This is a departure in my usual posts on digital media, advertising or the latest trends and analysis in media. I want to talk about business etiquette and the appalling lack of respect and courtesy in business. One of the things that I enjoy about business is the order and lack of vagueness. In the past couple of weeks I have been subjected to two egregious violations of this unspoken pact between businessmen and I feel compelled to discuss.
The Courtesy of a Reply
I am bombarded daily with requests for meetings. These requests come from emails, phone calls and even sometimes with cookie deliveries (I really appreciate the cookies). If a legitimate business is requesting my time I make a point to reply. It only takes a moment to clean out my inbox with a simple, “Thank you for reaching out, however I am satisfied with my current vendor and am unable to fit you in my schedule.” That helps the person emailing me move on to their next prospect. Something I’ll cover in section two of this diatribe.
Another example of providing a reply is when someone requests something of me. Of course, I’m going to reply. Not only could it be potential new business but if someone needs something from me to get their job completed it’s my responsibility to get it to them. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is different. In my most recent situation, we had an inbound email asking for a proposal for new business. It was marked “URGENT” from the sender. As we do with new business requests, I pulled team members off of their project to work up a quick proposal and get it back to the sender. As is our custom, we turned it around in record time. It was then that it became mind-boggling to me. No response. Over the course of the next 7 business days I emailed and phoned to ensure the sender had received our “URGENT” reply and to ask if they had any questions. We never received any acknowledgement, no “Thank you for your quick reply,” and no, “Sorry, you were completely wrong for our business.”
I am still shocked at how unprofessional and unbelievable it was of someone to ask me to drop everything and then not even give me the courtesy of a reply.
Here’s why this is important. Not only is it just business etiquette and professionalism, it’s courteous. Also, the business community is small and you never know when you’ll run into someone at a business function or worse yet need a job from them. We’re all adults, our business can withstand the sting of not getting your business, but to not even give us the courtesy of a reply to work we put together for you says that we dodged a bullet. We wouldn’t want to work with someone that doesn’t have basic communication skills or appreciates the work that people do for them.
Do you have a story about the courtesy of a reply? Tell us in the comments.
Look for Part 2: Knowing When To Stop coming soon.
Apple’s marketing and branding of the iOS “culture of exclusivity” and superiority over other technology has built a rabidly loyal brand following. It’s an envious position that ensures a demand for their product regardless of the actual quality. While this is great for consumer marketing it biases marketing folks. We sometimes call marketing folks that deny data and rely on their own opinions as fact as being a “focus group of one.”
Recent reports now tell us that smartphone penetration has surpassed the 50% threshold of market share and the Android platform now claims 51% of that market share compared to 34% for iOS. I am often forced to remind marketers and our brands of this data as they tend to want to develop apps for iOS only or talk only to iOS users.
As an android user myself I may be a little defensive here and I fully admit that. I’ve been in meetings where I pull out my gorgeous Samsung Galaxy S2 and had people look up from their iPhones as if I’m a poor illiterate fool for not having an iPhone. I remind them that they are succumbing to the very advertising they are creating and ask them to strive to be as good as Apple.
A good rule of thumb is to not watch TV News. It’s geared to the education level of a fourth grader and the tactic of scaring a viewer is their bread and butter. “What you’re having for dinner may kill your family…find out if you’re in danger tonight at 6!” I won’t use this to continue my rant on local TV news, but rest assured there’s one in me. My rant is based on the package in the morning news about retargeting advertisements on the internet. Shocker! Websites were delivering different content to users based on their browser, their geography and all sorts of secret private information the scary computer has on you!
What the article did not mention is that a.) all advertising targets an audience. Some, more successfully than others. Yes, radio, I’m talking to you. And, yes, direct mail, kudos to you! b.) there is no such expectation of privacy when you are visiting public websites and then, of course, c.) you can always opt out of everything.
But, I’d like to take a moment to discuss this fake outrage over retargeting and how people call it an invasion of privacy and creepy. Fact is, if it were not for advertising there would be no content for you to look at, read, or watch online. There would be no television to watch, no radio to listen to and no daily newspapers to read. There’d be no golf tournaments or concerts in the park, either. Advertising pays or subsidizes all of these things and without them we wouldn’t have them or we’d be paying for all of the cost of those things…and much more.
Nobody says advertising is not annoying sometimes or even intrusive.
Retargeting allows advertisers to spend their dollars more efficiently by reaching their target audience without having a lot of waste in their budget *cough* TV, print, radio *cough* and so as budgets shift from less effective targeting mediums there is bound to be rancor as lost revenues sink in. Hence, TV news packages on the boogeyman of internet retargeting!
It’s in our interest for advertising to work-not just because I’m speaking as an agency-but as a consumer of media and a consumer of products and services. When my favorite content gets advertising revenue they can produce more content and more quality content so I win. I pay for that content by watching their commercials or responding to advertising on their site. If the ad is relevant to me, all the better!
As an advertiser, it’s also important to know that retargeting advertising is not the end all be all for your budget and media plan. While it can be a good idea for some, it’s a terrible idea for others…or it simply won’t work. You have to have a big enough audience to target once, much less again. And, if you don’t put a frequency cap on your campaign you are going to annoy everyone with how many times they see your ad over and over. Now, that is not only creepy but amateurish and annoying.
The Charleston Digital Corridor presents a monthly seminar for their member companies and the business community in Charleston and we’re pleased to join Blue Acorn for the June event on Digital Marketing and eCommerce.
As the adoption rate of new technologies soars exponentially, consumers are offered a multitude of platforms to share and consume information. With such transformation in media consum
ption habits, new technology and market segmentation, companies should evaluate their marketing strategies in light of this evolution of consumer behavior. At the June Fridays @ the Corridor, Charlie Ray of Broad Street Interactive and Scott Buck of Blue Acorn will share some of the new trends in Digital Marketing, as well as what your company should be doing to stay relevant in the fast-paced world of digital marketing.
This one hour presentation, held at the Flagship on June 15, 2012, begins promptly at 8:30am. Parking is located at the Gaillard garage on Alexander Street. Please contact Amy Lawrence if interested in attending this event.
This interactive forum is meant to engage and inform Charleston’s knowledge-based community. Attendance is limited to 25 guests, with priority seating for Digital Corridor members. The non-member fee is $20.
Hope to see you there!
Interns are a vital part of the success for many students in the growth of their career. They are also a vital part of the success of many businesses. A mutually beneficial relationship is how we at Broad Street view our internship program. While our interns are not paid, we do provide a robust educational program in addition to work performed by interns. The New York Times featured a story on interns and it focused on several disgruntled interns that felt they were taken advantage of by an employer or forced to do menial tasks while they were interns. As an employer, I’d say there really are no menial tasks. As the CEO, I have crawled under desks to run power cords and hauled trash to the dumpster just as I’ve sat in meetings and conference calls to close huge deals. Both kept the company running. If I, as the CEO with 15 years experience as such, can still take out the trash why wouldn’t I expect an intern to do the same thing when asked?
I won’t jump on “this generation” as entitled, even though that was my first thought at the whining by these interns in the article, but I will say that if you join an unpaid internship and are not learning then maybe you are not paying attention or maybe you aren’t naturally curious and the job you seek isn’t right for you. The bottom line is an internship is what you make of it.
Almost all of my interns have gone on to get jobs in less than a week after the internship in the industry. That’s a fact I’m very proud of and even include it in my bio when I give speeches. I love our intern program and I love teaching the business to new graduates or students. We have so many candidates it’s a real struggle because we’d love to take on more. But, for them to have a good experience and get my time and have an opportunity to learn, we have to limit the number we accept.
I have had interns that were not “naturally curious” and were not a fit. I fire them. It’s tough to fire someone working for free, but we want to help those students and recent graduates in their career and when we don’t see that passion and understanding that everyone has to pay their dues we will cut them loose.
If employers are using interns to answer phones and go get lunch they are missing out. Fresh ideas come from those that are eager to learn and we embrace that in our interns. By the same token, it is up to the intern to make the most of their experience. Soak it up like a sponge. Listen, watch and learn. You can’t be expected to jump into a negotiation or pitch meeting or creative ideation meeting when you are so green. Experience takes time…hopefully you’ll get that from an internship program. If not…then leave the program and find an internship that fits you. My advice? Don’t complain about the company and the intern program to the New York Times. Talk about a career killer!
Good economy or bad, interns are valuable to an employer and valuable to a student. Many interns have spent years in a well respected university’s industry major program and come to our office without any real world knowledge of how business or our industry works. Interns are as old as time itself. Sitting at the feet of the masters is a wonderful way to learn.
Broad Street Interactive has its beginnings in the beautiful city of Charleston. In 2007, when we started our agency we knew right away choosing a name would not be hard to do…we wanted to honor our roots and the city our CEO, Charlie Ray, loves so much he never shuts up about the place. It was with sadness that we closed our Charleston office at the end of 2009 and our goal has been to return to the Holy City ever since. This summer we are excited to announce a tentative step back into the warm embrace of Charleston.
We are the newest members of the Charleston Digital Corridor and will office in their building beginning June 5. We are eager to join the great member companies and bring our experience in digital advertising to Charleston. These companies have specific needs that are addressed by the Digital Corridor, an initiative to attract, nurture and promote Charleston’s entrepreneurial community.
Don’t fret, Austin, we still love the Live Music Capital of the World and we’ll be here for a very long time.
Online video viewing has increased exponentially in the last year. People are spending more time watching online video, watching more videos and publishers are producing more content. As online advertisers embrace new content and more long-form video we often get questions about where is the right place to put pre-roll video and what type of video we should be placing online in the first place.
We have always said we have to move beyond cutting broadcast commercials down to :15 pre-rolls in order to truly get a powerful online campaign with video to work. We are starting to see creatives and agencies pitch online first for video and thinking about online video differently that broadcast video. This is good news for those of us in the digital space.
One of my favorite ways to build online video is branded original content. While there are many ways to do this online, including partnering with original content shows, this video produced by Funny Or Die in conjunction with the awareness campaign Everybodywalk.org is brilliant.
Our agency has discussed this very type of original content for some clients and I’m glad to see more of this type of content available. I think it’s a great way to stretch your advertising dollar and have video that’s going to live online for a longer time than a simple pre-roll campaign. Good show Everybodywalk.org! And, thanks for bringing back the characters of one of my favorite shows.