What Makes A Good CMO or Marketing Leader?

value1My friend Laura Patterson conducts an annual Marketing Performance Management benchmark study. The current study represented their 15th annual study. After each study, Laura usually writes summary articles for publication on some of the interesting things they found.

A recent article published by MarketingProfs, “Secure Your CEO as a Marketing Champion by Focusing on These Four Area” discusses some of the findings. (I did not link to the article because unless you are a member of MarketingProfs the article won’t open.)

In this article, Laura notes that this year’s study identified three marketing personas  and how the C-Suite values each of them. She calls the personas Value Creators, Sales Enablers, and Campaign Producers. She notes that Marketing leaders (including CMOs) can fall into any one of these three categories. The question is, which is most valued by the C-Suite?

As you might expect, it’s the Value Creators. These Marketing leaders focus on producing results  for outcomes that matter and creating value for customers and the business. As we say in our book, Value Acceleration, “Marketing’s job is to align the capabilities of the company with the current and future needs of the customer.” Value creation.

Sales Enablers focus on today in support of revenue. Necessary but not sufficient to truly be what we refer to as Marketing.

Campaign Producers focus on the “back-end” of Marketing, and score the lowest in terms of value to the company from the C-Suite.

Given that Marketing Professor Philip Kotler states that the most leverage Marketing can provide is before the product or service is produced, it should be no surprise that true, highly valued, Marketing leaders focus on the value creation in its entirety.


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You Are Actually Paid To Think, Not Just Read A Script

alaskaairlineslogoI have had the chance to fly Alaska Airlines several times recently and find them to be better than average in terms of service provided by their people. (They have been voted the #1 US  airline by travelers several years in a row.)

However, they did give me an opportunity to remind myself, and others, that we need to think before we blindly read a script.

I arrived in San Jose the other day on my Alaska Airlines flight. We were about an hour late due to “unavoidable” delays. As we approached the gate, the flight attendant made her gate arrival announcement. Included in that announcement was a corporate copywriter’s content noting that Alaska Airlines has the best on-time record of US airlines. Nice to hear, but who really cares when your flight is an hour late?

Had the flight attendant been thinking rather than just reading, she might have caught the irony and mentioned it. She didn’t … unfortunately.

Problems happen in all businesses. It’s what your front line people do when they happen that can make the real difference to your customers.


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How To Grow Revenue: WOOD Radio Interview

I was interviewed on WOOD Radio in Michigan about using Marketing to grow revenue. It’s about a 35 minute interview as the commercials were removed. Apologies for the slurred “s” words due to the connection.

Given it a listen.


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Keys To Trade Show Success

I recently spoke at the IMTS Exhibitor workshop. After my speech, I was interviewed on IMTS TV about improving your success at trade shows.

You can watch the 8 minute interview.


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Find Out How Your Customers Really Feel

bathroomsurveyCustomer surveys range from the simple Ultimate Question, to highly in-depth, multi-question surveys. The validity of any of these approaches is suspect. Just like political surveys are proving inaccurate much of the time, customer surveys are likewise. If you want valid customer feedback, what might you do?

Many types of unobtrusive observational techniques are being developed, and “experts” don’t lack for opinions. The issue is getting the “truth” from a valid sample. As we know, the valid sample is the tough part, especially when those who love you and those who hate you are the most likely respondents; and they don’t represent the majority of the customer base. And, of course, their average is meaningless.

I have seen now two effective approaches. The first is pictured above. It was placed outside the public restroom at an airport I recently visited. Simple, quick, timely feedback that is easy to understand. While I have no idea how many responses they get, I suspect it is meaningful.

The other one I saw a several years ago in a fast food restaurant. After you ordered your food, the only way you could turn to exit the line/counter was in the direction of a wall. On the wall was a red phone. A sign above the phone read: “This phone is connected to the owner. If there is something I should know about your experience today, please pick up the phone and tell me.”

Sometimes simple feedback is the best feedback.


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Brick and Mortar Suicide Continues … Unabated

loweslogoThis topic is, unfortunately, a common theme for me (just do a search of the blog). It seems retailers have become so focused on getting better deals from their suppliers that they are forgetting that if they don’t actually sell something, those deals won’t matter.

Last night we went to Lowe’s to buy a new dishwasher. Yes, we went to buy one. Didn’t, but wanted to. Why didn’t we buy one? They had plenty on display; lots of options; good prices; delivery and installation; remove and take away our old one. Trouble was they didn’t have anybody to sell us one.

Yep, nobody staffed the appliance department. Lowe’s has a clever device that if you need help in a department and no one is there, you can push a button and an associate will show up. Did that about 10 times, nobody showed up. I finally went up front to ask and was told the appliance person was on “dinner break” for at least another 30 minutes. Seriously. So, no store manager or assistant manager to back that person up? Guess not. We left. During our 20 minutes in the department I saw at least 15 other people looking. Not sure they were there to buy, but they certainly were shopping.

The one good thing that came out of the adventure is that we had to drive by Cold Stone on the way home, so I bought some ice cream. Not a totally wasted trip.

Seriously Lowe’s, maybe if you spent less time hammering your manufacturers and more time running retail stores well, you’d make more money and have less “reason” to whine about the online merchants “stealing” your business. Stealing isn’t necessary when you simply give it away. What exactly are you “improving” these days?


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Now, That’s How It’s Done

siriuslogoLast year I posted about Hertz’s campaign to get you to rent cars with Sirius XM radio when they can’t determine how to offer it consistently. That situation has not changed. They still promote it, and they still can’t be sure it is active in the car. Frustrating.

Turns out National Car Rental has solved the problem. Not sure why Hertz can’t solve it the same way, but then that’s not really my problem. How does National solve it? Simple, grab a car from the Emerald Aisle with Sirius radio installed. Upon leaving the lot, they will activate the Sirius radio in your car. 5-10 minutes later (max) you have active Sirius XM. Simple, smart and customer focused.

My only issue with National on this whole approach is that they don’t tell you that’s how it works unless you ask.


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