Archive | October, 2013

What gets you up in the morning?

27 Oct


A good friend of mine and my former boss applied for a position with a company the other day. He was contacted by phone and one of the questions he was asked in a semi formal telephone interview was ‘What gets you up in the morning?’

I thought about that. Why he was asked that question when he was obviously a highly qualified and experienced candidate with a huge background and lots of runs on the board?

How do you answer that?

What’s the question driving at?

Some answers might be:

“I love my work. I’m lucky!”

“My kids school fees.”

“Life gets me up.”

“The smell of the coffee brewing.”

“The alarm clock.”

Sometimes it seems that HR people want to hear responses so that they won’t hire great people.

I know there must be some deep psychology behind that question, I just don’t know what it is, and I’m not criticising the HR person here. I’m sure they know why?

I get up for all the aforementioned reasons.

And I’m lucky … I do love my work. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

Doing the absolute best that I can is just something that was hardwired in me by parents and circumstances.

But the barriers are put up. The hurdles to jump over.

People don’t score well in interviews for many reasons. Possibly the same reasons why different kids get bullied at school. They are different, unique, smart, sometimes odd, and … they don’t run with any pack.

As we all know, a lot of those kids went on to start up global phenomenons in the fields of art, business, music.

Let’s try and let the sometimes awkward ones in and lead them well. Stop putting up the hurdles.

Give them the confidence to do what they do best.

Do better things differently.


I believe it’s called constant improvement.

I just noticed that the clock is set to wake me at 8.02 PM. Better change that.

The art of the knowledgebase

26 Oct

ImageWebsites have evolved.

In the not too distant past, a business or organisation would have a ‘webmaster’ build a site. It had all the usual suspects: Home; About US; Contact Details; Products etc. You’ve seen hundreds of them. Maybe even thousands. Static sites with a flash animation graphic to spice things up. Looked good. Never or hardly ever updated except for new product offerings.

Nowadays, in the fast paced, quick clicking social media environment, more is required.

The big question is: why will customers visit your site? Better still, why will people who are not yet customers visit. We call them prospects from ‘gold prospectors.’ Digging for gold.

The gold you put on your site is what differentiates your business from your competition. Yes you’ve got great products. But sites need to offer value in a whole lot of other ways.

One way is to provide a knowledgebase.

Articles. White papers. Videos. Blogs. Put it out there.

But ask yourself the question. “Does this content do something for my clients, customers and all the prospects out there just waiting to find a solution to their problems?”

Well does it?

Cecil B DeMille and Learning Management Systems

9 Oct

moodleWhose heard of Cecil B DeMille? The great director of the silent film era. His epics such as the Ten Commandments and Cleopatra still rank as amazing spectacles. But many great silent directors fell foul to new technology. Back then it was sound. Now it’s the internet.

Online learning has taken off. Educational institutions and corporations have embraced learning management systems for a number of reasons. It’s always there, therefore learners can ‘learn’ in their own time. It’s cost effective, especially where training is linear such as workplace health and safety, it’s environmentally friendlier > less printing, and if utilised properly it can build a community of learners.

The problem with some LMS’ are that they are so often one dimensional. There are pdf’s to download and instructions. Learner’s log on and log off and log is a good choice of words here. ‘I slept like a log.’

When I deliver training, I am conscious of the people in the room. Are they engaged and interested? Are they enjoying themselves? Are they learning?

LMS’ should also engage learners and if they don’t, they aren’t doing their job.

The interface is the first place they arrive at. It should be planned and built to engage and motivate.

John Caples’ AIDA is about good advertising…

Attention … get their attention

Interest … and their interest

Desire … stimulate their desire

Action … forge action

It’s not about downloading online documents. Self directed learners want more of an experience.

Like a good website, static elements are not enough anymore. Consider multi=media, chatrooms, links and moderate. Keep the conversation going.

Don’t be afraid of new technology, but direct it like CB.

Whoever said ‘build it and they will come?’

5 Oct


We all know how the internet has changed everything.

Now we learn, socialise, get medical treatment and buy online. It’s a revolution big or bigger than the one that brought industrialisation. Some say the industrial revolution also fostered a kind of anti socialisation. Small, close knit communities with thriving cottage industries were broken down as people moved to cities to find work in the factories and mills. Apologies here to Weber one of the fathers of sociology for this one minute noodle version of his and other’s theories.

I work in marketing and I have a background in retail. My grandfather had many thriving shops around Sydney and country New South Wales. In 1933, my Aunt, one of his 5 daughters started a fashion business called Coral Lea which lasted in one incarnation or another for almost 70 years. It was a famous ‘brand,’ and glamorous to the hilt. My mother had her turn, telling me that she left school at 15 and was in the ‘shop’ the next day. Not formally educated, she was just about the best business person I have ever worked with. I often quote her to my students and in my writings. When I left advertising (did I ever?) I went to work for her. She trained me by hand and without a volume of Kotler in sight. One day she asked me to ring Vogue. Vogue Magazine was the fashion bible back before fragmented virtual communities. I was, let’s say, more than hesitant. A young guy in a little shop with interesting things. All she said to me was ‘They’ve got an empty magazine to fill.’ I rang and they came and we were featured in an upcoming edition. It was a powerful lesson in PR and marketing as well as human behaviour. I was never afraid again to call important people or publications. We were unique and I knew it.

Now some say that retail is dead. That people are buying online and avoiding the shopping experience altogether. Why shouldn’t they? It’s easy to Google and compare. There’s billions of shops online.

So let’s do it. Find the shopping cart provider/software and follow the prompts.

Build it and they will come

Umm, I don’t think so.

We still have to tell people we have the shop, and to do that we need to find them. Where are they hiding today? Facebook? In your database? On linked In or Instagram?

Here are some questions:

1/ Do our products suit the online buying experience or are they too specialised?

2/ Do our customers need help to choose?

3/ Are they ‘freightable?’

4/ How do we lead our customers or prospects to our e-doors

We still need to use a mix of traditional and new media to promote our store and it will take some time.

Like this blog.