Why cash is priceless

We have recurring incidents at work were we have to ‘hot’ a Membercard (this is a plastic card similar to a bank card that has a PIN that you use to access funds at an ATM or use on the Interac network to buy something). To ‘hot’ a card means to take away the card’s ability to transact any business. It won’t work anymore.
There are a number of reasons why a financial institution (FI) would do this. One is that there is reason to believe the card has been compromised, which means someone other than yourself has access to your account by means of a fake card. Given that this happens, the most secure means of transacting business is cash. Cash. $$$.
Simply put, withdraw your money at the FI from your favourite teller and pay for everything in cash. Simple, cheap, anonymous and secure. But for most, not convenient. Remember every-time you use your card an electronic record is created. That means there is a cost to do this either for you and/or the merchant. It also means that what you have done is not ‘anonymous’.
Using the plastic has a price. Using cash keeps everything you want in your domain. With cash your privacy remains priceless.

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In your face

Trey Reeme wrote me after posting a comment on Open Source CU. It got me to thinking about what a blog is and what it does especially as it applies to people and businesses. Someone once told me that small credit unions are a conscience for larger credit unions. We have this symbiotic relationship. As organizations grow larger it is apparent that their social conscience diminishes, not out of choice but because their size creates difficulties if not impossibilities on trying to maintain a focused and understood social conscience. That coupled with the new realization that marketing/PR is not appreciated when it is shoved in your face without any regard to who you are or what you think. It’s like most advertising in in ‘black and white’, absolute, with the agenda to BUY. We have changed. Blogs and the internet have begun a very different dialogue between the buyer and the seller -there should be an E-bay rating for all companies.

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This difference produces marketing/PR that is in colour with every hue available. You have to now prove what you state and you don’t get a second chance. You could call it coloured no chance marketing. Because if you are wrong, or if an employee takes a stance that is at odds with what you are trying to idealize and that party that you offended understands blogging then watch out. From their small network someone has started pulling the thread and everything your business has done begins to unravel.

Does it mean much? Absolutely. It is the lethal injection to the word of mouth buzz that is critical. It is permanent. What is posted on the internet is like something written on stone tablets. Pretty tough to erase and there for the world to see for a long time.

Punk Marketing

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This book is one of the most interesting you will read about marketing. Punk Marketing by Richard Laermer and Mark Simmons. From the very beginning they begin to make statements that you thought about but were too kind to say. Advertising agencies being ‘brand guardians’. Now there is a concept that needs no explanation. They discuss that TV is not the end all it once was. And that the shift in power to consumers (internet, blogs, wikis) is here and we had better take notice (those of us that are selling in the marketplace).

For example Daren Barefoot’s blog on Vancity has now moved into another realm, opensourcecu.com. And where are they? A small company in Piano, Texas just north of Dallas. That is what is happening and it is happening now. They go into pretty much the state of advertising as we are seeing it. There is very little historical information as they put what happened yesterday in context of why it doesn’t really work today. One of the best lines was on page 179 when it was talking about spending ‘Punk Marketers know that not having as much money means you think more than you spend‘. I picked it up at the airport and quickly finnished it. Now it is in the mail to our ad agency Currency. I am waiting for a long lunch discussion!