Don’t Quit Your Marketing Job! 2 Helpful Tips to Make It Easier

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Big Data, Bluetooth LE, Burnout, Consumer Data, CPG, Digital Coupon, Digital Strategy, iBeacon, innovation, Inspiration, Just For Fun, Leadership, Learning, Retail Disruption, Strategy, Vulnerability | 0 comments

If you are employed anywhere in the art & discipline of marketing, this clip of Kevin Spacey  from American Beauty will resonate with you, to a dangerously close degree (the more so the longer you’ve been in it and the more you are paid). And you may think it is because the space has gone completely insane, and you would be right. I mean, look at this graphic.  LOOK AT IT.  Are you kidding me?  Over 950 companies and it’s not even complete – Catalina Marketing isn’t even on the slide… no brick & mortar commerce is represented in any direct fashion and it’s still intimidating as hell!   It is so easy to feel stupid, inadequate, behind and incompetent.   If you feel that way, it is really, really important for you to know that you are – very likely – the smartest person in the room.  DO NOT LET THE HYPE INTIMIDATE YOU. You’re like the “divergent” ones (if you saw the movie or read the series). The rest of the population – most especially those who are prone to believe the simulations – need you to help figure out what is real and what is not.  The fate of your company, literally, is in your hands if you don’t speak up. Believe in yourself. I know it’s hard. And I also know that if you do the personal accounting, it’s also not actually worth it, but I offer to you anyway…because I believe in you… 2 Tips to Make Your Marketing Job Easier  (in the form of Scenario & Response) …which I hope will encourage you to keep the good fight going  – specifically, the one in your brain that is trying to think for itself and figure it out using logic, reason and strategy: Scenario 1: John “Know-It-All” Doe (client or industry guru or competitior) tries to invalidate you by asking if you if you have heard of a company that you have not heard of but which can do all the things your own company and service cannot do. In 2010 I was the 4th most traveled person at my company, helping to introduce a new digital offering to clients. I was in such high demand because entering into a discussion about digital marketing with their clients made the sales professional feel vulnerable, for very good and logical reasons (these sales people are some of the most impressive individuals I’ve ever met, they aren’t easily intimidated). The client would ask…  “Well, have you heard of company X? They said they could do A, B and C…you guys can only do B” (I paraphrase of course). The salesperson would feel stupid if they didn’t know the...

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I miss long boring meetings!!!

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Burnout, Consulting, Inspiration, Just For Fun, Learning, Sliderpostings | 0 comments

Just this morning I realized that it has been months since I sat through a boring meeting. Contrary to what you might expect, this was not a “good for you Susan” moment. At the time of the realization, I was driving back to my home office after dropping my son off at preschool – mentally ticking off all the things I needed to do, and knowing there was no way in hell it was all going to get done. When I worked full time, for a company, in a real office – I’d often spend the first 30 minutes of every day “un-double/triple-booking” my calendar…so when, exactly, was it that I got all that other “stuff’ done that seemed impossible to knock out now??? Then it hit me – and I probably shouldn’t admit it – but what is not getting done is all the stuff I used to do during long boring meetings! In a long boring meeting, where your presence often seems to be more of a requirement than your  attention, I got a lot of mindless or administrative stuff done. That I am admitting this is horrible – I know – but I also know, based on all of the typing on laptops and phones that is *not* taking of notes – that I am far from the minority. So what’s different for me now and why? I still have a lot of meetings. The problem is, when I have a meeting, my full attention is a requirement. I’m chasing down and exploring thought leadership, and it is intensely interesting to me.  To be at all worthy of the time and attention of the party at the table or on the phone, I must be on my game the whole time.  Not only that, I often need at least 30 minutes after each meeting just to process what I’ve learned and what to do with that new knowledge. Not to mention the benefits of a good nights sleep when you are learning at this pace. By the way, my apologies to all who are waiting for me to get back to you “regarding availability” for a call or a meeting…I’m doing the best that I can, and I really do want to meet…just rest assured that when we finally do get something on the calendar, you will have my full and undivided attention! It’s all very fun and cool, and yet I still worry – am I being more or less productive?  Productivity has always been one of my strongest value points (see the quotes on my bio page?).  If I am less productive, it feels like backwards personal progress. If I am getting fewer things...

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What Corporate America & Middle School Have In Common.

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Burnout, Consulting, Inspiration, Leadership, Learning | 0 comments

In the sixth grade, someone saying “hello” to me in the hallway literally caused me physical pain. At that awkward time in life, all I knew was that it looked dangerous to be noticed. Friends I had seen and known all my life seemed to change overnight – brokering friendships, cattiness and jealousies, hurting each other in ways that seemed way more personal than the relatively superficial neighborhood arguments of our simpler, elementary school years. I didn’t understand it, and because I didn’t understand it – it was scary to me, I withdrew, I participated minimally. So what does that have to do with Corporate America? Well, I have never been able to wrap my brain around the thing called “corporate politics” either. Or – more precisely – as much as I can wrap my brain around it, I could never just accept it as part of the job as I advanced in my career. If it was just about the work, just about making cool stuff happen – I was all over it. My bouncy, genuinely enthusiastic self could skip all over the building working with teams to see and tackle the hard issues and find solutions, with an above average record of success, often exceeding expectations. Then my bouncy, genuinely enthusiastic self would bounce into a senior leadership team meeting and leave completely confounded and demoralized by a debate and a discussion thread that made absolutely no sense at all – even though I knew that I knew my stuff better than anyone else in the room.  It felt like middle school – except this time I couldn’t help but be noticed because of my prior successes and because I was a bit naive. In the early stages of my career (when I wasn’t a threat to anyone), I believed that the only thing that mattered was results, and so I couldn’t give it up – I kept trying. (That results are the only thing that matter is, ultimately, true in all businesses – and that’s why I love it. You’ll find it to be most tangibly true, however, in start ups, thinner margin or high growth businesses.)  In this particular case, I did not withdraw – but very likely, there are brilliant budding young (and old experienced) minds   – with information that you need in order to make good leadership choices  – and they are participating minimally. Even if you ask them directly for their input, they may still decline because of the uncertainty around how it may be received. The reality is that all organizations comprised of human beings have politics, to some degree or another. Organizational politics have some good reasons for being....

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Monday Inspiration

Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Burnout, Inspiration, Leadership, Sliderpostings | 0 comments

You know how they say “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” – well, the same is true for leadership. If you have an exciting, grand vision, that’s only one piece of having an engaged, inspired team. These other things are just as important: Do you employees understand and believe in the vision? Do they know what their role is in making it happen? Do they know that you know it? Are they empowered to apply the best of their expertise or creative thinking – or will they be labeled a trouble maker  – or worse, ignored, for sharing insight better than you or your executive team can comprehend? There are persons on your team who embody a deep wellspring of creativity and potential. Are you creating the kind of culture that will draw them out?  Is your mission, your vision, your culture worthy of their wild and precious life? Susan O’Neal Gear,  founder of Upstream Insight, has over 20 years of experience at the intersection of consumers, marketing and technology. Upstream Insight can help mine your own team for their best contributions, and make sure you and your leadership can hear it and understand it in a way that brings everyone closer in-step. If you want to unlock the passion and potential of your organization – then follow Upstream Insight, contribute your voice, share this post, call us today…do something!   ...

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What is Robinson-Patman and Why Should You Care?

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Burnout, CPG, Digital Coupon, Digital Strategy, Load to Card, Loyalty, Robinson-Patman, Shopper Marketing, Sliderpostings | 0 comments

In 1936 the U.S. Congress passed the Anti-Price Discrimination Act (more commonly referred to as the Robinson-Patman Act). The intent was to prevent unfair price discrimination by requiring that sellers of products offer the same price terms to customers at a given level of trade.  Under the Act, it is illegal for the manufacturer of a product to sell to one retailer for a different price than that retailers similarly sized competitor. Volume discount is one form of price discrimination that is allowed under the law. In fact, as far as I can ascertain, it is the only form of price discrimination allowed by the law – even though one could imagine other reasons a product manufacturer might desire to give a smaller retailer preferable pricing (better store position, positive brand associations, other?). When a retailer qualifies for the lowest (or among the lowest) price from the manufacturer, based on their volume, they can take those discounts and pass them along in the form of a lower price to their customer.  (Note: These “volume discounts” are more commonly referred to as a retailer’s “trade budget” from a given manufacturer and are also often applied to co-marketing and other mutually beneficial applications…but for the point I’m trying to make here, I’m going to continue to refer to this money as a discount to the product price). When a retailer is big enough to be the leading volume seller across many categories, and by a pretty significant margin, as Walmart has been for some time – we call their strategy for winning over price conscious consumers an Every Day Low Pricing Strategy (EDLP). Because of Walmart’s size, it has proven to be a sustainable competitive advantage – made possible primarily thanks to Robinson-Patman. For the price-sensitive consumer, it is hard to beat an EDLP strategy – but combined with other positive attributes, such as a more pleasant shopping experience, supermarkets have had success over the years with the following alternatives: Hi-Lo– Retailer places some high interest items on deep discount and promotes them, enough to draw the consumer into the store, then makes up revenue and profit margin on the other items consumers may pick up in the same trip. All retailers do this to varying degrees, some better than others. BOGO – A form of “Hi-Lo”, BOGO stands for “Buy One Get One Free” and it has been around for a long time. Consumers love it, partially because it involves the word “FREE” (always gets people’s attention) – but also because the consumer value proposition of a BOGO strategy involves low work and high reward…almost as good as EDLP (no couponing, no special cards, few conditions to meet). BOGO as...

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What Meetings Are Like for Engineers

Posted by on Apr 3, 2014 in Burnout, Just For Fun, Learning | 0 comments

Some “almost Friday” humor for you. Someone once told me that SALES was an acronym for “Sell Anything Let Engineering Suffer”. Personally, I’ve always been an engineering wannabe…I hope I’ve never done this to the engineering team? I did get an “estimated time to complete = ∞” answer to a requirements doc once …but I still got it 2 months :-).      ...

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