Reseeding Marginalia

When last in Kiev (now Kyiv) I got highly frustrated at all the wonderful cafes and bars that had universally dispensed with physical menus.

As a tech hub of some renown and ambition in those days, they'd pretty much adopted en masse solely the QR code accessed menu.

Utterly ridiculous.

Shoddily, in more than one such establishment, my plea for an actual physical menu simply triggered the waitron to say I could instead look at it on their phone. Worse still, others asked for my phone so they could summon up said menu for me.

The point ain't the tech, bro.

It's the experience.

And it's the signalling.

Each place claimed they were different from their neighbours.

Competing on some point of difference or other.

And yet on the medium, the method customers engaged with their offer, you could not tell one from another.

Might as well have been a row of huge fast food chain branches. Not the locale foodie boutiques they purported to be.

A mistake compounding the practically non-existent way each distinguished themselves. How much can your personality, your purpose, your edge, come across from a phone screen? Seen one #flatlay dish pic, seen 'em all.

I contemplated this as a regular luncheon haunt of mine rowed back on phone-only ordering interaction. Pleasingly going retro, with the re-appearance of actual menus. Now offering both app and paper routes.

I immediately noted that our so-called digital native age brackets seem to prefer the 'old-fashioned' paper version.

Maybe it's the ability to see everything, scan through and compare clearer?

Let's not forget too, the importance of menu engineering. A vital art and science the QR-onlys miss out on. Maybe they expect the ordering process to give you some 'add fries with that?' pop-up when you first hit 'order'. Ew.

I couldn't help but think on our solution sale crossover.

Every doc we send nowadays tends overwhelmingly to get read onscreen. Really, who prints off our Prop these days?

And this generates a pitfall for us. Not to mention for our potential buyer.

In pre-historicdigital times, I now recall with misty eyes the joy of sitting across from a prospect, seeing their scribbles across the pages of my printed doc I'd sent.

Highlighter pen, encircled text, underlinings, asterisks, arrows.

And perhaps best of all, marginalia.

The written down thoughts reacting to printed text.

It's time to ensure we encourage the physical manifestation of such ideas getting written.

Else we miss out on great opportunity. Engagement, conversation, progress.

There is a digital alternative. Although not a brilliant one. As anyone that's ever used Word's Review functions so beloved of those drawing up contracts may well attest. Other options exist.

We could ask if they print out such docs (and so make ours comment-friendly to be so).

We could post an actual copy we print out for them.

We could ask upfront for their marginalia. Prime our prospect that's what we'd like to discuss in detail, much appreciated if you write things out, so we can run through them. Go deep, go broad. Cross the "t"s and dot the lower-case "j"s.

As per wikipedia;

Marginalia (or apostils) are marks made in the margins of a book or other document. They may be scribbles, comments, glosses (annotations), critiques, doodles, drolleries, or illuminations.

The more prospects' 'marginaliate' (sorry!), and the more they share that with us, the more likely we are to prevail over our digitally trapped competition.

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