The following post is sponsored by Staples. The words are all mine. They paid for me to give away an hour of consulting to a small business owner looking to grow their business.
John Grossman runs the Holyoke Hummus Company out in western Massachusetts. He started out with a food truck promoting fresh tasty falafel sandwiches that were healthy but felt decadent. John’s had a lot of success in other businesses, but food can be tricky. When timing struck that he could acquire restaurant space and open a brick and mortar business to complement the truck, he had to take the opportunity.
If you’ve known me for a while, maybe you’re wondering, “What’s Chris up to right now? Why is he talking about stuff like AI, blockchain, chatbots, and the IoT?” I know. It feels weird, because maybe you have me categorized wrong like lots of people do. Maybe you thought I was supposed to talk about tweets and emails forever, as if they were ever the goal and not just the delivery mechanism.
Not going to happen.
We have to stop phoning it in. Everyone. You. Me. Those guys. It’s not okay. It’s boring and it’s messing up the entire opportunity to reach people and help them succeed. In short, quit your bullshit.
I’m on a flight to San Francisco to help credit union people market their services better. When I went looking at how they do it now, it’s all copy/paste. If I strip the logos off the sites, there’s nothing that differentiates one from the other.
The reason I love Staples comes from when I was younger. I used to run a greeting card business and I’d go to Staples, buy card stock, and print my designs in their Copy Center. They made my business cards. They made my little sign I needed for the one store crazy enough to let me put my cards in it. It was just easier with Staples.
In 2009, Julien Smith and I wrote Trust Agents. It was a book about how to be human across the web. Now, almost a decade later, I’m hot on the trail of how companies can extend their business relationships even more, and how emerging technologies like blockchain are helping deliver TRUST at a distance.
China’s answer to Amazon, JD, has just started using blockchain to validate the authenticity of beef. Before I read the article, I hadn’t really considered just how much of what we buy is based on hearsay and assurances. Did I just get Wagyu or Kobe beef? That’s what the label says. But how do I know?
Thanks for being at my speech today!
I want to give you the notes from my speech, but I want to trade you for it.
My son and I are learning a bit about coding. I’m downright not-smart at it. It doesn’t come naturally to me. My son? Well, he started learning on Scratch when he was five. So when I saw that Unity had released a game making software (aff) called Swords & Shovels, I was intrigued.
Making a Game is a Great Way to Learn to Code
The old version of game making used to be silly. You could make VERY rudimentary games. They taught you something, but no one wanted to actually play it. I can’t imagine how many parents had to endure “playing” those games.
When we’re at work, we want to believe that people think about our business all day long. In our minds, we’re the FIRST company a customer or prospective customer considers when a particular need arises. But you and I both know that’s not how it works.
What does it take for your business to stay top of mind?
This work we’re talking about is called branding. And in the old days, that would mean thinking up names and logos and colors and what have you and you’d call it good.
One of the new content marketing trends for 2018 is to build stronger levels of content personalization into the marketing and communications workflows you send to your customers. It sounds tricky, but the truth is that the data is often there, and with just a little bit of manual intervention, there could be even more. The big point I want to make in this post to you is that your data needs to be used in better ways to improve customer engagement and to nurture better customer experiences.
Your Customer Data Needs to Be Smarter
If you have customers, you have data. You know their name probably, and there’s a contact method or two, and there are payment records of some kind. Most everyone has that. You might also have purchase history. For instance, at Owner Media, I know who’s bought what, how much they’ve spent, etc. And this is all pretty common for most companies. It’s what ELSE you can do that we’re going to talk about.
It’s that time of year. You’re thinking: “how can I make this a better year than last?” Maybe you need a resolution. But no, I’ve found that New Years Resolutions rarely survive the first six or seven days of January. Which is why I started the My 3 Words practice back in 2006. Let me share it with you!
What is the My 3 Words Process?
Every year, at the beginning of the year, choose 3 words that have personal meaning to you that you will use as guideposts for your chosen path forward in the coming year. Make the words such that they influence your choice of actions, encourage you to decide in favor of your goals, and guide you towards lasting results that you want to experience throughout the year.