Some Background

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National and Global, United States

Monday, August 31, 2009

Texas Considers Union Secession. Is this "All Hat and No Cattle?"


Texas Gov. Rick Perry's talk of secession really struck a nerve, said Wayne Slater in the Dallas Morning News.

Perry raised the possibility at an April anti-tax "tea party," but on Saturday a group called the Texas Nationalist Movement rallied in Austin calling on the governor to follow through. The secessionists want the state legislature to put a referendum on the ballot asking whether Texas should leave the Union.

I hope to be kicked to death by grasshoppers if it ain't the truth.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beer Pricing and Unemployment Go Hand-in-Hand: UP!


Beer prices are rising, and “just in time for football season,” said David Schepp in DailyFinance.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ten Reasons I Get Called...


Why Some Companies "GO SOUTH"

1. Poor Execution
When you're the boss, the only place you should point fingers is at the mirror. Most founders point it somewhere else.

Monday, August 24, 2009

When the ABCs Stop Working...

IN SOME WAYS, the human body is a simple machine: Air needs to go in and out, and blood needs to go around and around. Anything that interrupts those two processes is bad and must be corrected quickly. I was told again and again to remember the ABCs: airway, breathing, circulation. That’s the essence of emergency medicine. The problem is, there are hundreds of reasons why the ABCs stop working.

And so too, with some companies I've come in contact with in my consulting engagements. The company too, is a relatively simple machine: Cash needs to go in, and then cash comes out...and in between, a product or a service 'goes round and round...and 'out the door'. In this environment, anything that delays or interrupts the process, needs immediate attention. The problem is, what attention? Is it an aspirin, CPR, or a death certificate? So, I offer the ABCs: Action, Benefit, Cashflow. The ABCs. The problem, just like medicine, is that there are here too, hundreds of reasons why the ABCs stop working. And my job is to find out, localize it, and get management to act upon it without cutting off their nose.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

When Zombies Attack


“The zombies are coming!” said Jacob Goldstein in The Wall Street Journal.

“Quick, call the mathematicians!” Specifically, you’ll want to call Robert Smith and his colleagues at the University of Ottawa, who crunched the numbers on how humans could survive a zombie attack, as part of a book on modeling infectious disease.

And the results aren’t pretty, said Tim Cavanaugh in Reason.

Friday, August 21, 2009

They Knew He Wasn't Tex'ing


The mourners knew it wasn't Tex. Nearly everyone who passed the silver casket at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church yesterday morning whispered to each other. That's not Tex, they said. But the corpse was wearing his blue suit and black boots. The late Kenneth "Tex" Roberts, 80, who died Monday of a heart attack, was a jovial, mustached, retired tractor-trailer driver who loved to tell jokes, play cards and help people when they were down. On Monday night, Roberts' wife and others went to check the body at Hawkins Funeral Home, at 1640 Federal St., and told a female employee: "This is not my husband." But family members said the woman at the South Philadelphia funeral home insisted: "That's how you look when you die." Yes, you look like someone else!! When I die, I want to look like Marlon Brando (when he was young).
And so we find that Tex was in another casket, at another funeral home, under a different name. As W.C. Fields gravestone reads: “I’d rather be in Philadelphia….under an assumed name”, I would guess. And I don’t know anyone in Philadelphia named “tex’…not even a horse.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

IPTV Market Driver Analysis

The primary reason for a telco to invest in an IPTV deployment is the ability to offer converged network services. From an operators’ point of view, a next-generation IP-based network will offer the most cost-effective and future-proof platform for delivering robust carrier-grade multi-services to their customers. It will also provide significant competitive and technical advantages when compared to building and maintaining parallel and overlay networks to provide multiple services to their customers.

The ability to offer voice, data, and video services will ultimately help operators win more market share – but only if they execute well. New telco service offers will initially include triple-play services, with new and premium services brought to market incrementally. Consumers who sign up for these services will enjoy the benefits of getting better programming choices and services at extremely competitive price points. This in turn will increase spending by individual customers thereby increasing the operator’s ARPUu (Annual Revenue Per User).

Without a doubt, this is big business. According to a report from Strategy Analytics, over the next five years IPTV subscribers will grow to a staggering 80 million worldwide from just under 6 million IPTV households today. Additionally, the number of households worldwide that pay directly for IPTV service will rise from 3.3 million in late 2006 to 40.9 million in 2011. And according to a study by Infonetics Research, sales of IPTV equipment are expected to skyrocket from $371 million in 2005 to $6.8 billion in 2009.

To be sure, telecom operators are deeply committed to this business with an eye to offsetting the video stronghold that cable MSOs and satellite operators have enjoyed for several decades. According to another study by Infonetics, participating service providers spent 40 percent of their capital expenditures (capex) on triple play network equipment in 2005 driven by increased broadband revenue per user and new revenue streams. What’s more, these service providers expect up to 48 percent of their revenue to come from triple play services in 2007.

The majority of them plan to further increase their capex spending in the next year on IPTV equipment, broadband CPE, broadband aggregation equipment and voice over broadband equipment. VoIP is certainly a big draw, but IPTV is where all the action is.Consumers are looking for content that resonates with their lifestyle, and operators who deliver such services will benefit from this venture. Internet video portals like YouTube.com have trained today’s Web surfers to expect massive amounts of video-on-demand from their computer screens, and a recent report from Accenture finds that this expectation is shifting to the TV set.

Indeed, Isupply estimates that the worldwide market for video-on-demand services will exceed $13 billion by 2010. Consumers are also looking to consolidate their services currently offered from multiple providers. In effect, bundling multiple services dramatically improves an operators’ competitive advantage.

According to a recent study, it was shown that operators offering multiple services generally increase customers’ loyalty and dramatically reduce turnover, or churn. This is something that all telecom operators realize that they can monetize.Yet another study from RBC Capital Markets claims that about 48 percent of Americans who own or want to own a flat screen television would also be interested in buying cable TV from their telecom company. The pollsters informed the respondents that IPTV would allow them to get television, VOD and broadband access all through one telecom provider. Respondents qualified their interest in such a service by giving the top three reasons they would switch to IPTV: cheaper price than existing service, ability to watch what they want when they want, and the ability to watch content more specific to their interests.

Another market trend driving the shift to IPTV is the widespread adoption of broadband access. This broadband growth has provided a pleasant added benefit: customers are much more familiar with what the Internet is and how to best use it. This in effect will allow consumers to easily accept new interactive services into their television viewing experience as well. This behavior is a powerful precursor to the choices that customers now expect from in-home entertainment services. They are experiencing better television by interacting with it.

The proliferation of PVR time-shifting allows consumers to watch more content whenever they desire, and they feel empowered because they have complete control over their viewing experience. Offering rich and interactive services promotes customer loyalty and ultimately a more long-term and stable business for operators.

Another growing trend in the IPTV industry is recognition that unlike the public Internet, where content is “free,” the model of IPTV deployment is that of a closed system – sometimes referred to as a “walled garden.” The advantage of a closed system is that operators can offer premium content and services that differentiates them from others. Ffor example, the “long tail effect” notes that products that are generally low in demand or that experience a low sales volume can accumulatively outweigh and outpace the small high volume bestsellers in the long term. A perfect example of this is the success of online DVD sales/rentals.

Operators acknowledge this new shift and they are engaging with various independent content providers to deliver exclusive content to capitalize on this potentially lucrative business. Take note – this is a stark differentiator between IPTV and Internet TV.

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC): Client Case Study

Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering company in the computer industry. Its PDP and VAX products were arguably the most popular mini-computers for the scientific and engineering communities during the 1970s and 1980s. DEC was acquired by Compaq in June 1998, which subsequently merged with Hewlett-Packard in May 2002.

Globecomm New York: Client Case Study

Globecomm is a global satellite telecommunications systems integration company delivering complete solutions to customers intelecommunications, broadcasting (MSO, DSB, MMDS), Internet, VoIP, industry and government/military markets.

The Challenge:
Deliver a market strategy and tactical implementation for a Direct-to-Home satellite system in 18 West African countries.

The Deliverables:
Define the brand, the products. Build out the broadcast imperatives, hire and train senior management, develop sub-contractors, analyze financial performance, define the metrics, define the supply chain, increase productivity and process improvement, acquire content…over a 24 month period.

The Results:
Developed the ‘go-to-market’ strategy and market position
Defined the market universe and demographics
Defined revenue forecasts and market penetration
Hired and trained the in-country senior management including the CEO.
Developed the supply chain for set-tops, antennas, broadcaster center buildout
Defined the organizational structure and coach senior management on cultural/business imperatives.
Acquired content for the initiative via 50+ content providers
Set up ‘call center’ imperatives
Acquired legal broadcast licenses

EMS Technologies: Client Case Study

EMS Technologies, Inc., is a world leader in wireless-based broadband communications equipment, developing equipment that supports two-way internet communications and content delivery.

THE Objective: Organize the sales effort and Develop a pipeline for DVB-RCS technology in order to increase the valuation of the division so that it can be spun-out and sold.

The Challenge:
Minimal brand awareness and value-add capabilities in the US.
Limited US standards for the technology. Mostly European-based.
No strategic orientation to the market universe and potential customers

The Deliverables:
Build the pipeline and establish OEM targets such as Alcatel and Clear Channel
Measure performance (ROI, Sales metrics, forecasting)
Strategy development
Tactical Execution
Establish DVB-RCS Standards definitions

The Results:
Division was sold 12 months later at substantially higher valuation
Pipeline was filled with prominent potential customers (Alcatel, Clear Channel, Home Depot, Southern California Edison)
Business process was changed to address US-centric opportunities (e.g. OEM/channel partner strategy.
NOTE: DVB-RCS is defined as Digital Video Broadcast/Return Channel Satellite.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Maximizing CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)

Strategic Marketers point out that any CLV calculation will differ greatly by three important factors: 1) the industry Sector; 2) the product; and 3) the period of analysis. Even if your calculation of the Customer Lifetime Value isn’t 100% accurate, it does give you a way to compare various customers in your customer base. If you are in an industry that can provide differentiated service, this allows you to guide your front-line employees to provide better service to customers who have higher CLV’s.

The weakness, of course, is that CLV relies upon a lot of assumptions about tenure, future product purchasing and future costs. A 20 year old male with a low financial services wallet might have higher costs and lower revenues for you today, but over his lifetime, IF you keep him engaged, and IF you get your fair share of his disposable income over time and IF he is reasonable to service, he should be a good investment. But those are some pretty big ifs. And, once you’ve decided that your high CLV customer is worth your time, what aspects of that relationship do you need to actively manage in order to keep that customer? The key of a Core Customer Metric is that it is one that isn’t just predictive of the financial outcomes, it inherently includes some relative measure of loyalty.

The best Core Customer Metric not only points to which customers are loyal, but which aspects of the Customer Experience are critical for increasing or decreasing the metric over time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Consulting: It's All Vanilla to Me...

“Modern managers often utter clich├ęs about wanting employees to "think outside the box," take risks, and be creative. But the fact is that most organizations are inhospitable to those who challenge old ways of doing things...” And this includes management consulting firms.

OK. Here’s a test.
I’ve written a “Mission Statement”. It could be my firm or any other. Read it through. I know it's too long for a "Mission Statement", but this is a test, not a business plan.

Our mission is to deliver measurable and sustainable financial benefits to our clients by developing and installing processes and programs to rapidly improve our clients’ operations. We are experts in business process improvement.

We are a global operations management consulting firm that creates value for clients by delivering results using experienced professionals and proven methods. We specialize in executing and implementing change management, operational strategies, process innovation, and continuous process improvement. We work with our clients to produce superior operational and financial performance.

We use a variety of tools and techniques to give our clients the guidance they need to solve their most complex and pressing problems and achieve their long-term goals.

Our clients are government agencies, corporations, and institutions that want to change their organizations and the world for the better. Our clients face daunting challenges. They need to manage ever-deeper and faster change.

We are a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, committed to delivering innovation.

We help management make the big decisions: on strategy, operations, mergers & acquisitions, technology and organization.

Our clients call us when they have something pressing on their minds—whether it is a major strategic or operational need or an organizational challenge.

Now, below I’ve listed seven relatively well-known management consulting firms:

McKinsey
Bain
Accenture
Booz-Allen
Toffler Associates
Thomas Group
Proudfoot Consulting
Well, your job is to match up each of paragraphs above with the consulting firm .


The problem today with the business of consulting is that it sounds pretty much the same. There’s a brand built over years of work; but there’s little substance in further identifying the brand, outside the name of the firm. There's no 'brand extension'. In consumer terms, that is taking the Wheaties and adding blueberries. And today, that is a challenging problem: how to differentiate and add-value. How to extend beyond tradition. How in fact, to conduct strategic business development that brings that 'value add' to prominence so they don't become 'commodity'.

Traditional firms are having to re-invent themselves. It’s tough, because they are traditionalists and relatively ‘top-heavy’. With present economic environments, corporations are either not making decisions, or procrastinating in making them. Many firms have not only people ‘on the beach’, but they are there as well.
What they really need to do is hire people from package goods companies like P&G, Kraft,etc to conduct strategic marketing and business development. They don't.
They still believe that busdev is 'friends and family'...or even worse the more work' syndrome. Basically, I'm 'in', I'm 'here'...so 'more work' from the same people. Finite end to that one.

That’s a reason why smaller, nimbler, and yes, just as intelligent and smart firms, are flexible enough to take advantage of present circumstance.

Now, take a look at this list again, and read the statement above it. Match any?

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
— T. S. Eliot

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The History of an Interim "C" Person...


If you every want to get the feel of being in an incubator all by yourself, you might want to attempt this type of career. You generally get the worst of the assignment, and don't really benefit from the outcome. You do get paid well, in the process, if that's any comfort.

Fact is, this is not an easy space to live in.
In my case, The majority of the situations were at the request of equity partners/VCs who had invested a ton of money, with little return. Mostly early-stage and start up, but a few 'roll outs' from major corporations such as Lockheed-Martin.
So, just as an introduction I'll list the interim titles and verticals:

President -- digital transmission of film to theaters in New York and Los Angeles
President- Sports Publishing firm in Los Angeles
CEO/ Chairman - Streaming Media company in Austin
CEO - Streaming Media company in Southern California
CEO- internet shopping site in San Diego
President -- interactive game company in San Jose
CMO -- Software company in Seattle
President -- Direct-to-home TV company in Western Africa
CMO- glass manufacturer/retailer in South Africa/Western US
CMO -- interactive immersive game spin-out from Lockheed
There may be more...but I can't remember.

The 'key' in all of these engagements, is that they were short-term (6-12 months), always on contract, always on retainer, and in start-ups...always an equity play.

There were always a wide-variety of issues, but most dealt with productivity improvement, profit enhancement (assuming there were profits), product, and strategy.

There are several factors that make interim management the resourcing option that it has become today:

Speed. Interim managers can be in place within days as opposed to weeks (essential when time constraints are paramount).

Experience. Interim managers will be more than qualified for the position they are taking on and will therefore be stepping down in responsibility. They will also have past experience of similar challenges to the ones they are about to face. They should be equipped to have an immediate impact and be productive from the outset, minimizing the risk of things going wrong and, more importantly, ensuring success.

Objectivity. Unencumbered by any previous involvement in company processes or staff relationships, interim managers should provide a fresh perspective and be free to concentrate on what's best for the business.

Accountability. Rather than taking on a purely advisory role (as a management consultant would), interim managers are responsible and accountable line managers who will implement and manage a business or project in their own right.

Effectiveness. Operating at or near board-level gives interim managers the authority to effect significant change or transition within a company — unlike a temp, they're not just there to ‘hold the fort’.

Commitment. Interim managers are typically committed to an interim career. For them, this is never just something they are doing until a suitable permanent position is found. A good interim manager should enjoy the challenge of the different assignments, take great pride in maintaining the highest standards while realizing that they are only ever as good as their last job.

There are a number of different business situations that could result in the need for an interim manager. Typically, these could be situations such as crisis management, sudden departure, illness, death, change management, managing change or transition, sabbaticals, MBOs and IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, and project management.

Sounds like a 'cake walk'. Where do I sign?

Recessionary Pressure Observations

Some observations from 1933...all over again.
I think things are looking up! Recessions and depressions actually have a beginning..and therefore an end. There's the bit of time in between that worries me most. What Depression are we talking about anyway? In my mind we have no depression, but I will admit that we are having the worst boom in many years.

Prosperity is when people buy things they can't afford; recession is when they stop doing it.

Surely the ability to get laughter out of trivial things, under miserable conditions, is not an entirely worthless result of the depression.
I have little hope of getting started again in my former business,
so I can have the thrill of planning my future all over again.

When you're in a pit, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

These economic downturns are very difficult to predict,
but sophisticated econometric modeling houses like Data Resources and Chase Econometrics have successfully predicted 14 of the last 3 recessions

When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters.
One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity. I just don't know 'which is which'.

"Summing up, it is clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o'clock." Woody Allen

My 37 "Best Practices" in Business Development

Best practices can be defined as “those practices that have been shown to produce superior results; selected by a systematic process; and judged as exemplary, good, or successfully demonstrated”, these practices are then adapted to fit a particular organization. Benchmarking is usually the systematic process used for identifying and implementing best or better practices. “Best Practice Benchmarking” is the best methodology for identifying best practices and involves comparing the performance levels of organizations for a specific process or activity and capturing, analyzing, and implementing best practices.

The use of best practices, when incorporated within all areas of an organization, including its stakeholder relationships, can lead to an organization attaining world class performance. Often, an organization may use one or more best practices and become renowned for their performance in these areas, but unless best practices are adopted consistently across all the functions of an organization, as encouraged by business excellence models, it is likely that world class levels of performance will remain out of reach.

The ‘Best Practices’ in Business Development top-lines:
1. Have a specific group responsibility for the business development effort. It should be a combination of marketing, sales, legal, and management. All new business goes through this group.
2. Strategically plan for revenue goals, time and expense budgets, and monitor on a monthly basis. Do not segment responsibilities.
3. Require that all bus dev staff contribute some time to organized marketing efforts.
4. Establish regularly reported metrics to assess the caliber / quality/ strategic value of new revenues, and not just their volume.
5. Have an organized, regular program of inviting clients in to talk to your people.
6. Establish research department to keep delivery staff informed on a regular basis as to trends, developments and latest news in each client’s industry (weekly/monthly updates.) Post this information on the intranet for all levels of access.
7. Have one of the busdev staff attend every client or potential industry meeting/seminar/trade show that exists, and have one person write up what they heard, both in formal sessions and at breaks. Talk to clients and potential clients
8. Train all client contact staff in client counseling skills and relationship selling methodology, how to earn trust and how to deal with difficult situations.
9. Develop (constantly updated) workbook of tips and tactics for how to render greater perceived value (give the client a better experience with us) at all stages of an assignment.
10. Top management follow-up with clients on all client feedback that is less than “all top scores.” React to anything that is less than excellent.
11. Use results of systematic client feedback in setting bonuses at all levels. Establish those metrics of accountability with responsibility
12. Ask satisfied existing clients to give endorsements on video (put on website).
13. Have an organized program for all clients to be visited regularly by senior officers. Establish metrics.
14. Create explicit non-billable investment budgets established and planned in advance to invest in individual client relationships by doing something for the client (not selling.) Monitor the execution.
15. Systematic program to offer to attend internal client meetings, critique their internal studies, put on free internal seminars for their staff.
16. Establish a program of seconding your staff to work in the clients’ organization.
17. Organize a regular program of proprietary research, surveying clients and their views and concerns, so you can regularly tell you audience what their peers are thinking about and doing. Use surveys to publish articles, give seminars and speeches with proprietary business (not technical) content. Be the primary source of new information and ideas for your clients.
18. Develop screening form to evaluate new client pursuit opportunities. Turn away junk work.
19. Pursue fewer targets with greater level of effort each.
20. Sales process designed to give value, be generous with ideas and earn trust.
21. Make your website full of content useful to clients and potential clients
22. Develop a strategy for ‘strategic partnership development’. Assign a metric to it
23. Identify vertical market trends and key players
24. Analyze potential client needs
25. Understand share and penetration levels of client products/services
26. Research competitive situations
27. Cross-sell opportunities with partners
28. Target seminars within the busdev effort
29. Target a referral network of former/current senior management within targeted industries. Have them meet quarterly (at your expense).
30. Generate high impact client meetings
31. Differentiate the company from the competition
32. Create client-focused presentations (not generic)
33. Sustain trending analysis within industry segments
34. Measure performance of the busdev team. Management by objectives
35. Create and have a ‘first mover’ advantage. Know things first!
36. Establish a budget and align to the potential opportunities
37. Benchmark everything.

Shrink Your Way to Greatness...


“Myopic cutting is the easiest and most immediate action for leadership to take on the route of subtraction.” Frank Bernhard, Omni Consulting Group

It’s true. Happens all the time, without forethought for investing in the future. The recommendation initially and usually comes from the financial person. The CFO, who looks at headcount as the easiest decision to make his ‘bottomline’ look better.

They start the myopics at the bottom of the food chain. You know the receptionists, the new engineer, the ones with less then a year, the consultants. Doesn’t really add much to the ‘bottom line’ frankly.

What companies fail in most cases to look at is their organizational structure, their strategies, the marketing, their ‘go-to-market’ stance, their value-add in new market opportunities. Product/service extensions. These initiatives take time, effort, and thought. They are not ‘myopic’. They add sense and sensibility to the equation of ‘downsizing’.

And one more point: companies rarely, initially look at the corner office for that productivity. Yes, the person with the window overlooking the parking lot. The team guy, the go-to person. Also, in many cases, the out-of-date, take-no-risk, fill out the forms, and let the day go by individual.

Myopic cutting and downsizing are not creative short-cuts to productivity improvement and profit enhancement. Anyone can do that. Yes, even the receptionist.

What makes a company special and the people who run it, is that they continue to shape future vision. They are strategic, and look at the long-term. The ‘cut and run’ group will always take the easiest and most immediate action to protect their own interest.

And who would want to work with them for any length of time?

Tom Peters wrote: "You cannot shrink your way to greatness".

The "No Jerks" Rule

Excerpts from Consulting Magazine

Upon approaching the mandatory retirement age at Deloitte, Thomas Doorley decided he wasn’t ready to quit the profession. He instead set out to found a new firm, Sage Partners.

The youngest consultant is 51 and our oldest is about 20 years older than that. Everybody is in the later stages of their career. They don’t have the same work/life balance issues you’d have at a traditional firm.

There’s no base compensation. There’s no guaranteed salary. How much you make is based entirely on the work you do.
Generally, five percent is set aside to cover overhead expenses. The lead generator/closer gets about 15 percent. And the remaining 80 percent is divided among those that do the work. As the project unfolds and individuals’ roles change, they make adjustments. On the venture development side they charge a small fee that represents between one-third to one-quarter of the typical daily rate plus out of pocket expenses. And the rest is paid with options when the client goes public.

"We’ve got a no jerks rule. If we find out we’ve got a bad egg, we want them out as quickly as possible. At a small firm, we don’t have time to deal with distractions form one person. We call it the airplane rule. When we hired someone, we’d imagine having to sit next to this person for eight hours on a plane. If we didn’t think we could stand it, we wouldn’t hire them. At this point in our careers, we don’t do anything we’re not excited about doing."

The Role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

In my world of almost 30 years of the marketing and CMO role discussion, I believe that the marketing misnomer/definition has been bastardized by many industries. However, in its truest 'negative' form, I have found that my technology Interim positions misrepresent it the most. They see it as simply 'marcom' and/or an extension of their sales process. Both definitions are totally incorrect.

"We need more marketing" I've heard from the CEO of a public company. He had no idea what he was talking about. He didn't want 'marketing'. He didn't really know what the discipline entails, and how it is the single most important discipline in your organizational structure. Because without it, you have no 'brand'. You are back to 'commodity'. You are 'oats', not Quaker Oats.

He wanted more sales, and so C-level management interchanges the two disciplines with the same definition. In essence (hey we should all know this), marketing develops and directs STRATEGY (this term takes any number of forms). SALES executes that strategy in the marketplace. Therefore the logic in all of this is that SALES (yes, that VP out there somewhere) should report to Marketing, and the VP Marketing (wherever they are), should direct sales and oversee that execution.

Those synergies help to build 'brand' and have both accountability as well as empowerment to see it happen. In most of my Interim management and corporate roles, the two disciplines are "SILOS" unto themselves. Big mistake for the companies, as well as those true marketing professionals, who have actually let it happen. Now....everyone just chases their own tail.

I find the same issue in the definition of "Consultant". I was on one board, and someone actually posted their credentials as "Sandwich Consultant". He worked at Blimpie! Another was a "Cosmetic Consultant" (Mary Kay Cosmetics). Get the point? Without any 'official standards' you just don't have a 'brand'. People will define the disciplines to suit their personal needs at the moment. And as am Interim C-level professional, that's where you stop everyone from chasing their tail...and start chasing strategic objectives.

"In my mind, Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation", wrote Peter Drucker.

Or you can take the Edwin Lung perspective: “Marketing is what you do when your product is no good

I prefer the former, thank you.

If you want a guarantee..buy a toaster


I Was Just Thinking: "If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster."Simple, trivial things can come with guarantees but important things just don't. Toasters do one thing. They toast. So, a guarantee to 'toast' is trivial, but important to the person who wants "just toast'. In our world, and our clients, sometimes, guarantees are important.So, how do we address this situation? This demand?It is not an easy answer. We don't, hopefully, deal in commodities. That just denigrates our 'brand' and expertise. We don't negotiate lower fees, because another organization is proposing them. And we don't compromise our ethics...work or otherwise.And that's our guarantee. To do the work that we promised in a professional manner, objectively reporting results (for good/bad), and being forthright, honest and convincing to the clients with whom we deal.I have heard it over and over: We need to sustain profits, we need to increase 'cash flow'...we need...we need."Profits, like sausages... are esteemed most by those who know least about what goes into them."

Some Thinkers