Friday, 27 June 2008

Wants vs Needs in Scotland - How To Find Out What Customers Want

The Learning And Teaching Scotland Management Toolkit says on its page on Wants and Needs... There is a commonly held misconception that providing customers with what they need is the key to a successful product or service

It goes on to cite my Customer Is King book

"Tapping the customer psyche
Organisations will need to understand the real motivations of customers so they can provide them with what they desire. Do customers want to look good? Do they want good cheap food? Do they want to be safe? Do they want to be entertained? Do they want a fast and efficient service?

By understanding customer motivations, wants and desires, products and services can be promoted in a way that stimulates these emotions and demonstrates fulfilment of them. The satisfaction and the benefits that can be gained from the product or service need to be sold rather than just the purpose it serves. For example, Calvin Klein and GAP don’t sell clothes, they sell an image - look good, be popular and attractive. Likewise, Kellogg’s Special K sells a perfect body, not merely a cereal.

Wants vs Needs
The following model can be used to help identify customer needs and wants. Depending on where you place the emphasis of each word in the sentence ‘get under each customer’s skin’, the meaning takes on a different perspective:

- ‘Get under each customer’s skin’. Organisations need to be the catalyst, and so initiate questions using whatever medium is the most appropriate.
- ‘Get under each customer’s skin’. Organisations need to imagine what it feels like to be a customer. Key players should try to experience being one of their customers.
- ‘Get under each customer’s skin’. Organisations should consider: To what degree do they see all customers as the same with the same basic requirements? Does it matter if they deliver a standard or bespoke service? What benefits would come from offering a customised product or service?
- ‘Get under each customer’s skin’. Organisations should consider existing, prospective and past customers as potential sources for creating additional products and services.
- ‘Get under each customer’s skin’. Organisations should look under the surface to identify what their customers might want and what they really think and feel."

(This is repeated in its piece
How to Find Out What Customers Want)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

What is Marketing?

Just found this at the Clark & Taylor blog...

"I have just started to read Bright Marketing.

Normally I would put a review up once I have finished but last night I read a section that made me think:The question the author Robert Craven poses is "What is Marketing?" which he answers and then asks for further thought by asking 4 questions.

First the three definitions:
Textbook definition:
'Identifying and satisfying the customer needs profitably.'

Slightly better:
'Marketing is about deciding what customers' business you want to win .....against whom.....and how.'

So at its core we can say:
'Marketing is seeing your business through your customers eyes.'"

[So the blog's key point:]

"This is saying that your business will be judged by your customers, through their interactions and dealings with your business - from walking through the door (or website) through to paying and, hopefully, recommending you to others.

The four questions that are then asked are (which I believe form the basis of the rest of the book):
- What problem does our product or service solve?
- Why should people buy from us?
- What benefits are we offering that our competition doesn't offer?
- If we aren't offering additional benefits then why should people buy from us at all?"

So take your team on an awayday and get them to answer the following:
- What problem does our product or service solve?
- Why should people buy from us?
- What benefits are we offering that our competition doesn't offer?
- If we aren't offering additional benefits then why should people buy from us at all?

Clark & Taylor blog...
Bright Marketing book website

Final Spring/Summer 08 Barclays Let's Talk Bright Marketing seminar is on Wed 25 June in Bradford
Marketing is a battle for the mind - coke vs pepsi - blog

Sunday, 22 June 2008

How Much Is My Business Worth?

I have just run a Barclays Let's Talk... Exit - Grow, Sell or Retire seminar in Warrington. Great audience although they went a bit quiet after we had finished discussing business valuations.

Bad News #1: The reality is that your business isn't worth what you thought it was worth.

Bad News #2: Roughly three-quarters of business owners expect to have a big pay-out when they sell their businesses... but roughly the same number don't have any plans in place for their exit strategy.

Bad News #3: The result is that the majority of business owners (as much as 75%, according to the research!!!) get next-to-nothing for their businesses when they retire!!!

But the good news is that you can start now and grow and create a saleable business. You just need to know what is that people are willing to pay for. And that is what we discussed and worked through.

Key questions covered:
- business valuation
- how to groom a business for growth
- how to sell the idea to your staff
- how to get more, better, customers

Inevitably we kept coming back to the Magic Million materials as well as the new 'Not To Do' lists!

Let's Talk... Exit - Grow, Sell or Retire - blog explaining the programme
How Do Venture Capitalists Evaluate Your Business Proposition? - blog
Time For a Sharp Exit - article about exit strategies
No more 'To Do' lists #4 - blog entry
No more 'To Do' lists #3 - blog entry
No more 'To Do' lists #2 - blog entry
No more 'To Do' lists #1 - blog entry

Friday, 20 June 2008

No more 'To Do' lists #4

No more 'To Do' List item 4 is

This is known as Lombardi Time.
The great Hall of Fame football coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, invented a strategy that he recommended to his coaches and players.
Lombard Time states "Show up for every important business meeting 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled meeting time."

The idea is to use the 15 minutes to catch your breath, collect your thoughts and preplan what you want to accomplish in the meeting and how you'll go about it.
I hate being late. If others are late I consider it the height of rudeness (can't they be bothered/organised...).

Here's a thought from Jack Carroll's blog... If you look closely (because you arrived early...!), you'll see people arrive at meetings, and this will tell you a lot about the way they lead their lives.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

No more 'To Do' lists #3

In no particular order, "Don't do" #3 is:


Never ever answer a call unless you know who it is from. You should have a PA or virtual PA screening all your calls. Let them know who you will and who you won't speak to and instruct them as to how to handle the various different types of call
eg keynote speaking enquiries to Trish..., Consultancy enquiries to Lesley and so forth.

Because we create our own businesses around ourselves, we end up being involved in way too much. You should be designing the business so that it operates without you.

Try putting autoresponders on your email that say "I am out of the office but consultancy enquiries can be dealt with right now by Lesley at or on +44 (0)1225 851044 and keynote speaking enquiries can be dealt with by Trish on...." You could do the same with your direct line answerphone if you don't have someone to filter your calls for you.

Just stop talking to people you don't know - the call is probably for their benefit and not for yours!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Launching a Business With a Cause

A Smart Moneyarticle 'Launching a Business With a Cause' features our dear friends at Madécasse. In the US the social enterprise infrastructure is way ahead of the UK's - and I say this having just been invited to give a major keynote speech on the very subject.

Pertinent point from the article - Many social entrepreneurs already have a deep familiarity with the community or population they are trying to serve, but need to beef up business skills.

Such an infrastructure is lacking in the UK.

What I love about Brett and his colleagues is their sheer determination to make their project work for themselves and for the communities that they represent and work with.

Getting the local communities to add the real value to the product (at source) enables them to keep the profits rather than allowing the First World manufacturers and distributors to take all the profits.

Theirs is a great achievement when we compare some of the debate that Fairtrade has created (see Does FairTrade Do More Harm Than Good?). Look at Equitrade as an alternative(?) or complementary(?) model.


Madécasse - and you can get their chocolate in the UK!Ashoka provides three-year living-wage stipends to entrepreneurs "who have an innovative, cutting-edge or system-changing idea or solution for solving critical social issues,"The Skoll Foundation invests in social entrepreneursSchwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
Investors' Circle the investor network that Madécasse worked withAcumen Funds funds enterprises that address povertyCalvert invests in high-risk, socially and environmentally responsible enterprises.Does FairTrade Do More Harm Than Good? by Cris Sholto HeatonEquitrade

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

No more 'To Do' lists #2

"Don't do" #2 is


For me that reads: "Don't email before 10.00am or after 4.00pm and only check them at set times, say 10.00am and 3.30pm. You must define one important/key task for each day and that must be your first priority. Email addiction will destroy your business and screw up your brain".

Sunday, 8 June 2008

No more 'To Do' lists #1

In a desperate attempt to keep control of my life I have now adopted a 'Don't Do' List policy. It should be easier to stick to the 'Don't Do' list but actually it is till pretty tricky.

So, in no particular order, today's "don't do":


For me that reads: "Don't email before 10.00am or after 4.00pm."

Emailing first thing screws up the day as you get distracted beyond belief. Emailing last thing screws up your sleep pattern - it can wait till tomorrow!

You must define one important/key task for each day and that must be your first priority.

Your Mobile Addiction! - blog entry
The Four-hour Workweek – Escape the 9-5 and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss
Bright Marketing Seminar in Bath - blog referring to Tim's book

Thursday, 5 June 2008

'Let's Talk... Green Business' in Wellington

77 enthusiastic business owners crammed into the Cleve Hotel in Wellington (near Taunton) to hear Kiki Maurey run a Let's Talk... Green Business event. As well as Kiki, we had excellent speakers including gentlemen from Barclays, Envirowise, Envision, a local green marketing agency.... All very good, all pushing and challenging the audience to think about how 'going green' can improve their business.

With 77 very different businesses in the room Kiki was able to help people address the barriers to going green (as well getting to identify the 'enablers'). This was a truly facilitated session with the audience having to figure out their own answers for their own businesses and of course they were able to seek the expert advice available in the room.

- 66% of respondents to survey claim to be green activists but only half can name a green brand...
- Only 20% of audience members who have flown by Easyjet paid the small optional carbon offset levy and even then they didn't really know what it was for!

So there are plenty of confused 'green' customers out there. But... just because going green is difficult to do and get right doesn't mean you shouldn't try to do it! This event got the audience well on the way to becoming greener and understanding why and how they can do it.

Let's Talk... Green/Profit/Marketing/Exit events with Barclays and The Directors' Centre

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

For Better For Worse: Creating Customer Loyalty

Damien O'Dwyer says "Read this article, print it out, put it on your wall." For better for worse: Creating customer loyalty at which happens to quote me!

For better for worse: Creating customer loyalty at
The Search for customer loyalty - a Robert Craven article at
Customer Is King - how to exceed their expectations - my book. Foreword by Sir Richard Branson

Sunday, 1 June 2008

emails vs mariujana - dope wins every time

In 2005, a psychiatrist at King’s College in London administered IQ tests to three groups:
- the first did nothing but perform the IQ test,
- the second was distracted by e-mail and ringing phones, and
- the third was stoned on marijuana.

Not surprisingly, the first group did better than the other two by an average of 10 points. The e-mailers, on the other hands, did worse than the stoners by an average of 6 points
- “Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” New York Magazine, Dec. 4, 2006

66% of people read email seven days a week and expect to receive a response the same day.
61% continue to check email while on vacation.
56% have anxiety if they can't access email.
- eRoi Email Addiction Survey, Oct. 17, 2006

So... we are addicted to emails yet they make us less efficient. It is time to take control - that's if you want to be more effective!

Can’t Get No Satisfaction New York Magazine, Dec. 4, 2006
Your Mobile Addiction! - blog
Bright Marketing Seminar in Bath - blog referring to Tim Ferriss's book