“Elite Status”: Are Your Customers Achieving It?

Did you ever notice that after investing a bit more to upgrade a feature or service level for something, it becomes difficult to go back to the prior experience without feeling a sense of disappointment? I remember the first time I purchased a car with a leather interior. It made it hard to imagine going back to fabric seats. Have you ever upgraded to first class on an airline? I never have, but, I’m guessing it would be a similar experience. Once you enjoy that extra leg space and enhanced service from flight attendants, you would miss it every time you had to fly coach. It’s funny how quickly we can get used to “the finer things” and it can be hard to give up life’s luxuries once we have them. Recently, I might have had the most dramatic of these “upgrade” experiences, at of all places, a baseball game.

Time to Play Ball!

Like my friend Beth, I love having a local MLB team here in D.C., and I truly enjoy going to see our Washington Nationals play. I’m happy with any seat in the park really, as long as the weather is decent and I can grab a hot dog and a cold drink. Just being able to take a few hours to relax and enjoy “America’s National Pastime” is a wonderful experience to me. This simple pleasure was disrupted recently when I was invited to attend a game with access to the “Delta Sky360 Club (formerly President’s Club)” right behind home plate. What was this? All you can eat hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts and drinks? And not just standard ballpark fare – they also served amazing specialty food which was delivered right to your seat. The view of the field? Just perfect. I was in baseball heaven!

The “D.C. Elite”

According to the Nationals’ website, the club is described as “an exclusive venue behind home plate that caters to Washington D.C.’s elite”. Apparently, I had now attained “elite status” while going to a baseball game. Unbelievable! How could I ever go back to “regular seats”? It truly was a special experience and I am now feeling a bit spoiled. The next time I go to a game, I will desire this same level of service, high quality food, and the home plate view. It’s amazing how quickly our expectations change. Unfortunately, my bank account will NOT allow this to happen again anytime soon, so it will be “back to the bleachers” for me. I’m getting ready for that feeling of enormous disappointment!

What Level of Service Do You Provide?

All of this made me think – I wonder if our customers would feel the same way if they decided to move their business from us to deal with just a “regular vendor”. Would they notice such a steep drop off in quality or service level that they would be overwhelmed by their sense of disappointment? I hope so. We should strive to provide such a world-class experience for our clients that they feel like they’ve reached “elite status” when working with us. We must remember what it means to be a true “partner” when we collaborate with professionals. If we deliver on this standard, the expectations will be such that the thought of taking business away from our company, even if it might save money, would be very difficult indeed. Let’s strive to deliver on our promises, provide exceptional service levels, and cater to our clients as if they are “Washington, D.C.’s elite”!

Mike Petrusky Profile PicMike Petrusky is an Account Executive for Kayrell Solutions.  He has been offering marketing products, services and solutions to clients for over twenty years. You can follow him @MikePetrusky on Twitter.


Be Sure to Choose the Right Kind of “Pride”

“I’m so proud!”

I’ve often wondered about the meaning of “pride” and the fact that “being proud” can either be a very positive characteristic or a truly negative quality in people, depending on context. My daughter just graduated from college, and of course, I told the world how “proud” I was of her accomplishment. But, wait a minute. I have also always taught my children to be humble and never too “proud” in the way they carry or think of themselves. A deeper dive into the definition of the word helps explain and clarify my conflicting feelings whenever I use this word or see it applied to others.

Dictionaries Have The Answer

The first definition I came across fits those positive thoughts I wanted to share about my daughter: “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements [or] the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated.” Good deal. Nothing wrong with that, right? It was the second definition of “pride” that jumped out to me and always leads to some discomfort when using the word: “the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance”. There’s the one that worries me. Synonyms for this are “haughtiness” or “arrogance”. Yikes! Those would be tough to handle if anyone applied them to our character. Most of us would not think of ourselves as “prideful” in that negative way, but we need to be careful when our behaviors project that type of meaning, even if unintentionally.

King of (The Office) Jungle?

In business, when we are unwilling to give colleagues credit, show patience during a conflict, or celebrate the success of others, it might be a sign that the bad “pride” has crept in to our character. Therefore, we need stay guarded against being too sensitive or allowing work stresses to affect us personally. We must also be able to poke fun at ourselves, take risks, and even deal with the potentially embarrassing consequences when our idea or initiative does not work out the way we planned. If we cannot laugh at ourselves, we might be afraid to make a new business connection, try that new marketing idea, or proactively help another person who is counting on us. I guess the bottom line is that we must be willing to “swallow our pride” to do great things.

A Final Warning

All this said, I took another look at the dictionary and there is still yet ANOTHER use of the word “pride” that we REALLY must be careful to avoid: “a group of lions forming a social unit”. Now, there’s the one we need to be a little nervous about! So, choose to be humble…and watch out for the dangers of (the) “pride”.

Mike Petrusky Profile PicMike Petrusky is an Account Executive for Kayrell Solutions.  He has been offering marketing products, services and solutions to clients for over twenty years. You can follow him @MikePetrusky on Twitter.


For Business & Marketing Success, Beware of “The Default Setting”

What is “The Default Setting”?

At this point in your career, you have certainly been encouraged to “think outside the box” at one time or another. This catchphrase for creative thinking is so universal, it is now considered a cliché. Still, I like the concept because it challenges us to look at business in a different way and compels us to stay relevant in today’s ever-changing marketplace. The enemy of innovation is our subconscious belief that we should not deviate too far outside of our comfort zone and this thought process is keeping us from achieving our marketing goals. “The Default Setting” is where our minds take us when we are thinking about doing something new, proactive, and potentially great. Fear, resistance, and imaginary negative consequences cloud our thoughts, erode our confidence, and prevent us from taking that leap towards success.

No risk, no reward

Taking a risk and putting ourselves out there is an absolute requirement if we are to move our businesses forward. Sometimes we have to “Just Do It” and break through whatever is holding us back, which is often rooted in a fear of rejection. The key to overcoming this fear is to put your selfish agenda to the side, offer something of real value, and advance the goals of your customer. To do this, you must first understand your industry and truly know what an organization’s specific needs are before you attempt to insert yourself into a customer’s world.

Be a subject matter expert

I’m a big believer in “disrupting the status quo” and “challenging the market“, but you must do the work in advance to really get to know your prospect and understand their business challenge, sometimes even more than they may recognize it themselves. Only after you have fine-tuned your craft, equipped yourself by working incredibly hard, and earned your reputation as an industry-leader will you be ready to move beyond “The Default Setting” and deliver your unique solution to the marketplace.


Mike Petrusky Profile PicMike Petrusky is an Account Executive for Kayrell Solutions.  He has been offering marketing products, services and solutions to clients for over twenty years. You can follow him @MikePetrusky on Twitter.


Integrated Marketing Success Takes Consistency and Patience

I meet many marketers who are frustrated by an inability to connect with their target audience in today’s cluttered culture. Communicating a business message is more difficult than ever, with customers experiencing distractions in the workplace, ever-increasing demands on time, and a rapid shortening of attention spans.

Multichannel Marketing

The key to success is a marketing strategy that emphasizes multiple channels and contact points with the delivery of a consistent brand message over a longer period of time.  In the past, the goal was to “disrupt” the customer and break through with a marketing offer, but now, we must educate and provide valuable content that can be leveraged by the buyer to help achieve their individual goals. When your customer has a problem and they decide to tap their trusted resources for the solution, will they remember and seek to find you?

The Challenge We Must Face

Are you using highly personalized messages that communicate specific details of a niche problem and offer a solution for that need?  Are you building trust and demonstrating your expertise by giving away information that helps your customer meet their goals? Are you volunteering your time and working along side the decision-makers you want to reach, developing personal relationships while growing a positive reputation in the community you hope to serve?

There is no single answer to getting your message through to customers.  A sensible mix of both new and traditional media channels must be deployed to effectively communicate your brand and deliver your unique offering to the marketplace.

Mike Petrusky Profile PicMike Petrusky is an Account Executive for Kayrell Solutions.  He has been offering marketing products, services and solutions to clients for over twenty years. You can follow him @MikePetrusky on Twitter.