Digital Business in 2013:: it’s how things ARE on the inside that matters

Trust me, because I speak from personal experience, it is a hard (frustrating, lonely and costly) path you tread when advocating fundamental change for an industry such as insurance!

Social Business is the real deal, NOT a flash-in-the-pan.

Of course there any number of firms ready and willing to tell the insurance industry about the merits of their particular social media (Social Business) solutions…there is even a forthcoming event, “Digital Insurance Strategies 2013”…BUT, very few have sufficient knowledge about the number and nature of the industry’s root and branch problems. I fear there isn’t much scope for help from within an industry: in denial of the failings of the prevailing model and culture; structured for selling – push not pull; hampered by a prediction addiction; too closely-coupled to its supply chain to adapt to a changed environment; devoid of truly innovative [creative destruction] ideas – a long and inglorious record of self-serving destructive creation is no substitute and has the opposite of the desired effect, which leads to; the inability to afford the requisite level of transparency required to (re)build customer trust and loyalty.


For a digital strategy to be effective and sustainable in the Digital Age requires i2o [inside to out] change…otherwise it could be a, short-lived and very expensive exercise in turd-polishing!!! Read more of this post

The Bright Marketing Manifesto:: 23 cardinal ‘rules’ of marketing

Even if you reckon you already know about marketing a well-timed reminder never did anyone any harm…and I’ll bet it has been a while since YOU sacked any customers!

In 2007 Robert Craven published his book ‘Bright Marketing’, which focus on giving the reader straightforward advice on how to improve marketing methods. Using a number of practical how-to tools you will be able to improve the way your marketing operates and ensure that your message gets heard by the right people.

via The Bright Marketing Manifesto – The Directors’ Centre Business Club.

The warning signs of defending the status quo

My admiration for Seth Godin is pretty well documented. He consistently sees things that others don’t and simplifies what some make unnecessarily complex.

If you don’t recognise some of these traits in yourself that is, perhaps, understandable. BUT, if you have experience of sales or endeavouring to introduce a new product, concept or theory then you most certainly will identify with some techniques intended to resist what is new…even when resistance is irrational!

Thinking different (or even just keeping an open mind) can mean seizing a competitive advantage…or survival.

When confronted with a new idea, do you:

  • Consider the cost of switching before you consider the benefits?
  • Highlight the pain to a few instead of the benefits for the many?
  • Exaggerate how good things are now in order to reduce your fear of change?
  • Undercut the credibility, authority or experience of people behind the change?
  • Grab onto the rare thing that could go wrong instead of amplifying the likely thing that will go right?
  • Focus on short-term costs instead of long-term benefits, because the short-term is more vivid for you?
  • Fight to retain benefits and status earned only through tenure and longevity?
  • Embrace an instinct to accept consistent ongoing costs instead of swallowing a one-time expense?
  • Slow implementation and decision making down instead of speeding it up?
  • Embrace sunk costs?
  • Imagine that your competition is going to be as afraid of change as you are? Even the competition that hasn’t entered the market yet and has nothing to lose…
  • Emphasize emergency preparation and the expense of a chronic and degenerative condition?

Calling it out when you see it might give your team the strength to make a leap.

Accountants, Ostriches and the Insane

A message to Robert Craven (author of this article – below):

Robert, it doesn’t stop there! When I inform some PSF’s of NEW technology, available on-line, providing a straightforward means to analyse the type of financial client information they deal every day, in and to determine the “health” of the business, identifying areas of weakness, it is like you have just questioned their competence and rubbished all that they know and hold dear!

NO!!! We are trying to help you and, through you, your clients, their customers and a “needy” economy!

Before any Accountants take offence at this article, I would just like to reiterate, I am NOT the author AND my father (a retired CA) did not deny that he had encountered similar “attitudes” on more than one occasion! Almost unbelievably, I have even come across this within insurance broking but, admittedly, not too often.

One accountant said that they had “decided to focus on cost cutting and so the whole marketing budget was frozen”. When I suggested a similar package but without any cost involved he said: “We don’t want to do any marketing even if it is free! We are focusing on cutting costs.” Curious – and a little bit stupid.

Another said: “I can tell you that marketing doesn’t work for us so we try not to do any.” More curious, and more stupid. Where does he think his existing customers come from? Marketing is not simply ads and promo; it is everything and anything you do that helps people to buy from you: everything from a word-of-mouth or referral campaign all the way through to a rebrand.

One said: “The last thing we want to do right now is go out and get more customers because then we would have to service them and I don’t think we could afford to do that.” Very curious, and very stupid.

Another said: “We’ll be too busy dealing with our year-end and it has been a lousy few months so that will be our priority for the time being.” Even more curious, and even more stupid.

via Bright Marketing: Accountants, Ostriches and the Insane.

Pre-Christmas lesson: personalised Austerity guidelines

The currency (USD) isn’t particularly significant – no fiscal pun intended – but what is important and worthy of a timely, seasonal, reminder in “times of Austerity” is: don’t to be fooled by the various ploys…unless, of course, you have more money than sense! In which case I can tell you little of any great relevance in this item anyway.

sale christmas

Image by Leonard Chien via Flickr

We’ll start with the "that’s not all" technique. Discount coupons are offered that seem to reduce prices to such a ridiculous degree that the price of an item seems too good to pass up. Consider the hypothetical case of a "keepsake" holiday ornament that cost the retailer $10.00. The retailer’s desired profit is $2.00. The original price on the sales tag is $20.00 with no markdown included. While you’re studying the sales tag, the salesperson comes over and announces that today there is a special offer of a 20% discount ($4.00). Sounds good to you, but it’s still more than you want to pay. The salesperson now offers you an extra 10% off the 20% (because you’re wearing red), bringing the price down to $14.40. Deal! The retailer has made more than the desired profit and you feel great because you "saved" $5.60.


Now let’s look next at the "not-so-free-sample." This occurs when a salesperson, for example, at a cosmetics counter, gives you a little bottle of cologne or a complementary makeup application. Perhaps at the grocery store you are offered a little piece of cheese or fruit. No obligation to buy! Despite the fact that you have no need for any more Chanel No. 5, night cream, or fancy cheese, you feel an overwhelming urge to buy it anyway. Later, you examine your purchase and wonder what on earth you were thinking. This was the last thing you wanted or needed. But there’s also a chance that eventually you will become wedded to the product and become loyal to the brand. … Why does this work? You’ve been given something, seemingly for nothing, and now you feel obligated to reciprocate by buying the item.


In the "foot-in-the-door" technique you buy someone a gift-perhaps the perfect hat-the one that will make your mother, girlfriend, husband, etc. supremely happy. … In one of the studies demonstrating this technique, researchers went house to house, asking homeowners if they would fill out a brief survey. Most people agreed. Then the researchers came back and asked if they could go through every cabinet in the kitchen to see what products were being used, a process that took 2 hours. Having said yes to the small favour, the householders were more likely to agree to the large one.


Similar to foot-in-the-door is "low balling." You are told that an item is a certain price and you agree to buy it at that price, supposedly vastly below retail. Before you plunk down your hard or plastic cash, the salesperson announces that there was an error. The price is actually slightly higher or the deal that was promised won’t be approved by the manager. Now what are you supposed to do? You said you wanted the item. Now it’s going to cost you a few dollars more. … In a study demonstrating low-balling, researchers asked potential participants to be in a study to help a student in need of volunteers. After they agreed to be in the study, the researchers then informed the potential participants that the study would take place at 7 am (a notoriously early time for college students). If they now declined to participate they would look like they didn’t’ really want to help.


Are you seeing yourself in any of these scenarios yet? If not, hold on- there’s one more. In what’s called the "door-in-the-face," you tell a salesperson that you want to buy a videogame for someone in your family. The salesperson takes you over to the display case and excitedly tells you about the latest and greatest to hit the stores, such as Call of Duty Black Ops. It also happens to be well over what you thought it would cost when you made the decision to buy the game. Then the salesperson shows you another game that’s considerably cheaper but still more than you planned to spend. Now that you said no to the first item, you are more likely to say yes to the second which, in comparison, seems cheap. In the original research on the door-in-the-face technique, students were asked to volunteer all day to help a local agency (the "door"). Most people said no, but they were more likely to agree to help for a few hours than if they hadn’t been asked to volunteer for the whole day.

Read the rest at Psychology Today

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