April 2nd, 2012 | Uncategorized |
By Paul H. Schoemaker / Inc.com
In the beginning, there was just you and your partners. You did every job. You coded, you met with investors, you emptied the trash and phoned in the midnight pizza. Now you have others to do all that and it’s time for you to “be strategic.”
Whatever that means.
If you find yourself resisting “being strategic,” because it sounds like a fast track to irrelevance, or vaguely like an excuse to slack off, you’re not alone. Every leader’s temptation is to deal with what’s directly in front, because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if you do that, you put your company at risk. While you concentrate on steering around potholes, you’ll miss windfall opportunities, not to mention any signals that the road you’re on is leading off a cliff.
This is a tough job, make no mistake. “We need strategic leaders!” is a pretty constant refrain at every company, large and small. One reason the job is so tough: no one really understands what it entails. It’s hard to be a strategic leader if you don’t know what strategic leaders are supposed to do.
After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what’s required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well:
Most of the focus at most companies is on what’s directly ahead. The leaders lack “peripheral vision.” This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. To anticipate well, you must:
- Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry
- Search beyond the current boundaries of your business
- Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better
“Conventional wisdom” opens you to fewer raised eyebrows and second guessing. But if you swallow every management fad, herdlike belief, and safe opinion at face value, your company loses all competitive advantage. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill you must force yourself to:
- Reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes
- Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own
- Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions
Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, the temptation is to reach for a fast (and potentially wrongheaded) solution. A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:
- Seek patterns in multiple sources of data
- Encourage others to do the same
- Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously
Many leaders fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” You have to develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to:
- Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter
- Balance speed, rigor, quality and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers
- Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views
Total consensus is rare. A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off, you need to:
- Understand what drives other people’s agendas, including what remains hidden
- Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it’s uncomfortable
- Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support
As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by. You have to do what you can to keep it coming. This is crucial because success and failure–especially failure–are valuable sources of organizational learning. Here’s what you need to do:
- Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
- Shift course quickly if you realize you’re off track
- Celebrate both success and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight
Do you have what it takes?
July 15th, 2011 | digital marketing |
78% of Internet users conduct product research online.
Your website stands a good chance of being a prospect’s “first impression.” That also means your new business card isn’t a business card—it’s Google.
In the past year, Web-based email usage dropped a staggering 59% among 12-17 year olds, who prefer to communicate via text, instant messaging, and social networks.
Web-based email usage has been on the decline among ALL Internet users under the age of 55.
78% of business people use their mobile device to check email.
So that means pretty much everybody that can check email on a mobile device, does. Is your email newsletter optimized for mobile devices?
40% of US smartphone owners compare prices on their mobile device while in-store, shopping for an item.
Is your business website optimized for mobile devices? If not, you may be missing out on hundreds of sales opportunities.
200 Million Americans have registered on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list.
That’s 2/3 of the country’s citizens.
91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted-in to.
We’re getting savvier with technology and less patient with unwanted solicitations. And it’s just so easy to hit ‘delete’.
84% of 25-34 year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.
57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog.
Finally, some good news! Blogging is good. Intrusive ads are bad.
41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.
Facebook is useful for B2B AND B2C companies.
The number of marketers who say Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business has increased 83% in just 2 years.
Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic.
The more you blog, the more pages Google has to index, and the more inbound links you’re likely to have. The more pages and inbound links you have, the higher you rank on search engines like Google—thus the greater amount of traffic to your website. Blogging is good.
Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing.
The average outbound lead costs $373. The average inbound lead costs $143.
Orginally posted by Marta Kagan
January 1st, 2011 | Infographics |
I’m a big fan of infographics. You can usually learn a lot from them and help decide what’s best for you and your business. Hear’s one to start the new year, I found some interesting notes from this recent US study:
- Facebook has over 500 million users while Twitter has over 100 million (both are growing significantly and have recently surpassed these numbers)
- Only 25% of Twitter users follow a brand vs. 40% of Facebook users BUT;
- Twitter users are more likely than Facebook users to purchase from the brands they follow
- 76% of Twitter users are college educated vs. 40% of Facebook users
Do you utilize either or both of these platforms to market your business? If so, which gives you better results based on your efforts?
Infographic courtesy of: Digital Surgeons
October 25th, 2010 | Blogs |
E-marketer just published a report showing that approximately 34% of US corporations are now blogging. This is a significant jump from 16% just three years ago. Although there are a number of advantages to blogging, below is a list of key benefits:
Blogging gives the brand an ability to disseminate information to the public. It can serve as a reference point when the public wants to investigate more about the brand and it’s product. Key executives can inform the public of the company’s future plans and recent developments. Like Twitter and Facebook, the comment section of the blog allows the public to voice their complaints or approval of the company and its product(s). The comments section allows the company to respond in this somewhat controlled environment.
Writing a blog helps the company build content. This content helps increase the organic indexing of the throughout the numerous search engines. Including pictures and videos can assist with optimizing blog as well. An optimized blog will help bring in more traffic as it climbs the organic search ranking.
Increase Site Traffic
If posts are consistent, relevant, and informative, people will continue to come back for more. You can encourage people to subscribe to your RSS feed or sign up to your e-mail newsletters. Bottom line blogging will increase site traffic.
There are many more benefits of blogging such as lead generation, customer service, and brand marketing. Every day more and more companies are realizing the value of blogs and are increasing their use.
Are you blogging? If so, please post your blog (company or personal) in the comments section below.
September 15th, 2010 | Mobile Marketing |
A recent study by eMarketer reports that US mobile phone penetration will reach 80% by 2011. That means over 246 million people will have mobile phones throughout the country. Nielsen predicts that smartphones (iPhone, Droid, EVO, etc) will be in the hands of half of US mobile users by the end of Q3 2011.
If you’re not already incorporating mobile marketing into your plans here are a few reasons why you should:
Studies show that one of the main reasons people follow brands is to hear about bargains. Companies like Starbucks are experimenting with aggressive tactics. Through their Starbucks Card Mobile application, customers can pay for coffee in the shop with their phone. The initial tests saw a 60% redemption rate.
More Advanced Location Based Deals
Location based networks are increasing exponentially every day. Since the launch of Facebook Places, current market leaders Foursquare, Gowalla, and Booya have all recorded significant user growth. Brands like MTV are realizing how to use these networks to their advantage like this year’s VMA contest.
Higher Consumer Engagement
Consumers give you permission to communicate to them on a personal level. You can run a SMS campaign and gather additional information including their mobile number and email address. This allows you to continue your conversation with the consumer through two methods communication thus increasing your chances of engagement.
Increasing Demand For Mobile Content
Increased ownership of smart devices (including iPad and other tablet devices) is driving mobile internet growth. Users’ mobile activities consume a lot of data rich content such as accessing social networks, mobile games, listening to music, and streaming video.
If your consumers are moving more towards digital why aren’t you joining them?
September 1st, 2010 | Case Studies |
I’m sure you guessed by now this is the about the Old Spice campaign that was launched in January. Even though you’re probably tired of it, the results and this case study are very impressive.
Feel free to send me any other case studies you think are impressive.