Monthly Archives: May 2009

What truly differentiates you?

In planning sessions, much time is usually spent defining target markets, reviewing sales histories and projections, new product schedules, what customers were doing with competitors, and so on. Sometimes there is discussion about  what truly differentiates you from your competitors, … Continue reading

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For presentation junkies

Sometimes you come across a web site that intrigues, informs, and attracts you again and again. For me, TED is such a site, and within these sites, there are things to which you return for all sorts of often personal … Continue reading

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Being convincing to customers.

Make sure you outperform expectations, deliver in full on time every time, beat any deadline, know their business better than any of your competitors, listen to your market, and communicate, communicate, communicate. Communicate especially when there is bad news, souring … Continue reading

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Commercial triage.

Tough times generally favor making changes that would not be possible, or be very difficult in good times.  People are far more inclined to buy into the notion that “we cannot continue doing it the way we have been  doing … Continue reading

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An agile demand chain.

About the only thing we know about forecasts is that they are virtually always wrong, often drastically. This being the case, the ability to quickly react to short term changes in supply and demand, an advanced degree of agility would … Continue reading

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Forecast myopia (with apologies to Theo Levitt)

How often have forecasts been missed due to inadequate time being spent scrutinising the underlying assumptions. Often it seems to me that forecasts are exercises in optimism and opinion, rather than the outcome of rigorous analysis. For good forecasting outcomes, … Continue reading

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KISS me now.

The old chestnut Keep it Simple Stupid was never more appropriate. As confidence and with it activity collapses around us, simplicity is becoming ever more valuable. Simplicity is, however, anything but simple. Simplicity takes time , effort, and a sufficiently … Continue reading

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The DNA of marketing.

Marketing is not just the spending of money on some sort of media, it involves the development of the businesses “face”  to customers, the development and  management of the whole experience of interacting with the brand, and the organisation, or … Continue reading

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Inventories and bricks.

In all businesses, the canary in the hole is deterioration in the cash position, and it is particularly important for small businesses to be sensitive to changes in their cash position as they have less “fat” to fall back on … Continue reading

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Tell it like it is.

In difficult times, it would be a mistake to either make light of the difficulties you face, or to exaggerate them. Generally people look for leadership, and honesty is a fundamental component, so tell it like it is, people  will … Continue reading

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Value in advice.

Following the previous blog entry, “chief cook & bottle washer”  and a phone call from a user prompted by it, I have been thinking about the value of advice, compared to the time it takes to provide it. Many SME … Continue reading

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Chief cook & bottle washer.

How often have we heard this expression describing the role a small business owner fills? However, it trivialises the difficulty in remaining on top of the strategy issues and implementation, as well as the tactical demands of a business, putting … Continue reading

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Know your customers processes.

Spin Selling,  written by Neil Rackham probably 30 years ago is the best sales book I have ever read, it has spawned an industry, along with the follow up books. However, it is not perfect. In my experience, most businesses … Continue reading

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An orchestra as a metaphor for a chain.

Coordination and Control are the key words in managing demand chains, and an orchestra is a great metaphor for a demand chain. To work effectively a chain needs control in the sense of a conductor in an orchestra, who dictates … Continue reading

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Market researchers make 2 basic mistakes, continuously.

They ask consumers/customers their views on things  with which they have no experience, typically new products. This gives results that are rarely accurate, as there is no context against which potential consumers/customers can judge the relative performance of the product or … Continue reading

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Another day, another dollar

I should comment about the Federal budget handed down on Tuesday night, it is expected, so here goes, on behalf of the small businesses I work with. The bank is still chasing to reduce the overdraft. Sales are still hard to … Continue reading

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Category management

Category Management is an FMCG term being bandied around so much that is coming to mean nothing in particular, because it is so widely used. In its genesis, it was an expression used to describe the manner in which retailers … Continue reading

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Target market cartoon

Tom Fishburne nails it with this cartoon satirising the target market conversations that occur with monotinous regularity in many marketing/advertising offices. Many just do not get it, that to be “remarkable” to use Seth Godins term, is crucial to attracting … Continue reading

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Must have Vs Nice to have

Feature creep, along with its big brother, range extension, have been mainstays of marketing activity for 50 years. Marketers should now start thinking about, and asking consumers about the relative value of new features or variants. Ask them what they … Continue reading

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Stages in chain development

Over many years of being involved in the evolution of demand chains, there appears to be a number of stages through which they evolve. It is almost always iterative, often with many false starts and dead ends, but those that … Continue reading

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