The Bigger They Are...


It shouldn’t have been a surprise, really.

The local Blockbuster shut down last week. Online rental, video streaming, and movie on demand dominate the brick and mortar video industry. And, although I’m sure all of these in-home options played a part in the demise of our local Blockbuster, there was another factor involved here. In our little central Texas town “going out to rent a movie” is considered “Entertainment.” So I think what really took this big boy down was the little kiosk called Redbox. It’s convenient, it’s cheap, and you still get to leave the house to choose your movie. Never mind the fact that browsing takes place on a video screen. Hey, I told you it’s a small town. We’re easily entertained.

Twelve years earlier Blockbuster moved into our town and ran almost all of the mom-and-pop video rental stores out of business. Ironic that this giant was brought down by a little red kiosk with a footprint the size of a phone booth.

Did Blockbuster see Redbox coming? Or were they scanning the horizon for a bigger predator competitor? What about your business? It’s not always the big-boxes and the mega-retailers you have to worry about. Sometimes competition comes in a small package.

Just ask Goliath.

If this room's a rockin'...

Do_not_disturb Embassy Suites adds another layer to its Personal Experience Factor by inviting guests to participate in a competition to design the hotel chain’s next series of Do Not Disturb signs. The current DND door hanger – “There’s a good reason for you not to knock right now” – is so popular that guests take them home, which is fine by Embassy Suite’s, John Lee. Of course it is. Guests are taking home a piece of their experience that reminds them of how much fun they had during their stay.

It’s called “interactive marketing” and it brings at least four things to the party:

1. Engages customers in the personal experience and creates in them a sense of ownership in your business.
2. Extends the experience beyond the primary transaction. To enter the contest, simply go to our Web site….
3. Encourages word-of-mouth – like it’s doing right now. Did you hear about the contest Embassy Suites has going on….?
4. Embellishes your brand by personalizing the company. (Like the "I'm a Mac" commercials)

Take note. Interactive marketing isn’t just about designing gimmicky contests for your customers. It’s about inviting people to participate in your business success by connecting in an innovative and emotional way.