"This website needs a total redesign," Bartholomew Daehria guffawed enthusiastically. "It needs to be much more interactive and visually attractive."
Tom's heart sank. Another new manager. He's seen it all so many times before. "What exactly do you mean by interactive, Mr Daehria?"
"Call me Bartholemew, boy! Or better still, call me Bart. But, whatever you do, don't call me early in the morning. I'm not joking. Don't call me before 11. Now, what was your question?"
"What do you mean by interactive?"
"We have to engage the customer more. We need to increase our hit rate. Bring them back. Keep them on our website a lot longer. More news. More images. More video. White text on a black background. I love black backgrounds. So cool! Different. Innovative. Stickiness, that's what we need!"
"But we sell waste management products. And …" Bart stared at Tom and then shook he head. He now started to talk to Tom as if he was addressing a 7-year-old. (He had begun the conversation speaking to Tom as if he was a 12-year-old.)
"You don't understand much about marketing, do you, boy. You don't sell the sausage. You sell the sizzle. You make them smell it. I mean, look at this homepage," Bart said contemptuously. "What's that big ugly thing doing up in the top left corner?"
"It's a product finder."
"It's ugly. Get it off the page."
"But that's what customers want, Mr. Daehria. We have lots of research to prove it."
"Research!? Did Steve Jobs do research!? The customer doesn't know what they want. Steve Jobs never did a day's research in his entire life. We need to be more like Apple. More interactive."
"Could you give me some examples of interactivity, Mr Daehria."
"Phew. Do I have to do your job for you? Moving stuff, you know. Video, avatars, news. We need more news. The homepage should be constantly changing."
"But we don't have news." Bart shook his head and tapped his nose.
"There always news if you look hard enough." Bart laughed suddenly. "I haven't told you, have I? Roger is going to blog."
"Our venerable CEO!"
"What's he going to blog about?"
"16th Century Vietnamese terracotta field mice."
"It's his hobby; Roger is a real expert. He's been collecting them since he was 79."
"But what's that got to do with waste management?"
"Everything, my dear boy, everything. It's about putting a human face on waste. Making people feel warm."
"Will Mr Thornbrew have time to blog?" Bart laughed. Now he started talking to Tom as if he was a 5-year-old.
"Blog? Roger won't actually write the blog."
"You will," Bart said, jabbing Tom in the chest with his slightly chubby forefinger.
"But I know nothing about 16th Century Vietnamese terracotta field mice. And social media is about being authentic and useful. And …"
"Oh, young people these days," Bart said softly and then sighed deeply. "What sort of education system do we have? Do some research, Tom. You love to do research, don't you," and Bart winked mischievously.
"Some research," Tom said and sighed resignedly.
"But first get rid of that ugly … What did you call it?"
"Product finder. And what should we put in its place?"
"A hero shot!!!" Bart shouted and walked out of the office.