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Book Review- Art of the Start 2.0 March 2, 2015

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Communications, Marketing, Marketing Planning.
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Art of the Start tweet graphic (2)It was an honor to be selected as a guest reviewer of Guy Kawasaki’s latest book, The Art Of The Start 2.0. As a long-time follower of Guy’s thought leadership, it is no surprise that he once again delivers the goods in this revised edition of his 2004 work.

If you are thinking about or presently starting your own business, this book is a necessity. Guy’s writing style is hard-hitting and realistic. He challenges you to stop fretting over how you will scale your business and make something that people really want.

The reader is challenged with a series of thought-provoking questions that are a huge mistake to gloss over. You will also receive some “fill-in” exercises and benefit from added “mini chapters” Guy has included, offering new insights from his extensive career experience.

Amongst my favorite takeaways in the book is the section on mission statements and how much time and effort is wasted on them. Although we have never met, I swear I’ve uttered many of the same words with consulting clients over the years.

His sections on hiring people who are better than you and the art of “demoing” are stop, get your highlighter and take copious notes good.

Consistent with his reality-based presentations, videos and other works in the Kawasaki catalog, Guy provides a nice mix of entrepreneurial wisdom, humility, pointed challenges (doing and shipping) and of course, humor.

Block out some time to read this one. If you are like me, you’ll lose track of the time once you begin reading it.

 

 

Details + Service = Satisfaction May 4, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing Planning, Uncategorized.
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There is much debate today about the value of social media tools like Twitter. Certainly there is no shortage of opinions being shared in real-time, 24-7, so smart organizations are monitoring their activity and protecting their brand image with vigor. The example below clipped from my e-mail is based on a Twitter post I placed online after having a few closets done in my new home.

The Container Store is one organization that clearly works hard at education for in-store employees and field installation experts (elfa System shelving). They are attentive to the details, phoning you to explain why a product is on back-order, sincerely displaying concern for any (albeit minor) inconvenience and circling back after a purchase to ensure customer satisfaction. Additional detail coverage includes little things, like installation people cleaning up, putting shoe covers on to protect your home’s interior, explaining what they are doing and offering helpful suggestions takes detail attentiveness to the value-add level. After four months of working with a general contractor who didn’t get this concept, I’d say The Container Store could make additional fee income teaching companies how attention to the details equates to client satisfaction and a long-term (profitable) relationships.

Jack Macholl @jackmacholl I love the follow-up service from the Container Store. There is a genuine concern for product delivery and satisfaction. – 01 May The Container Store @ContainerStore Follow Follow @jackmacholl That’s great to hear! Great service is #WhatWeStandFor 12:42 AM – 03 May 14 Reply to @ContainerStore Retweet Favorite

Face to Face- Priceless February 26, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Communications, Customer Service, Internal communications, Referral marketing, Sales.
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We hear a great deal about the magic of a ‘Tweet” 140 characters to deliver a message.  Others say that Skype calls eliminate the need for travel and the lost time/expense associate with in-person meetings. This technology is great, it has its place, but there are still moments, projects, and situations that require a hand shake, eye-to-eye interaction, hand drawn diagrams -a human connection.

During the past few months I’ve encountered a few situations where a 15-minute meeting unwinds all the misunderstandings and fatigue caused by an e-mail trail. Sometimes reconnecting on a human level resets a relationship, energizes it, gets things back on-track. This can work internally or with external communications, both are very important, yet unique, and should be handled with due care.

Like most things in life, communications too comes full-circle.  Face to face may be making a comeback, to me, that’s priceless.

What’s your face to face success story? I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy the day.

The Power of Thank You January 27, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, non-profit, Philanthropy, Referral marketing, Sales.
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Whether you are acknowledging a present, business referral or expressing gratitude to a donor at a non-profit, sending something to express your gratitude should be standard procedure.  In our hurried SMS text and e-mail world, the power of a handwritten thank-you note is astounding.

Part of my weekly routine includes sending written thank-you cards to people who have helped with a business (or personal) matter. Today getting “snail mail” is often as infrequent as a fax. Granted there is a cost and some inertia to overcome, but what is the price of an impersonal thank-you?bigstock-Thank-you-vector-stamp-24628313

Be Relevant, not Big January 5, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Communications, Customer Service, Interactive Marketing, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Uncategorized.
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Marketing and strategyWe read and hear a great deal about “big data”, enormous data sets (minute details)  collected about customers that can become so large it is almost impossible to process with traditionally used business software. The buzz is about spotting trends and connecting with prospects/customers on a more intimate level made possible by technology.

What I’d like to see is relevance, the product recommendations marketers make based on fundamental customer behavior (what you’ve purchased recently, account types you hold at a bank, what credit card you carry, spending levels, etc.)  There is nothing more mind-boggling in this era of “big data” than to receive a postal mail or e-mail about a product I already have with the company. Focusing on five or six fundamental variables is the starting point I suggest. If your customer data doesn’t contain the basics or worse yet, you can’t properly access essential data you’re not even in the game.

Customer Interaction- At Least Pretend December 31, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand personality, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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My final post of 2013 won’t be a “7 things you need to know” article, I wanted to leave you with some food for thought for the New Year.

Yesterday I decided to drive my car through a wash near my home as our midwestern road salt levels are already off the charts. The lady in the booth was on her iPhone and did not interact verbally her conversation trumped the customer interaction. Not only is this rude, it’s just plain horrible customer service. Certainly, many service jobs are not glamorous, but to simply point, take money and turn away is not portraying a quality image.

Today we’ve grown to accept self-service or perhaps marginal online chat and phone representatives as commonplace . From my vantage point certain businesses must still use face to face service as their central tool. It’s important to monitor the activity and attitude of those you have in customer-facing positions, make sure they’re at least acting the part.

A happy and safe New Year to you all.

Jack

Calm at the Holidays December 24, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Communications, Marketing Planning, Sales.
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The “last-minute deals” are still pouring in to the e-mail in-box and retail stores are pressing the envelope to the limit, staying open this evening on Christmas Eve until 6:00 PM or later. It often appears the world of marketing is beyond “always on.” In the past few years we’ve evolved to a new level of frenetic pace, evidently this is the new “norm.”

In 2014 we’re sure to see many new breakthroughs in the world of marketing communications. Filtering what’s really essential and the latest vapor terms will be the usual challenge.

For those of us celebrating Christmas, it’s time to power down, filter out and go back to social as we knew it as kids, face to face with family and friends.

Thanks to everyone who has subscribed to the blog, weighed-in with comments and encouragement. My plan is to have new material and be diligent about sharing some new, (hopefully) cool insights as we navigate the wild world of marketing.

Enjoy the calm and your time off at the holidays.

Jack

 

2012 in review December 31, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Communications, Marketing Planning.
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Each year Word Press provides an overview of blog activity and statistics. If you are curious about the “best-of” my posts since the early days of the blog, read -on. I’d also like to hear from you about potential topics that would help you reach your marketing communication goals for 2013.

Thanks for all the support and great comments in 2012. Looking forward to an exciting New Year.

All the best to you.

Jack

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Small Business Saturday November 24, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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After participating in the Edison Park Turkey Trot here in my Chicago neighborhood, a woman handed me a flyer for her brand new start-up business Fair Trade Gifts (6700 N. Northwest Hwy. Chicago, IL 60631).

She was one of many people with booths hawking merchandise, handing out cards and flyers. What made this lady stand out was her “elevator pitch.” In just a few well chosen words she described the fair labor and sustainable practices her goods are made within. Likely no marketing budget, no Search Engine Optimization or PR campaign- a start-up using old-school techniques to capture a few seconds of your attention.

This entrepreneur represents what President Obama calls “Main Street America.” She is opening a small business in what was an abandoned coffee shop that crashed along with many other small businesses back in 2010.

The bombardment and overkill of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. is upon us. It might be time to step back, stop by the local merchant, hear their story and help some people trying to live their dream around the corner.

Telling the “Local Story” September 13, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Uncategorized.
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Over my years in marketing management, I’ve seen many companies miss opportunity by over analyzing business and marketing strategies.  I field questions like “should we have a QR code?”, ”  do we need to be on this Four Square thing?”- and the list goes on.

Sometimes taking a few steps back and reviewing the business purpose (core strategy) and how you will convey your “story” is much more productive than charging to the latest software or “app” (tactics).

Businesses who are winning in this world of consumer insecurity are those making a connection with customers. Explaining why they should do business with you versus the firm down the street or across the globe (value proposition). If your phones are answered locally and not by a call center 3,000 miles away, by all means tell us. Being locally owned and operated by employees that have kids on the same little league team as your child can be a strong differentiating point particularly in a world where many people feel “burned” (e.g. the financial crisis) and want a relationship with the people they’re doing business with.

Beyond telling a great “marketing story”, actually delivering on the promise (customer experience) is the true tale of the tape, as  hopefully delighted, repeat customers often lead to the sought after 20%  that account for your profitability (80/20 rule).

Not to say that apps or online commerce is bad, it’s not. The punchline- small steps, strategy first, then ensuring top-notch processes/operations are in place, then tell your story.

I’d like to hear your local success stories and what works.