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Stick to the vision and the plan

By | customer centric marketing, Value Proposition, vision | No Comments

Today I had a conference call with a prospect who was looking at running a campaign. It was clear that the campaign was relying on a lot of external factors and was not in his core competency or something he felt comfortable doing. This is a common scenario for SMBs as lead generation becomes more of a marketing skill set and less sales. PlanningMaking decisions about what work to take on or what lead generation campaigns to run always come back to two key questions:
1. What are we really good at?
2. What is our vision for this business?

If it doesn’t tick both of these core questions then it is best to walk away, no run!
Don’t get me wrong I am all about Audacious but always ask the question:
Why am I doing this? We sometimes get so caught up in the doing that we forget to check-in and see if it is the best use of our time and resources. If you need to outsource it and it still ticks all the boxes as an activity that is worth the effort then great.
When you have a well defined purpose and a well defined set of values or business principles it makes big and every day decisions easier. It gives you a filter. Bernadette Jiwa from has a great download 20-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-launching-an-idea. Most of these questions can be applied to any marketing or business decision.


Vision Mission and Values2

What is your secret sauce?

By | small business marketing | No Comments

Are you memorable or boring? Are you safe or unpredictable? In small business it is important that you are creating something your customers feel compelled to shout about. How do you do this? What is your secret sauce?

Well I believe it has something to do with the customer experience you provide.  The Dijuluisgroup is a company that focuses their efforts on creating world class customer service organisations.

Let’s face it; there is so much choice with products. Just look at the supermarket shelf and the choice of different sorts of bread, milk, yoghurt or tea. Everything has become commoditised. The real last point of differentiation is your service or more so the customer experience that you deliver to your customers in a consistent delightful way.

Everyone will say that they have great customer service but interestingly as John DiJuluis points out that is an internal view point and when you ask your customers you might be surprised about how they rate your service. Most people however only notice your customer service when it is bad. If you screw something up, believe me it is memorable! Customer insight is a key. dijuliusgroup

Customer experience speaks more to this secret sauce. It is about your companies culture and focus on delighting the customer at every touch point. How do we personalise their experience. How do you deliver your experience to the customer currently? If you are not sure how you stack up why not take some of the surveys on the dijulusgroup site. They have one for the organisations customer experience aptitude and one for theindividual. If nothing else it will make you think.

Two key questions to keep in mind.

  1. You can make price irrelevant. John tells the story on Jay EhretPower to the small business of two hairdressers. One had a sign in his window “HAIRCUT ONLY $10”. The salon across from them was a totally different salon and had an average haircut cost of $50. The suggestion was to put a sign in the opposite window saying “We fix $10 haircuts”. The challenge to make price irrelevant is to create a haircut and an experience that is so different is like taking a 60 minute holiday.
  2. Create a fantastic customer experience everytime. Imagine instead of charging $100 per hour for a consultation you charged $1000. Now note down what you would do differently and do it. Make the experience exceptional.

Look at how I create an exceptional experience.

Dan’s Quick tips:

Use the customer and your name a few times when on the phone.

Add some value by doing your homework before you meet a potential client, the web is an awesome tool for this

Ask your customers for feedback every chance you can and act on it, own it, improve it.

Tribal Leadership – book review

By | personal branding, small business marketing | No Comments

I have just finished listening to Tribal Leadership on audible. I wish I had it 12 months ago. My philosophy ( and I am still fine tuning it every day) has been born from  creating great relationships with everyone I meet. I really try to listen and learn as much as I can. As a consultant I have a great need to do the same. I have been reading hungrily over the past few years and have been really motivated by Keith Ferazzi, Stephen Covey, Patrick  Linceoni, Chip Conley and now I can add Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright.

What I really loved about this book was how it centred on values being at the core of creating a great culture. I have found this to be true and it is where I choose to focus a lot of time with my clients. I really like the question: ” What are you proud of?” as way to help draw out the values and link them to actions.

Like this book I have spent many sessions with one company refining the values. The stepping stone they need to make is to involve their people and embody them. This is a challenge to a company that has held information tightly at the top. What a great experience when this happens. The ideas, the teamwork and the excitement as the company rallies around what is truly important to them.

Using these values to build a value proposition is also key to the strategy of the business. Let me just say, it takes a special person to see the intangible benefits of putting in this groundwork but having books like Tribal Leadership out there certainly help the cause tremendously.

Thanks Guys!

Who do we intend to be? Why are we here? What’s the point?

By | 1 | No Comments

tomPeters_preorder_167x275.pngThe first question businesses often face when creating their vision or strategic direction is that of what are we going to sell or business model?  Perhaps more important questions according to Tom Peter’s latest book, The Little BIG Things are  “who do we intend to be? Why are we here? What’s the point?”

Customers and employees have so much choice, there are so many “me too’s” and they are choosing to  for work and buy from companies those companies that are remarkable and they really like. Thus, the questions around the companies values, vision and value proposition have never been more in the spotlight than right now.

When you look at these questions they are really at the core of your businesses identity and  your brand. They go beyond dollar and cents or product and services and speak more to customer needs and employee satisfaction. Who do we intend to be? This forces you to think about your behaviour. Evaluate how you play, what role you fulfil? How you are thought of ? Why are we here? It is more about what are the reasons beyond financial. What sort of environment do you want to create in the workplace?  What is the customer experience like? What is the point? is about the legacy you are likely to leave.  Are you memorable?

When I am creating a vision with CEOs I am often surprise how meaningless they become because they have lost sight of the key reason that the company exists. What customer problems they are trying to solve? What gives their work meaning? Companies that have asked these key questions often have a brand and a culture that is remarkable, defendable and authentic. Customers and employees want companies to care. People identify with companies that stand for something valuable to them.

As a CEO a clear, deep, and profound understanding of who you are and what you stand for, and what you want to be known for is critical. So much of the personality of a company is dictated by the CEO values and behaviours. Look at Virgin and Richard Branson, Apple and Steve Jobs, or Microsoft and Bill Gates. So like it or not, you are a brand as a CEO, it is just whether that brand is well-known or not and whether it resonates with the product and service and culture you are trying to deliver.

It is not enough to be known for what you do — you must be known for what you do differently! What are your values? What do you love? What do you hate? What are you insanely great at doing? What are you most proud of? What do you want to be? What is important and valuable to you? What do you want to be known for?

I contend that as a CEO, these are questions that you need to answer first and these are the hardest to answer. Once you have the answers, it is all about keeping that promise and living out that story of who you intend to be consistently in your brand promise, in your vision statement,  in your value proposition and in the way you do business.

Being consistent, authentic and clear provides employees and customers a level of confidence and trust that they can depend on. The disconnect between saying what you think you are and not behaving that way, is the fastest way to damage your reputation.

So key roles for the CEO are as follows:

1.A critical step is to define values that make the brand remarkable as define everything you do and don’t do under the name of your brand. Tom Peters suggests thoughtfulness as a key value today because it is so underplayed. Who do you intend to be in the marketplace?

2. Have a clearly defined brand mission, vision, and values. Authenticity plays a pivotal role, as does getting your staff involved in the process. After all, it is how you and they embody these ideals that will enable your brand to be authentic, consistent and remarkable. It is critical that staff understand the question: Why are we here? The answer should be something they can believe in and be proud of.

3.Brand building happens at every touch-point with the consumer and employee. That doesn’t only mean the product packaging or how our stores look. It goes far beyond that. It includes the support that we provide to our channel partners, how we met their needs, the personal service for our athletes, and the interaction of our service staff in every single moment with the customer.

4. Create the culture the mindset and motivation of every single employee and that they can make a difference and contribute. Happy employees equals happy customers. For employees it  includes our staff newsletter, work function, lunchroom,  bathrooms whether the CEO is approachable, how they make contributions and if they are heard!

6.Be ambitious. You have to want to create something really special. More than anything else you need to realise your leadership shapes the culture, environment, people, strategy and your offering in the marketplace. People want to work for and buy from people they really like and aspire to be.

5. Let the world know how you are different and what contribution you are going to make and you will be on the right track! Be proud, act proud and shout loudly.

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