Monday, January 28, 2013

The Leaky Bucket

Years ago I was involved in business development for a large advertising agency. We engaged an outside consultant and formulated a team of business unit leaders (account managers, copy, art direction, media, research and so on) to address the challenge of growing our business. The consultant introduced us to a metaphor that is a great way to look at so many business scenarios - The Leaky Bucket.

Your business is a leaky bucket, because you are losing business every day. The leaks are all of those areas that have to do with retention of existing business. It’s almost always easier to grow your existing clients than it is to win new customers. Ironically, the routine repair of the leaks that mitigate the loss of business is less glamorous. It’s about operations, customer satisfaction and net promoter scores (a measure of the likelihood that you will be recommended for additional business). It has to do with customer satisfaction. It has to do with innovation that allows you to earn repeat business. It has a lot to do with understanding the marketplace, competition and recognizing hundreds of small innovations to routine activity.

Of course the leaks prevail in spite of your best efforts. Filling the bucket is acquisition of new business. Here is where you put on your sincere suit and pitch capability. You want to play to your strengths, but you also want to feature things that will allow customers to consider your value proposition. The quest is exciting and often dynamic and creative, because the goal is to form new relationships. Winning, especially winning big, is high profile stuff. Frequently the cost of winning is significant. Ironically, it is the routine retention efforts (preventing the leaks if you will) that allows the win to pay off over time.

In summary, consider your own leaky bucket. Acquisition is important and worthy of significant investment. Retention, on the other hand, is the best and most cost effective way to grow.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Programming AMA in STL 2012-13

As AMA chapter VP Programming and President-Elect, I am proud of the efforts of our board to deliver a full year of quality programs, make connections and generally advance the study and practice of marketing and allied professions.

The American Marketing Association of St. Louis delivers great programming and seeks to promote marketing by connecting, informing, and advancing. What that really means is that we want to be better marketers, learn, network and grow as professionals. We set a goal to attract over 1,000 members and guests to our programs for the year. We are on pace to easily exceed that mark with our full calendar of planned events into June.

July 1, 2012 - Golf Outing at CCGC - Our fiscal year began as we kicked off the year with our annual golf outing at Creve Coeur Golf Course. Golfers braved temperatures over 100 degrees and others joined us for lunch-only that day.  

August 16, 2012 - The Voice of the Customer - Lon Zimmerman's presentation highlights how corporations and other organizations are finding value in Hearing the voice of the customer. Included will be examples of ways Hearing the voice of the customer has helped improve operations, sharpen marketing activities, and increase customer satisfaction and retention. Also discussed will be various methodologies being employed.

September 12, 2012 - Speed Networking  at Llyweln's Pub in Webster Groves beginning at 5:30pm. Join us for this after-hours event and meet members, guests and others interested in connecting and advancing in your profession and your career. Bring your best elevator speech and plenty of business cards.    
September 20, 2012 – Kraftig Launch Story Executives of the William K. Busch Brewing Company want you to know two things: They have no association with Anheuser-Busch InBev, even though their company's namesake and chairman is a great-grandson of A-B founder Adolphus Busch. And they are not setting out to make craft beers. William K. "Billy" Busch and Michael J. Brooks, Executive Advisor and partner to the company will be on hand to give you an inside look at the brewery's success since November 2011 product launches of Kräftig Lager and Kräftig Light  (pronounced CREF-tig, it is German for "powerful").
October 18, 2012 - Lessons from the Unconscious for Healthcare Phil Smith, Executive Creative Director of Prairie Dog/TCG with discuss how a growing body of evidence points to the unconscious as a dominant influencer of consumer behavior. Yet most marketing, particularly in healthcare, relies on traditional (conscious) qualitative research. Based on insights from recent leaders in this marketing movement, How Customers Think, Buyology, and The Culture Code, we expose gaps in current practices and illustrate opportunities with work from national brands. Join us as we expose the comical flaws in conventional focus group research and reconsider the truths in modern marketing.

November 15, 2012 - Sports Business Jim Woodcock of Fleishman-Hillard Jim leads the FH sports business practice which combines its global network with a seasoned point of view forged by dozens of professionals and decades of sports industry expertise. Senior Vice President Jim Woodcock leads Sports-related client work which includes planning and counsel to league and team executives, representation of ownership, crisis communications, branding, social media strategy, public affairs, media training, and global marketing and expansion.

November 29, 2012 - SKYFALL 007 - A special joint social event presented by the St. Louis chapters of American Marketing Association and the Business Marketing Association at the Werhenberg Five Star Lounge and Theater in Des Peres,, MO

January 17, 2013 - Stephen Reynolds, Director of Marketing and Player Development – Ameristar Casino. You can feel the excitement from miles away. Beyond the kinetic, high-speed flashing lights, the 74,000 square-foot porte cochère at Ameristar Casino Resort Spa the action inside. The stunning stained-glass skylights, 130,000-square foot casino and the Victorian design you can get insight into the latest, most popular slot and video poker machines, a wide variety of table games and one of the last live poker rooms in the market. Stephen will provide insight into marketing the  games, as well as the special player events offered at Ameristar.

February 22, 2013 – Remarkable Leadership - the 52nd Annual Conference theme at Missouri History Museum at Forest Park (Event is from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 and includes agency tours following). This year’s conference is hosted by Master of Ceremonies Bill Ellis (Branding for Results). The program will include Presentations from Andrew Grinch, Associate AD, University of Missouri Athletic Department (rebranding the Mizzou Tigers); Nancy Schnoebelen, Director of Advancement Communications and Barb Meyer, Vice President Marketing and Communications (crisis communications after St. John’s Mercy in Joplin was destroyed in a tornado in May 2011); Elliot Robia, Market Strategist from Pixel Farm of Minneapolis (Social Media); and Keynote speaker Kevin Eikenberry, author of Remarkable Leadership. After box lunches from Patty Long Catering conference attendees were invited to visit downtown firms LockerDome, Stealth Creative, Drive Social Media and Manifest.  

March 21, 2013 - Elizabeth Frantz, Social Media Editor at Better Homes and Gardens will be our speaker. Better Homes and Gardens, the magazine, is still read by more 7.5 million people. Our March speaker will share with us how the brand that began in 1922 is responding to the digital age in a big way. If you are interested in cooking, gardening, crafts, healthy living, decorating, entertaining or just want to hear about a remarkable brand and where it is headed, don’t miss this special event.

April 19, 2013 – Pew State of the Media report and panel discussion at UMSL/KWMU facility on Olive (next to channel 9 ad around the corner from the Fabulous Fox Theater). This exciting venue and format in the afternoon (4:30-6:30 p.m.) is a special joint presentation of the St. Louis Chapters of the American Marketing Association (AMA) and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) The event featured Amy Mitchell of PEW Research (in from Washington DC), Rachel Lippman (Moderator) and panelists: Denise Bentele (Common Ground Public Relations), Jim Steward (Dicom) and Jill Gainer (Hughes Leahy Karlovic).

May 16, 2013 – Filling in for Jim Holbrook, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Dan Curran of Mainifest Digital agreed to present on behalf of Post Holdings. Post is a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded ready-to-eat cereals. Post has leveraged the strength of its brands, category expertise, and over a century of institutional knowledge to create a diverse portfolio of cereals that enhance the lives of consumers, bringing quality foods to the breakfast table since the company's founding in 1897. Post's portfolio of brands includes diverse offerings such as Honey Bunches of Oats®, Pebbles®, Post Selects®, Great Grains®, Spoon Size® Shredded Wheat, Post® Raisin Bran, Grape-Nuts®, and Honeycomb®.

June  20, 2013 – LockerDome founder Gabe Lozano – LockerDome is social media for your sports life and has more than 8 million users and counting. CEO Gabe Lozano started out building websites for amateur and youth sports leagues. His company, LockerDome, eventually captured the interest of St. Louis investors like Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of mobile payment Square, Jack Dorsey, Twiter co-founder and a few others and In 2013 LockerDome established an advertising partnership with USA Today. LockerDome is an amazing story of success in St. Louis.

July 5, 2013 - Golf Outing at CCGC - Our fiscal year began as we kicked off the year with our annual golf outing at Creve Coeur Golf Course. Sponsors include Creatives-on-Call, iDream Solutions, MarketVolt and Sandbox Creative. $40 pays for a full afternoon that includes lunch, golf (nine holes), cart and prizes. Lunch begins at 11:30, shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Golfer or not, guests and members are also invited to an awards ceremony and networking event at MarketVolt beginning at approximately 4:00 p.m.

August 22, 2013 Biz Library  VP of Marketing Chris Osborn will present Biz Library solutions to training on workplace training and development. BizLibrary is a leading provider of comprehensive learning and talent management solutions specifically designed for small and mid-sized organizations. The award-winning online content libraries include streaming videos, interactive e-learning courses, custom courses, reference materials and e-books. Additionally, cloud-hosted LMS, Performance Management and Social Learning applications help organizations streamline and simplify important talent management processes.

Save the dates and register on line at August, September and October luncheone programs are the third Thurday of each month at Maggiano’s restaurant on the Boulevard across from the Galleria.