The End of an Era – SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy

If you fly, you’ve seen the SkyMall catalog in the seat-back pocket in front of you. It’s been a great business model, marketing to a captive audience that may have nothing better to do for hours than watch the in-flight entertainment and read the seat-pocket reading material.

Of course a lot has changed since SkyMall came into being a quarter-century ago. Catalogs are getting thinner, and though paper catalogs aren’t going away just yet, less are printed every year. Due in part to reduced mail volumes, the United States Postal Service is losing money, and is slowing service while raising rates. Continue reading The End of an Era – SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy

What You Can Learn from how Costco and Consumer Reports Deal With Quitters

I’ve been simplifying my life, which included a cancellation binge. I cancelled my Consumer Reports subscription, and allowed my Costco membership to lapse.

Deafening Silence

Costco logoI was puzzled that Costco never made any effort to find out why I was no longer a member, and never even acknowledged my departure as a customer. Their emails kept coming, and when I unsubscribed from those there was again a deafening silence.

My experience with Consumer Reports was completely the opposite. I unsubscribed online and was immediately surveyed as to why I was leaving, how they could do better, and whether I’d consider coming back. They even asked if I’d be interested in joining a focus group with fellow ex-subscribers.

Continue reading What You Can Learn from how Costco and Consumer Reports Deal With Quitters

Gone But Not Forgotten – The Lakewood Four, Five Years After

This morning as the sun was rising, snow was falling on the memorial commemorating where four Lakewood police officers were killed. The community still remembers that day that drew the community together, five years ago today.

Heart in the Snow

Heart in the snow at the Lakewood Police Officers Memorial outside Blue Steele coffee in Parkland, WAAn early snow is on the ground, and the wind-chill is in the mid-twenties, but business is unusually brisk at Blue Steele Coffee. People make a point of coming here to pay their respects on November 29, remembering that morning in 2009 when four officers paid the ultimate price.

Permanent memorials were dedicated one year later, here and at the Lakewood Police Department’s headquarters. The one outside the coffee shop was built on the corner where the original, makeshift memorial had grown.

Four Coffee Cups

Continue reading Gone But Not Forgotten – The Lakewood Four, Five Years After

3 Reasons Your Web Site Needs to be Mobile Friendly – and how Google is Forcing Your Hand

More and more people are using mobile devices to access the web. Why does that matter to you?

Your Customers Care

Increasing numbers of your customers use mobile devices, not only to look at information, but to buy things using those devices. For example, 37% of US iPhone Users are Buying via Mobile.

If your site isn’t friendly to mobile devices, your potential customers may go elsewhere. Even existing customers may be tempted by the web sites of your competitors.

Apps Can’t Do Everything

Your web site needs to work with mobile devices. Smaller companies, and those that don’t regularly interact with their customers online via their mobile devices, may not even have an app. People who want to find out more about the company or the products will still need to use your web site, so it had better work well with mobile.

Continue reading 3 Reasons Your Web Site Needs to be Mobile Friendly – and how Google is Forcing Your Hand

How Far Would Your Fans Travel to Meet With You?

Anticipation

Before the show, fans were lined-up in the lobby, waiting to trade their tickets for wrist bands. Some fans hoped to snag some of the freebies on the tables outside the exhibit hall.

James Holliday, "Seattle's Captain America"
James Holliday, “Seattle’s Captain America”

The Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show recognized they share an audience with this show and had one of the many tables in the lobby near the registration table. (The very narrow product focus of one of their sponsors, PinballBulbs, caught my attention last year.)

At opening time, when the clock struck 10, the show was still waking up. The check-in line had become blessedly short, some of the vendors were still stocking their racks, and some of the artists hadn’t yet arrived. “Artist Alley” saw the artists (“comic guests“) chatting with the early-arrivers, and some of the media guests didn’t even have lines yet.

The Fans Come Out

Continue reading How Far Would Your Fans Travel to Meet With You?

Find a Need and Fill It

I enjoyed reading about the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show, and not just a because of my interest in retro technology. Logo for PinBallBulbs, offering light bulbs for pinball machines at http://www.pinballbulbs.com/I was particularly intrigued by a company listed in the Show Sponsors section. When I saw the logo for PinballBulbs, the lightbulb above my own head lit-up. I was reminded of the rallying cry for sales and marketing people to Find a need and fill it.

Seriously? A company that exists to sell lightbulbs for pinball machines? A bit of investigation confirmed that they specialize in lights and lighting upgrades for pinball machines!

Sharing What You Know

Light bulbs for pinball machines? That’s an awfully narrow niche, but apparently there’s a need for them. I suspect the proprietors didn’t start with a brainstorming session and end up with an inspiration to sell a very specific product into a very specialized market. They were probably already involved with pinball machines and saw the need to replace or upgrade the many light bulbs they contain.

Continue reading Find a Need and Fill It

Always asking "What are you trying to accomplish?"