By k | February 18, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

China Market Research Group
recently studies billionaires
to determine
what differentiates them
from non-billionaires.

There were 3 core differences.
One of them was
that billionaires look at opportunities
from different angles,
many more different angles
than the average person.

“They recognized
that everyone else believing
or doing something
didn’t make it right.
But being a contrarian
for the sake of being contrary
was no solution either.”

They thought critically
about problems
and as critically about the solutions.

Solutions… plural.
There is never only one.

By k | February 17, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of the most talked about commercials
of the Winter Olympics,
especially with female viewers,
is P&G’s
‘To Their Moms, They’ll Always Be Kids’

The commercial is emotional.
Almost every mom
has sat in the stands
or bleachers
or auditorium,
wishing desperately to keep her child safe
yet knowing the child has to do it
on his own.

It contains an unanswered question,
drawing the viewer’s interest.
Why is the child shaving?
Why are they dressed up
and acting like adults?

There are close ups on individual children,
giving each scene
a hero or heroine to relate to.

And it is about relationships,
not achievements.
The relationship of a mother and child
is pretty much universal.

P&G nailed their demographic perfectly.
A brilliant, brilliant commercial.

By k | February 16, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I had my first romance novel published,
I asked
what sales were expected from a first time author.
No one would give me an answer.

As a result,
I struggled for years
with a product that wasn’t working.
I wasn’t happy.
My publisher wasn’t happy.

I’m now playing with another genre.
I asked my new publisher
what level of sales was expected
from a new author.
She told me.
My sales are double that.
I know I have myself a winner.
I’m writing a sequel.

Benchmarks are important.
They let you know
if a product or marketing program or ???
is jiving with the prospect.
If the product doesn’t come close,
you know to concentrate on something else.
If a product blows the lights out,
you know to consider expanding the line.

Without benchmarks,
you’re wandering in the wilderness
and usually end up wasting everyone’s time and energy.

By k | February 15, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of the methods
to ‘fool’ prospects into tuning into advertising
is to disguise it as content.

Magazine advertisers do this
with their advertising written as articles.

Now radio advertisers are doing the same
with their fake news reports.
The fake news report
is ‘interrupted’ with even bigger news
which is usually a sale.

We have been trained
to listen to ‘breaking news’
and we do
so this tactic DOES work.

However, use it with the knowledge
that it can backfire.
If there is… say…
a deadly earthquake as that day’s top story,
announcing your sale is more important
can be viewed as insensitive.

Your marketing WILL get noticed
but not always in a good way.

By k | February 14, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

During the lighting of the flame
at the Olympic Games opening ceremonies,
there was a mechanical failure.

That failure resulted in
a two minute delay.

Two minutes.
One hundred and twenty seconds.
Yet it is being billed as a ‘disaster.’
That is how impatient tv audiences are.

Do you have two minutes of dead air
in your sales presentations?
If your projector broke down,
could you seamlessly switch
to manual
within two minutes?

Because corporate executives
are part of that tv watching demographic also.
They have zero tolerance for dead air.

Scary… I know.

By k | February 13, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A brand new author,
wrapped up in the excitement
of her first book release,
used an incorrect term
when describing her publisher.
It upset the publisher
and upset many, many authors.

It didn’t upset me.
What upset me was the reaction.
The new author was named
people jumped all over her.

For making a mistake.

I didn’t
because I’ve made many, many mistakes.
I plan to continue making
many, many mistakes
and I would prefer that
no one sends me hateful emails
when I do.

Unless you’re an absolutely perfect person,
cut other people some slack
when they make mistakes.

By k | February 12, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Feirong Yuan and Richard W. Woodman,
in a survey of 425 employees,
uncovered that worries about image risk
significantly decrease
the number of employee innovations.

What is image risk?
It is the fear that your coworkers
will think less of you
for suggesting an unpopular innovation.

Yuan and Woodman suggest creating a culture
of innovation,
making innovation a desirable image.

Another suggestion was to
“break job position stereotypes”
by requiring all employees to contribute new ideas.

I’ve never been shy about suggesting innovation
(because I realized long ago
that someone will think less of me
no matter what I do or don’t do)
but the best managers I’ve worked with
are proactive about innovation.
They meet with employees regularly
and ask about possible innovation.
They also ask if the employee wishes to take credit
for that innovation.
Those with image risk issues say ‘no.’
Those that without say ‘yes.’

By k | February 11, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

It is challenging to watch tv
or listen to the radio lately
without hearing
someone boast that
his/her company’s product
is made from ‘real’ ingredients.

Real means nothing.
Everything on this planet
is made from real ingredients.
Even fictional stories,
although consisting partially of imaginary ingredients,
have real components to them.

But it also costs nothing to say.
It implies all natural
with none of the legal implications.
(If the product was truly all natural,
that label would be used)
It sounds impressive.

‘Real’ IS a real option.

By k | February 10, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

A manager pulled a junior jammer stunt
on me yesterday.
That she thought it would work
told me
that it HAS worked
for her in the past
so I figured I’d comment
on how I deal with it.

She sent a harsh, angry email,
cc’ing the world,
demanding to know why I hadn’t responded
to her previous ‘urgent’ email.
The ‘urgent’ email wasn’t forwarded.
Only the body of that email
was cut and pasted.

Clearly she was getting grief
for not finding the answers
to her problems.
She was trying to
put the blame on me.

My response?
I apologized.
I said I did not receive the email
but had received this and that one
on this and that date.
I asked if she could forward
the complete email including
the header with the time and date stamp
so I could follow up with IT.
I cc’ed the same world she did.

She hasn’t, of course,
forwarded that email to me
because that email doesn’t exist.
She never sent it.

Play enough silly games
and someone is going to point out
your silliness.

By k | February 9, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

One thing I’ve learned
after three years of being
a published author
is that people will complain
about everything.

I’ve heard complaints
about character names,
about character beverage preference
(one hero likes orange juice
but the reader felt
he should be drinking apple juice),
of course,
about typos.

There are complaints that I listen to.
U.S. readers have complained
about the use of foreign words.
I now severely limit those.

There are complaints that I ignore.
I cannot change a character’s name
after the book has been published.

I don’t read complaints
while in the product development creative space
(i.e. writing).
Nothing kills creativity like criticism.

I also know that
a reader receiving a book for free
is MORE likely to complain
than a reader buying a book.
I keep that in mind
when I give books away.

Complaints can be a wonderful source
of improvement
and future products
but they should be managed properly.
They should assist you in DOING,
not prevent you from taking action.