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Showing posts from June, 2008

It Costs Nothing but is Invaluable

It costs nothing, but creates much.
It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None are so rich that they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friends.
It is a rest for the weary, daylight for the discouraged, sunshine for the oppressed, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.
It cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, stolen, or coerced for it has no earthly good to anybody until it is given away.
And if you should meet someone who is too tired to give you one, can you please leave one of yours?
For no one needs it as much as those who have none to give.
Smile!

What is Marketing (and why most people do not know)?

Someone once quipped that you can learn everything you need to know about marketing in a day, but it will take you a lifetime to master. I could not agree with this statement more. Most people see a portion of what they think marketing entails, and conclude that they understand how to market their product or service.

Most people erroneously see marketing as either public relations, advertising, or product packaging or a combination of all of these. What they fail to realize is that marketing is some much more than anyone of this tactical objectives. Marketing’s real objectives include reducing the friction in sales, improving brand awareness, and maximize your return on effort of promoting your products or services. (look for another blog on what return on effort means).

Marketing’s ultimate goal is to create a plan of action and to ACT on that plan. If conducting business is very much like warfare (see Sun Tzu's “The Art of War”), then marketing is responsible for …

Your Customer's Customer

Many moons ago, while working at Harris Semi- conductors and a marketing manager, I had a disagreement with my boss about who ultimately paid our salaries. When I told him, “Our customers pay our paychecks; and actually it is our customers’ customers who paid our paychecks,” his retort was that he paid my salary. My boss felt that is was marketing’s job to convince our customers of what they wanted, preferably that it would be what we were trying to sell. Hard to believe that this guy got his MBA from the Sloan Business School!

I knew it then, and it has been proven to me over and over again that my boss was wrong (although I did get sacked for not only this disagreement but many others). What is important then is still important now. In sales, it is NOT what you are selling, what is important is the problems you are solving for your customer. The number one problem customers will face is what should they make to satisfy the needs and desires of their existing and potential customers.

Persistence

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; The world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence, grit, and determination alone are omnipotent.
The desire and ability to press on has and always will solve the problems of the human race and divide those who achieve from those who might have been.

Nickel and Diming

During my early business life I was always struck by the fact that “expensive” hotels charged extra for everything, local calls, internet, movies, newspapers, breakfast, etc.; at the same time, more affordable hotels included everything. Although these less pricey hotels did not have marble foyers or linen tables, they did offer things that a very young, weary, traveler wanted: a clean room, safe & quiet environment, and some perks.
For the exorbitant prices you paid at the high-end hotels, everything should have been included. What they should have done is given rebates back for things you did not use instead of nickel and diming us to death.

I read an article in INC Magazine about a judge who was invited to a very expensive restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area. Even though it was a long drive, the ambiance was top notch, the food excellent, and the service superb. Still there was something that ruined the whole experience: He was charged $1 for ice in his $7 mixed drink. It was…

Freedom and Choice

Recently, I returned from a trip to Washington D.C. with my 15 year old son Jordan. It was amazing to see how many incredible individuals have gone before us to make this the greatest country in the world. As I was able to take in all of these individuals, a repeating pattern began to emerge. What really made these individuals great was the central fact that they believed with all their being extending freedom and choice to ALL individuals.

After this eureka moment, I then started to realize that these are the same two reasons why some companies are successful in good times and bad. Two cases in point: Southwest Airlines and JetBlue. Southwest’s motto is “Your are free to move about the country,” and they have always tried to be the no frills people centric airline. Yes, they did not have first class, but they gave the customers what they wanted (freedom) and choice of low cost fares. JetBlue also realized that Southwest was leaving open the “high-end” choice segment, so they offered E…

Why Image (your brand) is Everything

When you think of great brands what comes to mind? Starbucks? Apple? Nike? Coke? Mercedes? Hermes? Everybody talks about wanting a great brand, but so few people understand what actually makes a good brand.
First, what is a brand? A brand is what speaks to a consumer when there is no one there to speak for it. Essentially, a good brand is your ever-present salesman. It is the voice inside a customer’s head that tells it that is a good / valuable / well built / sporty / classy / etc. product or service. A poor brand will do nothing but make your potential customers look for your competition.

It is an absolute fallacy to think that all you need for a great brand is a cool or catchy name, or that endorsements “make” your brand, or that technology can sell your brand. First and foremost, you have to have either a product or service that delivers on the promise of your brand.
And now the hard part, what is your brand’s promise? What is the story behind whatever it is you are trying to sell or…