Sunday, 25 January 2009

Entrepreneurs vs Marketers

Yep, I could go into every single business out there and establish my critique of what they're doing right and wrong. Businesses are ALWAYS suboptimised.

The trickier bit is to help them actually implement the necessary changes - while still fighting all the battles that represent 'being an entrepreneur'.

The old analogy of how do you drain the swamp when you're up to your neck in crocodiles... Sales falling, cashflow issues biting, bank managers threatening, motivation dropping, mortgage repossession looming. These are the realities of entrepreneurship c2009.

What these entrepreneurs need is not a heap of marketing theory and pointy criticism - it's practical & easy-to-implement advice on HOW TO GET IT DONE.

But then, as they say, those who can, do, those who can't, preach.

48 comments:

Stephen said...

yes, this is a very good point Rachel.

Adversity is what sorts the men out from the boys, so to speak.

Sitting in an ivory tower on the hill, looking down and critiquing the rest of the world is the domain of cowards and fools.

A good example of this was the intelligence breakdown over Iraq in respect of weapons of mass distruction.

If people are not prepared to get "real", then they are unlikely to be truly effective.

I myself, have learnt this to my cost.

Whether they be entrepreneurs, marketers or both.

Actually i think this problem applies more particularly to internet enterpreneurs/marketers, who have limited opportunity to fully understand their audience. A fundemental flaw of the internet is limited capability for effective social interaction.

Contrary to popular belief, technology actually limits social interaction - in terms of the richness of human expression.

Technology is an artificial mechanism which translates human expresson and in so doing....

effectively misrepresents it.

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Stephen

Definitely agree with you, especially on that last point.

Forums and Blogs are great but there's nothing like the combined energy of getting people in a room together - whether that's 250 people at the conference last week (a great buzz) or a dozen people in a room working together to help one another improve their businesses.

Too many people hide out - behind a wall of PAs, from the excuse of a diary that's 'jammed', the 'I'm far too important/busy' - for fear of confronting opinion and adversity and the real-time issues.

R

Anonymous said...

Personally I think all great entrepreneurs are great people people. Marketing gurus on the otherhand can be hugely insightful but are ultimately experts like any other. I wouldn't trust Seth to run any of my businesses any more so than I would a great plumber.

There is also a huge gulf between great ideas and great execution. Its the latter than entrpreneurs do and that's why they get rewarded. Ideas are actually comparatively easy, great execution is really hard.

C

Cranberry said...

Well, my business is run by men rather than boys and we're doing rather than preaching.

We've made some incredible changes since last year and the results have been exceptional but does the fact that we still may be forced to dissolve the business in the coming weeks mean that we are neither of the above?

Mr A Dragon said...

Its nice to see some more Business focussed discussion on here..

"Actually i think this problem applies more particularly to internet enterpreneurs/marketers, who have limited opportunity to fully understand their audience. A fundemental flaw of the internet is limited capability for effective social interaction."


Stephen I wouldnt agree with your point about internet businesses.

Good businesses, however they operate, will always try to engage with thier customers to find out what they want (or ideally what they would love), what makes them tick etc.

Bad businesses wont ie Woolworths, Little Chef etc. How many big internet businesses have gone to the wall over the last few months? None that I can think of.

I understand that there is nothing like sitting in front of someone, but a good internet business will gather information that normal bricks and mortar businesses can often only dream of.

As an internet entreprenuer and also a qualified marketer I see the benefit of marketing knowledge, but used creatively and acted upon with flair as the best way through this recession, for us.

Cranberry said...

I would certainly concur with that A Dragon. An internet business has far greater power to obtain customer data compared to a bricks and mortar operation. How does a bricks and mortar retailer obtain customer details in the first place let alone track spend, frequency of purchase, favoured products etc, etc.

The only way to do this is via store cards or loyalty schemes which is why the supermarkets never, ever forget to ask for your club card at checkout.

Stephen said...

Cranberry and Mr A Dragon.

Please don't confuse collection of customer data on the net, with effective customer relationships.

Neither confuse optimisation of keywords or traffic conversion with effective face to face sales and marketing.

There is one key difference between what people like Seth Godin (and me) pushes and what Rachel pushes.

People like Seth (and me) are pushing marketing methods to a low trust consumer marketplace. Rachel is developing high trust relationships, largely through face to face communications. Still using technology but as an aid - rather than the be all end all.

So one is pitching at a low trust consumer marketplace and presumably aids the progression of low trust. And the other "high trust" - which is the domain of human friendship and charisma.

In respect of why bricks n mortar businesses are going to the wall and Internet businesses are not i would say that this is very much part of the U.S plan for the globalisation agenda.

If you destroy and limit the commercial infrustructure of each country and drive consumers onto the net what so you get?

More control for the U.S.

Bush and Rumsfeld and cronies set this in motion before Obama ever considered running for President.

Cranberry said...

Stephen, from a business rather than social perspective, I would say that internet businesses are just as effective at maintaining customer relationships as the 'face-time' you are supporting. What you can't do so well over the net is close the deal on a wavering customer but you can keep in contact just as well and communicate with them at their leisure as it were.

It depends on the product – a service company will do better via face-to-face, whereas a fmcg business cannot afford, nor does it need to, allocate face time to every customer: think Amazon.

So your method has its place but cannot be regarded necessarily as better.

I'm sorry but I have to say, as for your US conspiracy theory: I've never read such nonsense. Internet businesses do go to the wall - Empire Direct was primarily an internet business. The idea that Bush's Neo-Cons would actively seek the dismantling of commercial infrastructure, let alone be able to control such a dismantling and keep the fallout in their favour is patently ludicrous.

Stephen said...

"The idea that Bush's Neo-Cons would actively seek the dismantling of commercial infrastructure, let alone be able to control such a dismantling and keep the fallout in their favour is patently ludicrous.

Yes, about as ludicrous as staged wars, contrived recessions, the well meaning media, the new world order and following the Geneva convention.

Its all somebody elses bollocks.

Fucking dishonest idiots are killing our children and destroying our world.

If you do not understand the manipulative mind - then that's your problem.

Cranberry said...

And don't forget that, of course, we never landed on the moon and it's our social responsibility to be fully paid up members of Flat Earth Society!

Stephen said...

Cranberry,
The capitalist system is in free fall and will be gradually be replaced by an autocratic new world order. The rich tapestry of businesses will eventually be replaced by tiny independent businesses supporting a small number of huge corporations.

We are on the way to the gradual disintegration, consolidation and convergence of enterprise. And of course the transfer of more power to the few.

What has happened on world markets can in no way be construde as an unforseen risk. The fact that our economy was balanced on the U.S mortgage market is in no way accidental.

In fact it is a sign of just where the power lies in the world economy.

Those who we vote into power are the same people who sit in their ivory towers and are only really puppets anyway.

Watch for the subtles of change in world events resulting in the erosion of certainty amongst ordinary people.

There is only one conclusion.

The majority is being screwed by the minority.

Cranberry said...

Stephen, you talk as if everything has been predestined by some very clever elite. It is simply not possible for anyone or group of people to control world affairs in this way. Just look at what's happening to Sterling and how it can be viewed in different ways. We, in the UK, regard its collapse as a sign of serious weakness of the UK balance sheet and yet the French regard Sterling's collapse as some kind of 'conspiracy' where the UK has deliberately created itself an unfair advantage on the world export market.

Countries use the most powerful computers on earth to try to predict everything from the weather to the outcome of war – and they still can't do it accurately. And yet, according to you, some clever folks can accurately predict, instigate, monitor and control a world economic collapse involving billions of people with conflicting interests and motivations and ensure that the outcome creates the desired result?

Just get a calculator and start doing some very simple maths and you'll see that no man, men or computer could handle this kind of predictive calculation. The numbers are too big with too many variables to contemplate - let alone how you build in human prejudice, weakness and self-interest.

Stephen said...

Patterns of premeditated deceit are not that difficult to identify.

Even if hidden behind a wall of imperical impossibility

Instinct needs no stastical evidence.

This is because instinct looks hard at the face and actions of the appointed leaders. Looks hard between the lines.

If you want hard evidence then you would need only to assess market movements and the shifting of capital to offshort tax havens, prior to this so called credit crunch ever been brought to the public attention.

But of course this information would never be made available and of course if it were ever to be made public, it would be given very little airtime and the editorial canabalised in no small way.

Rachel Elnaugh said...

Actually the breakdown of capitalism is the workings of Infinite Intelligence in response to the rising vibration of the collective consciousness - which has been praying for a world which lives in harmony with its people and the planet.

As predicted elsewhere in this Blog, financial markets will have completly melted down by 2010 and there will be an Apocalypse by 2012.

To me the Apocalypse will not be a catastrophic event so much as a move to the next dimension of human evolution - where intuition and communication via synchronicity will become so advanced that they will become normal forms of communication.

Have you noticed having increased awareness and intuition lately? My (very Yorkshire & alpha male) husband dreamed about the recent New York plane landing on water before it happened and was part of the team which helped all the survivors on shore. Spooky.

The election of Barack Obama and the worldwide celebrations surrounding it have already raised the vibration - did you feel it? It's serving to accelerate this process.

When these days come what use will there be for marketers?

However, entrepreneurs - able to make things happen with scarce resource and the ability to negotiate contra deals and barter arangements - will be the ones that help things keep running in the transition.

Think I've gone mad?

That's what the guy from Merrill Lynch thought when I talked about this at a meeting with them before the markets melted down and they disappeared in the chasm.

He later emailed me to say 'How right you were'.


R

Anonymous said...

I have problems organising myself in the morning so clearly I am not destined to orchestrate a world conspiracy...

However, I do have some knowledge of international banking so I am intrigued by the 'shifting of capital to offshort tax havens' you refer to. Can you provide some more detail?

C

Anonymous said...

Oops, looks like my post crossed with Rachels, which in turn demonstartes that I haven't graspsed this synchronous communication either. I'm obviously doomed, but I suspect capitalism probably isn't. Markets are very evolutionary and I suspect a new form of capitalism will emerge, hopefully a kinder version.

C

Stephen said...

Gosh Rachel, i prefer your version.

Anonymous said...

Cranberry,
"some clever folks can accurately predict, instigate, monitor and control a world economic collapse involving billions of people".

Yes they can, I have had insider knowledge of this, believe me someone in the business can ruin a currency overnight and thereby destroy an economy, and believe it or not it is a very simple procedure.

Cranberry said...

A, I absolutely agree with you on that specific point. What I was talking about was the scale of this economic crisis and the belief that it could somehow be managed by a specific set of people.

To destroy a single currency and a single economy is indeed possible – but to manage this on a global scale would involve keeping too many balls in the air with too many variables to predict and counter in order to keep the desired result on track.

Anonymous said...

Um no, I think not, it is when those with that power join forces, and it does not need many of them, as there are not many with that power anyway.

But when they do join together the power they have is immense, just go back to and see what George Soros done many years ago, and it was all on his own!! I think it was called Black Monday, can't quite remember, but no doubt someone here will put me right on that one.

Anonymous said...

George Soros undoubtedly profited hugely from the ERM fiasco but the fiasco was already there. He simply exploited it. I agree with Cranberry on this one, individuals can wield enormous power and move markets but coordination of those efforts to create the current economic difficulties? No, I think not.

C

Anonymous said...

Well C, we will agree to differ on this one.

Yes he did profit massively, and paid back every penny that was borrowed to make sterling crash, with immediate effect.

Same as when Gold crashed, in the 80's I believe, all down to ONE MAN.

SO you see, put the 2 men together, add a third and fourth, and, what d'you know, financial meltdown on a huge scale, the winners, well they are the ones who made it happen.

Cranberry said...

Individuals working for their own material gain – for sure. A collective group of people working in an ordered and controlled manner to bring down the world economy and all aiming for the same end result and believing that they could control it – nope.

Hedge funds may work together to force down the value of a bank for example but this whole discussion started on the premise that somehow this global collapse was all being managed in a controlled manner 'from above' for the benefit of the USA.

Anonymous said...

Well, hey-ho, each to their own opinion, I just believe that those with and in power have the ability and do manipulate this world.

But then perhaps I am just a cynical distrusting bastard!!

Mr A Dragon said...

"Please don't confuse collection of customer data on the net, with effective customer relationships.

Neither confuse optimisation of keywords or traffic conversion with effective face to face sales and marketing."

Oh dear..

What constitutes an effective customer relationship, Stephen?

Off the top of my head, I would say its an ongoing 2-way exchange of information combined with delivering on your promises..

A good business will choose the right channel(s) and methods that suit its market and customers, surely?

I think you are confusing the wish to acheive this with the methods employed.

Also, why would you want to compare Optimisation of Keywords and traffic conversion with face to face sales?

I am willing to bet that there are plenty of face to face businesses who dont understand thier customers or worse, believe they do.

Anonymous said...

I prefer to do my business face-to-face, and I KNOW that I understand my customers and their needs. That's what the relationship is built on, face-to-face trust, you know who you are dealing with.

Stephen said...

The conspiratorial mind is a way of framing the world of uncertainty. When the pillars of honour and integrity begin to fall one by one this causes a raging torrent of anxiety which serves further to fuel conspiracy.

Unchecked, conspiracy leads to anarchy.

Anarchy is a condition which allows the few to excercise greater control over the many.

First there was the aggressor (George W Bush). Now there is the Appeaser (Barack Obama).

Its an intellectual game they play called "problem-reaction-solution".

Whatever these people say or do behind the scenes the fact is:

Children are dying in wars everyday. Poverty and curable diseases still exist. Millions unemployed. A Media that talks of strife not hope.
and so on and so forth.

We have not moved forward at all.

So nobody wins.

Agapi Mou said...

I agree Stephen, we seem to be going back many hundreds of years where pillaging was rife, we should teach our so called leaders to read, then they might learn from our History books.

Stephen said...

Mr A Dragon,

It is a question of low trust and high trust environments.

The Internet is a low trust environment because it is comprised of an insecure, untrustworthy, contrived technology layer.

So the job of an Internet marketer is to develop low trust customer relationships. Whereas the job of f2f sales people is to develop high trust relationships.

Heres as example.
I could be the worst most anti-social person in all the world - but i could still be a millionaire in developing online sales because the Internet allows me to operate - given it is a low trust environment. As long a i understand keyword psychology - i will be a winner.

Not so simple in the high trust world of f2f communications.

Anyone who has raised a lot of money from investors knows what i mean by "high trust" communications.

Mr A Dragon said...

"I could be the worst most anti-social person in all the world - but i could still be a millionaire in developing online sales because the Internet allows me to operate - given it is a low trust environment. As long a i understand keyword psychology - i will be a winner."

Assuming this were true for a moment, whats your point?

Anonymous said...

"The Internet is a low trust environment because it is comprised of an insecure, untrustworthy, contrived technology layer."

Its not the technology that is the problem it is the low barriers to entry and the complete anonnimity. With a bricks and mortar shop there is high trust not necessarily because you can talk to someone but because of its permanance and authenticity.

C

Cranberry said...

C, possibly so from the consumer's point of view – but I had the dubious privilege of having shops once and, from the retailer's point of view, it makes no difference. We suffered credit card fraud from people standing right there, in front of us, knowingly using a fraudulent card.

As a result, there was little trust from us towards the customer.

Stephen said...

Mr A Dragon - re: Net Troll Sellers. Assuming this were true for a moment, whats your point?

The point is: When Rachel goes on stage she puts her whole self out there on show. She doesn't hide behind a keyboard like a lot of people. She doesn't call herself anonymous and try and sell to people. She actually gets in the face of people, tries to understand them profoundly and develops a basis for respect and long term loyalty. Try doing that over the Internet!

Anonymous - Its not the technology that is the problem it is the low barriers to entry and the complete anonnimity. With a bricks and mortar shop there is high trust not necessarily because you can talk to someone but because of its permanance and authenticity.

Contrary to popular belief, technology is a barrier to effective human communications. It is only because we expect low grade communications that technology appears acceptable. Technology offers affordable communications and puts people in touch with one another from anywhere in the world. What it lacks is that human quality that spawns environments of high trust, responsible behaviour and high integrity.

Technology has a dehumanising effect on people, turning many into "virtual robots".

I very much believe that technology has had such a negative impact on human relations that it is at the heart of many of the marital break-ups and heartache in families. I am willing to support this view further.

The only evidence i can give is to ask you to attend a ballet or opera or perhaps watch a romantic film or read a great book. Perhaps try to re-capture that moment you fell in love or the time when you lead the troops over the hill. I don't know....

Technology introduces artificiality into human to human communications. Technology introduces greate uncertainty to social interaction, which otherwise would not be there.
We have introduced a foreign body into the human body of communications. Technology is like a cancer that is supporting the gradual erosion of human unity.

Anonymous said...

Stephen

I agree with much of your last post in the sense that technology has enabled wider communication potentially at the expense of quality. I sometimes think the Internet is overstressed in terms of marketing (see Seth and others) because many businesses core communication needs to be a richer interaction than the Internet can currently offer. For example, one of my businesses sells bespoke manufactured items with an average order cost of £100k. The Internet is a useful communication tool but cannot replace the human interaction and trust required for the transaction.

C

Agapi Mou said...

"human interaction and trust required for the transaction".

Absolutely Stephen, 200% agree.

I have been saying this for years, internet/email, fine for getting a quick point across, but nothing beats real human interaction.

Stephen said...

It is when we live with robots
Work like robots
Pretend to be robots
That depression takes hold

The best remedy i have found
Is in watching God

When i first looked
I couldn't find him

Then on closer inspection
He was right there in front of me

In the eyes of a child
In the hair of the woman i love
In the voice of great leaders
In a carers touch

To melt those old killer robots
All you need is love!

Mr A Dragon said...

Stephen Said "Mr A Dragon - re: Net Troll Sellers. Assuming this were true for a moment, whats your point?

The point is: When Rachel goes on stage she puts her whole self out there on show. She doesn't hide behind a keyboard like a lot of people. She doesn't call herself anonymous and try and sell to people. She actually gets in the face of people, tries to understand them profoundly and develops a basis for respect and long term loyalty. Try doing that over the Internet!"

All well and good Stephen, but what has this answer to do with the question I asked you?

The original question wasnt related to Rachel, but the sunshine that only you can see, eminating from her **** seems to have blinded you to the actual discussion!

You havent really clarified your point relating to this previous statement you made:

""I could be the worst most anti-social person in all the world - but i could still be a millionaire in developing online sales because the Internet allows me to operate - given it is a low trust environment. As long a i understand keyword psychology - i will be a winner.""

You seem to like making grandiose statements without being able to back them up, with a clear understanding of the actual issue or the detail.

In fact you are beginning to sound like a Labour MP!

Stephen said...

What i'm saying Mr Dragon is that you could be the most untrustworthy character in the whole wide world and still make money on the Net - because no one ever gets to see you.

At least with Rachel, she puts it all out there. At least if you are a good judge of character - you get the opportunity to assess whether this person will rip you off or not.

Through the Internet - forget it!

That's why there are so many wise guy pointy heads out there making money. In real life - you wouldn't even let them in the door.

The Internet provides limited basis for trust. People shouldn't think otherwise.

Mr A Dragon said...

Stephen Said "What i'm saying Mr Dragon is that you could be the most untrustworthy character in the whole wide world and still make money on the Net - because no one ever gets to see you."

But isnt there essentially limited trust in all communication when its with someone you dont know, including face to face?

You've heard of con artists right? You watch "Hustle" right? There you go.

Also, heres a challenge - post a reply WITHOUT mentioning Rachel.

The prize is a box of stationary or some lingerie.

Stephen said...

Mr A Dragon. If i want to post something that has some relation to Rachel i come to Rachels blog. Why else would i be here?

There is only limited trust in a world that expects and accepts limited trust. There is only limited trust in a world that places human dignity and love for your fellow man behind financial gain and every man for himself.

The Internet and technology itself is inherently supportive of low trust human communications.

It serves that purpose.

Let us not think it is anything more than a low trust mechanism for human communications.

Someone asked me the other day whether i was concerned that my emails were being intercepted.

I thought about it and then realised that i hadn't sent any emails recently. So if some had been sent then it must be some hacker or virus that has got into my machine.

You see my point.

Technology is intrusive and potentially damaging to human communications.

Leona said...

Getting to know the customer is vital for an internet marketer and with the statistical data you can draw from a website with the right package this can be done very effectively. Just as supermarkets monitor their customer data to enhance conversion so does an internet marketer. It is all data after all and if it wasn’t effective then the large supermarkets wouldn’t spend hundreds of thousands running and implementing it.

As a supermarket directs its customers cleverly through its stores and highlights and positions its sale items to draw the customer’s eye, an effective internet marketer will draw a visitor through the website to convert in the most effective way. This is then analysed and adjusted accordingly to find the right recipe.

The manipulation of keywords is just a tiny part of this and you need to make sure you know your customer to enable you to answer the questions they are likely to ask.

I know the majority of a message is lost without verbal and visual keys. However, this is changing, with the growing popularity of broadband allowing effective video streaming, online businesses are moving towards a more visually enhanced interactive platform. Just as Rachel will be displaying with her online classes and interactive solutions supporting them.


I think bricks and mortar business are failing more than virtual ones because they have ever expanding overheads making it difficult for them to adapt quickly enough to the current climate. The bigger the engine the harder it is to turn.

With the development of online collaboration packages and video conferencing, I believe the idea of a business both marketed and implemented virtually is a very attractive alternative.

Trust is earned whatever the means of introduction. Of course face to face meetings help with this, hence the move into a more visual approach such as video conferencing. However, I have managed to form some partnerships based on trust through the written word just as easily as through face to face communication.

The problem isn’t with e commerce, it is simply down to the company or person (or errm certain marketing speakers) not caring about their customers, the people that made them who they are in the first place.

Stephen said...

The reason why i believe the Internet is damagimg to human trust is that it gives to much freedom to people to misbehave. To much freedom for them to back out of a deal. To much freedom to say yes, when they really mean no. To much freedom to disconnect with no come back. To much freedom to people to pretend to be something they are not - (yes that means you Mr and Mrs Anonymous).
"Anonymous people" - There really is no such thing. So you really are frauds!

Whilst there might be gold in them thar hills for online entrepreneurs- the Internet is nevertheless a low trust environment.

I believe the destraction caused by video games, the Internet, the TV, Mobile phones and such like to be damaging of humman communications.

But then that could be my age talking of course.

Technology has certainly been used as a mechanism by which huge sums of monies have been moved offshore to tax havens. It is amazing how technology is used by criminals to make their life easier. And i don't mean the stereotypical villain either.

Leona said...

A shark is a shark whatever waters it swims in.

The internet has also been used to connect people. For instance, Facebook. I have found old friends that I love and have lost contact with. I am also in touch with friends living in different parts of the world that without the internet and development of technology I would have most certainly lost contact with.

Families that have emigrated to different countries can now chat and see each other by video whenever they like. So has the internet really damaged human communications or has it enhanced them?

Stephen said...

Well Leona, its an interesting thought. There are lots of good and lots of bad i guess.

I guess, its like anything in life - there needs to be a balance. But i am sincerely concerned that folks are using technology as a crutch to hide behind or to distract them from effective F2F interaction. Also concerned that a few people are using technology for manipulative purposes.

Perhaps i might do a write up or something about the pros and cons and get it more even in my head.

thanks.

Leona said...

Those people will use any tool that is available to them for manipulation purposes. If it wasn't the internet they would target their victims in other ways, phone, letter or even face to face door knocking, mugging, burglary.

The internet doesn't create bad people it simply as with business gives them a way to reach a wider audience more efficiently and effectively.

However, to add balance to that, there is more freedom of information to warn people about scam artists, blogs, forums etc. Including the big businesses that also try to rip people off.

I know some brilliant people that are actually incredibly shy at initial face to face interaction. Without the internet they wouldn't be as successful as they are now. By making an introduction over the internet it helps people to build confidence and feel comfortable when they meet people in person.

A shy person is often overlooked in social situations, however that shy person probably has a lot to offer, you will often find the quietest of people light up immediately when talking about what they love. With the internet they can find their stage to do this offering valuable information and contributions.

Stephen said...

yes, i understand Leona.

It is easy to see demons in everything and i usually do.

sorry.

Leona said...

lol well thats only my opinion just trying to help your brain put the world in balance. :)

Stephen said...

lol well thats only my opinion just trying to help your brain put the world in balance. :)

you might need something a bit stronger than a balanced viewpoint to help me Leona. Something like a pitch fork or something. lol...

The anxiety matrix is a very different place to live.

cheers