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#4.20: The “Customers Customizing Issue” Issue

The “Customers Customizing Issue” Issue

1> This One Takes The Cake
2> Everybody Wants To Be A DJ
3> Get Your Own Personal Editor
4> Check It Out: Are You A Geek?

1> This One Takes The Cake

What’s the perfect cheesecake? Plain, chocolate — or covered with nuts, marshmallows, fruit, and sprinkles? The legendary Eli’s Cheesecakes has a flash-animated create-a-cake engine that lets you create a completely customized cake, with the toppings and ingredients of your choice. You can add a personalized message and check out within minutes. It’s a smooth piece of software that makes ordering a smooth cheesecake a real pleasure. And in the end, it’s really just a fancy flash interface on a standard order form.

THE LESSON: Next time your webmaster wants to create a useless flash animation, insist that he use his talents to make customers happy and increase sales.

MORE INFO:
http://www.elicheesecake.com/

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Please send cheesecakes direct to Andy Sernovitz, c/o GasPedal, 56 W. 22nd Street, NY, NY 10010]

2> Everybody Wants To Be A DJ

And everyone thinks they have good taste in music. Live 365 combines web hosting with music streaming to create a dream-come-true for the wannabe DJ in all of us. For as little as 8 bucks a month, you can broadcast your own streamed radio station. They take care of all legal issues and royalties, so you’re broadcasting safe and secure, without risking a subpoena from the recording industry. By managing the highly complex legalese in a very popular area, the company creates its own market. They keep customers by making it safer and easier than doing it yourself. It’s a much more interesting business than if they just broadcast their own music. And every customer becomes an instant online promoter of the service.

THE LESSON: Maybe your lawyers are useful after all. You may make more money using your assets to help customers serve themselves than by doing it yourself.

MORE INFO:
http://www.live365.com

3> Get Your Own Personal Editor

How can you get customers to pay you for a product that all your competitors are giving away for free? Offer to help them sort out valuable content from a generic mess of information. There are plenty of sources of news online. And they all have pretty much the same stories to offer. But the New York Times has a “News Tracker” service that promises to send well-chosen stories on specific topics directly to its readers by email. The hook that gets readers to pay an extra $20/month for a service that everyone else offers for free? The “unrivaled judgments” of the famed Times editors who will send only “the most essential” developments.

THE LESSON: Sometimes customers don’t want to make their own choices. Simplify their lives and they’ll come to rely on your advice.

MORE INFO:
https://query.nytimes.com/mem/tntsell.html

4> Check It Out: Are You A Geek?

Ready for some geek-on-geek combat? Take the Geek Test to see if you can make it to the big leagues.

CHECK IT OUT:
http://www.innergeek.us/geek.html

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