Every business, non-profit organization, or local government is only as good as the community around them. By community I am not referring to its people (although yes, that is important); instead, I mean community in the context of a product, or in other words the amenities and activities offered in that area. As a general rule, to be successful, rural towns must focus on the community first, and the people will then come. This proved to be the case in a survey of the 400 most successful towns across the country. The survey also found that the majority of these towns relied on simple strategic plans that addressed four major areas:
Tags: Rural Community, Strategy, vision
“Why did you want to move back?” It’s the question I’m asked most often since returning to Crawford County this past summer. In one sense, I understand the nature of people’s curiosity. The area’s population has been in decline for over 60 years, the per-capita income is $10K below the state average, and 38% of residents collect social security benefits. Combined, these realities contribute to a more alarming fact that over half of the area population cannot be relied on to provide tax revenues necessary to sustain services and infrastructure. I’d hate to characterize the situation as bleak, but as one official remarked, his job was to ensure a slowly sinking ship, sank slower.
Tags: Community Engagement, Ideas, Rural Community, Trends, vision
Whenever I see a headline proclaiming the ROI of inbound marketing I am more often than not disappointed to discover that associated content is nothing more than a water downed breakdown of valid, but otherwise meaningless statistics related to factors contributing to ROI. Sure these facts have their place, but for a guy with real-world P&L experience at a Fortune 500 company they don’t necessarily close the gap between conceptual and the bottom line.
One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that some marketers aren’t quite sure what to look at exactly. Cost per lead? Cost per customer acquisition? Sales cycle? HubSpot, in fact, found in their 2013 State of Inbound report that 34% of business cannot or do not calculate ROI from their marketing. To be fair, tracking the ROI of inbound marketing is a difficult proposition that requires both time and consistency, two commodities marketers often have to bargain with upper management to get. Even so, employing an inbound marketing strategy is still better than the alternate ROI of not doing inbound. What’s key is knowing where to plug in the right numbers.
Tags: Marketing, Marketing ROI, Performance
A while back I heard an interesting take on the true meaning of the Information Age. The premise of the speaker’s argument was that we shouldn’t think of it as the Information Age because there is so much information at our disposal, but instead it’s because we have the ability to pull from that sea of facts and figures only the information relevant to what we are looking for.
This idea is particularly applicable when it comes to Big Data, and for marketers there has been an explosion in the volume, variety, and velocity of data we can access. For companies, like Amazon, that can harness this information and act upon it, they have the upper hand while the rest are left floundering in it.
Tags: Big Data, Marketing, Marketing ROI, Strategy
In another lifetime while managing the purchasing department at a large home-building company I inherited the task of overseeing the implementation of an online software program that construction managers in the field were to use in scheduling and paying vendors. For 2003 such an application of technology in an industry that’s a slow adopter anyway was considered radical. In theory the software claimed it would reduce build-time and issue checks faster. Reality, however, was another matter. Remember I said I inherited this project. The guy before me was let go, so no pressure.
Naturally the grizzled construction managers who relied on phones and faxes to get homes built blamed the technology. It was too impractical and full of glitches. The contractors were equally distrustful. For them the software doubled scheduled their crews and issued the wrong payment amounts. Since this initiative was dictated by corporate, pulling the plug was not an option, and thus, getting to the root of things fell to me. After digging into the matter I soon discovered that the problem was us and had nothing to do with the software whatsoever.
Tags: Martech, Sales, Strategy