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My Hush Puppy Customer Service Story

I have an interesting story about shoes that might not be indicative of blogging about marketing ideas, but certainly is about customer service and pride of product. 

For the longest time, I have been in love with Hush Puppy dress shoes. I wear them almost day and night and despite loving the product so much almost dropped buying the product all together because of a bad experience.When I bought my last pair of Hush Puppies about a year before my problem occurred in 2004, I told everyone. It was their most expensive shoe and I was ecstatic with their new technology, which put a cushion of air under your heel. I talked about them on the plane, at seminars, to family and friends…to absolutely everyone. They looked good and felt even better. I gave Hush Puppies so much free advertising some might have accused me of being on their payroll, I assure you I wasn’t and am not currently.

A little over a year after buying the shoes, I one day realized…hey, my feet aren’t so comfy anymore. I took off my shoe and took a look inside. In both shoes, the air cushion had collapsed and a crater had developed under each heel. I’m hard on my shoes but not that hard, and I’m not even a heavy guy. So, I was disappointed but figured it wouldn’t be a problem, just take them back and get a new pair…right? Not that easy after all.The store indicated that they only can return Hush Puppy product with in one year of purchase and you must produce a receipt, which was OK as I still had it. Strike one. I figured OK, if I contact Hush Puppies directly, they would surely recognize a manufacturing default and pony up a new pair of Puppies. Nope…after contacting Customer Service via email their response was simply to shrug me off stating that they only provide a one-year warranty on all their products. In other words, we don’t care that their may be a manufacturing default and you are out of luck. I guess some people may have stopped trying at this point, but I wanted my Puppies repaired or replaced, and I wasn’t taking no for an answer.In the mean time, I had purchased a new pair of stylish, yet comfortable jet black, slide on Rockports. They were surprisingly comfortable, but not my dear Hush Puppies. With the shoebox that my new Rockports came in, I boxed up my old Hush Puppies and shipped them to the office of the CEO of Hush Puppies, with a letter letting them know how I felt.

One of two things is going though your mind. He’s crazy … well, just a little, or brilliant. I really don’t think either are holey appropriate. The fact is Hush Puppies had a choice, they can either stand behind their product or they can leave their customer hanging, in a highly competitive market.

What did they do?

About three weeks after sending my shoes off, at the whopping cost of about eight bucks, my wife received a call from the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Hush Puppies. I happened to be on a business trip at the time but Tanya indicated that she knew why they were calling. The lady politely asked Tanya if she thought Lee would mind waiting about a month, until their new line of shoes came out, and they would ship me a brand new pair. Whoo…hooo…success! Tanya said that would be fine and that she would pass on the message to me. Tanya called me pretty much immediately after getting off the phone, as to date we have had quite a few laughs over the Hush Puppy incident.

I was elated that in the end I succeeded at achieving my goal, but was still upset that it took such great lengths to get satisfaction. This was not a case of a miser seeking a freebie, as I always believe in paying fair prices for quality; their product obviously had an “alleged” manufacturing default. Maybe it was limited to all the shoes produced on New Years Eve, who knows and who really cares.

The morale of the story is stand behind your product or service and your loyal customers will take care of you. If you don’t, they will abandon you faster than you did them.


No Job is Too Small

It doesn’t matter if you are a marketer, a plumber or an actor, if you advertise your services as being no job is too small for your undivided attention, then that’s what you need to live up to.  It’s a great way to make every customer feel important, of course, only if you can and will dutifully follow through on your promises. 

Regardless of your market there is money to be made in small jobs, or what some might call micro sales. You just have to figure out how to keep your promises and be profitable at the same time.  

Amazon has figured this out with the Artificial Artificial Intelligence (that’s not a typo), where people are profiting from services completed for as little as .05 cents. It’s called Amazon Mechanical Turk If your business is online you’ll immediately see the value of this service!

Why can’t the local handyman who advertises ‘No Job is Too Small’ do the same?

The Marketing PDF

The Marketing PDF

 So what is The Marketing PDF?

This one page PDF is the fastest way to a better marketing strategy. In less than ten minutes, and in only 3 steps, you will zero in on YOUR greatest marketing proposition, drop many bad marketing habits and immediately create a high level actionable marketing strategy that will propel you or your business forward for years to come.

Why did I create The Marketing PDF?

Quite simply, I was working on a  project that I needed to quickly zero in on the offer and marketing strategy. The other templates I had been using were just too cumbersome, old and were slowing me down. So I created a new one.

Favor to ask?

I have put this out for anyone and everyone to use, and I honestly expect nothing in return, other than if you do make use of The Marketing PDF please take the time to come back and comment.

Please feel free to share this PDF with anyone who may get use out of it. If you enjoyed this post or any other please take a moment and sign-up to receive blog updates one a week.

Click Here to Download the PDF: The Marketing PDF

Your Marketing Entourage

I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of the TV show Entourage, but the friends I bounce my marketing ideas off of totally are. From here on in we will refer to these fellow marketing freaks as ‘My Marketing Entourage.’ 

Who’s part of your entourage? Who do you bounce ideas off? 

On my BlackBerry I have in constant rotation over 100 notes for crazy marketing ideas that I pull out when needed. But prior to implementing anything, I run them by ‘My Marketing Entourage’. More often than not I get negative feedback, and less often hear, “That’s a keeper!” Mixed in with the negative and positive, I always hear nuggets of information, and variations of my original ideas that in my wildest dream I never would have thought of! 

Your ‘Marketing Entourage’ makes you better, makes you smarter and ultimately pumps you up when you are down. 

If you read my blog regularly you are de facto a part of ‘My Marketing Entourage’! If you are stuck, you are down, need an honest opinion or just want to run an idea by another professional… shoot me an email or post a comment.

Dude You’re a Bobble Head

Saw this novelty item and felt compelled to share it with you for your unique marketing consideration. Unless you’ve been locked in a closet you are already familiar with ‘Bobble Heads’. They come in all shapes, sizes and more often than not are of famous people like Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe. Well that was until a launch of a new service not so long ago that will bring Bobble Head Personalization to the masses. 

For about $80 will custom manufacture a personalized Bobble Head and deliver it straight to your door in a bout three weeks. Just submit a picture, short description, and you or any one you choose can become a famous Bobble Head! 

Just think of the unique ways you could use this in your marketing efforts or for pure comedic enjoyment. Send one to your boss, send one to your x-boyfriend, to a sales prospect, to a star employee, to a bobble head employee, and last but not least get one done of yourself just for fun. 

I am in NO way connected to, other than I will be surprising people for years to come with yet another unique gift to differentiate myself from the mass market promotional material most other people choose to send. 

Bobble on, bobble on…..

Try Your Next Meeting in the Dark

A few months back, I had a very strange experience during a sales meeting. About half way through my pitch, the power to the entire building shut down.  It was so pitch black in the boardroom, I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. So I logically asked everyone if they wanted me to stop and come back next time I was in town or continue on?

Surprisingly, they wanted me to power on as a few people had pulled out their cell phones providing just enough light to make out basic shapes in the room.  I finished my pitch over the next 15 minutes filled with laughter, and then went on my merry way.

It doesn’t end there and gets stranger…

The following week when I was preparing to send the ‘Meeting in the Dark’ participants some follow up material, I though of a really cool gift I had come across before to include with their package. I sent along four eco-friendly wind up flash lights with a little note making fun of the experience. The note also said the flash lights were in case they again found themselves in a meeting in the dark.

I  though that was the end of the story, until I recently was  on another business trip in the area and happened to meet up with one of the infamous blackout participants  for  a coffee. During our meeting he told me about a week after our initial black out meeting, lightning struck a transformer that  again knocked out the power to their building. Although they weren’t in a meeting at the time, they again had to use cell phones to make their way around the office. He figured he would take off early, but his assistant reminded him their was a bubble package on his desk he might want to check out first. To everyone in the offices extreme surprise when he opened the package, there were the wind-up flashlights we sent just a few days earlier. 

I couldn’t even make this stuff up if I tried.   

Walt Disney Declared Bankruptcy

Alleged Fact: In 1923 Walt Disney Declared Bankruptcy. 

From the bottom of my heart I believe that anything is possible and hope you do to. Maybe you need inspiration or maybe you don’t, but every once in awhile I get slightly disillusioned with my ideas or projects that fail and need to remind myself that you sometimes need to fail hundreds of times before you succeed. Sure the odd time you hit a homerun on the first pitch, but it should never be expected…. or should it? 

Is it strange to have the confidence to always expect to succeed and in the same breath the resilience and strength to accept failure? No it’s not strange, I think it’s a necessary combination for success in marketing, creating companies, relationships, and life in general. It is also a common trait of some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet. 

So here is my dose of inspiration for when it’s needed: 

Walt Disney, Frances Ford Coppola, Larry King and Donald Trump all declared bankruptcy at one point in their lives. So did 65 other famous people  Delta Airlines filed for Chapter 11 and so did Kmart…they just changed and moved on like many other high profile companies. Finally, Thomas Edison had 1093 patents for his inventions, which means he had massive failure and only hit a few major  homeruns! 

I hope that you or I will never have to experience bankruptcy or failure to the degree that Walt Disney or Donald Trump have, but at least if we do, we can rest assured we are in pretty good company. 

I leave you with two quotes. 

George Bernard Shaw: 

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing. 

Oscar Wilde: 

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

Finger Nails on a Chalk Board Marketing

So what do finger nails on a chalk board have to with marketing? 

Well, for starters it is a statement that can often create a physical response. Many people, including myself, will feel their back curl when they hear the term, and subconciously visualize and even internally hear nails painfully scratching against a dry black chalk board. Ouch! 

Creating a physical or emotional response can positively impact your marketing message. It can also have a negative effect if done improperly. Here are a few of the more effective advertising and marketing messages I have seen that use sound and imagery to drive home a physical response. Take notice if you a feel a physical response while watching these.

Canadian Work Safety Commercials (Warning this might disturb some people): 

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Baby Laughing: 


Australian Anti-Smoking TV ads: 

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Shell Ferrari Commercial: 

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If you have seen other good examples of marketing that evokes a physical response please post a comment and share.

Anything Worth Doing Should Be Hard

So when you read the title of this post you probably made a quick assumption that you were going to hear something familiar or maybe even profound. But I hope when you arrived your assumption of hearing an old adage was turned upside down. It simply amazes me how many ways you can say the same thing, but with different imagery completely change the message. Pictures can indeed say a thousand words, but only in combination with words can you ensure that every person gets the same message.

In marketing this is powerful, and almost magical when done right.  

Google Chrome Speed Test

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is officially the _______ fastest browser for Javascript!

Marketing online is about speed, and the faster your internet browser is the more you can get done. I have downloaded Google’s new browser called Chrome and tested its open speed against Internet Explorer, Safari & Firefox. I will let the numbers speak for themselves, but will add one compliment to Google Chrome in that it is very user friendly, simple, and it is a browser I would recommend to my Grandma! 

Open Browser:

Chrome 1.9 seconds

Safari  1.6 seconds

IE7 2.4 seconds

Firefox 1.8 seconds

Open Webpage

Chrome 8.1 Seconds

Safari Version 3.04 7.8 Seconds

IE7.0.6 9.8 Seconds

Firefox 7.8 seconds

For the techies who need to know see the info below:

Machine– OS Name Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium
Version 6.0.6001 Service Pack 1 Build 6001
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Manufacturer Hewlett-Packard
System Model HP Pavilion tx1000 Notebook PC
System Type X86-based PC
Processor AMD Turion(tm) 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-58, 1900 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Hewlett-Packard F.18, 20/07/2007
SMBIOS Version 2.4
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 1.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 958 MB
Available Physical Memory 266 MB
Total Virtual Memory 2.13 GB
Available Virtual Memory 1.17 GB
Page File Space 1.23 GB

Connection at Delta Hotel 

Down: 931 kbps

Up: 878 kbps

Ping 200 Miles: 161 ms