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Recommend This!: Delivering Digital Experiences that People Want to Share by Kirby Wadsworth, Jason Thibeault

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Chapter 15

Helpfulness

If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Well, the same is true for marketing: if you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.

—Jay Baer, author of Youtility

Let’s think back to the hardware store and the idea of credibility. People frequent Ogilvie’s, over some of the bigger chains with better prices, because they trust their expertise. They are authentic. But really, why do they have those qualities? What makes them trustworthy, experts, and authentic? Because, above all else, they are helpful. They help first; everything else follows, including selling.

A Planet of Helpful Associates

In the early 1980s, facing a brutal onslaught from Japanese imports, General Motors looked for something new, something to help differentiate them in a depressed market. In June of 1982, Alex C. Mair of General Motors began discussions of a “revolutionary new, small-car project codenamed ‘Saturn.’” In November of 1983, General Motors’ then-chairman Robert B. Smith and then-president F. James McDonald publicized the Saturn idea. Twelve months later the first demonstration vehicle was revealed, and on January 7, 1985, the Saturn Corporation was officially founded.1

The uniqueness of Saturn came not just through its cars. Sure, the cars themselves had some unique elements, like polymer door panels and a new type of engine, but it was the marketing and sales of ...

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