Do People Choose Features or do Features Choose People?

Classically, we think of product features providing benefits that consumers weigh and contrast relative to competing products in making a buying decision.

What happens when you turn this around? How do your product features act to select the customers you get? Here’s a great case in point.

A couple of good friends and colleagues of mine, Jerry West and David Bullock, are putting on their third seminar in a series they call The SEO Rainmaker. It’s just a couple weeks away and if you can arrange to attend I highly recommend it, but the point of this post is to point out how two features of the event served to pre-select the audience they obtained.

First, the event is on Thursday and Friday, not the weekend. If you guessed that they got push-back on this point … you’d be right! But this also stands to pre-select for people that have already left the J.O.B. and graduated to being the boss. Speaking from that vantage point, I don’t want seminars on the weekend because I already work long enough hours as it is thank you! I view the weekday schedule as a positive, not a negative.

Benefit is just a synonym for "positive feature" and positive is in the eye of the beholder. What is positive for one group may be negative for another and you have decide which group you appealing to.

Second, the day is only scheduled from 10 to 4. Is this positive or negative? For the person that expects to have their butt planted in a chair and their mind fed information then it’s a negative — they want the day scheduled from 9 to 9 to "get their money’s worth". But is that who you want?

At the latest three day StomperNet Live event I had one-on-one meetings with partners and long term StomperNet members booked for so much of the weekend that I missed most of the show. Ask any long-time business person and you will hear the same story — it is the contacts you make and the side conversations you have that make live events pay for the travel.

The value of the instruction you get at these events you could (mostly) get from online delivery. It is the personal interaction you get with the organizers and other attendees can not be had any other way.

By the way, a third friend and colleague, Paul Lemberg is guest speaking for Jerry and David and I may drive up for Friday afternoon just for fun so if you can make it, I’ll see you there, but please don’t "take vacation" to come. 😉

Jerry West Close to Historic Sponsorship Deal

On this day in 1978, the very first unsolicited commercial email, or UCE, was sent by Digital Equipment Corporation to hundreds (that was so the old days) of users of the Arpanet, the forerunner to the Internet.Jerry West, SPAM Poster Boy

In that one moment was born a whole new industry and way of life for millions of Americans. Thirty years later, business men and women build entire businesses based entirely on UCE, providing all of us (repeatedly) with many valuable offers and opportunities and generally enhancing life on-line. Indeed, UCE is now widely regarded as a venerable American tradition.

By the mid 90’s UCE came to be known as Spam, likely in reference to a Monty Python skit that featured another hugely successful American innovation — the canned meat product of that name created and marketed by Hormel.

It is only fitting then that on this anniversary of the birth of email spam, that Hormel should honor their on-line namesake with the appointment of an Internet spokesperson. Though no official announcement has been made, this reporter has learned through reliable sources that this new cyber delegate is to be none other than the “UCE poster boy” himself, Jerry West.

While Mr. West would neither confirm nor deny this “rumor” [wink, wink], he did say, speaking entirely hypothetically, “Since I’m the one that put the meat into email marketing, I figure I’m the perfect man for the job. I’m thrilled at the marriage of these two great American traditions, one in a can and the other on-line”.

When asked about the objections that some few, but highly vocal, users on the Internet have toward SPAM, Mr West pointed out that UCE is officially sanctioned in US law by the CAN-SPAM act, “I mean, if Spam was bad, they would have named it the CANT-SPAM act, right?” — a great example of the sort of insightful analysis Mr. West is best known for.

Sister Leslie Rohde, noted SEO evangelist and long time nemesis of Mr. West’s, had this to say of the announcement "I’m all for this new alliance. By far the best way to improve search results is to get Jerry to spend more time on email." Several other residents of the Google rectory, interviewed on the condition of anonymity, were also very excited at the news, describing it as “a sign of divine providence”.

Regrettably, repeated attempts to contact Hormel via email in regards to this story were unsuccessful, and ultimately resulted in a Spam complaint against the author.