Monday, March 31, 2008

Listening to Customers

I recently had the chance to hear Kip Knight, Vice President of North American Marketing for eBay speak as a guest of the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Kip is contemplating writing a book he would entitle The Power of All of Us exploring how individuals in communities matter in the online world. This will be the first of two entries on Kip's talk--it was so rich with good content. He referred to the three V's eBay uses in hearing from their customers:

Voices- the company brings users to U.S. Headquarters in California and places them in focus groups to hear their views;

Visits- eBay actually visits (with permission) users homes to see the steps they take to sell items;

Views-on a quarterly basis, focus groups of users are polled on industry-related questions such as security.

Perhaps the methods described above by Kip will help you to gain meaningful information from your customers or stakeholders.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nominating Better Than Winning

I was thrilled to learn this week that a friend I had nominated for the national American Marketing Association Volunteer of the Year award beat out 30 other competitors for the award. It sounds rather strange that you would use the word competition in the same sentence for an award comparing the merits of people doing different yet significant things to better the world. In this case, the person was Carol Shea who served as Cincinnati AMA Chapter President in 1992. She went on to serve in distinction in helping to start AMA's national market research bootcamp and even served as the AMA liaison to the U.S. Post Office. Carol was very deserving of this honor but despite all the pride and appreciation she expressed to me for nominating her, I sort of felt like I was the bigger winner. It brought back to me the importance of showing honor and appreciation for those who professionally and personally guide us along our paths in life. Here's what I wrote about Carol in my nomination.

Carol has always taken time to counsel chapter members who followed in her footsteps. Personally, she has taken an active interest in my career and aspirations as I ascended the chapter leadership track. Sympathetic, compassionate and wise are three words, which exemplify Carol Shea’s spirit, a spirit that resonates throughout our community serving as a strong foundation for Cincinnati’s stature as a chapter those within the AMA family respect and admire.

I hope this story inspires you to take an extra moment to acknowledge the unique gifts each of us brings to brighten the world around us and help make our paid and unpaid ventures worthwhile.