Business Inspiration for the New Year

As I was catching up on my RSS reading, two posts by Seth Godin and Fred Wilson really caught my attention as inspiration for the New Year.

In the first, Seth Godin posed the question, “Do ads work?” In particular, Seth is asking about digital ads where he feels the mindset of marketers should be “We have an unlimited budget for ads that work.“  In his own words:

Digital ads are different (or they should be). You should know cost per click and revenue per click and be able to make a smart guess about lifetime value of a click. And if that’s positive, buy, buy, buy.  And if you don’t know those things, why are you buying digital ads?

Seth goes on to give the example of Amazon during the Dot Com boom of the late ’90′s.  He says that during this time, the mantra at Amazon was $33. “They would buy unlimited ads, of any kind, as long as they generated new customers for $33 or less each.” Was $33 too high of a number to be sustainable?  Possibly.  But their internal ROI showed that $33 was the magic number and there was unlimited money to buy ads under that figure.

In other words, don’t use the excuse that you don’t have the budget.

Any idea that you have proven will build your sales and share should be invested in…and it should be invested in at the expense of ads that aren’t proven.

In the second thought-provoking post, Fred Wilson talked about creating a great business team in “Putting the Band Back Together.” Fred has noticed that as times get tough, many successful serial entrepreneurs are rejoining people they have worked with in the past.  Or as he puts it, “they are getting the band back together for awhile.”  Fred sees this as an encouraging sign because:

Teams that have worked together successfully before know the strengths and weaknesses of each other and they know how to get along, make hard decisions, and move the ball forward each and every day.

I think this is a brilliant insight and one that most businesses don’t think about often enough.  Think about your own brand team at work.  How long has the most junior person been on the team?  Or how long have the most senior members worked together?  What about your agency?  Have the same people been on the account as long as the Brand Manager or Marketing Director?  I’d be willing to bet that there has been considerable change over on both sides.

I think more brands need to follow the advice of Fred and “get the band back together.” 

If you have a successful brand and agency team, then practice continuity and keep them working together.

Business is a game of teamwork and it takes time to develop good working relationships.  In sports, All Star games are boring because the best players don’t practice together every day.  So when you throw them together, they don’t know how to work together.  Just look at what happened to the USA “Dream Team” in 2002 – 2004 when we lost to teams that had played together for years.

The same thing might be happening to your brand when you change the players every year.

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Comments

  1. says

    Dear Dave: Having read your blog, there were some very good points concerning teamwork and everyone having shared values. It brought to mind a quote I read in Deming’s work on quality: “Long-term relationship between purchaser and supplier is necessary for best economy and statistical control of quality…how can a supplier be innovative and develop economy in his processes when he can only look forward to short-term business with a purchaser? There is necessity for mutual confidence and aid between purchaser and vendor…and obviously, a more companionable relationship between vendor and purchaser is required..” While you could read his comment as focusing exclusively on the turnover of vendors, I think it also applies inside companies as well as between them. People who work together, who share common goals, who understand each others’ needs, will undoubtedly work together as a team in a more productive manner to meet and exceed requirements. In my experience in the realm of advertising, I have seen clear examples of how continuity contributes to quality and how big turnover leads to havoc, whether at the customer or the supplier. “Other benefits of improved quality [and productivity] are less re-work, lower costs, better competitive position, and happier people on the job, and more jobs, through better competitive position of the company.” I enjoyed the article, keep up the lively conversation. Thank you for bringing this topic up. Andrew Susman.

  2. says

    Dear Dave: Having read your blog, there were some very good points concerning teamwork and everyone having shared values. It brought to mind a quote I read in Deming’s work on Quality: “Long-term relationship between purchaser and supplier is necessary for best economy and statistical control of quality…how can a supplier be innovative and develop economy in his processes when he can only look forward to short-term business with a purchaser? There is necessity for mutual confidence and aid between purchaser and vendor…and obviously, a more companionable relationship between vendor and purchaser is required…for statistical control of quality…” While you could read his comment as focusing exclusively on the turnover of vendors, I think it also applies inside companies as well as between them. People who work together, who share common goals, who understand each others’ needs, will undoubtedly work together as a team in a more productive manner to meet and exceed requirements. In my experience in the realm of advertising I have seen clear examples of how continuity contributes to quality and how big turnover leads to havoc, whether at the customer or the supplier. “Other benefits of improved quality [and productivity] are less re-work, lower costs, better competitive position, and happier people on the job, and more jobs, through better competitive position of the company.” I enjoyed the article, keep up the lively conversation. Thank you for bringing this topic up.

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