Kindle Marketing Lessons

May 29, 2009

Amazon’s Kindle e-Book Reader Shows You What NOT To Do

I love my Kindle. The one I have is the first generation and I have been using it for almost one year now. An avid reader, I’m always reading two or three books at the same time and the Kindle’s simplicity and storage capacity (hundreds of books!) appealed to me.

What I hate about the Kindle has more to do with’s practices than the device itself. So here are a couple of important lessons we marketers can all learn from their mistakes: Kindle Lessons

Kindle Lesson Number 1: Integrate Your Sales Channels

For almost 10 years I’ve been a loyal Wall Street Journal subscriber. Initially I got the paper version of WSJ and later was an avid reader of When I got the Kindle, one of the first things I wanted to do was to get the Wall Street Journal delivered to my e-Book, and Amazon was offering it. The problem, however, was that when I tried to switch my online subscription to the Kindle subscription I was told that they couldn’t do that. What?! I had to cancel my subscription, then sign up for the Kindle subscription. Isn’t that unbelievable?

Why would you make it difficult for a loyal customer to continue using your product? And better, yet, why would you make it difficult for a customer to start using a more expensive product (the Kindle version was more expensive than the online journal)? When planning your sales channels, the more integrated they are, the better your chances of acquiring and keeping customers.

Kindle Lesson Number 2: Greed Will Kill You

Even with all the hassle of signing up to read the WSJ on my Kindle, I was a happy camper. Every morning I turned it on and read my electronic newspaper. Until that day when I got an email from announcing they were increasing the price of the WSJ Kindle subscription by 50%. FIFTY percent!

I simply cancelled my Kindle WSJ subscription, as apparently hundreds of others did. Not only that, but the Kindle forum at’s website has irate customers venting their frustrations with the price hike and talking about collateral damage as they cancel other Kindle subscriptions.

Why would Amazon increase the price substantially without giving customers any additional benefit is still a controversial subject, but the lesson is clear: Unless you have a good reason (i.e. additional features, more convenience, better value, etc.) to give your customer a huge price increase, you will not only risk losing him but will also get a very bad reputation, which could bankrupt you.

Granted, doesn’t care if hordes of Kindle users cancel their WSJ subscription as long as they keep purchasing books through the site, but if you are not so lucky as to be the size of, just remember these simple yet powerful lessons.

Thank you, Amazon, for teaching us a lesson. Now go f@%$! yourself.


Webinar Presentations That Suck

May 25, 2009

Webinar Presentations

You are not even 3 minutes into the webinar and you know it: The presentation will suck. You roll your eyes and switch to your email while you wait for the presenter to appear alive, for the next slide to have something meaningful, for the pain to end… and wonder if you’re the only one wasting your time watching this session. Yeah, we’ve all been victims of poorly delivered webinar presentations and hate when we sit through the whole thing waiting for that moment when something useful will come out of it only to find out we wasted a perfectly good hour!

How do you avoid the same mistakes you see people committing all the time when delivering web presentations? Here are five key rules to guide you when preparing your webinar:

1. Get in your head that this is NOT a live presentation: you can’t see people; you don’t know if they are paying attention or just checking their email, you don’t know if they have fallen asleep. All the great presentation techniques they teach when you have to deliver a presentation in person will most likely not work. So get over it and start thinking about connecting with your audience.

2. Your slides are more important than you: OK, this may be too harsh a statement, but if people can’t see you, then how do you keep them engaged? Yes, you should sound energetic, don’t speak in monotone and try to stand up while talking, but make sure your slides are top notch. All that public speaking help that is out there can’t help you if your slides suck. That means you really don’t know much about public speaking because your slides are supposed to help you deliver the message! This includes using animations to help make a point, graphics and diagrams to explain a complex idea, and easy-to-read font (think 18 pts or bigger). A good speaker with a great slide deck is something we don’t see every day, so show the audience that they are in for a treat!

3. Use strategically located polling questions: One way to engage the audience during a webinar is to use polling questions. If well crafted and placed, they can help get things going and keep the audience interested, but if used too much they can be a drag. I suggest using the first poll within the first 10 minutes of the presentation, the second poll in the middle, and the third poll can be used either 10 mins before the end or right after the end but before the Q&A part. Successful polls are the ones that make the audience think, that when the results are shown they are meaningful to the audience, and that the presenter can use to make a point or get ideas flowing.

4. Use a moderator when possible: unless you are a great speaker, the presence of a moderator can really help. Not only the moderator can help with instructions before the start of the presentation (how to maximize the screen, where to enter questions, etc.) but this person can also interject during the presentation to create a dialog. Some of the best webcasts I’ve watched were the ones where a moderator would interject at some points to feed a question that was relevant to the slide being presented or to make a comment that would help with a transition to the next section of the webinar.

5. Practice. Then practice some more: this is true with any type of presentation. Unless you practice, you won’t deliver a good presentation. For webinars, it is even more important since you don’t have your body language to help out; you have to keep people engaged with your voice, the slides, and the setup of the webinar. Prepare, rehearse, and train like you mean it!

Please do us all a favor and make sure your next webinar presentation doesn’t suck! 😉

Is Your Brand Trustworthy?

May 16, 2009

This week I attended an event put together by the American Marketing Association (AMA), Tampa Bay Chapter, in which Todd Taylor, Area Director for FranklinCovey, was giving a presentation on  “The Speed of Trust”. The presentation was based on the new book by the same name, authored by Stephen M. R. Covey, the son of famous author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen R. Covey.

I haven’t read the book, but the content of the presentation was interesting and provided some food for thought. The premise is that people do business with companies they trust. Employees are more productive if they work in an environment that feels trustworthy. Company’s costs go down when trust is rampant throughout the organization, and customers come back to do more business with you if they feel they can trust you.

Here are some of the main ideas behind The Speed of Trust:

Five Waves of Trust

Trust is like a drop in the water that creates waves reaching out, ever expanding. This is the core message from Covey’s trust theory, described as 5 waves of trust:

  1. Self: the confidence we have in ourselves, how we set and achieve our goals, our ability to inspire trust in others.
  2. Relationship: our behavior towards the people we interact with (spouse, co-workers, friends, etc.) and our ability to expand trust to the other people in our lives.
  3. Organization: this is how leaders can generate trust throughout the organization, how people interact during work and the impact trust has throughout the company. This is a key principle for managers, on how they lead their teams and inspiring them.
  4. Market: your organization’s reputation in the market as a trustworthy company to do business with.
  5. Societal: contributions you and your company make to the community and the world.

For a great overview, check out the video below.

Four Cores of Credibility

These are the four factors that create credibility:

  • Integrity: honesty, if you act according to your values
  • Intent: your motives, your agenda
  • Capabilities: the abilities we have that inspire confidence
  • Results: our track record, our history of accomplishments

It’s interesting to note these four “cores of credibility”, as Covey calls them, and look back at why people do business with you or your company. Better yet, think about the people YOU trust and why is that so. That mechanic you take your car to because he’s the only one that you feel will give you the correct diagnosis and pricing. The accountant you go to when you need to get your taxes done. Why do we trust people? The “four cores” above are the summary of what we go through as we think of trust.

Thirteen Behaviors

As if five waves and four cores weren’t enough, we’re given 13 behaviors. These are the behaviors that trustworthy people follow and that you should too if you want to increase your ‘trust index’.

1. Talk Straight
2. Demonstrate Respect
3. Create Transparency
4. Right Wrongs
5. Show Loyalty
6. Deliver Results
7. Get Better
8. Confront Reality
9. Clarify Expectations
10. Practice Accountability
11. Listen First
12. Keep Commitments
13. Extend Trust

Seems obvious, right? But are you really behaving in a trustworthy manner? And how can you influence your team, your department, your company to start practicing these behaviors? This is the question you should be asking yourself.

Marketing Trust

As marketers, we tell stories. Our stories are told via our website, our emails, our presentations, our product collateral, and with every other customer touchpoint. By understanding how trust is created, disseminated, and by practicing the thirteen behaviors in our campaigns (honoring opt-out requests, being upfront about product shortcomings, being honest in the description of product features, etc.) we can positively impact our company’s business.

Helpful links

Some helpful links for those interested in learning more about the “Speed of Trust” book and concepts:

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