Marketing guru Seth Godin likes to talk about being remarkable. He loves to show purple cows and the value of standing out from the crowd. I’ve found that in today’s social media world you don’t have to be as outlandish as a purple cow. You just need to differentiate from the pack.
As a PR person I recently needed the assistance of a major wire service. For several months now Jon Stephenson of Marketwire has kept in touch with me. He followed me from my last job at a tech firm into my new world of PR entrepreneurship. He was a salesman who had sold me nothing but had kept in touch occasionally for more than a year. Then it was time for me to use a wire service. At first I turned to the “tried and true” standard; The Big-Kid-on-the-Block whom I had used several times before in my previous job. But a few things happened. When I called the Big Kid their account rep. continually interrupted me on the phone. Then their news department told me I couldn’t run the release the way my client wanted it. In frustration I turned back to Jon. And somewhere in the course of all this Jon subtly and quietly began following me on twitter. It was a deal clincher. It was today’s equivalent of showing up at Starbucks at 10:30 because you know your client often goes there. He reached out to me in the place I like to frequent and he was providing useful PR information to his followers.
Jon stood out in a field of brown cows for just being himself. He didn’t argue with me, he didn’t interrupt me and working with his L.A.-based newsroom editor was a delight. Did Marketwire get my business? Yes. Was my client pleased with the work? Yes. Will I use Jon’s company again? Definitely! Perhaps Seth would call this a purple cow story. I just call it old fashioned customer service in a new, social media world.