The Dissapearance of Marketing Genius: Lesson #3
Background: Marketing Genius (i.e., this blog) was taken down on July 13. For the ensuing eleven-day period, we lost control of the blog and our domain. During that time, an unknown party seized the blog and began running spoof ads containing links to SPAM proliferation sites, plus other nefarious, unauthorized junk. The episode was a weird, dark abyss. Thanks to the efforts of many of you (our friends, readers and supporters - the marketing genius community), the blog was returned to us on Thursday, July 24. The events associated with the loss and recovery of this blog contain lessons for all bloggers.
So - here is the second lesson: The Power of Human Action
This lesson is a simple one--but very, very important. From the point at which a human got involved in helping to remedy the situation, the whole mess was fixed in less than an hour. Google PR/Security rep Meghan Lamb sprung into action following an inquiry from a reporter. She called me at 2:00 on a Thursday afternoon ... and by 2:45 I had my blog back.
This flurry of activity, this intervention ... this one fine afternoon, followed 11 days of nothingness. Oh sure, I got an auto-reply e-mail from Google within seconds after I had filed my official online complaint. But I have to tell you, in our increasingly automated, online, self-service world (think Orbitz, Amazon and Peapod), there is nothing to replace a live human being.
Working through Blogger/Google's online service processes left me wondering and feeling worried.
Working with a Google human being, a real person, left me feeling confident, calm and satisfied.
A quick aside ... a war story, if you'll indulge me. I think it is relevant and illustrative. Back in my days working at the state economic development office, we once arranged a fast-track business registration for a Nebraska company opening up a new facility in West Virginia. (Now this was 1995, the early days of the Internet, so most of the requisite filings and registrations were still paperwork processes.) We assembled all of the representatives from every necessary agency and division in one big conference room. Tax department, workers comp, unemployment office, secretary of state, environmental permitting, just to name a few. We set the room up like a "county fair." The folks from Nebraska filled out one master form and wrote three checks. The seven state agency reps shared the information and filled out the forms for the customer. We completed it all in 41 minutes. Without human action, the normal processes would have taken at least five weeks, probably longer.
Here's your question for the day, marketing geniuses: do your business processes offer some degree of human interaction, or are they entirely automated? Are you touching your customers and prospects sufficiently with human interaction? Do you make it easy for your customers to engage with you?