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Archive for March, 2009

Music fans have always been able to buy albums full of new music, and more recently, individual songs. But the live concerts of most artists have traditionally been hard to get a hold of (well, legally, anyway). Some bands, however, have a history of making their live music available. It’s a great example of a win-win situation – bands can promote themselves better, and their fans get access to more music.

Counting Crows are a great example of a band that has been making as much of their music available as possible. They have always encouraged fans to record concerts, and in 2001, they began hosting a network on their Web site to encourage the trading of these bootlegs. Users could also just provide bootlegs to others (as long as no one profited from it). All-in-all, a win for everyone involved.

However, with the technology now available, the band has gone even further, with LiveCountingCrows.com. (more…)

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You almost need to be a mathematician to calculate the true cost of an airline ticket these days. Are taxes included upfront? Is there going to be an additional booking fee added? And just what are fees like those for checking bags and buying a snack on board going to cost?

TripAdvisor, perhaps best known for reviews of hotels, is taking the guesswork out of fee calculation with its new flight search tool. At first glance, it works like other metasearch travel sites such as Kayak or FareCompare. These tools search several sites to find the best fare, and allow for customization by departure or arrival time, number of stops or airline. But TripAdvisor differentiates itself by going one step further, with the inclusion of a fee calculator that can be integrated with the pricing results. What a concept, and a win for customers who just want to know what the total cost of their trip will be. (more…)

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I’m always surprised when I find companies that go above and beyond the call of duty in customer service or support. In this world, sometimes it’s difficult to find a company that even lives up to their stated standard.

Bose is definitely the kind of company that goes above and beyond, and here’s why. Once upon a time, about two weeks ago, a friend – let’s call her Lara – had her pair of Bose QuietComfort 3 headphones, just over a year old, stop working. Not completely, mind you, but one ear had no sound coming from it. For a $350 pair of premium headphones, you’d think they would last longer.

So first she called the customer support line, who suggested the wire might be the problem. The rep sent a new one, free of charge, but warned that if it didn’t solve the issue, Lara would have to pay $100 to replace the headset. So Lara was not happy, when, two days later, she received the wire, but still only had music coming out of one ear only. She didn’t know what to do. I suggested a trip to the Bose store, as it might be better to talk to someone in person. After all, with a product that expensive, you don’t want to give up on getting taken care of properly without putting in reasonable effort. (more…)

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There’s always been a fight over who makes the best premium ice cream — is it Ben & Jerry’s, or Haagen Dazs?

If we’re going by carton size, there’s now a clear winner. Over the past few weeks, Haagen Dazs had been reducing the size of its cartons from 16 ounces (a pint) to 14 ounces, while leaving the prices the same. If, for some reason, consumers didn’t notice this themselves, Ben & Jerry’s wanted to make sure they did. So last week, in an edition of its Chunkmail newsletter, and on a special page on its Web site, it let everyone know that “A pint’s not a pint, unless it’s a pint.”

The company didn’t name names, but did say a competitor with a “funny sounding European name” had downsized their pints. It also reminded customers that “your Ben & Jerry’s will still be standing tall in the freezer.” (more…)

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Welcome to my blog, Successful Marketing Communications: A Conversation With Customers.

Over the past few years, marketing and communications has changed a lot. That might even be a large understatement. And there are a lot of reasons for this: improved technology, the use of customer data, and fickle customers, just to name a few.

To keep up, companies have had to change the way they communicate. Those that haven’t might be able to survive in the short term, but not in the long term. With retailers and manufacturers trying to match and/or outdo each other, just having a great idea for a product or promotion doesn’t cut it anymore – there needs to be more. (more…)

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