(Time to read this Blog is about 3 1/2 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Biz Quote of the week:
    “When trying to fill staff vacancies in this challenging labour market, it’s tempting to hire any ‘body’ who shows up.  Don’t do it!   You can’t build an extraordinary business by hiring ordinary people.”       
    …Donald Cooper.
  2. Quick Biz Tip:
    When do you give raises?  
    1. All at the same time for everyone? This annual ‘festival of raises’ creates a frenzy of everybody trying to find out how much everyone else is being paid.  This wastes a lot of time and energy and usually ends in many people feeling disgruntled and resentful.   
    2. On the anniversary of their employment. This spreads out the workload, individualizes it to each employee and puts a stop to the ‘festival of raises’ frenzy described in item #1 above.   
    3. Whenever their performance deserves it, including when they’re given more responsibility. This ties compensation directly to performance and responsibility, which is the way it ought to be.
    4. Not unless they threaten to leave. This is often a sign of uncaring or incompetent management who run the business by jumping from crisis to crises.  It puts worthy employees in an awkward, frustrating position and encourages aggressive employees to blackmail you with ultimatums.  This is a terrible option.

So, what’s your process for giving raises, rewarding excellent performance and encouraging those with potential?   I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic. 

  1. Inflation in Argentina. If you think inflation is high in your part of the world, check out Argentina. Year-over-year inflation in Argentina was 102% as of Feb 2023.  Argentina is the South American geographic equivalent of Canada with vast agricultural and natural resources. 100 years ago Argentina was a thriving and wealthy country. But the economy has been destroyed by incompetent and corrupt left-leaning politicians.
  2. I have one Biz Coaching slot open starting May 1st. If you’d like help in improving clarity, efficiency, compelling customer value, a more  engaged team and improved profitability, perhaps we should chat about possibilities.
    If you’re looking for a graceful and profitable exit from your business, perhaps we should talk.
    If you need help sorting out challenges with your family business or partnership, we should definitely talk. 
    I’m easy to find at donald@donaldcooper.com.
  3. Timeshare warning. According to a recent survey, 85% of people who buy vacation Timeshare regret the purchase.  Don’t fall for this scam.  And don’t agree to sit through a 3-hour, high-pressure Timeshare sales pitch at some resort to get a ‘free’ snorkel excursion, or some other free ‘gift’.  And, by the way, ‘Vacation Clubs’ are just another version of Timeshare.  New name…same scam!
  4. Have you included your pet in your Will? Only 6% of Canadians have made a plan for their pet’s care in the event of the ‘pet parent’s’ demise.  Online Will preparation service, ‘Willful’, advises how to plan for your pet in your Will by designating a ‘pet guardian’ and by leaving money to your pet’s guardian in a special ‘Pet Trust to cover the cost of care.

Now, to this week’s important topic:

So, exactly what is ‘marketing’?  It’s much more than you think:

Every business talks about ‘marketing’, but most never really define it properly.  There are many debates and myths about what marketing is.  Some folks equate it to advertising, promotion and sales, but it’s much more than that.  Here’s my simple definition of ‘marketing’ that may be helpful…

  Marketing is anything you do to increase the demand for, or sales of, what you sell.

So, customer and competitive research are marketing. Product design, product quality, selection, availability, packaging, presentation and signage are all part of marketing.  How you look, sound and perform in every part of your business, your sense of urgency and quick delivery are all part of marketing.  Kindness and joy are part of marketing.   

Selling, delivering extraordinary service that creates raving fans, your pricing, your policies, your guarantee, your compelling customer value and your corporate values are all part of marketing, as are your advertising and promotion, your website, your use of social media and everything you do that communicates with customers in any way. 

Marketing is creating clear and compelling value and experiences and then telling that value story in a way that ‘grabs’ your target customers, clearly differentiates you from your competitors, makes you ‘famous’…and grows your bottom line.  First you have to be a story…and then you have to tell your story.  So, what’s your clear and compelling value story, and how effectively and consistently do you tell it?

Increasing the overall demand for what you sell is a big part of marketing.  ‘Make the pie bigger’! This is especially true if your product or service is new, or if many of your target customers are not familiar with it…or have some fear, anxiety or doubt about it.

Home Depot grows the ‘Do-it-yourself’ market by offering Seminars on how to do various home repair or improvement projects yourself. They help people feel comfortable and competent about tackling the job.  That’s great marketing! 

A very smart camping equipment store in Edmonton, Alberta offers guided ‘Camping for Beginners’ weekends in the nearby mountains to coach and assure potential customers that camping is amazing, fun, doable, safe and affordable for couples, families and groups. 

Casinos offer courses in ‘Poker for Beginners’ to lure in more suckers.  In my opinion, gambling and lotteries are a tax on stupidity!  But I digress. 

So, how could you coach, encourage and promote to get more people wanting and using what you sell?  How can you ‘make the pie bigger’?

Next, how can you get a bigger piece of the pie?  Whatever product or service you sell, your market is over-served and under-differentiated. So, how will you increase market share …profitably?  Fancy slogans or media buzz, without substance, won’t cut it.  

Boat maker Boston Whaler is a great example. Their slogan is  ‘The Unsinkable Legend’.  But here’s the thing. They didn’t just slap a snappy slogan on their boats. They fundamentally redesigned and re-engineered how their boats were made.  They perfected a double fiberglass hull with rigid polyurethane foam in between that truly makes their boats ‘unsinkable’? 

How do they promote their compelling ‘unsinkable’ value?  They cut one of their boats in half with a chain saw and continue driving it around (see photo) and you’re impressed.

Advertising is creative bragging.  And here’s how it works. First you get good…and then you brag!  You don’t brag and then try to figure out how you’re going to pull it off. That will end badly!

Many folks disagree with my holistic definition of marketing…but they’re wrong.  They say, for example, that things like product design, product quality, product performance and dependability are not part of marketing.  But the truth is they’re the very beginning of marketing.  It’s a lot tougher trying to sell poorly designed crap than something that looks appealing, functions magnificently and uplifts the soul.  Anything that gives you an edge in the marketplace is ‘marketing’.

It’s not that I think everyone in your organization should report to the head of Marketing.  That would be goofy.  It’s just that everyone in your organization, no matter what job or department they’re in, should understand how their job affects the ability of the business to serve, to compete, to be extraordinary and to grow.  We should all be thinking of ourselves as being an important part of the marketing team, even if we’re not part of the Marketing Department. 

So, what will you do to create an extraordinary connection with your target customers by performing better in every part of your business?  What customer and business insights, training, clear commitments, regular communication, performance measurements, feedback, ‘thank yous’, rewards and celebrations will make everyone on your team more customer-passionate and customer-committed?    


That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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