Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is it Time for a Job Change? IT Professionals Go Job Hunting.

In response to our economic and financial challenges, companies are faced with a workforce that is being asked to do more, in many cases, with less and some may look to make career changes.

According to CIO Magazine - "Companies have cut salaries and training, held back on bonuses and piled more work on employees in response to the economic downturn. These tactics may well be pushing many IT professionals to go job hunting, according to a recent Computerworld salary survey.

More than one-third (36%) of the 343 respondents to our recent poll said that they're looking to move to a new employer in the next six months. And 69% reported that they hadn't received a pay raise in the previous six months. The survey was conducted during the last two weeks in September.

For employers, the warning couldn't be more clear: As the economy improves, the most able IT workers might leave for something better."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carlos Dominguez Cisco Telecommuting Survey:60% of workers prefer a Home Office. Over 2600 IT workers surveyed worldwide.

When I read the headline Carlos put on his FB page... I thought -- "and is anyone surprised?". Working at home is part of my DNA. My mother was a Builder and Real Estate Developer. She had home office in 1960. I grew up figuring typewriters, mimeographs (OK, so I'm dating myself), filing cabinets, files, label makers, calligraphy -- was part of everyone's decor. I learned to file - when I was 8 years old, or sort mail, or sharpen pencils. I learned to read blueprints and architectural drawings before I could form a coherent sentence. For me, being able to do my job - in a home environment - contributes to my professional well-being.

So I commented on his post, "Timeplex accommodated that before it was fashionable. They definitely got more hours out of me, than if I had been restricted to going into the office (even though it was only 8 miles away). I put in at least 4 hours of work before I went into Woodcliff Lake, even when I was in administration before breaking into management. My job was never a 40 hour work week... or only M-F... so having a functional home office made me more productive -- and Timeplex recognized that."

I know that some people do goof off - even I did - but I gave it back 150%. What Timeplex did, for me, was provide latitude. I may not have been making "big bucks" by standards -- but they gave me fabulous latitude that was priceless.

I remember one conversation I had with one of my favorite VP's (I was his EA) when he asked me what did I want to achieve - for myself - in my position as his EA. I answered "To have you weep at the thought of my going on vacation..." I wanted to establish value. I did - and consequently was rewarded. Hard work paid off - and I had fabulous mentors and established professional friendships that have lasted for over 25 years.

Maybe that is why I stayed with Timeplex for 13 years. The company was good to me and treated me respectfully ALWAYS. Since a huge portion of colleagues have gone on to incredibly successful careers in corporate and as entrepreneurs,I can only conclude that Timeplex encouraged, and nurtured, young visionaries who have gone on to be major players. In my own way, I walked with giants.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Woman-Owned Small Businesses Put the Customer First - Part I

Forbes Insights Study key findings:

• The majority of women business owners have a customer service strategy: 55% do it on a case-by-case basis, and 18% have a formal strategy. 27% do not have a dedicated customer service strategy at all.

• The recession proved challenging for many woman-owned small businesses, but it has made them increasingly determined to build long-lasting relationships. Customer service and customer retention are top priorities for companies right now and in the next 12 months.

• While a number of woman-owned small businesses are using the Web and social media for customer service, many are still not taking full advantage of these channels; 25% of respondents do not have a company website and 24% do not use any social media tactics for their business.

• Traditional methods for customer service interaction still rule the day—such as sending handwritten notes and interacting with customers via the phone.

As a result of the economic implosion the U.S. has experienced, woman-owned businesses are taking a customer-centric approach - making customer service a top strategic priority, though a large portion do not have a formal strategy and prefer to deal with customers on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, a large portion do not take advantage of exploring the types of innovative customer service "channels" that might set their businesses apart from the competition.

I will explore the findings in this study, and share the facts and figures that may help you in designing your strategy for the future. Ironically, Marketing is near the bottom of the priority list - but the fact is - marketing campaigns should contain all of the "top of the list" priorities, such as:

Customer Retention
Customer Service
Cost Containment
Maximizing Profitability/cash flow
Increasing productivity/efficiency

Unfortunately, many small business compartmentalize these objectives instead of integrating them into an overall strategy supported by the marketing that gets the word out there.

... more to come.

Cracking the C-Suite: Finding the Right Exec to Close the Sale

"Now, more than ever, it's essential to engage decision-makers with compelling reasons to purchase your product or service. One of the first steps in doing this is to discover who in the prospect organization holds the "real" buying power and when they are most likely to become involved in the purchase." Chief Marketer has another great article - and one that I personally think is quite valuable. I have already provided material on the C-Suite and this newest article adds to the list. Read the entire article here:

Friday, October 15, 2010

How to craft the perfect IT Resume - CIO Magazine

"Things to consider for this box are what you do best, your strongest IT strengths that set you apart from your peers, your IT skills that outshine those of others, the most notable IT resources you bring to a company. This part of the résumé is your best shot at being noticed and chosen for an interview, so in this area make yourself look unquestionably the best possible candidate. There is no room for modesty here."

Long-Term Unemployment and Your Job Search: 10 Ways to Compete

CIO Magazine - once again provides useful insights and suggestions to keep the "job search" on track and in alignment. Checks and balances - probative questions to identify whether you are presenting the right information to get that job. One thing is clear - the competition is fierce, and your information has to be job-specific - even if they are looking for a generalist.

"For executives, a year is not an usually long time to be out of work. In fact, the average length of unemployment for executives is nine months to a year, even in a good economy, according to Howard Seidel, a partner with Essex Partners, which provides career coaching services to executives." Now for some that may be daunting, but for others it may give them a sense of "oh, OK... it's not just me."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Selling into the Digital C-Suite : What prompts a search?

Still drawing from the Forbes Insights report...

What prompts an executive to start a search? More than 70% said it is the result of something they read on line; 66% through WOM (something a colleague said) and 64% said it is the result of something they read in a newspaper or magazine.

And what do they use - Google, Yahoo or Live Search, which isn't surprising. What is noteworthy is the value executives place on search, and how it is a solid part of day-to-day corporate activities. When asked what on line and off line sources they valued, nine out of 10 executives (87%) rated general search engines as very valuable (4 or 5 on 5-point scale). Next was colleague guidance (77%), personal networks (65%), links from on-line content (58%), subscription search engines (54%)and guidance from outside advisors (53%).

And it's not just that they place value on searches --- it's the frequency they use it. 60% said they conduct at last six work-related searches a day, and 20% conducting more than 20. Generation PC and Generation Netscape (see first blog in series) definitely use search tools for deeper dives into information at a greater level than Generation Wang.

Executives also consider searches as a conduit to other on-line material... and will follow a trail to get the right information... following a path driven by search results, content, and advertising.

Meaning - every link needs to support the objective - otherwise you will lose your executive. "As expected, executives are more likely to click links from content than from ads, but the less intrusive the ad, the more likely they are to follow the link."

86% click on linked words from web articles and content (occasionally to frequently); 58% click on paid lists in search engine results, 53% click on website banner ads and 37% click on pop-up or other interruptive ads from websites. (Source: Forbes Insights - the Rise of the Digital C-Suite)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Selling into the Digital C-Suite : Suggested steps to follow in your planning…

As with anything, planning is important and details are even more important. Here is a basic outline of the type of steps you should take to put together a well thought out plan of who, what, when, where, how, and why.

1. Create a profile of your ideal customer. Do yourself a favor – create a profile page that has fields for all of the areas of focus. This becomes your template. Target 5-10 companies that meet the criteria. Include location, industry, size, geography, business duration, type of business, etc. The level of detail will determine the level of intimacy you gain in understanding your customer or prospect, and increasing the likelihood of providing value. Consider corporate culture, industry trends and industry position, competitors and customers or target market. The more you know, the more you will be able to increase your diagnostics capability.

2. Engage in research on the 5-10 targets beginning with website and its contents, go to press releases to see what activity has taken place recently and in the past, contracts or new business, events, goals/objectives, key initiatives, markets, primary offerings, info on the executives, competitors and financial trends. Use search engines to see what is “out there” on the companies you’ve selected. Look at executive profiles – their individual charters and goals – how long they have been with the company, previous assignments … and even what they are known for.

3. Now look at your service/product and answer why you see an alignment between the target and their needs and your offering. If it isn’t clear to you – it surely won’t be to them. Now you can develop a strong value proposition you can present to the prospect. Be prepared to answer specifically how this company will benefit and the type of results they will get. The more specific you are – the greater your credibility. As I mentioned in other writings – C-Level executives could care less about your products or services. Their focus is all about whether something contributes to achieving their desired business outcomes – forget the sales pitch.

4. Look for contact information across multiple sources to reach into the organization. LinkedIn is a great source for finding executives of companies, and if you don’t know them or they are outside of your network, look for an introduction or send what is called an “InMail”. Prepare talking points that you want to present in written and verbal formats. Include that you’ve conducted considerable research on their company and would like to share an idea about how they can achieve a specific objective (based on your research on them – that will mean something of significance). If the company is local to you, it might be easier to invite the executive or person of interest out for lunch, than to get a brief meeting to share the concept. This is where intuition is important.

5. Don’t underestimate the value of executive assistants (EA) in your plan. If you decide to make a cold-call, you can ask for the EA and state your case, also requesting an email to provide additional information. If the executive has an EA, very often they become a valued and important member of the executive’s team. Additionally, you may want to look deeper into the organization – and see if you can connect with the executive’s direct reports who might be interested in not only the results – but the actual product and/or service. If you can make them look good – that is a golden key.

6. Remember the "C"-level executive does not want to hear about your products. They are prepared to hear how you can help their business be more profitable, get a competitive advantage, reduce costs, increase productivity, enter new markets, maximize use of existing technologies, increase sales, address customer retention and loyalty, etc.

Selling into the Digital C-Suite : Getting in with the information they seek!

According to Huthwaite’s “Selling to the C-Suite” CLEs place significant value on diagnostic capabilities than hearing about products, services and solutions. That means forget about doing “a pitch” --- reserve that for lower level reports in the tactical sense. However, if you can truly identify a problem or obstacle that is preventing a CLE from achieving results --- that is golden.

Here’s where it gets interesting – the CLE’s direct reports are actually key to gaining access and insight. Those at the VP and Director levels. If you have a client program --- this is the time to use it. If you don't, give us a call and we'll help you develop one. You don't have to drop a lot of money into effective customer programs - you just have to know what will work, why and consistently use it as part of your branding and marketing.

I worked for a company that had a very effective Customer Visit Program. Our account executives would invite prospects in for a meeting. We had a Customer Conference Room that was only used for client/prospect meetings, that had an adjoining breakout rooms for food & refreshments. (Message being - if you are bringing clients into your facility - make sure that you appropriate an area that is always neat, organized and clean.) The AE would work closely with the program manager to develop an agenda, technical support, presentations, handouts, engineers (if needed for the meeting) etc., and even lining up the appropriate level of executive to meet with the client. This an environment that lets the client/prospect know the value you place on the meeting with them, and the type of information you are looking for. “Since CLE’s schedules are so jammed and tightly guarded, everything that you can learn about their problems, challenges and the impact of not changing should be done, if possible, in advance of a meeting.” (Source: Huthwaite).

While this may all read nicely, you are probably asking “What’s my point of entry?” At the TechTarget Online ROI Summit ’09 West, a panel of CIOs provided insight and perspectives on a) how they search for information, and b) how their purchase decisions are made, that complemented a Google/TechTarget Behavioral Research Project mapping search terms to content types at each stage of the buying process.

If you Google “phases of buying cycle” you will get an assortment of attractive graphics and charts. Take your pick. What is important is understanding that your client goes through phases prior to making a purchase decision/commitment to adopt a course of action --- and you need to understand where and when is the best time for you to gain access and entry in order to reach the C-Level Executive – and influence the decision making process.

The phases are pretty basic: a) Realizing or becoming aware of a problem, or obstacle; b) deciding to do something about it, c) gather information on potential solutions and present recommendations, d) evaluate & eliminate, e) selection/commitment/purchase, d) results and follow-up. Some buying cycles have more phases, some less… but follow the basics. Now depending on the subject – the CLE may be involved at the awareness/recognition and selection/commitment/purchase phases.

So what kind of information do executives look for? In the Forbes Insights report, executives were asked what areas of focus were most critical to their role. The top concerns - 53% competitor analysis, 41% customer trends, 39% corporate development (i.e. M&A), compliance/legal, 26%. Bottom line – knowing about their competitors and knowing about their customers/prospects are the two most important areas of focus.

However, priorities change if you look at the functional role. If in Finance - 63% competitor analysis, 44% corporate development, 33% compliance/legal. If in IT - 59% technology trends, 58% competitor analysis and 16% corporate development. If in Sales/Marketing - 76% customer trends, 60% competitor analysis, 40% marketing trends and strategies.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Selling into the Digital C-Suite : It's not about you... it's all about them!

So how does this new digital age of marketing affect your messaging to who you want to reach. First – let’s clarify who we are talking about.

When we are talking about the C-Suite --- we are including: CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CLO, President and "close-to C-level executives" (C2CLE) like EVP Sales, SVP Marketing, SVP HR, Divisional President, etc.

The C-Suite and close-to-C-Executives are hyper-focused on improving results and employing strategies that will result in corporate growth, increase of market share, challenge & surpass competitors, acquire new customers, increase loyalty and retention, bolster margins, decrease costs, manage risks, increase shareholder value, attract and retain skilled workforce, and improve productivity. (Ref. Huthwaite, 2007)

Your message or product has got to talk to one of those areas of focus and propose a solution that the executive can apply to their current situation and/or problem.

Now, in this new digital age - executives are more likely to manage their own research, subscriptions, articles of interest, etc., as opposed to delegating a manager or assistant to do it for them – and your materials and messaging will have to be relevant to their area of focus and concern. They will not waste time trying to figure out how or if your service/product is a fit … that’s up to you to show them.

It's important that your marketing be an integration of traditional and new medias, because your "door in" may not be the C-Level Executive (CLE)... but the "Close to C-Level Executive" (C2CLE) or their direct reports and they use it all almost intuitively! That means if you are using keywords --- the phrases and/or words need to be in the language of the executive to even show up on their radar.

So let's do a quick review of who are you creating content for. Can they see themselves in the solution or benefit you are positioning? Remember they don't want to hear about your product ... they want to hear about answers to problems and needs and solutions. Do you understand the difference between the selling cycle and buying cycle --- and do you know where your prospect is within it. If you can’t answer these questions, or you don’t clearly know how your solution or service can improve, increase, reduce, expand, aka *answer* the client’s need – then get started right now.

There are even different “use” practices, according to Forbes, based on the *Generations* (see previous blog).

1. How often do you access the internet for business intelligence?
Daily - 81% under 50, 62% over 50.
Several times a week - 14% under 50, 24% over 50
Weekly - 2% under 50, 8% over 50.

2. Those who see value in internet tools, such as:
Search engines - 66% under 50, 58% over 50
Subscription search engines – 44% under 50, 17% over 50
Links from websites, blogs or other online content – 40% under 50, 16% over 50
Guidance from contacts in online communities – 30% under 50, 6% over 50

3. Accessing information different ways (% that claim daily use on online tool):

View work related videos online on business related websites -
33% under 50, 11% over 50

Use web-enabled mobile device to search for or read content related to work -
31% under 50, 9% over 50

Network professionally in an online community -
28% under 50, 6% over 50

It is essential that you know who you are trying to reach - and the best source to reach them, using the language that means something to them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Forbes Insights : The Rise of the Digital C-Suite

How well do you know your audience - are they Generation Wang, Generation PC, or Generation Netscape? Unless you understand your market and the sources they use for information gathering, you may be missing out on how to market and establish a dialogue with the C-Level Executive you want to talk to.

According to Forbes, the following is a general profile of established and emerging C-Level Executives and how they use media today.

"Generation Wang - This group is made of executives who entered the job market prior to 1980. These over-50s advanced in their careers with a terminal on their desks, but may still be equally or more comfortable with non-digital forms of communication. Not having been raised in the PC age, they are digital immigrants, conversant in computing while thinking in their native analog tongue.

Generation PC are those whose career starts coincided with the rise of the PC in the early/mid-1980s, Generation PC members are the digital settlers of the corporate world. Generation PC came of business age with word processors, spreadsheets, and desktop presentation software, and it was the first group to
send email, build Web pages, employ search engines, and see business move to the Internet. Now that its members are 40-50 years old, they are an increasingly dominant force in the C-suite.

Generation Netscape is the generation whose careers began with the growth of the Internet in the 1990s, Generation Netscape is the most Internet-savvy group. The under 40s don’t know an office without email or home pages, and they are the most willing to leverage the newest wave of Web-centric tools and experiment with emerging technologies. Members of this group are entering upper executive ranks and will be a growing influence on the C-suite."

Right now, a generational change is taking place that is transforming how executives use the internet on a day-to-day basis. Executives who started their careers with the advent of the desktop computer, are now assuming leadership positions. Research shows that they are more likely to see a greater value in Internet technologies - and gather information from different sources, including video and mobile devices. Integrated marketing is essential --- and having a solid understanding of the practices your audience employs. This isn’t about age, this is about who uses what type of media to retrieve information that they are interested in.

They consider the Internet a primary source of information leading colleagues, professional networks, and the traditional mediums of print, TV, radio, conferences and trade shows. And here is a distinct difference - members of the C-suite actually do the research themselves. Today, it is more likely that an executive prefers to do the research.

So what does that mean to you? That means your marketing and messaging has got to be produced so that it speaks to them – one size will not fit all --- and even more important --- show and demonstrate you understand their business, their challenges and have solutions or recommendations that they can envision or apply to their specific business objectives.

If Forbes feels this is significant enough to do a study on, then perhaps you need to look at your marketing, messaging and channels to see whether they will ever reach your target audience.

For more information call 619-337-3710

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mass Data Management (MDM) needs top notch project managers

IT Business Edge published a white paper that identifies that MDM is in the newly adoptedstage... and while many companies have started to look into it... and others already have implemented it, it is something we definitely can market to because (as evidenced in the white paper) there are problems. System Integrators are claiming to be experienced in the actual project planning and implementation – and coming up short. For companies who are trying to work with existing talent base, and provide superior "learning tools and techniques" to increase the value of their current project management team --- I urge you to visit

The Project in Practice whitepaper, by IT Business Edge is 57 pages long and worth the read --- but the message inside the message is that Project Management - or the lack of PM skills, can cost a company dearly. Is this something you are willing risk? What if you could find a site that could face your challenges --- at different levels, in different scenarios, with expert assistance at the click of the mouse... and that is cost effective because you control the level of membership? The site exists, and it is at

Friday, June 4, 2010

Critical Influence Skills That Get Project Managers a Powerful Seat at the Table

Session Overview:
Influence is "the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, and opinions of others." This session brings that definition to life in the project setting, to show how much project and organizational power a PM can actually have even without any direct authority; how to identify your current influence shortfalls and do something about them fast; and how the art of genuine well-meaning influence on projects can be unexpectedly fun and liberating for those in the challenging PM role.

What You'll Learn:
What powerful influence looks like in the project setting
The project manager's necessary span of impact
What it means to have your rightful seat at the table
How the most impactful project managers build and exercise their influence
Critical sources of credibility in the project setting
The business, project, and people insights that matter the most
The communication skills that result in the highest level of influence
How influential PMs act every day

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Danger of Digital Isolation

In this morning's briefings, this headline caught my attention - just as they wanted. The lead-in... "Communication technology can make leaders "more current and knowledgeable," but James Champy writes that he sees the potential for plugged-in leaders to become more distracted and remote. A sense of connection can be deceiving, he warns: "Technology, in the hands of unskilled leaders, can create distance, and even a false sense of security." This linked to Harvard Business Review online/Imagining the Future of Leadership blog (

I find this interesting because the term leader is so loosely used in today's workforce.

Leadership Sabotage: Intentional or Not?

Leadership Sabotage: Intentional or Not?

Well written with very good insights and red flags to observe. Worth the read.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Harvard Business Review whitepaper "ReThinking Marketing" is engaging. Out with the CMO and in with the CCO

The Harvard Business Review whitepaper "ReThinking Marketing" is engaging. Out with the CMO and in with the CCO - a position that will test corporate life-expectancy. There is an expectation that will only increase with time. That expectation is that customers expect to have access to companies - at a level never before available.

"Yet never before have companies had such powerful technologies for interacting directly with customers, collecting and mining information about them, and tailoring their offerings according. And never before have customers expected to interact so deeply with companies. To compete in this aggressively interactive environment, companies must shift their focus from driving transactions to maximizing customer lifetime value.
For example, I had a bad experience with Yankee Candle ---- that could have altered my opinion, permanently. What happened was I contacted a Vice President - who personally got involved, resolved it to my total satisfaction and treated me with total respect. Consequently, I will be a lifelong customer of Yankee Candle ... on a ongoing and predictable purchasing basis. They have also earned my respect - and consequently WOM advocacy. .

I personally know what goes into developing client relationships that survive years. As a professional customer advocate, and my corporate experience demonstrates that, as well as the testimony of those who have worked with me. I was bridging the gap between corporate management (top tiers) and customers beyond 'customer support'. But I have to give Timeplex the credit. Timeplex was a company I worked for in the 80's and 90's, and who understood relationship-building and increasing the unique customer value beyond the purchase order, years before the curve.

More to come...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Maslows 19 Traits & the Unexamined Life

Just read a great article on Meryl Streep. This is a very flattering piece but is also talking about Maslow's 19 Traits. I remember when Streep was almost mocked because of the roles and accents she had to have. Then the world discovered her humor and comedic talent. Great piece and it even has something for us...

... and right behind that, another terrific article that we all can use. If I could make one change, all of these lists or models exclude something I truly believe in - planet consciousness. The earth - and all its inhabitants - not just humans. We are an integral part of the matrix - and to think we are exempt or "...

... and finally, a really good piece about character.

Socrates said it best: The unexamined life is not worth living.  Socrates is one of my true life heroes.  I soaked up his philosophy and beliefs, because they aligned so closely with my own and affirmed them. Let me ask you - do you know anyone who doesn't seek self-improvement?  Who can learn to be more humble - truly humble.  How many of us suffer from egoism? 

For me, I didn't have a "work personality" and the "home personality".  I was pretty much the same all the time.  That is why many of my colleagues know of my principals and passions... and can see how I integrated them into my life.  They didn't get checked at the corporate front door.

The last is really good for a self-examination checklist or word association exercise.  Enjoy.


The Uber-Connected Organization : Harvard Business Review article

HBR has a really interesting article talking about how companies can directly benefit by enabling their employees to participate in social media "passive connectivity".  In fact, it's even more than enabling - its accommodating.  The consensus is that the workforce that will replace Baby Boomers - will expect it.  "Has blocking Facebook today become the equivalent of denying an employee access to a phone at work 40 years ago, or email 20 years ago?".  I actually remember - quite vividly - corporate policy of no personal phone calls at work, unless it is an emergency.  The Millennial Generation will be almost half the workforce as early as 2014, so companies need to contemplate how they will (if not already) integrate this into their corporate planning.  "Those born between 1977 and 1997 - the ones you need to hire to replace the retiring boomers - are networked 24/7...".  To read the whole article, and reader comments, go to

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Re: Study: Internally promoted CEOs more successful

My response...

Great article and I totally agree. Having gone through 4 acquisitions - and the subsequent transition phases, including senior management musical chairs... unless some executive had an extremely winning personality and background to show for it... the new management team was generally greeted with skepticism (on longevity and commitment). It took 20 years to kill the company... but poor decisions eventually took its toll. Poor decisions in product and market development as well as the appointment of senior executives. Those that were promoted from within the rank & file - were part of the core - and having them in a position of senior management gave us a sense of having a voice at the table; a seat at the table. Saying that, let me add that we did (fortunately) have some truly outstanding executives who were "transplants" that were extremely beneficial. Rotational positions (i.e. chairs with a life expectancy of 2 years) really was predominantly at the senior/executive level ... and we all know too much of a 'good' thing is never 'good'.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blogs worth reading at

I'm biased - I happen to like the blogs on because they are entertaining as well as informative.  They have humor and a sharp wit laced with usable and practical know-how.  My kind of place.  The one I just read was near and dear to my heart.  It began...

"One night, we were talking about the bad bosses we had worked for. My father-in-law, Larry, told us that he once had a supervisor that held a mandatory staff meeting every Monday at 6:00 a.m. I told Larry that 6:00 a.m. was not that bad but a weekly staff meeting was just cruel. He was shocked."

The topic?  My Role in Reducing Project Churn by Niel Nickolaisen:  Take a few minutes and go to 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Question of the day: FREE WILL

All of the great religions - first and second tier - seem to be in consensus in "believing" that a divine entity, whatever name you want to attach to "it" - "gave us" "free will".  My big question is - why then do we spend the rest of our lives worrying about potential "wrath", judgement, penalties and "karma" that will result, because we  decided to exercise it?  If there are rules - other than the "BIG 10" specifically relating to the use and abuse of "free will" ... then I would like to know about it.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

who has control of the budget to make changes and enhancements to the company website, IT or Marketing?

Jeff Antaya, CMO and member of the Chief Marketing Officer Group on LinkedIn, asked that question.  Lots of answers - 67... and growing. I contributed these thoughts...based on my experience with Marketing and working closely with IT in developing the internet and intranet presence for the company. 

Bilateral; co-ruled, co-chaired; IT owned the technology portion of budget; the infrastructure functionality - everything "behind the curtain" to make the user experience enjoyable, build-out requirements and actual implementation. Marketing needs to drive the site; defining feature requirements, control content, conceive the 'big' strategy and own "the plan". Even if IT didn't have 'budget' to create all the bells & whistles (in lean times) that Marketing might want, Marketing still had to come up with something useful, usable... and worthwhile as an interim solution. Often, when IT would enhance or upgrade functionality (and/or features) --- Marketing could work with that by way of customer experience and customer focus groups. I see it as a mutually reinforcing relationship.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dichotomy Observations

As a marketer, I am a business person focused on watching how companies and individuals brand and market whatever it is they are promoting; what works well, how was it positioned, what was the appeal... does it achieve its purpose which is to make me (or someone like me) do something, buy something, call something, ....sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. 

For instance, all these medicine commercials that seem to be inundating us... I listen to the promotion of the benefit.  They immediately present the virtues or benefits of the product. Then I wait to hear the minor details, uh, like how your head might fall off, if you fall into that 1/100th of a 5% group.  So if I take this medicine - I will achieve this benefit - with the ever so slight risk, of being a member of the 5% group.  Hmmmm... decisions, decisions...Of course, I am not quoting statistics and this isn't a true "side-effect" (to my knowledge).  I'm using this strictly for illustrative purposes. 

We are using natural and unnatural or synthetic remedies... knowing fully well there are risks attached to it.  The question then becomes of "value" - identifying and reaching that personal value that someone has attached to something else and how well this answers that value.  This is not easy to do well.  You have to study and educate your consumer - by successfully presenting the benefits, clearly - and the risks, understandably. 

It also means you understand the driving force behind the acquisition -- and right now -- defying death is a biggy in our civilization whether we talk about war, famine, disease... there is an enormous desire to achieve Nirvana, Heaven, Eutopia, Bali Hai, Paradise ... whatever name you want to call it.  Remove or at the very least stop where possible, mitigating death due to circumstances.  Big business...

and then we need to turn and look at critical mass.  The planet's ability to sustain the current and growing population - as other species are routinely culled to reduce population - the human one does not believe in that.  We defy death - and challenge "survival of the fittest".

Thus we are creating a guarantee of polarizing conversations, and debate on how to handle this going forward.  That is my activism side.  The side that is a champion of wildlife and the environment.  I am also a business person who needs to make living - and my trade is marketing.

Unfortunately, for me, this issue is the 600 lb. gorilla sitting in the corner of my living room.   

The Dichotomy: Prolongation of Life v. Population Critical Mass - Business, Marketing and Activism Collide

In one breath, we are doing everything to keep death at abeyance - from premature births to centenarians.

In the next breath, we acknowledge the human species population has hit critical mass.

We are the only species that gets to truly challenge "The Laws of Nature" and defy "Survival of the Fittest".