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Archive for the Leadership Category

Would you rather hire a Professional or an Amateur?

Would you rather hire a Professional or an Amateur?

Would you rather hire a professional or an amateur? That’s like asking, would you rather get the right things done or do you want to waste time and money?
Small businesses struggle with balancing time, money and resources.  Sometimes the thought of hiring a professional is daunting.  It can be an investment of time, energy and (yes!) money.  Think about hiring a professional as an investment.  Is the time, energy and money I spend on this project today going to bring a viable return on investment tomorrow?

Want Better Work from your Agency? Be a Better Client!

Want Better Work from your Agency?  Be a Better Client!

Mark etingPartner

Getting the best work out of a marketing or advertising agency requires work.  Getting better work requires that clients do better work.  Sometimes the relationships between great clients and great agencies look like Pushmi-Pullyu of Dr. Doolittle fame.  Good agency-client relationships are partnerships.  Too often, clients fall into these 3 traps.

1. We Love Whatever You Do (Until You Do It) – These are the clients who insist that “the agency knows best” don’t realize the importance of outlining needs and expectations.  Putting the agency on that kind of pedestal actually sets a low level of low expectations for the agency…. “we’ll take whatever you deliver.”

2. We’ll Know What We Want When We See It –  It is highly unlikely that an agency will meet your needs if you can tell them the who, what, when, where, why and how of the project.  Let’s face it.  These are people who don’t want to spend too much time thinking about the issues at hand.  Agencies are not going to live inside your head.  This is a ‘no win’ scenario for an agency because, if results don’t pan out, it will always be the agency’s fault.

3. We’ll Just Know If We’re Successful – Without objective, measurable goals there can be no success or failure.  If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?  If you don’t agree to goals in advance, it’s too easy to get ‘mission creep’ where the goals increase as the project progresses.  And,without a goal, it’sat  just too easy to say “that didn’t work”.

Good relationships with agencies are partnerships.  Agencies want to be successful … and they want you to be successful as well.  If you want better work from your agency, be a better client.  Here are a few tips from Beloved Brands

Thank You Leadership

Thank You Leadership


Good managers say thank you.  Great leaders figure out how to create teams who are consistently worthy of  praise and appreciation.

We all know that a simple thank you has amazingly powerful impact. So easy… yet so often overlooked. I suppose that’s why Harvard Business Review chose to write an article to emphasize the critical importance of recognition and praise.

I think we should take it one step further. Why don’t we manage, train, and lead our employees to that land of the heartfelt thank you. Our leadership objective should be to educate, mold and transform people into people who earn the blue ribbon, the pat on the back and / or the public accolade.

Most people come to work every day aiming to do a good job (even if my one bad boss didn’t believe that). And most people—and, as a result, most organizations—actually do pretty well. What should they get in return? Cosmetics entrepreneur Mary Kay Ash put it this way: “There are two things people want more than sex and money: recognition and praise.”

Now, I’m not Pollyannaish. My colleagues can vouch for my toughness. But what’s wrong with recognizing a job well done? Why not say thank you more often—and mean it?

via The Two Most Important Words – Harvard Business Review.

If You’re Not Your Own Worst Enemy, Who Will Be?

If You're Not Your Own Worst Enemy, Who Will Be?

15875809_sOne of the most dangerous things you can do in business is to fall in love with yourself.  You sit behind your desk and pat yourself on the back.  You’re just so smart.  You know it all.  Isn’t it true that no one else really understands the business as well as you do.  Isn’t it true that your competitors just copy everything you do?   Isn’t it insane how ignorant your customers are?   Ahhhh!  You are the font of knowledge… the queen of all that is good… the all-seeing and all-knowing.  HA!

Right about now is when the sky opens up and the supreme order of life showers rolling gales of laughter upon your kingdom.  The harsh reality is that you are not your business.  Your business cannot sustain itself without a network of employees, partners, customers, and competitors.  It’s your relationship to this network that truly differentiates your business potential. Do you respect them?  Are you willing and able to learn from them?  Are you able to read between the lines and develop insights into the market?  Are you create enough to weave new solutions from your learning?

Once you start thinking you are the infallible genius who predetermines the success of your company, your industry and your customers you open the door to a slippery slope.  But, here’s the harsh reality.  The next great idea will not spring forth from inside a walled off mind.  The seeds of that next great idea are likely to come from your customers or employees.  Or perhaps it’ll come from a competitor or a completely different business.  Maybe it’ll come from that movie you saw over the week-end or a trek through a local park.  The most genius thing you can do is to open your thinking to the world.

Don’t think that you know it all.

Don’t believe that you are the best at what you do.

Don’t think that you’re the only one who can do what you do.

Don’t believe your own press releases.

DO keep an open mind.

Gut Decisions Drive Innovation

Gut Decisions Drive Innovation


I worked in the camera business when all cameras used film. And then the change began. A handful of digital camera prototypes were showcased under glass at trade shows to demonstrate the ‘new era’ of photography. Although tech lovers were intrigued, market research clearly demonstrated that the general market didn’t think much about this new concept and wouldn’t consider buying a digital camera. And so, our corporate headquarters decided it would be too risky to bring a digital camera to market … and that we’d sit this one out. Most of our competitors did as well.

Fortunately there were a couple of passionate visionaries at the company who trusted their gut. They courageously put the wheels in motion and, soon we were one of the first manufacturers to offer a digital camera for sale. That vision eventually resulted in a billion dollar global business that has maintained its innovative edge for the past 15 years. If we had played it safe and let the numbers guide our every action we would never have gained our position as a market thought leader.

And as I look back, I realize that Mr. Jobs didn’t focus on research or big data. The focus was imagining a customer experience that was bigger and better than the experience they imagined for themselves.

A recent McKinsey study outlines four criteria for good gut decisions – familiarity, feedback, emotional memory and personal interest. McKinsey goes on to explain that most decisions are, in fact, swayed by emotion. It influences the options we analyze, our framing of situations and the rationalization of final decisions.

In this way, gut decisions infiltrate even the most metric-driven, process-rationalized decision making. Now, I’m not bashing metrics… I love numbers. I revel in the slicing, dicing and reading between the lines of meaningful market data and anecdotal information. But,often a solid, well-founded gut decision is the start of something big.

Marketers should live and breathe their products, their markets and their customers. Vision and passion, combined with deep market knowledge and the courage of your gut, is the stuff that feeds those big, juicy, innovative ideas.

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What Are People Saying?

I have had the pleasure of working for Susan on several assignments. One of her main strengths is her creativity and the unique talent to provide proper direction and vision to her vendors when contemplating a new project.   Although not necessary, she always found the time to pass along praise to our workforce when we went the extra mile. A true rarity these days.

Doug Robertson

How We Can Help You.

We are marketing consultants based on Long Island, NY. Over the past 20 years, we've built fierce market leaders in a broad range of businesses - from tiny start-ups to global Fortune 500 companies.  Our experience spans multiple industries from consumer electronics to financial services and from food services to photo.  We're looking forward to talking to you to see how we can help take your business to the next level.