Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hello? Is there anybody in there??

"Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in art, in music, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man."
John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Entrepreneurs have often felt lonely – believing that no one else shares their vision or their passion for building a business. But, we are not alone (pun intended) in that feeling. With today's growing workforce of soloists, telecommuters, work-at-home parents, independent salespeople, and virtual teams, loneliness is a feeling that millions of business owners are fighting.

During the ups and downs of completing a project, or finding new customers, the feeling of loneliness can set in and limit our vision and our productivity. It can be discouraging and be a wallop to that old self-esteem. And, with the gadgets we tote around, we unknowingly make it worse. Technology that's supposed to connect us – email, voicemail, and PDAs – often fuels our loneliness, enabling us to do a better job of isolating ourselves. For some reason we don't treat every email or voicemail like a real person is behind it. Why acknowledge it?

We're also intentionally distracted. We're plugged into our new I-Pods, or tapping our PDA screen playing a game. How about using technology to interact with real people once in a while?

There's no need anymore to pretend that you're too busy dealing with important people and projects. I know the truth. As a small business owner, I am one of you, and it's vitally important that we connect and help each other's ventures grow.

Yes, it was your idea in the first place, as John Steinbeck says, but greatness was never created in a vacuum.

Monday, March 24, 2008


MOOFING v. Derived from the acronym for "Mobile, Out Of Office."
MOOFERS (n.) abandon the workplace between meetings, taking laptop and BlackBerry to the local Starbucks or anyplace else where they can escape interruption by talkative coworkers.

Okay... is it just me, or is it absolutely pathetic that you have to LEAVE the office to get work done?!?!! Is this the state that corporate america has sunk to? If your company has this kind of culture, maybe you should consider (I'd highly recommend!) changing the atmosphere.

Is the office of the future no office and just a headquarters in cyberspace? 42% of IBM's 350,000 employees rarely, if ever, come to an office. IBM says it save $100 million a year in real estate costs because it doesn't need the offices. The work force at Accenture management consulting firm is so mobile no even the CEO has an office with his name on the door.

In the future, more companies with scattered work forces and clients may do what the marketing firm Crayon is doing: making its headquarters in cyberspace. Especially, if yours is a "knowledge-based" asset company.

Crayon's workers rarely meet in the physical world — some are in Boston, others are in Nutley, N.J. — but their online alter egos in the virtual world gather once a week. "Our belief is if we bring like minds together no matter where they are in the world we can actually create that connectedness as if we're actually at the same place at the same time," said Joseph Jaffe, Crayon's CEO.

And, there it is... real productivity vs. time wasted.

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Thoughts for the Day" Friday

Some things to ponder as we move into a holiday weekend...

"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." NIELS BOHR, Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner

"Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life." JOHN F. KENNEDY, thirty-fifth President of the United States

"Named must your fear be before banish it you can." YODA, from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

"I can't give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time." HERBERT BAYARD SWOPE, American editor and journalist; first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize

Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Buyer's Journey

Together Sales and Marketing must find ways to move their buyers through their whole buying journey, end-to-end. This means choosing tactics for every stage. Forget about what you want to do to your buyers, and think instead about what decisions they face, and how you can help them make each small step.

1. Untroubled and unaware
2. Acknowledge pain
3. Define need
4. Receive offers
5. Rationalize options
6. Select first choice
7. Engage

If you hold Marketing accountable for brand awareness, you get a market that knows who you are (but doesn't necessarily buy). If you hold Marketing accountable for leads (only), you'll get leads (but not necessarily customers). If you hold Marketing accountable for setting meetings, you'll get leads that convert into "shoppers" (but, again, not necessarily decision-makers). However, if you hold Marketing accountable for creating buying decisions, you'll get leads that convert to sales.

TOTALLY UNRELATED... just to get us through the rest of the week, you REALLY should click the link below:
scott is my name: Free Hugs#links#links

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Marketing Methodology

Your business in 7 integrated and sequential phases... the process--

PHASE 1: Where is the opportunity?
Market data, competitive landscape, entry costs

PHASE 2: What is the market landscape?
Market size, customer needs, market trends, adoption incentives and barriers

PHASE 3: What solutions are required?
Features, tangibles/intangibles, implementation, training, support

PHASE 4: How do we position and differentiate?
Integrated messaging, value proposition, pricing, education

PHASE 5: How do we go to market?
Marketing plan, target accounts, market influencers, analysts, channels

PHASE 6: How and when do we launch?
The event, testimonials, press releases, articles, alpha customers, case histories

PHASE 7: How are we doing?
Customer satisfaction, new needs and problems, market growth/decline, re-positioning

Monday, March 17, 2008

FutureWorld and FutureMarketing at Disney

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone, and I promise this is my last entry about Disney.

Last Friday, I was facinated by the pact that ties Disney World and the global technology company, Siemens AG, with the kind of multifaceted partnership that illustrates how Disney sells itself not just as a theme park, bus also as a marketing venue for all sorts of companies.

Siemens is a German company that generated about 68.6 billion euros (about $102 billion in today's U.S. currency) in sales last year making medical-device, power-grid, information-communication, transportation and automation and control systems, and has more than 6,000 employees in Florida, including those at the company's power headquarters on Alafaya Trail.

Though the company makes almost nothing that the average Disney World visitor might want to buy, Siemens' $100 million, 12-year agreement with Disney World in 2005 gives it naming sponsorship of Epcot's most iconic structure and ride, along with various other business arrangements. Under a new sign reading, "Spaceship Earth Presented by Siemens," the ride and its post-show gauntlet of games are a must-see attraction for kids of all ages.

On the Spaceship Earth ride, visitors might notice just a few new show scenes, lighting, costumes and set decorations and a new narrator, Academy Award-winning actress Judi Dench. The ride vehicle includes an interactive feature that quizzes visitors on such things as their hometown. (BRILLIANT market research forum! How many people come through this ride every single day?!?!? Unreal.) At the end of the ride, visitors are asked "What kind of future is most important to you" Your options are: Work, Play, Family, and something else that I can't remember.

After selecting "Work," Scott and I are asked if we'd rather work in an office, or from home. From home. Do we want to control our own time or have a set schedule? We go through and answer about 8 questions that give Siemens more and more intimate profile information on our work life preferences. At the end, Siemens shows us a 30 second "demo" of how the Scott-and-Wendi world would look... Jetsons-like cartoon characters complete with computer screen glasses that create virtual desktops on which we can wave and point commands and drive applications. Just like "Minority Report."

Once they get off the ride, visitors encounter Siemens' real show, which begins as they enter a high-ceilinged parlor and watch as their pictures (taken on the ride... Now, Siemens' has a visual picture to go with the demographic info which shows race, sex, and general age range) appear on a large globe in the center, then slide over the globe to their hometowns, where they shrink into pinpoints of light that tally who came from where on any given day. The post show also features several areas of educational high-tech games highlighting some of Siemens' technologies, including Inner Vision for medical technologies; Power City, for energy distribution; and Super Driver for transportation.

Along the way, visitors also encounter a few displays showing off some of Siemens' other programs, including its "Generation 21" science-education awards. Disney planners were impressed enough with the games that they took the unusual step of opening entrances directly into the post-show area, so that visitors can skip the ride and get right into the techno-games, if they prefer.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Disney Down-time

I am leaving on a 6am flight tomorrow morning for sunny Florida and DisneyWorld. Which got me thinking about the Disney company.

This past year, Disney began taking out multi-page ads in magazines like Vanity Fair, Town & Country, and Vogue to promote its "Year of a Million Dreams." With all the photographs by Annie Leibovitz, the images are stunningly beautiful and star big name celebrities, sports figures, models, and actors. Disney is definitely encouraging all adults to take some down-time and become a kid again.

Here I come!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Risk vs. Reward

A question posed to me this past weekend, "when you recommend or employ an innovative marketing solution for a client, how do you temper the risks of the unknown?"

Answer: Mindset... your's (the consultant) and the organization's (the client) is the critical factor. Readiness to change is a prerequisite for implementation. If you're in a company that is uncomfortable with you (the consultant) coming in and changing the way they (the client) do business, innovation will not happen. However, if change is the expectation, then there is an understanding that you will have to try a lot of things.

Ultimately, if you're ready for risk, set your expectations that 20% are going to be awful, 70% will be not as good as you hoped, and 10% will surprise you. That 10% is what you build a business around.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Okay, forgive the harkening back to one of the most awesome AC/DC songs ever, but I just got my new Dell today and she is BEAUTIFUL!!! Solid black and faster than any computer I've ever had before... like a Jaguar. Hmmm... sexy.

Next week, the normal blogs and actual business thoughts will return with gusto!
Everyone have a great weekend ;-)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

"Tune That Name" part 1

Not only must your company name reflect your brand and be memorable, the right name can make your business the talk of the town and the wrong one can doom it to obscurity. Given all the considerations that go into a good company name, shouldn't you consult an expert, especially if you're in a field in which your company will be visible and may influence the success of your business? And, isn't it easier to enlist the help of a naming professional? Just a thought...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thought-for-the-Day Wednesday

Day 5, no computer: I feel eerily calm today after a fitfull night of sleep (or no sleep as the case was).

A colleague referred me to an article by Katsukok Shimizu and Michael A. Hitt, two distinguished professorst at Texas A&M University.

"Companies want to grow... so they implement A LOT of structure. But the extreme
structure causes us to be less smart, less creative, less flexible."

Use structure, step out and be flexible, then step back into some structure. Be able
to shift in and out easily. There is a definite sweet spot.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Perfectionists are Losers!

Okay, so I'm getting my car washed at Park Place Lexus today, and that's how I'm blogging. (No computer, Day 4... STILL "jones-ing)

Read this yesterday, so I just had to pass it on.
From Pamela Slim at EscapeFromCubicleNation...

"So I asked Ramit Sethi a question that I have heard from many young people who want to work for themselves:
"What if people won't want to hire me because I am too young?"
"Give me a break," he said. "Perfectionists are losers."
I laughed out-loud at his bluntness, but immediately got what he was saying."

If you have a tendency to let perfectionism overrun your world, check out how to overcome it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Computers: They Love Me... They Love Me Not

I'm violating my "working on Sunday" rule and posting today because I've suffered a major loss in my life this weekend. Yes, I'm wearing all black and I'm prone to fits of crying because the screen (or the graphics chip... whatever, don't care) on my loyal laptop died on Saturday morning.

All of my files, data, emails... basically my life is trapped on this now worthless piece of metal and plastic. Ugh. The pain of it all. And yet, (sunshine emerges... birds singing) goody goody gumdrops, the joy of shopping for a new machine.

As a nod to my absolutely wonderful Creative Director, James, I seriously seriously seriously gave thought to and deeply investigated converting to a Mac. I really wanted to switch, but it doesn't support two of my "I've gotta have 'em" applications... OneNote and MindManager. (Actually, Mac does support MindManager, but I'd have to buy the software all over again.) Can't break the addiction.

So, ordered a Dell and it should be here Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, my posts will be hit or miss this next week, so please be patient with me as my access to PCs has now resorted to wandering around like a homeless person with a portable hard drive begging for a screen. "Buddy, can ya spare a display?"