Cross-Selling Works

chinesebuffetlineI was sitting in a locally owned fast food restaurant earlier this month and had the occasion to watch the counter-person at work. As each customer gave her their order, she would repeat it and then when they were finished, she would ask if that was all. Each person said yes. She then proceeded to recommend something else to them (and for each person it was different). 80% of the people said yes to her offer increasing the sale by 10%-30%, with one “add-on” actually exceeding the original order.

Cross-selling works, especially if you apply brain power to the cross-selling offer. As I watched this likely minimum wage worker successfully add-on to each order, I thought how easy it would be to pay her more based on her value to the store from her cross-selling. Many of today’s minimum wage workers are front line people who could potentially add a lot of value to their company. How is it not a win-win to compensate them to do that?

And for the rest of us, let’s remember, smart cross-selling (and even not so smart) works.


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Simple Solutions To Complex Problems

southwestoverheadmirrorAs regular readers know, I criticize the airlines a lot, and for good reason. And occasionally they do something really good, and I have to give them kudos. This one is from Southwest Airlines, and it was simple and cool.

For those who don’t know me, I am vertically challenged (that is a PC way of saying I am short). This is actually a benefit when flying in most ways, especially when it comes to leg room. However, it makes it very difficult to see into the overhead bins. Countless times I have stood on the seat to look into the bin to make sure I didn’t leave anything.

Turns out lots of people have that problem. And Southwest has addressed it.

They have placed a mirror on the top of the overhead bin on some of their newer -800 jets. (See the picture). This mirror allows us shorter folks to see inside the bin to make sure we didn’t leave anything. Kudos to you Southwest.


Posted in airlines, competitive advantage, customer satisfaction, Innovation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Problem With Process Management

goldilocksWhen we first talk with people about applying process management, they often think rigid processes or bureaucracy. People also can show countless examples of process gone wrong. My friend Allan Hauge, Vistage Chair in St. Louis, tipped me off to this article, which includes a stunningly great example of process gone wrong from a CEO who is a process fanatic.

In the article the CEO notes the biggest PR fail he has ever seen (and I would agree) caused by rigid adherence to a process. Every process is perfectly constructed to produce the results it does and that one was no exception.

To really be good at process management and the effective usage of process to accelerate the value of your business, you must realize that all processes must have some degree of flexibility built in because the world is a frenetic place. However, if you put too much flexibility into a process it will be unnecessarily expensive to run because the humans or equipment required to run it will be overly expensive. Like buying a precision cutting machine to make cuts that can be plus or minus 1/2″ with no loss of performance. Or hiring a PhD as your barista and paying him/her a PhD salary.

Conversely, allowing too little flexibility in your process results in the epic PR fail described in the article. However, the CEO notes how, in his own company, he either invested in flexibility or got lucky based on the story he tells about his own company.

Bottom line is that process management and process driven companies work better and gain a competitive advantage. If the processes used are designed with the Goldilocks amount of flexibility: not too much and not too little, but “just right.” Not easy, but then who ever said management was easy.



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Who Is Responsible For Customer Intimacy?

customerretentionTrick question you say: Everyone in the company. Well maybe, but who is the driver responsible for making sure it happens. One can answer the CEO because he/she sets the tone and culture for the company as a whole. Ok, I’ll buy that.

I was belatedly looking at an article entitled The Role of the Mid-Market CEO in Customer Intimacy from last December, and went off the rails at much of its content. Given that it was published by Chief Executive, I was even more surprised at how wrong the article was in so many ways.

The author starts by asking if Marketing should be responsible for it (customer intimacy) and then remarks that since “… Marketing’s main focus is generating demand” he wonders if they (Marketing) “… have time and talent to get close to customers.”

Seriously? Are you nuts? (Ok I should not insult people I do not know, but come on Marketing not have the time to get close to customers?) Even if you buy into his completely wrong, and limited definition of Marketing, how could they do even that job effectively if they did not understand customers?

He notes that other functions interact with customers as well, but they cannot drive customer intimacy. Thus he concludes “Only the CEO can bring about a unified view of the customer. Therefore, the CEO must serve as the advocate to make sure ongoing company-wide customer intimacy efforts.” Well he is right … for the wrong reason.

In a mid-size company the CEO is the defacto Chief Marketing Officer, where Marketing is not simply defined as a lead gen or marketing communications function. (For more about our views on the true role of Marketing in business, read our book, peruse this blog, or visit our website.) Therefore the CEO as CMO is responsible for customer intimacy because truly it is part of Marketing.


Posted in customer loyalty | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Lean Marketing

I first posted about this back in 2009. Unfortunately it is only getting worse. As with many useful approaches, terms are co-opted by others and “basterdized.” This is what has happened to the term Lean Marketing.

As I noted before, Lean is “…about removing waste from a process, or eliminating wasteful processes all together.” This is true of Lean Marketing as well. Too many people with an agenda to sell you want you to believe that Lean is about doing things with a small budget. Well wasting a small budget is still waste. The size of your budget is not what makes you Lean. It is the approach to your thinking.

Again I say, “Less is not Lean, it is just less.”


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Super Bowl 2015 Commentary

SuperBowl2015As I do each year, along with countless others, here’s my thinking on this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads. (I already posted on the two puppy ads.)

There were lots of good ads this year as each year, so I’ll focus on the few that stood out for me, for various reasons.

The ad I thought was best over all was the Bud Brewed Hard Ad. It was well done, and delivered its message effectively, and right in the face of its craft-brewed competitors.

I thought both of the Doritos ads were fun and not as tasteless or juvenile as some have been previously.

People have been making a big deal about McDonald’s ad and the pay for it with love approach. The ad was well done, the campaign has appeal, but will they deliver? If this campaign does not affect a significant number of people, it may just backfire.

And the two “what were they thinking” ads go to Bud Light and their PacMan ad (especially given it was 1:30 in length) and Square Space and their “I have no idea what they were talking about” ad.

What say you?


Posted in Advertising, Super Bowl Ads | Tagged | 1 Comment

Was the Go Daddy Puppy Ad A Clever PR Tactic?

whitelabpuppyNow that Go Daddy has pulled their puppy ad from the Super Bowl and You Tube, experts are opining as to the mistake or brilliance of the ad. I will not equivocate: It will go down as a major blunder, and the only thing that will keep it from being in the annals of Super Bowl Ad mistakes top 10 is that it will not appear on the Super Bowl.

Thanks to today’s ad preview season, they got feedback before they ran this idiotic mistake of an ad. (Ok so you know where I stand.) And if it was a PR stunt as a back-up plan, that will backfire too.

Why do I feel this way since Go Daddy has run tasteless ads historically? Simple, this is not a tasteless ad. It is about animal cruelty. That is not funny to most people and is beyond distasteful to many. While their racy ads may not have been tasteful and may have offended a few, they were memorable and built brand identity for them as a “different” web company.

This puppy ad upsets many people and pisses a lot of them off to the point where they have added Go Daddy to their “do not do business with them list.” While this may not result in the same disaster that happened to Just For Feet in 1999, it could have been right up there with it.

The front page of yesterday’s USA Today has a quote from a self-proclaimed PR expert that Go Daddy has “… long relied on the shock value of racy Super Bowl Ads.” And she says, “This is really no different.” She is wrong. Selling puppies via puppy mills is abuse and most dog owners know it and many are appalled by it.

Unfortunately, I am not sure the CEO of Go Daddy gets it either. His response was that they underestimated the emotional response on social media. It’s not about social media. It’s about making light of animal abuse. And I suspect you are going to learn how much of an impact.

Meanwhile, Bud continues to show how to do a puppy ad for the Super Bowl right.


Posted in Advertising, Super Bowl Ads | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment