Effective Meetings End With Effective Tasks

The Harvard Business Review website included an article on 3/19/15 by Roger Schwarz,  “How to Design an Agenda for an Effective Meeting”. This management note makes many good points. It can be improved by adding a much clearer task orientation to the outcomes.

Add Task Orientation to the Agenda

Continue reading

Content Marketing – examples of how and why from NYTimes

Christmas morning and the New York Times has an article about small business adopting content marketing. 

Retailers Try Offering Expertise Online Along With Products

(http://www.nytimes.com/chrome/#/Saved//www.nytimes.com/2014/12/25/business/smallbusiness/retailers-try-offering-expertise-online-along-with-products.html)

Developing Proposals

proposalRecently I worked with a new client on their proposal process. This revisit brought me to expand my notes. 

(Download this article)

Objectives for proposals

  • Communicate with decision makers
  • Win business that you can successfully deliver at a profit.
  • Develop and retain repeat customers

The first point is key to the task. Your proposal must win the confidence of the prospect while defining the approach, scope, deliverables, and pricing in such a way as to assure that you can exceed expectations and do it profitably. Continue reading

Product/Service Development – early customer input from Peter Spear

It is a well-known fact that early customer involvement in product or service development leads to better results in the marketplace, much higher quality and lower costs. Despite the fact that this practice has been considered a best practice for several decades, most entrepreneurs and small business people still fail to follow it. The results are predictable and almost always negative. Continue reading

Go Mobile – Design Your Business Website for Smart Phones First

In earlier postings((1)) I have pointed out what must now be a commonplace bit of knowledge about how customers are behaving – well over 50% in the US are using their smart phones as a primary tool to access the Web.

A recent article, “How Mobile-First Became Mobile-Only in the Emerging World” by Alec Oxenford, Co-Founder and CEO, OLX raises the interesting point that we need to move away from starting our web development work with the desktop as the target and start with the smart phone. Instead of adapting the sprawl of the desktop to the confines of an iPhone or Android device, start from the mind set that most of our customers are reaching us via that screen, not the desktop.

This will lead to some very different conclusions about what information should appear where. For example, for a retail business, how easy is it on a smart phone for your customers to find out where you are located, what your hours are and what your telephone number is? How many pinches, scrolls, and menu taps are required? Since this is such fundamental information this should be on the first screen they see.smartphone penetration by age and income in the US

Footnotes:
  1. Are Businesses in My Hometown Mobile Ready?” and “Is Your Business Website Missing the Boat on Smartphones?“ []

Condoms in DRC – Defining customer value and language – back to basics in marketing and sales

A central business problem (and opportunity – these usually come in pairs) is to figure out who your customers are, what they value and how they talk about what they value.

A key concept FAB – Features and Benefits. Companies reflexively think about their products and services in terms of features. This is especially true of technically based ones – software, internet, medical, etc. Customers on the other hand buy Benefits. And most crucial to the concept of Benefits is that the customer decides what they are. Value is defined by the customer……

A classic example from the world of Web marketing is: people do not search for inexpensive airline tickets, they search for cheap tickets.

So, to round out this little rap, we need to understand who our customers are, what they value, and how they talk about that value.

Amy Lockwood

Amy Lockwood

Here is a link to a TED video I stumbled on that illustrates some of these principles: Amy Lockwood: Selling condoms in the Congo