Archive of ‘trust’ category

Reducing the mental weight of purchase decisions

There is a mental cost to making purchase decisions and having to process options can take its toll, especially when contending with a field that isn’t familiar.

Source http://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/should-i-buy-my-kid-a-cell-phone-a-flowchart

Complex buying considerations. Source cbc.ca

A higher cost purchase can be a factor but the mental energy involved doesn’t necessarily line up with the dollars involved. Consider a few especially tricky decisions and some easy ones, at all different costs.

Weighty decisions
Buying a new car $$$$
Selecting a new phone and plan $$
Hiring a contractor to work on your house $$$
Picking a gift for a new girlfriend $

Easy choices
Vacation souvenirs $$
Specialized products with a clear leader (e.g. WeatherTech car floor liners) $-$$$
Renewing existing services like insurance $$ (Conversely, selecting a new provider can be very taxing.)
Favorite dishes at known restaurants $

Certain purchases can feel like an ordeal. For brands in e-Commerce, the goal is to remove as much of the mental labor required to make a purchase decision. Some of the things that exasperate users and contribute to mental weight include:

  • Opaque costs and terms – it’s mentally taxing to try and figure out where the catches are and how we might be getting taken advantage of.
  • Unfamiliar settings – making decisions in a new city or in an industry new to you can leave you feeling disadvantaged.
  • Convoluted options and dependencies – if it’s too difficult to consider various scenarios, the customer starts to feel overwhelmed.
  • Visibility – if your purchase choice is very public there’s added pressure to get it right.
  • Incomplete information – it’s tougher to make a confident decision with unknowns in play.
  • Unclear product lineup – sorting through tiers of service, model generations and variations can be tough if the differences aren’t well communicated.

Mapping user personas and customer journeys can help to illustrate the state of mind of those who might be considering a specific product or service. Consider how hard they need to work at making a buying choice and how you can reduce some of the mental energy required.

And there are new business opportunities for companies that find a way to make high dollar purchases with difficult purchase processes more enjoyable.

Messaging for mental filing systems

In our culture we all face an onslaught of demands for our attention. As a coping mechanism, we all have ways of sorting information whether it’s a formal system or not. Marketing that offers context for how a message should be filed stands a better chance at landing in the right spot for recall and action later on.

It’s rare when our messages arrive at exactly the right time so plan on being filed along the way.

filing cabinet

Here are a few examples of organization tools and how a message can be crafted to address them.

Context: calendar date

This is probably the most universal way of managing time and priority. If your offer can be linked to a date, shoot for something not more than 10 days out. Beyond that you risk falling out of the near term mindset most people live in. Failing that, link your date to a holiday or the beginning or end of the month or year to boost recall. “If you are thinking about getting in shape, stop in to our gym before the end of this month to get a free tour and we’ll waive the membership fee.”

Context: sequential order

If you can put your message within a link of events, you stand a great chance at being associated with the desired outcome. “Before you go on your next family road trip, make sure you check your tire treads to make sure you’re safe. We offer free tire inspections at all locations…”

Context: long term importance

We all struggle with balancing short and long term goals. And it’s easy to feel guilty and discouraged when we realize that some of those goals are behind or off track. If you can connect the dots between what you’re offering and making progress on important goals, you are not likely to be brushed aside. “For those looking to learn photography, we offer a free 15 minute introduction video for absolute beginners.”

Context: future conversations

There are conversations that we’re all likely to have whether they’re with our spouses and family or annual visits to the doctor or conversations with our coworkers. Plant the seed that says ‘don’t forget to mention such and such to so and so’, and your message can be connected to that next interaction. “Ask about sonic toothbrush technology at your next dentist cleaning.”

Organization prompts

Boost recall further by offering specific tools to file information. “Pin these recipes for your upcoming Superbowl party” or “print a checklist for packing for Disney World” or “take this sticker to remind you of your next oil change,” etc.

Offer a TL:DR summary at the top of the post or content piece to help people judge where and how they can save the info for later.

Business are all competing to gain attention in a busy world and consumers are fending off information overload through mental filing. Crafting messages with that filing in mind can help cut through the noise long term.

Types of Pins for Content Marketing on Pinterest

9-content-pins

There are so many ways for brands to use Pinterest, I thought I would put together a summary of pin types and what they’re good for.

#1 Title Pin

Title pins represent content that’s hosted elsewhere. Good ones use eye catching visuals and text that’s readable in its thumbnail form. These pins aim to pass users from pinterest.com to the destination site.



#2 Long Form

These pins are self contained and offer all of the content in the image. Using these pins encourages repins and can gain the brand more followers.



#3 Excerpt

It might be a single image that represents a larger gallery, or one tip from a list of ten. This hybrid type offers some of the content directly in the Pin, while promising more if the user clicks through to the site.



#4 Sale Pin

Announcing a sale can directly affect business, but these pins are much less likely to get passed along. The pins also easily become outdated.



#5 Brand

For brands that have a loyal following, your fans may simply want a pin that represents your business to show the world who they love.



#6 Product Category

Best for brands within niche solutions or for market leaders within their category, these pins present the features of a product without naming the company at all.



#7 Product

Product pins are the most natural way for Pinterest users to interact with brands. Verify your business and use rich pin meta data for the best effect.



#8 Badge

Some pins are all about self expression. Users pin these to tell the world what they’re all about. Design a great badge pin that represents your industry and grow your brand.



#9 Results Pin

These images sell your products by showing the net result. The pin can link to your tutorial for more details on how to achieve the result, or can reference your product in the pin description.


Choose your strategy and get to pinning!

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Persuasion Case Study: Peter’s Speech at Pentecost

It’s always fun to look at examples of successful campaigns and to learn from great persuaders.  With Easter behind us a few days I thought we could look at one of the most successful speeches of all time: Peter’s address at Pentecost.  He transformed the lives of thousands of people with one speech, amid extremely adverse conditions.  Let’s take a look at how it happened.



First, a little background on the environment where this event took place.  After Jesus was crucified, he rose and appeared to hundreds of people over at least a few weeks time.  But the large majority of the population thought of Jesus as simply a wise teacher and a failed Messiah.  They were probably aware of rumors of his ressurection but there was no real support of Christ as savior and there was certainly no ‘Christianity’ as a religion. In fact, Jesus himself instructed his followers to await the Holy Spirit before setting out to evangelize.


During the Feast of Weeks, Jews from dozens of countries gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the harvest.  It was during this time that the apostles received the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues to the crowds.  The audience was amazed that they were hear the message in their own language.  But rather than embracing this phenomenon as proof of the Lord’s involvement, they were confused and skeptical.  Some were openly adverse to what was happening, heckling the speakers and accusing them of being drunk.  It was in this environment that Peter delivered his presentation.

Acts 2:14-36
But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—  this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,  he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.  Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.’

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Entering a chaotic situation, Peter took charge by quickly connecting to the audience, establishing an authority and by challenging them with an extremely confrontational style.  By laying into his audience he ultimately won them over.


1. Finding common ground

Peter starts off by addressing his crowd as Jews, both native and foreign.  Then he goes on to refer to Joel and David’s writings, both Jewish prophets that the audience would be well aware of.  In a sense he’s getting the crowd around to his side by saying ‘we’re all Jews here, let’s talk plainly.”


2. Appealing to authority
The first task for a persuasive speaker is to establish why the audience should care.  Appealing to authority, what Aristotle called out as ethos, is a classic mode of persuasion.  But since Peter lacked the recognition he needed to stand on his own credentials, he held up Jewish authorities of the past and the audience’s own experiences.  He quotes passages that concern the last days, judgement and God’s promise to send a Messiah. These are topics that men not were not only aware of but anticipated intently.  He then connects those familiar passages with current events.  The men in that generation were witnesses to Jesus’s life and ministry.  Peter is saying ‘don’t take my word for it, listen to Joel and David.  And if that’s not enough, just think about what you’ve seen with your own eyes!’


3. Issuing a challenge

Rather than laying out a logical path for them to follow or presenting facts and letting the audience draw their own conclusions, Peter hits them over the head with their failure.  The most difficult part of creating change is pushing through simple agreement, where the audience is smiling and nodding in their seats, but won’t wind up actually doing anything.  Peter pulled it off by essentially calling his audience out.  ‘The miracles and wonders that surrounded Jesus’s ministry should have made it plain that he was sent by God.  But instead of receiving that gift, you put him to death.’  That kind of accusation would make indifference impossible.


The result of Peter’s arguments were just what he needed to create change.  The audience recognized the problem and were ashamed enough to be open to a new direction.  The last thing he had to do was to offer a tangible action that they could take right then.  This part is not as tough as all the convincing, but it’s critical to sealing the deal.  Peter is ready when they ask ‘what must we do?’  He tells them simply ‘repent and be baptized’ and ‘receive the Holy Spirit.’  He also offers the help and support they need to take that action.  With such a simple way to get started, the audience responds in a big way.


Acts 2:37 says when they heard this, they were cut to the heart. I love that line.  According to Luke’s account, over 3,000 men went from being confused skeptics that doubted Jesus’s ministry to committed believers willing to stick their necks out in front of their families and culture to follow Christ.  It’s an amazing turnaround.  


The other part of that process that I’ve left out, but that can’t be overstated, is the work of the Holy Spirit in working on hearts.  No doubt Peter’s words alone would not have had the same effect.  Being obedient to the Spirit’s leading, Peter was used in a dramatic way on Pentecost and provided a great blueprint for using persuasive rhetoric in a positive way: connect with the audience, establish why they should listen, make action urgent and have a simple way to get started.



Exploring the top of the funnel for untapped leads

When it’s your job to decide how to spend marketing dollars and your budget is not unlimited, options that are easily trackable to revenue tend to win out. That’s easy to understand; it feels safer to choose channels that you can prove were effective, or that at least didn’t lose any money.

When you can show that A caused B, the picture is simple and simple feels good. That’s one of the reasons why Google spends so much on reporting tools for its cash cow self-service ad platform. They want you to see the connection to revenue and feel content with your ad spend. It works too – Google pulled in nearly $10 billion last quarter.

Simple methods for lead acquisition are great, especially for products with a short sales cycle, but they’re not the whole picture. Just because an effort is not easily tracked doesn’t mean it can’t be extremely effective.

When attempting to break through the noise into a consumer’s consciousness, the deck is stacked against brands. Because of the onslaught of messages that we all get pounded with every day, defenses are up. Simply asking for a sale is not enough.

Long term efforts around awareness offer a way. They have gotten a bad name lately because they don’t always show up well on a dashboard. But planting seeds of recognition early in a buying process can get around ad-blindness and deliver big returns. It’s well known that word of mouth is the most persuasive form of endorsement and trust is usually credited as the reason why. And while it’s trust that enables a Five Guys fan to make an effective lunch recommendation to a coworker, one of the reasons why he’ll go along with it is this:

He doesn’t feel that he’s being sold anything.

Persuasion is most effective when it’s invisible. The marketer’s goal should be to arrive two steps before the discussion of products starts, shaping their methods for evaluation and scoring points before the overt game even starts. If done well, the audience draws their own conclusion based on subtle hints whose influence they weren’t even aware of.

As a bonus, many brands don’t have the resources or the guts to market this way, preferring to stick to methods that deliver a tidy ROI number within a short time span. The competition will be much lighter here. Plus, if you are fortunate enough to register a message within the brain of your target customer weeks or months before she needs to consider a purchase, you will benefit from the positive connotations of recognition when the memory pops back up in her mind.


Like the Bene Gesserit, your generous, friendly content will be subtly influencing under the surface. It doesn’t have to be as sneaky or manipulative either. One example from my kitchen happened at dinner the other day. My wife brought out a new marinade from Frontera Grill for our fajitas. When I saw his picture on the bottle, my mind jumped back to years before when I had seen some of Rick Bayless’s cooking shows on PBS. I never really loved that show in the first place but part of me was proud that I connected the dots and I was able to throw out a few things that I remembered from the show in conversation while we made dinner. The marinade’s quality bumped up a couple of notches before we even sat down to dinner and I would be more inclined to buy it again in the future.

Longer term campaigns are especially useful when:

  • There is a long time delay between purchases
  • It’s difficult to select a product without technical knowledge
  • Purchases aren’t planned ahead of time but are urgent (e.g. furnace repair)
  • There’s little to differentiate between products based on features

I’m all for accountability and love to eliminate efforts that aren’t defendable. Buzz building awareness campaigns have been derided lately for being fluffy and often for good reason. But to ignore long term messaging for lack of reporting is to miss out on a proven method of influence, even if it is a little harder to recognize.

Non-verbal communication as social proof

I recently attended the Exact Target’s Connections 2011 event, a user conference on interactive marketing. One of the takeaways from their education sessions came from the speakers – although they weren’t speaking at all.
Social proof is a tried and true tool of persuasion. We know that consumers are much more likely to listen to what their peers think than to be swayed by messages coming from brands. That is the reason why customer testimonials and product reviews are so effective for websites looking to make a sale of some kind.
Besides the overt types of social proof we see online, there are plenty of ways to convey how you feel about a company in a more subtle way. It’s been said that over half of communication is delivered non-verbally through body language. That’s unfortunate for some of the speakers I witnessed trying to present at the show.
Many of the sessions I was in featured a panel, with each speaker taking a turn at the podium while the others waited. Take a look at the view from the audience.
The poor speaker (who is out of the frame here) is trying to make a point that he thinks is important while sharing the floor with these guys.
They even work for the same company! They are basically telling the room full of people listening “don’t bother tuning in at this point, there’s nothing exciting here. You might as well check your phone for new email.”
This wasn’t the only session either. I wish I would have snapped a picture of the first class of the day when the panel was still waking up. They were literally yawning on stage, totally undercutting the presenter.
The panels weren’t all this way. Contrast the scene above with this one taken a little later in the day. (Sorry for the phone picture but it’s hard to snap a photo when the speakers are actually alert.)
These panelists are actually giving their speaker some eye contact and following along. Much more respectful and helpful to the audience too.
Just an observation that little signals can communicate a lot to the audience, either online or offline. And a note to self – next time I’m speaking on a panel I’ll have to remember to buy some coffees for the group on stage!

Ramp Up Anticipation For a Better Unboxing

We talked a while back about how the moment the customer opens their shipment is the climax of the customer experience and the ultimate single make or break point for brand delivery. By that time, the results are beyond our control as marketers. Once the product leaves the warehouse, the die is cast.
Before we get to that point though, we do have chances to influence the final impression. It’s our job to tip the scales in our favor as much as we can. To do that, we must build anticipation for the solution that our customer is waiting for until they can’t wait to tear open the package when it finally does arrive.
The only real caution here is to avoid setting expectations beyond what your product or service can deliver. The product has to come first and I’m assuming that we’ve already got something that does its job. And it’s always wise to save a few surprises for the very end. In the meantime though, there are plenty of ways to whet the appetite.

  • Make estimated delivery updates available at each phase of completion
  • Offer a photo or PDF of your customer’s custom product before it’s boxed up and email it
  • Display happy testimonials on your order confirmation emails
  • Send an email with tips and suggestions on how to use their product in the days before it arrives
  • Mail a handwritten thank you note on the purchase date or email a short comment that is unique to them

I’m sure you can think up many others. These are not cheap marketing tricks though. Anticipation is part of the customer experience. And it’s an opportunity for us to increase customer satisfaction because people want it.
The process surrounding a product is part of the product. Once you’ve created a pleasant expectation in your customer’s mind, they’re very likely to have a positive ultimate experience (unless you completely botch the job.) Think of how good a bakery smells in the morning. Once you’ve got idea of a warm, tasty bagel in your mind, and spend 5 minutes waiting to get a fresh one, chances are you’re going to be happy when you get it.
Most of the time the reason behind this dynamic of persuasion is cognitive dissonance – people don’t want to disagree with themselves. When you buy shoes online, you’re placing your trust in that shoe retailer. You’ve paid your money and, in a sense, placed a bet that you’ve picked out the right company. You want your decision to be affirmed as a good one and will tend to lean toward that conclusion when the shoes arrive.
One of the old sales tricks that salespeople employ is to get the prospect saying yes, even if it’s not directly related to a sale. Once they start saying yes to the small things, they’ll be more likely to keep saying yes. In our case, they’ve already said yes to the big question; they’ve made a purchase. We’re trying to keep the momentum going past the sale and into the product unboxing.
By maintaining contact with customer pre-delivery, you’re making that pull toward a happy conclusion a little stronger. In various ways, you’re telling them ‘you made a good decision, you’re going to be happy when your product arrives, you are a smart shopper…’
Once the customers internalize those messages, they’ll start repeating them to themselves and others, expanding your branding statements even further.What are some ways that you can create positive anticipation that can add to your customer’s experience?
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Tim Ash’s Presentation on Trust Unravels Before Our Eyes

Velaro and Site Tuners scheduled a webinar yesterday titled Improving Online Conversions By Building Trust and Personalizing Messages. Tim Ash was supposed to present but unfortunately the event was grounded because of technical issues and they wound up canceling the webinar.

There was a chat client within the presentation viewer and it didn’t take long for audience members to start cracking jokes. Watch as the audience turns on the presenters – here’s the chat transcript as it happened.

Monica T: Good evening
Matt S: hello!
Glenn M: or good morning depending on where you are calling in from.
Bob H: hello
Sam H: hello
Monika S: Hello
Chris R: Hi from Calif
danna c: hello from Dallas
Jim R: Hello from Texas
Bas S: Netherlands
Y A: Hello from TN
Tom C: Los Angeles
Glenn M: SF Bay Area
Mark J: Hi from Las Vegas
Steve W: Hello from PA
Monika S: San Diego
LIndsey K: Oakland, CA
Chris W: hello from Utah
Bridget S: Hello from Minneapolis
Per H: hello from stockholm
Justin M: Hi from San Diego
flo b: hu from montreal
Michelle K: Panama City, Panama
Solon C: Hello from Irvine, CA
Bob K: Hello from Atlanta
rowe m: Santa Monica
Renee B: Hello from Wisconsin
Matt A: Hello from Optimizely in San Francisco!
Richard A: Richard Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Mike C: Hi from the moon
M A: Hello from Roseville, CA.
Wendy H: hello from Brentwood, TN
Gerald B: Hello from Irving, TX
Glenn M: Hey Matt Atlhauser. We love Optimizely.
tal h: hi from Silicon valley, CA (san mateo)
Matt A: Thanks Glenn!
Bob H: I do not see a picture. has this started yet?
James K: helloo from Chicagoland!
David N: Unable to select Connect for internet audio
M A: I keep being invited to choose a different audio device even though I can hear the elevator music.
ROBERTO A: Hello to everyone from Italy!
Wayne A: Helooo from Philly!
Cindy T: Hello from sunny San Diego!
Nell K: Hello all!
Glenn M: @Matt – Tell Dan Prosper says hi.
Joshua L: Hell from USA
Michelle K: The system keeps telling me my passcode is invalid.
Nicole v: Hi form Holland!
Morgan S: Hello from very hot Atlanta.
Alex K: HI from Canada
Bas S: hi from holland as wel
Bas S: Very bad sound here
Alan M: Audio not working
Marcos T: Hello from Sao Paulo/Brasil!
Cindy T: nobody really talking yet i think
danna c: audio not working
Claudio C: hello from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Chris R: i hear breathing / typing?
Cindy T: i hear background sounds
Joshua L: can not hear on the phone
Chuck B: Hello from North Dakota
Brian F: Hello from Massachusetts, USA
ALICE S: Hello from Connecticut.
Alan M: NO AUDIO
Alex K: guys, be patient
Nicole v: Something goes wrong there
tal h: no sound , no picture .. is that what should be now ?
Bas S: any video streaming or just audio ?
Chris R: chillax
N S: no audio won’t connect
corey s: is anyone speaking yet
Solon C: this isn’t working…..just hear background noises
Alan M: any plans to fix the audio
Tim B: Are we supposed to be hearing anything yet?
Monica T: no audio, no video
t r: i hear crickets in chicago
Matt S: can’t hear anything either
Chris R: same crickets in LA
Dan A: My trust is waning
Wayne A: whoa, this is soo informative!
Glenn M: I am seeing session dtails and how to listen. sound is nothing but it seems to be working as I am hearing person breathing and now talking in background.
Suzanne G: i can hear Clare
Bil G: I just heard, “Can you go find out if Michael can hear me?”
Claudio C: We can hear someone speaking
Joshua L: same in Baltimore
Chris R: Tim rocks… he’ll make it happen
Tim B: We can hear you, mysterious lady.
adina t: I think I can hear Clare too
LIndsey K: no audio
Michael S: I was able to hear also
Joshua L: no audio
M A: I’m not hearing anything anymore.
Chris R: we have audio, no one is talking…
Monika S: no audio
t r: I hear nothing
danna c: no audio here
Michael S: I am on the phone
Michelle K: Hellloooo, can’t get into the teleconference, it keeps telling me I have the wrong passcode.
corey s: patience fellow listeners
luis h: Can’t hear anything
ROBERTO A: Sorry, I heard the music before but I don’t hear nothing since music stopped
tal h: somethings happening
Jelena U: wow, here it is
Chris R: let there be slides
Tim B: Michelle Korn, can you stream it online?
Claudio C: I can see a black screen now
Lynn G: is there audio through the computer or do you need to call in?
Glenn M: So a priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar . . .
ALICE S: isn’t this fun!
Sultan G: no audio here in Canada
Suzanne G: ditto
Chris R: lol Glenn
Nicole v: whoohooo!!
Michelle K: I’d have to try w/ my laptop as I don’t have my speakers hooked into my desktop.
Krissy M: way better than working
t r: I have a picture of the presentation but it sounds like some one is talking underwater.
Margaret M: i agree
ROBERTO A: Apollo 13, can you hear me?
Monica T: no audio
Claudio C: This webmeeting was sscheduled to start at 3:00pM EST…
Joshua L: I can not hear
Alan M: just background noise
M A: I have video and background noise but no speaking.
Jim R: Houston we have a problem
N S: still no audio only visual
flo b: no audio
Jim D: No one is talking yet!
Joshua L: same
Brian P: say something so I know if I have audio or not….
Wendy H: just background noise
luis h: I hear some heavy breathing
Alan M: so much for velaro
adina t: did you start the presentation?
Casey M: Hello everyone and welcome to the webinar. We are having some difficulty but hope you will hang in for a couple minutes while we work things out.
Glenn M: @Roberto. Houston, we have a problem.
Claudio C: It’s already 3:07 PM E.ST
chris m: Speaker:can you speak. I think it is working.. say few words
Jo G: hoping for a replay with all the trimmings
Tim B: Luis, luck you.
Nell K: Fix the audio.
Alan M: signing off soon
Joshua L: I can hear in the backround
Chris W: No sound!
Jared S: alot of energetic fingers for this point in the afternoon
Jim D: I can definitely hear people moving around in the background.
luis h: Yep, bkgnd noise
Claudio C: Good luck
Krissy M: writing notes for my boss is going to be epic
Jo G: yay for followup!
Cindy T: is somebody supposed to be talking?
Pat T: I cannot hear anything…
Wendy H: the slides are moving but no one is talking
Alan M: Is any one reading this
Chris W: I hope they do a recording of this that works
M A: Just heard phone tones
adina t: I can not hear you too
Lynn G: is there audio through the computer?
Sultan G: chocking sound!
Florence A: I can not hear anything
Kevin C: heard you
Chris R: yes, now
Suzanne G: yes
Claudio C: Tim Ash rocks!
Bil G: no one can hear anything
M A: Heard her
Brian P: I hear you!
Sultan G: we can hear you
Matt S: heard that
Debra C: yes now
luis h: yes
Robert P: we have sound
Molly T: I heard you.
adina t: yes now I heard you
Flavia C: yes
Jo G: heard something
Krissy M: we hear you
Glenn M: heard that
Chris R: heard woman…
Solon C: i heard you
Justin M: yes
Nicole v: no we do
Tim B: Let’s all just be patient. =)
James K: Audio works via phone here..
Joshua L: i heard that
Alan M: Can not hear – lots of background noise
t r: Just heard clare
danna c: heard you
M A: No more talking?
Em L: i just heard something
Mike C: heard it now
Debra C: now nothing….
Jared S: we have a caffeine pandemic on our hands in the chat room
Chris R: mysterious woman, say something
Alan M: are you planning to reschedule
Vladmir D: Greetings from mother Russia
Brian P: its gone now
adina t: But I think you should start from the begining
Edna C: greatings from MEXICO
ML O: Just heard, “Q”, you can’t hear me at all on the phone line but not my computer speakers.
Joshua L: same
luis h: Can you hear me now? haha
Sam W: Please speak again
chris m: Clare. we can hear U ..
Kristen W: We have no audio either!
Jo G: lol luis
Florence A: I hear a droning sound
Nina D: I see about our presenters but can’t hear anyone, hear something though
ML O: No, can’t hear luis.
Mike C: Clare? U there?
John M: I think they need some audio optimization
ROBERTO A: I heard a voice! The voice told me to go through the desert and save the people of Las Vegas from perdition…
chris m: say something in French
Vladmir D: I hear nothing
Monica T: No audio. Sorry guys, I’m off to watch CSI.
Tim B: ML, you need to have things turned WAY UP on the comp speakers.
Gert C: Greetings from Dallas! No audio…
Chet F: #technology
Joshua L: i herd clare
Jason S: i hear some typing
Michelle K: Hello
luis h: Merde! That’s French for “I can’t hear anything”
Jim D: It’s like somone’s laptop is the live mic, not the one they think is live
Chris R: i’m not trusting the “building trust” webinar…
Dan L: WUK?
Viki B: lol
luis h: hahaha
Michelle K: I can’t use my laptop, b/c it knows I’m in session on the desktop.
Jane D: no audio via internet connection and just called in to the dial in number as well, still no audio. 10 minutes later………
Michelle K: Why won’t your teleconference work???
John M: The audio may need some “tuning”
John H: Hi from Oklahoma
Vladmir D: Time to hit the bottle again
Dan L: This is my favorite webinar ever!!
ML O: Again, just faint background noises of people working…
Jared S: #office_space baseball bat to computer screen
Michelle K: And I don’t want to shut it down on my desktop b/c who knows if I’ll even get back.
Alan M: This is not “Humanizing the Online exsperience”
Michelle K: LOL
Brian P: Hellllooooo? Bueler….Bueler….
Chris R: i have audio running on pc and phone, neither is working
Jason W: wonder if this is cheaper than go2meeting
ML O: with the person typing the loudest/closest.
M A: @Vladimir, are you still in Odessa?
Vladmir D: In Russia, webniars come to you
Chet F: haha
ALICE S: I am learning so much.
Carolyn R: Not building much trust here
Gert C: I truly understand mechanical errors from all my own presentation goof-ups. LOL

I guess that’s what you get for trying to offer some free content! I’m hoping they reschedule so we can hear what they had to say but had to share the comments from the peanut gallery.

A Dangerously Level Playing Field

It seems like all my posts lately have been about Google Reader in one way or another. So let’s keep it going!
Just a small observation today: when reading posts in Reader, all posts are presented in the place and in the same way. That’s a good thing for info-holics but it can also be dangerous.
For the most part, the text formatting, professional graphic design, additional content and the overall ‘feel’ of the source site is stripped away in Reader leaving you with just the article itself. That’s great for avoiding distractions, especially when you don’t have to contend with mortgage ads or the dreaded auto-play videos that some sites insist on using. But some of those things (professional layout, the content that surrounds the article, etc) are indicators of authority that you just don’t get in Reader.
If you’re like me, you organize Reader feeds using folders. That puts all of your sources for news, which have varying levels of trustworthiness, in the same place with very little to distinguish between them. In Reader, all sources are presented equally.
That’s good news for small publishers or business that offer RSS feeds – your content will appear right alongside the big time news outfits. It’s dangerous to consumers who are digging through a large volume of news in Reader. Without a good mental filter, it’s easy to take in all of that information as if it’s been reviewed by an editor and appropriately vetted when in reality it can come from any rube with a laptop.
I put myself in that category and have caught myself reacting to information before considering the source carefully enough. It’s especially tempting to take news and run when it’s niche or industry content that major outlets might not have or if it’s breaking, juicy news. (See Brett Farve’s latest retirement proclamation, based on second hand emails and spread via Twitter.)

Domino’s Pizza Turnaround: The Missing Ingredient

By now you’ve probably seen Domino’s Pizza’s commercial where they admit that their pizza was terrible. They’ve grabbed a lot of attention with this bold tactic and I give them credit for daring to be so transparent.

For all the things they’ve done well here, the story still seems less than genuine to me. They forgot one thing: the scapegoat.
They show chefs and executives reading all the negative feedback, swallowing hard and going back at it with a new enthusiasm. After a big group clap, they unveil the new pizza recipe that tastes way better than before. Does anyone else see the problem here?
The people delivering the new pizza are the same people that made the old pizza. Why should we trust them to do any better this time?
Domino’s almost got it right. But if you’re going to admit your product stinks, heads have to roll. We need to know that the problem has been identified and eliminated. There has to be a ‘new management’ moment that makes us feel like things are truly different.
Ending the ‘pizza makeover’ that way might not have been as uplifting but it would be more believable.

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