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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Closure & A New Design...

...should we laugh, cry, celebrate, design, or redesign?
by David Bookout

Yes!!!!!

Turkeys aren't the only ones with wary eyes, particularly around Thanksgiving time. But, as this incredibly tumultuous and greatly historic year comes to a close, two specific questions come to mind that could be quite powerful openings to help you design the 2009 you desire and beyond:

What are you thankful for?

"What is the gift you hold in exile?"

The first question is standard operating procedure, particularly this time of year. The second question, however, can be a provocative inquiry into the very things we choose, for one reason, or another, to deny ourselves and those around us access to. Your gifts might be skills that lay uncultivated, experiences that stay unshared, or dreams that remain unrealized.

For me, I'm thankful for the incredible support and encouragement that I've received this year from; each of my teammates, the incredible people they have introduced me to, and those of you that have been kind enough to read, comment, participate in our beta program and otherwise contribute to our desire to bring accomplishment tools to the internet.

I first heard the question "What is the gift you hold in exile?" in late 2005 as a small group of us prepared to present a workshop featuring Peter Block. It was in that workshop that a fellow participant revealed that he used to love to draw and paint. He publicly declared that he would resume that practice and refuel his lost passion. I privately declared that I would pursue a long, long desire to play the drums. My son ( now 15 ) and I have been taking music lessons together for over two years now. It's our Tuesday night ritual. This year I decided to start writing publicly, hence this blog.

As we roll out our plans for 2009 I'll keep you posted.

In closing, thanks for reading. I hope; this leads YOU to design a new future from what you're passionate about, that you might share this with others, and most of all ENJOY & PROSPER !!!


© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Photo "Wary Eyes" is © Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. / VisualFountain.com. All rights reserved worldwide.

The question - "What is the gift you hold in exile?" is copyright to Peter Block & Designed Learning, Inc. His books and work are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Define Your Personal Brand...

...or, How To Distance Yourself From The Crowd !
by David Bookout

Is it possible that if you; just got turned down for the job, big sale, or critical funding you were expecting, maybe even counting on - then perhaps you were NOT different enough to stand out from the crowd?

In the coming weeks and months we will be interviewing a variety of people and asking them to share their views about their own personal brand. If you want to be one of these people ( anonymity available ) please let me know.

Sometimes we want to be like others, we just want to fit in. But, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we want to generate distinguishable points between ourselves and others.

The question isn't when, where, how, or why we create these points. The question is - is differentiation enough?

Today, particularly, as the world gets smaller and more competitive, it is becoming more and more difficult to generate differentiation. If you're looking to; get that new job, sell your products and services, or fund a new business idea, then just being a degree of difference apart from your competition may not be enough to separate you in the mind of the decision maker, or makers.

Someone reminded me recently that "people don't quit jobs, they quit bosses", which supports the fact that every business is ONLY as good as the people behind it, and their unique abilities to work effectively on their own, and with other individuals. The point is that at the end of the day we are all just individual contributors regardless of the business structures we find ourselves in.

So, when the ability to achieve your goals, by simply submitting a request, or an application as indicated in the "Fran" cartoon, seems too remote, then this is the time when you must begin to think differently. You must act differently. You must BE different!

Do you have a Personal Brand?

Here's a way to find out:


First, reach out to ten ( 10 ) business associates, and simply ask them FOR THE ONE ( 1 ) WORD THAT THEY would use to describe you. Then, OFFER to give them the one, single word you would use to describe them.

Second, write each result down and look for a common word, or theme.

If there IS NOT ONE ( 1 ) commonly used word, or theme, then the work to do is on the path before you, ENJOY & Please share with others !!!

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The title "Define Your Personal Brand", article, and contents herein, unless otherwise specified in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.


The image shown "What made this guy stand out?", is copyright to the original artist. A request for licensing the use herein has been submitted.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meet the new sales person, Marketing...

...& why you might want to re-think the budget !
by David Bookout

There has been a shift coming for some time, have you noticed? Sales used to be about cold calls, roaming door to door, using lobby phones, inviting people out to lunch, dinners and an occasional box of doughnuts. Not anymore. Today, sales is about the post choice, transactional components of the process; how many, how much, by when, shipping methods, warranties, etc. Everything else, and I mean EVERYTHING is marketing.

According to the American Marketing Association "Marketing" is no longer a “function”, but an integral process that includes every nook and cranny of an organization. Today, marketing is about “information”, both good and bad, that is available 24 X 7 X 365 to anyone with a computer, an internet connection and a friend.

The American Marketing Association's Definition - 2008
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

The American Marketing Association's Definition - 2004
“Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”

This new definition of marketing is more actionable, yet still doesn't really enable direct assessments of increased adoption rates, trial sales, and the ultimate result - repeat transactions. To take this a step further we prefer to say that "Marketing is the act of preparing the listening of another to accept an offer".

Either way, when we begin to think this way, marketing plays a much bigger role in terms of how goods and services get specified and ultimately purchased. But why, then, are the budgets for marketing and sales still reflective of the old model?

To me, this is because few see that Marketing is the new Sales. Fewer still see that Marketing is the best sales person they will ever have…

This is great news for the few small, medium business ( SMB ) owners, executives and managers who are attuned to this vision, and can make effective use of the significant competitive advantage this concept represents.

But now what?

Perhaps your a business owner that doesn’t think from a marketing perspective, and wants to try this on, what do you do?

Here are two relatively simple things that can get you started:

First, define your core offer at its highest level. For example, a school that helps men and women get their state contractors license could be considered to be in the construction industry. But, at a higher level the school really provides knowledge that in turn helps people improve their lives. So, the schools core offer is knowledge. Another example might be a contract manufacturing company that specializes in machining, forming and finishing of sheet metal, and light electro-mechanical assembly. This company also has specific equipment, knowledge and practices that enable this work to be done with very low overall deviation from part to part, and can be done very quickly. Some might say a quick turn machine shop. But, at a higher level the company provides peace of mind relative to the speed and accuracy with which it can produce custom parts and assemblies. A fun exercise you can facilitate with your team is continue to ask – “What is so great about that?” – in an attempt to keep bubbling the conversation upward.

Next, define your touch points. These are the places where your desired audience, prospects, and even customers come in contact with your company. These touch points can be anything from front line phone answering, to websites, faxes, quotes, service calls, invoicing, emails, seminars, trade shows, etc., etc. ALL touch points MUST CONVEY THE CORE OFFER. Period. In our first example, if the school doesn’t provide new student inquiries with enough “knowledge” to make a clear, no pressure decision, they are not living up to their core offer. In the second example, if the company is too slow in the customer’s mind to turn quotes, they can’t be counted on for “speed”, and as such they are not living up to their core offer either. These breaches, while perhaps sounding trivial, essentially break trust, short circuit critical word of mouth referrals, and limit the abilities of your best sales person ever – Marketing – to help you grow your business.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The title "Meet the new sales person, Marketing...", article, and contents herein, unless specified otherwise in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.


The image shown, from the TV series "Mad Men", is either copyright to, or a trademark of AMC TV.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Looking for a signal...

...& how a little bit of market research can go along way!
by David Bookout

For those of you that have seen the movie “Ray”, you might recall the scenes in which Ray Charles feels the wrist of young ladies he has been introduced to. Singer, musician Ray Charles was blind.

Today, we are all a bit blind when it comes to how we are doing relative to fundamental marketing goals, such as; Generating Awareness, Building Interest, Facilitating Trial Sales and Sustaining Repeat Sales.

So, like Ray, we are looking for “signals” from which we can design. But, how do we get those signals? In many cases there simply is no wrist from which to assess the situation, or even check for a pulse. Much has been written over the past several years about the unparalleled power customers now have, and it may seem to owners, executives and managers that are trying to grow businesses, that their desired audience is actually hiding and doesn’t want to reveal themselves.

Customers and members of a company’s desired audience are not the only ones with new powers. Desktop publishing, the internet, eMail, video and a variety of other new ways exist for companies to attempt to “connect” within a variety of venues relatively quickly and easily. But, which is the best?

Ultimately, like Ray, we need to design ways in which we can receive and interpret our own signals to develop a keen sense of how we are doing in our efforts. Within this, a constant effort to really understand your customer’s / desired audience’s concerns, and effectively address them is essential.

From this perspective, here are four ideas to help alleviate some of the dillemas produced by these new found powers; First, figure out “who” your desired audience is. Demographic profiles can be very helpful, and developing customer characterizations can be fun.

Then, spend some time discovering “what” this group, or groups care about. Sometimes it is easier to get this process going by listing what you, and your team know they don’t care about. It is also important here to understand economic drivers and value perceptions.

Follow this by doing some concept testing. Actually ask customers, and members of your desired audience what they think about your message. Include questions that relate to message style and platform. This doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive. You just need to have a few people you can trust, that fit the considered set(s), give you honest answers. You also need to use some common sense. For example, don’t start with your most important customers, and DO NOT SELL in this process. Instead listen, observe, and don’t extrapolate, or “stereotype” what you hear. Most importantly note what people “do”, as this is often different from what they say.

Finally, based on the responses, move the message components; positioning, look, feel, tone and manner, or change the audience demographics until things begin to resonate with what you think is a large enough transaction pool (actual purchasers) to make your financial pro forma work.

Sound daunting? It is a bit of work, but well worth it, and perhaps important to remember that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the carbon filament light bulb on his first try. Instead, he simply designed a way to continue development and assess directional improvements that ultimately led to success.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The title "Looking for a signal...", article, and contents herein, unless specified otherwise in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.


The image of Ray Charles and the name "Ray Charles" are either copyright to ( 2004 ), or a registered trademark of Ray Charles Enterprises, Inc.


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