Manas Kumar, Thinking out Loud

my thoughts & visions for technology

Archive for the ‘Viral Marketing’ Category

InkWorks – Missed Opportunities at Point of Sale

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InkWorks - This is some other store. I am talking about their store in the Westfield shopping centre in Henderson, Auckland.

I recently had to (or rather I was forced to) refill my HP Photosmart C8180 All-in-One printer cartridges. Thankfully I never paid for this God forsaken printer but received it as a Free gift from the folks at Harvey Norman circa 2008. No wonder Harveys wanted to get rid of these criminal machines produced by HP (A company I thought was on the right track until now) that just goes into “self destruct” mode if you dont refill the cartridges (even if you never print in color, for the “All-in-one functions to work, it needs ink – WHAT????). Anyway, never buy HP Photosmart C8180 All-in-One printer.

Anyway, this post is not about HP – its about InkWorks, an ink refill shop in the Westfield in Henderson. I was amazed by the level of customer service at this shop especially when the kind lady serving me had no technical knowledge but knew enough to do a good job of answering my questions.

So I asked her to find 0ut which one of my cartridges are empty so I can simply get those refilled, kill the print capabilities in that stupid printer and use the scanner (which is what I needed the darn thing for in the first place). By the by… she kindly gave me the Cyan and Magenta cartridges that I needed and charged me a very reasonable amount for it (cheaper than Dicksmiths or Warehouse Stationary).

PLUG for InkWorks – You guys rock!!! I strongly recommend that you checkout the guys at InkWorks when you need your printer cartridges refilled.

After that, she gave me a couple of bullet points about how they’re doing their bit to save the environment and their efforts to partake in the GREEN movement- It was genuie.

She asked me if this was my first purchase at the store and then requested me to write my details on a card for warranty purposes. She made it very clear that all she needed was my name and phone number – nothing else. I was almost waiting for her to ask me for other details but she didn’t.

Now check this out – Robert Redford taught Brad Pitt the secrets of photographic memory in Spyguy so I scanned through the form using Redford’s tips and remember the following

  • Name (both first and last were combined into one field)
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Address

On the right they had:

  • The type of printer I have
  • And 2 other fields that I am struggling to remember now

Not bad ha!

Now here’s the thing: That lady (I must say she was the kindest person I’ve met at a checkout of a store selling tech stuff), who I think was the store owner, just did not understand the importance of capturing as much detail as she could in that form. Someone must have told them that its important to know the things in the form, hence the fields set out in the order that they were.But sadly enough the lady just didn’t get the importance of such a thing.

More so, I am purchasing something that does not work if I dont have a computer – and if I have a computer, you can almost guarantee 100% that I also have internet – which means I also have an email address…but she does not have my email address though…I’m sad for you InkWorks 😦

Now on the right hand side of the form, they asked for “Which printer I had” – well of course they would. But are they using this information in any constructive way?

They know the date I refilled my cartridge. Given that they know how long it lasts, all they need is to find out whether or not I am a heavy user, moderate user or I hardly ever use color for printing; that way they’d know when next to send me a promo offer to refill – how hard do you think is that?

They also could have known which type of printer I have, so if they ever ran a promo in conjunction with the Computer Store outside the mall, they could approach me to make a purchase – I dont know…think of so many different things InkWorks could do if only they had the information.

I get frustrated with companies like these ones – they’re brilliant at what they do. Lovely people, great product, brilliant service – but poor marketing and presence of mind. Sorry guys, the world around you is changing, people are getting more and more online savvy – you need to use every opportunity you can to increase the lifetime value of a customer – LTV is GOLD InkWorks – I wish you were great at using marketing tools like email marketing and online surveys – then you’d become the number one printer cartridge refill company in New Zealand.

Another Plug: Email me if you need help in this area… 🙂

Wisdom of the crowd – democracy of social networks

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Google Rocks!

I know the title of this post is a mouthful, but I was struggling to actually come up with a title that justly headlines the content of this post. I need to warn you that this is by far the most technical post I’ve ever made on my blog. I must admit, I have my reservations about this particular post. I don’t expect this to be the bumper hit like my Tips for Social Networking post last month that attracted 17,000 views within 3 hours of posting. Anyway, it’s worth a try – don’t you reckon?

Well! This post is about introducing you to a mathematical beauty that has been known to science pretty much since the days of binary. I’ll spare you the jargonificaiton – what I’m trying to get at is the mathematical explaination behind the growth of companies like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, You Tube and LinkedIn.

It’s called the Viral Expansion Loop, something I remember studying in my Math majoring days but only recently the concept was reignited by a business contact Dave Wild, from Smith & Wild who passed me a couple of articles on Forbes and Fast Company. Dave, this post is because of you – You’ve reignited my passion in this area even though it has been inside my head all this while, albeit dormant.

Now the Viral Expansion Loop (VEL) is not the same as Viral Marketing – quite different actually, both in concept and delivery. Viral Expantion Loop is what explains how a variant of the flu virus turns from an “interesting mutation” to an epidemic and then progresses along to become a pandemic. Read the rest of this entry »