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Customer Strategy and the Game Show

Hello. This is my very first blog… ever. I’ve been told that I’m a pretty good storyteller, but I have to admit that writing this first blog has been a bit intimidating. You know, gotta be witty, clever, insightful, smart – all at the same time. Such pressure.


Anyway, here goes… Today I got one of those e-mails – it was really funny, but it had that “hoax” vibe to it. So I immediately went to and, what do you know, it was a hoax! Ok, so my first blog is about an admittedly false internet hoax, but just humor me a minute and I’ll connect that to customer strategy and strategic account management.


By now you might be dying to know what hilarious hoax I’m referring to – the fake story tells of an Idaho housewife who appears on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and blows all three lifelines on the first, super-easy question, still misses it, and brings “humiliation to her friends and family” before leaving the show. Some funny highlights for your patience…


The gimme $100 question was: ‘Which of the following is the largest?’
A) A Peanut        B) An Elephant C) The Moon      D) A Tennis Ball

She panics, ‘Hmm, oh boy, that’s a toughie. I mean, I’m sure I’ve heard of some of these things before, but I have no idea how large they would be.’


Gotta use the first lifeline, the 50/50. Answers A and D were removed. Still unsure, ‘Oh! It removed the two I was leaning towards! Darn. I think I better phone a friend.’


Connected with her friend Betsy, ‘Ok, I got an important question. Which of the following is the largest? B, an elephant, or C, the moon. 15 seconds Hun.’ Betsy quickly replied that the answer was C, the moon. ‘Come on Betsy, are you sure? How sure are you? Duh, that can’t be it.’ She astonishingly declines to take her friend’s advice. ‘I just don’t know if I can trust Betsy. She’s not all that bright. So I think I’d like to ask the audience.’


Using the third and last lifeline, she asks the audience to vote on the correct answer, the audience returned 98% in favor of answer C, ‘The Moon.’ Those remaining 2% were probably just playing with her. ‘Wow, seems like everybody is against what I’m thinking. But you know, sometimes you just got to go with your gut. So, let’s see. For which is larger, an elephant or the moon, I’m going to have to go with B, an elephant. Final answer.’


She sat before the dumbfounded audience and host Meredith Vierra, and was told that she was wrong, and that the answer was in fact, C, ‘The Moon.’ The end.


So, A) am I the only one who laughed out loud at this, or B) are at least some of you with me? I hope it’s B, final answer. But “what about customer loyalty,” you ask? This is the smart, insightful part… every day, each of us is faced with sometimes seemingly easy decisions about managing a strategic account, and we probably have some kind of information at our disposal to help in the decision – customer insight, survey research feedback, a friend that’s not that bright, at least something. Yet, we might still struggle to come up with the right answer. This managing strategic accounts thing isn’t a walk in the park.


Our hope for this blog, Managing Strategic Accounts, is that we can provide a forum – a type of lifeline, if you will – to discuss all the challenges you’re facing (we’re all facing) in this arena. Hope you enjoyed my maiden voyage into blogging and will check back often. If we stick together, who knows, we might get to be millionaires yet.

Brad Linville
Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts
Walker Information

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