Marketing: There is a lot of money waiting for you if you can get customer segmentation right

How well do you know your markets? Great, now learn more. Here is a great article that on customer segmentation.  Getting it right is close to being a black-magic-like art.  But it’s an art worth learning because you may already be half way there.

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Product Development: Innovate like Proctor & Gamble

Wow.  I came across an article in Inc. magazine that really impressed me.  It’s written by A.G. Lafley of P&G and the business auther Ram Charan.  It is very, very good and it’s a must read for anyone who understands the need for innovation in companies of all shapes and sizes.

The article walks you through the steps of a hypothetical company with 4m in revenue and 30 employees.  

P&G relies on innovation to drive growth; and, yes, it has developed a very effective arsenal of programs, processes, and techniques to generate ideas andconvert them into revenue. It has no choice. P&G operates in more than 150 countries with 85 on-the-ground operations, and it has 138,000 employees in 21 business divisions. This diversification, complexity, and bureaucracy can become innovation’s enemies. Small companies may seem like backyard swing sets by comparison, but backyard swing sets are where children’s imaginations roam free. In fundamental ways, small companies have significant advantages over large corporations when it comes to innovation. Where small companies generally fall down, however, is in building disciplines around the creation, capture, and execution of new ideas. Most small companies develop from a single great notion, usually the brainchild of a brilliant founder. But entrepreneurs can’t afford to remain the sole font of innovation at their businesses any more than they can remain the sole salesperson. Nor can they rely on the passions of their staff and the mental sparks created when 30 people interact each day in close quarters. Innovation requires work. Workrequires structure. For companies,invention is 1 percent inspiration, 49 percent perspiration, and 50 percent smart routine.

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Product Development: S/he who owns the compiler wins

Are you having a difficult time getting developers to improve your product, webpage, or other customer-facing item?

Start moving in the right direction and stop trying to simply persuade. Instead of making a data-less request, leverage the relevant information below to communicate the need for change. The five data sources below are hard for negate.

  1. Win-loss sales analysis
    • Are you losing valuable business?
    • How many prospects walked away because of the issue?
    • When surveyed, how many responses pointed you in this direction?
  2. Competitive Information
    1. Are your competitors advancing and leaving your product looking shabby?
    2. Get tactile. Print out descriptions, take photos, capture screen shots, and make videos to get the point across.
  3. Customer input
    • Look, there are three ways to get business: finding more customers, current customers renewing, and selling more products to your current customers Two of these three involve your current customers! How many of them want what you’re trying to get done?
  4. Market trends
    • What are the expert’s saying? Print out their insight and get it read.
  5. sales engineering and customer service input
    • For some reason these two groups tend to get a warmer response to their insight than sales people. Don’t ask me why. Survey these groups and find out what they think. Then compile the data and get it read.

They may try to refute your data, but be patient. Developers are inundated with requests just like yours. Once the to-do list gets long, their natural reaction will be to push back at more items. Your reaction would probably be the same!

The silver bullet to getting their buy in by helping them to prioritize the requests from your department.

Start by getting them to look at the items in their queue from your department. If you’re the manager of the department, tell them in what order you’d like the projects (or tasks) to be completed. If you are not the manager of the department, simply prioritize the list and get your manager’s approval.

Whatever you do, don’t be pushy or rude. Remember the golden rule? Say thank you, let them know you appreciate any help they can provide you, and keep the number of requests to a minimum. They’ll appreciate it and you’ll always get what you need, although not always what you want.