Going Dutch. Or Not.

By Beacon Staff

You may remember that I’ve repeatedly suggested that you use the news in your advertising. Some days it’s just too easy.

I see that some have done just that, but beware: Just because you use a good suggestion, don’t think that a great message isn’t required.

For example, it seems everyone mentions the stimulus package in their advertising lately. But do they offer to stimulate anything other than their own wallet?

Congruency is important. If you’re gonna quack like one, you need to walk like one too.

If you offer a stimulus package to your business customers, it should stimulate THEIR business – not just yours. In fact, if it really does stimulate theirs, it’ll be a heckuva lot easier to sell.

Speaking of congruency, I was on Delta and Northwest last week.

Air travel is so easy to write about. I wish it were easier to use as an instructive tool instead of an example of things not to do. Ever wonder if airline company CEOs wake up in the morning and wonder how they can make their businesses even worse today?

I mean, when the lowest common denominator is “Get there safely” and you routinely do little more than barely exceed that, I don’t think I’m the only one that feels they are missing the boat.

During a trip to the East Coast last week, I got to tinker with Delta’s updated seatback video entertainment system, which includes TV, movies, games, flight information and music.

I was a little surprised when I turned it on because it asked me for a language.

While some might rail about the dilution of our culture (et al) through the offering of different languages, in reality this shows that someone at Delta is trying to make flying with them about *all* of their customers, not just the North American-based ones.

These days, you’d better be thinking about where to find sources of growth. You’d better know your customers better than anyone, including where they came from and what language they speak.

So how did they pick which languages to support? Maybe based on travel data from the airline or the demographics of the traveling public (air travel wise, that is).

When I first encountered the system, I chose English.

One of the things I like to watch during flight is the GPS-driven aerial map with rotating altitude / airspeed / head wind, temperature indicators. I guess it’s the geek in me:)

Having selected English, I assumed I would get an English map (it’s the programmer in me). Silly me. Instead, the map switches between English and Spanish *and* between miles/mph and meters/kph in each language.

This wasn’t a huge issue compared to safety, but it still made me wonder: Why did they bother to ask about language?

The flight arrived safely. Luggage did too. Yet several days later that map application still sticks in my mind.

See, my geeky side decided to switch the panel’s language to Dutch. Some words were translated, some were not – including nothing on the moving map. No, I can’t speak Dutch.

Painstaking attention to detail is important. Yes, now would be a great time to make a typo, spelling or grammatical error.

The point is not that I’m Mr. Picky spending time on trivial things to be snarky about. The point is to illustrate the need to constantly improve the behavior of your business because you never know what will leave a lasting impression.

Consistent. Congruent. Constant improvement.

This makes a good time to quote Voltaire, who said that “Perfect is the enemy of good enough.” Good enough to ship, but not good enough to stop improving. I don’t want anyone to think I want you to expect perfection on day one.

Striving for it? That’s another thing.

The other fire season

A couple weeks ago we talked about the need to make sure that you could recreate your business data (etc) at will in another location after a fire or similar disaster.

I fear that many who read those comments thought “It’ll never happen to me” and did nothing.

If that was your reaction, I have two words for you: Miles City.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him at [email protected].