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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator


Idea Pool

Connection or Chatter?

Mary Schmidt

Mar 27, 2006

Over the weekend, I was reading the Dalai Lama’s guide on how to practice a meaningful life.  And, in reviewing the Buddist ten “non-virtues” - one of the verbal ones is senseless chatter.  Hmmm.  Got me to thinking about marketing in general and blogging in particular. 

As we’re flooded with “personalized” emails, blogs continue to proliferate and consultants (including me) talk up having conversations with customers - where’s the line between a real connection and senseless chatter?  I,

In Marketing Troubleshooting

We value your business!

Mary Schmidt

Mar 24, 2006

Earlier this week I wrote about my pal, DONOTREPLY, and how the company was missing a great “customer touchpoint” with me to create loyalty and sell me more.   

Well, in my latest efforts to get the $50 “Loyal Customer Rebate” I should have received months ago, I spent about an hour on the phone with a customer service rep last night.  Now, I’m not doing this just to be a crank (really); I strongly believe that if we’re ever going to improve the service in our so-called

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

“Old Guy” Marketing

Mary Schmidt

Mar 21, 2006

Recently Al Ries and Jack Trout have been getting slammed for being out of it. The “old guys” just don’t get it, according to some, when it comes to the so-called new marketing (viral, WOM and so on.)  Well, both of them have certainly made a few missteps lately (I won’t bore you with them here) but they’re also human and have been doing some great thinking for longer than many in the blogosphere have been out of diapers. 

I pulled their Bottom-up Marketing from my shelf (They co-authored way

In Marketing Troubleshooting

My Pal, “DoNotReply”

Mary Schmidt

Mar 20, 2006

I just got another email from my friend DoNotReply  The subject line is   “Important Information about your account”  Hmmm.  Well, if it’s so important, why are they sending me an email to which I can’t reply?  What if I have a question?  What if I want to spend more money with them? 

Now, I know that this is an automated email system.  And, yes, it costs money to add personalized service.  But, this email is a critical “customer touch point.”  With just a little work,

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

“I throw away the business cards.”

Mary Schmidt

Mar 16, 2006

I just came from a meeting with a local executive and in the course of the conversation re next steps, meetings, etc. - he noted, “I just throw away business cards once I put you in Outlook.”  My joking response was, “But, mine are so pretty!”  That got me to thinking about marketing “fluff stuff.”
So, two sanity checkpoints:

1.  The business card is just a little piece of paper - no matter how pretty.  Simply passing it out isn’t going to get you very far - particularly these days when

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

Thanks, Mom & Pop!

Mary Schmidt

Mar 10, 2006

Update:  If you’re looking for the shop, I’ve closed it temporarily for some renovation.  If you’d like to talk about your needs - drop me a line or call.  I’m always happy to chat and offer special rates for “Mom & Pops.”

Mom and Dad.jpg I just set up a little Mom & Pop Shop here in my virtual office.  Why?  I got tired of hearing, “I’d love to work with you, but we just can’t afford it.”  Now, I can blather on all day about value and experience, but at the end of the day, folks only have so much money to

In Marketing Troubleshooting

Silence is NOT Golden.

Mary Schmidt

Mar 09, 2006

This seems to be my day for “simply” sending you along to links.  But, this one, Negative word of mouth hurts retailers speaks to one of the blind spots I see with clients in discussing WOM (Word-of-Mouth) viral, grassroots, guerilla (pick your buzz word) marketing.

Here’s the scary number, quoted in the post, from a Wharton study: “out of 100 dissatisfied customers a retailer stands to lose between 32 and 36 current or potential customers.”  Ack and Eek!  Increase that by a factor of ten

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

Start-Up Sanity Check for B2B Tech Ventures

Got a great idea? Are people telling you it’s crazy? Good! You’ve got to be a little insane to take that start-up leap – rather it’s out of your garage, the lab or a day job. I'll help you decide where and when to leap (and what to do when you land).

Investment: $500.00 (Why do I call it an investment? Two reasons: 1. If you’re willing to pay, that tells me you’re serious. 2. When you pay for advice, you’re more likely to value and use it.)

Drop me a line and we’ll see if we’re a good fit. If I can't help you, I’ll tell you (and if possible, tell you who can.)

Got funding? I work with one to three start-ups a year, on retainer (minimum of three months, maximum one year).

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Social Media Isn't Free, Easy or Magic.

If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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