Roy's Blog: January 2012

January 30, 2012

3 proven reasons why benchmarking is really wrong

I know that benchmarking is viewed as a necessary process for most organizations. But I have a major issue with it.

Beware of these 3 things:

1. It’s copying. It doesn’t make you special. It may help you improve your position in The Herd, but it does nothing to help you Stand-out from The Herd. Copying is the enemy of BE DiFFERENT. if The Herd goes East, go West. If The Herd says Black, say White.

2. It keeps you in The Herd. Best of Breed is still in The Herd. An imprint of the #1 Herd Member still keeps you with your ‘Sameness brethren’. The Herd is not your friend. You need to break away from it, not find consolation in it’s attributes.

3. It robs you of your individuality. Benchmarking forces you to conform. Forces you to BE SaME. Forces you to capitulate to the leader of The Herd. What’s your problem? Can’t think for yourself?

YOU owe it to yourself to express your uniqueness. The Herd is common. Invisible. Ignored.

Express yourself. Distance yourself. BE YOU!

It’s ok to observe what The Herd is doing and adopting from the Best what might improve your performance. It’s quite another thing to assume that copying them will help you win the competitive battle.

Winning is about standing-out not fitting-in.

Look at The Herd.

Go a different way.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 1.30.12 at 10:20 am by Roy Osing
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January 26, 2012

How to build a killer marketing loyalty program

Every marketer is trying to build a better loyalty program that will hold customers forever.

Here are some thoughts to consider:

1. A loyalty program should be RELEVANT (something your fans care about). It should carry some degree of personalization and not be for the masses. If it’s for the masses, it’s for nobody.

2. A loyalty program should be UNIQUE (something they can ONLY get from you). Doing the same thing as everyone else diminishes its value to the point of making it worthless.

Killer loyalty

3. Tailor your program around your top customers in terms of what they care about. Design it for THEM.

4. Observe what the competition is doing, but act on what your fans are telling you. Many organizations design something on the basis of what their competition is doing. Chasing your competition is unproductive; listen to your fans.

5. Build an ONLY Statement for the loyalty program. “Our loyalty program is the ONLY one that….” would separate you from others and make it easy to communicate it.

6. Avoid benchmarking other plans unless you want to exercise the “contrarian marketing tool” and go the opposite way. Copying best of breed might allow your status in the herd to improve, but it won’t allow you to stand-out from any other member of it.

7. Consider greater benefits to those who have been with you the longest. Someone who has been with you for 10 years is worth more than someone who has been loyal for 2 years. Treat the 10 year old accordingly by delivering more benefits to them.

8. Design a communications strategy to support your plan to be constantly engaging with your members. Constantly tweak the plan based on fan feedback.

9. Test the plan design with your fans. Make sure it addresses their high priority wants and desires.

10. Personalize the program. Have a variety of versions based on the unique desires of your various fans. The one-size fits all approach is what others do and it isnt as effective as taking the specialization approach.

11. Give loyalty club members a special “Fan Club Service Line” to call when they need to talk to you. Differentiated levels of service is an appropriate way to recognize the relative value of customer groups.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 1.26.12 at 01:04 pm by Roy Osing
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January 23, 2012

How to know when to hire the person

You are about to interview a candidate for a job with your organization; doesn’t matter what job.

Here are 11 questions you should ask to determine if they have what it takes to help you build a unique and distinctive organization.

1. Tell me about a project you led where your execution was brilliant. What did you do to make it so? The words passion, clear vision, shared purpose, recognition and relentless focus on the goal should be sprinkled through their answer.

2. Define marketing. Make sure their answer contains the following principles: providing value, focusing on loyal fans, providing personalized solutions, market segments of 1, customer wants and desires. Give them the heave-ho if they constantly reference marketing 101 stuff like the 4 p’s and satisfying customer needs.

3. What does leadership mean to you? Listen for the concept of “serving people”. If you don’t hear it, wave to them as they leave your office.

4. How much experience do you have in eliminating stuff that is no longer relevant — CRAP in your past experience? If they don’t understand the question, you could be looking at a good candidate for someone else.

5. Do you like human beings? Watch for a confused look on their face. They know it’s a trick question but don’t know where you are leading them.


6. As a follow up, tell me a story that would prove that you DO love humans. They will either leave you cold with their answer or they will give you goosebumps. If you get goosebumps you have a winner.

7. How would you go about developing a strategy for service for an organization? What would it say? Listen for words like experiences, memories, WOW! and dazzle. Then ask them how they implemented it.

8. Define sales. If they talk about selling products AND nothing about building deep relationships, throw them out.

9. Have you ever worked for a company that had “dumb rules”? - Rules or policies that made no sense to customers? What did you do to help eliminate them? If they don’t say how they were instrumental in changing them stop the interview. It’s over.

10. What would you do to help you make your organization remarkable, unique, distinctive and gaspworthy? Look for stuff done to serve customers. Ignore technology answers.

11. How are YOU different from anyone else? What makes you special? If they can’t define how THEY stand out from the herd, what makes you think they will be able to help your organization stand out?

Anyone who gives thoughtful answers to these questions is a keeper. Send the others packing.

There are no questions on education — formal learning credentials are a given.

If the person across the table answers these 11 questions reasonable well, perhaps they deserve a shot at the job. If not, send them packing


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 1.23.12 at 10:00 am by Roy Osing
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January 16, 2012

3 practical ways to “bloody-up” your plan

Your strategic plan document should not look pretty.

Pristine. Like the pages have been bleached and ironed. Like you haven’t looked at it since it was created. Probably a year ago.

Rather, the document should look like it has been used. Used a lot. To record what you have learned while trying to execute your strategy. In addition to a statement of direction, your plan document should be viewed as a repository of learning.

Bloody up

Here are three ways to do it:

1. Record results constantly.
As you implement your strategy, what worked? What didn’t? Why? Write it down: in RED if the outcome was NOT on plan; in BLACK if things worked out as planned.
Clarify the implications of falling short of your objectives so you can take corrective action. Evaluate what worked well with reasons so it can be repeated.

2. Work in the document daily.
Refer to your plan everyday. Make a point of commenting on some aspect of it. Study your notes. Call a meeting with colleagues to problem solve an important matter.

3. Shout out the negatives.
Executing any plan is neither nice nor tidy. It’s a messy business. Progress is extremely Inelegant. People get hurt. They get frustrated. They sometimes get stressed out.
That’s the way it is. And it needs to be told that way. People won’t believe that the plan is going along well and that there are no bumps being encountered.
Keep it real and honor those Heroes who been relentless in squeaking out progress in the face of painful odds.

And, if after religiously adhering to these 3 tasks you have not messed up your plan document - blood stains from paper cuts, coffee stains, dog-eared pages and barely legible notes on every page - THEN it’s clearly of no value to you and you are getting nowhere implementing it.

Bloody it up!


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 1.16.12 at 10:00 am by Roy Osing
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