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Seating Charts Can Change History

Here's a story about the power of word of mouth and I think peer pressure from Seth's Blog:

Did you ever wonder why William Seward wasn't nominated for president instead of Abraham Lincoln?

Neither did I.

Turns out that he almost was. Except for the seating chart.

Joseph Medill was a hugely powerful figure, the editor of the Chicago Tribune back when being editor of a newspaper actually meant something. He had a falling out with Seward, and Seward made the mistake of saying to Medill, “Henceforth, you and I are parted... I defy you to do your worst.”

Well, somehow Medill ended up as the holder of the seating chart for the Republican convention in which Seward and Lincoln battled it out. And he did a very clever thing. He seated the Pennsylvania delegation, which was on the fence, in a spot surrounded by Lincoln states, far far away from the Seward states. (thanks to Peter Lamont's book on the Indian Rope Trick for the story).

The word of mouth did the trick. Pennsylvania went for Lincoln and you don't remember Seward.

Who are your customers talking to? Where do they sit?

This is an excellent point of customer intuition. Knowing who your customers are talking too is very important. That's why you need to keep an eye on them using the tools and techniques that we talk about here. Beyond that you need to be where they are to see who they associate with. Attend trade shows, study seating charts(trade show booth maps) and follow trends and developments in their industries. Best of all world is taking the initiative to create the venue where your customers can talk to one another and selected partners that will help them succeed.

Seth asks: Who are your customers talking to?

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August 6, 2005 in award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, Brand enhancement, Building Customer Community | Permalink


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