Aside

Marry Sony? I think not.

Sony loves me. It’s true. They recently found my email address and invited me to become a Sony Brand Ambassador. You can imagine how thrilled I was.
Then the questions began. But I thought, well, they love me, OK, I’ll answer. Do you enjoy the outdoors as much as you enjoy the latest and greatest technology? Are you always on the go, slowing down only to take pictures? It seemed innocuous enough, and if you’re getting married you’ve got to answer a few questions.
They did a relatively decent job of targeting me and attempting to get feedback. But when the full questionnaire arrived in my inbox, it put a chill on our relationship. (We don’t do that to our client’s customers–why didn’t you make it personal and call me, Sony?) I’ll admit they made it attractive with lots of free stuff–a Sony GPS (looks like a salt shaker), a digital camera, plus a net-sharing video cam, a carrying case and the offer of cash (like that!) and Sony-branded apparel (umm–not so much).
More than eight screens of personal information later, I found out Sony needed to know my household income, if I’d been convicted of a felony, if I’m signed up for races, whether I blog or not, and my vacation plans. Oh, and my personal favorite–that small question of needing to attend a training session. Not Web-based, but on-site and up to thirty miles away. I should have known better, but this was before the Apple store opened in Los Gatos. I thought I was special–a smarter-than-the-average-bear influencer. The realization that Sony viewed me as just another plain-Jane customer–and a one product fling at that–was humbling. It’s taken me time and some therapy, but I’m getting over it.
My suggestions, Sony? Nix on the training–that’s what the Web is for and you made me feel like I was back in the third grade being corrected by Mrs. Booth. Cut the sheer volume of questions–you’re worse than the TSA. Ask about something less offensive than felonies and your structured marketing outreach to hundreds of my closest personal friends.
But, Sony–if you’re reading this? I still want in. And while I’m at it, can I fix your influencer program to get it right. You’re offending potential top customers with your approach. We’ve done this for a bunch of folks and we know how to do it so it ends up garnering you more goodwill, not less. More market momentum, more viral marketing, more free vertical penetration–but you gotta change your tune. Willing? So am I.

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