business news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email about Michael Sansolo’s column yesterday:

I enjoyed reading your missive about tire stores. The next time you and Kevin get out to the NW, I would ask that you stop by and see one of the premier tire store chains in the entire country, Les Schwab Tire Stores. They are the Wegmans and Nordstrom of tire stores. They are clean, well stocked, the employees are really knowledgeable, the employees are owners of the stores, you are greeted immediately the minute you step out of your car. Interestingly, women love going to Les Schwab for any of their car needs. Having listened to many motivational speakers about the food industry over the years, often times, they will mention Les Schwab stores. The stores are in several of the western states. Take a look. Also, Les Schwab wrote a book about his tire store chain several years ago. Well worth the read about how to treat the customer and to gain their business for life.

From another MNB reader:

Michael's “The Rubber Meets the Road” story illustrates several great lessons that apply to all kinds of businesses.

• Let go of what you’ve always done: For many organizations, creating something new can be held back by failing to forget the old ways. Odds are, if you’re operating the same way you did even 2 - 3 years ago, your business is behind and may become obsolete.

• ”Experience is the new brand” is a useful — and potentially sobering — framework: It’s sobering because so many businesses are focused on features and touchpoints that aren’t fundamentally improving things for their customers and bottom lines. When that’s the case, brand equity and competitive advantage fade.

• When you’re redesigning the customer experience, don’t get distracted by chasing “disruption.” Disruption is not what customers want, it’s what competitors want to do the marketplace. Really want to be disruptive? Create new experiences that are so much better for customers and so clearly reflect and enhance your brand that disruption will be a natural side-effect.

• Get the word out: Customers have long memories of their past experiences, which may be outdated if it’s been some time since they visited your store or site. You need to let current, lapsed, and potential customers know about your improvements so you can capitalize on your updates and upgrades.

On the subject of proposed changes to the 2020 US Census, and opposition stated by Nielsen CEO David Kenny, MNB reader Ben Ball wrote:

As a career marketer and consultant, I can empathize with Nielsen CEO Kenny’s position.  His characterization of the reliance of the media, marketing, and in particular research companies on U.S. Census data is spot on.

However, this utilization of the U.S. Census is an evolution of the survey and not its primary purpose. The U.S. Census was commissioned to accurately count U.S. citizens for the purpose of apportionment of the legislature.  It was not commissioned to accurately count consumers for corporations. While David Kenny’s angst is understandable, it is due to the loss of a taxpayer funded benefit that U.S. industry has been piggy-backing on for free for decades. Changes that might impact that must certainly qualify for Mr. Kenny’s “things that keep you up at night” list.

From another MNB reader:

Lumping non-citizens in with citizens in the census skews the apportionment of Congressional House Seats to states with the highest immigrant populations.  California has 53 seats now, almost double any other state, Texas, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina all gained seats in the last apportionment.   By counting only citizens, some estimates are that 5 seats in California could be re-apportioned to Midwest and Northeast states.

But another MNB reader disagreed:

David Kenney is right, and the proposed addition of a citizenship question goes far beyond impacting Designated Market Areas. In today’s heightened anti-immigrant climate, if a citizenship question is asked, you can assume fewer people will answer the census. This could reduce “official” population counts in larger market areas, which could eventually reduce the distribution of US Representatives away from larger population areas. I believe this is being done to score political points and perhaps even change our representative government longer-term.
The only Constitutional requirement is that there be an “actual headcount” of all people. Anything else distracts from its purpose.
KC's View: