EXTRA, EXTRA March Newsletter – The Mardi Gras Edition


Greetings on Fat Tuesday. That’s the literal translation of “Mardi Gras.” Today caps the celebrations in New Orleans, the final day of revelry before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
At midnight tonight the bars close and the police will clear out the French Quarter. Another year of Mardi Gras will be in the books.
The colors in my trilogy are a direct reference to the official colors of Mardi Gras. The three colors were selected in 1892. Purple  stands for justice, Green for faith, and Gold for power.


Disney offers its best customers a little extra magic

On designated days, one of the Walt Disney World theme parks opens an hour early and two hours later. These times are called Disney’s extra magic hours. The added golden goldfish is for Disney Resort guests only.

Extra Magic Hours with Disney Characters
Extra Magic Hours with Disney Characters

Here’s a park guest interacting with Disney characters during an extra magic hour >>>

These resort guests are Disney’s best customers. They spend all their time on the property. Not only do they spend considerably more, but they stay longer and come back more often. The extra magic hours is just one of a handful of extra Disney benefits of staying on property:

  1. Skip the hassle of baggage claim! Resort Guests enjoy complimentary transportation for them and their bags between Orlando International Airport and the Disney Resort hotels, then back again at the end of their vacation.
  2. Stay close to the action. Resort guests can leverage complimentary transportation like monorails, ferryboats and motorcoaches.  As well as complimentary Theme Park parking for guests who are driving.
  3. Many shopping purchases can be delivered straight to the guests Disney Resort hotel so that you don’t miss a minute of fun!
  4. Guests have the option of having meals and snacks included with their vacation package.
  5. A variety of hotel options with extras. Hotels where you can splash down a pool slide to hotels where you can watch a movie under the stars…even hotels with Disney Character Dining.

TAKEAWAY: Disney says these little extras help guests stay close to the “heart of the magic.” How can you create special touches like Disney does? How are you making the experience memorable for your best customers? What’s Your Golden Goldfish?


I’ll be making stops this month in Atlanta, Chicago and San Diego.
March 6 – NC State / Alpha Kappa Psi (Raleigh)
March 9 / 10 – MENG Board Meeting (Chicago)
March 12 – FENG (Raleigh)
March 18 to 20 – Next Gen CX Conference (San Diego)
March 19 – MENG San Diego Keynote (La Jolla)
March 27 – TECNA CEO Retreat (Durham)
One event I’m looking forward to is Next Gen Customer Experience in San Diego. Launched in 2011, Next Gen brings together senior level customer experience executives across all industries to discuss the latest CX strategies across all channels and touch points. I’ll be moderating a panel on NPS on 3/20 at the event.

B2B Examples

Without exception, every time I speak about the Purple Goldfish I’m asked, “So – what if I work in B2B. How does it translate?”
The same principles apply. Here is a slideshare with some of the best B2B examples:


Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here’s a fun recap of the Oscars. Straight from the Triangle, it’s from the same folks who brought you “My Christmas Jammies“:

Oscars with the Holderness Family - #dayaftervideo
Oscars with the Holderness Family – #dayaftervideo

EXTRA, EXTRA February Newsletter: The Super Groundhog Day Edition

super groundhog day edition

Today is a two-fer. It’s Super Bowl Sunday and Groundhog Day.

Greetings from arctic North Carolina. We’re on the heels of Snowmaggedon 2014. Unfortunately, it has become a harbinger of Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction.

No early spring according to our Groundhog and his shadow. Prepare for six more weeks of winter.


3 Ways to Create Raving Fans Like the Seattle Seahawks

Are your customers giving you a 12th MAN Advantage?

BahyTP1IAAARFHZLast December the Seattle Seahawks broke the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd noise at 137.6 decibels. To put that sound into perspective, that level of noise rivals a jet engine. According to Popular Mechanics, it’s even louder than the 120-decibel implosion that took down the Seahawks former home, the Kingdome back in 2000.

These fans personify the term “raving.” The sound is legendary, so loud that it’s seismic. The cheering of the fans supposedly sparked a few mini-earthquakes.

century link-fieldHas this translated to success for the Seahawks? Absolutely. The team has lost only once over the past two seasons at CenturyLink Field. Many attribute this stellar home record to the “12th MAN” advantage.

How crazy are the Seattle fans? One fan named Tim Collins got a tattoo back in August celebrating the team winning tomorrow’s Super Bowl. Look for Collins today during the game. Doritos spotted him a couple tickets and a VIP trip to New York.

space needle #12Is there something in the water in Seattle?

I don’t believe its something unique to the franchise. There is a reason behind the madness. Here are three things you can learn for the Seahawks:

Click here to read the 3 things and the origin of the 12TH MAN


I’ll be making stops this month in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Atlanta and Raleigh.

February 5 – Women’s Council of Realtors of Raleigh (Cary)

February 8 – Principled Business Leadership Institute (Hyatt, Philadelphia)

February 10 – Rutgers University Guest Lecture with Professor Mark Beal (NJ)

February 11 – MENG Philadelphia Keynote (Bartley Hall, Villanova University)

February 19 – Triangle Sales & Marketing Council (Briar Creek Country Club, Raleigh)

February 21 – Customer Experience Design Workshop (Atlanta Tech Village, Buckhead)

February 22 – Principled Business Leadership Institute (Hyatt, Atlanta)

February 27 – High Five Conference Breakout Session (Sheraton, Downtown Raleigh)

February 28 – Raleigh Wake HRMA Strategic HR Summit (Marriott, Downtown Raleigh)


high5_headerOne event I’m pumped for is the first ever conference at the intersection of marketing with creative. It’s Triangle AMA’s High Five Conference and its being held at the Sheraton in Downtown Raleigh on February 26+27. Use the special code 9INCH when registering for a special 15% discount. I’ll be joined by ^5 amazing keynote speakers including Joseph Jaffe, Rohit Bhargava, Spike Jones, Lane Becker and Jeni Herberger.


Can’t recommend this book enough:

The Human Brand – How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies by Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske

The Human BrandIn our evolution as humans, we were forced to develop skills integral to our survival. One of which was the ability to make snap judgements about our surroundings with a high degree of speed and accuracy. As we walked out of the “cave” our senses went immediately into survival mode. We judged everyone and everything we encountered on two basic criteria:

  1. Are they a threat?
  2. Their ability to carry out that threat?

This basic truth is at the heart of Wiley’s new book The Human Brand by Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske. Their research has shown that over 80% of our judgements as based on these two factors. It boils down to our perception of two things: 1. warmth and 2.competence. 

These perceptions don’t just apply to people. We also apply the same standards to products and companies. We automatically perceive and judge their behaviors on a subconscious level. Brands are people too.

Read the entire review

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Here’s a jab to $4 million dollar 30 second spots.

EXTRA, EXTRA Newsletter – The Holiday Edition

Hi, it’s Stan. Hello December and friends.
Greetings from North Carolina. I’m back from my 20 city tour. After traversing 36 time zones last month, I’m looking forward to staying home for the holidays after Thanksgiving in Russia.
Only 21 days holiday shopping days left. Wishing you and yours all the best over the holidays.
Enjoy the Newsletter!

Complaints are a Gift in the Age of the Empowered Customer
This post was written by Anthony Myers of CMS Wire. We connected for an interview before my MENG presentation in San Francisco on 11/11. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Empowered customers are more demanding than ever and traditional views of marketing continue to be entrenched. One enterprising marketer has built his own value matrix to help companies figure out how to become the kinds of organizations those empowered folks love to talk about.
Forget B2C or B2B; It’s About Person to Person (P2P)
Whether businesses are focused on consumers or other businesses, it’s the relationships they build with people that makes or breaks customer loyalty, marketing industry veteran Stan Phelps said in an interview with CMSWire.
“I’ve come to the realization companies must exceed customers’ expectations or completely fail,” Phelps said. “It’s not enough to simply meet their expectations. The bar has been raised too high.”
Monica Hahn of Hahn Solo Consulting writes about a touching purple goldfish from the caring folks at Hanson Beverage Service:
The second reason the concept of the purple goldfish struck such a chord with me is that I had just heard a “goldfish” story about a friend of mine.
I’ve known Laurie since kindergarten. She and her husband own Hanson Beverage Services, which provides bottled water & related services to both business and residential clients in the greater “Michiana” (Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan) area.
A 20-year customer named Dorothy called to ask Laurie to cancel her service. Laurie talked to Dorothy for an hour, and learned that she & her husband were happy with the service, but they were now in their 80’s and could no longer lift the bottles and have no family in the area to do it for them. Hanson’s drivers will now be bringing the water bottles into Dorothy’s home and changing them for her. Sure, it adds cost & takes time. But Laurie believes that’s just good customer service, especially for long-term customers. Dorothy appreciated the extra care, and sent Laurie a handmade potholder to show her appreciation.

The 20 city book tour is now completed. I finished with my busiest month ever:

11/1 Chapel Hill – AENC 
11/4 Chicago – CXPA 
11/5 Chicago – MENG 
11/6-8 Phoenix – CTSS
11/11 San Francisco – MENG
11/13-14 Amsterdam – CEX in the City
11/20 Webinar – Digicert
11/21 Workshop – Atlanta Tech Village
11/27-29 Moscow – Coral Promo
PLANNING FOR 2014? Keep me in mind if you a looking for a keynote, breakout session, workshop, webinar or strategy session on exceeding customer expectations or driving employee engagement.
Ready to stand out in a sea of sameness?

Holiday Book GiveawayOscar Wilde once said, “Talent borrows, genius steals.” With a nod to Oscar, I’m stealing a brilliant idea from Barry Moltz. Barry gives away about a 100 books every Thanksgiving.

I’m currently faced with either buying an additional bookcase or shedding 20 books. Please help me out by submitting your request. Send me an e-mail with your mailing address and top three choices.
First come, first serve. Shipping and some 9 INCH swag are included.
Here’s the list:

Return on Relationship – Ted Rubin & Kathryn Rose
Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi
Do the Work – Steven Pressfield
Let My People Go Surfing – Yvon Chouinard
Content Rules – CC Chapman & Ann Handley
The New Elevator Pitch – Chris Westfall
Leaders Open Doors – Bill Treasurer
Engaged! – Gregg Lederman
Roar – Chris LaVictoire Mahai
Good to Great – Jim Collins
To Sell is Human – Daniel H. Pink
Monster Loyalty – Jackie Huba
Poke the Box – Seth Godin
The tasti D lite Way – James Amos & BJ Emerson
What Would Google Do? – Jeff Jarvis
The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk
Work Sucks – Cali Ressler & Jody Thompson
Outside In – Harley Manning & Kerry Bodine
Good in a Room – Stephanie Palmer
The End of Business as Usual – Brian Solis


Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Here’s a Carol Medley played by Sungha Jung to get you into the holiday spirit:

EXTRA, EXTRA Newletter: The Back to School Edition


newsletter extra extra header


Thomas and James 1st Day of School

Hi, it’s Stan. Warmest greetings (literally) from North Carolina. Hard to believe its September and we’re on the backside of summer. The kids are back in school, college football has kicked off, US Open tennis is in full swing, we await NFL week one and technically we are not allowed to wear white.
Enjoy the Newsletter!


The Question:
Retention vs Acquisition
Answer: Retention is Fast Becoming the New Acquisition

Satisfaction drives loyalty.  More importantly, it drives retention.  The key to a healthy bottom line is the ability to keep your customers.

According to the book Outside In [click here for infographic] by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine, retaining customers drives revenue in three ways:

  1. Incremental sales from current customers.
  2. Retained sales as a result of lower churn.
  3. New sales driven by word of mouth (referrals).

Can small improvements in retention make a big difference?  Absolutely. According to Gartner Group,

A mere 5% improvement in retention can increase profitability by upwards of 25% to 125%.”

“What’s Your Purple Goldfish” – Student Video Presentation


This YouTube video was put together by Rachel Fink back in March. It was an assignment for her Selling and Sales Management class at UMHB. It was created using an online tool called PowToon and pretty much summarizes “What’s Your Purple Goldfish in less than four minutes. So far it has over 27,000views. WOW!


I recently had the chance to join Scott Barstow and Anders Brownworth for a podcast called 350 Third.

It’s a fun discussion on the impact of digital on the world of marketing. Here’s a smattering of the topics we discussed:

350 Third podcast

– What is the goal of a great marketing program?
– How has marketing evolved with the Internet?
– What brands are getting it right online?
– What is the role of TV / Radio / Print in the internet marketing age?
– How do you measure the effectiveness of a TV marketing campaign?
– What’s the next big thing we should be looking for over the next couple years as social media evolves?


Net Promoter

Getting ready to become certifiable. I’m currently studying to become a certified Net Promoter associate. The course is administered by Satmetrix, who along with Fred Reichheld, co-created the Net Promoter methodology.  My goal is to utilize NPS as a measurement gauge on future CX and Employee Engagement innovation projects.
For those not familiar, NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a loyalty measurement system based on the “likelihood to recommend.” Here’s a graphic of how it’s calculated courtesy of HBS blog on Apple Retail:
NPS calculation


The book tour is in full swing. The last month included stops in Raleigh (Women’s Business Owner’s Network), Russia (Beeline B2B Conference), Portland (Two for Tuesday) and Phoenix. The plan is to speak in 20 cities over 20 weeks.

Here is the current schedule by month:what's your purple goldfish
September: Cary, Atlanta, Tucson
October: Boston, Portland (tentative), Raleigh, New Jersey, New Orleans (tentative), DC
November: Raleigh, Chicago, Phoenix, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Toronto (tentative)
January: Los Angeles, San Diego, Raleigh, Philadelphia (tentative)
I look forward to connecting when I’m in town. Keep me in mind if you’d like to have me in for a workshop or a “lunch and learn” on customer experience or employee engagement.
Purple Goldfish



This innovation workshop or webinar will feature lessons from the Amazon Best Seller, “What’s Your Purple Goldfish.” It will cover the ingredients of creating signature added value and the 12 different types of little extras.


Key Takeaways: Attendees will learn about customer experience and its impact on satisfaction, retention and word of mouth. They will be equipped with both concepts and relevant examples, enabling them to apply the principles to generate referrals from current and future clients

Stan Phelps

The longest and hardest nine inches in marketing…is the distance between the stem of the brain and the top of your customers heart.

Give me a call or e-mail me
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