Improving Efficiency & Not Angering Customers

a smart glass

Frequently when companies improve their efficiency they end up angering customers because they hurt the customer experience. Today’s blog comes from an experience I had this weekend with a small punch cup at a church function that showed me how a company improved efficiency and didn’t ruin my customer experience.

A big business lesson comes from this small cup:

a smart glass

The beautiful part about this cup is that I did not initially notice the change. I simply picked up the cup and filled it with lemonade, like I had done many times at church events. I only noticed this change after I finished the lemonade and was staring at the cup, wishing there was more lemonade!

Can you see the barely visible line around the halfway point of the cup? That line divides the construction of the cup: a strong upper portion  by which 99%* on customers pick up and hold the cup and a thinner bottom half to conserve plastic. The bottom portion is noticeably thinner but I most likely would not have noticed if I hadn’t lost focus on what was happening!

The company may have saved 1-5%* of the plastic from each cup but when you make millions of these cups every year that is a huge savings! The engineer whose idea this was deserves a raise!

This is a brilliant execution of an idea that has lead to things like extremely thin plastic bags at the grocery store that irritate everyone!

So the question is: how can you improve efficiency without compromising the customer experience?


*I made these estimates up.

Engaging employees with passion

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Local Factory works don’t have a lot of passion about the mission of their organization. At least according to a recent report from Gallop. This makes some sense. When in an organization in which you end up being a very small cog in a very very large machine its easy to lose sight of the overall mission. To compound that problem millennials care more about purpose then about their paycheck. Factory work might not be classified as fulfilling by some people due to the nature of products or the parts that they make.

I think we can extrapolate this out to even employees in most businesses. Maybe not to the same degree but the low level employees of small businesses probably don’t care a lot about that plate of food they are making or the widget they are selling beyond making sure they receive a paycheck. I would guess there is more concern then what might exist in a large factory situation but I think some of the same problems would still exist.

That article did show that a local mission, like a charity, can help engage employees. I think we can take this principle and start applying to local businesses as well. What if every local business took one or two charities on to be the charity they support. Run contests among the staff to raise funds, give employees time to volunteer at that charity, and have fundraisers with customers as well. These could be be a great thing to help employee engagement.

I have seen this effect in my life. When I worked in nonprofits, I would see the pride in the eyes of factory employees when I would come to a factory to pick up a check or large donation. How can you implement this in your business?


Making Health Insurance Marketing Fun

While pursuing Faceboook I began to see these great pictures with little captions on them. They caught my attention. These United Healthcare has been running a great campaign called #CodeoftheDay. Health Insurance ads are very rarely funny or entertaining. United Healthcare has found a way to overcome this by finding some of the best official medical codes and combining them with a funny picture.


This campaign allows them to add some humor to the serious business of health insurance. It also allows them to have a post for just about every holiday and national trend. I would think the combination of codes and pictures could almost lead to an unlimited supply of pictures to meet every need. I could see uses for things like: MLB’s Opening Day, Halloween, Election Day, and various other things that social media brings to our attention, (Like Llama Drama)


This campaign goes to show that you can make almost any subject matter light hearted if it meets your brand image. I think similarly you could look at the Farmers “University of Farmers” campaign, though it is not as funny. Humor is great to inject into your ads if it fits your brand. Restaurants and Insurance can pull it off. Funeral homes can maybe pull it off, but therapists and mental health facilities should probably pass on humor.


Here are a few examples of the UHC Campaign (you can see more on their twitter @myuhc): Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.37.28 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.37.42 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.38.00 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 10.38.27 AM



A Reckoning is Coming: Good Uses for Traditional Media

The post is a part of a series of blogs about traditional media’s data quality versus digital data.
Subscribe to my email list to make sure you see the other parts of this series.
You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. 

local marketing

In this last part of this series I want to talk about the benefits of local media. Depending on the size of your market, local media will be around for a while or forever. (If you come from a really small market you might lose your newspaper like my hometown just did.) But print media will be in decline in the coming years but TV seems to be on the upswing. Jackson recently launched another local network. But how can you leverage these local mediums to your advantage?

Local Media Works great if:

1. You only sell locally. If your product or service is used nationwide, local marketing might not be a great idea. If your product is national there will be lots of and lots of markets to focus on and unless you are large enough to hire a national ad firm this will be an exhausting process. Local products and services go well with local media because of the local audience. While online ads might be great for targeting people locally who are currently looking for your product and local media can increase brand awareness.

2. Offer a specific deal. As covered in the first post, we should look skeptically at the data that local media outlets give us. They have no good way of measuring the eyes and ears that take in their content. But think of ways you can measure the effect of an ad. Can you make a specific offer for each campaign. Maybe you can create a second URL for people to go to for the promotion? Maybe you can activate a second phone line for a particular ad campaign? There are different ways to try and measure the ads that you are sending out.

3. Position as an expert. Local newspaper and radio can be great ways to position yourself as an expert in the community. This is a soft sell tactic. Use their medium to broadcast free knowledge to the public to help them realize that you know what you are talking about. While not measurable it is a great marketing technique and I would bet more effective than regular ads(without a specific offer).

4. Have lots of money: If you have money to spend local advertisers can use as much of it as you want. One of the keys with local ads is repetition. Repetition takes time and money. If you are going to run a traditional campaign plan spend enough to make effective.


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