Low engagement is your fault

Gigh employee enagement reaps profits

High employee engagement is easier to achieve than you think, a fast track option to improve productivity, reduce costs, improve customer experience, and make your workplace a happier one.

6 steps (see below) are all it takes to find the yellow brick road to:

  • high employee engagement,
  • high levels of productivity,
  • killer culture that delivers higher customer satisfaction, greater efficiencies, less costs and ultimately knockout return on investment on shareholders’ funds, and
  • happiness, success, satisfaction, fulfilment, self-actualization for everybody involved in the organisation.
Low engagement is unproductive, unfulfilling and unprofitable – a lose/lose/lose for ALL stakeholders.

Low Engagement is a Failing not a Reality

If you have low employee engagement in your company, from a handful of employees to 50,000 or more employees, it’s the leader’s fault!

Employee engagement Has been analysed, re analysed, investigated, researched and assessed over and over and over again for two decades but, instead of addressing the core problem, operational people have been attacking the symptoms and not solving the problem.

Engagement is very simple.

The two main reasons why employee engagement becomes sub optimal.

The major reason absolutely, unquestionably, is employees not getting along with their immediate supervisor.

This can be solved by creating an environment that encourages and promotes camaraderie between supervisor and his team. Supervisors do not deliberately set out to offend people. Almost all of the time it’s because they’re frustrated, ill-equipped unappreciated, unfulfilled, somehow lacking in support that they need to do their job properly.

So, the problem falls not with the supervisors not getting along with their employees but with the leaders who are not empowering the supervisors to get along with their employees.

…and where does this come from?

Each comes from the key reason that research has identified to be the second most important reason or cause for employee engagement: Absence of a purpose, mission, vision, identity, intent or values!

If you fix your MEVPIV, you fix everything !

I don’t want to hear any more complaints from any high -level executives, boards of directors, c-suite VP’s, complaining about employee engagement when the tools are readily available at their fingertips .

If any organisation, from government to NFP,  suffers low employee engagement among employees, it’s all because the boss isn’t taking charge of MEVPIV.

That’s the core reason. The whole reason. And the fixable solution.

If you’ve just inherited knew leadership of an organisation that has low employee engagement don’t try and cover it up with surveys and promises, recognition and rewards can increase silos, inefficiencies, dissonance and internal politics… tactics come later – micro-problems can be fixed later. Right now, will you have to concentrate on the six variables of the MEVPIV.

If you want help implementing a MEVPIV, let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Regardless, if you agree, disagree or can embellish, I welcome comments below… .

5 Ways To beat any Covid-19 Threat to Your Business.

Business opportunity in the Covid era

Trained marketers understand that marketing is more than advertising and promotion: That it is the management of exchange; and to manage exchange, trained marketers know they have to adapt to environmental change .

In strategic marketing terms, Covid-19 is very simply a change in the business environment in which we manage exchange (in which we market our goods and services). Those who refuse to accept this will perish. Those who willingly adapt will prosper!

Prospering in a Covid-19 market

The 8P’s of Marketing STILL apply in the Covid-era.

http://www.launchengineering.com/marketing.htm

You may or may not have to :

  • Re-think pricing,
  • Alter or find new channels of distribution,
  • Develop or alter your offerings in terms of product or service,
  • Make changes in processes,
  • Modify the way you manage people,
  • Review message, media and investment in marketing communications and promotion,

Strategically, you will definitely need to:

  1. Accurate identify the new segments that Covid-19 has created in your market
  2. Identify the new segments and which of these are attractive to you
  3. Repositioning and target these new, attractive segments
  4. Monitor competitive activity
  5. Abandon “old” ways.

Operationally focussed decision-makers and untrained marketers will desperately claw for marketing communications and promotional hacks, hoping these will eb enough of an  answer because they have worked in the past. They may or may not test new media, but sheer good fortune may be enough to survive.

Many will likely bemoan the situation, blaming Covid-19 for downturn in sales rather than their ability to adjust and capitalise on a new set of circumstances.

Covid could be landmark opportunity for many different companies for Trained Marketers with Smart Leaders

Trained marketers know that a SWATT from a SWOT .

Trained marketers know that they have to review and respond to the PESTLEED that applies to their organisation .

Smart leaders realise that they have to change and change now because the environment has changed.

Smart leaders will be looking at their MEVPIV.

https://leadershipempowerment.com.au/mission-vision

Smart leaders will be looking at their resources and be matching these to capabilities and market opportunities… reviewing what business they are in and what business they should be in.

It Really All Comes Down to Leadership

  • Leadership is required to engage and align the teams .
  • Leadership is required to reorganise and refocus the organisation.
  • Leadership is required to maintain morale 2 exercise initiative to embrace innovation.

So, when good leaders and properly trained marketers work synergistically with each other, there is always a silver lining to a grey cloud.

Feel free to comment. It would be interesting if anybody who can tell us a story of how they’ve adapted and changed, could respond.

Do Airlines Qantas & Virgin DESERVE any Help?

The ONLY people that Qantas & Virgin SHOULD be sacking are the incumbent Board of Directors!

The lack of strategic competence demonstrated by the Board and executive management of Qantas and Virgin is NOT new.

American Rail ignored change in the demand for transport when cars went into mass production: Instead of adapting, they threw their hands up and said “bail us out!”, too. The buggy whip industry shook its head in dismay and began sacking staff and winding down.

Closer to home, Australian car manufacturing industry kept making cars people didn’t want (did anyone ever own a P76?) in the face of diminishing sales it universally closed up shop when a glaringly attractive industry in electric car manufacturing was staring them in the face! HAD they possessed the least amount of strategic foresight and competetence they CPULD have been producing electric cars at the very kernel begibning of Tesla’s reighn.

Sadly teh promisnanc eof oeprtaional corporat ecancer, and teh absence of strategic talent, in all eth examples above, dominated.

The Biggest Mistake in Business for the Last 100 years?

The 21st Century’s Most Costly Business Mistake?

Probably the most expensive mistake of the 21st century is perceiving marketing as meaning advertising and promotion.

How the business-world came to close itself off from the science of marketing strategy, the vast and rich knowledge base that makes profitable businesses spark and explode, is a matter of debate…

What has created a world that doesn’t understand the meaning of the word, Marketing?

Is it tertiary marketing education devoid of real world worth, now that academics have significantly displaced practitioners in teaching?

Is it because the efficiency of the medium that is the internet is so profound that the aggressive snake-oil hawking of digital promoters, describing themselves as marketers, without understanding anything beyond rudimentary marketing communications tactics?

Is it because the leaders of sophisticated marketing organisations are hording the knowledge because it represents such potent and potentially sustainable competitive advantage for them if they keep it to themselves?

Is it because the marketing professional has fought off mandatory accreditation and control… so that anyone can say they are a marketer without challenge?

Or could it be that middle management and senior executives who have lobbied so hard to rise above their peers in corporate organisations, shout down anyone with knowledge that might interfere with their planned career progression?

Is this due to the fact that over 50% of business executives working in marketing lack ANY tertiary qualifications in the discipline?

Where Did Marketing Go Off the Tracks?

Perhaps, in the ‘80s, if the marketing professional has screamed “wrong” when the term, “direct marketing” was incorrectly coined to describe direct response advertising, the nonsensical term, “content marketing” may not have be adopted and a more accurate phrase to describe “online publicity promotion” might have formed? The same goes for “search engine marketing” which really is “prioritization of search engine ranking”. (At least somebody tried when they coined the phrase “Search Engine Optimization”.)

Poor lay people are left in a soup of confusion daily when terms sprout such as “Influencer Marketing” which is simply utilization of group opinion leaders to disperse information utilization  in context with the multi-stage mass communication model.

Whatever the causes, the cost is incalculable!

How much damage is done when people are unaware that they must balance the 8P’s of marketing scientifically if they are to protect their companies from sub-optimal profits?

How destructive is it when quality executives are appointed to roles they THINK they can handle when they are simply ill-equipped with inadequate training and knowledge to make strategic marketing decisions?

How profound are the losses as the commercial world graciously accepts the dominoes that are retail chains collapsing world-wide, without even questioning that these occurrences might be a clue that the leadership models in business are faulty?

How corrosive is it when employees simply leave their jobs in frustration because their corporate guidelines are soiled by silos, blurred by secret agenda, eroded by office politics, undermined by poor morale?

How much worse does this make frustrated middle management as they vent on their own staff because they are fighting a losing battle with the same demons they are creating because of complacent leadership and corporate governance?

Even though Gartner, Inc,  have made $4B a year reminding us that employee engagement has been consistently around 25% of all employees since they began surveying it in 2002, where is evidence of quality internal marketing?

History will tell a sorry tale.

How they will giggle in decades to come when the historians recall the anecdotes of 21st century  business people ignoring the lessons of history only to repeat the mistakes.

Students of Marketing in the future may shake their heads in disbelief when they discover that the body of real knowledge was not in universities, but secreted away in the coffers of just a few large companies and consultancies, remaining virtually known except to only to a few outsiders.

Incidentally, on the topic of academia worth and value to the business world…

Is Academia Failing Society BIG-TIME?

For years I’ve have complained that the focus of Universities on “publish or perish” instead of “teach well and share knowledge” is a big mistake.

So, I couldn’t help capturing this post when I found it on the web recently…

Who cares about your PhD thesis?

Colin Riegels, Doctoral candidate: Law, University of Oxford

There is an old joke about this: only five people will ever read your doctoral thesis.

  •     You
  •     Your supervisor
  •     Your two examiners
  •     Your unlucky spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend who has to act as unpaid proof-reader for you

In 99.9% of cases, nobody else will ever read it or care what it says.

When I arrived at Oxford I went to the archives and checked out a number of completed doctoral theses in my field so I could read them and get a flavour of what they are meant to be like. In every single case except for one, I was the first person ever to check them out. And, in each case, they weren’t randos – I picked those ones because they were names that I recognised as people who went on to enjoy success in the field.

By the time I read this post, it had 203,900 views and been liked or shared over 6,100 times! Academia KNOWS its failings yet academia are ignoring (laughing at!) what most certainly will be its downfall!

I imagine historians of the future will share my disdain of unoriginal, regurgitated marketing theory being submitted as justification for their existence by the incumbent  pure academics in power now, representing a fake body of knowledge,  thrown up as a smoke screen to disguise it profound absence of advancement; too crammed with irrelevant and unusable findings  that the “publish or perish” mandate has forced them to create.

Why You Cannot Afford Silos between Sales & Marketing

fighting

What Factors Make Sales People Successful?

I recently shared a Linked In comment, and in my keynote presentations and workshops discuss, a large & intense formal commercial study of selling skills, that showed only two significantly important factors determine a sales person’s success…

  1. How hard salespeople work (calls, preparation, & face-to-face time in front of a prospect or customer, no ‘brass-plating’, procrastination, or poor time-management), and…
  2. The distribution of speaking time between seller & buyer (the greater the percentage of time the buyer spends speaking, the greater the salesperson’s sales success, relative to team peers’ success).

As a throw-away I mentioned that increased average productivity across the whole team of salespeople occurs if they have access to, and understand, properly identified market segments but I probably DDN’T emphasize the point enough that If a company really understands its market segments and responds accordingly, then all the salesperson really has to do is take orders… the selling is already done before the sales meeting.

What Factors Interfere with Sales People being Successful?

Multi-national corporations, in the main, already know a about the world-wide crisis in employee engagement: With only 24% of Australian workers engaged, and with 202% productivity gains to be had from the 76% unengaged, employee engagement & organisational alignment has become TOP priority, particularly in the wake of Millennials displaying even greater need for engagement, than generations past.

An issue that doesn’t receive enough attention is that 18% of any workforce is made up of “disengaged” employees – ones that deliberately want to “sink the ship”. and THAT is seriously lose sales and detrimental to future opportunity!

If silos are known to exist, any decent leader should be tearing them down, YESTERDAY!

But how often do we hear about disconnects between Sales & Marketing teams?

I’m betting silos between research and other departments even interfere with distribution of segment identification and recognition… that information isn’t shared, synergy is lost, and sales results end up being suboptimal across hundreds of industries.

It is an easy bet for me, I have uncovered plenty of situations just like this over my consulting career, from doing marketing audits, deficiency analysis and even in competition analysis… through to ‘war-stories’ from delegates to my workshops who confess this goes on far too often.

Often the problem stems from CEO’s who are too busy with distractions… too complacent towards improving productivity, too cynical to believe that a small investment in correction will deliver a significant ROI, or just fearful that they might be “exposed” as less than 100% competent.

How Badly Do YOU think Silos Interfere with Sales People being Successful?

I’d be interested in any comments, observations, cases in hand, or thoughts readers have as to silos, sales productivity and leadership, relevant to these thoughts.

By the way, I use an approach that has helped FMCG, transport & big pharma grow corporate profits by as much as $250M p.a. that can be used to help all sorts of businesses… If you want to have a peek, check out: http://bit.ly/OpAudit

Are You Making this Fundamental Business Mistake?

What Makes Businesses Fail?

Are you shooting yourself in the foot by not understanding the word marketing?

This image is what too many people think is the length and breadth of marketing responsibilities… How wrong could they be?

Marketing communications is only 1/8 of the big picture!

It can be argued that every single business failure can be attributed to a limited understanding of marketing and the perception that it is simply marketing communications.

Marketing communications cannot (alone) determine the success of an organisation. Marketing communications can only polish and refine the holistic and coordinated management of all the elements of the marketing mix, building upon those characteristics, embellishing those characteristics, elaborating on those characteristics, and presenting those characteristics in such a way as to optimise potential willingness to purchase in the mind of the customer.

The basis of “The Marketing Concept” – the driving force that nurtured Amazon!

So, what is marketing?

The American marketing institute has a reasonable definition, and they’re not alone, but there are poor definitions throughout the Internet often used by snake oil salespeople trying to get you to buy their advertising and promotional services.

If someone uses the word marketing as a synonym for advertising, promotions or selling, you can bet your bottom-dollar they are inviting you to enter into a win-lose situation where they do the winning.

The truth is the finesse and talent of managing marketing is a function of all sorts of activities that requires skills of a team, not just one person, because there are too many disciplines for any single person to be master of within a lifetime.

Not only that, but there are a plethora of skills needed to manage and coordinate this factors properly…

Everything to do with completing the customer experience is a function of marketing

The key step, part of marketing is the leadership that creates a culture where the full team can operate optimally and deliver the best possible results. This presents a situation where a diverse variety of skills experience and knowledge are required in every element of the marketing mix.

Use this model, to build your “utopian” marketing team.

A balance between administrative, operational, managerial, and strategic abilities needs to be in place for the best possible marketing decisions to be made.

This potential needs to be harnessed… as set of strategic guidelines has to be in place to “channel” that power.

Leaders must empower their teams with a perfect understanding of the rules of the game…So that everybody is on the same page and pulling in the same direction.

All stakeholders need to be engaged in joining to propagate the marketing offer and hey comprehensive approach to developing marketing planning needs to be embraced to ensure that all the parameters and aspects of the management of exchange actually occur.

The last element also essential is that strategic planning includes understanding of the whole industry, the competitive environment, uncontrollable factors, and sensitivities to change in any of these factors so that contingencies can be managed without pain.

Remember, nothing works without employee engagement

Maybe, just maybe, the simple answers aren’t that simple?

If you’d like to creep further down the rabbit hole, “take the red pill” so to speak, my fourth book on this topic, “How to Build Outstanding Corporate Strategy” is a succinct and helpful manual, which you can download from https://bookboon.com/en/how-to-build-outstanding-corporate-strategy-ebook

How Did Amazon Outshine Apple?

Amazing Amazon vs. Awful Apple?

Just selling books online, in a world where “nobody [supposedly] reads books anymore”, with no distinct or obvious difference in its products, Amazon rose to the biggest company in the world in less than half the time it took Apple, who possessed a distinct, potent, protected competitive advantage with its products.

Despite a powerfully competitive product, Apple floundered, coming close to extinction, before it found its rhythm… while Amazon appeared to move consistently from strength to strength.

Why?

Amazon had something even more powerful than a unique product…

This is the introduction to my latest book, “How to Build Outstanding Corporate Strategy”, which helps senior executives fast track improvements in their leadership, operational efficiency & productivity.

My publisher tells me is now online at…

https://bookboon.com/en/how-to-build-outstanding-corporate-strategy-ebook

You can get it FREE if you sign up or pay a nominal $8 for a copy.

Some of my followers already have read one or more of my books… I think this is the best yet, but I’d REALLY appreciate feedback and comments when/if you read it. 

Written for multi-nationals but JUST as relevant for SMEs, this is a succinct method for optimising corporate business performance

Nothing worse than watching a business go down the drain?

What happens when the company you invest in starts to go sour?

Broken Business Opportunity

It’s quite common practice for people with money to be approached by those lacking funds but hawking a great business idea.

Ideally, this idea bears fruit and, as an investor who bankrolled that business idea, you are richly and appropriately rewarded.

However, on occasion, things don’t go that well… and there’s nothing more gut-wrenching than watching your expectation wash down the drain, along with a hefty investment.

But it doesn’t have to! There is another option… and that is to discover why the business isn’t functioning well and making a profit. If you can find out why the business isn’t performing, then you can decide to cut your losses and run without the fear of losing potential profit.

If the business can succeed with a few manageable and achievable adjustments, by identifying the problem is able to be solved, inefficiencies can then be rectified so the business will meet or exceed your most positive expectations.

This process is called Deficiency Analysis. It’s kind of like an “Undercover Boss” project without the boss getting his hands dirty. The advantages are there’s no production crew and film crew on site and behind the camera to distract and interfere with finding out the real truths. In fact, it is amazingly inexpensive, very quick, and exceedingly accurate and not only will it discover inefficiencies in your organisation that can be removed repaired or replaced but also it typically generates new opportunities in both the operational and strategic space that would otherwise remain uncovered for years, if not forever.

Followers of the Undercover Boss TV series will recognise that that many of the bosses find the culture of the organisation is not as they perceive it to be, that processes are not as efficient as they are perceived to be, that training and supervision of employees is not undertaken as it is meant to happen, and that the organisations sticking points are far from where the boss thought the performance standards were positioned.

The most rewarding aspect of Deficiency Analysis is not pointing the finger, allocating blame, or identifying bad stuff. The genuinely valuable part of the process is removing inefficiencies, finding the road to success, and the sustainable riches that follow!

True deficiency analysis can only be implemented by the most talented of staff stroke consultants stroke facilitators stroke analysts. It’s like a secret shopper who’s been supercharged with counselling skills therapist skills, analyst skills and behavioralist skills… but when you’ve got the right person undertaking a Deficiency Analysis, positive outcomes are virtually guaranteed.

The limiting factor of Deficiency Analysis is that it must happen sooner rather than later. If the business is already devoid of funds, and unable to dip into its war chest and patch the holes, then it’s already probably on its way to liquidation. However, it is a corporate governance requirement that directors on an organisation’s board be conversant enough with the state of the organisation to commission a deficiency analysis early enough.

It can be interpreted as a sign of lack of diligence by board members if Deficiency Analysis isn’t employed when the early warning signs become evident. Hence, Deficiency Analysis should be a topic of discussion whenever a company appears to be struggling or when executive leadership complains that they can’t make it work. Had Nokia, Blockbuster, Kodak, Xerox, HIH, One.Tel possessed a board that embraced Deficiency Analysis, they may all still be the thriving businesses that they had become in their prime, even today.

Readers who want to know more might want to review… http://www.launchengineering.com/Deficiency-Analysis.htm

How “Marketing” Can Be Easy

How “Marketing” Got Easy for Me…

After 13 years of study – doing just about every subject the UNSW Marketing School had to offer between ’74 and ’87, People might have thought I “knew it all”.

 

I knew I didn’t… but guessed I had a few more tools in my bag of tricks than the standard Marketing graduate.

 

Curiously, it was the knowledge that I possessed that allowed me to identify my weaknesses, which led me on the path of a plethora of on-going short courses and selected specialised training… ultimately to my post-grad diploma.

 

What really Changed the Difficulty from 6/7 down to 2 out of 10

 

All that aside, my world-record breaking successes came after I discovered the power of good market research. I nailed success after success … from private enterprise to government, in I.T, to FMCG, regardless of whnether the challenge was from a guerrilla position or as market leader, by melding good market research with proven marketing “science”.

 

The single most powerful short cut to success was, then and still is now, Market Segmentation.

 

When you think about it, knowing what someone wants, and giving it to them, is a pretty obvious way to working out how to ensure commercial success. While thinking up a “good idea” and then trying to flog it to an unreceptive audience is pretty silly.

 

Good salesmen know this instinctually… That’s why studies have shown that the best sales people are the ones that ask the most questions.

 

But has the short-cut been lost in the heat of digital?

 

In the heat of A/B and multivariate testing, digital response rate analysis, and deep dive promotional analytics, investment seems to be focussed on wins of 1, 3 or 5% improvements rather than double triple or quadruple growth jumps.

 

At a recent FMCG conference where I presented of strategies FMCG manufacturers to prosper in a difficult environment, I was shocked to find less than 10% of the delegates had commissioned a segmentation study in the past three years… many hadn’t had one for over 7 years, and some even claimed to not ever knowing if their company or brand had one at all!

 

In the hay-day of FMCG marketing excellence, an annual segmentation study, some brand attitudinal work and a conjoint analysis or two were the basis of all decision-making… now it is gut feeling and guesswork of the dark ages… and look at the consequences.

 

B2C marketers can do better!

 

There is an appalling global complacency in B2C marketing that defies logic. We know that consumers change. That segments change. That change is inevitable.

 

Industry leaders such as Jack Welch express sentiments like,” Change before you have to” and “If the market changes faster than you do, you’re dead!”.

 

But Marketing Managers are NOT acting… they’re reacting, and that’s not fun… for Marketing Teams, customers or shareholders.

 

For example, a cardboard cut-out of Coco the Monkey has been on the back of Coco Pops breakfast cereal for over 55 years! Really? Is that responsive to consumer change or chronic ignorance and complacency by Kellogg’s? Are bigger boxes of cereal (that don’t fit into pantry shelves) at low prices (I assume to drive volume) demonstrative of excellence in Marketing? Hardly!

 

Is Information being Analysed and Acted Upon?

 

Which brings me to my last point.  With Marketing people so operationally focused, is enough effort going into strategic thought and planning?

 

I’ve witnessed great companies who routinely buy research that simply doesn’t even get looked at, let alone responded to… Data reports that go unread… Customer complaints, feedback and suggestions that are dismissed at the most junior level, (potential “gems” that no-one  reads or considers)… trade partner suggestions that get filed, unread, or dismissed arbitrarily… heavy user changes requests are ignored… Product Development without the benefit or consideration of a Conjoint study.

My firm. Leadership Empowerment, has done analysis on information already in the hands of clients, that they simply have not used, and once we have analysed and made recommendations, has made or saved millions while increasing annual profit levels by 20% or more – JUST because we bothered to analyse it!

 

As a marketing strategist and business advisor, my greatest challenge is two-fold…

  1. Get businesses to embrace market research, and
  2. Discipline businesses to respond to what their customers reveal they want.

I know… because in my first 15 years in Marketing Management, the greatest lesson I ever received was from a mentor who challenged me when I wanted to short change market research spends… When I said, “I can’t afford it” he responded, “You cannot afford NOT to have it!”

 

I am lucky, I listened. I hope anyone who reads this post listens too.

How “Marketing” Can Be Easy

5 Absolute Truths of Pricing

For decade upon decade, across multiple industries, pricing has been the most ignored, poor brother, underutilised discipline, with the least amount of access to professional advice, of any of the components of the 8P’s of marketing.

  1. The notion of price elasticity is as nonsensical as believing every customer is a cookie-cutter copy of each other.
  2. Trust comes when exchange is fair. A buyer assesses value based on the total product not the core product
  3. Pricing strategy cannot bet set in a silo, it must be holistically coordinated with all the elements of the marketing mix.
  4. Price is the variable that a buyer considers when you give them nothing else to think about.
  5. Dropping your price to get the sale often works against you: It creates doubt, undoes trust, and converts a win/win into a lose/lose.
The highest possible return on marketing investment comes from when ALL the 8P’s are “balanced” and in harmony with each other… If your #pricing isn’t right, then your marketing isn’t right!

* From my popular e-book, “Advanced Strategic Pricing” which you can download from https://bookboon.com/en/advanced-strategic-pricing-ebook

Better than the Boston matrix?

Searching for an "ah-ha!" moment
Strategic Product Portfolio analysis The Boston matrix helped slingshot the Boston Consulting Group to the top of marketing consultancies four decades ago. At the time, it was considered revolutionary as marketing science was just taking a foothold, because it provided clarity to theorists and practitioners alike. Boston_Matrix_slide However, over the years, challenges have been made to marketing theory, particularly as pure academics have taken control in the academic hierarchies while practitioners have observed widening gaps between marketing theory and the real world. A small minority of marketing practitioners who also advanced academic exposure are not only aware of this, but often to capitalise upon it, while the abandonment of the PIMS (Profit Impact of Marketing Strategies) database and the movement of industry knowledge and methodology from the schools of academia to the vaults of a large national international consultancies has only widened the gap between academic hypothesis and commercial truths. When undertaking strategic planning and writing marketing governance and strategy for clients, we use a tool it’s appropriate to situations needing a practical and real understanding of the complexities of “real-world” business. If you’re looking for an analysis tool that is functionally helpful in your product portfolio planning the one at the top of this article might resonate with you… The real issue is that there are multiple reasons, beyond the level of investment and level in return, that might affect decision-making in terms of the way you balance your product portfolio. This model takes into account all the 8 P’s of Marketing, including the 8th P being the PESTLEED (Politics, Economics, Socio-cultural, Technological, Legal-compliance, Environmental, Ethical, Demographic). A mandatory inclusion are the needs and wants of the organisation, which we describe as the MEVPIV (Mission, Ethos, Vision, Purpose, Identity/Intent, Values).
Marketing strategy manipulates ALL the factors required for exchange to best match the needs and wants of the organisation with the needs and wants of the target audience.
If anyone wants to know more or discuss these models, why not drop a comment below?

Are Most Men Incompetent Leaders?

In many movies and TV series there is an almost worn out cliche of the arrogant alpha male who bullies or fights their way into the leadership role without true leadership skills.

Inevitably, the story goes they are hard, cruel, impassionate bullies, lacking empathy, mercy, and the loyalty of their class, tribe, team, school, workplace or group.

Ultimately, from the class, tribe, team, school, workplace or group of people they lead, a humble, likeable, wise, affable individual who’s not necessarily the loudest, strongest, or most obvious selection, rises and overcomes the unpopular leader to win control, and save the day.

This story has many derivations. You can almost see it as a template for an adventure story, certainly a leadership story, a drama of many hues, set in any era, with a varying array of strengths and weaknesses allocated to both the “baddie” and the “goodie”.

Right now, it is trendy to paint a story where gender almost typically shows the goodies to be female and the baddies as male. And with good reason! Research shows that males overestimate their competency compared to females who are less confident but more competent. Decades of university-researched evidence supports the claim that females are proven to be better communicators as a general rule, and males are commonly observed to be less self-aware of their limitations. Maybe this explains why many men are seldom willing to ask for directions.

However, if there is a map, isn’t the ability to read a map important? If there isn’t a map, isn’t their willingness to create one important? And once you know the terrain, female or male, isn’t the ability to trust that map, follow that map, take your followers together on that journey, observe and correct details of the trip and the logistics according to how the followers cope with the journey? What about determination, and the approach to dealing with any or unforeseen obstacles or contingent interruptions along the way, never faltering, never doubting the legitimacy of the challenge, while inspiring and motivating all participants to keep going and to maintain their vigour and contribution to achievement of the journey?

While I believe that gender discrimination is simply stupid. it is ludicrous to even consider gender as a commercial leadership variable. Even though I have witnessed incidents of gender discrimination against women over my 40+ years in management, the most profound consistency is not a function of gender discrimination; it has been the lack of good planning and implementation of plans.

From transport to pharmaceutical, across FMCG generally, from building products to industrial chemicals, from hospitality to government, in start ups, small businesses and multinational corporations, there is one key that universally and globally works…

Once an organisation develops and grasps the importance of not only a mission and vision but a whole MEVPIV, that is mission, ethos, vision, purpose, identity (or intent) and values, then and only then does the leader have a chance at evoking the greatest performance from the class, tribe, team, school, workforce or group.

Once a MEVPIV is built and adopted by the tribe, then everything gets easy! With a MEVPIV, the chief and the wise men sitting in the tepee, making the decisions, all share a common belief and understanding of the decisions that need to be made. The aspiring warriors, braves and future wise men of the tribe understand, respect and adopt the decisions of the wise men in the tribe because they have context and structure, too! They have context, and insight into the how and why those decisions have been developed. Every other member of the tribe, understanding that strategic framework, willingly and enthusiastically works towards the achievement, making a contribution to the tribe’s fulfilment of its directives goals and aspirations.

So how does this all effect the competence of leaders?

Leadership is not about whether you wear a dress or trousers to work. Leadership is not about whether you have 40 years experience in the industry or you are brand new to the industry. Leadership is not about loudness and blustering, nor is it about your ability to perform publicly in front of a large crowd. And leadership is certainly not being a friend of the biggest shareholder, a celebrity or past politician, or being in the right place at the right time and riding the coattails of the success of those around you as a stepping stone to securing a leadership role.

Leadership is about recognising the mandatory and critical need for profound and inspiring MEVPIV. Leadership is about working with the class, tribe, team, school, workforce or group to develop a shared MEVPIV. Leadership is about embracing and committing to that MEVPIV with absolute sincerity and enthusiasm.

Now every decision follows easily. Every instruction makes sense. Every assessment of the members of the tribe team workforce is objective and fair. (Well it’s fair as possible – we still live in a world of compromise).

But the real, absolute, “cool” outcome is that every class, tribe, team, school, workforce or group that sets a great MEVPIV, follows that MEVPIV, lives for that MEVPIV, ends up performing better than it would without one.

The secret is building that profound, shared, sensible, inspiring, motivating MEVPIV.

Using some proven methods, there is a fast and inexpensive system of creating a great MEVPIV to help leaders build a spring board MEVPIV and turn it into action. If anybody reading this post sees the sense and feels the need, they may contact me through our firm’s website, leadershipempowerment.com.au

How Value-Based Pricing Can Destroy Your Business

Value-Based Pricing is Important to Consider, but it can also mislead…

Value based pricing, in theory, sounds like a wonderful idea!

The principle that you charge a price, not based on your costs, but based on the value the product is worth to the customer sounds simple… right?

However, in the complex dynamic of commerce, generalisations can open a Pandora’s box of demons!

The moment that any you begin to perceive all customers as cookie-cutter copies of each other, and that a whole market can respond to one marketing mix, you are in a world of trouble. If your pricing is not market oriented, your competitors will have a field day, your critics will have a field day, and the disengaged proportion of your adversarial stakeholders will have fuel to fire their dissatisfaction.

The key to every business’s success is market segmentation. Not segmenting, or trying to segment through demographics or firmographics, that is an awful trap! Proper segmentation, where you identify groups of customers within the marketplace that share similar or identical needs, wants and behaviours, is the key to success.

If you listen to the noise of one segment, or the false belief that everyone thinks, acts and decides in the same way, and don’t know which of the two to five segments in your marketplace that your product actually appeals to the most, where you are the market leader, then you are playing severe Russian Roulette with your business future!

For example, imagine you are in a marketplace with a dozen or so other players at different levels of competitive closeness to yourself…

After you perform a market segmentation study, you might discover that you are completely dominant in one segment, while another competitor is dominant in another segment, and a third competitor is competing equally with yet another competitor in yet another segment.

Now, what if the segment you are competing in is price elastic, and the segments that represent the rest of the market are not price elastic, and what would happen if you responded to value-based pricing assumptions made on the total market rather than your segment?

All exchange relationships should result in a win/win... or it becomes a lose/lose.
Relationships form between buyers and sellers – what happens when you change something that alters that relationship?

Fortunately, many executives have “feel” when it comes to pricing and so when the value-based pricing assessment suggests a radical pricing increase, a “customer sensitive” leader will resist a faulty pricing philosophy because “It just doesn’t seem right for my customers”.

What in fact they are doing is feeling the needs and wants of their target audience and the segment in which they are dominant. Unfortunately, as companies grow and decision makers find themselves removed from those to the grindstone relationships with key accounts, the spin of value-based pricing experts can sometimes sound very convincing and can lead businesses into short-term profits with long term disaster.

(NB: On the other hand, too many SME entrepreneurs are fixated on a false belief in unilateral price elasticity and do not understand that selling too cheaply is sometimes the worst thing they can do!)

Some of the implications of a badly applied value-based pricing response are:

  • Creating a demand in the marketplace for a lower price option, making the market interesting and attractive to new entrants.
  • Creating opportunity for competitors to compete on price and still generate adequate return on investment and profits to expand their competitive effort and their competitive edge.
  • Establishing bad will and negative brand equity that can cannibalise future sales and dissuade or eliminate your company from future consideration and planned purchases by your consumers and customers.
  • Awakening of desire in your customers to re-evaluate suppliers, alternatives or substitutes.

This is why it is so important for all leaders of the company to realise that proper marketing, that is the management of exchange, is an holistic and integrated exercise in managing the whole 8P’s, coordinating price with product and channels of distribution and processes and people and promotion and positioning and the PESTLEED (politics, economics, socio-cultural, legal-compliance, environmental, ecology, demographics).

The correct context for value-based pricing lies within the marketing mix for each and every individual segment. Value-based pricing is a contextual strategy, a tactic, NOT a stand-alone universal pricing strategy at all. Business decision-makers must fear any overt insistence of unchallengeable validity of value-based pricing when advocates blindly lobby for value-based pricing before considering the nature of a business’s market segments.

What sort of Organisation do you stand for?

Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50 for a life-saving AIDS remedy drug called Daraprim, on the basis of value-based marketing. This earned him the title of “America’s great douche-bag”, the focus of a government senate committee and an investigation that ultimately earned him a 7-year jail sentence. Yet, he was only following a value-based pricing approach, and (arguably) was targeting the specific segment who could afford, that higher price (while abandoning interest in the devastation caused in the bigger picture implications, long-term corporate image, and the informal socio-cultural backlash that ultimately brought about his demise.

Ultimately va;lue-based pricing is a reference tool and tactic that contributes to pricing decision-making, rather than leads it. Organisational pricing strategy should be a function of multiple factors and considered holistically, rather than in isolation, if the best decision is to be made.

Pricing strategy relies upon Corporate Governance. Value-Based Pricing is one of many conceptual tools used in price-setting.
Pricing strategy should grow from foundational Corporate Governance guidelines, while Value-Based Pricing is simply a tool to consider when reflecting upon corporate governance parameters.

A worldwide crisis in Marketing!

Over decades I have seen the fungus of “Marketing ignorance” grow and spread worldwide… but no one is doing anything to stop it!

MANY marketing professionals, like me, fret over the lay-person misapprehension that Marketing is simply Marketing Communications and are unaware of the proper meaning of the word, the Marketing Concept, and marketing functions.

But, before the profession loses its way completely, thought leaders in Marketing (like you?) have to pick up the mandate to eradicate this ignorance.

Here’s one of the diagrams I use to help people understand… I would LOVE to see anything you use!

A genuine definition of #Marketing and what the word, “Marketing” actually means…

But, if you like this diagram PLEASE share it with as many people as you can?

There’s also a simple 60-second definition of Marketing on my YouTube Channel … here the link…

Thieving Idiots Calling themselves Digital Marketing Experts!

The fast-talking “buy this minute!” sales con has been around for centuries!

I can’t believe that digital snake oil salesman are still trying to sell the line, “If you spend a dollar in advertising, you expect to get at least a dollar back!”

This is crazy! If you spend a dollar in advertising and it costs you $2 to respond, and $20 to follow-up on that inquiry and $200 to fulfill the order that only some of those inquiries generate if you were successful, and $2000 to pay your monthly overheads per employee… then you need a hell of a lot more back than just the dollar spent on advertising!

Sophisticated marketers are well aware that the total marketing budget, not just promotion but ALL marketing (that is all the costs involved with the management of exchange), can only be a partial of the total sales revenue! To suggest that if you get $1.10 back from every dollar you spend online promoting on YouTube or Facebook or Google ads or any other method means you should continue to spend more, is just ludicrous, ridiculous, stupid thinking! To assume the response rate is a linear, unchanging one is also fantasy!

These people have no knowledge of basic advertising science, let alone marketing science! They clearly know nothing of reach and frequency, the random anomalies of creative in altering advertising responsiveness. They know nothing of wear out, burnout, maintenance vs. Investment advertising strategy. They clearly believe marketing is a synonym for advertising and promotion. They have no idea about life cycle theory, product category or type, innovation type, product portfolio maintenance, lifetime value of a customer, economies and dis-economies of scale, and so much more…

They boast their riches from seducing the innocent with snake oil confidence tricks as credentials, when this is just evidence that these con-artists need a good tar and feathering!

Instead of allowing them to continue, shouldn’t we be running them out of the digital town?

Isn’t it time we put these digital cowboys, internet con-men, these crazy spruikers and hawkers of promotional services, and misleading, routinely-unqualified “experts”, who don’t know the difference between marketing and promotion, into some sort of box that we can lock iron chains around and throw into the deepest part of the Mariana Trench in the ocean?

Isn’t it long overdue that we stop the false claims, misleading advertising, disgraceful and irresponsible advice offered by these fast-talking hawkers trying to coerce money out of naïve, inexperienced, inadequately-trained business people?

Who else has had enough of this BS being spun on the web?

Of course the debate is. “But [name of spuiker] is trying to do some good, and just run his/her business”… One could say the same of the untrained, back-yard surgeon… or the financial advisor with no qualifications in finance… an architect lacking the six years it takes to learn that trade… We have seen what happens when insulation done poorly causes house fires, when cars are serviced by unqualified mechanics, when “mates come over and help”…

We NEED to license, register and control spruikers of digital… who can inadvertently affect and even destroy people with bad advice to the businesses they spin their (debatable) skills.

Is Bitcoin and Crypto Good or Bad?

Why Bitcoin and cryptocurrency may be evil

The anonymity that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies provide is of concern because how do you identify someone’s true net worth or income? Now that some merchants are offering the opportunity to buy and sell using Bitcoin, it means you cannot measure or verify sales, purchases, sales tax, etc… Profits cannot be taxed!!!

Organisations that want to avoid taxation can do so really easily. This means less contribution to the government who are responsible for distributing tax revenue to all sorts of social purposes. Do you see what this means?

This means that the rich will be able to hide their wealth by buying and trading in Bitcoin… while the poor not able to acquire Bitcoin, or risk the fluctuations associated with it, will be left to bear the burden of transparent taxation.

So here we go… the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, distribution of wealth becomes more unbalanced and the propensity for the world to distribute or share the wealth with 1% of the world’s population owning 99% of the world’s wealth will only be exacerbated.

How safe is it, really?

While it is possible that cryptocurrency is the 21st century’s equivalent of the MLM with early entrants making a lot of money and late entrants doing their shirts, it is also possible that the sheer volume of participants will keep the system going long enough for the rich to become even richer and the poor to become even poorer.

When will greed end? Probably never. But I don’t really see any good coming out of this impending trend towards a system where there are no checks and measures in place to ensure fair play and to protect the weak from the strong.

What are the implications for CSR (Corporate social responsibility) and Corporate Governance?

Could cryptocurrency destroy our very existence by undoing social fabric and community?

The Financial Benefit of A Good Mission and Vision Statement.

Its all about People!

Most B2B marketers, struggle with these problems… which are your biggest challenges?

  • Discerning the right information needed to make better decisions
  • Cross-functional collaboration among your people
  • Finding, attracting, recruiting and onboarding the right talent
  • Inconsistent and broken customer experience due to misaligned marketing and sales systems
  • Managing everyday working policy
  • Consistency in Leadership (up, down or across)
  • Getting budgets approved
  • Securing Demand and/or Sales Lead generation
  • Ensuring maximum conversion of leads once passed over to sales
  • Supporting sales throughout the funnel
  • Optimising value and standard of Content Marketing
  • Avoiding silos, office politics, secret agenda, negative relationships, etc.
  • Measuring genuine ROI and Attribution and adjusting accordingly
  • Getting heard or being able to contribute to leadership

Problem Solved!

We know that 64+% of employees are unengaged, but many executives don’t realize the reasons why!

  • 49% of people don’t like/respect/get along with/agree with of simply blame their boss!
  • 34% say they don’t understand their employer’s mission & vision!

BUT both of these causes can be cured.

How Much money are we looking at?

Gallup tells us improved productivity from unengaged employees who become engaged is 202%.

Even if you only believe that you can convert 33% of the unengaged to become engaged,

multiply 202% times 33% times the 64% figure we end up with 42.7% overall increase in productivity. Other research finds that increases in productivity of this ilk convert to somewhere between 12 and 25% increase in EBIT.

Plug in YOUR figures! Even if you only generate $5M in annual turnover, that’s an increase in profit of $200K p.a., that an extra $85,324.80 in your pocket.

And … you can achieve this with a spend of no more than $20,000…

Here’s where you start…

https://www.leadershipempowerment.com.au/leadership-empowerment/

The Most Dangerous Business Mistake Anyone Can Make

The Single Most Dangerous Business Choice

I visited an industry event yesterday and bumped into one of the day’s speakers who has sought my business counsel from time to time over the past 20 years.

We were sharing some thoughts about business opportunity when I mentioned, “Perceiving the markets as a single entity, instead of a cage for a bunch of different groups, is probably the most dangerous decision anyone can make in business.”

He grabbed a pen and piece of paper and said, “I’m going to quote you in my presentation this afternoon! Repeat what you just said!”

The point is that business executives all too often forget that a “market” is nothing but a corral for significantly different market segments… members of one segment share similar or identical needs, wants and behaviours that are VERY different to the needs, wants and behaviours of another segment.

LeighCowanQuote5

As soon as a business decision-maker says, “Everyone wants…”, “No one likes…” “People do not…” their decisions HAVE to be imperfect, if not dead wrong. The real truth is that SOME people want, SOME people like and SOME people do not!

Benefits of Market Segmentation

Owning a small segment by satisfying it perfectly is always much more profitable, easy, and cost-effective. Refusing to recognise, identify and respond to one of the two to five segments that exist in ANY market, spells grief, frustration, hard-yards and possible failure.

In my keynotes, workshops and mentoring sessions, I’m often heard to say, “Market segmentation is the most powerful tool in the arsenal of a marketing manager”, because if you know what an individual really wants, what they’re prepared to pay, and you fulfil their every wish, they’ll climb over you to buy it.

… and in business, isn’t that what we really want?

The Conundrum of Marketing in the 21st Century

The Conundrum of Marketing in the 21st Century is that most people in a Marketing role, actually do not understand the nuances of strategic marketing, the skills and tools of the craft, and do NOT possess the knowledge necessary to lead marketing activity.

Why? Because day-to-day marketing activities are primarily “operational”… requiring industry knowledge, company-specific experience, and specialist (dare I say ‘ product-oriented) insight.

Consider this diagram…

a-hierarchies-of-marketingc2a9

Those who commence as juniors, and rise through the ranks prove themselves in Administrative and Operational areas, and often a competent in playing ‘politics’ within their organisation. They develop great relationships, ‘earn’ promotion in rank and seniority, and “progress” to CMO or equivalent.

IF they were properly educated (substantial numbers do NOT have formal marketing credentials), they’ve most often forgotten their advanced training in marketing governance techniques, because it wasn’t needed at the junior level where they began their careers.

THINK about it: They complete their degree, maybe with a pass or a credit, which means they know 60% of their course material the day they sat their exam.  Three months later? What have they retained? MUCH less! Three YEARS later? What have they retained? Very little!

The Conundrum is that they devalue or don’t even recognise educational/academic/strategic knowledge, and “likes employ likes”… so they mentor, hire, train, favour succession candidates that “fit” and the ignorance of advanced marketing skills is reinforced.

In truth, PROPER Marketing governance would stop failed product launches… It would stop companies going bad, losing money, going into liquidation… It would improve profits, grow businesses, develop best possible products, even improve political systems…

“Well, if ‘proper’ marketers know better why do they ‘market’ themselves then?” you say….

This is the Catch 22… The Marketing concept says, “Find out what the Market wants and deliver it”… BUT Heads of Business don’t want to hear that they are doing a bad job, that someone else could do their job better… CEO’s don’t want to accept they are infallible… that they made a mistake, or that they are simply lucky and have been at the right place and the right time in an operational situation that has ‘married’ with their operational skills and brought short term success…

The bigger the pay packet, the bigger the ego can be true… causing some (not all) leaders at the helm of their organisations to simply refuse to believe that anyone could possibly know better than them and their team.

This syndrome has been named “Corporate Cancer”… and experts acknowledge the three signs to be Arrogance, Bureaucracy and Complacency as qualities which are recognised as a danger or weakness for larger organisations. Even executives that are blind, and fall victim to, “Corporate Cancer” in their own businesses, can see it in others.

ABCs-of-Corporate-Cancer

There are examples across the world… the US car industry, many banks, a large number of corporations, Nokia, huge retailers that struggle to reap forecast profit levels, political parties, and smaller businesses, all the way down to SME’s.

SUCCESSFUL CORPORATIONS HAVE A DEFENSE MECHANISM OR ARE RESCUED BY A DISRUPTIVE LEADER

There can be no doubt that the General Electric Corporation was saved by the extraordinary intuition of Jack Welch – a leader who almost fanatically believed in “the Marketing Concept” but also possessed a Strategic Marketing Governance approach.

This is the ‘missing element’ for many corporations led many convergent thinkers trained in operational management. For them, GE was in the light globe and electronics industry. For Jack Welch, GE was in the business of creating customer satisfaction in any industry where his company’s capabilities could be applied to satisfying market demand.

Other corporations like 3M, Mars, Unilever, P&G have legacy guidelines that help keep themselves in check.

THE LOST CRAFT AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF BUSINESS SKILLS

There are, of course, many brilliant brand strategists, corporate strategists and informed experts in the “business universe”. But, as in MANY professions, about 20% of the practitioners are “pearls”, while 60% are in a range of “pretty good to pretty awful” and the bottom 20% are destructive dead-weights who shouldn’t be in the profession at all.

In the Marketing profession, these are the people who thrive off lay-person misunderstanding of “marketing”. They endure by propagating the “smoke and mirrors”/”fluff and waffle” perception that Marketing is simply Marketing Communications, and sales support, based upon just work experience, opinion and attitude, rather than an applied and empirically proven science.

THE ANSWER & BEST OPTION

To embrace and optimize business efficiency and reach best possible business outcomes, a “balance” in all tiers of Marketing is necessary.

The existing Administrative and Operational Marketers are essential of administrative and operational marketing roles… but Managerial and Strategic Marketing is NOT their forte. AS attractive as senior corporate roles might be, and as much as operational and administrative marketers might believe they are entitled to assume these responsibilities, they are simply NOT equipped to do their job properly. This is the role of “big picture” , divergent thinkers, with whom they should collaboratively team up, to evoke winning business goals and strategy to achieve those goals.

The absence of strategic and managerial skills in Chief Marketing Officers is why CMO’s only last an average of 2 years. Lacking teh right knwoledge, training and skills, they take operational skills, instead of strategic skills, into visionary roles.

If you want to discover the tools CMO’s need, I urge you to grab a copy of my e-book, “Managerial Marketing in the Real World”, which marries new, cutting-edge, advanced corporate strategic models with practical, commercially proven methods. You can get it from…  https://bookboon.com/en/managerial-marketing-in-the-real-world-ebook

Quick Videos on Leadership, Marketing & Employee Engagement

No one has time these days… Yet everyone suffers some level of imperfect information. Confusion and misunderstanding of Marketing is rife.

So I put my (limited) creative skills together and have made about 10-15 informative 1 to 2 minute videos together on YouTube.

What is “Marketing”? Definition of the word, “Marketing”. What #Marketing REALLY means

This one (1:51) seems to be the most liked so far, but my followers on this blog are generally sophisticated marketing experts so your commentary is highly respected and appreciated. So please find the time if you can?

The link to the channel is… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQeLE_5vMB0