Dear Boss: I quit…………… (An imaginary email)

Dear Boss: Believe me, this is tougher for me to write than for you to read. I’m quitting, effective in two weeks. You deserve to hear why because it affects you directly. When I joined this company 10 years ago, we were at the forefront of technology adoption. If it was new and would help…

What’s a “Go-to-Customer” Plan?

Since the dawn of modern B2B marketing, those entrusted to create “go-to-market” plans typically spent eons analyzing markets and posed some obvious questions: What market(s) should we pursue? Why should we pursue these markets? How do our key markets differ from each other? What revenue and share results can we expect from these markets? Which…

Think Like da Vinci: Be a Genius

For many, our impressions of the great Leonardo da Vinci were shaped by Dan Brown’s wildly famous book, The da Vinci Code.  In it, da Vinci and his secret society progeny of generationally-connected elites are riddled with enigmas wrapped in mystery. From our modern perspective, it is all sleuth and magic – a veritable puzzle…

Unleash Your Inner Granny

In 1995, I attended a conference of digital elites in Arizona called Agenda. Technology mavens like Gates, Ellison and McNealy were there, less to sell than to mingle through who was doing what and how they were doing it.  Powerful VCs and Angels who could stroke checks faster than the GSA on a Vegas boondoggle…

Buzz Kill of Arrogant Marketing

My Mom always told me, “Don’t toot your own horn. Let others do it for you.”  To some, this counsel runs counter to how Freud’s id has us wired and requires far too much patience and reliance on others to execute properly. In a society that fawns foolishly over red carpet poses from talentless reality…

Question Marketing

Several years ago while brainstorming with a team at an agency searching for a name for their creative process, I tossed out a phrase, quite by accident, that stopped discussions on a dime: Question Marketing. Recognizing an “ah-ha: moment had occurred, the team jumped on the phrase like white on rice and ugly on an…

Nevermind the Elevator Pitch? What’s their Elevator Catch?

A well-honed elevator pitch is important for companies whose value propositions are not immediately apparent. For the Home Depots and McDonalds of the world, we “get” what you do. Their elevator pitches are relatively straightforward.  But for the vast majority of unknown B2B companies slugging it out in the trenches, an effective elevator pitch is…

If only Italy

My mind races constantly. Never stops. Sometimes, I see pictures fly into focus and other times I sense them moving in slow motion. Regardless, it’s a constant barrage of images and ideas. These “zones” of creativity happen at the oddest times, usually right as I’m waking in the morning or drifting off to sleep at…

Does your company actively visualize its value to customers?

I hate numbers. They’re so numbery. That’s why I hated math as a kid. Too many numbers. I did like School House Rock…you know the 3-6-9 song…but that was it. All other numbers, not so much. But numbers do have a purpose. Begrudgingly, I’ll admit as much. I mean, what would baseball be without all…

Marketing to Personas, Selling to People

As buyers perform more independent research prior to engaging with a B2B sales professional, it stands to reason the marketer’s job continues further into the buying process than before. For this reason, sophisticated marketers get serious about drilling into different personas, displacing generic content with specific, precise content for a particular persona. But they also…

Every Sales and Marketing Exec Should Read This!

Sales Linguistics is the study of how customers and salespeople use language during the complex decision-making process. Yeah, I know… sales linguistics is a new term for me. But wow, am I glad I read this post by Steve W. Martin who teaches sales strategy at the USC Marshall School of Business. Martin cites a recent study that…

Use Catalytic Questioning to Solve Significant Problems

In an earlier post entitled “Question Marketing,” I made the case for question-based exploration and deep diving to identify and solve issues. It’s part Socratic method, part trial and error, and part creative brainstorming. Specifically, I wrote: “Question Marketing…came to be the process by which marketers use questions to clearly identify the right messages, the right…

Reinvigorating a Disengaged Salesforce

As a marketer, I have a theory about why certain sales forces become disengaged: the once critical and all-important “selling process” is really a “buying process.” Yup. As much as sellers want to guide and control the process, it’s really the buyers who are in charge. Research shows that most buyers are already 60-70% through…

On Becoming a Marketing Yogi

The HBR blog is a fountain of excellent, thought-provoking content. It seems agile narratives are all the rage these days, as several blogs (including mine) are full of stories about how marketers can shape “bendable” and “shareable” stories. Agile narratives remind me of the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”…

The Permanent Temporary and Strategic Tweakonomics

Since the financial crisis, temporary hires have increased by more than 50%, owing in large part to companies wanting to maintain as much flexibility as possible as the economy lumbered along. Given this trend it’s no surprise, therefore, that many companies also leveraged fractional C-Level executives (like those at my firm, TechCXO) to help guide…

12 Traits of Data-Driven Decision Makers

Given all the focus on big data recently, I found this HBR post on data-driven decision making particularly timely. Companies that regard themselves as data-driven are measurably more profitable than those that aren’t. The challenge for executives is transforming an organization from non data-driven to data-driven. According to Thomas Redman who advises companies on their…

Customer is Always Right and Other Rubbish

In my first job as a stock boy at Toys R Us, an imposing sign barked on the wall in the break room in big block letters: “The customer is always right.” Young, green and inexperienced, I took it as fact and operated accordingly, despite encountering customers at times who were downright mean or deserving…