Would You Fly on an Airline Called “Derrie-Air”?

Derrieair

From the Responsible Marketing blog comes this story about a mythical airline called "Derrie-Air".  It seems that the two local Philladelphia newspapers, The Enquirer and The Daily News decided to do a test of their print and on-line advertising.  The ads ran in various sizes and in various sections of the two papers and on the Philly.com home page.

The results?  Well there was an outcry from some folks who felt the papers were being deceptive by running the ads with no disclaimers.  A careful reading of the ads should have alerted readers that there was something funny going on.  For example, "Derrie-Air"?  C’mon.  Who’d fly on an airline with a name like that?  Anyone saying  "Pick me up at the airport.  I’ll be flying Derrie-Air." would surely be the butt of a lot of jokes.

If the name didn’t raise a red flag the terms of their offer should have.  The theme of the ad was reducing carbon emissions.  "Derrie-Air, the world’s first carbon-neutral airline."  To achieve this lofty goal the fictional airline charges passengers by the pound of combined body weight and luggage."  To offset the airlines carbon emissions they plan to plant 128,000 sycamores in the Derrie Forest by 2010. 

The airline’s amenities include "private washrooms outfitted with porcelain fixtures and gilded faucets" and digital cable.

You can see the ad on the "airline’s" web site, http://www.flyderrie-air.com.  Be sure to read the story of the airline’s founder, Dick Derrie" who supposedly lives in Salamander, MO and is the state’s richest man.  His father lives in a castle that Dick had imported, block by block, from Scotland.  Supposedly Dick’s interest in the environment was triggered by his fear that his grandsons might not be able to hunt alligators on his marshy wetlands.  (Hint:  There’s not an alligator within 500 miles of Missouri, except for a few in zoos.)

So, how did the ad do?  The online version of the ad drew an extremely high 1.25% click-through rate compared to a national average click-through of 0.5%.  I guess no one wanted to be left behind.   There’s no way of knowing how many web site visitors were in on the joke and how many actually thought they were going to be able to fly to Dallas for $1.60/pound.  But it does show that creative advertising works.

Free Google Coupons

Google_map_logo
Back in August, 2006 we ran a post called Free Advertising.  It showed you how to take advantage of the free coupon utility on Google Maps.  To make a long story short, you can attach a coupon of your own design to your free Google Maps listing.  When a potential customer searches for a business the listing indicates that the business has a coupon.

Google_map_coupons_4_2

The service has been around almost two years and I’m surprised more merchants don’t take advantage of it.  Your customers are using Google maps.  You might as well get the most out of it that you can.  Check out the original article here and find out how to sign up.

Follow UP on hp Customer Service

Today I received an email from hp asking me to complete a survey on my customer service experience which I have answered, giving them high marks. Good service + Good follow up = Great customer service.

Credit Where Credit is Due

We often post here about poor customer service.  Heck, it’s so easy.  It’s a subject that could support the blog all by itself.  But in all fairness, it doesn’t hurt to point out some good service once-in-a-while.

For some strange reason, my brand-new HP printer recently decided to go into Mr. McGoo mode, printing everything in twice its normal size.  On the one hand, that might be good for my middle-aged eyes, but it’s not very efficient, paper-wise.

So I went through the multi-lingual owner’s manual, but couldn’t find an answer in French, Spanish, or English.  Next stop, HP’s web site.  That was no help either.  Finally I clicked the "email us" link on their site, expecting I might get an answer before the end of the month if I was lucky. 

Within five minutes I got the usual "Thanks for contacting us…." automated message promising that someone would be in touch.  Right! But lo and behold, I got an email from an actual human being in just another five minutes.  I followed his instructions with no results and emailed him back.  In just a couple of minutes I received another email telling me that the problem wasn’t with HP, but with my Firefox browser.

"Sure, pass the buck," I thought.  But when I checked the printer settings in Firefox, they had been changed to 200%.  One click and the problem was solved.

While I’m not normally a fan of automated customer service schemes, I have to hand it to HP.  This time they got the job done.

Since most well-run corporations scan the web daily to see who’s mentioning them, there’s a good chance someone from HP will read this.  So let me say, nice job, HP.  Keep up the good work.

The Economy that Wouldn’t Die

From the US Census Bureau:

"New orders for manufactured durable goods
in June increased $1.6 billion or 0.8 percent to $215.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today.  This was the second consecutive monthly increase and followed a 0.1 percent May increase.

"Shipments of manufactured durable goods
in June, up two of the last three months, increased $1.1 billion or 0.5 percent to $212.2 billion. This followed a 1.2 percent May decrease.

"Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods
in June, up twenty-eight of the last twenty-nine months, increased $7.2 billion or 0.9 percent to $817.6 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first stated on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 0.9 percent May increase."

Anyone who thinks that American business, or the American consumer for that matter, is going to roll over and die just because of high gas prices doesn’t know us very well, do they?

Small Business’ Top 10 Complaints

The National Federation of Independent Business recently polled 3,530 of their closest friends asking them to identify their biggest concerns.  Their top ten choices were:

  1. Cost of health insurance
  2. Cost of fuel
  3. Federal taxes on business income
  4. Property taxes
  5. Tax complexity
  6. Unreasonable government regulations
  7. State taxes on business income
  8. Cost of inventory and supplies
  9. Electric rates
  10. Workers’ compensation costs

There seems to be a pattern here.  Five of the top ten (highlighted) are directly related to the government.  You could make a good argument that the government is at least partially responsible for the other five as well.

We generally try to put a positive spin on everything here at MYOB so hopefully it will encourage you to know that everyone else worries about the same things that you do.

In case you missed it, the federal minimum wage increases to $6.55 per hour this week.  But since payroll expense isn’t one of your top ten concerns (according to the survey) and since you probably aren’t paying minimum wage anyway, it shouldn’t add to your worries.

So, What’s this “Twitter” I Keep Hearing About?

Twitter
If you haven’t used twitter, you might be surprised at how useful it can really be.  twitter is a so-called "micro blogging" site.  It’s "micro" because you’re limited to 140 characters per post (tweet).  It’s "blogging" because your tweets go only to those people who subscribe, or follow, you.  Likewise, you only see the tweets of the people you’ve decided to follow.   
Fail_whale

Twitter began as an internal service at Obvious, LLC in March, 2006.  In October, 2006 the service went public.  They now have over one and a half million twitterers.  This rapid expansion has been a strain on the system and there are occasional outages.  In fact, there are some on-line anti-twitter groups, but twitter promises that things will improve shortly.  They recently got an infusion of cash and acquired another company that gives them additional engineering expertise.

That’s all very interesting, Mr. Wizard, but what’s in it for me?  Why should I care what my friend across town is having for lunch?  There is some of that "I’m going to lunch now" going on.  I admit I’ve done it myself.  And, depending on who it is, it’s not always a bad thing.  A little personal information doesn’t hurt a relationship.

But the real value of twitter as a conversational marketing tool can probably be summed up in a post from David Mullen called "Five Ways Twitter Will Make You Smart."  I’ll give you the key points but you’ll have to go to David’s blog to get the details.  The comments about each point are mine.

1.  You get access to different points of views.

You can follow anyone who has a twitter account, anywhere in the world.  Some very smart, very successful people are twitterers.  Unless they’ve set up their feed as "invitation only" you can follow just about anyone.

2.  The people you follow point you to great resources you wouldn’t find otherwise.
I can’t tell you how true this one is.  Many people tweet just to share things they’ve found on the web.  A lot of what you read on this blog is the result of something I found on twitter.

3.  You can poll your followers.

All you have to do is ask a question and you’ll get opinions from a number of sources.

4.  You can learn what consumers are saying about your company or your client’s brand.

Using twitter’s search tool, I just searched "sewing machine" and found fifteen tweets in the last 24 hours.

5.  Twitter will make you a better writer.

Try saying something intelligent in 140 characters.  It’s not easy, but it’s a great way to practice brevity, something I can always use help with.  Twitterers seem to frown on text message short cuts.  "I see" is "I see", not "IC".  A regular twitter user learns to use words carefully.

Some people think twitter is a waste of time.  Not long ago I felt the same way.  But what I’ve found is that if you choose the folks you follow carefully it’s a great way to keep up with specific areas of knowledge, and it doesn’t take up a lot of time as some people suggest.  Tools like twhirl run in the background on your computer and only pop up when you have a tweet.  There are also twitter add-ons for your browser.

twitter isn’t for everybody and it might not be for you.  On the other hand, you might decide it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.  If that’s the case, it would be a shame if you didn’t try it.  You just might be surprised.