celebrex generic

Main image
14th January
2014
written by James

I looked outside this morning and saw a hint of frost on the grass (yes, it’s January but I came to my senses two years ago and left the frozen north for Texas).

So, I popped on to weather.com to see if I actually need a coat this morning. Upon arrival, I suddenly found myself in what appears to be a major protest rally (or at least a website-based simulation of one).

We'll give you your weather AFTER we're done discussing OUR issues

We’ll give you your weather AFTER we’re done discussing OUR issues

Apparently, DirectTV dropped The Weather Channel from its lineup. And we’re supposed to be upset about this.

I can see how such an event would be traumatic for The Weather Channel, and as long as they don’t keep this up long it’s harmless. However, in this situation The Weather Channel chose to put itself in my way to talk about their issues.

I want to know the temperature outside, and I’m choosing to check it on a medium unrelated to this particular item.

On the other side of the equation, The Weather Channel is picking a public fight with a former customer. A low stakes one, but still the channel is raising the perceived cost of doing business with The Weather Channel.

This reminded me of an incident in the charity world about a year ago.

The Komen Foundation is a charity that supports breast cancer awareness and research. For several years it supplied a grant to Planned Parenthood – the abortion company – to support the organizations breast cancer screening services. A new Komen board member pointed out, correctly, that Planned Parenthood did not provide breast cancer screening. In advertised such services, but referred clients to other organizations. Indeed, Planned Parenthood was using breast cancer as a shield to distract from its far less reputable primary business.

The Komen board chose not to renew the grant program – choosing instead to focus its resources on supporting organizations more directly related to its mission.

Planned Parenthood responded with an aggressive campaign designed to harm the Komen brand and mission, and it worked. Within days Komen surrendered and restored the funding.

Short term, it was a tactical victory for Planned Parenthood, but what was the long-term cost. Why would an organization provide funding, knowing that a decision to remove that funding at some point in the future would result in aggression?

I’m not crying any tears over damage to an organization like Planned Parenthood, but it provides an excellent example of how short-term thinking can cause long term damage.

Be Sociable, Share!
Tags:
13th December
2013
written by James

In too much of the marketing world we assume that all prospects are locked into an ever-increasing level of interest in whatever product or service we’re selling. Each email, video and web visit is an incremental step in an unstoppable buying frenzy.

Sales reps often find a different situation when they call.

It turns out that buying interest doesn’t grow in a straight line. Sometimes it plateaus. Sometimes it drops off a cliff.

Too often, the elaborate lead scoring systems we’ve been building assume that buying interest only grows. The result is a list of prospects with monstrously high lead scores that indicate nothing more than a prospect who’s been floating about in the database for a long time.

At the moment I primarily work with Pardot (connected to Salesforce) to manage the lead scoring program. I’ve worked with Act-on and Marketo in the past and, at least with the tools I saw then, all share the same flaw.

It’s difficult to record a lack of interest.

Lead scoring works by assigning a point value to measurable prospect activities such as opening an email, clicking a link, visiting a website, viewing a video or filling out a form.

All of our prospects build toward a buying frenzy!

All of our prospects build toward a buying frenzy!

On a short term view, there’s no problem. If a prospect cycles through all those activities above that certainly fits a scenario of a prospect researching an intended purchase and demonstrating a growing interest.

However, let’s say that prospect did all those activities four months ago and has done nothing since. Does the big score racked up during the interest and research period degrade, or is our prospect to be considered eternally interested?

There are some techniques to adjust for this. Pardot’s platform doesn’t have a mechanism to degrade scores over time (either by a % decline as time passes, or by only looking at activities within a certain time window so older scores drop out of the calculation). Instead, we add a series of rules to deduct points if the prospect does nothing for a period of time (three months, six months, etc.). That does work, a little crude, but it works.

One big gap, however, is the sales side. What if we have a prospect building up a big score, a sales rep calls, and disqualifies the prospect? Maybe the company is too small. Maybe there’s a requirement that can’t be met. There are plenty of possibilities.

Is that sales rep experience being reflected in lead scores? Perhaps. If the sales rep does something to record that prospect mis-match (changing the status in Salesforce to “disqualified,” for example), a scoring rule can process that activity.

What if the prospect simply ignores the outreach?

We teach our reps to reach out to prospects at least five times (call/email combo) within about a two-month timeframe before giving up. There is a mountain of research showing that most sales reps give up after 2-3 calls, and most Opportunities come out of the fourth or fifth call. Whether the reps actually follow that process is a slightly different question, of course, but that’s the theory.

So, our well-behaved and conscientious sales rep make five contact attempts and gets nothing in return by dead air. Does that experience work it’s way into the Lead score?

In most cases, probably not. A rep could call the lead disqualified, but most won’t. Besides, any system relying on sales reps to properly fill in a field not directly tied to the correct calculation of commission is doomed from the start.

Lead scoring is a fantastic tool to guide sales efforts toward the most promising prospects, but marketers need to find ways to better reflect a lack of interest or the unrealistically high scores are going to be ignored.

Be Sociable, Share!
Tags:
Comments Off
17th November
2013
written by James

It’s one thing to develop a comprehensive strategy for sales success.

Execution is another …

We’ve all been to enough sales seminars to have seen some variation on the average calls graphic. The average salesperson will call on a prospect two, maybe three times before giving up. The average opportunity is discovered on the fourth or fifth call.

The result? A lot of salespeople sabotaging themselves with impatience.

It’s terribly easy to talk yourself into cutting a project short. Surely if this prospect hasn’t called back yet then there isn’t a potential project in play. Time to move on.

It’s easy because on an individual basis it’s probably true. That one prospect probably doesn’t have anything pending, thus the lack of returned phone calls. The problem is that, short of telepathy, there is no way to know which prospect has nothing going, and which just happens to be busy but really, really meant to call back that last time.

Give up and get crushed.

Give up and get crushed.

That’s where engaged sales management is critical. Sales is about volume and averages, and a sales rep in the trenches can’t really be trusted to maintain the discipline needed to consistently hit that fourth and fifth call attempt. The sales manager has to force it.

Even the most conscientious, ambitious sales rep needs that push. The sales manager must have visibility into the day-to-day calling activities – the flashlight – and keep the rep accountable.

It’s not fun for either party. Tracking call patterns is dull. Nagging about it even more so. But sales don’t come from charm or fun. They come from diligence and work.

Be Sociable, Share!
Comments Off
5th December
2012
written by James

As part of an ongoing project with the American Marketing Association called AMA TV I recently recorded a presentation on the effective deployment of online video to your website and contact form landing pages as part of a lead generation program.

Marketers have become quite skilled at adopting new technology in the past ten years. Online video isn’t exactly new, but it’s really only in the past few years that bandwidth and production costs have dropped to the point where sophisticated video is within the reach of small- and mid-sized businesses. Before that, it was the playground of large companies, and smaller ones did the best they could with a Flip cam and the CEO sitting in front of a potted plant.

The presentation breaks it down into a four step process to get started in online video marketing:

  1. Distinguishing between prospects and leads
  2. Video in Lead Generation
  3. Lead-in and Entry Points
  4. Video on the Landing Page

 

Video for Lead Generation and Landing Pages

Enjoy the presentation: Video for Lead Generation and Landing Pages.

Be Sociable, Share!
1st November
2012
written by James

Okay, I held off for two days but it’s time to get my dork on.

Disney recently announced that they’ve agreed to purchase LucasFilm for just over $4 billion. That includes rights in the Star Wars film franchise, and Disney has thus far indicated that they plan to spin out a series of sequels every few years.

So, is this good news to restore my childhood love of Star Wars, or are we about to see a series of movies that are suspiciously tied in to upcoming theme part rides?

Ewok Adventure

You think another Jar Jar is the problem? No, fear a Disney supplied stream of Ewok Adventures.

As fascinating at that discussion might be for my inner nerd, let’s back up a few steps and see if we can identify what went wrong with the Star Wars brand in the first place.

I believe that constraints and limitations are important. What went wrong with the Star Wars brand is that no one could say no to George Lucas.

No one had the authority to point out weak plot lines. No one could highlight wooden dialogue or superficial characters. I’m sure he asked for opinions during the process of making the prequels over the past decade, but who are we kidding? Some junior script-writer who is thrilled to work with his hero is going to offer a valid critique?

The best movies of series – the first two – were put together under severe constraints.

During the filming of the original Star Wars, George Lucas had to fight to keep it running. There was push-back from studios due to cost and schedule overruns. There was talk of replacing him. There was an ongoing need to develop new filming and special effects processes on the fly on a tight deadline.

During filming of The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas was unable to direct due to an ongoing union dispute. He had grown from an up-and-coming filmmaker to the head of a rapidly growing studio.

In both cases, it was the imperative to press on under those constraints that drove creativity, and a healthy assessment of ongoing decisions with the script, casting and filming. Those films had to be good, because there was an ultimate authority with the power to pull the plug.

As much as we marketers like to complain about the constraints of our limited budgets and senior managers that don’t quite get what we’re trying to do, I think we’re forced to produce at a higher level because we have to overcome those constraints.

Be Sociable, Share!
Tags: ,
31st October
2012
written by James

As part of an ongoing project with the American Marketing Association called AMA TV I recently recorded a presentation on developing an effective online video distribution strategy for marketing programs.

Marketers have become quite skilled at adopting new technology in the past ten years. Online video isn’t exactly new, but it’s really only in the past few years that bandwidth and production costs have dropped to the point where sophisticated video is within the reach of small- and mid-sized businesses. Before that, it was the playground of large companies, and smaller ones did the best they could with a Flip cam and the CEO sitting in front of a potted plant.

The presentation breaks it down into a four step process to get started in online video marketing:

  1. Refining goals and video format
  2. Selecting appropriate outlets
  3. Thinking broadly to Paid, Earned and Owned Media
  4. Looking long term on the use of video assets

 

Effective Online Video Distribution For Marketing And Lead Generation

Enjoy the presentation: Effective Online Video Distribution For Marketing And Lead Generation.

Be Sociable, Share!
17th October
2012
written by James

We always hear about how service matters more than price, but when it comes down to it how often do we make purchase decisions based on price? That being the case, how often do we resort to price when it comes to picking up new business.

We know the theory – service trumps price. It’s just hard to stick with that in real life.

I’ve been travelling this past week. Everything worked out fine, but I had an opportunity to see that service vs. price debate work out in real life.

airline pilot

Hey buddy! No one is flying until you complete that credit card app.

Planning for a trip to Chicago I came across an amazing fare from an airline I had never flown before – Spirit Airlines.

This company has an unusual approach to business, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.

It bills itself as a low-fare airline. It certainly is that, although the savings  aren’t quite what they initially appear to be once you factor in all the nickel-and-dime items.

The point of this post is not to complain about an airline. The flight was on time. It was cheaper than competitors. My bags showed up where they were supposed to be. All ended well.

So why did I walk away from the experience disinclined to fly Spirit again?

It was the experience with the customer service, and their strangely aggressive attempts to sell me a credit card. The company seemed more interested in selling that credit card than in getting a repeat customer to fly the airline.

First off, go to their site and see what happens. You’re a customer looking to book a flight from point A to point B. Seems to me that the first priority would be to help a potential customer complete that transaction.

Not here. In this case, your first introduction to Spirit Airlines is a pop-up pitch for a credit card.

Let’s forgive them that one and book the flight.

But, there’s a question … so hunt up the customer service phone number to get things resolved. And, have the customer service rep try to sell the same credit card not once, but twice on the call before turning to resolve the issue that prompted my call.

Really? Two aggressive, don’t-take-no-for-an-answer credit card pitches on a customer service call?

Finally, on the flight itself the flight attendants not only made a pitch to sell the credit card as part of the pre-flight and pre-landing announcements, but they also went passenger to passenger looking to hand out an application for the credit card.

Spirit is certainly a no-frills airline and quite frankly, I don’t mind that. If I don’t get a little bag of peanuts or a half-bottle of water during the flight, I’ll live. I simply want to get from point A to point B without spending more than I have to.

Spirit, in theory, fills that need and it makes sense that I would become a loyal customer.

Just take a fraction of that credit-card selling fervor and put it into making sure that my experience as a customer is a positive one. That’s not hard.

As it is, maybe I’ll fly Spirit again some day, but it’s not something I view with anticipation.

 

Be Sociable, Share!
Tags:
3rd October
2012
written by James

As part of an ongoing project with the American Marketing Association called AMA TV I recently recorded a presentation on getting started with online-video for marketing programs.

Marketers have become quite skilled at adopting new technology in the past ten years. Online video isn’t exactly new, but it’s really only in the past few years that bandwidth and production costs have dropped to the point where sophisticated video is within the reach of small- and mid-sized businesses. Before that, it was the playground of large companies, and smaller ones did the best they could with a Flip cam and the CEO sitting in front of a potted plant.

The presentation breaks it down into a four step process to get started in online video marketing:

  1. Finding the right partner
  2. Developing the message
  3. Putting it together
  4. Distribution to the right audience

 

Taking the First Steps into Online Video

Enjoy the presentation: Taking the First Steps into Online Video.

Be Sociable, Share!
2nd October
2012
written by James

We’re all supposed to do “networking.” Few people enjoy it and it’s often difficult to turn down a quiet evening at home rather than head out to a roomful of strangers – but we’re supposed to do it.

The following tips will help you make the most of this time and bring in tangible business results.

1. Have a Goal

It sounds silly, but how many people have you encountered at some event who seem to have no concrete purpose for being there? They know they’re supposed to go to professional events … and do something.

fist bump cartoon

If we all work together, we can establish the “Networking Fist Bump”

The goal orientation actually should fill several levels.

At the top level, figure out your overall purpose. If you’re an entrepreneur then you are clearly on the hunt for clients. If you work somewhere, you’re either on the hunt for new opportunities, or maybe new clients or vendors. At this level, it’s find to have second- and third-level goals as well.

The point is that you should take the time to figure out why you’re doing this. If you know why you’re doing it, you’re more likely to remain consistent.

At the event itself, you should have a specific goal in mind as well. You’re there to meet people … how many? If you’re in a room with 100 people you’ll never meet all of them, and if you’re the guy who tries to do that by wandering around frantically collecting business cards then you’re not making any real connections anyway.

If varies by the time available, but set a realistic goal to meet 5 people at an event. That gives you the time to actually have a conversation with someone and make a connection. It also takes the pressure off because when you get your five … you’re done. People who try to be too gung-ho at this either turn people off because they’re focused on collecting business cards, or they frequently find excuses to skip events because they put so much pressure to perform.

Set a goal. Hit it. Move on. 

2. What do they want?

You know how you’re sometimes talking to someone and you find your brain sending them “shut up” vibes so you can say what you want? Admit it, we all do that.

The people that you meet at a networking event are not there for you any more than you are there for them. Perhaps you’ll make a connection. Perhaps you’ll shake hands with someone who will hire you on the spot. In most cases, you’ll have a brief conversation, trade business cards, and find out in the future if anything comes of it. So relax.

Focus on finding out what the other person wants or needs. You might as well. They’re not going to remember anything you tell them anyway.

If you can help them meet a need, then they owe you a favor. If not, they’ll remember what a brilliant conversationalist you are because you kept your attention on their favorite topic – themselves.

After a conversation, take a few minutes to jot down some notes on the business card. You’re going to reach out via LinkedIn, so this will give you some context. Additionally, it will give you a few minutes to think about how you can help with their needs. Perhaps they need to hire someone. Check your LinkedIn contacts for someone you can recommend (then two people will owe you a favor!).

Focus on others. Take notes. Follow up. 

3. Think beyond “networking events”

I’m a big fan of professional associations. I’ve worked for them. I’ve volunteered for them. I’ve had them as clients.

That said, if the extent of your “networking” is showing up at industry events and meeting other members of your association you’re not spreading your net far enough.

Think of it this way … you’re an Internet marketing consultant. If you’re in a room full of other Internet marketing consultants then they’re on the hunt for the same opportunities as you.

Volunteer for your church. Go to non-business events. If you’re married, find opportunities to go to a lecture at a local university (trust me, it’s more interesting than that sitcom you were going to watch).

You’ll meet people in those other contexts as well, and you’ll do it in a more natural environment. “Networking events” are awkward and artificial because people aren’t really interested in meeting others just for the sake of doing so. Meet people through a more natural interaction and you’ll make a better connection.

Connect. Be natural. Build relationships. 

 

A few quick tips that will help you get better results from your networking activities.

Be Sociable, Share!
Tags:
21st September
2012
written by James

Earlier this week, I attended a seminar on leadership and charisma. In particular, it was an outgrowth of the book Leadership Charisma, which I highly recommend reading.

While the book is about the traits often seen in charismatic leaders, along with specific recommendations to develop those traits within your self, the presentation this week focused on the topic in a management sense.

Very few of us need the charisma to inspire armies (no, that time you won a grueling game of Risk doesn’t count), but we often have to inspire greatness in a team at work.

Game of Risk

Once more unto the breach, dear green horsey guys;
Or close the wall up with that soldier piece.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a plastic dude
As a vigorous shaking fist;
Then the blast of sixes from our red dice …

This may come as a shock, but not every employee is equally motivated. Some are cynical and disconnected. Some are well intentioned, but undisciplined.

Successful “managers” need to make a mental transition and see themselves as leaders. Leaders inspire greatness in others. Mangers make sure productivity is adequate to achieve goals.

It’s critical for business leaders to actually think through the corporate culture and make intentional choices. A positive, goal-striving and reward/recognition culture will inspire. Miss one of those elements – or all of them – and you’re learning about a new concept called “turnover.”

Leadership is also other directed. Our concept of leadership often comes from movies. Someone pulls out their sword and shouts, “Follow me!” and everyone goes. The movie skips the part that explains why everyone goes.

  • The leader builds relationships with team members.
  • The leader takes the time to understand an employee’s wants, and ties job achievement to those goals.
  • The leader finds ways to make a personal connection.
  • The leader creates a safe climate to voice concerns.

It’s a difficult transition sometimes because our natural tendency is to focus on self. I think it’s a transition that is well worth the trouble.

Be Sociable, Share!
Comments Off
Previous