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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.

 

 

Planning for 2015- Starts Now July 28, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Customer Service, Event marketing, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Uncategorized.
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A client new to the marketing field recently asked me when to begin planning for next year’s integrated marketing activity. Typically I advise clients to begin serious work in August/September of each year.

Depending upon whether an organization works from a calendar or fiscal year will impact this rule of thumb, however, late summer, early fall is a good time to begin work.

While facilitating marketing planning sessions, these are some of the key areas I cover:

  • Results– what has worked this year?  What have we learned?
  • Research– what are the clients saying? Are you providing answers to their “pain points”? Is there something new they desire?
  • Social for the sake of being social– is there a distinct strategy behind your Marketing and strategysocial media or are we doing this because everyone else is?
  • Objectives where are we at year-to-date? Where can we realistically aspire to be? (This is the tough conversation that requires “looking in the mirror” and resource allocation.)

Of course there are many more finite areas we cover in a planning session, but these are the non-negotiable items from my vantage point.

Another issue that leaders often fail to cover is accountability and “policing” the plan. Have you established clear responsibility centers? Which individual(s) are responsible to maintain the marketing calendar and help everyone stick to the plan?

As we all enjoy what remains of the fast-moving summer (here in the midwest anyway), August is often a great time to organize a planning session. And hey, you can meet outside, no one said we can’t catch a few rays while getting the work done…

If you have any questions on marketing planning or facilitating your strategic planning meeting, please feel free to contact me at jmacholl@wisdombridgemarketing.com or on my Skype line (847) 305-1594.

Enjoy the day.

Jack

 

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

A Good Problem to Have January 31, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Image, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Sales, Site visibility, Uncategorized.
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I once heard a business owner say that having too much business is a good problem to have. Lately, I have encountered several situations where it is very difficult to secure a quote for services (particularly in the building/renovation trades). Not returning phone messages and leaving requests for quotes unattended in an e-mail box presents a poor image for the company, creating an instant sense of doubt in the consumer’s mind.

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Leads to Customers

Today there are many  tactical articles written about ways to increase web site traffic, generate sales leads and make the phones ring. Perhaps a more urgent need would be helping business owners find proven response methods to convert estimate requests in-hand and also acquiring the human talent to meet existing market demand.

What lead conversion and staffing models work in your field?

Book Review- Small Town Rules January 21, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Branding, Chamber of Commerce, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit.
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I recently completed Small Town Rules by Barry Moltz and Becky McCray a very interesting read that likens the connected world to a small town environment where every customer can talk with one another.

Today many businesses (including the  large companies) are quickly learning that people are seeking genuine interaction and a local connection. One of the most interesting takeaways was the desire of consumers to learn the “story behind their purchases.” Instead of mission/vision statements and value propositions, many humans want some history on the business and how it adds tangible value to the community. For many that connection may prompt a consumer to bypass a cheaper option and purchase the local product because they feel  personally involved with the product or service.

Since the Great Recession began in 2008, there has been a resurgence of the Shop Local movement which is covered in-depth. The authors cover many important points about businesses needing to do more than place “Shop Local” placards in their store windows and call it a success. Taking the Shop Local concept to an urban level is also reviewed with examples from the unique neighborhoods of Chicago, a major metropolitan market with numerous chambers of commerce.IMG_0190IMG_0197

Having worked in bank marketing for decades, I found the Bank Local section particularly interesting. Many community based banks did not participate in high-risk lending practices and actually made it through the worst of the financial crash with minimal impact. During the 1990’s and 2000’s,  many larger U.S. banking organizations eliminated local community banking charters, creating large-scale branch banking networks seeking the efficiency play. Some years later the wisdom of that strategy is questionable, as more wary consumers want a “small town type” relationship with the people managing something as personal as their money.

The lessons of minimalist business management, planning for “zero years” (storing surpluses) and exactly how small town businesses have survived for generations is wisdom many business owners large or small will surely find useful.

A devoted website www.smalltownrules.com is also available to remain connected for updates from the authors.

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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2 comments

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.

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.

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.

It’s OK to Celebrate at Work September 7, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Communications, Internal communications, Marketing Planning, Uncategorized.
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People celebrating in-person, old school

In recent years internal communication has become a more prominent issue, particularly as people can now work from virtually anywhere with cloud computing and lightning fast electronics. Today it is critical to look at  expenses, leverage time and seek efficiency at every turn. We use Web-X, newsletters, text, e-mail, Skype, Google hangouts all seeking quick impact with minimal outlay.

The thing to consider is human celebration. Many projects have enormous scope and require months and in some cases years of intense human interaction to achieve milestones. One thing we appear to have lost in the fast track 21st century world is stepping back and taking time to acknowledge or celebrate accomplishments with colleagues and vendors. Yes, spending time in-person is time-consuming and has a cost, but consider the upside or “benefit” of learning more about one another, sharing some experiences or simply just unwinding and having a few laughs.

What are you doing to celebrate victories at work?   Let’s talk about what’s working.