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When your customers are crying out to be heard

I saw a gadget at the local coffee shop called the "Toddy Cafe".  It’s supposedly a revolutionary new system for brewing coffee that was simple, tastes better, less acidic, etc.  I was intrigued. And it was only $30.

But I couldn’t figure out how it works from reading the box. Most prospects would have walked away at this point.

So I went to the web site, and couldn’t figure out how it works. There isn’t a single link to "instructions".  But I found button on the home page called "Cold Brew System".  Most prospects would have walked away at this point.

Following the link, on the SEVENTH PARAGRAPH, is a link to instructions.  Most prospects would have missed this and walked away.

I clicked that link and got dense-packed pages of text, and one useless photo.  Most prosects would have walked away at this point. I did.

Toddy Cafe’s weak web site is brand suicide.

On a whim, I went to Amazon.  You wouldn’t believe what I found:  5 reviews each posting detailed, step-by-step instructions.  Their users are love them so much that they are writing instructions for them.  Because the company has failed to do their job (and failed to provide an outlet for consumer feedback), those diehard fans are using any outlet they can find.


  1. Only two things matter when we’re thinking about trying an unknown product: How it works, and what other people think. Rip down the web site and replace it with just instructions and testimonials. (It’ll take 1 week and $5000. Call me, I know a guy.)
  2. Passionate consumers are a rare and valuable consumer asset. You have them (and they are going to Amazon because you’ve ignored them).  Embrace and empower them.
  3. Visuals are powerful — and viral.  Create a 5 minute how-to video.  Do it today, with a cheap camcorder, and throw it on YouTube.  No fancy production needed. Give your fans something to forward to their friends.

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  1. Kent Blumberg July 22, 2007 at 9:26 pm #

    Forget one week and $5000 – just set up a blog with the instructions and testimonials on permanent pages, and then start talking with those passionate customers. Maybe $50 and 1 day.

  2. Maddy July 22, 2007 at 9:30 pm #

    I hope the company takes your advice. However, that would probably mean that they had a GoogleAlert set up to notify them when the brand name pops up.
    What a shame.

  3. George Silverman July 26, 2007 at 9:35 pm #

    Great post. I used a cold coffeemaker, I believe the Toddy, more that 30 years ago. Found that it made coffee that was too weak and a bit flat.
    I found a great coffeemaker and posted about it last November:
    There sure are a lot of word-of-mouth lessons to be learned from the world of coffee!

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