Waiting for my 4 week old baby to wake up so I can feed her and go to bed and this is what I’m thinking about…
1. Boston.com comments - are absolutely buried. I think its how they prevent ignorant people from leaving comments?
2. 50% of NBA players are broke - how does this happen? How does the NBA not provide better education? Why not incentive players to defer a percentage of their payments until they are 30?
3. I never realized how annoying rain is… until I got a dog.
4. It never ceases to amaze me the decisions that businesses make, or put off until last minute when its too late. I honestly think this how “leaders” deflect criticism for their lack of decision making ability.
5. I hate when people get up from a table and don’t push their chair in. I think it says a lot of a person’s character.
6. The food network might have some of the better programming on TV. Restaurant Impossible - watch it.
7. The second I post it, I will think of something I should have added.
Like most weeks, I came across a lot of good information and had some experiences that made me stop, think and learn from them. Here are 3 that I wanted to share:
7 Incredible Web Design, Branding, Digital Marketing Experiences - this is a great article that I shared with a lot of our clients and our internal team. It’s long, but a great read about how to create smart and effective online experiences. As a passionate inbound marketer, I especially like “Security Choice: The Power of Conversion Through Transparency” (about 3 quarters of the way down).
This is a good article and very timely for me personally. We get a lot of RFPs and while on the surface, they present a good opportunity, typically the cards are stacked against you from the get go. For instance, a lot of companies use RFPs to get ideas or budget ranges (aka they are never actually going to do anything). Or other times, they have an agency already selected in their mind, but have to do the due diligence of getting 5 or more quotes. Or other times you are competing against low ballers who will do anything to win the business and end up doing a bait and switch. Most RFP responses are not apples to apples comparisons, but getting the in-person chance to explain that is hard.
I have been thinking of creating a standard RFP response - we would be happy to respond to this opportunity if you are willing to agree to the following:
1. One in-person discovery meeting with all stakeholders before we submit the response
2. One in-person presentation meeting with all stakeholders to present our response and answer any questions.
3. Filing out a worksheet that dives deeper in the company, its goals, challenges and what they really need vs. what they think they need.
The challenging part is not coming across as difficult to do business with and will those requirements create that perception?
What else would you add to that list or what has worked for you?
One of my favorite metaphors for client service - water the bamboo. While the results of our efforts won’t be seen instantly, consistency and perseverance will return results. But we need to keep at it day in and day out.
This might be the very extreme point of view (aka he might be devaluing the relevance of a like or interest), but it still makes you think. Amazon knows what I have bought, Facebook knows what I have liked. If most people are like me, they don’t know half the things they have liked - they did it at some point a while ago and don’t even remember it. But I do know what I have bought from Amazon.
I’ve listened to most of Mitch’s podcast’s over the last year or two, but this was my favorite. It’s worth the time. Let me know what your thoughts on their conversation and Bill’s thoughts. I think his “marketing is dead” is a catchy phrase - a less controversial but more honest title would have been “marketing has evolved’. But hey, you don’t expect a marketing guy to say that, do you?
I read Simon Sinek’s book “Start with the Why” this weekend and its very enlightening. Highly recommend it and this video is a good sample of his ideas / principles - http://www.startwithwhy.com/Read.aspx
Losing hurts, but figuring out why can be more painful
I love to play softball. I’ve officially grown up to be the townie that refuses to quit playing a kid’s game as my brother says. But the reality is, I love competition and I love the time with my friends, which isn’t nearly as abundant as it used to be. We lost our first playoff game last night to a team that we should have beaten. It got me thinking about losing, how much I hate it and why it happens. My mind wandered to winning and losing in business. The more I thought about it, I realized that losing is losing in any aspect of life and reasons are universally the same:
Just not as good. In all honesty, if I trained as hard as Michael Phelps I couldn’t beat him. Just not going to happen.
Failure to prepare
Overlooking an opponent (what happened to us last night)
All things equal, there has to be a winner and a loser
In business, these same rules apply.
Just not as good / or as good of a fit – if a potential client is looking for a organization that specializes or solves a very specific need, in some instances your product or service isn’t going to stack up. Give it your best, learn from it and refocus efforts on customers that are better fit for your services or products.
Failure to prepare – in all sales and client interactions, preparation is key. Customers feed off this and if they realize that you didn’t take the time to prepare, it will cost you. Maybe not every time, but more times than not.
Overlooking an opponent – for the business example I would also use taking a current customer for granted. Competition exists in all walks of life. If we don’t take care of our customers, there is going to be someone providing the value that we aren’t. We need to be adding and creating value at all interactions. Trust me, there are at least 5 competitors just waiting for us all to screw up
All things equal, there has to be a winner and a loser. I have won and lost plenty of opportunities that came down to two equal vendors. The opportunity here is to lose with grace, continue to provide value and wait for the competition to screw up (see previous bullet)
In all losses (and wins for that matter) we need to remove the emotion and take an honest look at why it happened. It can be a very painful exercise if done right, but it’s the only way to learn and avoid losing in the future. If it’s the first or the last, focus on what you can control and look for the next opportunity. If its second or third, then its time to make some changes. That starts with making sure you never take a client or opportunity for granted and are constantly providing value.
When it’s all said and done, we are all going to lose games, clients and opportunities at some point. Losing should hurt, because more times than not it could have been avoided with preparation and not taking anything for granted. If we can focus on making sure we learned from each win and loss, the wins will outnumber the losses.
I’m very passionate about using real people and real stories to help communicate brand stories. To me, it is one of the most effective ways to buy credibility and communicate the message in an easy to understand message to the target audience.
The Chevrolet Volt campaign currently running does this very effectively. While I’m not in the market for a new car, these ads catch my attention each time.
What other ads or campaigns are using real people and real stories that are catching your attention?
An unlikely industry and pioneer is arising as the model for digital distribution and monetization. Louis CK, the comedian and creator of the FX show Louie is in the process of changing how comedians and eventually other industries sell tickets and its own content.
In December of 2011, he released a one hour special that he filmed himself, for $5 a download. According to a June, 2012 interview, he made more than a million dollars (or 200,000 downloads) in 12 days. While he was worried about the video being pirated, by doing everything himself, he had to pay no one (other than his staff) and was able to control all aspects of it.
In June of 2012, he again cut out the middle man by launching a new ticket service on his website. Now, the only way to purchase tickets to his shows are on his website. He sets the price ($45 for every ticket), controls the fees (minimal is how he describes it) and found theaters that we were willing to be a partner and cut out typical ticket agencies like TicketMaster that charge the end user 20 to 30% fees. While it was a lot of upfront works to develop the site and find theaters willing to participate, he now controls every aspect of the ticket sale and will make more money and control the user experience. If he find tickets are being scalped, he will cancel the ticket (they are all digital). Even though the ticket price is lower than before, because he has no one to share the ticket revenue with, he will make much more on this and future tours.
What does this all mean? Technology is allowing people and businesses the opportunity to do things that weren’t possible 5 to 10 years ago, let alone in the 20th century. Brokers, middlemen and media properties are being eliminated and replaced by do it yourselfers who are willing to invest time and money to create an infrastructure that is not only profitable to them, but allows them to control all touch points with their fans and brand advocates.
It will be interesting to see what his next act is.
Account Director at MicroArts. I love podcasts, Skippy peanut butter and Diet Coke (and of course my family and dog Harrelson). Big believer in Inbound Marketing tactics for demand fulfillment. Still trying to traverse all of the digital tactics for the optimal demand creation tactics. br>