Guy Kawasaki interviews Seth Godin about his new book “The Dip.”
Its time to quit when you secretly realize youve been settling for mediocrity all along. Its time to quit when the things youre measuring arent improving, and you cant find anything better to measure.
Smart quitters understand the idea of opportunity cost. The work youre doing on project X right now is keeping you from pushing through the Dip on project Y. If you fire your worst clients, if you quit your deadest tactics, if you stop working with the people who return the least, then you free up an astounding number of resources. Direct those resources at a Dip worth conquering and your odds of success go way up.
Whats the worst time to quit? When the pain is the greatest. Decisions made during great pain are rarely good decisions.
Tom Asacker simplifies marketing: “”Marketing is any attempt to influence a current, and/or future, exchange.”
The challenge for every marketer today [is]: How to uniquely orchestrate a bundle or continuum of “value,” infusing it into the product, service, packaging, store front, delivery truck, sales process, blog, shopping experience, advertising, et al, such that customers feel good about their decision to choose you.
And I am not talking about a singular “value proposition,” e.g. “Quality is Job One.” Those simplistic, advertising-as-brainwashing days died soon after Emerson. I’m referring to meaningful value, which actually has a chance at influencing a decision; e.g. entertainment, learning, connection, identity, purpose, etc.
Guy Kawasaki writes about ideas from a new book by John Jantsch:
Narrow the market focus. Create a picture of the ideal client: what they look like, how they think, what they value, and where you can find them. Start saying no to non-ideal clients.
Differentiate. Strip everything you know about your product or service down to the simplest core idea. Make sure that the core idea allows you stand out.
Think about strategy first. Take everything youve done in steps one and two and create a strategy to own a word or two in the mind of your ideal client and prospect.
Create information that educates. You are in the information business, so think of your marketing materials, web sites, white papers, marketing kits as information products, not “sales” propoganda.
Chris Gill writes: “Like the tree falling in a forest that no-one hears, if you launch your product on an unsuspecting market and no-one notices, the question is not just has it made any noise, its probably more along the lines of do you have a viable business?
Considering the amount of time, energy, sweat and money startups spend on new product development, Im often amazed at how little thought they put into the product launch In my experience build it and they will come is a recipe for a lot of hanging about, waiting for a customer to come calling, and is unlikely to deliver the meteoric growth required for an acquisition at YouTube levels or timescales.”
WSJ has a fascinating story on how one company prices its product:
In early 2001, shortly after Donald Washkewicz took over as chief executive of Parker Hannifin Corp., he came to an unnerving conclusion. The big industrial-parts maker’s pricing scheme was crazy.
While touring the company’s 225 facilities in 2001, Mr. Washkewicz had an epiphany: Parker had to stop thinking like a widget maker and start thinking like a retailer, determining prices by what a customer is willing to pay rather than what a product costs to make. Such “strategic” pricing schemes are used by many different industries. Airlines know they can get away charging more for a seat to Florida in January than in August. Sports teams raise ticket prices if they’re playing a well-known opponent. Why shouldn’t Parker do the same, Mr. Washkewicz reasoned.
Yuvaraj pointed to a December 2002 in The Observer:
Creativity is mainly learnt. And while there is an element of nature involved, it predominantly comes down to nurture – a way of thinking that is picked up from parents or the people around you. Timely encouragement, of course plays, its part, along with finding an area of interest that really gets under your skin.
Creative people do, however, intuitively know the value of alternating the rhythms of work: when to let the mind wander, when to get down to hard work and when to put a problem on the back burner and leave the subconscious to mull it over. This is a crucial flexibility of mind demonstrated by the way creative people, even during periods of intense activity, manage to create little holes for themselves where they will instinctively take the mini breaks they need to let ideas come to them.
Time out feeds the quietness of mind that is essential to creativity.
Here. Michael Mauboussin’s Strategy pieces are a must-read.
[via Anish] Excerpts from an interview of Cisco’s John Chambers by USA Today:
The great leaders of the future will absolutely know technology. Not from a geeky perspective, but from a practical business approach.
I’m talking about developing the strategy, recruiting and developing the people to implement strategy, developing the culture and communicating all of the above. Those are the four things a CEO does.
The point I’m making is that what gets an executive into technology is not a love for the technology. That’s the exception. It’s understanding what technology can do to achieve personal or business goals. Any CEO who is goodwill grasp what technology can do to enable their business strategy, achieve their productivity goals, their cost savings, enable their movement into new markets. They’ll absolutely use it.
WSJ writes how understanding the ‘why’ of decisions makes employees more likely to embrace changes:
Management gurus agree that employees are most likely to get on board when they are involved in the decision-making process. In the many cases when that’s not possible, the next-best thing is to make employees feel as if they were involved, consultants say. That means telling workers not only what was decided, but why and how, says Phillip G. Clampitt, a consultant and communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.
In a study last year, Mr. Clampitt found that employees are more likely to support decisions when they are told about the rationale. The study surveyed roughly 300 managers and employees at more than 100 U.S. employers, asking what they knew of decisions and how supportive they were of them. Mr. Clampitt says employees of companies that explained decisions more fully were more than twice as likely to support those decisions as workers who got less information.
Knowledge@Emory writes how defining a firms capabilities, purpose, and niche creates competitive advantage:
Is it so different for the leader of a company to ask, What is this company capable of? than it is for an individual to wonder, Who am I? Not according to at least one presentation given at the third annual Atlanta Competitive Advantage Conference held at Emory Universitys Goizueta Business School.
Joey Reiman, CEO of the ideation company, BrightHouse, and an adjunct professor in marketing at Emorys Goizueta Business School, contends that its not competitive advantage a company should seek, but distinctive advantage. Finding this distinction, like finding the meaning of self, requires going within.
In a panel discussion entitled, Recognizing Distinctive Advantages Within Companies, Reiman told participants he advises company leaders to look inside their firms to find capabilitiesnot outside. The best way to find ones own capabilities is to ponder on themgo deepernot wider, says Reiman, who has advised company leaders at firms like The Coca-Cola Company and The Home Depot.
[via Yuvaraj] Bob Sutton writes:
Perhaps the best description Ive ever seen of how wise people act comes from the amazing folks at Palo Altos Institute for the Future. A couple years ago, I was talking the Institutes Bob Johansen about wisdom, and he explained that to deal with an uncertain future and still move forward they advise people to have strong opinions, which are weakly held. They’ve been giving this advice for years, and I understand that it was first developed by Instituite Director Paul Saffo. Bob explained that weak opinions are problematic because people arent inspired to develop the best arguments possible for them, or to put forth the energy required to test them. Bob explained that it was just as important, however, to not be too attached to what you believe because, otherwise, it undermines your ability to see and hear evidence that clashes with your opinions. This is what psychologists sometimes call the problem of confirmation bias.
Business Week writes: “It’s time to remember that advertising needs brands more than the brands need advertising. A good product creates its own relationships.”
Understanding what the consumers want and bringing solutions that will inspire them is the most powerful way to support any business strategy. Putting consumers and the product at the center of the equation is fundamental to a brand’s success. Design then becomes the message and the advertising, as it’s proof of a company’s commitment to people and to innovation.
A relevant and well-designed product will make its way into the world, will be spun across the blogosphere, will be sought after and endorsed in the most emotional fashion as a reward. Indeed, advertising needs brands more than the brands need advertising. When the commercial becomes more popular than the product, you really have a problemnot least that it doesn’t serve your brand long-term.