See Andy's other stuff:

RSS Feed

Follow Andy

Contact Me >>

Newsletter #1028: The “Lessons from Employers” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Like marketers, employers have to get creative to stand out from the competition, offer something worth talking about, and share the human side of their company.

Here’s how employers from Sears, Amazon, and Intel are doing it:

1. Be nice to your competition’s upset customers
2. Make a big statement
3. Tell a great story
4. Check it out: Common Mythconceptions

1. Be nice to your competition’s upset customers

Target’s having a tough time in Canada, and they’re closing a lot of their stores. That means a lot of Canadians are losing jobs. So to help, Sears Canada is offering Target employees the same discounts their workers get at Sears. They’re also encouraging the people who got laid off to apply for a job with them.

The lesson: That’s not just smart for recruiting new employees from Target’s recently unemployed. It also makes Sears look good in front of Target Canada’s newly displaced customers.

Learn more: The Wall Street Journal

2. Make a big statement

Each year, Amazon offers their warehouse employees up to $5,000 to quit their jobs. But it isn’t a layoff — it’s an opportunity to evaluate if they want to stick around. Amazon doesn’t necessarily want their employees to quit, but in the long run, if they don’t want to be there, it’s not good for the company anyway. And as it turns out, fewer than 10 percent of the employees who were offered the deal took it last year.

The lesson: A big offer like that says a lot about the kind of workplace Amazon wants to build. It also shows their customers they want things to be done right in the long term even if it costs them some money in the short term.

Learn more: CNN

3. Tell a great story

“If you tried to call Karthik Natarajan on his smartphone in his lab in Oregon, you simply would never get through. Ever, period. Karthik might as well be smiling at us from the dark side of the Moon.” That’s the beginning to a post on Intel’s corporate blog titled, “Where I Work: Cone of silence” (and it’s a good read). It explains in detail what goes on inside their RF Testing Lab, Karthik’s daily routine, and what he does for Intel products. That’s not just an employee bio on their “About Us” page, and it’s not just a quick description on a job posting — it’s a well-written, interesting story about a real Intel employee.

The lesson: Unless you’re already a part of the industry, it’s not easy to understand the work that goes on behind a big tech company like Intel. Great stories like these help put a human face to the work and give people a relatable, repeatable story to tell a friend.

Learn more: Intel’s Blog

4. Check it out: Common Mythconceptions

Good news: Swallowed gum doesn’t take seven years to digest, and it’s OK to swim right after you eat. Learn more about these myths — plus why you can safely wake up a sleepwalker — in this infographic from Information is Beautiful.

Check it out: Common Mythconceptions

Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.


  1. Paul March 17, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

    Hi Andy! I’m halfway through your book, and it was fun finding your blog for the first time. I am working on my story-telling process right now. If I don’t have an excellent real story to share, can I make up a story involving my ideal customer as the main character who runs into the main problem I’m trying to solve and uses my service as the solution to fix it? Maybe this will hold me over until I have a story to share from a real customer?

  2. Jeff April 15, 2015 at 12:29 am #

    Hey there!

    Great post, lots of great points. I am curious about your second point (Amazon). Couldn’t the $5k bonus offer just contribute to the revolving door they usually have at their fulfillment centers? We have one in town and I know a few dozen people who work there. The overall consensus is that they sort of take care of their employees, but they certainly drive a hard bargain, and turnover is very high. What if it’s just a PR stunt? It could also lower the unemployment insurance premiums the company pays as well.

    However, it’s also an opportunity for someone working a job they hate to truly go find something they are passionate about doing!

Get My Newsletter!

Subscribe to Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! for a weekly email full of unusually useful ideas for smart marketers. Great marketing is about brains, not bucks. The best business ideas are easy to do, inexpensive, and fun. Learn to simplify your business, earn word of mouth, and thrill your customers:

Never display this again