The last few days, I had an interaction with a company that really impressed me.
I was looking for a couple of basic managed network switches for a small project. Essentially, I wanted basic enterprise switch functionality on a shoe string budget. I emailed a friend (Jason B.) who does a lot more Cisco work than I do and he suggested I take a look at the Cisco 3750E series. He event sent me the link below:
I took a quick look and this switch seemed appropriate. I was about to go out of town, so I moved on to other things without placing the order. I figured I’d order them when I got back in town.
For the next few days I started seeing ads for this exact switch on what seemed like everywhere I went online. I run a couple of ab blockers so I only see ads on pages that have convinced me to turn them off or in applications where my ad blockers are not effective. However, suddenly that little Cisco 3750E seemed like it was chasing me all over the internet. Open Skype – boom – Cables and Kits Cisco 3750E ad. Open a web page where my ad blockers were off – boom – more ads just like the one below.
I understand at a technical level exactly how this works. However, I don’t think I have ever been so well targeted all the way down to the specific product level in my life. These were not generic Cables and Kits ads, or ads for generic Cisco gear – these were ads reminding me to go buy the exact switch I had looked at. To make this even more impressive – this is not a new switch – they don’t have thousands of these – when I first looked, they had three in stock.
After a few days of this, I was feeling a bit snarky. So, I tweeted this:
We had some good back and forth, and @cablesandkits mentioned they would be sending me a small gift. I figured I’d get a sticker etc. Yawn.
So, I go away on my trip and essentially forget about all of this. Then I come home one day and there are two boxes from Cables and Kits waiting for me. They actually sent me the switch, a bunch of great Cables and Kits swag and a handwritten note personally signed by 15+ team members! How awesome is that! I was totally blown away.
The Cables and Kits Digital Marketing folks are doing an awesome job. I’m a busy guy. Most of us who work in I.T. are. It’s very hard for a sales / marketing message to pop out above the noise. Cables and Kits took one short visit to their site and transformed it into an experience that really got my attention. It’s a bit ironic that awesome ad targeting led to what was ultimately a very human interaction. The Cables and Kits folks did a great job with both methods of interaction.
- More than anything else, your reputation matters. Without my friend having previously had positive interactions with Cables and Kits, he would have never sent me that link in the first place. If Jason B. said this switch was a good fit for my needs, and that Cables and Kits was a good place to get it, that was good enough for me.
- Each interaction with a client, or potential client matters. Cables and Kits took the tiny bit of data they got when I clicked that link, and they used it diligently. When they had the opportunity to have a deeper interaction through Twitter, they were paying attention and took advantage of it. They then chose to ramp things up and interact on a more personal level.
- A culture where you can do cool / non-standard stuff matters. Over the years, I’ve bought and recommended literally tons of Dell gear. If my poor Dell rep wanted to send me a hat and a mouse pad, I seriously don’t think he could get it done. Cables and Kits must have a corporate culture that empowers and encourages people to do this sort of thing.
- The impact of interactions like this are real, and measurable. Do you think I’ll buy from Cables and Kits in the future? Do you think I’ll recommend Cables and Kits to my clients and friends? Absolutely!
Hats off to the fine folks at Cables and Kits, for the switch, the swag, and the reminder of the infinite value of awesome interactions.