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Pete
Proud Padre; Author; CEO, Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund & Startup Incubator; Former Nestle Global Head of Digital. Proud alum: P&G, Nielsen, HBS, UC Santa Cruz
Interests: startups, Venture Capital, marketing, entrepreneurial finance, Skiing, tennis, ultimate frisbee
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My first weekend of skiing in the Alps was just fabulous. All but a couple hours away from Vevey is a spectacular glacier-anchord ski area called Saas Fee. I managed to work in two fabulous days of skiing, and the weather could not have been more perfect. Saas Fee Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2011 at myalptitude
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Mar 15, 2010
Here's the big "aha." Everyone seems to have a story like this about Zappos.com. Customer or prospect meets brand. Brand shows extra love. Love warms our heart -- validates us (often in ways we can't quite pinpoint) -- and we end up telling others...often to self-reinforce the validation. This does carry real cost, even head-count implicatons, but the good news today is we have unparalled ability to meter the viral dividends of 'customer first' bonding. The more we can meter "cause & effect" the easier to resource, or shift dollars from one areas (e.g. "paid media) into other (e.g. "earned media" or service operations). In my nearly ten years of metering unaided consumer emotions/opinions across the web, I've consistently seen the very things Zappos does well -- empower employees to solve problems, create brand experiences that exceed expectations -- work across hundreds of companies and brands. But it's usually more anecdotal than systemic. The Zappos case study affords us a unique opportunity to formulate a new model that values service on equal footing as other marketing inputs. That said, there is some risk of gushing too much about Zappos.com. Not all of this is scalable, and we need to understand the difference between "first mover" and "steady state" service dividends. At som level, Zappos owns the "sharable story" about the Culture Book. Not clear if pay similar rich dividends for second-movers. And I'll be shocked if we ever see another CEO secure 1/10th the followers on Twitter as Tony H. But there are real foundations to their approach that will pay dividends for a very long time, and perhaps embed themselves in Amazon business processes as well. That's the big opportunity for the rest of us. - Pete Blackshaw, Nielsen
Great piece, Jennifer! And thanks for the reference to the book. - Pete
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