Posts Tagged ‘Technology’


October 23, 2013

Here is another Seth Godin post you should share. Inspiring!

Our crystal palace

Thanks to technology, (relative) peace and historic levels of prosperity, we’ve turned our culture into a crystal palace, a gleaming edifice that needs to be perfected and polished more than it is appreciated.

We waste our days whining over slight imperfections (the nuts in first class aren’t warm, the subway isn’t cool enough, the vaccine leaves a bump on our arm for two hours) instead of seeing the modern miracles all around us. That last thing that went horribly wrong, that ruined everything, that led to a spat or tears or recriminations–if you put it on a t-shirt and wore it in public, how would it feel? “My iPhone died in the middle of the 8th inning because my wife didn’t charge it and I couldn’t take a picture of the home run from our box seats!”

Worse, we’re losing our ability to engage with situations that might not have outcomes shiny enough or risk-free enough to belong in the palace. By insulating ourselves from perceived risk, from people and places that might not like us, appreciate us or guarantee us a smooth ride, we spend our day in a prison we’ve built for ourself.

Shiny, but hardly nurturing.

So, we ban things from airplanes not because they are dangerous, but because they frighten us. We avoid writing, or sales calls, or inventing or performing or engaging not because we can’t do it, but because it might not work. We don’t interact with strange ideas, new cuisines or people who share different values because those interactions might make us uncomfortable…

Funny looking tomatoes, people who don’t look like us, interactions where we might not get a yes…

Growth is messy and dangerous. Life is messy and dangerous. When we insist on a guarantee, an ever-increasing standard in everything we measure and a Hollywood ending, we get none of those.





February 7, 2010

It isn’t just the economy…or marketing clutter…or technology…or number of entertainment options…or price, that has reduced the time consumers take to make purchase decisions, it is all of the above.  This should weigh heavily in your mind as you are drawing up marketing plans for 2010. 


Not dead…well certainly not for music anyway.  Fans still go to their local weekly publications for news about what’s happening around town.  The key is to change your messaging if it isn’t working.  Dailies have a place in the world too, but not for your advertising.  For those managers still making promoters buy full-page break-ads in the NY Times, please stop.  Monthlies, their deadlines are too far out for most of us.  How do you know what your messaging should and will be in 3-months?  

Social Media

You need to really commit yourself to this.  No sticking your toe in the water.  There needs to be a fulltime voice or voices online.  You can’t go half-ass or fans will either take over the conversation or you will end up talking to yourself.  If all of your social media efforts are self-serving, you will fail.


If you are going to use television, start producing content the public will take notice of.  Remember what you are competing with. 


Search marketing such as Google and Yahoo! can be very effective.  Just don’t buy-in to your marketer’s claims of 300% ROIA click isn’t a purchase.  Measure appropriately. 


Again, don’t listen to those holding the crystal balls.  In 2010, radio is still a very effective way to reach a targeted audience.  The problem is our radio spots are too cluttered.  With all the sponsors, pre-sale info, new album info, promoter info, “concert series” info, and website addresses, most of the time the message we want to send isn’t getting through.  Test for yourself.  Listen to a radio spot from a national advertiser and then one of ours…on the radio.  It will make you laugh. 


PR is a lost art.  What happened to publicity stunts?  When did our talent get so precious that they can’t speak with journalists anymore?  If you can find a good publicist… like I did with Giant Noise, you should hang-on for dear life. 


Keep it simple and easy to navigate.  Make sure you have as much information as possible on your site, as well as a place for visitors to contact you.  If guests don’t have a way to purchase tickets on your website, kill yourself. 


Whether online or not…NO SPAMMING!  You must get permission to talk to someone.  No permission, stay away.


This doesn’t always mean going lower.  As many promoters found over the past several years, the same ticket that wasn’t selling at a P2 price will sell at a P1 price.  At the same time, rewarding fans for purchasing early versus late would help.  By discounting tickets as you get closer to the show, you are training your customers to wait even longer than they already are to buy.  Flip the model.  Why not make tickets more expensive each day?  That would certainly get some attention if nothing else.


We haven’t really been able to get this right since the Columbia Records Club, but it doesn’t mean we should stop trying.  Take a look at what Harrah’s has done.  Hell, Amex makes you pay to be in their loyalty program if you think about it….and the same with many artists’ fan clubs.  The key is to know your customers.  What do they see as a value?  If you are doing some of the other things right, you will know.


Instead of looking for ways to cut your budget this year, search for places to over-deliver for guests at every touch-point possible.  As marketing guru Seth Godin recently wrote, “Radically overdeliver. Turns out that this is a cheap and effective marketing technique”. 


Anyone who has followed how automaker Hyundai and its sister Kia have used the economy in their messaging to sell hundreds of thousands of cars in the U.S. will understand this point.  Because Hyundai could move so quickly, they were able to roll-out their “Hyundai Assurance” program.  Perfect messaging that resonated with consumers. 


A grid showing where and when you are buying adverting isn’t a marketing plan.  You must understand that each show is different.  That every act is a brand…so is every venue, promoter, and producer.  Measure your results. See what’s working and what’s not.  Although you do have a plan in place, it doesn’t mean it can’t be amended. 

Keep Trying…



February 24, 2009

First, did you all catch the Senate hearings today on the Live Nation / Ticketmaster merger?  It was weird seeing people you have known well for 20-years testifying on Capital Hill.  Thought Irving was…well Irving and handled himself well.  Seth Hurwitz did a really good job.  Well spoken, facts at the top of his head, he represented the independent promoters well.  Although most senators present seemed to be negative towards the merger, it will probably still pass scrutiny, so everyone keep moving forward. 

My friend Scott Perry who writes The New Music Tipsheet sent a note about the March 2nd issue of Business Week.  The cover has SPECIAL REPORT printed on the top.  The topic, “Extreme Customer Service, In A Tough Year, 25 Companies That Get It Right”.  So what can we learn from these companies?  Just looking through the list will probably give you some ideas.  I’ve added some fun facts from the Business Week article to help.

  1. Amazon –“Some 30 % of sales come from outside retailers who sell goods on Amazon.”  Although there is more to that paragraph, you can take a lot just from that one sentence. 
  2. USAA Insurance –“Financial services firm for military families handled 150,000 catastrophe claims in 2008, double its average, as events such as Hurricane Ike destroyed customers’ homes and autos.  Still, USAA retained 96% of customers”
  3. Jaguar – “…Jaguar’s field teams for customer service were recently ranked best in the auto industry by the Nation Automobile Dealers Assn.”
  4. Lexus “…awards cash each year – as much as $50,000 – to dealers who have the best new service ideas.”
  5. The Ritz-Carlton – “To lure corporate event planners worried about high-end confabs amid the recession, Ritz will donate 10% of corporate meeting fees to charity.”
  6. Publix Super Markets – “To ensure customers always find what they come looking for, upscale Florida-based grocer Publix adopted an “automated replenishment” system in 2008 for fresh items.  Scanners indicate when inventory levels are low, and software automatically orders replacements.”
  7. – “With no monitoring of call times and no scripts, call centers have so much power it’s critical to make sure they’re a cultural fit.  To do that, CEO Tony Hsieh offers new customer service agents $2000 to leave the company after an initial training period if the new hires don’t think they mesh with Zappos’ zany culture.”
  8. Hewlett-Packard – “In 2008, Hewlett-Packard opened eight new customer service centers worldwide, including two in the U.S.”
  9. T. Rowe Price – To meet the customer service questions that flooded the company following the start of the financial crisis, “the company tapped 300 employees who formerly worked the phones to help meet call demand.”
  10. Ace Hardware – “…rolled out new technology that analyzes past shopping patterns to tell store managers what time of day is quietest for tasks like shelving products and cleaning rest rooms.”
  11. Key Bank – “In the past year, the bank unveiled new online tools that give entrepreneurs many of the cash-management services long reserved for large companies…”
  12. Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts – “…is outsourcing laundry to third parties at some properties and combining some hotel management roles to help save labor costs.”
  13. Norstrom – “Nordsrom’s famous return policy lets customers return any item at any store…”
  14. Cadillac – “Despite General Motors’ cash crunch, Cadillac has not scalled back on guaranteeing loaner cars to customers while their cars are in the shop.”
  15. Amica Insurance – “…CEO Bob DiMuccio says what sets the company apart is decades of investment in the staff, which has a turnover rate of less than 7%.”
  16. Enterprise Rent-A-Car – “…management pay and promotion are directly related to a store’s service performance.”
  17. American Express – New compensation model for call center agents…”offer them incentives tied to satisfaction scores and the flexibility to trade shifts.”
  18. Trader Joe’s Supermarket – “Some 99% of employees work in the stores, and even CEO Dan Bane doesn’t have an assistant.”
  19. Jetblue Airways – “…Jetblue created the industry’s first Customer Bill of Right – which includes providing compensation for passengers affected by problems caused by the carrier.”
  20. Apple – “Last year the company posted the largest one-year increase ever in the University of Michigan’s closely watched American Customer Satisfaction Index.”  Can you say Genius Bar?
  21. Charles Schwab – “A push to reduce the number of steps it takes to open new accounts has helped to shorten some call times, freeing up reps to answer calls faster.”
  22. BMW – “Now BMW ties rewards to how well dealers look after dissatisfied customers.”
  23. True Value – The company is expanding its online survey capabilities.
  24. L.L. Bean – “A simplified software system for entering orders has greatly reduced the training time for new hires.” 
  25. JW Marriott – “… tried to improve service by cross-training employees such as administrative assistants, who have been taught to serve food at banquets.  That keeps service leves high without having to hire more staff.”

Here is the short list of what I took from the top 25.  Some are the same old themes you always hear from me… I’m sorry, but it’s what I see above.

  • Use technology to serve customers, employees and save money
  • Hire the right people
  • Train your employees properly
  • Provide generous compensation packages for employees tied to customer satisfaction, not just sales
  • Have a philanthropic side that matches your customers’ concerns
  • Don’t keep customers holding!  Have a person answer the phone, not a machine
  • Treat your customers like gold…because these days they are worth a lot more

Talk with you soon…



January 14, 2009

Last week there was a LiveWorks Newsletter on using technology to service our fans better.  The letter pointed out how a group of eye doctors were making their patients lives easier through the use of their website, online questionnaires, and email.  As a follow-up, please see below.  If you aren’t doing at least what Dr. Richlin and his team are doing, you should re-think your online strategy. 

Dr. Richlin & Associates
Steven Richlin, O.D., Jackson Lau, O.D.
David Krasnow, O.D., Kenneth Lawenda, O.D.
Farid Eghbali, O.D.

9033 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 402
Beverly Hills, CA 90211310-276-5333



Dear James,

Thank you for visiting our office recently. We appreciate your trusting us with your eyecare and we always try our best to meet your expectations.

We hope you are happy with the service you received but if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. We are striving to make our service the best possible, and appreciate any and all input.

P.S. To help us serve you better, we are making greater use of e-mail. Would you please add us to your e-mail address book? We sure wouldn’t want you to miss anything important!

Your comments and suggestions are very important to us and help us provide the best service possible. Would you please take a moment to complete our brief patient-satisfaction survey? Complete Satisfaction Survey


Have A Question About Your Vision?



If you do not wish to receive future reminders or notifications from us, click: remove me 




January 8, 2009

As a follow-up to last night’s LiveWorks Newsletter on technology, let’s talk about data capture.  Currently, the two most common ways we extract information from our customers in live and branded live entertainment is through the data captured during an online sales transaction or “registration”, and/or index cards we hand out at our events (usually with a free magazine subscription or something of the like so we can obtain home addresses, etc) where we ask fans to fill-in their personal information.  The first can only cover half the audience at best (probably closer to 1/4 to 1/3), while the second relies on a lot of work by the customer as well as those collecting the data (the data needs to be inputted).  A great solution, use PDA’s to capture data at our live and branded live entertainment events. 

The concept of using mobile technology to capture data is not a new one.  In fact if you Google it, you will find many companies as well as software that already exist in the space.  Yet the simple fact is, it has not become an excepted form of marketing.  Think about it, you get a technology company or mobile carrier (or both) to sponsor your venue, tour or event.  The company(s) supplies you with the latest and greatest devices for your consumers to “test drive”.  To activate the device, your guest types in their current info…and they get free minutes, or a free PDA with service, or something like that for the fan’s efforts.  The show, venue, device manufacturer and mobile carrier can all share the data under an agreement that it be used properly… and sparingly (no spamming).

By using PDA’s to capture data at our events, we will be….

  1. Giving our fans something else cool to do
  2. Save paper, energy, time, and waste
  3. Creating Branded Live Entertainment opportunities (partnership between entertainment and brands doesn’t always have to be the entertainment itself)
  4. Puts new technology in consumer’s hands (see # 3)
  5. Gives opportunity for mobile carriers to differentiate themselves (see # 3)

There has to be some of you reading this that have already used mobile technology to collect data.  Let us all know how it is going.  I bet you get twice as much data as the rest of us.

Talk with you soon…



January 7, 2009

If you have been a subscriber to the LiveWorks Newsletter for a while, than you are painfully aware of the fact that I’m far from an expert on technology.  I hired a pro (thank you Alan) to look at the email delivery problems and believe that you will not be reading the “Political Marketing” letter again unless you want to (fingers, toes, and everything else crossed).  Anyway, if technology makes your customer’s life easier you should be using it. 

My family has only lived in LA for a few years and we needed an eye doctor.  If you need info in this town, call Irving.  So I sent an email to Irene (Irving’s long time right hand) asking for a contact.  A few hours later I had my appointment (thank you Irene and Irving). 

The person who scheduled my office visit was extremely professional.  After going through all of the office procedures and directions, I was told to expect an email with two forms for me to print, sign and take with me to my appointment, and a link to the office’s new patient paperwork so all of that could be taken care of online prior to my arrival.  Here is the email I received.

Hello Jim,

Thank you very much for scheduling an appointment with our office.  Please feel free to visit for Welcome Forms, Directions to the office, and Parking Instructions.

The Welcome Forms can be submitted electronically through the website, directly to our office.  In addition, please find attachments which must be printed and brought in with you to your appointment.

If you have any difficulty with the Welcome Forms, or have any questions at all about the electronic forms, the printed forms, the website, or your appointment, please do not hesitate to contact myself, or the office at your convenience.

Once again, thank you for scheduling your eye examination with Richlin Eye Associates.  We look forward to seeing you in our office very soon!

 Ric Peralta
Office Manager
Richlin Eye Associates
9033 Wilshire Blvd Ste 402
Beverly Hills  CA  90211

Think about the exchange above.  The doctor’s office makes it easy for the patient by letting them fill-out forms when it is convenient for them.  You don’t need to worry about forgetting your insurance card or how to spell the medications you are on, you can do it from home.  At the same time, it saves the doctor’s office time, money on paper, ink and electricity, chance for errors reading patient’s writing…and makes them look really cool. 

Then yesterday the confirmation email below arrived.  I have never received service like this before purchasing tickets to any event…even through an American Express Concierge.  We are being shown-up by Beverly Hills eye doctors. 



Your Eye Appointment

Dr. Richlin & AssociatesSteven Richlin, O.D., Jackson Lau, O.D.
David Krasnow, O.D., Kenneth Lawenda, O.D.
Farid Eghbali, O.D.

9033 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 402
Beverly Hills, CA 90211310-276-5333  


  IMPORTANT: Please click a link so we know you received this message.
                Confirmed – I‘ll be there    Sorry,  I need to reschedule


Dear James,



This is a courtesy reminder that you have an appointment in our office scheduled for the time and date indicated below. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible. If there should be anything you need to contact us for, please don’t hesitate to call or email at your convenience.


We are happy to be your eyecare providers.
SPECIAL NOTE: Our Building is currently undergoing renovations. Please excuse the dust. Our garage and main entrance are still accessible, so you should have no delays in getting to us.

NEW PATIENTS AND RETURNING PATIENTS WITH NEW INFORMATION: We have included a link below to our online patient information form. So we can see you promptly and provide faster service, please complete and submit the form prior to your appointment. If you are unable to complete the form in advance, please arrive a few minutes early for your appointment. Thank you.

If you haven’t already, click to: Complete Form

Appointment Date: 1/9/2009   Time: 11:00

NOTE: During your eye examination you can experience the benefits of the latest technology in eyecare – the Optomap Retinal Exam. The Optomap allows a more thorough eye-health examination than was previously possible…and without dilation! For more on this remarkable technology, click: Optomap

Do you need directions to our office?  Office 1 Map  Office 2 Map

For information about our office, please Visit Our Website.

Have A Question About Your Vision?





Let’s step it up and use technology to better serve our fans.

Talk with you soon…