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Learn from Freddie Wehbe and Domino’s guts!

Freddie

 

Experiment, invent, or become a cog to someone who does!

 

Domino’s Pizza is a great example of a bold market leader and a company that has guts.  Facing stiff competition, we all now know that Domino’s completely remade their pizza AND admitted that their previous pizza was no longer good enough.  They actually had a huge national ad campaign to directly tell America this and then directly challenge their competition with a taste test.  Marketing doesn’t get any better than this.

Imagine running a company with one main product and then completely recreating that main product after 49 years of success!  What this says to me is that the company has a culture that accepts innovation and is very in touch with their customers.  For a company that competes in more than 60 international markets, this makes the feat most impressive.  Many smaller companies struggle to stay this in touch with their customers.  

The most prolific Domino’s franchisee is Freddie Wehbe in Gainesville, FL. 

His story is well documented- click here for a great article.  There is plenty that you can’t get from news reports.  I got to know Freddie some, while I was in Gainesville.  His marketing plans are legendary for those that have seen them.

He knows more about his customers than they do…literally.  He knows them by name, home phone number, cell phone number, address, email, Twitter handle, Facebook account and more. He knows when they buy, what they buy, who can buy more, who should buy that doesn’t, and the list goes on.  He dominates the Gainesville market and will continue to for as long as he wants.  He also gives back more to the community than perhaps any other business person in the area.  

With leaders like Freddie, I’m not surprised of Domino’s success and continued market leadership.

And, if you haven’t tried their new pizza, what are you waiting for?

If you’re in Gainesville, visit www.gatordominos.com and order some for dinner.

Why political campaigns should be less political

Scott-for-governor-header-june-20101

 

Good marketing can trump good politics…

 

I heard Rick Scott (Republican candidate for Governor in Florida, aka “political outsider”) speak today at Capitol Tiger Bay in Tallahassee.  One takeaway from his speech and the closing Q&A: political campaigns should be less political.

Campaigning is a combination of marketing, grassroots/coalition building, communication, fundraising and management.  By focusing on the core principles of each discipline, the actual politics become less important.  I know all of you political hacks want to challenge this, so let me explain…

First, consider that the candidate is both the product and the CEO.  The marketing effort needs a strong positioning statement to ensure differentiation and the value proposition must be clear and desired by a majority of voters.  The candidate must also know his/her audience (likely voters) and speak to them exclusively.  The grassroots/coalition building is important because the candidate clearly needs more friends than foes.  If the campaign can’t accomplish this while staying true to the principles of the candidate, the candidate should stay out of the race!  The last thing our country needs is another sell-out politician.  When it comes to communication, the main point is understanding the messaging and wording that resonates.  No one has done this better than Frank Luntz (if you haven’t read his books, you need to this weekend….they are that good).  Having key messages keeps the entire campaign on track, especially as the action picks up towards the end.  The fundraising component is dreaded the most by candidates.  However, if you establish a strong marketing platform, have a vision for the future and have your contributors “buy-in” to the plan you have and not you, you’ve given yourself a fair shot.  For each of these four areas, pre-campaign strategic planning is key.  However, this is where most candidates fall short.

Lastly, management, and therefore, execution is key…just like in a corporation or non-profit.  The vision must be clearly articulated and each staffer or volunteer must have measurable outcomes.  Most candidates become micro-managers because the are horrible at getting the other three main components right.

Since I’ve worked on a number of campaigns, I’m not naive to the point that even the best campaigns can fall short if the political stars don’t align.  However, there isn’t much that can be done here.  The only advice I’ve gotten (from Rick Belluzzo, former CEO of Microsoft) that speaks to this point, is “always try to be on the right side of gravity.”  Additionally, not even the best campaign can survive a pointed attack that a candidate can’t recover from (Google “John Kerry” and “Swift Boat Veterans”).

From my observation, Mr. Scott certainly is on the right side of gravity (due to the anti-incumbent, anti-establishment sentiment), and has a well financed marketing effort with a consistent message that resonates.  He obviously has more management experience than most candidates, so that shouldn’t be an issue, either.  Now, we just need to see if he can build a grassroots apparatus to win a tight race and if he and his campaign have the discipline to execute the plan.  Also, based on Obama’s successful campaign, Mr. Scott will have to give a “Denver DNC acceptance speech,” that outlines specific plans, much like Obama did to secure his seat in Florida’s Governor’s mansion.  Of course, for this type of campaign, I’m sure the “speech” will be done at one of the debates or through TV commercials.

Why political campaigns should be less political

 

Good marketing can trump good politics…

 

I heard Rick Scott (Republican candidate for Governor in Florida, aka “political outsider”) speak today at Capitol Tiger Bay in Tallahassee.  One takeaway from his speech and the closing Q&A: political campaigns should be less political.

Campaigning is a combination of marketing, grassroots/coalition building, communication, fundraising and management.  By focusing on the core principles of each discipline, the actual politics become less important.  I know all of you political hacks want to challenge this, so let me explain…

First, consider that the candidate is both the product and the CEO.  The marketing effort needs a strong positioning statement to ensure differentiation and the value proposition must be clear and desired by a majority of voters.  The candidate must also know his/her audience (likely voters) and speak to them exclusively.  The grassroots/coalition building is important because the candidate clearly needs more friends than foes.  If the campaign can’t accomplish this while staying true to the principles of the candidate, the candidate should stay out of the race!  The last thing our country needs is another sell-out politician.  When it comes to communication, the main point is understanding the messaging and wording that resonates.  No one has done this better than Frank Luntz (if you haven’t read his books, you need to this weekend….they are that good).  Having key messages keeps the entire campaign on track, especially as the action picks up towards the end.  The fundraising component is dreaded the most by candidates.  However, if you establish a strong marketing platform, have a vision for the future and have your contributors “buy-in” to the plan you have and not you, you’ve given yourself a fair shot.  For each of these four areas, pre-campaign strategic planning is key.  However, this is where most candidates fall short.

Lastly, management, and therefore, execution is key…just like in a corporation or non-profit.  The vision must be clearly articulated and each staffer or volunteer must have measurable outcomes.  Most candidates become micro-managers because the are horrible at getting the other three main components right.

Since I’ve worked on a number of campaigns, I’m not naive to the point that even the best campaigns can fall short if the political stars don’t align.  However, there isn’t much that can be done here.  The only advice I’ve gotten (from Rick Belluzzo, former CEO of Microsoft) that speaks to this point, is “always try to be on the right side of gravity.”  Additionally, not even the best campaign can survive a pointed attack that a candidate can’t recover from (Google “John Kerry” and “Swift Boat Veterans”).

From my observation, Mr. Scott certainly is on the right side of gravity (due to the anti-incumbent, anti-establishment sentiment), and has a well financed marketing effort with a consistent message that resonates.  He obviously has more management experience than most candidates, so that shouldn’t be an issue, either.  Now, we just need to see if he can build a grassroots apparatus to win a tight race and if he and his campaign have the discipline to execute the plan.  Also, based on Obama’s successful campaign, Mr. Scott will have to give a “Denver DNC acceptance speech,” that outlines specific plans, much like Obama did to secure his seat in Florida’s Governor’s mansion.  Of course, for this type of campaign, I’m sure the “speech” will be done at one of the debates or through TV commercials.

Beware of the “how” people!

Rhesus_3278

Employees that ask “how” instead of “why” will drain you and your company- it is only a matter of who shuts down first.  In our knowledge-based economy, it is imperative that employees understand the “why” in nearly every case.  In fact, Inc. magazine just ran great profiles on the top small business employers, which was based on several factors, the most important being transparency and empowerment by management.  

Those that imitate, or simply wish to appease, are either in the wrong “seat on the bus,” as Jim Collins would say (and if you haven’t already read Good to Great, you really should) or have quit on you.  Maybe, they shouldn’t even be on your bus.  In my opinion, those employees that don’t put in full effort to be the best at their profession need to go somewhere else that gives them that desire.  The best thing you can do for these employees is discuss their future goals with them.  Odds are, if they are honest with you, they will express their desire to be in a different work environment.  This gives you the opportunity to help them and help you.  However, next time, don’t hire another “how” person!

When I’m interviewing, I’m looking for a few things.  Among them, is a very to-the-point cover letter that is NOT generic.  I want to know that they want the job, have visualized them self in it and can articulate how the opportunity fits into their career path.  During the interview, I pay close attention to the questions each candidate asks.  Again, you can see if they’ve put thought into the position and if they are strategic.  One way to tell is if they ask “why” questions.  This indicates that they are seeking a deeper level of understanding.  You can also evaluate whether they “get it” or not, based on the relevancy of their questions, assuming you’ve done a fair job of explaining the role and its overall context within the organization. 

Beware of the “how” people!

Employees that ask “how” instead of “why” will drain you and your company- it is only a matter of who shuts down first.  In our knowledge-based economy, it is imperative that employees understand the “why” in nearly every case.  In fact, Inc. magazine just ran great profiles on the top small business employers, which was based on several factors, the most important being transparency and empowerment by management.  

Those that imitate, or simply wish to appease, are either in the wrong “seat on the bus,” as Jim Collins would say (and if you haven’t already read Good to Great, you really should) or have quit on you.  Maybe, they shouldn’t even be on your bus.  In my opinion, those employees that don’t put in full effort to be the best at their profession need to go somewhere else that gives them that desire.  The best thing you can do for these employees is discuss their future goals with them.  Odds are, if they are honest with you, they will express their desire to be in a different work environment.  This gives you the opportunity to help them and help you.  However, next time, don’t hire another “how” person!

When I’m interviewing, I’m looking for a few things.  Among them, is a very to-the-point cover letter that is NOT generic.  I want to know that they want the job, have visualized them self in it and can articulate how the opportunity fits into their career path.  During the interview, I pay close attention to the questions each candidate asks.  Again, you can see if they’ve put thought into the position and if they are strategic.  One way to tell is if they ask “why” questions.  This indicates that they are seeking a deeper level of understanding.  You can also evaluate whether they “get it” or not, based on the relevancy of their questions, assuming you’ve done a fair job of explaining the role and its overall context within the organization. 

Transferring Seth Godin’s genius to the non-profit sector

Permission

 

Seth Godin and his 1 mil good ideas…

 

Continual learning is a challenge in a non-profit.  Non-profit leaders have no where near the opportunities, resources, networks and formal educational opportunities that counterparts in the for-profit sector have.  Using Bloom’s taxonomy of learning as a framework for discussion, synthesizing business material for use in the non-profit sector is a high-level objective.  By definition, this reduces the amount of knowledge that is transferred between the for-profit and non-profit sectors.  Plus, there are black and white differences with respect to mission, profit motive, assets and others.

I’m about half way through Seth Godin‘s marketing book, Permission Marketing.  Below is my attempt to transfer the knowledge Seth has for for-profit businesses to the non-profit sector…

Seth describes “Permission Marketing” as attempting to marrying someone by meeting them, then dating, getting to know them, and then proposing marriage.  This is opposed to “Interruption Marketing,” where you would dress impeccably, go to a bar where singles congregate, and start proposing marriage to individuals until somebody says “yes.”  If this strategy didn’t work, you would change clothes, go back to the bar and try again until it worked.

Permission marketing can be accomplished in a non-profit by having a strong database, a strategy for building an email file, and a multi-faceted, multi-channel strategy for learning the pain points and key issues of your prospective members/contributors/funders.  You must then have a solution or plan to address their problem that you can clearly communicate and ultimately convert the prospect to a customer.

For example, if your non-profit is an aggressive legislative advocate, you can use the model Seth proposes to learn about your prospects top legislative concern, include them in your grassroots advocacy efforts and then, over time, convert them into a member/contributor/funder.  

This is also a model for political campaigns, issue campaigns, associations and many other types of non-profits.  

Transferring Seth Godin’s genius to the non-profit sector

 

Seth Godin and his 1 mil good ideas…

 

Continual learning is a challenge in a non-profit.  Non-profit leaders have no where near the opportunities, resources, networks and formal educational opportunities that counterparts in the for-profit sector have.  Using Bloom’s taxonomy of learning as a framework for discussion, synthesizing business material for use in the non-profit sector is a high-level objective.  By definition, this reduces the amount of knowledge that is transferred between the for-profit and non-profit sectors.  Plus, there are black and white differences with respect to mission, profit motive, assets and others.

I’m about half way through Seth Godin‘s marketing book, Permission Marketing.  Below is my attempt to transfer the knowledge Seth has for for-profit businesses to the non-profit sector…

Seth describes “Permission Marketing” as attempting to marrying someone by meeting them, then dating, getting to know them, and then proposing marriage.  This is opposed to “Interruption Marketing,” where you would dress impeccably, go to a bar where singles congregate, and start proposing marriage to individuals until somebody says “yes.”  If this strategy didn’t work, you would change clothes, go back to the bar and try again until it worked.

Permission marketing can be accomplished in a non-profit by having a strong database, a strategy for building an email file, and a multi-faceted, multi-channel strategy for learning the pain points and key issues of your prospective members/contributors/funders.  You must then have a solution or plan to address their problem that you can clearly communicate and ultimately convert the prospect to a customer.

For example, if your non-profit is an aggressive legislative advocate, you can use the model Seth proposes to learn about your prospects top legislative concern, include them in your grassroots advocacy efforts and then, over time, convert them into a member/contributor/funder.  

This is also a model for political campaigns, issue campaigns, associations and many other types of non-profits.  

What you can learn about marketing from Cowboy’s BBQ in Live Oak

Cowboys

How well do you know your customer?  Do you actually speak with them…get to know them and why they purchased your product or service?  

Yesterday, I had dinner with my family at Cowboy’s BBQ in Live Oak, FL (pictured above).  The owner brought our food out to us and quickly got into conversation about why we decided to eat at his restaurant, where we were from, if we liked his food, and a host of other to-the-point questions.  He wasn’t nosy or unwelcome at our table, just a friendly person at a BBQ joint in North Central Florida, adjacent to the railroad tracks in an old southern downtown featuring signs of the local bank and public defender’s office.

After a few minutes of conversation, I started asking him questions about his business and his customers.  With his unassuming style, Ford Racing hat and very casual demeanor, he started to rattle off market research information that would rival any Fortune 500 company.  Without sharing his confidential information, he knew exactly how much of his business came from highway travelers vs. local customers.  He knew the percentage drops in revenue and profit once gas prices reached $3.00 and then $3.70 in the past few years.  He went on to break those groupings of customers into how many mile’s they drive on average to eat at his restaurant, how many nights a week they eat his food, and on and on.  

Textbooks, blogs, talking heads on TV, and other sources of information always describe how “nimble” small businesses can be, which allows them to compete with the “big boys.”  If you need to see this for yourself, or understand the value of knowing your customer, just visit Cowboy’s BBQ in Live Oak, order dinner, and then speak with the owner yourself when he comes out with your food and refills your sweet tea.  Oh, and also at his new restaurant, he now has higher profit margins with less customers, making the job of owning and operating a restaurant much more enjoyable.  Don’t you wish you could say that, too?

What you can learn about marketing from Cowboy’s BBQ in Live Oak

How well do you know your customer?  Do you actually speak with them…get to know them and why they purchased your product or service?  

Yesterday, I had dinner with my family at Cowboy’s BBQ in Live Oak, FL (pictured above).  The owner brought our food out to us and quickly got into conversation about why we decided to eat at his restaurant, where we were from, if we liked his food, and a host of other to-the-point questions.  He wasn’t nosy or unwelcome at our table, just a friendly person at a BBQ joint in North Central Florida, adjacent to the railroad tracks in an old southern downtown featuring signs of the local bank and public defender’s office.

After a few minutes of conversation, I started asking him questions about his business and his customers.  With his unassuming style, Ford Racing hat and very casual demeanor, he started to rattle off market research information that would rival any Fortune 500 company.  Without sharing his confidential information, he knew exactly how much of his business came from highway travelers vs. local customers.  He knew the percentage drops in revenue and profit once gas prices reached $3.00 and then $3.70 in the past few years.  He went on to break those groupings of customers into how many mile’s they drive on average to eat at his restaurant, how many nights a week they eat his food, and on and on.  

Textbooks, blogs, talking heads on TV, and other sources of information always describe how “nimble” small businesses can be, which allows them to compete with the “big boys.”  If you need to see this for yourself, or understand the value of knowing your customer, just visit Cowboy’s BBQ in Live Oak, order dinner, and then speak with the owner yourself when he comes out with your food and refills your sweet tea.  Oh, and also at his new restaurant, he now has higher profit margins with less customers, making the job of owning and operating a restaurant much more enjoyable.  Don’t you wish you could say that, too?

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