Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 25, 2010 9:43 PM

Don't Suck

Are you worried about bad customer reviews online?

Don't suck.

Social Media won't save you if your products and services are sub-par.

Don't suck.

If all you're doing on Twitter is responding to customer complaints...

Don't suck.

If no one "like"s you on Facebook...

Don't suck.

If no one is watching your videos on YouTube...

Don't suck.

If no one subscribes to your Podcast on iTunes...

Don't suck.

If no one is leaving comments on your Blog...

Don't suck.

If your bounce rate is high on your website...

Don't suck.

If no one is clicking on your banner ads...

Don't suck.

If people are unsubscribing from your email list...

Don't suck.

If no one is checking-in to your physical space on Foursquare...

Don't suck.

If no one is downloading your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or iPad app...

Don't suck.

Too many bad reviews on Yelp! or Amazon?

Don't suck.

It's pretty simple...

Don't suck.

We live in a very different world.

Brands may be scared of Social Media, but it's changing business and it's changing consumers. Brands are transparent (whether they're leading the charge on this or their customers are doing it for them). Too many brands are worried about dealing with customer service in Social Media and not worrying about the root of the problem: people are not loving whatever it is that they are selling. It's time to innovate. The choice is simple: use these channels to try to fend off the angry hordes or use these channels to build, connect, share and grow.

The challenge is this: don't suck.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Shaminda
    Mitch Joel

    Hey Mitch,

    Love the simplicity and relevance of this post. My question to you is what two word solution would you offer? So .. don't suck... instead... (blank) (blank)...

    Cheers

    Reply
  • Posted by Shaminda
    Mitch Joel

    That's fantastic, it's so easy to give up but you're right, work hard. Ultimately it will pay off.

    My choice would be - to steal it from Apple - "Think Different." If what you're doing right now is sucking, then perhaps "think different."

    Cheers

    Reply
  • Posted by Mike Hulleman
    Mitch Joel

    Excellent

    Reply
  • Posted by Tracy
    Mitch Joel

    How????

    As I was going through this list I'm thinking...ok that's me...ok that's me...ok that's me..
    but I'm trying my best...

    How does one "NOT SUCK" ???

    Reply
    • Follow the Blogs, books, Podcasts, Twitter feeds and other stuff that you think is great. Formulate a real strategy around your Marketing. Ensure that your products/services are great. Then, get to it... and work hard at it.

      There are no hard and fats rules. Each brand will be different.

      Reply
    • Posted by Tracy
      Mitch Joel

      I just read the comments...yes "work hard" I've been working hard at this for 5 years almost at the cost of everything else in my life...how much harder do I have to work? I don't think it's about working hard...i already do that...I think it's about "working smart" which is probably the answer I'm looking for. T

      Reply
      • Posted by Sam Title
        Mitch Joel

        Ask for help. No one can fault you for asking questions and showing a willingness and desire to learn.

        There's my CDN $0.02 worth...

        Reply
        • Posted by Tyrell Mara
          Mitch Joel

          I think that's a great CDN 0.02 cents Sam!

          Especially in an age where almost any specialist or thought leader is accessible if you are willing to make a valuable connection through the appropriate channels.

          With a strong business strategy and clear understanding of where the business is headed, it will become easier to search out the right people to ask questions (and be asking the right questions in the first place)- in a sense, working smarter!

          Reply
      • I'll lump "work hard" and "work smart" into the same category while echoing what the other commenters have added... ask questions, network and see where the friction truly lies.

        Reply
  • Posted by Dan York
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    I laughed hard reading this.... great way of presenting the topic, keeping up the "Don't suck" cadence. And indeed very definitely true! No amount of social media will help you if at the end of the day your products or services suck.

    Nicely done!
    Dan

    Reply
  • Posted by Pablo Mendicuti
    Mitch Joel

    So true. Some brands are so worried about all the bad experiences they could encounter on social media that they forget to work on improving their actual products and costumer experience... and once they're there they expect to be succesful without actually working at engaging their customers. And to think most of this can be fixed by simply listening to them and acting on it...

    Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • I find a lot of these brands not to be all that interesting in Social Media because the halo effect of them constantly dealing with customer service issues is that they look, completely, inefficient.

      What a strange reality... and I liken it to the airing their dirty laundry.

      Reply
  • Posted by Sandy Sidhu
    Mitch Joel

    Like.

    Reply
  • Posted by Joey Strawn
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, you definitely don't suck. I love the simplicity of this post yet the complexity that can come from those two words. I wrote a post that was similar earlier this month as a pledge to myself to have a No-Suck November (you can check it out here if you feel so inclined, http://goo.gl/DsXf7 ).

    Thanks for the constant motivation to be better and to up my game. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Cheers!

    Reply
  • Posted by Neil Bearse
    Mitch Joel

    Love it. I've always said, instead of figuring out how many ways you can incorporate Like Buttons into your marketing, focus on making yourself more Likeable, online or offline.

    Work hard is great advice. Also, use common sense. Use manners and strategy that your grandparents would appreciate - be nice, have integrity, obsess about quality and make art.

    Reply
  • Posted by Don Macdonald
    Don Macdonald

    Mitch,

    Sadly, the research suggests those who truly suck (i.e. the truly incompetent) are the least likely to have the self-awareness to realize it. "The unskilled suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority."

    http://bit.ly/aF9P6X

    I guess the challenge for those who suck is to take the negative feedback they get as an accurate assessment of their ability and act upon it. For those receiving positive cues, the challenge is to believe in the good reviews; stop comparing themselves to others and keep on working hard.

    Thanks for your post. It was thought provoking.

    Reply
  • Florian Haarhaus

    Too many companies talk too much and listen too little, many are using social media to do yet more talking, when it offers the perfect opportunity to listen and learn to suck less.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    That's basically it Mitch.
    Too often brands don't understand the great opportunity that the social media revolution is giving to them and instead focus on criticizing it and being afraid of the negative outcomes. The same outcomes that could be easily prevented "not sucking".

    Reply
  • Posted by Scott Douglas
    Mitch Joel

    All great points, Mitch.

    However, it is probably worth pointing out the exception.

    If you operate in the highly-competitive vacuum cleaning apparatus sector, probably best to suck like billy-oh.

    Reply
  • All I can say Mitch is that this post prompted me to leave my first comment on your blog! All very relevant. My best

    Reply
  • Posted by spydergrrl
    Mitch Joel

    I can't help but wonder if some random company will decide to adopt that as their Google-y "Don't be evil." And you know what, we're such sheep we probably would end up loving them for it. Lol

    Reply
  • Posted by Miriam Berger
    Mitch Joel

    Sums it up perfectly - love it!

    Reply
  • Posted by Tim Sanchez
    Mitch Joel

    It's easy to not suck.

    It's hard to be remarkable.

    I'd focus less on not sucking and more on being remarkable.

    Reply
  • Posted by Brian Sharwood
    Mitch Joel

    This is an amazingly simple posts, and what we tell our community all the time. You won't get bad reviews if you do a good job. You won't be calling us complaining about your reviews if you do a good job. So just go out, do a fantastic job. And the good reviews will come in.

    Reply
  • Posted by vince kamp
    Mitch Joel

    Don't suck, really Mitch?

    It's hard to churn out blogging gold everyday, and yet you almost always do. I could never do it, but 'don't suck?'

    I don't see the value in stating 'don't suck'. Highly over simplified. Disappointing.

    How many artists did not achieve any meaningful success in their lifetime. Did they suck? or was it something else?

    Reply
    • I'm sorry you don't see it.

      Many people have a terrible time understanding their lack of performance in the marketplace. They blame everybody else but the product and service they create. They make tons of mistakes and mis-steps dealing with consumers and while they say, "the customer is always right," they don't mean it.

      They kill a Blog because "it's not working" as if the entire online population didn't understand their brilliance, when in reality they were using the Blog as another place to blast their one-sided message.

      It's not easy to do things great at every instance, but it is easy to look back on a body work and ask yourself, "did it connect with people?"

      You may see not sucking as an over-simplification, I see it as something complex and challenging that many brands in marketplace don't understand. Most call it, "business as usual"... I call it "sucking."

      Reply
      • Posted by vince kamp
        Mitch Joel

        oh I see it. It didn't sell because it sucked. I probably did not communicate my point.
        The product sucked or was it the method of distribution, the price or even something else? It sounds like you grouped all those elements into one.
        The brilliant writer blogs everyday, but his font is too small, the design of his site is annoying or the site is just unfindable.
        The artist who creates beautiful pictures but the subject matter is just not what the web savvy art buying public are looking for.
        Indeed something is sucking in Denmark, but just 'not sucking' is way too simple.
        You are of course right Mitch, it is easy to blame everyone but yourself. I guess it depends on your definition of sucking and if the folks indulging in social media are the right people to listen to for your product. Analysing what it is that is sucking is more valuable than simply sucking less.
        Just my two cents, love your work, always have. cheers.

        Reply
        • Agreed - we can suck on many levels and not have the levity to understand the minutia of why something doesn't click.

          I spent 15 years in the music industry (prior to the Web taking over) and I learned something valuable there as well: artists who connected with an audience always found that audience. As big and unconnected as the world was prior to the Internet, the great music still got found, it got bought and there were people to see those artists.

          Reply
  • remember... the human brain/subconscious is terrible at "hearing" the negative, especially the word "not".

    don't touch the stove. (touch the stove).

    don't suck. (suck).

    Reply
  • Posted by Kirk Cheyfitz
    Mitch Joel

    I like the directness and simplicity of your message (although it reminded me, perhaps too much, of Google's now infamous "Don't be evil," which is also good advice). But what we tell our clients (using some different wording) is that not sucking is table stakes. It's what's absolutely necessary to get you in the game. But it is not now and never will be differentiating. To take a popular example, Coke doesn't suck. Neither does Pepsi. Now what? I think the the "Now what?" may be the source of what's troubling some of the folks commenting here. So I agree with you COMPLETELY, but then I think we all must ask (and answer) in unison, like a great marketing choir, "What comes next after not sucking?" That one is a bit more complex, as I know you know.

    Reply
    • If you've been following this Blog for a while, you'll note that my thinking is totally in line with this. Not sucking, being transparent, being open and being trusting is tables stakes. The "what's next?" part is so complex because it's not a set formula... It's unique, original and different for every brand. What works for you may not work for me.

      Reply
  • Posted by Karen Cruz
    Mitch Joel

    Nodding my head in agreement with Vince Kamp. As far as people liking your Facebook, leaving comments on your blog, or clicking on an ad shouldn't be definitive of whether you suck or not. I have a one track mind when I go to a blog and that's to read. I read a variety of different blogs that discuss things from how to blog, product reviews to poetry, I won't always comment for whatever reasons but for the most part it has nothing to do with the blog sucking otherwise I wouldn't go back. Liking you on Facebook whether it's your newly updated relationship status or your Fan page. Really? It's social media/network. Is it high school again where we go sulking because no one "likes" us. I'm not especially if this is the same site where my 15 year old now hangs out on with schoolmates. There are things we do or don't do that say whether we suck or not either as a person or ability wise and I just don't think these outside influences are it.

    Reply
    • Posted by Brian
      Mitch Joel

      I agree with Karen about liking on Facebook, or even following on twitter. There's tons of great products and services that I enjoy and use, but I really don't want their updates. It's not that I don't like them I just don't Facebook "like" them. And there are lots of blogs that I read that I don't ever comment on, but I do like them - they don't suck.
      But if you do suck - that's when people are going to make comments about you. Write reviews, tweet their frustrations, blog about their challenges. That's why you shouldn't suck.

      Reply
      • I prefer a few things over the likes and follows:

        1. Knowing who I am connected to... Not caring about how many people.
        2. Are they engaged? This could be reading, sharing or commenting. All ofmthose steps have different levels of importance for me.
        3. Is there a semblance of community? do people actually care about the content and value.
        4. Are people connecting to one another... And not just me.

        Lastly, this is my space do my "art". My critical thinking. It's a selfish act. Knowing how people think and react to it, helps me grow.

        Reply
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