I got a $95 speeding ticket on my own street!  I was driving 32mph in a 25mph zone or 51km/hr in a 40km/hr zone (for my “outside America” friends).  Not that fast!
Rhode Island has a new campaign called “Mind the Sign or Pay the Fine”…something like that. It’s about police officers in neighborhoods monitoring traffic. I like it.
Anyway, for anyone who’s ever done marketing and communications, you know campaigns are important. Their intent is to create specific awareness, action and results; show what’s new or important to your customers. Connecting to your customers so they receive this information is critical.  The key word being “customer.”
In any marketing or communication piece – a presentation, advertisement, or any vehicle (pun intended!) you use to connect to the people you serve – your audience must always be on your mind as you develop and deliver it.
The police officer that stopped me suggested I go to court and use my good driving record to side step paying the full fine.
The courtroom was filled with maybe 75 people of all ages; some dressed for work, others in shorts, some with babies. I heard Spanish and Italian being spoken. A real mix of the community. We were all ready and waiting at 8:30am for our court appearance. At 9am, nothing had changed.
At 9:10am the Clerk brings in a big box of files. I later realize that each one of us now has our own file folder! I almost laugh at the waste of it.
The City Solicitor enters looking annoyed with a woman who’s trying to ask him a question, and he sits at the front table with his back to her, and without answering. She sits down. Then the judge finally arrives around 9:14am. Forty-four minutes late.
I’m timing it because I’m one those weirdoes who believe that customer service is super important. The fact that his lateness holds up 75 people from beginning their day bothers me.
But the judge is happy. He is all smiles. He walks by a young guy reading a book in the front row, “What are you reading?” Then before the guy can answer he says to all of us, “Look at this guy, reading and relaxing. I didn’t think kids read anymore.”  And right on cue, everyone chuckles, and the young man turns ten shades of red.
A woman sitting next to me, very nicely dressed with full make-up and perfect lipstick turns to me and says, “I’m the only Q-tip in this place and I feel like I want to scold him for that.” I laugh too loud to be part of the judge’s clique.
As he walks up to his bench, he says, “OK let’s get going. These people have to go to work.” And the courtroom murmurs yes, yes, we do…let’s go, you’re late, but not knowing his audience he continues, “I got a tee time at 11:30am.”  The audience is silenced immediately.
He sits down and chats happily with everyone, proving beyond a reasonable doubt he’s a great guy. You guys like me, right? I’m the judge, but I want you to like me. Feel comfortable with me. Let’s have some fun with this money-making scheme we got going on. OK?
But he is so far away from where he needs to meet his audience. Communication 101.
“So, who here knows the game of golf?”
No hands rise.
“Yesterday, I played a foursome and our opponents got a hole-in-one and two birdies!”
“You guys don’t play golf?” He’s perplexed. “Seriously, who plays golf?”
No hands rise. Way off the mark.
“OK, lets get going…”
As each ticket comes up, most plead a good driving record and are shooed off with their folder in hand to pay the clerk $60. It’s a discount from $95, but not by much.
Then one guy came up and the judge says to him, “I used to live on this street. They never plowed the snow there and I finally called the city to get the street plowed and they came right over. Plowed my driveway, too. Our tax dollars at work! Gotta love it!”

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