LinkedIn prospecting is becoming much worse than junk mail

A little over a year ago I wrote a post entitled ‘Who are you? And no I’m not going to accept your LinkedIn invitation‘.  The general idea being that random people ask to ‘join my network’ without my knowing anything about them aside from their own LinkedIn profile. My network is precious to me as is my reputation. The last thing I wanted was a bunch of people I don’t know contacting people in my network suggesting that since they knew me they should be trusted. Ugh!

I received some blowback from the post that I was being ‘too negative’. That kind of stung a bit because in general I am a very open and engaging person who loves meeting and talking with new people. Yet it seemed to me that the people that were (and still are) contacting me are reaching for low-hanging fruit – people who just want to build their networks and scour your contacts for possible business opportunities.

Then like now, I almost never receive a LinkedIn invitation that notes that in addition to looking at my profile, the inviter looked at our company’s website and has some basic understanding of what we do and how we like to represent ourselves. More recently I have received 10-20 invitations per WEEK from LinkedIn members that are offering me lots and lots of business leads. Which strikes me oddly since there’s no way they can identify the kinds of companies that our agency is best suited to work with. Again, low hanging fruit, fruit in my case that shall go unpicked.

Some of the inquirers are quite persistent – three emails in a week asking if I read their earlier emails and whom they might talk to if I am not the right person in my firm. Often they will ask if I can let them know if I am not interested so that they can take me off their list. I’ve not fallen for that one. LinkedIn is becoming like my 1995 postal mailbox with many ‘opportunities’ (i.e. junk mail) for me to review. In fact if I were to answer all of them I’d be spending time I’d rather not spend each week replying – no thank you I’m not interested. And while that will stop most of the inquiries it won’t stop them all from trying me again in the future to see if anything has changed.

I spent a good part of my earlier career ‘cold-calling’ but haven’t done that in years. It’s very difficult and almost entirely not fun at all. The only time it is fun is when you get a live one. I wrote about stockbroker cold calls as well not long ago.

You might think I don’t like LinkedIn much but you’d be wrong. I really like it and am a Premium member (this means I pay for it) and I use it all the time. LinkedIn in many ways has turned into an online job market. However, since I am not in the job market I am of no use to LinkedIn’s revenue stream there. What I am is a target for others to try to engage. I am ok with a well-conceived pitch and approach and absolutely will respond to good and appropriate pitches. But the flood of irrelevant pitches is increasing at an alarming rate and LinkedIn had better think about doing something about this before others become as aggravated with these unsolicited sales pitches as have I.

I think LinkedIn can do better. So can the LinkedIn member pitches. Don’t you?

 

 

 

 

Posted in Leadership, Lead Generation Management, LinkedIn, Jobs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

YouTube was a $1B bargain for Google

Each year Mary Meeker of Kleiner-Perkins has given her viewpoints under the umbrella of ‘Internet Trends’. This year’s report in my estimation would take most people 15 minutes or less to scroll through the deck. I believe it’s worth your time. I came away feeling that YouTube should be considered the go-to platform for most Americans. I had not thought of it that way prior. It’s worth remembering that when Google purchased YouTube in November of 2006 for $1B people were scratching their heads as to why. That’s hardly the case today as YouTube is the foundational video-watching platform (it’s not really an app).

Rani Molla of Recode did a nice summary of Ms. Meeker’s 294 (short and snappy) slides.

The full transcript of Ms. Meeker’s remarks can be found here and they are worth reading.

There were many interesting data points in the presentation – a few of my own highlights:

  • Slide 19 indicates tremendous popularity of mobile payment in China The U.S. lags far behind in mobile payment adoption.
  • Slide 62 notes that 49% of product searches begin on Amazon.
  • Slides 76 and 77 note the focus on CLTV – customer lifetime value. That brought a smile to this direct marketer.
  • Slide 85 – I personally was surprised that people view products on YouTube so frequently before buying them – likely on Amazon.
  • Slide 192 how ‘query growth’ for Google Searches ‘Near Me’ are increasing much more than anything else. Location in mobile search is indeed everything.

If you are interested a few other resources you might want to check out

This report from Brandwatch offers some very interesting statistics on YouTube.

Finally the Pew Internet report from March of 2018 also is worth your time.

The statistics here on YouTube are quite compelling.  Because YouTube is a platform and not an app it sometimes is not considered a direct competitor to FB, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram etc. But when it comes to time that people spend watching, interacting etc, YouTube is impressive.

Keep in mind that while many companies block employee access to social media sites, they don’t normally block YouTube.

Think about the ‘screen time’ you spend and how much of it ends up on YouTube. Do you find it to be increasing year to year?

Posted in Google, Internet news | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Man Bites Dove –A dessert so good it needs no advertising

I am thinking about ice cream and not only because we’re past Memorial Day here in the U.S, which is the unofficial beginning of summer… I just really love ice cream, but I also know that ice cream is a treat and best consumed in moderation.

SAID NOBODY EVER!

So with that in mind I wanted to let you in on a secret vice of mine. “Dove Bar Minis” – dark chocolate coated mini ice cream bites with either chocolate or vanilla ice cream inside. They also make milk chocolate-coated ones, since I know you are wondering, but IMHO they are not nearly as wonderful. At 60 calories each you can eat two or three (my max at one time has been five) and still feel as if you have satisfied a totally guilty pleasure.   They are in an overused word these days – AMAZING!

It’s interesting when you find something that is not advertised or found in restaurants. We have always called them Dove Bites, so perhaps at one time that is what the packaging said, but now they are named Dove Minis. These treats can be found in many supermarkets although from my experience they do seem to run out more often than one might expect. I notice boxes in other people’s carts and smile knowingly. One time at a friend’s house in Florida we had finished dinner and he asked if I wanted something sweet. And out came the Dove Bites. All I could think about was to wonder how he found out and guessed that he found out the way I did – by looking in the frozen ice cream novelty case many years ago.

There are 14 Bites in a box and they cost around $4.50 per box. So at $.30 each they are reasonably priced, satisfying yet not a calorie bomb and did I say they were amazing? You can’t easily buy Dove Bites on Amazon or Wal-mart/Jet.com – a recent check on both said they are ‘unavailable’.

Why isn’t M&M Mars promoting Dove Bites more? Surely it’s not because they can’t make them fast enough? And even if they raised the price a little, aficionados like me would still buy them.

One last thing, when I visit Costco (another favorite of mine), I always look to see if there might be a giant box of Bites so I could not run out and pay less per unit. Sadly, I never find them (hint hint Costco & M&M Mars!) If there were 60 in a box I’d buy them and in our house they might not last much more than a month.

Try them for yourself but don’t tell too many of your friends. I hate it when the store runs out.

 

Posted in Advertising, Grocery marketing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes an airline gets it right – A Southwest story


The ad above is from 1992.  For me it’s appropriate right now.  Given the recent tragedy aboard a Southwest Airlines jet my timing might have been better but since my experience happened last week it is more relevant now that it will be in the future.

If you travel enough your destiny is to have both good and bad experiences. Prior to boarding any flight hope springs eternal for an on-time, low-stress, pleasant (and as I like to say boring) experience.

Last Thursday evening I had one of the bad ones – four-hours on the tarmac due to bad weather up and down the East Coast. Having never flown on Southwest Airlines (how was this possible?) I had my first experience with lining up for boarding, tight seating, and free-Wi-fi (although I am not sure why since the Southwest website notes it is $8 on domestic flights – maybe the flight crew knew something about the trip beforehand).

It was mind-numbing to be 2nd in line for take-off only to roll back to a remote runway when Air Traffic Control (LaGuardia) placed a total stop on flights in and out of the airport. Airline personnel and passengers had no idea if or when the flight would leave. Finally the plane returned to an open gate. It took about an hour before hungry passengers walked off the plane to try to find something to eat (it was 10:30PM).

The flight crew was patient as were the passengers. Even understanding the situation, I was having a terrible overall experience through no fault of the airline. At least that’s what I kept telling myself although I really wanted to blame someone or something other than the weather.

Finally the flight departed almost four hours late and of course when we arrived in the NYC area we circled for half an hour more before finally landing. There were so many flights in the same boat that LaGuardia was midday busy at 1:30 in the morning.

I was tired and cranky and certainly while not blaming Southwest, not in any hurry to choose that airline again unless it was the best time and price option. I’ve tried cutting airlines off in the past but always end up going back since always seems to end up costing me more someplace else.

The following day I received two emails from Southwest. The initial one apologizing for my first and as it turns out, poor weather-related travel experience (Southwest seemed to know I had not flown it prior), and that a LUV coupon for a future flight discount was to be issued in a separate email – which it was only a few hours later.

I was impressed and tweeted that Southwest did NOT have to do that and their response was swift and appropriate. Period. End of story. But, I am glad Southwest did make the extra effort and what’s probably most significant is that it changed my viewpoint of the airline and how I might evaluate a future flight option to now include Southwest.

For fans of good social media practices and customer service, this is how you do it right folks.

Posted in Airlines, Customer Experiences | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Healthcare begins to go back to go forward – the return of the house call

As an agency working in a variety of aspects and segments of healthcare marketing, our team has acquired a broad view of healthcare marketing. One trend that seems clear is that with the continued growth of healthcare EHR (electronic health records), medical professionals will have access to a central repository containing the prior personal medical history of their patients.

Regarding EHR, if you worry about the security of your personal patient data, include me in that pool. But I also acknowledge that there are also substantial patient benefits when medical professionals all read off the same patient chart. I am representing this in an ideal sense here. It will take too many years for the electronic data records to become the standard.

Those of us old enough to remember TV shows like Dr. Kildare , Petticoat Junction, and Marcus Welby M.D., well-remember that sometimes the doctors would go to the patient’s house complete with the little black bag and all the trimmings.

An excerpt from a 2015 Forbes article: ‘House calls used to make up 40 percent of U.S. doctors’ visits in the 1940s, before going into decline in the 1960s. These days, they comprise less than one percent of consultations. Many believe that more house calls would increase quality of care at low cost, which led Medicare to launch an “Independence at Home” demonstration project for seniors with multiple chronic conditions in 15 states. Starting in 2012, the project has had promising results.’

As healthcare trends moved the patient visit out of the home and into practice offices, house calls became a thing of the past. Less compelling is the suggestion in the article that:

This invites the question: Why did house calls decline? In a recent tweet, Jay Parkinson, MD, founder of the extremely innovative Sherpaa medical service claimed: “There’s a reason why house calls went out of fashion. Grossly inefficient use of very expensive doctor time + extremely limited capability.”

“Dr. Parkinson’s identifying house calls as an inefficient use of doctors’ time is a very limited view of costs in health care. The almost complete elimination of house calls has not increased efficiency, it has only transferred the cost of travelling and waiting from doctors to patients.”

Most people prefer to avoid extended stays in the hospital and to only go the hospital if it’s absolutely necessary. After all, hospitals are where all the sick people are as is the risk of an acquired infection. This has led to the rise of non-hospital surgical procedures and services, at places like Ambulatory Surgical Centers, rehabilitation centers, and convalescence facilities.

Treating patients outside of the hospital is less expensive and quite often much more effective for everyone – insurance companies, hospitals, and PATIENTS. This is where the house call can return to deliver more effective healthcare.

Don’t picture the kindly old doctor with the black bag. It could be a doctor making the house call, but it also could be a nurse or home health aide. We know that patients in general are more comfortable at home. With the development of Telehealth services, EHR’s and a growing legion of healthcare professionals (the category is booming), house calls are again becoming a viable and valuable aspect of medical care.

I wonder how people will feel about allowing health professionals to enter their home more frequently? I wrote about the development that healthcare providers already are contacting patients a lot more frequently via email and mobile apps,  (after patients only receiving postal mail for so many years), it will take some time to become accustomed to the no longer old-fashioned house call.

Posted in Healthcare, Healthcare marketing, Personal Privacy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Use Google Alerts to be in the know first

I am actually surprised that most people I know, don’t use Google Alerts to keep up with their employers, clients, prospects, and competitors.

Google Alerts are emails sent to you when Google finds new results — such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match your search term. You can use Google Alerts to monitor anything on the Web. For example, people use Google Alerts to:

  • To read about their company or product.
  • Monitor a developing news story.
  • Get the latest news on a celebrity or sports team.
  • Find out what’s being said about themselves
  • Search for job openings in their industry.
  • Help find new employees.

It’s about the easiest tool you can ever use. Go to Google Alerts, log-in if you are not already, enter in the company name, person’s name, or subject of interest. Choose the frequency of the alerts (once per day, once per week), and that’s it. You’ll receive alerts on the named companies, people or subject whenever ‘news’ or mentions have occurred.

The Google Alert service tool is not without imperfections. Since it scrapes words and names of companies and not necessarily context, I do receive some irrelevant updates for companies that are spelled similarly, or partially. But that’s a minor annoyance given that I feel I have a better chance of staying on top of developments as they relate to companies that interest me of which there are many.

As a resource for our clients, part of our responsibility is keeping up with what the competition is doing. Whether it’s a specific company or category you can create alerts for just about anything. Setting up variations on your name or company’s name also can yield some interesting updates.

Bloggers use Google Alerts to point them to relevant content about which they are writing. Here’s a link to an article that does a nice job of evaluating the service.

I like knowing things first don’t you?

Posted in Google, Listening | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is it all over for Chinese companies doing business in the U.S.?

The recent and present tariff war between the U.S. and China (but not only China), is the most counter-productive thing that could have happened to Sino-American business interests. Yet it’s not as if it’s been clear sailing for Chinese companies doing business in the U.S. Colleges and universities all over the United States have been beneficiaries having thousands of Mainland Chinese attend schools often at full tuition. Chinese student enrollments are beginning to decline in response to a general feeling that they are not as welcome as they have been. Getting cash out of China via real estate purchases for Chinese students attending college in the United States is not the panacea it was five years ago.

That Chinese technology companies looking to establish a market in the U.S. will be under increasing scrutiny is clear under the current administration.   Huawei keeps trying and keeps hitting roadblocks.

My own quest to create understanding between China and the United States by helping Chinese companies in the U.S. has had some success. Yet I had expected that by now there’d be an overall greater sense of understanding amongst Chinese companies on how to do business in the United States. From my view not much has changed in the 8 years I’ve been working with Chinese companies. So it was difficult enough already without a stack of tariffs that will only make Chinese companies less interested in expanding into the U.S. market.

There are undoubtedly multiple reasons Chinese entrepreneurs have not advanced their efforts in the United States. The misunderstanding of how to invest in the U.S. would be just one. As I’ve mentioned before in the U.S. there’s risk that an investment in a business in the United States may not work out. This is a difficult concept for Chinese businesspeople particularly those over 50. In my experience there’s lots of talk about ‘Win-Win’ and plans, but too often opportunities seem to just die on the vine. I can’t tell if it’s due to natural or unnatural causes. I am not going out on a limb when I mention that lack of committed funding to U.S. market expansion is at the root.

So is it all over for Chinese companies that were or are thinking about the U.S. market?   After all there’s so much opportunity in China and Asia itself, is the U.S. market still desirable for Chinese companies? Even if it’s all a negotiating ploy, the welcome mat for China in the U.S. has been rolled up and it might be a long wait while the U.S. and Chinese governments are engaged in a game of tariff chicken in which there will be no winners.

I wonder if U.S. companies are going to in turn become less interested in doing business in China?   I doubt it since the market opportunities in China are still enormous. Expect more scrutiny of U.S. companies trying to do business in China. For those still willing to try. This could take a while to sort out.

Posted in China, China Marketing, International business | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment