Did you call me a jerk?

That was the beginning of the conversation in Kennett Square last night.  Gayle and I were waiting to meet Amanda, our daughter-in-law, for dinner.   A guy comes walking down the street and aggressively confronts me with that question.  Talk about brining your networking A-game.  I said no and asked why he thought I did.  His friend had told him that a guy fitting my description had made a comment behind his back in a bar.  Ahhhh – information on state of mind.

Well, it all turns out OK as his friend, being concerned about SOM, followed him and told him he had the wrong guy.  Turns out they were OK guys but the one seems to have an anger management problem.

This just reminded me of how important it is to really know who is talking, to listen well, and be careful of taking action on information that comes 2nd and 3rd hand.  You have to experience it yourself to really understand.

“Voice of Customer “  – is this something that you whole organization takes action on?  Or do you hire an outside firm to do the leg work?  The leg work – the get in front of the customer you have, the customer who fired you, the customer you would like to have – ask the questions yourself and listen!!!  You will then not be the guy coming down the street to pick a fight with the wrong person.  You will pick the right battles and more than likely win – because you are facing the person who gave you the clues.

Have a great week.

  Runners, triathletes – go for it.  Do your best, forget the rest.






“It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that zing”

Thanks, Scott.  You made me think about what is it that is needed to get up each morning and go out and do my thing.  Zing, fun, learning, helping others, solving big problems.

So how do we make it “zingable?”  Well, as part of marketing, we should be looking for ways to transform our customers’ products into things that zing into the market.  What is it that their product does that we could help it do better, with lower cost, with less work, ………….?  In other words, can we move them into a place where the competition becomes less relevant? 

Can putting that zing in our products do the same thing for us?  Differentiation is critical and could give us a space where we have the market to ourselves because we provide a product or service not previously considered important or wanted.  Show your customer why you are different and how you can provide them with the ability to be different too.

So, where will you put your ZING! today?  Make your life zingable!!


p.s. –  today’s post is based on a blog I read by “My name is Scott.”  He has an interesting story about networking and living life.  Hope you enjoy.  Here is a link to his new book and his blog.  Cheers. 



Marketing IS your business!!

We all know that marketing is all about the 4 P’s – product, price, place, promotion – and the 3 C’s – customer, competition, company – but have you heard about the 5 T’s?(Adrian Ott, 2007)

Marketing can lead the organization with the information it provides.  Ideally, marketing turns customer voices into company choices.  These choices are investing in operations, R&D, marketing communications, people,  and acquisitions.  They guide the deployment of expensive assets.

To truly lead the corporation, the 5T’s are critical to drive sustainable growth:

Telesis –planned progress toward a new state  – (Total strategy per Ott) –  This is critical – planned action versus reaction.  Do you strategically manage your portfolio of products, new product development, acquisitions etc.?  What is your process to turn website browsers into long term customers or more importantly, fans?  Do you define where you will not invest as clearly as where you will?  Have you identified the “white space” or “Blue Oceans” where you can take your company?  I chose telesis as I value the planning to progress.

Techniques – these are the processes you will teach your team.  It will be the “way we do things here.”    Some will be immutable rules that are required.  However, vibrant and entrepreneurial teams  allow some freedom to make changes on the fly – experimentation if you will.  However, with this freedom comes accountability – admit mistakes, commit to teaching others the new technique, documentation of the experience, take ownership.

Tracking – Know speed and direction of your progress.  Use a dashboard based on your strategic goals.  Keep your focus on the future using the rearview mirror only to protect you from competition and avoid problems.  Do we have predictive models to help direct next actions?  Are our forecasts useful tools that we can depend on or are they just a once a year or once a quarter guess at what will happen?  How can we do better?

Technology – How do we integrate what we learn into the ongoing business intelligence of the organization?  We team with IT to look for solutions – Finance, Marketing, R&D, Operations.  Marketing specific opportunities are online customer interaction, market research management, customer resource management, decision making resources.  Can we make it easier for our customers to buy from us?

Talent – Do we have the right people in the right places and do we provide the right training to build to the future?  Do they fit well with the team and can they take there turn as a leader?

Make these part of your company’s foundation and you will be building a solid future.

Have a great week!!

Low Price, Up-Sell, and Customization

What do these have in common and what should you do about it?

In the current economy, we are all looking for the best deal. We are trying to get what we want at the best price. Does that mean we have to stop at all the shops? Or is there someone out there in your supply base who will work with you to be sure they can satisfy your generic or “good enough” needs as well as your specialty requirements?

I am sitting at Wegman’s in Pittsford, NY. If you have not been, it is a true enigma when it comes to a “Grocery Store.” If you walk in the café side, you are met with pleasant people – in Santa hats today – and the smell of bakery and coffee reminiscent of any street in France, Italy or Germany. The bakery items are fresh and warm – ranging from croissants to preztellen.

However, currently being the “man slave” of the house while in transition, I know that a few aisles over the shelves are stocked with inexpensive goods at prices equivalent to the lowest prices in town.

A marketing team that gets it!! You need to draw them in for the basic necessities on which the price must be good. You assure the masses that they can get all the things they NEED at close to the lowest price. Then…………….

Bombard them with customer service, ideas for things they had not even thought of, specialty items that they did not know existed and International offerings by high quality chefs. Oh, and if they have a question on how to make something, make sure the people talking to them can tell them ingredients and how to cook it. Worked for me on Beans and Greens the other night.

Marketing to Industrial, Medical, Consumer, etc. does not have to be that different. Most of the tenets are the same. The key is to figure out how to “listen” to the voice of the customer and then turn that into your choices of delivering goods and services.

Have a great day, a great holiday season, a Merry Christmas, and a Fantastic New Year.

P.S. Gayle starts a new job in the new year. She is keeping me grounded in everything we are facing. I am blessed to have her by my side. Thank, Hon.