Last week was a Texas whirlwind. I met with 10 CEOs in 4 separate settings. The topics of these meetings were nearly the same – What should I be doing differently in 2014 to improve business performance?
One of these meetings was a roundtable, and I asked the CEOs what they’d like to get out of the hour. Their response? “Tell us the latest magic marketing trick that will bring us more customers.” Ok. Let’s start there.
Need a 2014 Marketing Silver Bullet?
As much as I like to say, “There are no silver bullets,” I believe that for a given company there actually may be one or two. There are some significant new avenues through which to execute marketing outreach and new methods of managing marketing operations that most business-to-business organizations have not considered or implemented. We’re finding that these approaches are particularly invisible to companies that have marketing execution resources in house, but the task of driving marketing strategy falls entirely on the CEO.
I read with interest several recent Elton John interviews in support of his latest (33rd) album release, The Diving Board. In a WSJ interview, the album is praised for being a return to the basic style that had Elton continuously on the Top 40 charts for over 4 years during the mid-70’s. The articles made me think about how a brand that started strong can survive for so long putting out some questionable products, and what lessons about marketing strategy we can we take from this.
I’m a classically trained, seasoned, marketing and innovation executive who has worked with multiple CEOs to develop and build over a dozen new-to-the-world successful, profitable, products and services. These new businesses have contributed over $1B in revenues to the companies for which I’ve been privileged to work. From a marketing perspective, we built these businesses the old-fashioned way: I grew up professionally in the world of TV commercials (remember when 15- and 10-second spots were radical!), radio ads, print ads, a little direct marketing, a lot of promotion and public relations.
Last month I visited the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany. Until this visit, I had not fully considered the impact the invention of the printing press had on the dissemination of knowledge and in enabling democracy. Prior to Gutenberg’s invention, the transfer of recorded information was reliant on scribes copying information by hand from one book to the next. After the printing press, multiple copies of a document could be created, increasing the dispersion of knowledge and lowering its acquisition cost. More information, lower cost.
Okay. So I’ve used this reference before, but it really fits this story. It’s one of my favorite Steve Martin gags, when he says, “YOU can be a MILLIONAIRE and NEVER pay taxes.” How? “First, get a million dollars.” In some small way, the sketch makes this point: it takes money to make money.
So, what’s it going to take to make $1B? As it turns out, only $200,000. And we know where it’s going to come from.
Guest Blog by Joanie Rufo, Initiate Consulting.
One of the common themes I see in my work coaching executive leaders is the unilateral struggle of leaders to rest and renew.
“EACH OF US NEEDS TO WITHDRAW FROM THE CARES WHICH WILL NOT WITHDRAW FROM US.” – Maya Angelou
Your sales team defines price as what’s on the invoice. Your CFO defines price as ‘what we take to the bank’. Your customer says price is too high. Your pricing manager says that price doesn’t match our standard terms. Your distributor says they can’t make any money on your line. And it’s still Monday morning!
The following article is written by guest blogger, Allen R. Sockwell.
Senior executives are faced with critical business decisions on a daily basis. Some influence the performance of the organization for years to come. Imagine facing one of these decisions knowing that 50% of the time you will make a poor choice. Industry research and my professional experience show that almost 50% of senior executive hires fail to meet the expectations set when a search begins.
When we hear the word “audit,” most of us skip a heartbeat and experience quickening of the pulse. Or perhaps even a chill runs down our spine.
This blog is about a different kind of audit. It is a lot less threatening, and almost always ends with you getting something positive out of it.
It’s called Marketing Audit.
Instead of describing it, let me share an anecdote that happened recently.
An executive at McDonald’s was quoted in an article I read recently that the head of McDonald’s social media is the customer. It’s a realistic assessment – the whole reason for social media is to engage with your customers, be authentic and build trust. Social media will also point out your flaws and the key question is how fast your company will address those flaws. I believe this will do more to define you as a company in the eyes of your customers than any other brand building program you have. Today, your brand is ALL about this communication.