Where Did America Go?

Roy Everitt on marketingListening to Simon and Garfunkel this evening I can’t help but think the UK and the USA were a lot closer a few decades ago than we are now. We shared music and still do. We shared values and mostly still do.

But, increasingly, we Brits struggle to understand America and what it stands for. Many of us admire Obama and find it difficult to comprehend why so many Americans seem to hate him with a passion that no other US president has endured. To a nation that’s never known socialism I suppose you could could him a socialist, but to the rest of the world he’s nothing of the kind. Certainly not anything more to the left than that mild label. And yet, he gets called a communist, a traitor and worse.

Frankly, it makes America seem like a very weird place.

And that’s before we even mention guns. Americans’ obsession with the right to bear arms (actually a corrupt reading of the second amendment) is really quite scary. In a largely lawless country, as early America was, it made sense to be able to defend oneself. And yet there are more guns per person in the USA now than there ever were during the great expansion west. A proportion of the more rabid gun owners (I don’t know what proportion but they make a lot of noise) seem to think they will need to defend themselves against the president himself, or ‘the government’ or the forces of law and order that represent it.

There’s a lot to criticise governments for – the UK government as much as the US one – but it really beggars belief that people are so deluded they need to own weapons of war to defend their homes against, who – tax collectors?

Anyway, Simon and Garfunkel’s sweet tones, singing about all those people who went to ‘look for America’ just made me wonder if they ever found it. The real, brave, friendly and reasonable America we owed our survival to a couple of generations ago.

If they did, I’d like to see it too. If it still exists.




That Thing You Meant to Do

You know that thing you meant to do?
You should probably do it. Today, if you can, but certainly as soon as possible.
Let me tell you a very short story…
Before my dad died, he lived an increasingly restricted life, being ever more disabled by multiple sclerosis (MS). Now, MS affects different people in different ways and advances at different rates. For some people, it brings death in a few years. Others become slowly more disabled and endure the pain and loss of liberty for decades. A lucky few have occasional sporadic relapses but live more or less normal lives for much of the time.
My dad was in the second category. From the first signs in the late 1960s it was about 20 years before he was mostly confined to a wheelchair, and he only died in 2002 – about 35 years after he started to have problems with walking more than a mile or two.
He was never good at phoning. Neither am I, even now, so we would sometimes go months between phone calls. It was always an effort for me to pick up the phone – he never would, even when he was still physically able.
…as soon as I did call him, everything was always okay between us. More than that, I always felt a great sense of relief. Even when I wasn’t consciously  thinking about my dad, there was always this nagging anxiety, guilt, stress, or whatever.
I wasn’t aware of it until it passed. Like a subliminal noise that you don’t notice until it stops.
If you’re feeling stressed about something and nothing, and can’t put your finger on exactly what’s wrong, I wouldn’t mind betting there’s something similar nagging away at your subconscious, too.
Probably someone you need to speak to. Quite likely someone who never calls you, either. What’s it worth, this feeling that it must be his or her turn to call?
What’s it worth to speak with them again? When will it be too late?
While you’re both still alive there’s still time. Don’t wait until there isn’t.

The Worst Thing in Business?

Roy Everitt on marketingWant to know what the worst thing is? Well, you could argue it’s any problem that you can’t solve (and that’s hurting you) but there’s nearly always a solution, even if you don’t know it. Ask someone who knows and that problem is solved.

You could say it’s lack of cash (otherwise known as late payers), bad suppliers or staff you can’t rely on. All these can be solved, too, although they’re all easier to deal with if you anticipate problems and put the right processes in place from the start.

You could argue that selling is a headache, that competition is too fierce or that not enough people want what you what you want to sell. Those all amount to the same thing, really, and the solution is there for all to see.

No, I reckon the worst problem of all is having nothing to sell in the first place. If that sounds daft, consider how many people are trying to sell “what they do” to other people who have no use for it. I mean, have you ever tried to sell “marketing”? Don’t, because hardly anyone thinks they need it and even fewer actually want it. It’s the “wants” you need, by the way, not the “needs”. No one buys what they need, only what they want. And there lies the problem.

So it’s a much better idea to have a product or service that people want. Even if it’s something they need they’ll only think about buying it when they want to — when the pain of not having is bigger than the pain of paying.

So, if you’re an expert in marketing, even a certified, top of the class expert, use that expertise to sell something that people want to the people who actually want it. (It’s a lot easier than selling your marketing talent to someone who’s trying to sell something to someone else.)

And if you can’t manage that, doesn’t it say something about that marketing expertise of yours?


What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (but that’s okay)

Roy Everitt on marketingYou’ve probably heard it said before that the skills, ideas or attitudes that got you to where you are today won’t be the ones you need to get you any further.

The thought has been credited to Einstein, so it must be true.

And it is, but it doesn’t matter, or at least it doesn’t matter as much as you might think, because Continue reading