I’m not a great believer in the value of the Mayan calendar, so I am preparing to celebrate another Christmas. On the other hand, I do believe that some things will come to an end in 2012, and these I can predict with relative certainty.
Social Networks – Simply put, as I enter 2012, I feel like something has to go. I am tired of updating multiple networks with the same stuff, and I am tired of reading the same updates by others. As I look around, I think Facebook is the most likely network to suffer, albeit not much, by my departure; in effect, I have already departed. Facebook feels to me like AOL after most people discovered that they could just access the Internet. I rarely update Facebook, and I think my anemic number of contacts on Google+ has exceeded those on FB. I guess I would maintain a presence on FB, if that was the only way to stay connected with some people, but I don’t see much activity from me. Klout, however, is actually likely to see me cancel my account. I’m not sure what benefit I receive from Klout, I don’t care about my score and I don’t care about anybody else’s score. I connected and I have remained for as long as I have because I was curious. Now I feel like I’ve peeked inside the box several times, and it’s still empty. I will likely stay a member of LinkedIn, but I see less and less value in that membership. If Facebook is the new AOL, LinkedIn is surely the new CompuServe.
Fewer News Sources – This prediction has already come true; I receive news from fewer sources today than I did on December 31, 2011. I began by scratching several eNewsletters off the list, and I am expanding that to free print magazine subscriptions. Any service that requires me to register for each whitepaper I download will disappear from my inbox in 2012. Any newsletter that consistently serves me old news, rehashed by alleged experts, is also marked for removal. Simply put, if you can’t put “news” in your newsletter, you’re gone. Also on this list is the New York Times. Seriously, I might agree to pay for an electronic NYT, but not the price they expect. Lately, I use the electronic edition as a search tool – I read their headlines and then search for stories elsewhere. Also, I am flummoxed by their pricing plans. While we are beginning to see technical parity emerge across platforms, they want to set pricing by platform, charging more for smart device access than Internet access. If you want to charge for your content, that’s fine, but why does it matter how I get there?
(Would be) Vendors – I have been losing patience with vendor marketing efforts for a few years, but I think this is the year I turn up the heat, get rude, and start sending more people to voice mail. If you’re a vendor and you’re reading this, here are a few tips:
· 15 minutes way more than I want to waste listening to a cold call.
· I am not interested in changing anything for you. Your product might be great, but if I’m happy using a competitor’s product or service, why would I change? If you can’t answer that question with a breakthrough answer, say thanks and hang up. If you can, answer that question, make sure you’re not lying – I am not going to save 73% by using your VIOP service, unless I am replacing a network of rotary dial phones.
· Please don’t insult my intelligence by telling me that you “will have a representative in my area next week” – if you thought there was a sale, your rep would take me to lunch today.
· Don’t pretend to know me, especially when you don’t and even more especially if you could. I.E. Stop asking me for my title even after I registered your product. Stop telling me that you wanted to speak to me after seeing our website when you clearly haven’t read our website.
· You can keep sending me surveys, but stop reminding me that you sent one. If I didn’t fill it out, I have no intention of filling it out.
· Stop calling with a few questions that “are not in an effort to sell anything”, seriously, stop it!
· Understand that your actions matter too. I read about you. I pay attention to how you treat your employees, what your customers say about you. How the people in your branded vehicles drive, and how you support the community in which you thrive.
This just in: if I took your cold call and expressed little or no interest in your product, following up with an email tagged “Important” and asking for a read receipt is a sure fire way of ending up in my “Never Do Business With” folder. (This has happened, see picture above).