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Beyond the Horizon

SEPTEMBER 2019

Leaders:

Where to start?  There were SO many enewsletter worthy encounters and experiences in the last month.  See what you think?

I attended the LEAP Roundtable – always a top-flight, gratifying, educational and fun few days.  The bonus, of course, is reconnecting with several long “lost” friends and acquaintances and even making new one (s)!  See you next year?

If there was a recurring topic it had to be Consumer Revenue.

Perhaps my favorite related line came from the opening session (Thank you, Earl Wilkinson!):  “Be realistic about print, not nostalgic about it:  You need to become digitally sustainable before you become print unsustainable!”

An increased focus on consumer revenue logically leads to the most important metric I'm hoping eventually becomes commonplace in media – Lifetime Value!  I cannot think of anything more important if I sell ANY goods or services, can you?

The anecdotes from this month>

First of all, I just received my local newspaper renewal notice – the single transactional “touch” of every year.  What a complete, unmitigated CF. I could vent till my blood pressure rises, but chew on these lowlights:

  1.  Payment goes to Livonia, MI.  Huh?  I’ve been a newspaper partner for 35+ years, so I get a 3rd party processor, BUT – in an age where telemarketers call from “local” area codes all day long, don’t you think a newspaper would figure out how to receive payment locally?
  2.  According to the invoice, the Published Rate is $25 per week, yet my rate is only $8.10 and therefore save $16.90 weekly.  Here’s the head-scratcher – if I multiply the $8.10 X 52 weeks it does NOT equal the amount invoiced for the full year (even minus one day)?
  3.  There’s absolutely NO suggestion or mention of the vital role newspapers play supporting democracy.  AGAIN, this is the only time they communicate with me uniquely!  Shouldn’t this connection be leveraged more meaningfully?
  4.  Here’s what really grates – there’s no acknowledgment or THANK YOU for being a loyal print and digital subscriber for TEN years.  How easy would that be?

(BTW, do the math – TEN years at between $400 - $500 dollars; If I live to actuarial table estimates, this also mean my lifetime value will be $7,200 more!)

(BTW redux, this is merely a coincidence, but this renewal notice comes on the heels of the announcement the Saturday print edition will be eliminated.  Or, said differently, I’ll be getting even less value since there’s no price adjustment!)

I’ll stop right there with the hope that those who work for this company and who are on the Beyond the Horizon distribution list will actually read this and call/act/do what’s right for customers!  I do not have high hopes.

By contrast, let me introduce you to Puffer’s of Pismo Beach.

We went to this tiny wine bar/live entertainment venue for the first time a couple of weeks ago.  It lives, breathes and personifies an understanding of lifetime value.

Consider my immediate reactions>

  • No way there are more than 60 seats including an outdoor patio.
  • Since there is always live entertainment, the tables don’t “turn” each evening.  Puffer’s does not serve lunch.
  • The décor would very charitably be described as eclectic yet “slightly worn” might be more accurate.

However>

  • From Charlie Puffer, to the servers, to the chef and sous chef (yes, met ‘em all) everyone welcomed us like a long-lost family member.
  • It was clear most patrons were frequent visitors - waves and greetings were regularly exchanged.
  • The itsy-bitsy dance floor was perpetually mobbed with plenty of partner swapping all night long.
  • I bet Charlie checked on us a half dozen times.  All in addition to our server, Briana, taking excellent care of us.
  • We were thanked and invited to return as we departed.

There was no fancy hi-tech point-of-sale system to keep track of transactions and how that might translate into the lifetime value of a consumer; no, rather this was the in-the-flesh equivalent – an organization talking to customers, getting to know them, making sure they felt appreciated with the hope they’ll return.  Repeat. 

I assure you, We Will!

(And, by the way, it was killer local entertainment and the joint is open six nights a week!)

Which would you prefer?  My first or second experience?

Final critical point:  In both examples, leadership made a choice!  Either to treat customers with respect, decency and appreciation (even if coordinated by POS or CRM) with the anticipation and hope a meaningful and frequent “relationship” develops …  or NOT.

Choose Wisely.

 
 
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