The New Economy: Selling to Customers Who Never Stay Still

In the last post for our Main Street URL series, we discussed the good ol’ days, when customers were as close as kin, and loyalty abounded on both sides.  Today we look at how customers have changed, reasons why you can still tap into that old time spirit, and some ways to do it. Shopping at Warp Speed: Today’s Customers The days of hanging out in front of the Main Street shop, sometimes for hours at a time, chatting it up with the storekeeper are gone.  While customers still crave shopping in physical locations (it’s not all online, yet), they want bigger, faster, and cheaper. Watch people in the mall.  They are often multi-tasking while shopping, trying to get it done as quick as possible, and moving from place to place.  In fact the only time we ever seem to slow down in the mall is the food court. Today’s customer is well informed.  They have likely done research on what they want to buy before they walk through your door.  Sellers are expected to be as knowledgeable as the most expert customer, yet so many wage earning clerks are not that initiated or engaged.  For business owners, this means either cultivating engaged sales people who are dedicated to the business or having a clear and easy training program to bring employees up to speed. Despite the speed at which they shop, customers still expect top notch customer service.  This means sales people who are not only knowledgeable, but friendly and helpful.  Perhaps it is an obvious point, but considering the megaphone customers now have to talk about a...

Giving It Away: Social Media and It’s a Wonderful Life

“MERRY CHRISTMAS MOVIE HOUSE!” Every year around Christmas time I watch the American classic It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.  Now, I know what you’re thinking: Mike, aren’t you Jewish?  Isn’t that a Christmas movie?  Okay, you’re right on both counts, still what makes this the timeless film it has become is the universal appeal of it’s theme, overcoming the darkest adversity because of faith and friends, and the fact that for a long time the darn thing was being aired on all local television stations for free. You see when the film debuted in 1946 it was considered a box office flop.  High production costs and stiff competition on the silver screen kept it from being truly successful, and then it failed to secure any of the five Oscars it had been nominated for.  Not much is written about the film’s history until 1974 when a clerical error by National Telefilm Associates prevented the film’s copyright from being renewed.  The film became a Christmas staple on hundreds of local television stations during the 1980’s most likely due to the copyright confusion and the debate that the film was now in the public domain, i.e., they didn’t have to pay anyone to air it.  I’m not going to get into the legal nuances of how in 1993 the new copyright holder relied on a 1990 Supreme Court ruling Stewert v. Abend to renew it’s copyright claim.  The point of this post is to illustrate how a clerical error made a Christmas classic, because a great film was being shown for free to lots and lots...