What’s Going Wrong Here?

justiceisblindBack in September of last year I posted about Quinn Emanuel and their willingness to help their prospective customers understand the value of working with the firm with what I thought was a great headline. Back then their claim was 90%.

Recently the headline has changed to a win rate of 88.4%. Are they hiring “B” players now? Are they losing a lot more cases now? Doesn’t look good, though I may be the only one who noticed the drop. (I am also of the belief that when they started running this campaign, it was closer to a 95% win rate.)

One of the problems with “benchmarks” is they can come back to haunt you. Even though their win rate is still very impressive, it is moving in the wrong direction. One wonders why?



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The Power of Focus

focusshareableI have written several posts on the power of focus. (Just use the category tab on the right to find them.) My friend and professor David R. Palmer always said, “There is no company that cannot improve its results, by narrowing its focus.” This is true of large companies and small ones.

P&G, which I noted was reorganizing its marketing back to the 1950s, has also decided to drop more than half of its brands to narrow its focus to improve its results.

If you want to improve your results, narrow your focus.


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Process Observations on Cab Lines

Some airports in the US have long cab lines. Las Vegas and JFK come to mind. In Las Vegas the line exists simply because so many people fly in and need cabs that the capacity to fill them is the constraint. The same is true at JFK. Turns out Newark, NJ (EWR) also has a cab line but for a different reason.

In Las Vegas, the goal of the cab dispatcher is to get people into cabs as fast as possible so visitors are not frustrated by the wait and to get visitors to their hotels so they can start stimulating the Vegas economy. In JFK I’m not sure the goal is to minimize frustration, but they do seem focused on getting people into cabs.

At EWR, the goal of the dispatchers seems to be to prove they are in charge. Their process slows down the cab line, frustrating both the cab drivers and the passengers, but does assure that the dispatcher is in charge.

Every process is perfectly constructed to produce the results it does. If you are not getting the results you want from your process, we recommend you look at the process first, not the people. Though at EWR and the cab dispatch process, we may have found an exception to the rule.


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How Can You Call Yourself A CMO If This Is True?

customerretentionThe title of Chief Marketing Officer is controversial. Some who hold it think it is insufficient. Others who hold it are really just the Chief Marketing Communications Officer (CMCO). People who hold the position often state that the position gets no respect and up until recently the average tenure of the CMO was less than two years. (I have written several posts about the CMO and you can read them by using the CMO category if you are so inclined.)

I am however, always amazed at what others write about CMOs in all seriousness. The latest is an article entitled “Customer Service Is Your CMO’s Blind Spot.” The article cites three key areas within customer service that he has found are deficient in many CMOs. I have no reason to disbelieve him, I am just stunned that anyone who seriously considers themselves to be the Chief Marketing Officer (as opposed to the Chief Marketing Communications Officer) would be blind-sided by any of these … ever.

He notes meetings he has attended where the CMO and the head of customer service are just finally meeting for the first time. How can that possibly be true unless one of them just joined the company in the last week?

He talks about how customer service has to deliver on the brand. Duh, how can a competent CMO not know that, and not make sure that is happening? Really, CMOs don’t already know this? If that’s true, no wonder the position gets little respect in the C-Suite.

Am I expecting too much in your opinion?


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Pricing for Profit

restaurantSubstantial research and evidence exists to show that people are irrational about prices … and predictably irrational. Another study, this time in the hospitality industry, demonstrates this fact. Cornell University did a research study on menu pricing in restaurants. The key findings of the study include:

“The researchers cite a case where the names of restaurant menu items were changed to make them more exotic: The seafood filet, for example, became “succulent Italian seafood filet,” and red beans and rice became “Cajun red beans and rice.”

Sales of these renamed items with descriptions rose by 28% and were rated as tastier, even though the recipes before and after were identical. What’s more, diners were also willing to spend an average of 12% more for a menu item with a fancy name.”

The researchers found other interesting correlations as well. The point for all is that price is highly controllable by you and it is likely you are under-pricing your goods or services. Further, some simple actions on your part could gain you higher prices, increased sales and more profit, while leaving your customers happier. Sounds like a win-win to me.

What experiences have you had?


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Now P&G Reorganizes … Back to the 1950s

Several years ago we noted that the 1950s definition of Marketing was mostly in alignment with how we see Marketing; and that what has happened over the intervening years has in fact diminished the role of Marketing to one of marketing communications … mostly.

Proctor and Gamble (P&G) announced a return to a 1950s Brand Management structure and the elimination of the “marketing” titles. They are not eliminating Marketing, just the marketing titles. If one looks carefully at the responsibilities of the “new” Brand Management function, one can easily see a direct parallel to how they were organized in the 1950s.

To us it is a good sign that major companies are moving back to a true Marketing function (no matter what they call it). Marketing is the source of competitive advantage today.


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Disruptive Innovation From Microsoft

microsoftlogoMicrosoft recently announced the biggest restructuring in their history (the metric is number of people laid off in this case). 18,000 people are going to lose their jobs as part of the Nokia merger. However, to me that was not really the most shocking news, but then I don’t work there and no one I know is part of the 18,000 either.

Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, made the statement that Microsoft was now going to focus on breakthrough innovations? Really? That would be a culture shift of major proportion from my vantage point.

Breakthrough innovations, by definition, reset the industry standard. When has Microsoft done that? One could argue that Windows did that, but a windows based operating system was not by any means a breakthrough when Microsoft introduced it, and given their dominate market share, they are the standard. So, for Mr. Nadella to state the Microsoft was going to focus on breakthrough innovation is a shock to me.

Maybe he can make that happen. Personally I doubt it. What do you think?


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