters from Iwo Jima directed and produced by Clint Eastwood. I was greeted as I entered the store by a big hello and smile and I went to the new release aisle. They didn’t have it yet and I walked out of the store empty handed. As I was walking out I passed by 4 people who saw that I was leaving the store with no products to purchase yet they never said anything to me.

Two minutes later I was greeted at the front door of Academy Sports with a big hello and a smile from another greeter. I was looking for a very specific pair of shorts. I couldn’t find what I was looking for but I did try on a few pairs but decided not to purchase anything. Again I walked past a number of sales clerks as I was leaving the store and no one said a word to me.

Isn’t that an opportunity to ask a potential customer a question or two? Perhaps, “I noticed you didn’t purchase anything today. Can I help you? Can I ask you what you were looking for?” I understand that the employees at these two retail stores aren’t trained to do this but if they were wouldn’t it have a positive direct impact on revenue? I believe it would.

  • The question is why don’t they ask these questions?
  • Why don’t store managers and executives think this is important?

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Faster, Better, Cheaper Sounded Really Good At First!

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Years ago when I first heard the phrase “online research–faster, better, cheaper” it sounded really good at first. It made a lot of sense. It was clearly a different way to help clients convert their traditional phone work to online. Most data collection companies (including the ones I have worked for) in the past included it in their capabilities presentations and highlighted it as a point of differentiation. Most companies were successful at the beginning.

My question is did it help us in the short run and hurt us in the long run?

I believe online research can be faster, better, cheaper in some situations but on every study? I don’t think so. In most cases you can have two of the three but I don’t believe you can have all three on every study. I believe this motto and everyone who sells online data collection now and in the past (including myself) has probably caused problems for now and in the future. Why? Because we presented over and over to research buyers that online research is faster, better, cheaper and you know what? We were really good at our job; they believed it and now demand it on almost every study.

There are lots of companies that do great quality work in the online arena but at times they are more expensive than their competition. Unfortunately all of us hear stories were you lost a project based on price. You would like to think it was based on other criteria but at times that is the main criteria.

Online data collection is now perceived as a commodity business and has been for years. Not many people would disagree with that statement. There are a number of companies who send marketing emails highlighting specials or discounts during the month which clearly reinforces my point. By the way…those companies seem to be very successful. Now it is a lot more difficult to differentiate yourself from other online data collection companies. The barrier of entry to do online data collection ‘faster, better, cheaper” is very inexpensive.

  • What do you think of the “faster, better, cheaper” phrase?
  • Is it more expensive to do it right?
  • Do you agree?
  • Does this make sense?

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Attention NY Yankee Fans: This Is a Script I Couldn’t Possibly Have Done a Better Job Writing Myself

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Most baseball fans think about their favorite team over the winter–probably over and over. Many discussions are about things like:

  • Did the general manager sign the right free agents?
  • Who will be the hot rookie this year?
  • Will the trades that we made make a difference and take my team to the World Series?

My winter was no different except the fact that I had little to no snow in Dallas. During spring training I always check the April schedule and predict what my beloved Red Sox will do the first month. Will they get out of the box early?

I really believed this year the Red Sox would start really fast, jump out and lead over the NY Yankees and frankly I was right. With almost a third of the season in the history books, this is what has happened so far:

  • The Yankees are 2-10 in 1 run games! They never lost games like this in the past.
  • A-Rod started hot but now is as cold as ice only hitting .235 in May
  • The Yankees have the same record as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays!
  • During a 19 day stretch in May, the Yankees scored the fewest runs in the majors!
  • Yankees pitching staff is a mess! That sounds great doesn’t it?
  • Jason Giambi has only 7 homeruns and is hitting .262
  • Robinson Cano is hitting 80 points less than his average last year
  • Mike Mussina looks like he is below average at best
  • The Yankees have had a revolving door of starters this year
  • Their Japanese phenom (their answer to the Red Sox) is in the minors and still struggling
  • Johnny Damon who I like and thought would have a great year has 3 homeruns and is banged up
  • Bobby Abreu looks lost with an average of .228
  • Mariano Rivera isn’t hurt and has only 4 saves all year!
  • The Red Sox swept the Yankees and lead the season series 6-3
  • The Red Sox have only given up 201 runs–2nd BEST in the American League
  • The Yankees have already had losing streaks of 5 and 7 games this year
  • The Red Sox are 18-8 at home and on the road – so clearly they are doing playing great everywhere

When you look at the Red Sox team they have a number of guys struggling like Ramirez, Lugo, Crisp and some injuries like Timlin and Lester. When they return to form, the Red Sox will be even better. Clearly the future is bright for this summer.

All this has added up to the Yankees being in last place! A whopping 13 1/2 games behind the Red Sox.

  • The Red Sox have the BEST record in the American league
  • The Red Sox have the BEST record in BASEBALL!!

Life has been great so far. No that’s wrong! Life is and has been fantastic for me since the start of the baseball season.

I know Yankee fans like Jennie, Jay Wilson, Jeffrey, Nicole, Uncle J, Homer, and Jim Q will say, “Just wait. The Yankees will get hot, make the playoffs and then you will see what happens!” Maybe they will be right but I doubt it. The Yankees are in turmoil and nothing short of Mantle, DiMaggio, Ruth and Whitey Ford will help them this year.

Clemens will help a little bit but they have dug themselves too big of a hole. Get ready New York! Fourth of July will be coming early and often in the Bronx! There will be lots of fireworks this summer for sure, especially when Clemens arrives and is allowed to do things that nobody else can do. Kyle Farnsworth has already spoken up and others will follow.

Joe Torre is a classy guy. His record is very impressive. Unfortunately in a good year he gets too much of the credit and in a bad year he takes too much of the fall.

Sorry Joe — and all my friends that are Yankee fans. The Red Sox are the better team this year and have the chemistry that your team doesn’t have.

I look forward to your comments and thoughts.