Tag Archives: marketing

Reliance is unreliable…

15 Oct

Do you know that the only person you can ever rely on 100% is you?

This obvious realization came crystal clear to me this week as multiple situations (that relied on the response of others) came to a head and had a variety of outcomes. At the end of the week, I find myself seeking to reduce my reliance on others – it’s just too unreliable!

I must be an eternal optimist because even though the situation keeps repeating itself (people promise and then don’t deliver)… and still I trust the next person who promises to do something.  I’m finding the situation getting worse as the recession continues!

Don’t you wonder sometimes what happened to the work ethic of yesterday where people DID what they said they’d do?  More and more often the Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz emerge – especially agreement #2 – Don’t take ANYTHING personally.  It is a difficult challenge (for me at least) to realize that some people simply disappoint by not following through on what they promise – and they do so with everyone, everywhere.  It is not a personal affront – but it does feel personal when it happens repeatedly to you.

Here’s rundown of my week (and this is NOT atypical):

  • Three weeks ago I won tickets to a local concert from a radio station, and for three weeks I’ve tried to coordinate to pick up the tickets.  Twenty-one days later and exactly 24 hours before the event, I finally received the tickets despite multiple promises to mail them, deliver them, leave them at a predetermined place and tens of phone calls, voice mails, emails, and insisting that I would have the tickets imminently.
  • A client I’ve worked with for two years gave me specific instructions for submitting course evaluations to them which they in turn would deliver to the end-user.  I did my part immediately and they promised to send the papers to the user within a day. A week and a half later the end-user issues a statement blaming me for not sending the papers – and my client contact confesses that they sent an email to the end-user but neglected to attach the needed documents over a week ago.
  • I made arrangements with a hotel to ship leftover documentation from a class back to a client.  The hotel promised to do so but said client never receives it.  Multiple phone calls and emails to the hotel and then back and forth with the client finally got the hotel to deliver on their original promise to ship the materials – almost two weeks later.
  • An international conference where I am presenting a keynote speech in two weeks promises to put up the program on their website for months now.  After multiple emails asking for an update, the conference finally confesses that it wasn’t a big priority to them, and finally their travel agent contacts me to make travel arrangements (only 2 weeks out from the conference).

The amount of rework, babysitting to make sure promises are kept, follow-up with emails, voice mails, phone calls and meetings is absolutely out of control these days.  Actions speak louder than words – and it seems more and more today that words are just wishful thinking of actions that may or may not ever occur.

What’s your experience?  Do you find yourself having to followup an email 5 or 6 times (at least) before you receive an answer?  And leaving multiple voice mails before you ever (if ever) receive a response?

Have you discovered any great remedial actions that increase responsiveness or do you just “suck it up” and don’t hold your breath when someone promises to do something and then routinely neglects to follow through?

Wishing you a successful and streamlined end of your work week!

Regards,
Carol

Does “Stupid” Marketing Really Work?

11 Apr

Today is one of those days when I’m fed up with “infomercials” telling me that I’m stupid in my in-basket! Do any of these self-appointed experts actually earn a living by calling others stupid?  I just know that I’m done with all the hype!

Not only is tax day looming, our unemployment rates soaring, and the economy in the tank, but now we’re bombarded with emails from ego-maniacs telling us that we’re stupid if we don’t buy their shortcut methods to fame and fortune.  (If it was really this easy to make millions wouldn’t we all be doing it?)

While it used to be simple to walk by the snake-oil salesmen at the county fair (our choice to attend after all), e-mail traffic has gotten out of hand. As an international speaker, I’m accustomed to international spam, but the American version seems to have supercharged in volume in 2010.  Here’s a sampling of Sunday’s infomercials (not including those filtered out by my spam-filter):

  • 2 emails from the same author: a) How to Make Maximum Profit with Minimal Effort; and b) How to make your fortune: Did you know that every great fortune in the history of the world has followed the same simple 3 step formula? You’re crazy if you’re not applying it to your business. It’s revealed in my bestselling book …
  • Only 3% of the world does this: How can only 3% of us do this? How can something that is absolutely necessary for success, be ignored by so many people?

To listen to these flash-in-the-pan economic evangelists — if you buy their program for $997. (the magic marketing number apparently) — you’ll be rich. What I wonder is  if these are such tried and true methods, why are they still working (and not investing from a villa in the Bahamas) – and why are they so selfish as to not “give such important information” to Wall Street or the Government?   The answer is that they don’t have the answers – they seemingly are making money by chiding readers into believing them (we are stupid and they are not, blah blah blah).

How do you feel about “stupid” marketing?  Does it work on you? Have you bought a program or CD’s promising to change your life and been disappointed?  I love that there is a delete key so close at hand – but hate that it takes my effort to figure out what is real versus spam emails in my filtered in-basket.

I hope you have a good week and get over the hump-tax-due date.

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.


Copyright 2010 Carol Dekkers – All Rights Reserved ———————

Got business?

6 Apr

As a project manager / published author / international standards expert / speaker /consultant, I’ve spoken to audiences in over 25 countries.  When the economy and business were booming, life was easy and most of the professionals and people I met were upbeat and optimistic about their industries and life in general.

Unremarkably things are different these days:  businesses are closing, people are losing their homes, and relationships are strained.  Lately, I’ve been using my down time to brush up on the latest social media, blogging, project management advancements, and business development in general.  During the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a marked increase in the flood of emails celebrating the recession’s end (mostly from overseas) from colleagues looking to do software development and related business with me.

My question to you is:  got business?

In reality (i.e., real $$$) – has your business or job or industry seen such an upswing in cashflow, contracts, or activity lately? Or is it the feigned promise of an end to the recession that people are using (along the lines of the Secret: what you think becomes your reality) as optimistic thinking to “wish us” out of the recession?

Have you seen new business coming in?  I know that a lot of people are heavily invested in the “social media” sensation (Twitter, Facebook, linked in, plaxo, etc.) that is sweeping the nation – did you know that if Facebook was a country it would now be the third largest country in the world (with more people than the U.S.?) – is this where our new economy is going?

Got business?

Wishing you a productive and profitable week!

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Change is the Natural State… 1sts, lasts, and nevers

22 Mar

Seth Godin (best-selling author, consultant, celebrity) does a daily blog that inspires me for two reasons:

1. Anyone who can write intelligent postings every single day (including weekends!) has it going on.  (He’s at one end of the spectrum with an open mind compared to many who blurt out the same drivel every day… and no, I’m not referring to particular TV network “spokespeople”);

2. His range of motion in terms of topics is astounding.

I wanted to share with you his post from today called First and Never (click on the title to access the post) which is an interesting way of looking at change. It is interesting to note that most people devote time to resisting and rejecting change so that they can remain in their comfortable wagon rut (remember TV westerns where huge “ruts” were left by the wheels of covered wagons as they ploughed through mud?)  And yet we talk about the Need for Progress (which only comes with change!)

What Seth doesn’t mention are the “lasts” – which relates to my belief that the gift in life is the present (today).  Seth mentions the firsts (first time experience – often you recognize these immediately when they happen), never agains (which are retrospective looks at past experiences that won’t happen again), but neglect the Lasts.  I believe that the fact that we never realize a “last time” occurrence until after it is past is an important aspect of the experience.  While it might sound morbid to think that anything or everything we do could be our “last time” to do it, I prefer to turn that around and extol the moment for its innate virtue.  While we lament over the never agains, it is my fervent belief that we ought to enjoy every pleasurable moment (as soon as we realize that we’re feeling something positive) and extol the people, places, feelings, smells, sounds, sights and wonder of it all. Should it turn out later to have been a “last” time we will have a fully experienced happy memory to recall.

Think about how this could transform your life – a staff meeting could become less of a chore and a bore if we take the time to chuckle when someone tells a joke (instead of lamenting how lame it was) or when we feel a sense of joy as someone describes an accomplishment.  More than likely it won’t be our last staff meeting (or even a memorable one) but if we take the time to enjoy the little moments of joy as they occur, we’ll find that they are more frequent that we realize (is this what is meant by “take time to smell the flowers”?_

I know how positive this has been for me — when I take the time to recognize the moments of pleasure and joy sprinkled throughout my oft-busy day, the inconveniences and petty disturbances grow smaller.  The gift of life is always the present (live for today) – and I’m finding that the 1sts, lasts and never agains are just a (good) part of overall life.

Thank you Seth for inspiring me to look at life in a different and inspiring way!

Have a good weekend!

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

dekkers@qualityplustech.com
http://www.caroldekkers.com
http://www.qualityplustech.com

Too many Choices Kill the Sale

16 Mar

It’s a basic American right to choose — we want to choose french fries or mashed potatoes with our meal, our salad dressing, our clothing, our partners, our lifestyle.  To be robbed of choice is tantamount to prison – even when it comes to minor things like paper or plastic bags at our grocery checkout.  But, can there be too many choices?

choiceResearch shows that the human brain can handle only a finite number of choices at once without losing track of what was already presented – if I remember correctly from a research presentation, I think the ideal number was six or seven – and choices beyond our limit causes what I call “choice paralysis”.  One study cited on the American Psychological Association’s website states:

“Chernev reports on four studies where he finds that the bigger the assortment, the harder it is for people to choose, except under one condition: when they enter with an articulated preference. In that case, they often choose what Nobel Laureate Herb Simon, PhD, first referred to as a “satisficing” option: the first decent choice that fits their preference as opposed to exhaustively scanning all options until finding the perfect, or “maximizing” one.”

Think about your own Encounters with Choice

If you don’t believe that too much choice is paralyzing, consider what you think is the most popular flavor at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor – despite the 53 flavors of ice cream (changing daily) the favorite remains – are you ready for this: VANILLA!  We are creatures of habit and not up for that many choices when it comes to testing our palate (or our life) on new things.

Another example is Girl Scout cookies.  I always found it easy to select one or two different boxes to purchase at a grocery store exit when there were only 5 or 6 choices displayed.  Did you know that now there are actually ELEVEN different flavors of Girl Scouts cookies available including the 2010 introduction of “Thank  U Berry Munch”?  Fortunately for me, the current display outside my grocer in FL features only the five most popular choices. This is a good thing for me – and for the Girl Guides (who make money on sales) or I’d probably leave without making a purchase (actually in the case at hand I’d always purchase at least one box since Samoas are my “satisficing” favorite!)

Derek Severs posted a blog in the fall of 2009 about research outlining the Jam Experiment where shoppers given too many choices purchased 10x less jam than those presented with a smaller array of options. Here’s an excerpt:

“For 10 years, Columbia professor Sheena Iyengar has been studying choice.  For her research paper, “When Choice is Demotivating”, they ran a great test:

  • They set up a free tasting booth in a grocery store, with six different jams.  40% of the customers stopped to taste.  30% of those bought some.
  • A week later, they set up the same booth in the same store, but this time with twenty-four different jams.  60% of the customers stopped to taste.  But only 3% bought some!
  • Both groups actually tasted an average of 1.5 jams.  So the huge difference in buying can’t be blamed on the 24-jam customers being full. “

Derek’s assessment (click here to read the entire post) goes on discuss rationale for such results but the bottom line is that those with too many choices bought TEN TIMES LESS PRODUCT — buyer paralysis indeed!

ChoicesThink of times when you’ve had too many choices on a website or on a restaurant menu – nested if’s become too difficult in our already too-busy lives — and quickly we yearn for simplicity.  For example, do you want grande/venti/colossal/mega/gargantuan/enormous, with/without/soy/almond milk/skim/full-fat/half-fat/half and half/whipped/partially whipped/steamed?  My response is ‘duh’ – not only do I not know what I want, I have no idea what my friend asked me to buy… Eventually I either order two medium regular coffees to go, or nothing at all (and all I can think is “get me out of here!”)

What can we Learn from Too Many Choices?

Following the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) we know that we can capture 80% of the market with purely 20% of the options we think we need to provide.  So, save time, energy, and development time by limiting the options available to five or less, and earn more sales and bigger profits.  At the same time, you’ll save your customers stress and decision-making gymnastics as long as you provide them with a choice – just not a vast array of overwhelming features!

Wishing you a highly productive (and stress-reduced) week!

Regards,
Carol

Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event?      Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

dekkers@qualityplustech.com
http://www.caroldekkers.com
http://www.qualityplustech.com

Read Carol Dekkers’ other blog (Musings about Software Development) at http://musingsaboutsoftwaredevelopment.wordpress.com

Copyright 2010 Carol Dekkers – All Rights Reserved ———————

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