A few random thoughts about sales, marketing, and communication.

Coffee

Starbucks has been an off-site workplace for me for more than 20 years. This despite having perhaps the worst tasting coffee (since I do not load it up with sugary flavors). The company has changed its marketing direction this year. News reports say it’s in response to market changes due to Covid. I think that is only part of the answer. 

The new Starbucks theme is not providing a cozy place to meet and work. It promotes ordering on the app, running in, picking up, and getting out quickly. Maybe with no human interaction. You order and pay online, run in, look at the extended counter, see your name on a cup, pick it up, and leave without a thanks, or hi, or whatever. The surfaces are hard, the seats hard and barely comfortable, and not many, and the music amplifies off the surfaces.

They are not alone. McDonalds has been long known for designing uncomfortable furniture to encourage a quick turnover. Over the past 15 years (in my memory), the company has changed coffee roasts three times. Where once the coffee was excellent, now it is a wimpy ghost of its former self. Buy the coffee and move along.

One of my German professors at university was from Vienna. He lamented the end of the Zehn Uhr Pause—the 10.00 break where gentlemen would congregate in coffee houses to discuss news or philosophy or whatever. Even in the 60s Viennese coffee houses were encouraging patrons to get the coffee and move along.

Software

Presidents and marketing managers of software companies have been coming to me for years with PowerPoint presentations about hot new software. I ask, “What does it do?” They respond something akin to this press release recently received (that I hope is sanitized to protect the guilty).

To put it plainly, no one does exactly what we do. Our breadth of capability is unmatched, positioning us as the best partner to help your organization make its systems, equipment and people work to their highest potential. We start adding value day one with our unique approach to engagements: unlike our competition, we provide solutions instead of just asking questions. While others may offer generic pathway improvements, our team possesses the ability and willingness to get into the nitty gritty of your challenges and provide the solutions that work for you.

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