Another Seth item today. Too many companies focus on price alone, causing their customers – potential or otherwise – to do the same. He wants to know what, besides price, you’ve given them to care about. There are at least four key things that customers look for when shopping for products and services online:
- Design – Apple hasn’t sold 100 million iPods solely because of content. Does your design stand apart?
- Convenience – Are you making your customer’s lives easier? Are you letting them know that you are?
- Location – Are you closer than your competition to where your customers want to be? Even if you’re not, do you make it easy for your customers to find you?
- Choice – What options do you give your customers? Do you provide more choice than the competition?
There are probably dozens more. What do you use that I’ve missed?
Seth points out who to hire. Here’s how to hire. Find the folks with:
- Passion for the job
- A willingness to learn
- Spirit of teamwork
- Solid, consistent demonstration of the behavior needed for the job (think behavioral interviewing
Five factors lead to great performance among your staff. They include:
- Hiring folks with the ability to do the job
- Providing them attainable, yet challenging goals
- Giving feedback, both positive and constructive
- Training for missing skills
- Ensuring proper motivation and incentive for a job well done
Seth Godin consolidates this list into a single item: alignment.
If your brand is a promise – and God help you if it isn’t – delivering that promise relies on capable, competent folks. And that relies on the steps above.
Now is the only time you get. Sure, Mike Arrington is in a pissy mood about now. He’s bummed that the good ol’ days have rolled up their tents and headed for the hills. Evidence like Wallstrip selling out after nine months and the whole Microsoft/aQuantive hook-up suggests he’s right. Right? Is it silly money being thrown in everyone’s faces? I don’t think so. Oh, there’s some silly money going around – see the Microsoft deal mentioned above – but the rest is a question of perspective. I recently spoke at a conference and got asked by a veteran business owner whether his company’s 50-year investment in building its brand, its customer service standards, and its customers’ loyalty was doomed because it hadn’t invested heavily in technology, whether that train had left the station. As Seth Godin points out so effectively, the train only pulls away when you decide not to get on.
Back in the day, we used to think that the US had an indomitable lead in technology, particularly with regard to the web. What we’d forgotten was that other countries didn’t need to start with CGI and a batch of Perl scripts. Most anyone can get onboard at almost anytime. In fact, the less spent in the past, the less companies need to worry about jettisonning.
It seems that Mike is channeling his inner Charles Duell, claiming it’s all been invented and was more fun the first time ’round. I think he just needs to read Anne 2.1, who offers sound advice on how to recharge and refresh. Take a quick moment to smell the roses, then hop on that train.
So, gas prices have hit record highs this week. Seth Godin has an interesting point of view on how to get people to conserve. I’m somewhat curious as to what impact these fuel prices will have on e-commerce. Will consumers stay at home and shop online? Or will higher fuel prices decrease disposable income, slowing spending online as well as off? These sorts of issues always seemed more interesting when examining them from a distance. Now, I’d like to be able to fill my tank for less than $50.
At what point does an acquisition signal a white flag? Is it just me or is it weird that the largest purchase in Microsoft’s history is for a company it could have bought for half that price (at least) a couple years ago. I’m pretty sure overpaying for a company in an industry you could have dominated if only you’d recognized the world outside the desktop signals flawed strategy more than it signals a return to prominence. John Battelle decided to take a few days to determine the meaning of this one. Combine this with their recent saber-rattling over open source and patents and to me, it’s clear. Microsoft knows it’s hosed and is trying to buy – or cajole – its way back to the top.