Hands, minds, and hearts

December 31, 2010

“Most managers, unfortunately, perceive new ideas as problems — especially if the ideas are not their own. More often than not, managers don’t pay enough attention to the ideas of the people around them. They say they want innovation. They say they want “their people” to do something different. But they do precious little to support their subordinates in their efforts to do so. More commonly, they foist their own ideas on others and can’t figure out why things aren’t happening faster.

That’s not how change happens. If people are only acting out somebody else’s ideas, it’s only a matter of time before they feel discounted, disempowered and just plain dissed. People are more than hired hands; they are hired minds and hearts, as well. … If you want to empower people, honor their ideas. Give them room to challenge the status quo. Give them room to move — and, by extension, move mountains. Why? Because people identify most with their ideas.” – Read article


Washington catches the prize fever

December 31, 2010

“Washington is catching prize fever. Back in September, the federal government created Challenge.gov, a platform for federal agencies to run Netflix Prize-style competitions. And yesterday Congress passed the America COMPETES Act, which codified the running of prizes by federal agencies. … The competitions aren’t only limited to “point solution” prizes–like the Netflix Prize or the X Prize, both of which seek very specific outcomes. They can also be “exposition prizes,” the Act says, which help “identify and promote” ideas that otherwise might not get a lot of attention and that will help accelerate the ideas by businesses or other institutions.” – Read article

Ax the fax and socialize your business cards

December 30, 2010

4 ways to transform your employees into social-media marketers

Ax the fax and socialize your business cards. When was the last time someone interacted with you (or your company) via fax? So why is a fax number still a standard component of business cards while social-media outlets are omitted? It just makes sense. Your staff are leaving behind their business cards at conferences and meetings, so including a link to a blog, a company Twitter account or Facebook page provides potential customers or clients with a meaningful way to interact with your brand. All of the above also applies to your employees’ e-mail signatures. Present your staff with a template, complete with all appropriate social outposts — and watch your network grow.” – Read article

1 in 7 Americans rely on food stamps

December 30, 2010

“The number of food stamp recipients increased 16% over last year. This means that 14% of the population is now living on food stamps. That’s about 43 million people, or about one out of every seven Americans. n some states, like Tennessee, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oregon, one in five people are receiving food stamps. Washington, D.C. leads the nation, with 21.5% of the population on food stamps. … The U.S. government considers food stamps to be effective stimulus for the economy, because the recipients usually spend them right away.” – Read article

Analytics and Monkey

December 30, 2010

“Thanks to online tools like Google Analytics or Survey Monkey, it’s easier than ever to capture frequent customer input. But are you interpreting it properly? If the survey results indicate widespread variance, the more important it is to pinpoint the sub-segment clusters. By using the principles behind well-established marketing analysis (especially cluster and conjoint analysis), and grouping results in ranges (e.g. consumers comfortable spending between X and Y, versus those in the Y to Z range), any entrepreneur can get a solid pulse of a customer base. He can then consider the pattern differences among these groups, and adjust his pricing strategy to his consumers’ product feature preferences, or their likely willingness to spend.” – Read article

Corporate profits and stock prices are up. So why isn’t anyone hiring?

December 30, 2010

“Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn’t anyone hiring? Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.  … The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. “There’s a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy,” says Scott [Robert Scott, The Economic Policy Institute]” …

American jobs have been moving overseas for more than two decades. In recent years, though, those jobs have become more sophisticated — think semiconductors and software, not toys and clothes. And now many of the products being made overseas aren’t coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil.” – Read article

The “average” adult has one breast and one testicle

December 30, 2010

“There’s no such thing as an average customer. … roughly 50 percent of the world’s citizens loves hot tea, while the other 50 percent prefers iced tea. Wouldn’t it make sense to manufacture a lukewarm tea that everyone is guaranteed to like? … Still, companies often make the mistake of developing products and features to appeal to the mean. They pore over aggregate results and aggregate averages.

What they should be doing is disaggregating the drivers of these results, and focusing instead on who, or what, comprises those averages. The key to any successful customer-driven strategy is to understand the dynamic sub-segments that make up the average, and then develop the right products, the right prices, and the right go-to-market plans for each of those sub-segments.” – Read article