Good Companies Being Good

I’ve subscribed to Seth Godin’s blog for ages and just finished his compilation of postings, small is the new big. There are all kinds of great thoughts and quotes in there, but here’s one that’s relevant to what I’m about to share:

“We don’t just hate marketers. We ignore them. We distrust them. In fact, when a marketer actually keeps his promise to us, we’re so surprised we go tell everyone we know.”

I came across this quote during what was a very up and down week with me in dealing with companies. But for this post, mainly up.

I got two birthday cards from companies at the end of March: Southwest Airlines and Adventure Life travel tour company. The first one was cute and the second one was actually signed in real ink by a bunch of people in their office. I didn’t put either card on my mantle, but they made an impression on me, something I’ll remember until next year.

The thing is, I belong to almost every frequent flyer and hotel program out there and all of them know when my birthday is. So do Comcast and American Express, two companies that make an obscene amount of money from me each year. Without much effort any of these organizations could also figure out I’ve got a big mouth on the web when it comes to travel and some people actually read what I say. Yet only two companies out of the dozens I deal with each year sees a birthday card as good marketing. The rest see it as an expense.

One last thought from Seth. If your company went away, would we miss you? I guess we’ll find out soon if we’re talking about U.S. airlines Aloha, Skybus, or ATA: all said “Aloha” last week.

Yes, I know Southwest has been screwing up a bit lately and there are tales that service is slipping. But still, I’d really miss them if they went away. These days, that’s saying something.

  1. Suz

    I too got a yearly card from Southwest when I was a regular customer (I don’t do short-hauls much any more) and I was always impressed with the ingenuity of their cards. More than just the “Happy Birthday from all of us”. I remember one year when it actually DID make my mantel (although I’ve since forgotten what it said). Just because I don’t use them regularly any more doesn’t mean I wouldn’t miss them, in fact I DO miss them because I don’t get to fly them often. It was always so comfortable.

    Thanks for the post!

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