Marketing: Share Of Mind, Share Of Market | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Marketing: Share Of Mind, Share Of Market | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Forget boom, recession, recovery. Checks pay for payroll, product, and marketing; rinse and repeat. Right? I mean throw in the bills and other costs of doing business but this seems to be the business cycle. If you had to choose, what was paid it would be payroll, product, and of course marketing. So how do you know which marketing pieces are the best investment when you are as flat as possible? Business is seasonal, streaky, and under increased pressure, requiring financial acumen and marketing genius. Not many things are worst then wasting money on a marketing piece that needed to have a Return on Investment (ROI) but did not procure one client. The first key, understand the difference between Share of Market and Share of Mind.

Share of Market

Typical share of market pieces include shared mail (RSVP, Money Mailer, Valpak, Groupon, Living Social, Amazon), direct mailers, Magazines, newspaper ads, email campaigns, and sales teams. Marketing is rarely either/or but a continuum, most often functioning as both share of market and share of mind. One certain way to decipher where on this continuum the piece sits is to include a marketing code. Always use a marketing code on your marketing pieces. For instance,I purchase a marketing piece in April of 2015 with RSVP I put on the bottom corner of the coupon 0415RSVP. Then in a program or spreadsheet I enter the price and then track how many dollars the marketing piece generates, typically ballooning over the next three months. I then run a return on investment. Say I spent $1 dollar and made four, then my ROI is 4 to 1. This is a great return for marketing pieces, but some can get as high as 20-30-40 and others can still be profitable as low as 1.2. If you do not track the cost of the marketing piece and the dollars generated from that piece, all though in reality it may be share of market, we can only consider it share of mind. Which is much harder to track and less measurable.

Share of Mind

Typical share of mind marketing pieces are billboards, radio, television, P.R., and social media. These pieces might not get the phone to instantly ring. The reason is they are not targeted marketing. In reality, the whole population is not your potential client base, but those that are might watch or hear and be compelled to purchase. These pieces put you in front of clients and non-clients, capturing mind share versus a share of the market. Catching customers closer to when they are purchasing can increase the return on share of mind marketing. Both are very important. The key is to use them wisely.

If you do not play darts, you never hit the bulls’ eye. Marketing is testing, iterating, testing, and iterating. A Go-To-Market Strategy is clear in rear-view or when following an innovator. It takes years to develop a market strategy, a marketing tailwind, analytics, trends and pattern recognition. Marketing is the tree that needs to be pruned, just make sure you know the difference between the trees.

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Outsourcing: The British Are Coming! | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System…If this had been an actual emergency…Attention…This…Is…Not…A…Test!

Outsourcing: The British Are Coming! | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

I mean the Indians (India). I mean the Chinese. I mean anyone willing to learn English, meet quality standards, and save corporate America/Europe money. So the entire competitive-developing world IS coming. They are not coming by horse, by boat, or by plane; they are coming by fiber optics. They are not coming. They are here.

Put down your television, iPad, iPhone, video game consoles, and get out your books. Not for you, it is too late for you. Get them out for your kids. Your kids are competing in a flat world. Competing for traditional American-middle jobs, that are no longer American. Teach your kids science, math, language, manners, customer service, leadership, business, anything. Teach them anything. Traditional middle jobs are shifting up and down. What this means is the traditional middle jobs that many middle class Americans use to be able to obtain with little to moderate skill are disappearing overseas. What is left is the even less technical jobs below and the slightly more technical jobs just above. So this new middle is shifting. Your kids have to be smarter, faster, more educated, and slightly more ambitious than you were to capture the higher middle. This will not happen without your help.

All cultures are built by the behaviors that are awarded and punished. The American culture does not award hard work, intelligence, and delayed gratification nearly as much as it does their opposites. It is so much more appealing in our culture to work hard at keeping up with “the shows,” your video game castle, and have intelligence in all the wrong areas. The great thing about Americans is they have incredible powers of concentration. Unfortunately, Americans so often concentrate on the wrong things. The elephant in the room is that the ratio of American achievers to the rest of the world’s achievers is changing. The playing field is leveling, because the world is flat. These other achievers are competing for traditional American jobs and the competition is heating up while Americans are sitting in the “pot of past success” like a slow cooking frog. A perfect storm is brewing and it does not bode well for Americans. Extraordinary companies are built on a critical mass of extraordinary people. The same goes for families, communities, cities, and countries. This education and ambition gap that is emerging is a quiet crisis, like I said it is a perfect storm. If America does not make fundamental value changes in regard to education it very well could be the next Rome.

America’s collective eye has lost the plot. It is time for a sense of urgency and commitment to educational excellence that will see America into a third generation of success. America will burn like Rome, metaphorically speaking, if its human capital does not improve. I know this sounds harsh, but it will be even harsher if it comes true. Home, school, neighbor, community, reduce your electronic connectivity consumption and get back to your grass root hardworking, always improving selves. If America does not improve its human stock over the next 20 years, there is no contingency plan, the gap between rich and poor will become a gulf; social, and political rest will inflame. To avoid this we need to change our global footprint fast. For starters, we need “new middle” in the pipeline, STAT.

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Startups: Know When To Exit | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Startups: Know When To Exit | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

How do you know when to enter a specific field, venture, or partnership? I think it is that personal knowing, that you can make whatever it is that you are undertaking, work. Jumping from ledge to ledge is scary, energizing, full of unknowns, fulfilling, and dangerous. What a mixture of emotions an entrepreneur navigates to get from point A to point B. The internal management of this “sauce” propels an entrepreneur like a sling shot. The pay off is fulfillment and of course greater earning potential. It has risks. You might land back at square one, in bankruptcy court, or even worse. Once you have taken the plunge and given business both hemispheres of your brain it does not get easier. Markets change, products are duplicated, customer-needs change, smarter competition enter the sector, assumptions become invalid, and pain points evolve. Not only do you need courage to start, succeed, and then thrive, you also must have courage to exit.

You made the jump, maybe not your first try, who cares, none of us do. Some do. You created a beautiful business, a great product or service. Outstanding. Or maybe you got lucky and built a mediocre business, product, or service. Either way, you connected the dots, found a product-market-fit and succeeded; profited. But it was not your love or you got bored, so you took those skills that helped you elevate an unknown business to profitability and you built other businesses. Say you bought a franchise and created another service company. You transcended from business owner to investor. This can work, does work, should work. If you have replaced yourself with leaders. If you have not, how will you track the market, innovate, iterate, improve, and exit when the time comes? You will not.

If your first business was a stepping-stone to businesses with greater volume or profit margins, great. You could be a serial entrepreneur, very different from a typical entrepreneur following the Hedgehog Concept. Regardless, businesspersons in your sector watch and learn from your wins and losses. Not only are you paying for your own education, likely, you are paying for the competitions as well. Without a true leader or innovator involved in the venture your market share is unprotected from wolves, vultures, and companies that are passionate about the segment. Capitalist markets turn this way. They churn. Sears was once the largest retailer in America. I have not shopped at sears since the 80s. A great philosopher once said rarely are things created from whole cloth. Certainly, your competition is one or two steps behind you. If you no longer are engaged in your business or have minds that are, exercise your genius and know when to exit.

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Entrepreneur: Move Without The Ball | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Entrepreneur: Move Without The Ball | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Eager to start your own business, read on. Remember Pete Rose? Most hits in MLB history. Guess who has the most at-bats? Pete Rose. Much of business is trying, failing, re-calculating and trying again. Iterating. People say all the time, if I had a million dollars I could make my idea work. Very bad idea starting with a million dollars, before you have moved without the ball. This country is ripe with reasons and excuses of why we cannot develop our ideas. Yes the spotlight is on the ball, but every entrepreneur moves without the ball.

Before money benefits, movement is essential i.e. a business plan, seeking applicable knowledge, networking with potential team members, founders, and investors, identifying potential pain points and customers, deciding if you are building a business, a feature, or a product. These actions are steps that set about a chain reaction, very similar to how enzymes cascade into reactions in the human body. Many of these steps are precursory and do not interface directly with the outcome, yet without them there would be no outcome. Too often Americans over emphasize the true downside of blowing it. Think of Pete Rose, or all the game winning shots by NBA basketball players that did not win the game. Think of every entrepreneur that has tried something and failed. I guarantee an internal note was made, a calibration took place, a lesson was learned inside each person that tried and failed. An iteration. Each action (good or bad) is movement toward your dream, company, or product. These movements, motions, patterns, strategies, routines are rarely noticed, well, until the company is viewable through a rear-view mirror and well before money enters the picture. It is impossible to guarantee whether a product will thrive or die (product market fit), the only thing you can guarantee is that you do your part with what you said you were creating. Swing the bat, strike out even, just get up and swing the bat as you said you would. Do not sit on the sideline and talk about how and what you would do if you had the team, resources, opportunities, or trust fund. Talk is cheap, just start moving without the ball. On a side note, some ideas do require millions in seed funds to activate them. If that is your idea, then move to Silicon Valley or another community that supports those size ventures. Many technological or biological ideas require significant start up capital. Most other verticals allow entrepreneurs to activate with significantly less.

Movement instills trust in your networks and gives you an opportunity to take a shot. We have all failed; failure is not to be feared, standing still when no one is passing you the ball is. Each failure is like a key on my key ring. And inside my mind is how each key turned the lock. Movement without the ball is the color of survival, it is the color of entrepreneurship, and it is the color of success. Every competitive advantage that leads to success at the individual level is fungible, except, moving without the ball. Flip a coin three times and you do not know if you have a fair coin, flip a coin 1000 times and you do. What is an ingredient in the secret sauce? Move without the ball.

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Customer Service: The Last Outpost | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Customer Service: The Last Outpost | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

First impressions may be last impressions.

Someone once said your only competition is anyone that improves customer service. So let’s assume this is in the Business-Bible. Let’s create some additional assumptions for the sake of an argument. First, price does not matter up to a certain asymptote. Obviously value, supply chaining, competition, among other things define price in the real world. Secondly, all businesses in a specific vertical are equally matched on everything (no comparative advantage exists i.e. All businesses are innovative or not, location doesn’t matter, etc). This leaves customer service as the last outpost

Other advantages aside, customer service, price, and innovativion are outposts. How you manage and value these outposts differentiates your business. “The times, they are a changin.'” In ten years, outsourcing, supply chaining, and technology have created global competitors that can beat your price and innovation outposts. Plus, price and innovation are effected more so by external forces than customer service. Minimum wage, insurances, property costs, etc., effect price, and we can only create what we know how i.e. other industries create innovations that positively or negatively affect our innovations.

In any case, we must err on the side of customer service. Customer-service-savvy professionals will dominate industries that once had zero need for the competency. The day of the highly skilled, but deficient in customer service professional is fading; more valuable are the moderately skilled with appreciable customer service skills. Employees must view customer service through three lenses: the  customer, the business, and the market, in order to be worthy of competitive wages. Anyone that improves customer service in your vertical is a threat, so, Without these lenses how will your team see them coming? The last outpost is customer service.

For more Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur (E2E) business articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me.

Core Competencies: The Key To The First Door And More | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Core Competencies: The Key To The First Door And More

If you missed it, the world is flat, thanks to the fall of the Berlin wall, the rise of internet, the Y2K debacle which we outsourced the fix to India, among other things. Read The World Is Flat. Businesses core competencies distinguish it from its competitors. That little business you have going on called You, Inc., must embrace its own core competencies. You are selling, but who is buying? If you never have a problem finding a job, there is a good chance you are an “untouchable.” Which is a good goal. Maybe you got there by being special, specialized, localized, or anchored, but certainly, you have transferable core competencies.

So who is buying You, Inc.? The answer to this question defines the core competencies you will aim to acquire. These core competencies will get you into interviews, an entry-level position, and keep you hired, for a couple years. America’s middle-class jobs are changing. If you do not plan to use an entry-level position as a springboard into greater responsibility, you might as well sell Polaroid film, because that job will likely be on the cusp of automation, digitization, or outsourcing. Here today and gone tomorrow are many traditional middle-class jobs. According to Friedman, the US job market follows a bell shaped curve, with middle-class jobs occupying the mean and everything within one standard deviation with high- and low-end jobs occupying two and three standard deviations from mean. The “bell” of the bell shaped curve in the US encompasses the middle-class job markets. As globalization continues to move, dismantle, and create jobs, so too the “bell” will shift and shimmy. As the dust settles, a new mean will be defined; extremely high- and low-end jobs will remain two and three standard deviations from the mean and middle-class jobs will once again be the “bell.” If this does not happen, yes, America is screwed. (A dumbbell shaped job market with a higher frequency of high- and low-end jobs is not healthy.)

Once inside the first door, become “special or specialized” continuously learn more about your job and the jobs vertical to yours. Business is hard pressed to outsource, digitize, or automate the responsibilities of its “A” players. Be “localized or anchored.” Being rooted in a community can buffer you against foreign competitors. How will the global economy outsource, digitize, or automate a masseuse? Planet Earth is not the Sixth Element, yet. However, nothing is safe; I hope you realize this. Nothing. Before the fiber optic highway connected the US to unconnected parts of the world, kids in developing countries had little hope of using their skills to compete in the US marketplace. Now traditional jobs are easily outsourced to anywhere on the planet, product or service, assuming connectivity. Competition 3.0 is here. Ten years ago, some of the brightest kids in my college classes were foreigners. Many of the dumbest and laziest? Americans!

If you find your way into an entry-level position. Learn from those around you, horizontally and vertically. Be a sponge, a life-long learner and grow into positions that require more expertise. Do not settle into jobs that are on the cusp of outsourcing, digitization, or automation. Yes work your way up and appreciate the climb, but do not settle. Stay hungry; do not get complacent. At You, Inc., always be improving and adding to your core competencies.

Continuous development of your core competencies does not ensure that your inevitable downsizing is less like sand slipping through fingers, but it will give you confidence and additional competence, which are transferable among verticals. I once had a job where every few months my boss would enter my office and say, “remind me, why we need you?” This boss loved me and battled for my position more than I can know. Why was I so naive to think that being great at what I did would create loyalty among the owners? Loyalty is a relic in a global marketplace. The only loyalty an owner will ever show you in a global economy is to give you a chance to take on the responsibility of two or more people at the price of one. If loyalty is what you seek, continually manage more for less and you will always have it. This is the new race. Be mentally nimble and vigilant and run faster, harder, smarter than the competition.

The new name of the game. Increase your competencies and travel beyond the first door, out of reach of outsourcing, digitization, and automation. You might even aim to be “untouchable,” extremely employable no matter the vertical. When you venture beyond the competencies required at the first door, newly acquired competencies are transferable and linkable. When the mission is lofty, 20% of the road is behind and 80% is in front. Set high standards for yourself and never be satisfied with the status quo. For more business articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me.

Customer Retention: Pain Points | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Customer Retention: Pain Points | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

How easy is it to find a niche? Easy. Especially if you can diagnose pain points. You know, get downstream from a product or service and find the gaps between what is thought to be delivered and what is delivered; between reality and expectation. The easy targets are bad customer experiences, high fees, and little to no innovation.

I love when I walk into an establishment and the employees are trained to make my experience memorable, to deal with me no matter how difficult I become, and have the ability to sidestep processes in order to get me to solutions. More memorable are untrained employees, with little to no people skills or ability to solve my problem. The outcome: bad customer experience. Identify the logjam where customers are having a high incidence of bad customer experiences and you have a pain point. A competitive advantage. Ceteris Paribus this is a prime reason to start a business.

You have gas stations, grocery stores, retailers, restaurants, and health clubs that you frequent. What happens when the service provided is disproportionate to the cost? Maybe droves of potential buyers find the fees too high. Price is a pain point and depending upon the product, lower fees can be a competitive advantage. Beware; as the incumbent realizes there is a competitively priced product in the market, he may start a price war leading to “the race to the bottom,” a price war leading to lower and lower prices. To avoid a price war, be strategic, methodical, and wise with your pricing. Use analytics when possible. Do not put yourself out of business.

Products with little to no innovation (assuming they are not a dead invention like a Walkman) can be modified to produce a competitive advantage. Augment the product or presentation. Once again, being downstream as a consumer has its advantages. Identify where the current product or service is lacking and create innovative solutions that match customer profiles and needs.

A quick brainstorming session with friends, over cheese & wine can produce the pain points for your next business venture. Start by identifying the gaps between expectation and reality. If the current solution is marred by bad customer service, high fees, and little to no innovation you may have found your next business concept. For more business articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me or Harper’s Hut Blog.

Time Management: Never Eat An Elephant In One Bite | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Time Management: Never Eat An Elephant In One Bite

William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

The Law of Conservation, energy can be changed but always conserved, right? At constant temperature for a fixed mass, the absolute pressure and the volume of a gas are inversely proportional, Boyle’s Law, right? I guess I learned these things in college Physics, but the true take away was that you cannot eat an elephant in one bite.

Larger than life are most adventures, ventures, projects, dreams, and plans. If I am 5 inches away from an elephant, I say I am looking at a gray mass, but 20 feet away I can say, ah, that is an elephant with specific parts and motions. When I back away from the “elephant” I can categorize, classify, organize, and orchestrate bites.

When I step back from my own business ventures, I see a leap, the runway, the landing. If I truly want to gain traction with these movements, I might categorize or label the corresponding events and sequences. I might tag events according to priority, content, status, or category. Anything to clear my mind for a focus fire, soon I will have traction and craziest thing is, traction begets traction. I do not advise eating several elephants at once, until you have an idea of how many meals one provides.

Never recommend an elephant for dinner, until you and those guests are prepared to have elephant for leftovers. School, marriage, buying a house, finding the right career are some of life’s elephants. Give yourself time with the big things in life. Plan, work your plan, and throw your plans away when necessary. Not many things are once and done, and sometimes things are thousands of steps long and years in the making. Life gets complicated so eat your elephants gracefully. For more business articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me, or Harper’s Hut Blog.