Written By Marshall Perez “ Visionary” CMO-Partner Chief Outsiders LLC
I did not like the Beatles when they first came to America, but I am a contrarian by nature. Today, John Lennon and Paul McCartney are music icons that created a legacy of sound and lyrics. The Beatles created some of the most recognized and memorable songs of today. "I don’t read music, you got a problem with that?" - said Paul McCartney. They created music from what came into their minds. How did they do this and become world renown? I suggest to you they “played it by ear.”
You remember your first time, don’t you?
No, not THAT one. I am talking about the first time you learned something new that has served you well time and again for years. In this blog, I want to share something I discovered very early in my career and have used effectively ever since.
As my friends know, I was “dragged into marketing." Long story short, I got an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from a premier institute so I could pursue my dream of designing cars. My first job out of college was with Toyota (yay!!) as they were starting up their operations in India (I was employee number 19). The only problem was that they, much against my wishes and protestations, placed me in the marketing function because that’s where they needed most help.
Twice this week, once at a client lunch and once during a dreaded staff meeting, the topic of unproductive staff meetings came up. This got me to thinking about the why. Upon reflection, is it because many of us focus staff meetings on the burning operational issues of the day, or because we focus on reviewing operational dashboards with little discussions of the 3rd, 4th or 5th "why" for average or lackluster performance?
Positioning is a critical step in any business’ marketing strategy. It defines the company, forms the basis for messaging, drives the marketing approach and impacts the way in which products and services are priced. To be effective, positioning must be clear, compelling and, most importantly, differentiated.
It was business management consultant Joseph Juran who suggested the 80/20 principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto – citing that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It was 1906 when Pareto observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. He then noted that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pea pods. Today, in business, many have observed this “Pareto Principle” across various company operations:
No one likes making mistakes, but we all make our fair share of them. Humans are fallible, products and processes fail, and things slip through the cracks. Even the best-managed companies can go awry. Unfortunately, mistakes are not only inevitable; they can also be very costly. As a CEO you know that mistakes can cause operations costs to rise and productivity to falter — and most damaging of all, they frustrate our customers so that they start thinking about taking their business elsewhere. If we act quickly to fix our mistakes, however, we can make our mistake pay off.
This is one of the most difficult questions CEOs of all ages ask themselves. Our Vistage Chair constantly asks the CEOs in our group, “Are the people who got you to this level in your business, going to be the ones who get you to the next one? What do you need to do differently? And how can you go about doing it?
Hiring a marketing consultant is not exactly like hiring an employee. Here’s why:
So in a nutshell, you should be on the lookout for a firm with an individual who has the experience and track record to quickly add value, and expect this impact will come at a premium as compared to hiring an employee.
I recently received a package in the mail. A mysterious package from Klout. I opened it up and lo and behold, it contained three new products sent to me on a complimentary basis. They were VITA-K for “age spots”, VITA-K for “crow’s feet” and VITA-K for “deep facial lines” I was selected to receive these products because of my Klout score of 56, not because of my age (I just turned 60) and hopefully not because of some new “facial recognition software” that identified me as someone in great need of these products.
Companies can no longer settle for incremental improvement in today’s rapidly evolving and increasingly global economy. McKinsey Quarterly, in their June 2011 issue offered the suggestion that in order to sustain high performance, organizations today must build the capacity to learn and keep changing over time and suggested that organizational health was perhaps the ultimate competitive advantage for today's economy. I can not stress more strongly how important the role of the CEO is in visibly participating in the transformation and how the CMO can assist in this process. I believe there is no single model for success, and actions will be influenced by the magnitude, need and nature of the change for an organization. But, in my experience there are four basic change management steps that I’ve found always apply and can be scaled to fit every organizational transformation.