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The Dip

The real 80/20 rule

We’ve all heard variations on Pareto’s law. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. You get 80% of your media awareness from 20% of your buy. 80% of your grades come from 20% of the effort. Or, as Woody Allen would say, 80% of success is just showing up.

The Dip turns this thinking upside down. Since most organizations do the 20%, almost all the value you can create comes in the next 80% of the effort. Most organizations (and most people) settle for 20%, hit the Dip and move on to the next thing. A few people insist on devoting an unreasonable amount of effort into something. They cross the Dip and get rewarded handsomely for it.

A simple chart. Five companies do just enough, which is 20% effort. One overcommits and does the other 80%. Which would you choose? Who wouldn’t?

The Dip

Two (and a half) more Dip reviews

Here’s a brief interview with TheStreet.com. Small businesses are beginning to see the value of extraordinary specialization and significant overdelivery. Witness headblade.com.

And also, a harsh review in Ad Age. As Ray points out, the reviewers there didn’t get the book at all. That’s okay, it’s the risk I take with a book like this. Matt was disappointed that I didn’t outline the ‘answers.’ I think that’s awfully hard to do at a distance. But he underestimates how important it is to know what the questions are.

The Dip

Phoenix/Tempe, the morning of May 24

You can get registration info here.

And the original petition site is here.

Thanks! (One more left to formally announce).

Marketing time

Smart marketers already know that marketing is more than advertising. Here’s one tactic that might be overlooked: time.

Domino’s rode this for a while with 30 minute delivery. Fedex still does. But using time as part of your story can be a lot more subtle than that.

At a conference I recently attended, the group was 50 minutes behind schedule after only 2 hours of the program. For the speakers, the message was, "I’m important, as important as the last guy, so since he went over ten minutes, I will too." For the audience, the message was, "this is a conference about the guys on the stage, not about us."

When a doctor overbooks her schedule and it’s typical to wait ten or thirty minutes for an appointment, then the story is made really clear to the patient. Who’s more important? And doesn’t this marketing effort affect the way the patient and the doctor communicate?

A contractor that prides himself on finishing every single job on the day it’s due, regardless of what it takes, is telling a powerful story, doing marketing that’s actually cheaper and more effective than advertising ever could be.

Going too far

Sometimes, organizations tell a story that works. And then they overreach. They believe that they have the ability to expand the story, to move it beyond where their authenticity lies. It’s very tempting to do this, because the old story was so effective and people are giving you the benefit of the doubt. The challenge is, once your new story is discovered to be a fraud, your old story starts to be scrutinized even more closely, you no longer have goodwill or momentum and the whole thing falls apart.

I accidentally brought a grapefruit with me on my last trip to Florida. Tucked it into my carry on, didn’t eat it at the airport and forgot about it. A big grapefruit. A juicy one. No one questioned it.

Hmmm. I wonder what all that fuss about four ounces of hair gel is about.

The Dip

Now shipping: the abridged CD version

B&N jumped the gun, the abridged audio edition is just $5.00 on their site.

Magic Coincidental Tuesday

I was checking out the very neat Google History feature and discovered that I do far more searches on Tuesday. In fact, it looks like a graceful curve that peaks each week on Tuesdays.

Your brain looks for coincidences wherever it can find them. That’s how we make sense of things. Even though the chart seems to be clearly non-random, I can guarantee that there are no external factors at work here. It’s a coincidence. Short version: just because a graph looks good doesn’t mean it’s true.

Some people might like it

The best businesses are the ones where everyone benefits.

Robocalling is not one of these.

Robocalling is phone spam, protected by a loophole that allows politicians to evade the do not call list. Now, some states are trying to ban it, or at least make it less efficient by requiring a human operator to ask you if you want to hear the recorded vitriol before they play it for you.

Robert E. Kaiser, who runs a company that spams millions, doesn’t seem to get the whole idea of permission marketing. He’s quoted in the Times as saying that he should be allowed to continue this because, "You might not think there would be a segment of the public that would want the calls, but there probably is." Fortunately for those of us in need of more negative, anonymous phone harassment by computer (even though we’re on the do not call list), Robert is working late to ensure that we can
be sure we’ll get  our fill.

Media rule of thumb: if people wouldn’t miss your ads/content/noise if it went away, you should find something else to sell to advertisers. Not because it is ethically wrong to annoy people just because you can, but because in a world with a bazillion channels, people will just ignore you if they choose to.

When URLs are cheap

…a simple idea becomes worthy of its own domain: D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y.

If you had 10 or 100 or 1000 domains each leading to a single idea, would your web presence feel the same? Would it be better?

We don’t like you, go away

SubwaysignHey, I know that your last customer was a jerk. I know that you get asked the same stupid questions over and over. I know that people don’t appreciate you, they’re boors, they’re selfish, they’re in a hurry.

But, here’s the thing: I’m not those people. I’ve never been here before. I didn’t do anything wrong! Don’t blame me for them.

If you’re going to be in the service business, you need to accept that or you’re going to hate it and be lousy at it, both at the same time.

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