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Many of us who work in marketing are familiar with the Oreo Moment. The Super Bowl. 2013. The lights go out in the Superdome in New Orleans and Oreo, equipped with a war room to man their Twitter feed delivers the ultimate tweet, “Power out, no problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” It went viral. It got written about. It did all the things that social media is supposed to accomplish for you as a marketer. But did it generate revenue? Did it improve the customer experience or merely create noise?

The Oreo Dunk

The Oreo Dunk

I bring this up as I was listening to NPR last night (audio and transcript available here) and they were discussing the double dose of earthquakes that visited Southern California over the July 4th weekend, the second of which was felt as far north as Lake Tahoe. Speaking with California Earthquake Authority CEO Glenn Pomeroy the conversation centered on how, for a variety of reasons, only 13% of homeowners in California have earthquake insurance. But then he said something even more shocking as he was asked if a lot of people had signed up for insurance after the pair of quakes rattled the region, 6.4 followed by 7.1.

Our website traffic went through the roof throughout the weekend and continues. We’re up tenfold in terms of the number of people that are coming to our website. It’s going to be a while before we figure out how that translates in terms of how many people are actually buying policies.”

A snapshot of some of the reasons California homeowners might consider insurance

This struck me as the customer experience equivalent of disaster preparedness. Are you prepared to capitalize on a 10X traffic increase due to a unique event? If not, why not? Granted Mr. Pomeroy works at a non-profit that may not have the ability to scale up to capitalize on a moment like this, but hearing him say traffic is up tenfold and we don’t know how that translates struck me as an excellent way to sound the wake-up call for anyone in the business of generating revenue off a site or app. Do you have experiments deployed to take advantage of this possible traffic windfall, or do you have the right heat-maps and analytics to digest how your experience is being used?

Put simply, are you ready for your earthquake moment? 

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