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Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter


Idea Pool

Three Things A Customer Service Rep Should Never Say

Mary Schmidt

Feb 10, 2014

Regardless of the type of support, product, service, or industry…B2B, B2C, whatever…

1. “I can’t do that. You’ll have to go to our web site.”  In response to—for example—a request to change an email account for paperless billing since you can’t get into the web site.  Or, the web site keeps crashing, so you can’t make that “easy” online payment.

2.  “I’ll transfer you to someone who’ll take care of that for you! Have a nice day!”  And then the system hangs up…or you’re transferred to yet

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

A Reality Check: Super Bowl Ads

Mary Schmidt

Feb 03, 2014

Last week, a colleague and fellow member of what we call “The No BS Club” asked me, “How much of ‘marketing’ do you really think works?”  We were talking about what I call “color marketing”—brochures, commercials, ads…cute little moppets…dogs and ponies…the “fun” stuff.

It was the end of a long and trying week, so I was in full “no bs” mode. My answer: “Not much.”  For example, much of advertising is—ahem—corporate ego reinforcement. That, or some combination of marketer naivete, CEO

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

Here’s a Wild Idea: Make Products, Not Ads.

Mary Schmidt

Jan 20, 2014

NYT: For Google, A Toehold Into Goods for a Home

“Google, which dominates much of life on the Internet, has been trying to expand beyond computers and telephones to living rooms, cars and bodies. It made its way a bit further into people’s homes on Monday when it agreed to pay $3.2 billion in cash for Nest Labs, which makes Internet-connected devices like thermostats and smoke alarms.”

Well, so far, so good. (So what?)  Google remains a bunch of scary smart Type As in search of a

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

You Never Know When You May Need an Old Idea. Here are Three.

Mary Schmidt

Jan 14, 2014

“You never know when you might need an old idea.” - Ian McEwan, at Edge, in attacking this year’s question, “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?“post at

He’s talking about Aristotle, who was actually wrong about a lot of things…but “his invention of zoology alone was priceless. Would you cast him aside?”

I love a good “intellectual bar fight” as the NYT described Edge (Over the Side With Old Tenets)...and I also love old ideas. Here are three old ideas that should never

In Brain Food, Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks, Web Bytes

“Mama Don’t Text.”

Mary Schmidt

Jan 06, 2014

I sometimes shock people when I tell ‘em I don’t text. However…

I hear some variation of the following lament with increasing frequency.

“I hate it when people text/chat/video/photo during _____ (dinner, movie, conversations, concerts, grocery shopping, etc.)” 

And yet…we all struggle with maintaining a balance—using technology as a tool, not a time-sucking, costly addiction.  I love technology…have worked in “high tech” off and on for decades. At one point, as a product manager/director

In Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

Do Your Connections Have Value?

Mary Schmidt

Dec 03, 2013

...Another day, more emails from people I don’t know, wanting to “connect.”  

The good news/bad news about our always on, online, round the globe economy is that we can “connect” with thousands, even millions of people. 

However, do those connections have any real value?

It depends. (Don’t you just hate it when I do that?)

No Value Reality Check

1. You sporadically send out an eletter to thousands of people, but have no way of tracking who opens what. And, you give them no reason to

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

Why Facebook Should’ve Hired Me (A Long Time Ago)

Mary Schmidt

Nov 18, 2013

Short answer: An actual Go To Market Plan.  Done BEFORE they went “commercial.” 

It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to start out with a free service. But…

There should have been a plan (with a schedule) of how they were going to transition to a fee model. 

Here’s what’s still missing from Facebook’s strategy (based on what I read, including interviews).

1. An - um - actual strategy.  Figuring out ways to pump even more ads our way isn’t it. Nor is telling us they’re perfectly within their

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

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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