Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bye Bye Blackberry?

In case you missed it, Joseph Nocera, had an insightful piece in yesterday’s NY Times about companies who get paralyzed by early success and forget how to adapt when market forces or other competitive dynamics come into play.

From Wang Computer in the 1970s to Research in Motion (aka Blackberry) today, the technology industry is littered with companies who were not nimble, ruthless or willing enough to “disrupt their own business models when they sense a threat on the horizon.”

It’s not only complacency or lack of fresh ideas that comes into play, but the alliances and strategic partnerships (tech folks call those the installed base), makes it harder to operate and harder to compete.
Same goes for law firms, accounting firms, financial planning firms and insurance pros. It’s good to get bigger, stronger, more powerful and hopefully wealthier—but it’s almost impossible to have a lock on the marketplace for long. Your premium service can become a competitor’s loss-leader in a flash. Your top talent can bail out on you at a moment’s notice and your clients might not be complaining overtly (but chances are they’re shopping around).

I recently succumbed to pressure from peers (not to mention my kids), and purchased an Android smartphone to replace my creaky Blackberry. My typing stinks on the new device and I’ve misdialed a few numbers, but the apps are great, it’s highly intuitive and my overall productivity is higher after just a few days.

To make sure you’re staying lean and mean, check out our Gut Check self-assessment test or other
tools on
the FREE Resources page of our website.

Macro View
Consumer confidence paused in August, mortgage rates are rising, residential home construction rose less than expected in July and the stock market had its worst week of the year. If you think that’s cause for alarm, then think again. The financial markets are up 16 to 18 percent for the year, housing starts cranked out another 6 percent last month and the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan is still near its six-year high. If some investors (e.g. profit-takers) are using this as a cause for alarm it’s like worrying about Detroit Tigers slugger, Miguel Cabrera having only a few big hits last week. When you’re hitting north of .360 for the year, even going one-for-three once in a while will take your batting average down a few tick, but you’re still putting up MVP numbers.

It’s easy to get complacent at this time of year when the weather is hot, workspace are half empty and the “Out of Office” replies outnumber your received emails. Don’t give in and wait for after Labor Day. Now’s the time to drop the email device and see clients and prospects in person. They’ll appreciate the effort and relish the chance simply to talk and listen, rather than having to type, post and scroll. 

More tips can be found on the FREE Resources page of our website.


Tags: Joseph Nocera, Wang Computer, Blackberry demise, complacency, unable to adapt

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Live Events Still King in B2B—But Reasons Not So Obvious

Keep your antennae up in the elevator and on the shuttle bus. Make time to engage an introvert

A new
study from ABM (The Association of Business Information & Media Companies)  reinforces what many of you suspected, but may have been reluctant to express to your peers. B2B marketers still place a higher value on live events than on any other media channel for lead generation and for promoting new products. Researchers found that 89 percent of B2B marketers considered face-to-face events a “successful” channel for them. Rounding out the top five were: Sponsored white papers (75%), sponsored video (69%), webinars (64%) and e-newsletter advertising (64%). TV, radio, outdoor and mobile brought up the rear, with less than one-in-three marketers advocating their use.

As I head off to one of the biggest annual events in the association world this weekend, it’s hard to argue with the power of face-to-face interaction in this digitally dominated world. But where I’ve personally gotten the most value is not from the trade show floor, planned networking events, “meet-up” destinations or social events—it’s from the chance encounters on hotel and convention center elevators, in the fitness center and especially on the shuttle busses to and from the convention center.

More on that in a minute.
At the end of the day, everyone at an industry or professional conference shares common interests with each other—or else they wouldn’t be going there to network, learn and associate with their peers. They’ve taken time out of their busy schedules (and dollars out of their budgets) to make the commitment to attending. And you never know if that chance encounter will end up being more valuable to your business or career than any of the planned meetings you had on your schedule.

Macro View

Despite a lackluster jobs report, home prices jumped 12.2 percent over this time a year ago, marking the largest annual gain since March of 2006, according to the Standard & Poor’s Case Shiller 20-city home index. Researchers said home values are rising as more buyers are bidding on a relatively tight supply of housing with the prospect of rising mortgage rates on the horizon.

Meanwhile, and index we created of business and entrepreneurship magazines (Fortune, Inc., Entrepreneur, Wired and Fast Company) was down 1.5 percent over this time a year ago according to min/min online data suggested a mixed bag on the B2B advertising front. On the midsize front, Inc. was up 39 percent, while big company Fortune was down over 17 percent. On the entrepreneurial side, Wired was up 9 percent, but Fast Company was down 17 percent year-over year.


You never know who you’re going to run into. But if you don’t get your face out of your screen and your fingers off the keyboard once in a while, you’ll never find out. As Susan Cain, best-selling author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop talking,” quipped in her keynote address today at the ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo in Atlanta, “some of the best ideas come from serendipitous interactions.” Long live the serendipity of live events!

More tips can be found on the FREE Resources page of our website.


Tags: Live events, serendipity, power of live events, B2B marketing, ABM, Association of Business Information & Media Companies, Case Schiller, Susan Cain, power of introverts, ASAE annual conference