Monday, March 31, 2014

How Technology Keeps Relationships Warm Over 13 Years and an Ocean

I just love the power of social and digital to keep relationships alive over time and distance.

When I was in London recently, I saw my former NYC neighbor, Polar Bear club member, and running partner, Robyn Massey for the first time in 13 years.

Without technology, there's NO way we would have stayed in touch.

This is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about technology.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Day I Discovered My Marketing Calling

I write this on a flight back from London, which provides ample opportunity for reflection.

I’ve been thinking about my career path and chosen field and why I got into it.

Certainly, hearing Todd Newfield speak when I lived in Japan was a seminal moment. One that was further catalyzed when he instructed me to read my first marketing book, Peppers and Rodgers’ The One-to-One Future.

Intellectually, I was hooked.

But, there was a moment a few years later when I was working at Snickelways and we had a client called Quantum Cycles (I’m still in touch with one of the clients from that assignment) and they instructed us to come down to Florida to observe Daytona Bike Week. They wanted us to understand the mentality of the customer to whom they were selling.

At one point, we entered a drugstore. Not a chain, kind of a five-and-dime variety.

As I walked the aisle, I found myself behind a man who fit every stereotype there was about a redneck/biker.

Dirty jeans, long, greasy hair, worn boots and a mesh baseball cap.

He also had a jean jacket where the sleeves had been cut off, showing his arms.

On his left and right triceps were tattooed-in kind of a gothic/old English style, the words “Harley” and “Davidson,” respectively.

I was mesmerized and I felt an emotional jolt that lit up the intellectual wood which had been gathering.

I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I don’t know what it is that motivates someone to tattoo the name of a company on their body, but that’s what I want to figure out.”

So, while the tangible goal might be to have someone so passionate about Sprinklr or Never Stop Marketing or whatever company, product, service I am marketing at the time, that they will tattoo it on their bodies, the real goal is to understand the human condition on such a deep level as to understand the Why.

It’s a long run and I’m not there yet, but that’s just how I seek to make sense of Life.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Social Limo, a Birthday Gift, and a Marketing Lesson

An unexpected text popped up on my phone on my birthday. download_20140310_200910

Jason Solomonson said “My brother Chad says that today is your birthday and that you are in Austin. He thinks we should meet.”

As you know, relationships are important to me.

The way I measure the value of the relationship is how often someone says “there’s someone you should meet.”

Even though Chad and I haven’t seen each other (or even chatted in a while), he did me the favor of making the recommendation to his brother.

I’m ALWAYS open to meeting new people. You NEVER know where good ideas come from.

The challenge in this particular case was: time was limited. I had a slate full of meetings and had to leave earlier than I would have liked for the airport because cabs were in such demand at SXSW that I knew it would be tough.

Then, as if the script had been written, Jason sends a pic of a limousine. (here’s the video)

“FYI… Brightline has @TheSXSWLimo limousine that we are sponsoring in case you have seen it.”

Lightning struck.

“Well, I do have to go to the airport at 4pm. Any chance a birthday present limo ride is in the cards?”

“Sure!!” he wrote.

BINGO. Problem solved.

Now, let me tell you why this is such smart marketing.

You see, at SXSW, cabs are at a premium, so ppl are in need of transportation.

So, the idea of renting a limo available for clients/prospects is a way that Brightline says “we care about you.”

It delivers value without asking anything in return. (Hear him in his own words.)

Naturally, when you are in the limo, you are going engage in conversation with the team and you will hear about the really (and I mean, REALLY) cool stuff that Brightline does.

It creates a talkable moment.

I took a video, pics and am blogging about it. Heck, I got a limo ride that made me feel special.

They relieved a huge concern of mine and made my afternoon stress-free. So, I am going to tell people about that. Why wouldn’t I?

Jason reached out, just wanting to connect because Chad made the recommendation. No agenda.

Then, he shared something that he thought was value.

Then, he delivered value.

Those three moments built Brightline from a company I’d never heard of to a brand that I am talking about as an advocate…in the span of 1 day.

If this is how they treat friends of their brother’s, imagine how they treat their clients!

Wouldn’t you want people thinking that about you?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why You Should Talk to Your Seatmates on a Plane

Had another inspiring talk on an airplane the other day.

It validated my approach.

I learned a ton about the aircraft leasing business from a guy who sells engines for a major manufacture.

So, why do I do it?

  1. Sure, I like the challenge of getting people to like me. It’s part of my WOO StrengthsFinder profile
  2. I like people…I like understanding what makes them tick
  3. But what I really love?
    When I learn about an entirely new field that I could have guessed existed, but never thought about…I feel enriched. And empowered, it provides the fertilizer for the creative part of my brain.

Sure, sometimes people don’t want to talk, no big deal, but if you ask questions and listen, usually you win.

You’ll get ideas that make your business and your life better. I can almost guarantee it.

It will make you a better marketer…and a better person.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Most Special Birthday Ever


I suppose what fathers want to know is that the lessons you are trying to instill in your kids have been received.

Today is my birthday (not looking for calls/congrats or anything), but as part of that, my kids really went all out in making the celebration special.

They got me gifts and made cards.

But what made this the most special birthday ever is that they not only wrote “Happy Birthday” on the cards, they covered the cards with things that they associate with me.

  1. A guy running—because exercise is important
  2. A computer and the word “Sprinklr” because a work ethic is important. In fact they wrote “Dedicated to Sprinklr”
  3. “Go Big or Go Home”
  4. “Leave it all on the field”
  5. “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy” (a hat tip to Miss Frizzle of Magic School Bus there)
  6. an American flag- for our patriotic pride
  7. an Israeli flag-because of our love for the Jewish people and homeland
  8. and, of course, the flag of Finland (reversed, but who cares) with their Finnish nicknames written on the flag. And which shows their sense of humor
  9. A football, basketball, baseball and soccer ball-probably because Paco likes that
  10. A dreidel with “Go Sprinklr” written on it…not sure of the connection
  11. and on the back, a math equation that said “41 is 1/2 of 82. I hope that doesn’t make you feel bad.”

and all done with beautiful artistry because, as I read on Facebook the other day, the Earth without art would just be “eh”

It was really emotional for me. I felt like some of my lessons were sinking in. That made me proud…and made this the best birthday ever.

Friday, March 07, 2014

When Your Son Throws You Under the Bus…

I picked up Paco from school the other day so he didn’t have to go to ballet with the two girls.

He came home, did some reading, hung out with me in my office and was generally fine.

The NFO had left instructions for dinner, which is normally served around 5.15.

At 5.45, I realized I hadn’t fed him and was headed upstairs to get him set up. I knew that if he was hungry, he would have just told me.

On the way home, I saw a text from the NFO, basically saying “hey, why hasn’t the boy been fed yet?”

I saw Paco and said, ‘hey bud, let me ask you. Did you tell Mom that I hadn’t given you dinner yet?”

“Yes,” he said.

“But were you hungry?” I asked.

“Not really.”

“So, is it that you just enjoy getting me in trouble?”

He smiled.