Blog

October 2011 - PS Insights

THE UNWANTED SALES CALL

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We’ve all made the mistake of answering our phones and getting a sales call. Many of us have trouble disengaging and getting off the call. We don’t want to be rude, but we don’t want the sales pitch, either. The simplest way out is to utter these four words – “Thank you very much,” and hang up.

INTELLIGENCE WITHOUT INSIGHT

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Increasingly, we’re having conversations with key people who have great intelligence and a wealth of knowledge – and not a clue about what’s important and what isn’t. Huge amounts of accessible data are leading to information overload with fewer and fewer people taking the time to sort through and ask the critical questions: “What’s important?” and “What do I do with it?”

CONSUMER REPORTED PERCEPTION

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We got some interesting pushback last week about our Maytag blog. One of our readers pointed out that Consumer Reports has been giving Maytag low ratings for years. In fact (he wrote), Maytag’s reputation is a result of their marketing, not their quality. The goal (as marketers) is to have both: high quality and high marketing impact. Do you achieve both?

30,000 FEET

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Paul shared a speaking engagement some time ago with a very inspirational and well known speaker. His ideas were interesting, provocative and highly theoretical. After both of the talks, Paul commended him with a backhanded compliment. He said, “You focus on ideas at 30,000 feet. I focus on landing the plane.” Both are valuable. But landing the plane is what works in the marketplace. How do you balance inspiration and perspiration?

BAN FUN

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Early on, Nickelodeon banned the word “fun” from their building, their business and all marketing materials. Their reasoning was that “fun” should be at the root of everything they do, that the word, for them, was generic, neither descriptive nor differentiating.  What words do you use in characterizing your business that are non-differentiating? It’s lazy speak and dangerous. Always look to take your business and brand to a higher level – in positioning and performance.

DIFFERENT vs BETTER

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The hardest thing a manager has to learn is to ask herself the question, “Will the change I’m about to ask for make this better. . .or just different?” Micromanagers ALWAYS think more about the change than the improvement. Smart managers pick their battles – and have a clear reason why they think a suggested change will improve the work. Better is always, well, better. But think about the difference and then think twice before asking for changes for change’s sake.

WASHERS AND DRYERS

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We love these appliances. Maytag gave us the confidence that they can last forever. In a world of obsolescence where technology’s half life seems to be getting shorter and shorter, washing and drying is an outpost of reliability. What do you do that extends consistent reliability and has the track record to prove it?