This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Share this file all you wish. Forward it to friends, family, irritating bosses (don't hold me responsible for the fallout though). But please don't be a jackass and change it. Amanda did a damn fine job on the cover. She deserves credit for it. Cover Art © Amanda Kelsey If you want more ass kicking, Visit http://clientk.com/
Are All Executives Bastards? Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Still Yes. This question came up at a chicks night out that I attended recently. No one in the group with all our combined job jumping experience could think of a single executive, male or female, who was NOT a bastard. (That included the executives in the group) One of my favorite V-P’s, a real piece of work, prided himself on being just that. He liked to push around anyone he could (that goes without saying). He once threatened to fire me. I looked him square in the eye and taunted “bring it on.” (His executive assistant was having a conniption fit). He just laughed and said I was ‘alright.’ Gee thanks, coming from a real bastard, that gives me a warm fuzzy. Anyway, another day I spent a lovely half hour of my life listening to him push all the buttons of a job slave. Had this poor man jumping through hoops just because he could. (Bastards feed off fear and only respect other bastards.) I gave him classic K cut eye and the V-P said, “What? You think I am a real bastard, don’t you?” My answer was an unabashed and enthusiastic ‘yes.’ Again the evil laughter. What did he say to that? Was he sorry? Did he apologize? Nope, all he said was a satisfied ‘good.’ Like I made his day or something. So there you have it, from the horse’s… .hhhhmmmm…mouth. All executives are bastards. ‘Course if you’ve made it out of the sandbox, you know that already.
Fantastic! As a continuation of my all executives are bastards rant (I know you haven’t had enough of it yet - if you have, like I really care) While I was working with him, my favorite self professed bastard V-P got a promotion from plain ol’ V-P to Super… sorry… Senior V-P. I love it when those phony promotions happen. Like I am supposed to be happy that he is still doing the same blasted gawd awful job (which consists of tormenting underlings and preventing any real progress) but is now making more money and gets new business cards. Give me a freakin’ break! So you know what I have to do - suck it up and pretend to be happy for the guy. How to do it? I told him that I thought his promotion was ‘fantastic.’ He loved that description, ate it up. Told everyone that I thought just that - that his promotion was fantastic. I was laughing my ass off. News flash - look up fantastic at dictionary.com (btw…I love the fact that someone capitalized on dictionary needing people not knowing how to spell dictionary with dictionairy.com - clever) What are the definitions? 1. Quaint or strange in form, conception, or appearance. 2. a. Unrestrainedly fanciful; extravagant: fantastic hopes. b. Bizarre, as in form or appearance; strange: fantastic attire; fantastic behavior. c. Based on or existing only in fantasy; unreal: fantastic ideas about her own superiority. 3. Wonderful or superb; remarkable: a fantastic trip to Europe. He thought I meant #3 wonderful. Of course, I meant #2 bizarre. Which the promotion definitely was. And such is the power of the English language. You can insult your boss and he thinks it’s a compliment! Playing the amusing but risky game of insulting the boss a la moment leads to the next topic.
How NOT To Get My Ass Fired Entrepreneurs make the worst employees - that is a known fact. (So known that I don’t even have to quote a source. If you want one, don’t be so friggin’ lazy and do your own bloody search.) However, sometimes getting a job is a necessary evil. I find getting the job is easy (simple selling and if you can’t sell, what kind of entrepreneur are you?). Keeping my butt in the seat is the hard part. Here are my pro-tips; Use or don’t use, I don’t really give a crap. And I don’t promise results either. It has been my experience that there are no fool proof systems. First, I don’t like to be too obvious about giving the company, my boss and my co-workers the finger. There are ways of doing this with finesse. I personally love the finger disguised as the pat on the back. Nothing is more beautiful. Second, I never accept a below average review. This is usually necessary for a clean, lawsuit free firing. Fight one to the death. Third, I keep a kudos file. Anytime I feel generous and do something nice for someone else, I ask for an e-mail thank you. I supplement that with an updated task list (filled with garbage if needed, I just ensure that it is lengthy - no one will actually read it). Fourth and finally, I keep a dirt file. Now, this file is like the atomic bomb. I only use it in times of war, when my back is against the wall. Every pro has such a file but no one will admit it until the file magically appears (secret weapons are best kept just that - secret). And usually, I only have to hint at having one to get a stay of execution. In it, I store all those dirty details that management wants to keep secret. Everyone says things that they shouldn’t, everyone does dumbness that could blow up big if it connects with the light of day. It is my job to record these random spurts of verbal diarrhea
with as much detail as possible - time, location, others present, context, you get the picture. I like to keep it on my manager, my manager’s manager and basically any other person in a position of power. There are countless other tricks but these four are my core. They kept me fearless which in turn made me a better employee. Which in turn made me more money so I could quit the corporate game sooner.
The Chick Card Now I hear a lot of whining from my sisters about being a chick in the old boys network. My advice for what it’s worth is… I hear you but Get Over It. As I see it, we have two choices. We can either play the game, twisting the rules to our advantage. Or We can play a different game, making our own rules. Me, I played the corporate game for a bit. It was fun. Honed the skills, made me the bad ass I am today. Did I come up against the old boys network? Every minute of every day. Did I learn to work it to my advantage? You bet. An example: I was new business development girl. Want a new product line? Come to me. Want a key system implemented? Come to me. Feel like taking over a competitor? Come to me. Obviously I was the decision maker in a lot of meetings. However, being fairly young and female, I would never be picked as that person. So I played that to my advantage. Whenever I walked into a meeting with fresh faces, I would bring some middle aged white guy with me. He was my smokescreen Making me invisible. It’s amazing what you find out when you are invisible. Big things like what the true cost of a supplier’s product was (I kid you not) To Even bigger things like the favorite chocolate of the executive assistant
(i.e. the gatekeeper) to the big bad client president. I made the company a lot of money that way. And when the company made money, I made money. All ‘cause I played the chick card.
What Title? Now, some folks ask me. How can I be invisible in meetings if my title says big wig business gal? Easy, I don’t do titles. Why? ‘Cause titles put me in a place, a nice little compartment. Once I am in that place, it is more difficult to travel elsewhere. It makes it more of a challenge to create my own job. It narrows my focus. Why in the world would I want that? It is like having a list of job duties. Or signing non-compete clauses (which I don’t do either). How can I assign myself the juicy tasks with such limitations? So what do I do if people ask? I usually laugh and say “You mean my job title today or my job title tomorrow?” It sends the clear signal that I am going somewhere. (Cockiness helps too) Figures that people living in boxes want it labeled too.
Multiple Personal Brands Can someone have multiple personal brands? Of course. In fact, all of us do. I’m definitely a different person with my significant other than when I’m with my mother. Many of us run businesses. The business is an extension of our personal brand name. We have different internet personalities. When I post on a finance board, I speak differently (and usually have a different name) Than if I posted on a friends of the environment board. Many, many writers use pen names. A different pen name for mysteries than non-fiction than horror titles. The danger of handling multiple personalities is ensuring that one personality does not taint the brand equity of the others. Some bloggers get into difficulties, blogging under their own name and dissing associates (employers, family) that their key brand relies on for wealth and happiness. In other words, if you are going to be two faced, have two separate faces! And handle with care.
Motivating Marketers I was once told by a company that, as of a certain date, no marketing staff below the executive level would receive stock options. I promptly sold all my stock the very same day. Effective marketing is a long term build. Any advertising monkey can drive short term results. Throw out a low price point. Target a new, unrelated market (the old audience will linger long enough to get a double whammy). The REAL merits of a marketing program are measured in the long term. As a result, compensation should reflect this performance. So if your marketers don’t hold stock, then you might think seriously about whether you want to.
Love Of The Game When I first started out in business, it was all about the money. About ramping my salary up from mere survival level. About having extra to invest. Growing personal wealth. Along the road, I discovered that it isn’t about the money. It’s about the game. If you’re good at the game, and keep your eyes out, the money will find you. Money will serve as a benchmark. A way of determining if you are winning or losing. And when you are looking to move, the money will be secondary to the opportunity. To the challenge. With blogging, I knew there was no money in it. And why should there be? I don’t know anything about the business. I should be working for free just to learn it. To learn another game.
Liking Your Customers Have you ever bought something because you liked a salesperson? And you felt he/she liked you? Of course. Most of us have. Sure, we might have needed the purchase anyway but we bought then and there because we liked the person selling. I’ve never met a good salesperson or marketer that didn’t like their customers. Or at least could fool their mind into liking the customer while selling. And the first rule of telemarketing is to smile into the phone. The customer can ‘hear’ the smile. So never put down your customer. Never talk down to them. Never ridicule them. Treat them with respect. They’re paying your bills.
Is McD’s Competing With Grocery? I had an argument recently with one of the execs at McD’s. They benchmark against other Quick Service Restaurants (QSR’s). As McD’s is one of the category leaders, they come off smelling like a rose. They are complacent, happy as fat little cows. (believe it or not, the meat is 100% beef, it’s the fine grind that gives it the unnatural consistency) However, in my market, less than 20% of food consumption is at QSR’s. The bulk is sourced from grocery. So when you compare McD’s performance to total food consumption, they aren’t doing so hot. They are missing opportunities. They don’t have their eye on major competitors. Which considering grocery is stealing share with their ready to eat category, Not to mention playing with drive-thru’s, Is just plain silly.
Idea Theft I steal. Constantly. My favorite place to steal from is other industries. Am I looking for a new kiddie cereal to develop? For packaging, I look at the hottest toys. What color is the packaging? What font is the label in? What kid are they targeting? For tastes, lets look at the candy aisle. What are kids picking up by handfuls? For promotion, lets look at the hottest kid shows. Can my commercials have the same look and feel? Yes, not creative. But combined, it comes off as f***ing brilliant.
F*** Up With Finesse There is no great reward without great risk. Take on enough risk and you will fail. F***ing up is part of the business game. Me, I once lost a company a million dollars. Luckily, I had banked revenue streams to offset the loss. (Still reduced my bonus plus my executives’ bonus - no happy faces at that board meeting). So I didn’t lose my job (that time). Screwing up is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a part of learning, of growing, of getting better. Everyone does it. Not everyone admit it. But if you talk to the greats, they will admit it. And when you screw up big time, you have to stand up and take the hits. You have no choice. Look at it as a tuition payment. Pay it, learn from it, and move on.
Eating Dog Food For Breakfast Imagine going in to work Monday morning at 9am and eating dog food for a couple hours. Barf (or bark in this case). Well, that is what one of my marketing buddies has to do. He is the brand manager for a major dog food brand. A significant secondary market for dog food is human consumption. So each new product has to be tested on humans for taste and texture. Have you ever seen Purina advertise directly to this market? No, of course not. Do they even mention this fact? Yuck, no. That, folks, is the difference between a primary market and a secondary market. You target all media and promotion to the primary market. You talk to the primary market, you woo the primary market. And then you try not to isolate the secondary market by ensuring it fulfills their needs also.
Marketing Movies Lately, there has been a lot of media coverage revolving around how movies just aren’t pulling in audiences. The focus seems to be on fixing the product, making better, more interesting movies. I don’t think that’s the issue. Personally I feel the marketing sucks. Every marketing bunny worth her carrots knows that… Weak sales on introduction (i.e. the first weekend) indicates poor marketing. Weak sales on repeat business (i.e. subsequent weekends) indicates a poor product. The problem with movies is the first weekend numbers are tanking. There is no crave created. No bums in seats. Why? ‘Cause the marketing bites. Look at the commercial spots for a movie like Kingdom of Heaven. In a 60 second or even 30 second spot, the viewer is treated to a flash of disconnected scenes. Is it a romance? Is it an action flick? Is it a political or religious commentary? Who the hell knows! There is no consistent brand message. The viewer is left dazed and confused. But who is the target viewer? Again, there is none. The commercials are trying to be all things to all viewers. And as a result, the spots are flat lining. If I presented those commercials to a CPG exec team, I would have been fired on the spot. So lets put blame where blame is warranted. Tell the movie marketers to shape up. (Don’t even get me started on the color choices!)
How To Know When To Reel In The Big Deals Now, when I was playing in corporate, I always had some low hanging fruit out there in case of emergency. I have heard fellow players call them different things - reserves, drawers, buckets, you get the picture. These could be big deals, actual cash reserves, budget surpluses, unspent capital, favors… If I wanted to keep my job (which wasn’t always the case), I would keep an eye on a couple different things. My favorite was when the bulk of my CEO’s stock options came due. We all track our stock options, playing the delicate game of weighing stock price against the expiry date. Funny but our CEO’s do the exact same thing. So I tracked his stock options too. See, no one likes to throw money away. When an expiry date comes close and the stock price still sucks, CEO’s, only human after all and we already determined true bastards, Will do anything to bump that stock price up. One of the classic moves is the big layoff announcement. (Can’t and would never want to prove this, but it hasn’t failed me yet. Limited sample though - Might just be the companies I played in.) Friends always ask me “What is the use of a layoff announcement? It is only a temporary bump up in share price.” We all know that that employees will be hired back (or replaced with contract workers). Some bum has to sit in the seats. Well, it is very useful for the person with stock options. Insider trading, sure. But there is NO ONE buying or selling stock today that does not believe he/she has some sort of information over the rest of the market. So grow up. It is part of the game. When I smell a storm in the wind, I reel in a big deal. Memories are short. But even exec’s find it difficult to lay off a recent superstar. Especially one that is helping him in his goal of jacking the stock price. If you want to win, you have to watch all the players. Make sure you know their game too.
The Best Country In The World Having just got back from Scotland, England and France, one universal truth once again hits me right between the eyes. No matter where I am, whether I am in Russia, in the U.S. or in Jordan, the residents there feel that they are living in the best country in the world. Which leads to my next universal truth - there is a consumer for every product. I hear again and again ‘develop the product that you would want.’ What a load of bunk. Doing that is a fast track to the poor house. The trick is not to find out a product that one person (i.e. you) would use. It is to find a product that a critical number of consumers will use.
Living The Dream I’m two months into taking a year off from a very lucrative job. Doing this to pursue a dream. I’m pleased with the progress that I’ve had. No money in it…yet. But that isn’t surprising. Any startups are likely to cash flow negative to start with. The interesting and sometimes disheartening part about it is that so, so many people have taken my decision very personally. Like I’ve insulted them by not wanting what they want. The laugh is that these are the people who have been telling me over years that money isn’t everything. That was their answer when I put forward the idea of investing rather spending all their income. Yet, when I turn my back on a ready source of it, They’ve become outraged, angry even. People are strange. I love them but they are strange.
Blogging In My Underwear Lately it has been hot, really hot. Most people have their AC cranked, trying to insulate themselves from the extremes of weather. Another strange twist in human nature. People pay big money in the middle of winter to fly off and sweat it up in some tropical paradise. Yet they complain about the same temperature when it hits home. Why? I figure because it’s free. Another example: I love going to movie premieres. See it first, see it free is my motto. However the theatre is usually empty like full price Monday. Because there aren’t any dollars laid down, There’s no commitment, no value associated. So when you’re playing with pricing and promo, Remember No one appreciates free.
Be Careful Of The Questions You Ask I get a good chuckle when I receive results from consumer studies. Execs, for some reason, are always on pins and needles to hear what they say. Like it is a big surprise or something. I know exactly what they’ll say. Why? Because I helped draft the questions. And I helped screen the candidates. Human nature is fairly predictable. I can manipulate answers based on how I ask the question. A middle aged woman, for example, is most likely to agree with any question. If I ask her ‘Do you think Jscott is damn sexy?’ then she’s likely to say yes. If I ask her ‘Do you think Jscott is unattractive?’ then she’s likely to say yes also. So I use consumer studies for two reasons. Disaster tests And Selling to the executive team.
Action over Investigation There comes a point in every project after a basic foundation of knowledge has been laid when one either takes action or investigates further. The risk of taking action is failure and the costs incurred. However, there are also risks with investigating further. One wastes time, might be gripped with analysis paralysis, and might experience failure regardless. No one could ever accuse me of analysis paralysis d espite my number crunching base. I am definitely a take action type of girl. No guts, no glory. However, the downfall of that is experiencing two consecutive massive failures in the past couple of weeks. But at least, now I know what DOESN’T work.
What Does K Do? Honestly, I don’t do much. What I do is delegate. I have a contact list of talent. I coordinate inputs from this talent base to produce an end product. I get the finance people to talk to the marketing folks. I’m the universal translator. I launch systems that I don’t even know how to run. I don’t need to run them. I just need to get the developers to talk to the users, etc. I do have a very select portfolio of talents. Talents that I barter for other talents. But these pale to my project and people management skills. And I get things done.
Traveling For Work When many people think of traveling for work, They think of business meetings, visiting clients, and global associates. When I think of traveling for work, I think of product development opportunities. I think of leveraging foreign products, packaging, marketing and concepts. When I was playing in the Consumer Packaged Goods realm, I’d visit grocery, mass and retail outlets where-ever I’d go. I’d bring back tastes, packaging, promotional materials. Then I would leverage these ideas for my own market. I’d use them to inspire me, to get my team thinking outside of what was happening in the local area.
Stable of Brands Growing a stable of brands has its benefits. Owned by an umbrella company, the brands have all the benefits of a big company, with all the benefits of a small company. You buy advertising in bulk. You share overhead. You have supplier weight. You can grow niche products to target segments. You create an illusion of competition. For example: Coca-Cola owns Coke, Diet Coke, Minute Maid, Simply Orange, Dasani, Five Alive, Fruitopia, Sprite, Barq’s, etc. etc. The average consumer looks down the beverage aisle and thinks “Wow, look at all this choice.” When really the non-alcoholic beverage category is split between only a few major players. When to fragment? When you have… A different product A different market A different positioning.
The Luxury Laundry Room I keep an eye on a lot of marketing and sales endeavors and I’ll admit that it’s difficult to impress me. But once in a while, I’m blown away. Like the designer who sold my friend on a luxury laundry room My hapless status seeking buddy didn’t know what hit her. She had no possibility of escape. The designer was a master saleswoman. First she expressed dismay that my friend didn’t even know if she had a laundry room (my friend sends her socks to the drycleaners). Then she told her that ‘the laundry room is the new bathroom.’ The word new always gets my buddy’s attention. The designer explained that any laundry room worth its powder was the equivalent of a spa. Thus equating it to a soothing experience my friend already indulges in and implying that everyone else has such a laundry room. She said that ironing a shirt well was on par with quality therapy, a small way of creating order in a chaotic world. My friend got the feeling that to go without a luxury laundry room would be sacrificing her health. Let’s say…she isn’t about sacrifice. This cracker jack salesgal went on to say how the laundry room could still be beautiful even though it was useful and how it would increase the resale value of the home making it a practical purchase. You can see how my poor buddy didn’t stand a chance. The designer activated so many triggers that her prospect eagerly and happily plunked down the cash to upgrade a room that she never knew she had and will likely never use (the mere thought of an iron in my buddy’s hand scares me). That, my friends, is great salesmanship!
Hanging Out At The Dollar Store I spent the day shopping with a raving fan of dollar stores. We must have went to four or five and spent a couple hundred dollars. It was amazing to me what could be found for a dollar. Not just no name junk but brand names (likely overruns). Selection included everything from candy to clothes to tools to computer parts. It drove home again and again that competing on price is a hopeless strategy. Eventually, I’ll be competing with the dollar store. It also brought to my attention the importance of protecting brand premiums. Why would I pay a premium elsewhere for a brand that I could find for a dollar? If the product is old or defective, why would I want a consumer to associate either quality with my brand? In the long run, an appearance of your brand at the dollar store is damaging. How does one protect the premium? By taking the short term hit and destroying unsaleable product yourself. By empowering employees to either buy such product or to report on the store to company salespeople. I must have been the saddest person at the dollar stores today Mourning the fall of some great brands.
Peer Pressure And Marketing Speaking of saving money… just because every one of your marketing buddies is playing in a certain piece of promotion, doesn’t mean you should. Yep, peer pressure and status marketing - it can kill the budget and suck life giving marketing money away from the brand. Like tv ads for the Olympics… prime marketing real estate, great for the ego, awesome for boasting power, but if your target market is artsy, anti-establishment types, a complete waste of money. Or irrelevant swag, cutesy knickknacks that few eyeballs will see but make you feel like super marketer. As an aside, I like wearable t-shirts (walking billboards) or pens (pens sign checks and I’m awfully fond of checks). Boring but useful. It’s all about the biggest bang for the buck, but for the brand, not for you.
What Are You Selling? Marketing only has one purpose… to sell. That’s it, that’s all. Often I think that marketers get caught up in the art and forget that’s the sole purpose. We are all just slinging product. Have you ever watched a commercial, a brilliant, entertaining piece of film, and then at the end, not know what they were selling? It may have been fun to watch but it was a waste of time to make. So after looking at creative, ask yourself do I remember the product being sold and do I want to buy the product? If the answer is no to either, say no to the creative and save your money.
Those That Ask Get I spent a precious half hour of my life today trying to convince someone to do something. What was that something? To ask for a simple favor. This favor wouldn’t have cost the granter anything. I knew, actually, that the granter was open to it. (Yeah, being the nice person, I prepped and pre-sold the request) All this individual had to do was ask. She outright refused. Even though this favor could have helped her greatly. Could likely even make the difference between success and failure. Nope, she couldn’t do it. She said she felt ‘funny’ about it. Well, I tell you, I felt ‘funny’ about busting my butt to help her out! Won’t make that mistake again (at least not with her). A big part of successful guerrilla marketing is asking for freebies, bartering, trading favors, doing anything to get the cost down. Actually, a big part of any success is asking for favors. Life is a team sport, people. Please get with the program.
Open to Change I went to a seminar today on guerrilla marketing for writers. I found the audience reaction as fascinating as the material presented. Not that the material was dry, it wasn’t. It was merely that the audience was so damn interesting. And the attendees re-confirmed something that I have long known. Successful people are open to change. Not as successful people resist it. The pro’s in the audience, the people who have been published multiple times, were open to any and all suggestions. They did push back a little, asking for clarification but overall they made notes and seemed willing to try the technique. The junior jammers in the group kept sending the same message over and over. “That won’t work.” “I couldn’t do that.” Etc. Their first response was negative. Is it a coincidence? That the successful people were more open to change? Nope. I’ve seen it happen again and again. (Not saying that they will be raving fans about everything but they’ll, at least, listen to your idea before telling you to F*** off) So being a real bastard, when I put together a team, I tend to jettison the deadwood (i.e. the blockers) right away. I find it difficult if not impossible to have a successful project driven by people less inclined to be successful. Hey why take chances?
Focus Groups Participated in a focus group today. Yeah, I shouldn’t have. Since my love is marketing and being in the biz skews the results. However, no one asked what my background was. And in the focus group, I had to fight to get my opinion across. It was obvious from the get go that this was one of those phoney focus groups set up to make execs happy. Nothing was asked. The moderator did most of the talking. And when something was said, nothing was written down. So they paid us $75 for 2 hours of our time for nothing. They were just going through the motions. And honestly, what they were trying to pitch us sucked. I finally asked what the purpose of the commercial was because I certainly didn’t get it. Never got an answer to that either. I made a note to tell my financial advisor to avoid that stock, pocketed my $75 and thought seriously about working for the competitor.
Basic Blog Marketing - Target Audience If your blog is a business, then treat it like a business. Period. Every business, every product has a target audience. Which means that your blog (or any professional writing) should have one too. And I don’t mean something hairy fairy like ‘people who want to read about marketing.’ That ain’t gonna cut it. You want to know -male or female -source of income -age -married or single -kids or no kids Hell, you want to know what your target audience had for breakfast! Why? Because how are you going to meet your audience’s needs if you don’t even know who they are? Take this site for example: My target audience (if you’re having a slow day, yes you) doesn’t have time for pussy footing around. You likely know all this crap I write about, you just need a reminder. (no need for definitions) You don’t have time to wade through big paragraphs. Or look up $0.25 words. Or wait for fancy graphics to load. You want a quick fix, damn it. So if you don’t have one already, put together a profile of your target and then write to him/her!
Yet More Business Cards In the go, go, go world of today, everyone is looking for the quick fix, the executive summary, the short cut. One short cut to evaluating info is the headline. Headlines are used for e-mails (subject line), discussion threads, books, blogs, and sets the mood for the reader. One place that I didn’t think of using headlines was on business cards, that is until I read this post Sure, I use taglines. For example, my business romance cards say ‘or Love AND Money’ (yeah, groan all you want, this copycat slogan gets me remembered) but I never thought of setting it up as a headline. It is more of an afterthought. Hhhmmm…time to order yet another set of business cards.
Rotting From The Head Down I’m a big believer that organizations, like fish, start to rot from the head downwards. Leadership sets the tempo for an office. And at no time is this more important than in time of change. I walked into an organization, a big name with cache behind it, on Monday morning and knew immediately that it was in the advance stages of rot. And by rot, I mean total decay, nothing left saving. Papers were piled everywhere, on desks, on floors, on guest chairs in no organization. Yet there was no backup for any activities. It was 9 am and no one was yet at their desks. When they did start to arrive, they didn’t care to meet me. There were no names on desks or offices. No org charts, no planning process, in fact nothing that spoke of the future. The entire place was disgustingly dirty. The leadership has been busy using up their vacation time and when they do come in, long lunches and total apathy. They don’t care and as a result, no one else does either. Rumor is that they are waiting for the national office to be closed and merged with global. And they’ve already walked away mentally. Tough situation, right? I’ve been in worse. I worked in a division where we knew, and by knew, I mean KNEW that we were being closed down. Hell, we even had the date for this massive layoff. The weekend before this date, and yes, you read it right, the weekend,
we were working on a couple new product launches, documenting, streamlining, ensuring that the new people would be able to hit the ground running. (Every department documented everything for the same reason) THREE years later, right on schedule, these products are being launched. Hanging with these layoff survivors, every single one of us are PROUD of having worked for that company. The difference? Leadership.
More Change Is Not Always Good All businesses have to embrace change but sometimes change can be too, too much. I’ve taken over a seat by a revolving door. No one in that position has stayed for long. I, myself, will be there very short term. I’m working for someone who inherited the same sort of situation. The result… nothing has happened. It’s still the same manual, labor intensive process it was a decade ago. You see, in order to improve a process, typically a person has to do the process the same ol’ way once to understand why things are being done that way and then make changes. The problem is that no one does it more than once. I, myself, will not do it more than once naturally. However, since the inefficiency bothers the hell out of me, I’m doing it twice, just so I can automate the painful process. These folks are getting a damn bargain.
The Perils Of Partnership Just yapping with a friend of mine. He started up a business with a partner. (He did take my advice on something and incorporated). Unfortunately the partner is dead wood. Hasn’t contributed a cent, Doesn’t have any unique knowledge or skill set and even dodges lending elbow grease to the project. I wish that I could say that my friend’s experience is the exception. Unfortunately his is more the rule. Partnerships are often a pain in the ass. You think finding a half decent spouse is difficult, finding a good business partner is even more so. My best advice is to tread carefully and get lots and lots of references. Try working with them on a minor project first. See how you work together. Look for any sign to drop them. ‘Cause the small issues will become big issues. I’m a tester. I test everyone and everything first before getting in too deep. Oh, and a great partner will tell you when you’re full of shit. It shouldn’t all be sunshine and roses.
Expense Vs Investment First things first, I’m a bean counter, trained and in my heart. I fully realize that things like office supplies, mileage, marketing, etc are expenses in accounting lingo. They don’t get capitalized like machinery or cars. They aren’t viewed as assets. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re not investments. That doesn’t mean that they should be trimmed or minimized. I had this talk with a small business owner. I mentioned some marketing that he should consider doing, barebone costing grassroots marketing that I was willing to guarantee would give him a positive return. He said ‘I don’t know, K, that’s a lot of expense.’ Wrong, wrong, wrong, It’s an investment and that’s how he should be looking at it. It’s not something to be avoided but something to be embraced. And heck, if I’m willing to guarantee it, then it’s a no lose investment. (Yeah, the guy’s still thinking about it and I’m off to the next deal)
Doing Your Own Thing Blues I just attended the pre-grand opening party for a friend’srestaurant. This was a private affair, a thank you for friends and family. 100’s were invited, less than 20 people attended. I recently celebrated a milestone in my writing, pitching the concept for my completed novel and receiving much valued requests to read the first 5 chapters. I sent out individual e-mails to about 500 of my friends, letting them know how the session went. I think I got about a couple dozen e-mails back. I subsequently sent out e-mails to the same group, telling them that I’m back to doing the corporate thing. Got a response from almost everyone. What does that tell me? If I’m trying to do something outside of the norm, Don’t expect the norm to support it. As someone who goes out of her way to support the truly individual thinkers, I find this challenging to accept. But it seems to be the way of the world. My respect for those pioneers, those entrepreneurs, those artists, just increased.
Don’t Be Stingy With Thank You’s I called a favor last week. Turned out the favor wasn’t needed after all. However, the person I asked had already done all the work. I had a thank you gift ready for this favor and I gave it anyway. When I explained the situation, despite my appreciation of his efforts, I could see the person getting more and more irate. That is, until I handed him the thank you gift and card, expressing my thanks once more. It was like night and day. He went from irritation to smug happiness. I knew that the favor could be asked again. THAT is the power of the thank you. When I get good service, I not only tip but I write the manager (in writing). Once I wrote a hotel manager in Israel about an exceptional staff member there. The staff member replied months later telling me how she got promoted based on my thank you. She offered me a home-made lunch the next time I visit. When a co-worker puts a rush on a task I need done for one of my projects, I send a thank you e-mail praising him or her to the world. Takes me a second but always bumps my next request to the top of any to-do list. Why is this so effective? Because not many people take the time to do it. I don’t know why. In marketing terms, there is no competition, low investment required, and infinite returns. Sounds like another one of those no brainers.
Love In The Office Yeah, I know that I write about business romances but do I reco them? Hell no! Especially not involving people within the same company. Messy, messy, messy… there are not many times when this doesn’t come back to bite you on the ass. Trying to keep it a secret? Please. The office is a fishbowl, your co-workers, if any good at all, are skilled at smelling B.S. (isn’t that the key to being successful in corporate?), keeping it secret is impossible. It will come back to haunt you. So what do you do when you find yourself having the hots for a co-worker? A cold shower is a good start. If you still want him or her, then one of you (or both) had better start looking for a new employer and fast. A lot of the big Fortune 500 companies have strict policies against fooling around at the office and there’s a reason for this. It’s distracting, unprofessional, etc. etc.
Taking a Risk Vs Taking a Chance Read the new Martha business book yesterday The Martha Rules and one of her rules was to take risks rather than to take chances. I’ve read a lot of business books and very few authors cover this basic concept. An example is the best way to clarify the difference. Simply crossing the road is fraught with danger. There is no guarantee that it will be done safely regardless of how I cross. However, if I cross at the lights, when the walking man says walk, looking both ways, waiting for traffic to stop first, then I have a pretty good shot at crossing in one piece. THAT is taking a risk. If I close my eyes, and step into the street in the middle of a block, not listening for cars coming, THAT is taking a chance. Sure I still could cross safely but my odds of doing so have greatly decreased. In business and investing, we have to take risks. We’re doing things that no one has done before, We’re believing in companies and products no one else does. However, we can manage that risk. We don’t have to take chances.
Maintaining the Crave There are so many great ideas out there about creating the crave, getting the object in motion. There aren’t that many about maintaining the crave, keeping the object in motion. Just because it doesn’t take as much energy, Doesn’t mean it can be neglected. Some ideas? Consistency of promotions (same promotion, same time) Loyalty cards, Buy backs of product, Mailings with new offerings, Subscription services, etc. I like anything that automates the process, taking the decision out of the customer’s hand. Most gyms survive on this idea. Customers sign up in January, stop going, but never cancel their memberships. But surprisingly most stores haven’t figured this out. What about dear ol’ Victoria’s Secret? Why isn’t there an underwear of the month offer there? Why doesn’t the florist, when I send flowers to my mom, suggest a flower of the month offer? Almost every company can benefit from a recurring offer.
An Object In Motion A couple of the key drivers in my life have come from teenage science classes. Two specifically… An object in motion tends to stay in motion and that it takes more energy to start the motion than it does to maintain it. Over a decade ago, I went to a financial investing seminar with my best buddy. I made the difficult decision that day to start investing. Difficult, because I had no money (started with $25 a month). However, once started on a monthly payment plan, finding the money to invest got easier. My best buddy, though at the time in a better financial position, decided not to invest. Over the years, the amount she needed to catch up got higher and higher, making it even more difficult to invest. Today, she still hasn’t invested a dime. What does that mean for you as a project manager or a business owner or a marketer? The key to healthy sales is to invest heavily in that first sale, then make the subsequent transactions easy, a no brainer. One of the methods was discussed yesterday (the buy back). Don’t force your customer to make that difficult first move again and again. Turn it into an automatic and continual transaction. Do that and you’ll have a customer for life.
The True Cost Of An M.B.A. Recently I was approached with an opportunity. I was pitched with the opp only costing $500. Sounds inexpensive, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. This opp would have taken up every waking moment of my life. When I put a dollar value to this time, the poor salesperson’s face fell. He knew he had lost the sale. I have buddies that are going back to school for M.B.A.’s. Now I do believe in continuous education. It’s not a nice to have. It’s a requirement for success However, an M.B.A. is a big investment both in dollars and in time. Haven’t you ever wondered why there are no concrete ROI’s on this investment? Especially from the big name schools? The schools that supposedly teach you about ROI’s? I certainly have. The investment that hampers the return on an M.B.A. is not the tuition, it’s the time. It’s the fact that the student is taking additional years out of a progressively short working career. One mentor told me that you get where you’re going to go career-wise by age 35. After that, it’s one step up or one step down. Another advised me that a full-time job after 45 was going the way of the dodo. Fortunately, M.B.A. schools have figured this out too. Many are offering weekend or after hour courses. Might take longer. Might cost more in tuition.
Personally, I consider that the better investment than getting off the career track. B.T.W. I don’t have an M.B.A. I did my own ROI when considering the degree. I found that spending the time innovating on the job plus taking specific courses supplementing learning, had a greater return (for me) than even the weekend M.B.A. route.
‘Tis The Season…For Sales I love this time of year. The lights are sparkling, music is in the air, and the cash register is ringing. Retail sales are easy for salespeople. The customer is primed and ready, even excited to buy. All they need is a little push. It’s tempting for salespeople to get lazy. Smile less widely, ignore special requests, or cut service due to volume. It’s not needed, right? Wrong! In your store, as we speak, could be dozens or even hundreds of new customers. Customers that have your store on trial. Will they return during the lean season following? Will they tell their friends positive things about your store? Will they ask for you by name? It depends on their level of service. See that woman overburdened with bags? She loves to shop, That’s obvious, and you know what? She hasn’t been shopping only in your store. What if you had ALL her sales? What if you asked that stockboy or receiver in the back to help her to her car? What if you held her store purchase to the end of the day? (What if she forgets, comes in the next day and spends more?) What if you simply consolidated her bags into your bigger bag? How about that shopper looking for an item out of stock? What if you took his name and number
(the marketing team would love you) and phoned him when the item came in (holding one for the customer)? Would he bother to shop around next time (maybe when he had a birthday present to source) or simply put in an order with you? The opps are pretty darn exciting!
Surprises In Marketing One of my smaller ‘fun’ businesses uses the marketing surprise with much success. The business sells collectables in only mint condition. It’s known for the high quality and I’ve very picky about what I send. Every product has a money back guarantee if not satisfied. The buyers pay a premium for that assurance. However, to get these mint condition collectables, I often get inferior product. Chips, miscolorings, etc. So with every offer after the purchase is negotiated, I offer the buyer one of these below mint quality for free. That’s right, no cost! I know what you’re thinking “Why would someone so anal about quality want a broken product even if it is free?” They don’t keep the inferior collectable for themselves. Most give them to their kids or other beginner collectors. They not only give them away, prompting entry of another collector, but they also educate this new consumer on the different quality levels. So a couple years later, I have another customer. Think of it, I added a new customer, free of cost to me (not even additional shipping costs), while enhancing the loyalty of the core customer. All by giving the unexpected.
Maintaining The Contact List How do I maintain the Contact List and what info do I gather? Although you must have gathered by the razzle dazzle on this site, that I’m a fairly low tech gal, I keep all my info on the computer, usually in my e-mail address book. Of course I keep the usual contact information but in addition I keep any and all information that I deem relevant. There is a notes section in most e-mail contact lists plus I clip key bits of info from e-mails (so fast). E-mail is often my communication method of choice. Every once in a while, I print off my contact list plus info and file it somewhere secure. What information is relevant? Skills, experience, a few bits of personal stuff like birthdays, etc. etc. but most of all, what connections the person might have. Say I’m talking to Cathy. She mentions that she has a friend who is a patent lawyer. Hhhmmm…that might come in handy someday. Add it to the file. That is when your contact list gets exciting. So now Cathy isn’t just a dear friend (priceless in itself) but also has the inside scoop on a top notch patent lawyer! By Cathy being my contact, the patent lawyer is a contact by default. ‘Course remember that the reverse is also true. I’ve happily called favors for contacts from other unassociated contacts. And that is how contact lists snowball, growing into tight little networks.
Rejection I received my first rejection letter from an editor this week and I’m loving the responses I get when I tell people. (”Hi, I’m K and I’ve been rejected.”) It’s giving me a quick and clear insight into their personalities. There are two camps. One that thinks this single rejection is the end of the world or at least the end of my writing career. They say things like ‘well, you tried’ or ‘better you find out now that it isn’t going to work.’ Isn’t going to work? One editor doesn’t LOVE my stuff (or just has a bad day) and they figure that editor speaks for every other person on the planet? The other camp is the keep on trying crowd. They say things like ‘Now you’re a real writer’ and ‘So how many more queries you have out there?’ And then they tell the war stories about how many rejections they’ve received in life. You’re a smart person so you can probably guess the disparity in net worths between the two groups. Yep, that’s right. The keep on going crowd hosts all of the most successful people. Not a single successful friend thinks quitting after a single rejection is the best strategy. Out of this rejection, I now have a clear grasp on who is solidly in this keep on going crowd. Why is this important? They will be the people I talk to when I’m seriously thinking of dropping a project. So next time you get slapped down with a rejection, use it to benefit you in the future.
Outside the Sandbox I usually talk about industries that I am quite familiar with. Consumer packaged goods, quick service restaurants, now entertainment but concepts found in these industries can be applied anywhere. Actually the fast track to marketing success is taking a successful technique in another industry and tweaking that for application in your own industry. This is lower risk and easier than coming up with your own fresh concept. One of the things I played with (with great success) was taking the kiddie craze of collectible cards and applying it to a consumable juice box. BIG success. Seen as revolutionary in the local market. Yet was an easy win. Looking back, it was a no brainer but at the time, I got a bit of resistance. So cheat, look outside your industry!
The Smell Of Confidence I’m on a contract gig. Nothing earth shattering. Something to keep me current, keep me in touch with the corporate world. This gig was supposed to be 3 weeks. It stretched to 6 and now they want to keep me forever. Do I want this? No. I know another contract person in the same organization. She has been working her butt off trying to get a full time offer. She is just as intelligent, if not more. She has a better educational background and more relevant industry experience. Is she even being considered as a full time hire? No. What is the difference? Confidence. I’ve been a bastard for so long that I can smell lack of confidence. It’s like blood in the water for sharks like me. And the reaction is as primal. Automatic downgrading of abilities and respect. It saddens me that someone so skilled could have such a low opinion of herself but it also reminds me that confidence is important.
Confidence Cheats So if confidence is so important, what to do when you have an off day? ‘Cause we all have those. Things go wrong. You slam face first into a rejection. You make an error so big that it is earth shaking. Some of the things that I do to restore confidence are -completing something simple that I know I’m damn good at (a couple cash projections and I’m back in my happy place) -revisit past successes (I keep a file on these) -revisit past jumbo mistakes (and remember how I survived them) -explain a concept I find simple to others (like explaining return on investment to one of my pure marketing buddies, hint…use lots of graphs and color) You might have your own coping mechanisms. But whatever you do, get that confidence pumped up. ‘Cause lack of confidence costs.
Why I Read Horoscopes Now, you might be thinking ‘What the hell? K reads her horoscope? What kind of hairy fairy nonsense is that?’ Well, I do. I’ll admit it. Do I plan my day around it? Nope. Rather I treat the blurb as a daily reminder. A lot of what horoscopes sell are balance and hope. Concepts that most of us need reminding of again and again and again. Today, my horoscope said that I’m too focussed on the destination and am missing the ride. Who doesn’t need that reminder? And that’s why horoscopes are so effective. They give us that commonsense mumbo jumbo that crazy ol’ grannies babble. That’s what I want for this blog. I want you to read this post and say ‘I knew that’ but be glad for the reminder.
The Contact List One of my most prized possessions is my contact list. I have about 500 individual contacts that I e-mail at least once a month. Added to that are the organizations that I belong to. All of my success in life, from business to personal, can be attributed back to some contact that I made. Keeping in touch with contacts is important. I don’t consider the person a contact UNLESS I keep in contact. Business cards are a great way to exchange info. After that, I e-mail with a phone call or face-to-face meeting thrown in. Life is a team sport. A strong team has a long list of players to pull from.
Blogs, A Tasty Little Diversion I feel one of the best ways to learn is to sneak educational content into entertainment. That’s why I’m writing business based romances. I want to teach business while entertaining the reader. This also applies to your blog. Yes, you can have a fun blog full of fluff and you might get a few hits. Yes, you can have a blog chockful of tech terms and you might get a few hits. But the best blog combines the two. How to add interest while still appearing professional? The crutch that I lean on time and time again is the use of real life examples. There is a reason that the National Enquirer is so popular. People like to peak into other people’s lives, and this extends to other businesses. So, please, tell me a story with your blog but leave me with something to remember too.
Taking Initiative Nothing drives me crazy like plans that hang in limbo. You know the type. Someone says ‘we should get together sometime’ but no one wants to set the time or place. E-mails fly back and forth yet no one wants to make a decision. Me, I say the hell with that. Saying ‘we should get together sometime’ is the equivalent of empty words, a waste of my listening space. When I want to meet with someone, I say ‘We’ll meet at Jack’s at 2pm on Saturday.’ THEN I might get an alternate offer but at least we’re getting down to the nuts and bolts of the meeting. What is that all about? Taking initiative. The average person doesn’t do it. They wait for things to happen TO them, rather than making them happen. They wait for someone else to tell them what to do, rather than doing what they want to do. They ask the waiter ‘what’s good?’ rather than eating what they want. And most of all, That’s why true project managers are rare and project team members are too numerous to count. Taking initiative… of course if you were practicing what I preach, you wouldn’t need me to tell you to do it.
Don’t Get Personal Heard about a rabid voicemail reprimand received recently. Okay, first things first, NEVER reprimand by voicemail or e-mail. This should always be done live. Why? A) It’s the decent thing to do and you don’t know when you’ll need this person in the future. and B) Once that voice or e-mail leaves, you lose control. Anyone can mess with it or add to it or send it to the world or even keep it forever. Which is exactly what happened in this case. A woman, and yes, I find that women tend to attack this way more often than men, left a voicemail to the boss of her nemesis. This voicemail said that a report sent was unacceptable… sounds fine thus far… that the excuse given for the substandard work was lack of time… still sounds like a business call… but maybe if the person had not spent 2 hours talking about his vacation, he would have had time to complete it correctly. WHOA…where did THAT come from? Business is business. A personal attack is NEVER appropriate. It serves no goal other than to humiliate the other person but it almost always backfires, making the attacker look like a complete jack ass. The boss sent this to the woman’s nemesis, adding his side sarcastic comments
wondering how anyone could talk to anyone else for two hours (it was clear that the woman was exaggerating) and that the nemesis should disregard the obvious emotion in the voicemail. And it’s already a running joke in the department. The very next time this woman asked the boss for something (ironically enough to be done by her nemesis), he put her demand on the bottom of the list right after talking about vacations and going golfing. That blasted voicemail has been sampled and added to and passed around. So keep business business and personal out of it. And be careful with e-mails and voicemails.
Are Bastards Required? I’m woman enough to admit that I’m a bastard. I like things to get done, have no tolerance for stupidity or laziness, and tend to push, push, push. I’ve always been ashamed of this trait. Not something I would broadcast. Wouldn’t walk up to you and say “Hi, I’m K, I’m a real bastard.” Nope, that’s something you’d have to figure out on your own. (Don’t fret…me being a bastard is not a well kept secret). However, this week, I have come to appreciate my place in the world. You see, I was exposed to a bastard free environment. Wonders of all wonders, they do exist! No bastards in a certain department of a certain organization. All really, really, really, nice people. The sing at work like the seven dwarfs kind of nice people. Serious, they actually sing at work, adorably off key! Sickening, ain’t it? And the result? Was this workplace utopia? Maybe for the employees. Definitely not for the shareholders. It’s chaos. Basic control functions not being done. Control isn’t nice, you know, telling people what and what not to do. People working on what they want to work on. No project killing… actually no project starting because starting a project would mean change and change disrupts people. I’m not worried about a bastard coming in and making changes. Nah, too late. I’m already there.
I’m worried about an unethical person coming in and stealing the place blind. And this bastard plans to prevent that. You see, we do serve a purpose.
Most People Don’t Plan It’s a fact that most people don’t plan. They don’t plan anything, from retirement to having kids, down to what to eat for dinner. (Did you know that the average person grocery shops EVERY SINGLE day? What a waste of time!) So as a marketer, you aren’t going to change human nature. You should work with that fact. If you want a coupon to swing a buy decision, have it at the point of purchase (store shelf, on-line, etc). Advertise for prepared food during the rush hour (whether morning for breakfast or evening for dinner). Save your money to advertise toys until November and December (early enough for the nag factor to kick in). Advertise for tax services during tax season. You get the picture. Work with it.
Don’t Diss The Competition One of the things I learned while spending time at a major beverage company was to never bad talk or be negative about the competition. You would think that beverage, a market that is so old, so established, would be fiercely competitive. Yeah, it is but a healthy competitor is seen as a plus. Weak competitors are killed off but the healthy opponents are respected. You see, even in beverage, there is a lot of room for growth. Many, many, many people are still drinking tap water or actually not drinking enough beverage at all. Strong players help make inroads into this yet to be harvested market. It has been proven time and time again. The competitor advertises orange juice? Our juice sales go up. The competitor advertises cola? Our cola sales go up. A strong competition keeps the industry vibrate, growing, relevant. Oh, sure, don’t help the competition but don’t diss them either. They serve a purpose.
Keeping Your Eye On YOUR Ball I continually hear the phrase ‘Keep your eye on the ball’ and it drives me nutso. It gives the impression that there is only one ball and that if someone else has it, then either you’re out of luck or you have to try to get it back. I have a friend who follows this theory. He’s constantly focused on what other people have or do or accomplish. That’s bullshit. Keeping an eye on a ball someone else has in play is a waste of energy, time, emotion. I see it as an excuse, an excuse to do nothing on your own goals. Forget other people’s achievements or even better, feel happy for them. If they can accomplish their dreams, you can accomplish yours. And concentrate on what you have to do. No excuses, roll up your sleeves and go to it.
Your Personal Post Analysis The Post Analysis is a key part of every project. After the product is launched or the system is implemented, the project manager completes an analysis on what went right and more importantly, what went wrong with the project. There’s usually no celebration for this part of the project yet the information gleaned from the post analysis drives the success of future projects. Every year, I like to do my own personal post analysis. I compare my results to my goals. I get informal feedback from others. I look at my major mistakes (and there are usually quite a few - this year being no exception). I treat my life as a never ending project. I pick this time of year to complete my post analysis for a reason. Everyone else is on holiday (any input I request before December 1st). Business reading has slowed. Other projects are awaiting the return of key people. Executives are at the beach. It sets me up properly for the New Year and my goal setting for that year which is an entirely different post.
You’re Sitting Beside… If you’re sitting beside anyone at all, You’re sitting beside an expert. I guarantee it. How can I guarantee it? Because everyone is an expert in something, or at least more knowledgeable than you are. One great thing about being in marketing, or sales or investing, is that more knowledge on any topic is often useful. Let’s talk about one interesting twist of fate. I was in a public restroom, washing my hands, when a woman came in to clean. She’s using a fancy new cleaning cloth that catches my eye. I ask her about it, she says that it’s new, a salesman asked her to try it and it was free so she said yes. I asked her how she liked it. Well…to make the story shorter, lets just say she loved it and had told her boss that he should buy that brand. Now I’ve started seriously investigating buying shares in the publicly traded company. Yes, on a cleaning lady’s reco. Why? Because this new product sounds like a winner and the company is so confident that it is, they’re aggressively giving out samples not just to anyone, to primary users, ‘experts’ in the field.
The next day, I was talking to a friend, she was going for an interview at the competition. The competition would know about this new product by now but that my friend, working in another industry, knew about it would no doubt impress them. So by having a conversation with a cleaning lady, I might have lucked into a solid investment and my friend might have landed a job. Not to mention, my hands are a lot cleaner.
Not-So-Public Information I’ll go into the office, pumped about a new marketing study on the entertainment industry. I’m certain that everyone must have read it over the weekend. After all, it was plastered everywhere and so key to the business. Can I find a single person to discuss it with? Nope. Disheartening when it comes to my own organization but damn exciting when I think about the competition. Could it be, could it just be, that NO ONE at the competition read the same study? Could it be that we’ll get a strategic advantage from public domain info? Crazy but very much a possibility!
Yor, Hunter From The Future With all my talk about valuing the customer, why would I market a stinker? Isn’t that unethical? Or at the bare minimal damn sneaky? If there was no possibility of customer benefit at all, no hope of any return on the customer’s money, yes, I agree that it would be. Entertainment, however, is very subjective. What I like, you might not like. So how can I be certain that this movie has NO entertainment value just because I didn’t personally dig it? Especially When the cheesiest of slasher films still find an audience? When copycat, groaner chickflicks put bums in seats? When Yor, Hunter From The Future actually has a fanclub? I can’t. Sure, some people will hate the movie with a burning white hot passion but some people might like it, might even love it. Think of the brave, brave ticket buyer who goes to a movie he or she hasn’t heard anything about. The person that dares to be different, that doesn’t care what other people think, that takes a wild gamble, hoping to discover something outside of the norm. Hhhmmm… sounds like the audience I should be targeting.
Boys and Girls ARE Different Having spent years peering into the heads of kiddies, I feel parents’ pain when looking for toys. Hot toys may come and go but one fact remains gender bias. Boys and girls are different. They have different needs and different requirements from their toys. Boys tend to be interested in the functionality, girls the social aspect of toys. For instance, the average young boy doesn’t care for brand names. Brand awareness doesn’t come until much later. Is the truck Tonka or Tonka’s cousin? He doesn’t care as long as it holds a lot of sand. So unless your boy is the exception, save money and get the less expensive truck. Young girls, basically as soon as they can talk, know and respect brands. It’s a status thing. If she wants Bratz, she wants Bratz, no cheapie substitutes. ‘Cause if she doesn’t recognize it as one, her free speaking and completely tactless best friend will. Another fact…. The average girl is interested in both girl and boy characters. The average boy is interested in only boy characters. Why was there a Ken Doll and not a G.I. Jane? For that exact reason.
Here Today…. I was picking up toys for the local toy drive, a fun way for me to stay current in kid culture plus give back, and a buddy was complaining about how toys don’t last. Toys aren’t meant to last. If they did, toy manufacturers would sell a lot less. They are a clear example of planned obsolescence They are carefully designed not to break immediately, that would irritate parents, but after a few uses. By then, the child is on to the next hot toy, the toy manufacturers pumping up advertising, playing to the nag factor. Using planned obsolescence, toys have been effectively moved into the consumable category. Very clever.
About ClientK.com I started blogging a couple years back when I semi-retired from corporate life as a means of passing on learning from my mentors. My posts aren’t exactly revolutionary. They consist of basic, junior jammer stuff that any experienced new business development junkie knows. That we know and sometimes forget. Why ClientK? So I remember to always put the client first. Why only the initial K? My name is unimportant. This isn’t a blog for fame and glory. This is a platform to pass on information. For more pearls of wisdom See http://clientk.com/