Saturday, January 29, 2005

Only A Few More Days

I will be launching my new blog within the next few days so please bear with me. I think you'll be pleased with the changes and the focus. Thanks. Alain

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Even In Death You Are On A Database

A news flash from the University of California that they are implementing a a barcode program for the cadavers at the medical schools. This is in response to the scandal at UCLA---where I teach---last year with the selling of body parts to unauthorized people. In addition to electronic identifiers implanted on the bones of cadavers or wire into them, there will be video cameras placed on the loading docks to make sure there are no unauthorized withdrawals after hours. Truly amazing turn of events that really gave UCLA Medical School a black eye...top that with the guy in Georgia who simply scattered people's remains all around his crematory and just down the road about 10 miles from my house, a mortuary was found to also sell body parts without prior approval. We are worth more in death it seems. Which is why I say, you are on a thousand databases and nothing is sacred.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More Changes Coming Through For marketingdriven

I have been working on the redesign and new name of my blog and website, and am happy to report this should all be in place within the next two weeks. But I also know how predictions can be so very wrong so bear with me. I need a new approach to blogging and need to get with the program in terms of sophistication and give back to the community that is blogging.

In the meantime, I have just hooked up with Verizon fiber optic for my Internet connection as well as converting my land line phones to fiber. In the summer, Verizon is bringing HDTV to our area and I'll be converting to that as well. All to say that the service and follow-through I have received from Verizon has been absolutely outstanding. I am totally blown away by these guys and I can see where they will get the business away from the cable companies. As for me today is bye bye to Adelphia. And the power of word of mouth is alive and well in my part of California's paradise as I have told my neighbors who are now on a wait list to convert to Verizon.

We can definitely hear you now!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Soggy Day of Justice

I was called for jury duty today, braving the very wet roads---after nonstop rain for the last 4 days--- to do my part for democracy and justice. While I was not put on a jury, I do have some observations about the customer service we in the herd of my fellow citizens received.

In my part of Ahnold's domain, due to the amazing influx of newcomers, we've had to build our own new courthouse to support the needs in our slice of the county. First of all there's plenty of free parking, and the jury waiting room is comfortable, has wireless Internet access, a business center, the usual vending machines and courteous and respectful staff. Wow, that's better than some businesses I know. We received a warm and genuine welcome from the chief judge with a rah rah speech about responsibility and accountability in the name of freedom and justice, and then viewed a 13 minute video on the same that stirred the patriotic heart. We knew that some of us might have to pass judgment on another citizen, but damn, we felt good about doing our part.

It's the third time I've been called for jury duty and today's experience showed that no matter what business you are in---from widgets to justice---the genuine focus on customer service can make a difference in creating a good experience. Kudos to the superior Court in Southwestern Riverside County.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Speaking of Myths

A judge in New York has soundly chastised Listerine for claiming that using the product is as effective as flossing, implying that just Listerine can do the trick. The judge said no, you still have to floss. So now we have it from judicial authority what your Mom and dentist have been saying for years. The suit was brought by McNeil-PPC Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company which claimed that it was hurting their dental floss business. I'm sure we've not heard the end of this yet.

Creativity

I'm just now getting into the December issue of Fast Company on creativity and it is so timely since I am working with a couple of clients where creativity is what's missing in key people who should be. I am also starting my class at UCLA tomorrow and my approach is to instill the concept that marketing, indeed the entire business process, is about creativity, the ability to "see" things differently, the willingness to take a risk---albeit calculated ones.

The article in FC entitled "The 6 Myths of Creativity" about Teresa Amabile's work on the subject at the entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School is a must read. Here are the myths she explains in the article:
  1. Creativity comes from creative types
  2. Money is a creativity motivator
  3. Time pressure fuels creativity
  4. Fear forces breakthrough
  5. Competition beats collaboration
  6. A streamlined organization is a creative organization
While I have ranted on this blog about taking the wisdom of our gurus with context to your particular situation and realities, I think the professor's major points have merit. For example the first one about creative types has been borne out in my experiences that's why when I do a complete audit/assessment of the marketing/business process for a client I want to talk with everyone in the food chain because I often uncover amazingly creative types who are typecast into their roles or positions and not looked upon as having worthy thoughts for us consider. Au contraire, I say.

Monday, January 03, 2005

More Food For Thought

Since we're in the new year and possibilities are luring us into their grasps, plus the fact that most of us are receptive at this time of year to change, here's a great quote from Winston Churchill:

"Success is not final and failure is not fatal.
It is the courage to continue that counts."

Marketing Thoughts For 2005...none of us so-called pundits on matters large and small would not be pundits unless we pundited, so here's my list for 2005:

  1. Be true to your beliefs. That should be a given, but think back on the number of times you know you should have said what you really feel to a client and you didn't because you need the business or whatever. Come on, everyone does it occasionally.
  2. Have a plan...I know it's a "duh" but I am always amazed at how many marketers I know don't. The irony is that's what we do for companies and not ourselves
  3. Be disciplined in all that you do. You've got to offer the world value, but too many people who falter are those who are not disciplined in their approach, don't see that every thing that happens towards realizing their goals are about a disciplined approach based on the plan (see Item 2) they've crafted. The plan is the roadmap that allows you to move forward.
  4. Inventory your skills, tools, clients and marketplace. When we do a marketing audit for clients that's what we do. Do it for yourself and see where you can improve, what's not working and the best way to be what you want to be.
  5. Read. Even the big business books by the giants of industry are valuable if they stimulate your thinking and show you possibilities and parallels to what you do. Reading is all about firing up the grey matter towards greater creativity.
  6. Be creative in all you do. Don't be afraid to "Think Different" as the Apple ads state. Creativity is not something to be afraid of, it's something to embrace in order to differentiate yourself and garner all the potential that is inside you.
  7. Understand that roadblocks are only temporary and meant to give you a chance to be creative. There are always impediments to anything worthwhile, so look at them as opportunities. It's not about "I can't do this" it's about "how can I make this happen."
  8. Empower your clients to "Think Different". Chances are they're probably pretty good at what they do, all they need from us is encouragement to do what they instinctively know they need to do. Often all people want from us is to be helped to "see" what's underneath their noses.
  9. Be a change artist. If you're not, then you're not doing a lot heavy lifting. Giving the clients what they think they need without us being honest about the opportunities and possibilities we see is comparable to not giving them warning that there is a fire in their house because they don't want to see it. See #1.
  10. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay said it best: "Long-term sustainable change happens if people discover their own power." Be the catalyst for that, then get out of the way.
  11. Take risks. Don't be stupid about it just for the sake of risk taking, but do get out of your comfort zone to "see" what the possibilities are.
  12. Write. Whatever you write will probably lead you to where you want to go and will most likely illuminate ideas that you didn't know you had. Consider it therapy and part of your professional development along with reading. Write a blog, update your website, contribute to your trade journals, local newspaper, etc. Keep the ideas flowing by using your pen.
  13. Share what you know. Whether you teach, volunteer, or whatever, marketers invariably have to educate their clients about what they "really" do. Your local community can probably use some of that expertise. And don't look at it simply as a means to market yourself, but as a means to follow your heart....the rest will follow.
  14. Get yourself a Board of Directors that you trust. Even as a one-person shop, you should have key people that you can bring together that can either confirm your instincts and direction or deflate something that doesn't ring true. It's about installing a bullshit meter you trust.
  15. Write yourself a monthly report. Keep your "To Do" lists and review your accomplishments towards your goals. You'll be amazed at what you accomplish and the little details that are important towards those accomplishment.
  16. Take time to think. We are often thinking so much about our clients that we don't get a respite from it and think for ourselves. It's okay to have down time to reflect, refresh and regroup.
  17. Be a mentor. You'll find that helping someone less experienced grow will help you grow in ways you never imagined. You'll not only feel good about yourself, but you'll also have more confidence that in turn begets more business. You gotta give in order to get.
All for now...whatever you do, just do it and you'll get there.