Author Archive

A profound influence early in my career

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

I often get asked to participate in meetings or lunches where stimulation or imagination is required. Over lunch last week, I realized a lesson that I had learned years ago and it was again reinforced to me. When people ask what I think they should do, I rarely answer their question directly.

 Instead, I run the question through one of our models. I will listen, guide and support their own ability to tell stories.  We may disengage from the subject or bring outside discussions to the table but I try to enable their own decision making process to have enough stimulus and sometimes disruptive stimulus to work through a problem naturally. I might even describe examples of other industries that are quite different from their own until they begin to answer their own questions more insightfully then I could have.

Reinforcing through the right questions asked the right way, provides a natural inward solution to problem solving. When you hear someone say –” OK I get it.  I get what it means for  x brand…” and then they beautifully articulate it…..I have not taught them how to think – instead I have leveraged their natural decision making style to reach what I felt was a correct decision for them.

I’ve thought about that a million times over the years as Dr. Darrel Edwards never gave me answers directly – he always had the answer- yet he let me use my own personal gifts to problem solve or get to that bigger leapfrog answer.

Similar to the story above, if I had answered the question for this client, it may never have felt correct to him.  When he reached what he felt was the correct decision on his own…he was focused with clear direction and purpose and much better equipped to respond to any challenges. We all have the answers we need…once we have the right questions to answer.

~ Margo

What exactly is “being” a Canadian?

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Happy Canada’s Day – July 1st!!

There is more speculation on how Canada is changing as the country’s mosaic continues to shift.  Manufacturers believe that if we just had a comprehensive profile of these individuals and their cultural values, they would be better able to meet their needs.  Others have taken a different approach.  They have taken their brands to those countries to ensure their brand BECOMES ROOTED in their culture prior to arriving in Canada.

So my question is ….are we all that different?

The truth is that we are ALL human beings who intrinsically seek to establish loyalties in this world.  Loyalty comes from significant emotional bonds. The intensity of the bond is what we seek as humans to feel a deep sense of happiness.  This bond or need that we are seeking to satisfy is emotionally the same whether we have it with other people or with things. For brands then, achieving more love or more relationships would directly translate into more sales.

 So if we understand the “need” that a brand can emotionally satisfy….we should be able to more effectively and target all customers who seek to satisfy that same need.       So….do you know what they are really buying from your brand vs. what you think you are selling?

~ Margo

Why do people continue to say one thing and do another?

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Why do people continue to say one thing and do another? I get this question all the time… “The methodology said it tested above norm……in fact, it was the best tested idea for their norms”. So what happened?

The answer is simple.  Because you are asking questions and they are telling you what they “think” and you are not actually getting to where they make their decisions (subconsciously in their value structure).  The answer lies in getting to their subconscious and correctly mapping their decision making structure through their emotional filters.

A second observation I am very familiar with… “We have invested heavily in training. But in 30 days they are doing it wrong again”. At lunch the other day, I listened while a senior thought leader stated that “people are not trainable”.

If you are “telling” people what to do, they are not able to make a transition for more than 30 days.  TRUE.   You actually need to start with their individual psychology.  They must understand themselves inwardly.  Upon having this clarity, then they are able to align the “intention” of the training.  When you get this kind of “values buy in”, you will find that 60 days or 2 years later they are delivering on your requirements.

We call it values alignment and it works.

~ Margo

What keeps me awake at night…?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

MRIA Conference June 1, 2010

I have heard from a few sources that the marketing departments are drying up in Canada.  (Loud sigh), as Canada continues to be folded into Global thinking. LighthouseSearch has statistics collected in support of this statement.

How is it that in MOST companies, research is considered a “cost” and not the lifeline to stay close to their customers in their business?

While we search for ways to improve responsiveness in research, we must first ensure that we NEVER:

  • to have “fast” without “quality”.
  • to have sizzle without the right foundation or methodology.

Our marketers have fewer opportunities than ever to understand their customer. I actually believe that it is the customer that we are ACCOUNTABLE TO.

We heard from many speakers including Dr. Irene Rosenfield, that we must ensure that there is value that translates into sales. Only with that will research be a healthy and protected line within the P&L.

I am going to push even harder. We need to provide INCREMENTAL value from the global truths locally…..or our client base will continue to dry up.  If research and advertising are seen as costs versus business builders THEN WE ALL LOSE.   There are not many Dr. Irene Rosenfeld’s who believe that the marketers need to be in close proximity to feel the pulse of their customer’s.

I BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CUSTOMER and through them the client.  Then the work is authentic, objective and will translate into a win/win.

~ Margo

Emotion is a bad word

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

We walk into many meetings and have learned to leave the “word” emotion in the parking lot. It is an uncomfortable word that has been so overused or rather misused or …worse considered to be soft and not play a role in decision making.

Everyone buys to satisfy a subconscious need(s)……..if you can’t get beneath the surface….then you might be guessing how to best target your customer. Even the toughest critic (the Senior VP) who states two slides in …that it feels too soft…and by the end is grinning from ear to ear now that he/she understands the “power” in the emotion that he/she is selling.

Emotion is not a bad word….in fact when you understand the rules and context…even the toughest of the tough….begin to change their vocabulary to include one or two of those powerful words.

~ Margo

Do you Claim to be Customer Centric?

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

There is a popular trend in today’s marketplace as businesses focus their attention on becoming increasingly customer centric. But what exactly does that mean…?

Based on experience, I believe the definition of a customer centric business is quite widespread and negotiable. Some perceive a customer centric model to mean having a superior Customer Service Department… or a friendly and approachable organizational culture …or production capacities that enable one to customize their products. Some people even prefer to sum it up with the phrase “the customer is always RIGHT!” All the aforementioned can be great, but I believe that these are simply symptoms which allow organizations to ‘kick under the rug’ the real fact of the matter – the reality that they do not really understand their customer!

I believe that operating a customer centric business means knowing the specific underlying reasons to why your customers’ purchase from you. It’s deeper than knowing they enjoy the benefits of a product/service… it is actually about satisfying a subconscious need! Your company’s ability to understand your customers’ underlying subconscious need manifests into a relationship with your customer that is relevant, inspiring and most importantly loyal! Imagine the benefit when you truly understand your customer and tailor to their needs…exponential revenue…thoughtful relationships…viral word of mouth…disappearing expenses…a gratifying and prominent impact on the community…the list is eternal!

As a result the business model suddenly shifts. The marketing strategy is now focused on the pin-pointed subconscious need vs. what you think your product/service offers. The business is now consolidated to departments and functions that actually ADD VALUE in the customers’ eyes.

Suddenly irrelevant costs vanish.

Suddenly the organization is a team racing towards a CLEAR GOAL.

Suddenly managers are on the SAME page.

How might your organization change…..?

~ Margo

Building trust has never been more important to your customers.

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

We have just completed an in-depth investigation that defines significant behavioral dynamics associated with decisions and how people view themselves.

We just completed a large study (sample size of 33,000 18-29 year olds, with 51% female) in the US.  The results were compared to a similar study completed in 1985.

There are consistencies with how this demographic views themselves.  Relative to the world around them, they have a slightly greater sense of freedom, individuality and control.  Their desire to be leaders, making smart choices and pride is also slightly greater.

The big change however, is that this group of 18-29 year olds, have significantly less trust in their relationships and experiences today.

So what does this mean?

They trust themselves (internal). They don’t want to be sold (external).

Companies will do well that have problem solving vs selling styles, two way relationships where the customer feels like they are considered in decision making, brands that “inspire” versus provide a creative solution…….

StrategicVision Worldwide ValueCentered Study Youth June 2010.

~ Margo

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