Archive for January, 2009

14
Jan
09

7 Strategies for a Company to Survive 2009

This year is going to be tough. So what’s new…it’s tough doing business every year. The smart marketer won’t let a down economy stop him/her from successfully marketing their product, service or company. In fact, some of the most successful companies around today got started in a recession…can you say “Google?”

Is the glass half empty or half full for you? I’m a positive guy, so it’s definitely half full. My advice, move forward with gusto and here are 7 strategies to survive 2009…hopefully you’ll take one or all to heart.

Strategy #1: Think and Act Positive. Marketing is the company champion, and how you act, think and talk is viewed by the entire company, especially sales. If you and your department reinforce doom and gloom attitudes…your sales force will have just one more reason not to perform. Positive attitudes attract positive reaction. And so does the opposite effect.

Strategy #2: Spotlight is on Current Customers. It’s always more expensive and time-consuming to develop new customers than to sell to existing ones. So rather than prospect for new leads, use multiple points of customer contact, like your call center and product support web site, to create new opportunities within your existing base.

Strategy #3: Volunteer to Cut Your Costs. Rather than wait for your CFO to descend with the cost-cutting axe, figure out which sales campaigns and marketing expenses are necessary, and which can be put on the back-burner. Then go to your CFO with a proposed list of cuts, and a solid business case for keeping the programs that matter.

Strategy #4: Give Your Customers a Better Break. Just like you, your customers are struggling to make ends meet. The last thing you want is to find your contracts on the customer’s chopping block. To prevent this, unilaterally offer to renegotiate your current agreement. Don’t lower prices. Find new and innovative ways to lower the risk of purchase. Make it an easy entry and a better customer experience.

Strategy #5: Go on the offensive.
This isn’t the time to hunker down. If you get on the defensive you’re dead. Get aggressive, set aggressive goals.

Strategy #6: Select better targets.
Improve your methodology so that you don’t waste time on customers who aren’t going to buy. Think out of the box for your marketing mediums…traditional vs digital.

Strategy #7 Send the CEO out to sell. If the CEO hasn’t spoken with ten customers in the past week, he isn’t doing his job. And this goes for you too. Whether you are a CMO, VP, Director and/or Manager, you need to be out in the field with your sales team and meeting your customers. You need real-time data to help make critical decisions…direct from your buyers mouth…not hearsay.

Let’s hear some of your ideas, it’s good to share.

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07
Jan
09

Xmas Miracle

It was 4 pm on Monday December 29th, in Indian Wells, California (just outside of Palm Springs), when what seemed an ordinary day, turned into a near tragedy for my sister-in-law Lucy and brother Bob. Bob works in real estate and was just rushing out the door for a meeting he was late for. Hand on the door knob, he and his business partner Marv were just walking out when they heard glass crashing to the ground.

In a split-second decision whether to keep moving to make the meeting or stop and see what happened, my brother made the right decision. He walked back to the kitchen and there found Lucy, collapsed on the floor and holding on to their dog. Disoriented, eyes rolling and droopy facial expression…Lucy exhibited a clear sign of a stroke. Quick action by Bob and partner Marv got the EMT’s to the home within minutes. And lucky for Bob, Marv had experience dealing with stroke patients and was considerable help in making Lucy comfortable until medical help arrived.

Bob called me from the hospital with the not so good news “Lucy’s in trouble…and I don’t think she’ll make it,” he told me. Wow, the news hit me like a ton of bricks as I’m sure you can imagine. He went on to tell me she suffered both a stroke and brain aneurysm…she’s headed in for emergency surgery, and the good news is that she has the hospital’s top surgeons in attendance.

When I got to the hospital the next morning, Lucy was sitting up in bed, still not able to speak more than 3 word sentences’ and her memory was not functioning; her face still showed signs of a stroke along with some paralysis of her extremities. By the afternoon, she was speaking in full sentences’, memory was improving and she regained use of her arms, hands and legs.

Bob and I were outside of the ICU thanking God for helping out, when the neurosurgeon that performed the operation approached us. He told us that it was an extremely serious operation and that Lucy literally had less than a 10% chance of surviving it. He also told us that it was the first time he had performed this type of procedure to remove the aneurysm which was located in the center of her brain. We were both stunned as he shared this information. Looking at Bob’s facial expression, I think if he had known the Doctor had never performed that type of surgery before, he might not have said yes to it.

Let me leave you with a few things to think about and why I truly believe this was a miracle. First, of course was the decision for Bob to keep moving to his appointment or stop and look to see what happened; next, having Marv there to help as he was well versed with helping with stroke patients; the fact that the EMT’s were available within minutes of the 911 call; having the lead surgeons available all at the same time and during a holiday; and finally, Bob making a decision to operate based solely on trust and instinct.

UPDATE: Lucy is home recovering nicely. Her miracle was the talk of the hospital and amazingly, she was released only 4 days after this major surgery. What a wonderful way to start the New Year!