In this episode, Stacy sits down with HyCap Consulting expert, John Rohe. The two discuss how to integrate strategy and tactical plans for the total commercialization of brands, the proper definition of a “trainer,” and how to be honest with yourself and your team.

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Transcripts: 

Stacy:  00:00

Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them). I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing, and branded content agency Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers with a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics, which make a direct impact on your business today.

While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom-line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money, whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring and expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.

Speaker 2:  00:31

Welcome to Marketing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them). Here is your host Stacy Jones.

Stacy: 00:35

I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to John Rohe of Hycap Consulting, who is joining us to discuss his over 20 years of experience working in medical marketing as such companies as Abbott and RPS, where he served as VP of Marketing, and other companies, including Roche, VD, Thermo Fisher, Quest, Siemens, Philips, GE, and so many other companies.

His unique background combines technical, clinical and successful sales and marketing, as well as training. John has an impressive track record of revitalizing existing products and services from conception, to full commercialization and maintenance in integration into portfolios, with a focus on North America, ENEA, and Asia.

Today, we’re going to talk about how to innovate strategy in tactical plans for total commercialization for brands. We’ll learn what’s worked from John’s experience, what maybe could be avoided and where other brands are missing the mark. John, welcome.

John:  01:26

Thank you very much, Stacy. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Stacy:  01:29

I’m so happy to have you here. Can you tell us a little bit more about how long you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing, where you started and what got you to here today?

John: 01:38

Sure. Real quick, I started life as a laboratory scientist, working in the laboratories as a supervisor of Montefiore University Hospital for about seven years. Then I committed a double sin and went back to school and became a registered nurse. I did that for about four or five years before I fully realized that that was an awful lot of work for not enough money. Nurses are just, they work too hard.

Then I went into industry. I spend 20 years in the industry working for various companies, both as direct sales, direct marketing, product manager, project manager, and then worked my way up the line to VP at various companies. What I liked about all of it was that it made a difference. Both working hands on, as it were as a scientist and as a nurse, and also in sales and marketing. The products that I have been involved with really do make a big difference in the world.

One of the products I released was a brand new, what they call a fancy word for it is, de novo, product for heart failure, and what it was was a test for heart failure. Before we launched that test, heart failure was a huge killer of people, and it still is. From a financial viewpoint, it also is a very costly disease because these people tend to get readmitted to the hospital often. With this test, we were able to stop a lot of that. We have decreased the cost of heart failure treatment by over a billion dollars a year for the health organization healthcare cost.

That’s not only in the United States; that was worldwide. So that’s why I like it. I also enjoy working with people. I could never be an accountant. So, it just combined everything. And then about eight years ago, I decided that I would be happier and more productive and contribute to society a lot more if I were an independent consultant. So that’s what I did. I’m consulting in now where I live here in not far from the Silicon Valley, it is fantastic because there’s a lot of start ups with fantastic ideas and programs. And often times they get caught up in some foolishness that if they had worked in the industry for any length of time, they would know that that’s not gonna work.

Or, this is a highly regulated industry, so you have to deal with the FDA, Food and Drug Administration, you have to deal with the FCC, which a lot of people don’t realize, the Department of Justice, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which unfortunately, is abbreviated CMS, although there’s two M’s, I don’t know. So, I’m able to help get a lot of fantastic products and services into the healthcare industry that otherwise, I think, would just die.

A lot of people are under the impression or assumption that if you have a great idea or a great product, or a great service, it’ll just sell itself. And it doesn’t. History is fully of fantastic products that died. And example I often give because people of a certain age, this is over 35, I guess, and I’m way over that, they remember Betamax, versus VHS. Well, now both of those technologies are gone, but Betamax actually was a far superior product, but Sony just did not market the product correctly, and as a result, VHS took over. Nobody had a Betamax system. They had VHS. And that’s a function of poor commercialization.

When I say commercialization, Stacy, I want to be real clear with this up front. Commercialization to me means the combination of sales, marketing, operations and management all pulling in the same direction. That’s commercialization. In the past, companies had built silos. Sales was one silo, marketing … So marketing would find a product, find out where the market was, put together some collateral information, train the sales force on this is the product, this is what you do, and then throw it over the fence.

Then the sales people would grab it on the other side of the fence and then they would do their thing with it. And then as they made sales, they would just bundle up whatever they promised and whatever contracts they had and throw it over the fence to operations. Then operations would have to figure out, okay, what does this really say? What is our commitment? What is our liability? What do we have to actually provide? Then they would try to figure out what that was and then provide it to the customer.

As you can see just from that description, there were going to be huge problems. The customer said, “I didn’t buy that. I bought this.” So, operations has to go back in the sales force and say, “Well, that’s what marketing said we were supposed to sell.” They’d throw it back to marketing and then marketing says, “No, that isn’t what we … ” It just becomes a jumble of insanity. Commercialization is getting all of them on the same page, all of them brought in and all of them moving in the same direction, so you don’t have that.

Here in the United States, at least and other countries as well, we have what we call revenue recognition, which means that the company cannot recognize that they have been paid. I know it may sound a little crazy. They have the money, but they cannot put it on their books until it’s recognized. If you can’t see me, I’m doing air bunny rabbits. And you cannot recognize it until the customer says, “This is what we want.” So, it’s critical that the products are paid for and that the revenue is received and recognized.

If you don’t do that, then you get a visit from gentlemen from the FBI, with guns under their suits, and that’s not a pretty thing.

Stacy: 08:41

Right. And this applies to any industry. This is not just specific to medical, which your expertise and background’s in, this is for literally everything. Even my agency, because we’ll do a partnership, and we won’t recognize the dollars as being paid until it finally, if we’re doing a product placement in a movie or T.V. show, until it actually airs because you never know if you’re gonna have to return the dollars.

John: 09:04

Correct. Correct. So that part of it is absolutely true across the board in all industries. And I’ve worked outside of healthcare as well, but healthcare is probably my sweet spot.

Stacy:  09:18

Okay. And so, what’s the first step in order to try to get total commercialization, how to get all the parties on the same page, to actually be rowing the boat in the right direction so that everything can be recognized and everyone’s happy, and dollars are coming into the bank?

John:  09:37

What I have found over the years is that, and it’s one of my buzz phrases, training is at the nexus of commercialization. So the important thing for full commercialization is that everyone is on the same page with the same understanding. And what that means is that you have to have the stakeholders, at some point, sitting down in the same room. No more of this we’ll come up with something in a room and then throw it over a fence. You have to have everyone connected, and the place to have that connection, really, is training.

The training department is the one that marketing contact them and says, “We have this fantastic product or service. We want it sold.” So that training professional has to go into marketing and get the specific information from them. What exactly does this product do? What exactly does this product not do? Why does it fit into our portfolio? Why does it fit into the company’s strategy? I’ve seen companies that do fantastic in one part of industry, and then for whatever reason, they decide to do something that has nothing to do with it.

That’s caused by a lack of focus on the strategy. So, the product and service has to fit into the strategy of the corporation. That’s why the strategy is so important. And that’s why it’s so important that you have strategy, for want of a better term, I’m sure there’s a nicer one, but I call it enforcement, that anything you want to do really has to be presented to the people who are responsible for the strategy of the organization. They have to say yes or no that it fits that strategy.

So, the product fits the strategy and then you ask marketing, “What do you expect the outcome to be?” That’s usually where I meet with a lot of saliva bubbles and [inaudible 00:11:42] and, “Oh well, we just thought it was a good idea.” And I go, “Well I didn’t say it wasn’t. It probably is. It’s probably the best idea since sliced bread, but what are your expectations for that product? Do you expect it to replace another product or service we provide? Do you expect it to compliment it? What kind of dollars are you expecting to get out of it? Over what period of time?”

And those are really hard questions that must be asked. What I have found in many situations is that nobody wants to ask those questions, or they defer it. Marketing says, “Well, we’ll let sales tell us how many we can sell.” Well, I’ve been in sales, and the answer to that question is, “None, but I still get paid, right?” So, you have to have these decisions made in the real world.

Then you take, once they determine all that, then you go to the sales management, the stakeholders, and you say, “Okay, this is the product, this is how it fits into the portfolio, this is how it fits into the strategy, these are the expectations from marketing. Does this make sense to you? Do you think you can do it?” Then if the answer is yes, we’re off to the races. If they say no, then that’s where the training person steps back and says, “Mr. Marketing, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Sales. And we’re in that room, I’m locking the door and nobody comes out until you have an answer.”

Now, you do it in a nicer way than that, but that is the bottom line. You can’t be successful if you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know if you’re already there or if you missed it by 100 miles. I see that it happens a lot with companies where they come out with products and services, and they don’t know where they’re going with it. So, they just sort of stumble along. That’s not a prescription for success.

Stacy: 13:53

Do yo think that marketing and sales are the two most important ones in the room, as far as determining whether or not there is going to be able to be commercialization, if there is going to be buy in across the company?

John:  14:06

Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. I’ll put my neck out even further. Marketing has the ultimate responsibility. Yes. They should know whether or not this product is potentially successful or not before they even bring it to the sales department. They should be the driver of the company. There are some companies that are famous for it and there are some companies that are infamous for it. In my experience, with most part, Abbott is probably the most market driven company I’ve dealt with. It’s clear from them that, from their marketing department, what is and is not going to occur.

One of the reasons – one of the ways you can succeed in that is by having close connections to the other departments. When I was in marketing, the most important meeting I ever had was with the sales department. The second most important meetings I ever had were with the customers. Marketing has a bad habit of relying on intuition, purchased data, focus groups, and I don’t think we have time to go into, but I have a whole bunch of data that proves that those are not the way to go.

Also, that the marketing people have got to be in front of the customer. If they expect to get the truth from the customer, they can’t have filters in there. So, relying on the sales floors to tell them what the customer wants is a mistake. Ford found that out. You have to – the marketing people have got to be with the customers. When I was in marketing, I had a group of about 40 customers that some bought from us, some did not. Some liked the company, some hated the company. But I made sure that I had relationships with them so that I could hear the truth from them. What was their truth? Why do you hate this company I’m working for? Or why do you love it?

What I found amazing was that the reasons were often the same, just from a different perspective. I think that that’s very important. That’s why marketing should be at the center of it because they should have the tentacles. They have to make the time to have those conversations, and they have to be willing to have some rough conversations sometimes. Fierce conversations, that’s somebody else’s book. You can find it later. You have to be willing to have some fierce conversations with customers, and with the sales force, and with operations, and with management. It’s okay if we’re all in a room with the door closed, and we’re less than loving to each other in that meeting. The important thing is when the door opens, the things we present is only of love.

Stacy:  17:34

Have you seen a move that a lot of companies are now incorporating marketing sales together and realizing that importance where they’re actually packaging a system in place internally? Do you think that works or doesn’t work?

John:  17:50

I think it works. It can work as long as you have the right people in those places and as long as you allow for failure. The biggest detriment to success is fear. Without doubt. If I am a sales person and I just walked out on a client that just ripped me a new one, if I’m afraid to tell my boss that this is what the customer said, this is why they said it, this is how they said it, that’s a disaster. That’s a disaster. If the marketing manager is afraid to tell his VP of marketing that this plan that we just spent a half million or a million dollars on is not working and, I don’t know why yet, but I’ll find out, that’s a disaster because you’ll wind up spending another five million dollars on something you knew four million dollars ago, was a mistake.

I think the idea of integrating sales and marketing to one unit is good as long as there is a central repository of marketing elsewhere. So, the marketing person has to both, you see I just love to work on marketing people, I did it. I loved it. They have to both integrate with sales, but they have got to have a strong, strong tie back to central marketing. Otherwise, what I have seen when companies have done that is a born from one marketing department to, in essence, five, ten, fifteen marketing departments.

I could give you a very specific example, but I won’t because I don’t want to get sued. So, that’s a disaster as well. Nothing in life is the Holy Grail. That was used once, a long time ago, and nobody’s ever found it since. So, in order for anything to succeed, you have to be constantly be assessing it. Is it working? Because it could have been working that first year or two and now it’s not. But again, if you’re afraid to tell anyone that you see cracks in that wall, the wall’s going to collapse. And it does not good for you to be underneath the rubble saying, “I told you so, but you didn’t.”

So I think that you’ve got to have people that have self awareness of what they know, of what they don’t know, and a willingness to step up to the plate and deliver fierce conversations, and honest conversations. The only way that happens is if they’re confident that they will not be punished for it. The joke at a lot of companies that I’ve worked for in marketing was that the trick in marketing was to come up with a fantastic strategy, fantastic tactical plan, start it, and then move. You know, get promoted somewhere else. That way, if it failed, it was Gr – he screwed up. She just mess it up. It was a fantastic, you know. Or, if it succeeded, then you said, “I started that. You know, that was me baby.”

You really can’t have that you have to be honestly, a member of the team. I’m no fan of companies that say we’ll all be one big family. Well, you know, I have 11 brothers and sisters and the last thing I need is more family, you know? We’re part of a team and a team is not the same thing as family and people confabulate that. I think that it’s important for success that you have no fear, or minimize it, that you have everyone commits to it and the way you get everyone to commit to it is that you sell it to them.

So, you have to explain to the sales floors, this is why you should want to do this, because it’ll make it easier to sell product B or service B, if you sell this product or service C. Therefore, you can make more money on a commission. You go to operations and say, “This will make it easier for you in operations because it will just follow one after the other as you go forward with this process.” And here are the clear, clear, C-L-E-A-R, I’ve got Pittsburgh accent, you know it’s- here are the clear guidelines, and they’re really not guidelines, they’re rules. Everybody calls them guidelines; they’re not. They’re rules.

This is how it will make your life easier, by the way, if you’re smart, we have technology that will assist you. So, you have to sell it to them and that’s why training is so important because to be a successful trainer, you must start all training sessions, whether you’re selling good behavior to a first grader, or you’re trying to sell a product or service to a bunch of 50, 60, 40, 30 year old sales and marketing people. Nobody will do anything with commitment if there isn’t a value in it to them.

And it can’t be a generic value. It has to be a value that is unique to me, as I perceive it. So, that’s part of a problem with training that often times, trainers just start, I call it show up, throw up. I didn’t invent that. I’ve heard that for years. Show up and throw up. It’s a box, you know, “I told them all about the product. I’m done.” No you’re not. The trainer has to sell the product or service to the audience first and that way they might actually listen.

That’s how you get successful training when you’re presenting a successful commercialization of a product of service. And that’s often time where it fails. The challenge to that is that, I don’t know why it is, but I always pick professions that everybody thinks they know how to do it. Everybody thinks they’re a trainer. “I’m gonna get up in front of a bunch of people and talk and I’m gonna tell them all about it, so I’m a trainer.” No you’re not.

Or, “I took care of my mother when she was sick, so I’m a nurse.” No you’re not. “I know how to pour one beaker into the other beaker, so I’m a lab scientist.” No you’re not. I think that that’s where, a lot of times, things hang up is in that training. They promote people into training and don’t give them any training on how to be a trainer. Or my favorite is, they send them away for a one week wonder course. You know it’s this at the end of the week you’re a real trainer. You paid us 15 thousand dollars to say that. No. So I think that companies- I don’t think that, I know that. Companies often shortchange the training department and then don’t understand why things aren’t going right.

We’re just coming out of a phase in America, here in the United States, where we thought we could put all training up online. You just put it on the web and they can run it from there. No. Guess what we’re finding out. It doesn’t work. You can learn knowledge transfer is extremely easy to achieve via electronic method. We all know how to read a book. We all go through college, or at least high school, so we know how to read books, we know how to take tests, and that’s all knowledge based. But skill based sets, skillsets, require interactivity. That’s either in person or in some form, the way we’re doing this now.

Although, in all honesty, this is a second best because I don’t know- you don’t remember [inaudible 00:26:32]. You don’t know if I have a pair of trousers on, or my shorts. I am not standing up. I will not stand up. I saw that commercial on T.V. and almost spit my coffee out. So, and you don’t know what else is going on around them if they’re not in the room with you.

Also, if they’re in the room with you, then as a good trainer, you can set up indirect learning from other people that you cannot do online. I’m not saying everything has to be online, but I’m saying some stuff should be. I think that that’s part of the problem where we have moved to technology to the point where we’re not cognizant of those things that technology cannot replace human interaction.

Stacy:  27:21

  • I think that, you know, there’s different types of learners also. Not everyone learns the same way, and some people, you know, even with us listening to the podcast, there are listeners who just want to learn a little bit more about something, and they still want someone else to do it for them. They want the confidence to have a feeling like they have a little bit of knowledge and [inaudible 00:27:42]. There’s other people who are going to invest in massive training online and spend hours and they’re going to really, really get buried in the topic, but they’re not necessarily going to have real life experiences that are going to help them get to that next level where and expert would actually have already established themselves at.

John:  28:03

  • I love the example of Big Bang Theory. I don’t know if you watch it.

Stacy: 28:08

  • I do.

John: 28:09

I know a lot of people do, but one of the best lines I ever heard was Sheldon saying that he did learn how to swim. He learned on the internet. And everybody else in the room is like, “Uh, no you didn’t.” I think sometimes we get ourselves into that mindset, you know, “I just spent an hour and a half, two hours, 15 hours online, God save me, going through this[inaudible 00:28:37], this skill, this whole nine yards.” And at the end of the day, no you don’t. You still don’t know it.

The other damage is, the reality is if you have training group, a live training group, the majority of the training does not occur from front of the room to the audience. The majority of training occurs being in the audience. One of the first things I tell executives or other folks that pay me to assist them in becoming good speakers is that if you do a presentation and at the end of it, you ask, “Are there any questions?”, and there are no questions, that means you failed. That does not mean success. That means that either they weren’t listening, or the topic was of no interest, it went over their head, or they’re afraid of you.

None of those are good things. That usually the biggest aha moment for some heavy duty CEOs I work with. “Well, nobody ever has any questions for me.” And I’ll say, “Well, let me ask you a question. Would you have a question for yourself knowing that you’re the CEO. You’ve got a reputation for being very hard, very mean. You’re known for retribution.” And their first response is, “No I’m not. I’m not.” And I’m like-

Stacy:  30:06

  • Yes you are.

John:  30:07

Yeah you are. See, I have no vested reason to suck up to you, or to criticize you. I’m just here telling you the truth, because I never go into a consult, into a room and walk out with the answer. I want to talk to the people. I want to talk to the workers. That’s one of the reasons why my consults, I think, are much more valuable.

So, it’s important that if you’re, especially if you’re talking about a brand, a brand is a unique type of marketing. Brand marketing requires a lot of difficult conversations because you have to enforce the brand. Coca Cola is a well known brand, and it is enforced. Coca Cola corporate enforces that brand. The red color on a Coca Cola bottle, the official name for that is Coca Cola Red. They own that color and if they see you using that anywhere else, they’re gonna sue your butt off. Yes they will.

One of the powers of Coca Cola marketing is the fact that if you walked into a restaurant, or anywhere and say the waiter or waitress says, “What would you like to drink?”, and you say, “Coke.”, almost every single one will go, “We only have Pepsi. Is that okay?”

Stacy:  31:38

  • Well now you know. That’s the Superbowl commercial that just happened. Right?

John:  31:42

If I were in Coca Cola marketing, I would hire me a hit man for the Pepsi because that Pepsi marketing person is really smart. Because me at Coca Cola is the one who made that commercial possible by enforcing my brand. So, it’s real important that you have brand enforcement. That’s also true with messaging. Everyone has to deliver the same message. If you start doing little odd one offs on messaging, you wind up with a one off message, where there is no central message.

Often times, that’s one of the most difficult things to get across to a sales force. Sales people are independent. That’s why they go into sales, for independence. I will eat what I kill. They are rugged individuals. They are the true, ultimate Americans. So, that’s probably the most difficult thing to do is to train a sales force on messaging, and that they must keep to the message because we all have a tendency to make decisions based upon one offs.

I’m a science based, data driven, ROI living person. So, if one person says your product sucks, my response is, “Why do you say that?” Not, “Yeah. I’ve heard that.” No. That’s one person. We have 7000 customers. Before you start agreeing with a customer, you better find out if it’s true or not. That’s something you can drive through. I did that when I trained the service department. Service engineers tend to be heavy duty technical geeks, which is fine, ’cause I’m one too. I’m a very technical person.

One of the complaints was the product, that, “Four or five of my customers have complained about this product very specifically, and in the same way. What am I supposed to say to them?” Well, you’re supposed to say to them what the messaging is, which is, “I understand. This is a serious concern, and I will report it to the authorities and get back to you with whatever response I get.” And then you do it. That’s by law you have to do that. If a customer complains about your product in this business, you have to report it. You do not have to agree to it, and you shouldn’t because we have 5000 of those units out there and you heard from five people. And end of five doesn’t count, so you acknowledge it, you listen carefully, you observe what’s going on around you. Are other people agreeing with them, nodding their heads. Verify what you heard, and then you express the message. It’s love. L-O-V-E. Conversations.

Then you express the message that we’re training you on, which is, “I understand your concerns, I will take down all the information, I will report it, and I will get back to you. That’s a good way to prevent the FDA, in my case, from coming in and shutting you down, because everyone represents the company and it’s important that we all remember that.

Stacy: 35:07

  • Plus, and naysayers who have a tendency to provide feedback that is negative, usually have a louder voice and a louder drive to be naysayers versus you have this product out to 5000 people, five of them have been vocal, but you have thousands of them who haven’t said anything because they’re quite happy.

John: 35:29

  • Exactly. Exactly, Stacy, exactly. Squeaky wheels get the oil, even if they don’t deserve it.

Stacy: 35:36

  • Right. So far you have said that you have to get team opt in and that’s driven by the marketing department, that they’re responsible for driving that opt in for operations, they’re responsible for driving that from the sales team as well. You’ve also mentioned the need to pivot, that you don’t need to just cash out the whole program, but you need to be nimble enough to be able to take a look and get feedback, and be able to see and assess if you need to go in a new direction, versus saying, “I need to spend four million dollars to absolutely rule out that this one million dollar spend was a bad idea. “Then you also mention that you have to establish rules, also known as boundaries.

John: 36:24

  • Boundaries, guidelines, but they’re rules.

Stacy: 36:27

  • Rules, ultimately.

John:  36:29

  • Yes.

Stacy:  36:29

  • The landscape of where your brand lies.

John: 36:32

  • Right.

Stacy:  36:33

  • And how to operate with it. Is there anything else that is critical to making sure that your team is on board with the total commercialization strategy that we’ve been talking about?

John: 36:46

Yes. They have to be sold. All the members of the team have to fully understand what is the value to them. And it’s not just value to my title, but the value to me. Often times, it’s the same value, but they have go to internalize that this is something that I really want to commit to. And the other part of it is for full successful commercialization, is that you have got to have quality training. The training part of it is how that message gets across, how the sound gets across, how that whole process pulls together.

For some products or services, training could be very simple, and for others it would be more complex, but it’s important because you want to provide that selling in a non threatening environment, otherwise, you move into fear. As I said before, fear is the biggest cause of failure.

Stacy:    37:55

  • Because people are afraid to ask questions.

John: 37:57

Right. Or they’re afraid to admit that they don’t really understand it. Any time I provide training, I provide some basics that really should be for any training. Remediation, because not everybody catches everything the first time, so you should have remediation. And you should have reinforcements. It’s not a once and done. You have to provide a series of reinforcements over the coming weeks, months, or a year or so to make sure that it’s reinforced.

The other critical part of it is assessment. I’m a firm believer in assessment as in dollars and cents. I worked at one company where the marketing manager came in to me, I was a VP at the time, and he said, “we’ve got 7000 likes on this.” I said, “Great. How about you take those 7000 likes and we go out to lunch and you use them to pay it.” Those 7000 likes, it had to translate into purchase. So the fact that you’re tracking likes is great, but how are you gonna track those likes to purchase? I think that’s really important.

Stacy:  39:15

  • Well, then you’re talking really the marketing and sales funnel where the likes are the nice awareness at the top of that funnel, but how are you gonna actually get it down so that he is buying your lunch with the profit he’s made?

John: 39:28

  • Perfect Stacy. Perfect. You’ve been in sales, I’ll bet.

Stacy:  39:31

  • Just, you know, 20 odd years of that. Just a bit. Everything.

John:      39:37

  • Fantastic.

Stacy:  39:40

  • So, what should someone do, our listeners right now, whether they own a company, whether they’re a manager of a company, or an agency. What’s the first step to putting all of this actually into implementation? Besides, overall, this is the best practice, this is what you should do. What is a go to advice that is something someone should take tomorrow and start doing?

John:  40:06

Close the doors, turn on the lights, bring everybody in, and decide what the strategy is. Write it down. Memorialize this is the strategy. It doesn’t mean that we can’t change it, but today, this is the strategy, and what are those things that we are doing now that support that strategy? And what are those things that we are doing now, tactics, that do not support that strategy? You just have to have a real firm and honest conversation. What is our strategy, what are we, who are we, how do we convert that to money, which is the tactics, and what are we doing that support it and what are we doing that does not support it?

Have that tough conversation. If you come up with things that are supporting of it, how can we do more of that? And if you come up with things that are really not supportive of it, how do we back out of that? From there you can say you now have a clear strategy, you have a for real tactical plan, you’re now supporting it, that tactical plan. Now, what are the ways that we are going to assess on a continuous basis that we are being successful and are continuing to be successful with this? Do we have to pivot?

Also, a commitment from everyone in the room before you start that conversation is that, “Okay everybody, we’re supposed to be a [inaudible 00:41:48], which means that we argue the idea, not the person. And that’s how you do it. Then you continue to have those meetings once a quarter, once a year if you’re really an in sync group. But you have to have an ongoing assessment and review. That’s what they have to do. I would suggest that to any company. If you already know exactly what your strategy is, and everyone else in your organization knows what the strategy is, marvelous. Then you’re one step down the road.

Now, let’s look at what we’re doing. What are the tactics? Let’s review all the tactics. What support, what do not? And then what are we gonna do about that? And, how are we going to implement this so this is ongoing and forever as we proceed? But before any of that starts, you have to have the adult conversation. This is an adult conversation. Stick on topic, talk about ideas, no invectives, you know, “Were you this stupid this morning, or did you have to take a pill for that?” None of that. It has to be focused on the ideas. The strategy and the tactics.

Then, if you’re a larger organization, “Okay, how do we get this word out to everyone in the organization?” This will work for whether you’re Ford Motors or if you’re Tony Ford selling ice creams on the street.

Stacy:    43:38

  • Do you think that you have to get every stakeholder into that meeting that has a voice? Or should there only be the top level? Is it something that should be department wide?

John: 43:53

  • The answer to that really is dependent upon how large and how complicated is the organization. This has to start at the very very top. So, if you’re talking about a corporation with multiple divisions, the whole nine yards, then I think the first group is the management team of that company has to have that conversation, and then it should cascade down. But it’s also important that as it cascades down, you have people from other divisions and other departments sitting in on those meetings. That’s a good way for- If I’m the regional VP or regional manager for a certain marketing group, I will go to a different group meeting, a sales meeting, and operational meeting to make sure that what I’m doing is in sync with what they’re hearing and what they’re doing as well.

Stacy:  44:55

  • There’s a good book called Traction and I know a lot of[inaudible 00:45:00] listen to, we’ve put it into place and it helps you do this. It helps kind of give you the step by step guidelines of, first of all, getting the right butts in the right seats, and then actually making sure everyone’s on the same page, as far as what your goals, your missions and your strategies are.

John:  45:16

  • Of course you have people like me who are more than willing to come in and customize a roadmap and communications plan for you for a small fee.

Stacy: 45:24

  • Perfect. And with that lead in, I think that we should share how all of our listeners can get in contact with you.

John: 45:31

  • Great. Thank you very much. Nice headway, hub.

Stacy:    45:34

  • Great. You set it up.

John:    45:36

  • My email is [email protected] H-Y-C-A-P.O-R-G. And if you want to take a look at my website, it’s www.hycap H-Y-C-A-P.O-R-G. If you want to call me, the phone number is there as well.

Stacy:  46:04

  • Perfect. And we’ll put this is the show notes as well, so people can get ahold of you. And you just take a look at our website and that will be easy for them. Do you have any last parting words of advice that you want to leave our listeners with today?

John:  46:21

  • Go forth with confidence. Nobody goes to prison anymore for failure.

Stacy:    46:29

  • Or at least not for very long.

John:  46:32

  • Well, depends what kind of failure. Just be confident. Trust yourself. Be honest with yourself. That’s my parting words to be honest with yourself.

Stacy:    46:46

  • Well, John, I really enjoyed our conversation today. You obviously have tremendous experience. You have a very natural and fun way of sharing your viewpoints as well, so thank you. And I know our listeners thank you as well.

John:    47:01

  • Thanks Stacy. Thank you very much.

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