Your Best Customer


Do you know your best customer?  Do you know where they shop?  Where they gather?  Where they play?  What influences them?


Knowing your best customer (not the customer off the street) is the most important marketing information you can have.  Focusing on your best customer is the quickest way to increase your sales.  It is through your best customer that you have access to their network of friends and their rampant word of mouth that can drive dramatic increases in sales.  


Just think Apple and look at their product launches.  That success is driven by a core focus that surely adheres to the following guidelines:


- Run an aggressive sales incentive program.  Aggressive in terms of announcing the existence of the incentive program as well as its rewards. Start talking about a new product launch with your sales people months before the new product arrives.  Keeping your salespeople in the loop builds stronger loyalty with your sales force. And announce the sales incentive early as well.  This will enable sales staff to build enthusiasm with your best customers early. Sales incentive effectiveness is based on the enthusiasm that the company creates for the program – think Starbucks’ launch of VIA.  The best programs are simple and attainable.


- Provide your customers with "behind the curtain” information. Last week I went into my local drug store to purchase some envelopes. When I got to the cashier, he informed me that this was a two-for-one special.  I went back to pick up another box of envelopes and only then noticed the two-for-one sales going on around the store.  My initial intention to purchase one box of envelopes turned into a multi-purchase of a number of items.  And yes the first thing I did after I left the store was tell others about the sale.


-Tier your customers.  Not every customer is the same.  Know your best customers, communicate with your best customers, provide them extra value, from simply knowing their name to offering a customer reward program. Treat your best customers differently from all other customers.


-Treat your internal and your external customers with great care.  Your internal customer is anyone that you come into contact with who works for the company. Getting a paycheck is no longer reward enough for doing the job.  Treat your internal staff in the same way you would treat your best customer (because they are).  And then create programs that enable you to separate your best customer from someone off the street.


Yes We Can

As a nation we rallied to this cry just two summers ago.  And where are we today...embroiled in complex issues both inside our country and worldwide.  List just five of the many critical issues facing America and one finds it hard to rally around "Yes We Can."

- BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico

- War in Iran and Afghanistan

- Iranian nuclear ambitions

- Health care and financial reform

- Childhood obesity

And yet we have no choice; we either get on the "Yes We Can" rocket ship or we accept our own personal depressed state.  And what does this rocket ship look like?  It looks like us.  Each of us as individuals doing what we can to make this a better world to live in.  We have to stop thinking that others will lead us to the land of "Yes We Can."  We need to look inside of ourselves and ask what kind of world do we want to be living in?  What kind of world do we want for our children?  And then we need to act on the local level, in the areas where we have direct influence, to make it happen.

Find a cause that you are passionate about.  A cause that you feel will make this a better world.  Find an outlet for that passion, in your building, on your block, in your neighborhood, in your city, in your work life and/or your personal life and then act on that passion.  Act with truth, honesty and authenticity.  If we increase passionate acts of good deeds we can make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

Take action today.

Looking Through the Windshield

Pricing Strategy.  Distribution Strategy.  Production Strategy.  These are key areas that take up a great deal of our time.  And what time is left goes to Human Strategy — the endless human relations issues that this new economy is generating.  And in the end we find ourselves hard-pressed to find the appropriate time to be thinking about our brand and the marketing opportunities to build our brand.  As we look into the future we see several areas that require our attention for success.


Storytelling.  Now this is not a new idea.  And unless you want to be spending more and more time in pricing meetings, your story needs more attention.  Your brand is your story.  Your story should be a key differentiator in the marketplace.  Play with your story, fine tune your story, get customers to feed back on your story.  Then get your final story out there, and pay attention to keeping it out there.


Conversation Distribution Strategy.  This is all about your customer network.  All about the new adaptive marketing place we can thrive in.  Do you know your customer network — on and off-line?  Where they gather to talk about you?  And how are you surprising them with your story?


Data.  Data.  Data.  Does this really need any discussion?  The question is not about data; it is about how you are using the data to inform future decisions. 


App Store Economy.  The handheld devices that will be spilling out into the future are the keys to future business success.  Who in your company is thinking about this?  Who in your company is experimenting in this area?  Don't worry about being successful here. Worry about not taking enough risks and learning about the future of your business.


MMS — Marketing Meeting Strategy.  Engage your team about the future.  Break up your normal tactical meetings and ask a question about the future.  Then sit back and see the magic unfold.  And if it does not unfold, you need a new marketing team.

It Ain't Over...Yet!


Are we at war?  Yes there are military wars going on all around the world, but is there a larger "war" taking place.  There must be; I feel like an embattled warrior, fighting each day for survival.  Some days I feel like I am winning and on other days I feel like it is all slipping away. 


The real winners in this battle must be the pharma companies with their ongoing sales gains in drugs to medicate us against all that is going on around us.


Does my age add to this battle perspective?  Has time spent building, creating, inspiring, pushing, pulling, tired me out?  Tired our country out?  


Has the unraveling of America over the past 24 months added to my battle fatigue?  Each day we are bombarded by ongoing negative economic news.  Is this an attack by the media, or is it a reflection of the reality of greed and corruption that is taking place in America?


Is change possible?  Or are we too emotionally rooted to the past to plan for the future using the cracked rear-view mirror.


I refuse to see anything but victory ahead.  I refuse to see anything but opportunity ahead.  We are on this planet a very short time, and we must be contributing to the world we are passing on — positively.  We as individuals must create, inspire, and lead successfully from within.  We must work everyday to speak honestly and act authentically. 


I want to participate in making sure we are passing on a gift to the future.