Thursday, April 30, 2009

 

Our new "intern"

Last night, my wife and I welcomed Clara Mabelle Heinz to the world. Seven pounds, five ounces of cuteness (yes, I'm already wrapped around her tiny fingers).

Needless to say, I'll be taking some down-time for a couple weeks to focus on my new family.

If you want more Clara photos and updates, check out www.ClaraMabelle.com.

Monday, April 27, 2009

 

Your brand, remixed...

Think about someone doing this to your brand. They take your carefully-created image, rip it to shreds, and put it back together the way they like it.

Does that scare you, or inspire you?


 

Hand written notes make a difference (and impression)

I love a good pen, and my current favorite is the Retro 51 Tornado. I ran out of ink cartridges a couple weeks ago and Googled for a solution. I found a wide variety of largely undifferentiated places to buy online, and by chance selected Paradise Pen.

Today, I got my ink refills in the mail with this hand-written thank you note from Wendy Walters, the store manager in Costa Mesa, CA. How many companies do you know who do that for an ink refill purchase?

Impressed...

 

How often do you fail?

If you don’t fail regularly, you’re not trying hard enough.

If you’re hunkering down and playing it safe in this market, ironically, it will likely take you longer to find your way back to prosperity and growth.

Why?

What worked before isn’t working today.  What will work today is likely going to be something new, something undiscovered, something you don’t currently know how to do.

If you expect you’ll find that breakthrough idea by doing what’s safe, what’s known, you’ll probably be waiting for quite awhile.

But if you don’t mind failing, and either work in or can create a culture of failure (as a means of learning and innovating) within your organization, then you have the context in which to take risks, try new things, fail a good percentage of the time, but constantly measure, learn and improve from those failures so that your path to innovation and growth is much shorter.

Look over your past month of work.  How often have you failed?  What have you learned from that failure?

If you can’t come up with many examples, think of things you might have done, or tried, but were afraid to do so.

Are they worth trying now?


Thursday, April 23, 2009

 

Is this how you do business?

We’re all guilty of having done this.  Some of us still do it today. 

But like it or not, this is how people think about marketers.

Forget about reversing the stereotype, that opportunity is long past.  How do we now rebuild trust, and meet customers on their own terms?

It’s a far more difficult form of marketing and selling, but we don’t really have a choice in the years ahead if we want to be successful.

 


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

 

Tweet your religion

Twitter, at its core, is about sharing ideas. It's about capturing those ideas in real-time and sharing not only with friends & family, but with anyone else in the Twittersphere that cares about the same thing.

That's part of what makes the idea of Twittering at church so compelling. This church in North Carolina, for example, encouraged its members to Twitter throughout the Easter morning sermon.

For the individual who is inspired by what he/she hears, the opportunity to share that message immediately (fulfilling the call to evangelism that most religions preach) is almost as important as the church's own interest in having its message shared with a much broader audience (not to mention free advertising for the church itself by current, passionate members).

Many businesses are trying to figure out what their Twitter strategy is right now. But if you think about your customers, who they influence, and how that aligns with your own business and messages/objectives, that Twitter strategy may become more obvious than you think.


Monday, April 20, 2009

 

Focus and measure

When your selling environment is difficult and you’re not hitting your numbers, you’re trying everything possible to break through. Is it messaging? A new offer? A stronger value proposition? Different customer segment?

All good questions, but don’t forget to focus and measure. The slippery slope right now is to try a lot of things quickly in a zeal to quickly find something, anything that gets revenue back in the right direction. But if you come across something that works, and 1) haven’t isolated it, and 2) haven’t measured it, you’ll have a hard time scaling it.

What’s more, as hard as it may feel initially, it’s more important now than ever to focus on less, not more. Spend a few minutes up front reading your market, talking to your customers, and deciding which of those great sales & marketing ideas are worth testing first. Focus on testing them well, quickly, with more of your resources focused on fewer, not more, tests. This will help ensure you’re accurately vetting and reading whether that test works…or not.

Believe me, you’ll find the path to revenue acceleration faster this way.

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