Tag Archives: Leadership

Is Gut Marketing a Good Idea?

10 Apr

Is following intuition, a hunch, or a feeling a good business decision? Steve Jobs said when interviewed that he made decisions based on his gut.  He didn’t believe in market research and he didn’t believe most people knew what they wanted.  Copernicus Consulting & Research points out in the Marketing Frey Blog, that an argument could be made against the need for marketing research where technology is changing so rapidly or not yet invented that if asked, a customer won’t identify the need or desire for it. For most of us, our products or services aren’t as break-through as the personal computer or Apple’s iPad.

 

Businesswoman deciding which door to openYou may favor an intuitive decision-making style not a fact based style.  But, the question you need to ask is how can you make the best decisions for your business to achieve the most optimal outcome whatever your decision-making style?

Don’t get me wrong.  I do believe in intuition. It springs from our knowledge, skills, and expertise. Intuition may be the start of a great new product, improvement or customer service program. But unless you are the next Steve Jobs, you need to do more than run with your gut. Take it to the next level.

I advocate using research and facts to support your intuition. A lot of information is available that doesn’t cost anything except for the time it takes to do some digging to find it.  Look online for free information on markets, competitors, trends, and customers.  Use your intuition and follow it up with facts to achieve the greatest results.

Do you make decisions in your business based on your instincts?  Do you use research to back them up?

Resources:

Steve Jobs:  Did Going From the Gut Really Work?, Copernicus, The Marketing Frey Blog
Follow Your Instincts.  Improve Your Business.  Blog by Brown & Company
When It Comes to Marketing, Your Gut is Still Not Smarter than Your Head.  by Kevin Clancy and Peter Krieg
How Do You Make Your Decision More Data Driven Rather Than Gut Instinct, by Charles Feltman

What March Madness Reminds Us About Business

3 Apr

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is over.  Like past tournaments, this year’s excitement and nail-biting game endings didn’t disappoint. March Madness is entertaining but, to be a winner it takes a combination of the right leadership, players, strategy and desire. Much like what it takes to succeed in business. Here are my top picks for winning on the court and in business.  Any others you’d include?

Basketball game, player shooting a basket

1.  The coach hires a staff that compliments his style and addresses areas where he is weakest.  The best leaders know they don’t know everything and find managers whose skills fill those gaps.

2.  The coach recruits players that believe in his vision and have the right mix of talent and skills to fill the position. The recruit may not be able to fill the position 100% on day one but, the coach sees the ability and desire for growth.

3. Everyone knows the contribution they make to the team and works together to achieve team goals.  There may be stand-out performers but, they recognize they can’t do it alone.  Winning requires every player on the team.  

4.  Individual performance is elevated because coaches focus on developing a player’s strengths.  After all, those strengths are the reason he was recruited.  

5.  Practice, practice, and then practice some more.  I worked for someone who told me that he always over prepared because there was nothing worse than finding yourself in front of an important customer or your boss under prepared. He anticipated questions, objections and various scenarios and prepared responses for them.

6.  Play Your Game with Flawless Execution.  Play to your strengths and what you do best.  If you’ve prepared, your execution will be flawless.

7.  Believe You’re a Winner.  If you believe in yourself, your talents and that you can win, you will do everything in your power to make that a reality.

8.  It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over.  How many times has a team come back from a ten point half-time deficit to win the game.  Too many to count. Fight the battle.  Don’t throw the towel in before the game is over.

Characteristics That Make A Great Leader

23 Jan

The San Francisco 49ers have had their share of losses over the past nine years and no one expected the team to be in the NFC championship game this season. While there is certainly more than one single reason attributing to this success, Jim Harbaugh deserves much of the credit.  For those that may not know Jim Harbaugh, he is in his first year as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and has led this amazing turn-around after almost a decade of dismal performance by the team.  What are the characteristics that make great leaders like Jim Harbaugh both in sports and in business?

Here are my top picks;

Authentic and Sincere.  People trust a leader who is authentic, who knows who they are inside and allows that to show to the outside world.  It doesn’t work to be something you’re not.  People figure that out pretty fast and you loose their trust.  People won’t follow a leader they don’t trust.

Leads By Example.  He does as he expects his people to do.  It didn’t work when you were a kid and your parents said, “Do as I say not as I do”.  A leader cannot expect his team to perform at a certain level, if he does not do so himself.  I had a manager once who wanted all his employees in the office by 8:30am, but he would show up around 11:00am each day.  He was not a credible leader because he didn’t set the example of performance that he expected from his people.button showing the word "leadership"

Doesn’t Dwell on Failure.  He doesn’t dwell on what didn’t work. He looks forward. Dwelling on past failure only magnifies the situation and takes the time and energy away from focusing on what it takes to be successful.

High Energy and Enthusiastic.  He loves what he does and his energy and enthusiasm is contagious. He always remains positive under uncertain and stressful circumstances, this allows the team to maintain a positive outlook and their enthusiasm.

Truly Cares.  He cares about his people and takes the time to get to know them.  He builds relationships with them by understanding and attending to their needs.

Accepts Input.   He realizes his limitations and that he cannot know everything.  He wants and looks to his people to provide ideas and solutions.

Do you agree?  What do you think makes a great leader?

Resources:
Jim Harbaugh’s glow leads 49ers out of darkness, Scott Ostler, sfgate.com
Is Your Management Style Effective? Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.
Keeping the Enthusiasm:  How to Encourage Your Team, by Kathy Ver Eecke

Learn from Your Best Customer Experiences and Improve Your Business

21 Nov
Nordies Sign

Nordstrom will Celebrate the Christmas Season AFTER Thanksgiving

by Susan Lowe

Happy Thanksgiving Week!  I planned to share some air travel stories with you on this blog.  I was certain that I would have some good (hopefully not bad) customer experiences to share from my travels back east.  But, something happened the other day that I had to share .

While shopping and getting ready for my trip, I stopped by Nordstrom.  Yes, I’m a Nordstrom Facebook Fan.  On my way in to the store, I noticed an interesting sign in their window.  The sign says Nordstrom won’t be ‘decking their halls’ until Friday, November 25th because they like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.

In the great Nordstrom fashion, the company decided not to put up holiday decorations until after Thanksgiving.  Yes, after Thanksgiving. This is big news.   If asked most shoppers don’t like the idea of beginning the Christmas season right after Halloween.  Yet, retailers continue putting decorations up that early year after year.

Why did Nordstrom decide to wait on the garland?  They listen to their customers. Nordstrom is one of the best at delivering great customer experiences and delivering what their customers want.  We can learn from Nordstrom and others who make it their best practice to listen to customers and then incorporate the best of these great customer experiences into our own business practices.

Thank you, Nordstrom.
Share your Holiday shopping Best Customer Experiences by commenting to the blog.

Make an Emotional Connection with Your Customer

17 Oct

By Susan Lowe

Recently, I received an email from Larry Baer, the President and COO of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.  Ok, the email also went out to millions of other Giants fans but, it felt personal.

Larry Baer’s letter was heartfelt.  It reached out and grabbed at my emotions. As I read, I felt the incredible excitement of last year’s season and the World Series Championship win – the anticipation of doing it again this year -Saturday afternoons watching the Giants play at one of the most beautiful major league baseball parks. And I felt the disappointment of this year’s season that started with Buster Posey’s horrible injury.

The letter connected on an emotional level and brought Giants Fans together one last time this season. It is an example of great marketing that reinforces the Giants brand and fan loyalty. This was a season ending that didn’t meet expectations making it all the more important to reach out to the fans on a deeper emotional level.  In the book, The Marketing Power of Emotion, the author, Nicholas J. O’Shaughnessy states “Emotion is the adhesive that, when mixed with trust, equals loyalty.”  In his letter to the fans, Larry Baer provided that adhesive.

The take-away here is find ways to connect with your customers’ emotions.  Brand loyalty is more than providing great products or services at the right price.  There are almost always emotional factors in a buyer’s decision. You need to determine what emotions you want your product or service  to evoke with your customers and then incorporate these into your branding strategy and messaging.

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