Working on the final results from our annual Pragmatic Marketing survey and working through the verbatims for some great nuggets.
This company needs fewer politicians and more workers.
The nice thing about our company strategy is that there are so many to choose from.
Our VP of Marketing is an evil witch.
Thanks for all the fish.
Strategy without execution is illusion. But execution without strategy is chaos!
Strategy is less about choosing what you will do, and more about choosing what you will not do.
But the most common comment for the company president is: FOCUS!
I bought a new MacBookPro and considered buying a new monitor to go with it. I found that Apple offers... ONE MONITOR. That's all. Pick any size you want as long as it's 27". Amazing. And I think it's great! Maybe the reason that Apple is sitting on a load of cash is that they sell lots of a few things instead of a little of many things.
How many monitors, printers, routers, accessories are available from other vendors? Maybe they need some focus too.
This is the elevator panel in my hotel. Top button is '3', middle is '2' (the main floor), bottom isn't basement or '1', it's ALARM. I wonder how many times people hit the alarm to go to the main floor.
My hotel has a Sony Dream Machine. I never use a hotel alarm clock. But for some reason, the maid or prior occupant set the alarm for 0600. So at 6am, the alarm--which I did not set--started blaring. The first time I ever used this product was when it was shrieking at me, I've been pulled from a deep sleep, I don't have my glasses on yet. After figuring out what was happening (it's not a fire alarm, for example), I struggled to find something that said OFF or STOP or SHUT UP! Ultimately I unplugged it from the wall. I still don't know how to turn off the alarm.
Understanding the user persona means understanding usage. How often is the product used? Where and when? Is the persona a frequent or infrequent user? A power user or novice? This alarm clock might be perfect for a home application (as long as the owner reads the manual) but it's not appropriate for a hotel. If Sony is pushing these on hotels as a promotion, the promotion will likely fail. At least, I've learned I never want to buy one.
Buttons, door handles, credit card scanners. Design choices are everywhere. See the product from the customer's point of view and you'll often realize that what appears elegant to you is actually confusing to the user.
I'm often asked: "How do you get started with thought leadership?"
Thought leadership is my favorite marketing activity. However, thought leadership is not the result of random "thoughts" but of informed commentary. Yet I fear that many execs and marketers advocate "deep thoughts" in isolation.
To be a thought leader, you should analyze data and reveal how the data can be used to help make decisions. Informed opinion based on and supported by research. That's thought leadership!
My daughter has started a company focused on home schooling. She's interviewing a new person each week and getting incredible insights but she's also reading published research--like the just-published US census data --and adapting the information to help her customers. "You are not alone; 3 million children in the USA are being home schooled."
My friend Alan is gathering loads of information about why vendors really win and lose deals. He's so busy doing win/loss analysis for buyers that he hasn't yet had time to write articles or ebooks. Yet. But he will. Wouldn't you love to know how often price is truly an issue? And how often the customer cares about the "sales relationship?" So far it appears that sales people rarely know the real reasons people do and do not buy.
How can you exhibit your thought leadership? Blogs and ebooks are obvious choices but you don't have to start there. Build a list of your favorite blogs (using something like Google Reader) and add commentary on posts that speak to you. Start reading and participating in discussion forums such as those on LinkedIn and Quora. Monitor Twitter and retweet the items you find interesting.
If you want to start a blog, check out Posterous. It's easy to setup and use, so you can focus on what you want to say instead of how to format it. Many ebooks are really a collection of strong blog posts so you'll want to tag your posts by category. My series of four or five blog posts on pricing might make a good article or ebook.
The key is this. Thought leadership requires informed opinion supported by research. It's also a community activity. Find a community, participate in it, add your thoughts. Agree (or disagree) and explain why. As you find your voice, more formal methods such as blogs and ebooks will become obvious.
Technical debt and design debt are synonymous metaphors referring to the eventual consequences of sloppy software architecture and rushed software development. Code debt refers to technical debt within a codebase.