Are You Still Guilty of Committing Random Acts of Marketing?

Marketing Planning for Growth

Some of the companies with the most efficient operations are also the ones who have the hardest time growing. It’s a counterintuitive idea, but it’s one that has been supported by research and that serves as the basis for this week’s episode of In Process. Joining us on the show this week are Art Saxby and Beth Vanstory. Saxby is the founder of Chief Outsiders, an Executive-as-a-Service firm that allows growing companies to add market-focused senior executives to their leadership teams.  Saxby learned his trade in marketing in brand and project management at Frito-Lay, Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola and Compaq/HP, before engaging as an executive turn-around specialist for companies including Imperial Sugar and Hines Horticulture. Vanstory is a strategy and marketing consultant with Chief Outsiders. An experienced general management and marketing executive, her background crosses consumer and B2B sectors and includes experience in media, retailing, entertainment, and ecommerce.  She launched and led OfficeDepot.com to profitability in one year and also led the new media group at The Weather Channel, bringing weather.com to one of the most visited sites on the web and initiating interactive advertising for the company. 

Both Zaxby and Vanstory came to marketing after building a background in finance—something Saxby laughs off as more of a natural transition than it may seem at first blush.  “It’s a profit game,” says Saxby, noting that many business owners don’t see the way that marketing directly relates to the bottom line. “The real role of marketing is to help lead the company forward and figure out where it can profitably attack the market.”

So why do so many finance-minded business leaders have problems translating those instincts into growth? “If we break down what it takes to run a company and what it takes to grow a company, they really are very different skills. Running a company is about metrics, management, process and procedures—it’s what a lot of business owners spend most of our time focused on. ‘We’ve got to figure out how to get the orders into the system, how to get them out, how to produce the product or deliver the service, get the invoices paid and do it better and better, time and time again, and more efficiently each time. Running a business is extremely important. But that is also really internally focused—it’s inside the four walls.”

What Saxby has found, is that running a very efficient company doesn’t necessarily mean those successful business owners know where to go next. What’s the next market to go into? How do you significantly increase the revenue of the company? Saxby says this is when you have to look outside the company at the marketplace and at the market perspective.

“When you’re looking at someone who comes from that technical background or has a particular subject matter expertise, they tend to focus where they’re comfortable—serving current customers or even working in product development,” says Vanstory. This is where even the most successful entrepreneurs can face obstacles in company growth.

 “Developing a new product without assuring that there’s a need in the marketplace can get you in a lot of trouble,” she says.  Another common mistake she sees in companies is that even businesses with solid marketing staff still lack a strategic marketer on their team. “They don’t have the broad view needed to really identify and evaluate the market or create an effective marketing strategy.”

Get the full conversation on growth tactics and avoiding “random acts of marketing” by streaming the episode in the player below. You can also subscribe on iTunes to receive new episodes of In Process directly on your smartphone.

Best Practices for Managing Cyber Risks

Data Breach

Managing Partner Evelyn Ashley speaks this week at The Morison KSi North America Annual Conference in Boston, MA. Morison KSi is a global association of leading professional service firms, serving the cross-border accounting, auditing, tax and consulting needs of clients. Ashley will be presenting “Managing Cyber Risks: A Legal & Business Plan of Action.”  Below is an excerpt of her presentation for best practices for managing cyber risks.  

Educate and Train Everyone
It’s vital that the “C-Suite” team create a culture of privacy protection. In other words, it’s not just about protecting the client information, but also protecting the company information. Discuss and communicate with your team how data will be collected, used and disseminated. Educate and train your employees and contractors on proper data and technology protection procedures. Provide regular updates to everyone on phishing schemes, and viruses. It’s vital.  

Invest in Technology
Simply said, old technology will make your network vulnerable. So be proactive and update your firewalls regularly as well as your computer passwords. In addition, network and hardware backups should be done at least daily; more frequently is even better. Beware that CPA and Law Firms are targeted for attacks because they are not always up-to-date technically and are very vulnerable.

Have a Data Security Policy
This is a document that is used as part of the training and education process.  Don’t create one simply to have one and then put it away. Remember that it’s a living document. All employees should have access to it and it should be updated periodically.  Also, have your IT department create friendly hack tests and vulnerability tests to your systems.  

Information Storage Limitations
Eliminate data for which your business might not have a real need for.

Get Cyber Insurance
On average, a breach is between 15,000 – 20,000 records. Take in account the cost to correct a record at ~$40.00 per record and it will get very costly. It is well worth looking into and getting insured.

Don't Be Blue; Make Your Happiness

Make Your Happiness

In the United States, we live in one of the richest, safest and most free countries in the world. Yet according to the “2016 United Nation’s World Happiness Report”, we rank No. 19. Why is this? We spoke to happiness expert Chris Butsch for some answers. 

Millennials and Unhappiness
A millennial himself, Butsch believes that “millennials are a generation suffering from an unhappiness epidemic.” He argues that the American dream is skewed and that it stunts our happiness because the seeds to a happy life simply aren’t engrained into our culture. Affected a year ago by unhappiness, Butsch traveled the world to fully understand what it means to be happy. He interviewed hundreds of people (including millennials), studied positive psychology and read up on many underreported studies by some of the leading universities in the country, all of which forever changed the way he thinks about happiness. Read on for some of his key findings.

Achieving Workplace Harmony with Millennials
“The wrong approach is to treat millennials differently, or to give them special treatment,” Butsch states. “They like to work for well-run businesses and they don’t work well for companies that give them special treatment or hire a special consultant that tells managers to treat them differently…it all comes down to best practices.” Also, according to Butsch, millennials like to receive regular feedback from management. Studies have shown that millennials are seeking affirmation that the work they are doing is moving them in the right direction. Hence, if feedback is provided to millennials and regularly, it should eliminate ‘that’ millennial asking for a promotion shortly after starting a new job, or worse yet, quitting a new position with little explanation.  

Making Happiness
According to The Journal of Happiness Studies, all happiness derives from just two sources: true happiness and pleasure. Confusing the sources of happiness is something that Americans often do. “True happiness and pleasure are very different and the distinction is important to know,” says Butsch. Activities such as dining with a friend, reading, or volunteering lead one towards true happiness. A pleasure, on the other hand, is something that gives you temporary happiness. Drinking a soda is a perfect example of temporary happiness. If you have dinner with a friend versus drink a soda alone, the next morning you’ll actually wake up happier if you’ve done the true happiness activity of dinner with a friend. “You’ve actually increased your baseline happiness, referred to as your hedonic set point.” So the idea here is to do more true happiness activities.  

 Mindfulness: Moment to Moment Happiness
We all know that meditation, a strategy to lower one’s stress and increase the ability to focus, increases happiness levels. But what you may not know is a meditation technique called mindfulness, a practice that has penetrated many Fortune 500 Companies, including Adobe and Google. Mindfulness allows individuals to be able to reengage fully in the present moment without having distractions. In other words, eating mindful, listening mindful, a mindful walk, etc. So how about turning off your computers and cellphones to be more present? It really is that simple.  The idea is to make peace with your present moment to be happier.

In this episode of In Process Podcast, Trusted Counsel interviews Chris Butsch , speaker, meditation instructor, millennial happiness expert and author of the new book “The Millennial’s Guide to Making Happiness.”  

During the course of the podcast you will learn about:

  • What led Chris to write a book specifically for millennials (and that every office should have a copy of the book)
  • The building blocks of happiness: true happiness versus pleasure
  • The problem with social media and its impact on our happiness levels  
  • How to increase your happiness levels over time
  • Why everyone needs to have a sleep app on their phones

Stream the conversation with Chris in the player below to learn more. Don’t miss an episode, subscribe to InProcess Podcast on iTunes to receive this episode as well as future updates from the show to your smartphone.