Roy's Blog: January 2017

January 16, 2017

Don’t MAKE the list; DO the list

Too much energy is consumed on making the list.

There is something gratifying about jotting down all the things you need to do. It quenches one’s thirst for being organized and for wanting some control over one’s life generally complicated by too many things to do with insufficient time and financial resources to do them.

When we complete the list we feel that we have accomplished something.

The longer the list, the more pleased we feel as the long list represents mastering the translation of our complicated and ever changing personal world into concrete terms.

We spend considerable time making the list and managing the list when changes are required.

Frequently we lose the list.

Occasionally we are unable the decipher items on the list due to the abbreviated language we use to “save time” making it.

And list making teaches a bad habit, namely that if you write an action plan down it will happen.

We all know this is delusional thinking. The list is never completed the way it was originally conceived yet we continue to pour our energy into making the list knowing (hopefully) that it is a draft at best.

It’s time to change the list dynamic from MAKING the list to DOING the list. I know it’s called a To Do list, but it’s realły a statement of intent: “(I intend)To Do” is the common interpretation of what the list means however the “Do” action piece normalły gets short shrift.

It’s time to rid ourselves of good intentions; cut back on the time spent on creating the list and increase the time spent on DOING it.

The list is an imperfect “creature” anyway; it will never be 100% complete. Tomorrow something will come up that will render the list or a portion of it irrelevant. And the list will have to be revised.

Here are some quick-hit suggestions to DO the list.

1. Think short term. What absolutely must get done in the next 7 days? If you think beyond the next week you allow intentions to guide the list, you waste time and DO nothing.

2. Limit the list to not more than 3 things. You can’t DO more and if you think you can, you are falling victim to intentions.

3. Allocate the 3 DO items to the 7 days you have available. Space them out; don’t cram them in to one or two days where time constraints could impair your ability to execute.

4. Don’t allocate the full 7 days to your DO items. Leave some spare time to deal with temporary unexpected events (which will always happen) that distract you from your list.

5. Stay focused and avoid multitasking. “Get-one-done; move-on-to-the-next” is the formula for DO. Some argue that sequential action is unimaginative; perhaps, but it gets things done.

6. When an item on the list is done, strike it off but don’t replace it with anything. This could jeopardize the remaining item(s). You are on a 7-day DO cycle; new items will be listed at the start of the next cycle.

7. Develop the next list at the end of the 6th day. Carry over incomplete tasks if they are still a high priority. Incorporate what you have learned from DOING in the current cycle.

Apply this template to your career and your job where success is measured by what you DO, not by your intentions.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
Does “sameness” really kill?
How to create a competitive claim that stands out from your competition
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  • Posted 1.16.17 at 04:16 am by Roy Osing
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January 6, 2017

Does “sameness” really kill?

BE DiFFERENT or be dead.

The implication is that if you’re NOT DiFFERENT, sooner or later you will be irrelevant and you will “die”.

Sameness kills.

The path to organizational death is predictable.

Sales revenue declines because the value proposition of the organization is limp; it has no distinctive substance.

People stop buying because the company’s offerings are no longer relevant; they no longer serve a compelling need. They lose their “edge” that was the original reason people bought from them and not their competition. Their product portfolio is now common and indistinguishable from that offered by others.

Customers migrate away, looking for more value for their money; to get their specific needs satisfied.

Price cutting is invoked as the salvation, believing that lower prices will increase sales volumes. Footnote: with a limp value proposition, driving prices down also drives revenue down. Most products in the commodity category are price elastic folks!

With revenues going south, management decrees that costs be reduced to preserve operating margins. Across-the-board cost cutting is ordered as a “balanced” approach which means customer serving functions get whacked; fewer frontline people are expected to handle increased volumes of calls (from the price reductions).

Customer service suffers.

Customers look for alternative suppliers. Degenerating service creates an immediate disloyalty response. Customers find it easy to switch suppliers since so many alternatives are in their faces; they are coveted by many other providers.

Revenues spiral downward; margins are squeezed; more costs are sliced from company operations; customers are casualties.

It’s a relentless cycle.

Leadership looks for a short term strategy to reverse the trend; they are forced to abandon a longer term growth view.

The organization looks to acquisitions as a “fast and easy” way to expand their customer base and bolster their revenue line. This process burns valuable time and people resources and is limited by financial capabilities due to shrinking margins and an unhealthy balance sheet.

Acquisition activities shift priorities away from fixing the @home value proposition issues to assessing potential acquisition candidates and determine how to integrate the winner into the buyer’s overall operations and culture.

Revenues continue to decline; confidence erodes.

The cycle becomes entrenched; the organization explores selling off assets to improve financial results.

No investments are made in solving the endemic value proposition issue they face.

It’s not a matter IF they will die; it’s a question of WHEN it will happen - how long can they hang on.

When customers start to leave, they are telling you that you are becoming irrelevant; you don’t have any uniqueness relative to your competitors.

You are the SAME as them.

Fix THAT problem and the revenue line will take care of itself.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
How to create a competitive claim that stands out from your competition
8 proven ways to build marketing muscle
The price cutting game is insanity not good marketing

  • Posted 1.6.17 at 06:15 am by Roy Osing
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January 2, 2017

How to create a competitive claim that stands out from others

How do you answer the question “Why should I do business with you given the number of other suppliers I have to choose from?”

This is the killer question for all marketers.

In today’s noisy world with every organization shouting out why they should be chosen, the marketer needs to determine how to get their products, services and solutions noticed in the milieu.

They need to claim a competitive position that is unique and one that stands-out in the crowd.

I would give marketing today a less than satisfactory rating in terms of how well they address this challenge.

Copying

The tendency among most marketers is to go on a copying rampage where the priority is on replicating in some way what someone else is doing in terms of products, services, pricing, distribution and brand positioning. Other players are benchmarked on some capability and the copycat strategy unfolds.

Even a fast follower is a copycat; they just do it faster!

Copying doesn’t create uniqueness and differences; it proliferates sameness.

In fact it dilutes any marginal differences among organizations that might exist and renders them all as look-alikes. And it lowers the bar for each competitor to achieve.

In addition, marketers love to use vague helium-filled attributes and superlatives as the way of claiming how they are different. “We provide excellent customer service”; “We exceed customer expectations”; “We offer the best value”; “We provide the best value for money” have been overused to the point where they are meaningless and communicate nothing to the intended target audience. All they do is add to the message clutter.

A credible competitive claim needs to be simple and specific in terms of how an organization is different from the competitive herd. It needs to address a high priority customer need (claiming to be unique on something a customer doesn’t care about isn’t productive) and it needs to be true (failing to consistently deliver will drive a customer elsewhere).

Jerry Garcia, former leader of the legendary rock band The Grateful Dead, nailed it: “You don’t want merely to be the best of the best. You want to be the only ones who do what you do.”

Only one

The ONLY Statement is the practical way to do it. “We are the only ones that….” is the claim that will cut through the clutter and make it clear why you should be chosen among your competitors.

The ONLY rules:

1. The ONLY statement must speak to the experiences and value you create for people not the products or services you want to push.

2. Keep it brief. It’s a sound bite. If it consumes a page it isn’t a viable claim.

3. Talk to the specific customer group you are targeting not the market in general.

4. Test your ONLY statement with customers and employees to ensure it is relevant and true.

5. Consider your only statement a draft. The reality is you won’t get it right the first time, so take your almost-there only statement and start working with it. Refine it as you go. And stay alert for a response by a competitor who may suddenly come awake when they see your move.

Hard work? You bet!

But necessary if you want to be remarkable and if you want to step away from the crowd.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
8 proven ways to build marketing muscle
The price cutting game is insanity not good marketing
There’s no bad customer; but some are better than others

  • Posted 1.2.17 at 05:31 am by Roy Osing
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December 26, 2016

8 proven ways to build marketing muscle


There are organizations that are really good at marketing who they are and what value they create.

They have marketing muscle.

There are others, on the other hand, who struggle to get their message across and are not contenders.

Building marketing muscle isn’t just the job of the marketing department; the entire organization must take on the responsibility and work in harmony to deliver it.

Try this muscle building routine.

1. Consistently WOW! your customers. Delivering awesome customer service is fundamental to building muscle; it’s the basic platform you need to build a strong sustaining brand.
If you don’t serve your customers in an exemplary way (or at least have plans to), ignore the rest of this article.

2. Lead with innovation. Be the first ones to do something creative and “out there”. Yes, it’s risky to try something new, but if you try often enough you will have the winners that add dimension to your brand.

3. Surprise your market. Do something that people don’t expect. Muscle builders pulse surprises from time to time, creating buzz and attracting a great deal of attention.
And they don’t surprise just anybody; “delight tactics” are aimed at their loyal customers. Check out Richard Branson to see how it is done.

4. Earn the customer’s business everyday. Don’t feel entitled to it just because you have it. This is all about never taking the customer for granted; assuming that since you already have them, you don’t have to do much to keep them.
This is a fatal mistake! Investing in deepening your relationship with a customer and earning their trust will not only keep them spending with you, it will also motivate them to “spread your word” to others.

Community

5. Integrate yourself in your community. People want to do business with organizations that care about the communities they are in; that give back in some meaningful way.
Muscle is built with a HUGE dose of humanity, and social investing is an effective way of allowing your softer side to be seen. And target community investments to programs aligned with your strategic plan; avoid trying to support every cause out there.

6. Adopt “customer learning” as a core competency. Learn about your customers as a continuous process rather than a periodic task. Customer needs, wants and desires change and it is critical to keep up.
Muscle strength grows proportionately with how knowledgeable you are about who your customer is and what their top priorities are.

7. Have fun! It’s amazing how impactful it is to shed the business formality thing and show an informal playful persona from time to time.
Casual language, humour and making fun of yourself are ways to show your customers “it ain’t all about the bottom line”.

8. Think “personalized”. Shift your thinking from mass production to personalized value creation.
Narrow your focus to create solutions for small groups of customers rather than trying to come up with one size that fits all (which doesn’t work anyway).

Keep in mind that muscle form isn’t developed overnight; it can take years of blood, sweat and tears before the market sees you as a contender.

However, there is no time like the present to get on with it.

Define your muscle building program.

Start executing.

Don’t look back.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
The price cutting game is insanity not good marketing
There’s no bad customer; but some are better than others
How to build a customer focused culture for your startup

  • Posted 12.26.16 at 04:27 am by Roy Osing
  • Permalink