Fellow Free Thinker

Lucy And The Football

Small Business Marketing Solutions from CityStirThe iconic animation of Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown at the last minute is an indelible visual.  Does the kicking and missing sound familiar?  We all have those suppliers in our working lives whose pitch sounds mighty good.  The ultimate delivery and efficacy of goods, not so much.  We are a faith-based citizenry.  We want to believe the sales pitch.

Big Business“Is there anything else we can help you with?”  (this is the response when they can’t resolve your problem)

Us-“You can help me with the problem I called you in the first place!” 

CityStir Marketing is solely focused on small business solutions.  Big business considers shareholder value a success, consumer experience ephemeral.  Yet we continue to run to the football expecting a clean strike through the goal posts.   There is an imbalance in expectation versus return.

I keep getting the bill in the mail and dutifully returning the payment.  Like most of you, these checks are getting harder to write.

Do we expect too much or are we used to whiffing?

So You Say You Are A Visionary?

Real Estate Industry GuruDo you see the future?  Do your visions stir you from a deep sleep?  Have they propelled you to scribble fluff or pontificate about what will be?  Your faithful author thinks we have outgrown you.  You are a divining rod, a tarot card, a palm scratcher, a crazy person on the street selling pencils from a cup.  We have evolved in spite of you and away from you.

I used to be a hopeful agnostic.  I wanted to believe in premonitory skill.  I wanted to believe that those with Ivy League diplomas and enough real-world experience could rationally extrapolate likely outcomes.  Atheism has taken hold.  I have a prediction—your psychic irrelevance.

In the days following September 11, 2001 the nut jobs began warbling that Nostradamus had predicted the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York—this little gem of a quatrain:

In the City of God there will be a great thunder,
Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures,
The great leader will succumb,
The third big war will begin when the big city is burning.

Did the “oracle” predict the fall of the World Trade Center or the break-up of Simon and Garfunkel?

The brightest minds on Wall Street failed to predict the economic collapse of 2008.  Given the choice of risking nest-egg money with Lehman Brothers or Blackjack at the Bellagio, which seems the better bet in hindsight?  Consumers put their trust (and life savings) in the largest financial institutions because they claimed to know how markets behaved thus reducing risk.  The outcome of these forecasts would not have been a surprise if transparency existed and  investors knew the financial institutions were shorting the products they sold.  Their only focus was then as it is now–self-interest and financial celebrity.

Real estate gurus have been predicting the return of a blazing housing market for the last five years—with no data or evidence to support their soothsaying.  Promulgating false information served self-interest.  ”You should buy now, we have reached a market bottom and things are heating up again!”–2009-2011.

So you say you are a visionary?  Before you stencil that on your office door, bring me some winning lottery numbers.

Until then…..keep your visions to yourself.


Uninformed vs. Wrong

If you do all the research, read all the studies and listen to all the customer feedback, you are well informed.  Then why do you continue to make bad branding or marketing decisions?  Your budget doesn’t permit a change?  Your brand is built on fallacies which cannot be changed?  It’s too late to change your recipe?

My Southern mother used to recite (in jest) a common saying among the uneducated–”I may be ignorant, but I ain’t stupid.”  If you continue to knowingly make business decisions that hijack the future of your brand because of short-term set backs, you are delaying the inevitable decline.  And that decline always comes sooner than you think.

You know better.

The Back Seat Driver

My mother-in-law is the heavyweight champion of backseat drivers.  When my wife and I travel to her moneyed enclave in Florida, all driving duties are ceded to me.  She starts with strained sighs and muffled critiques when brakes are applied or acceleration surprises her.  Criticism eventually builds to one of her favorite exclamations, “Oh no!” or “Oh dear god!”

How many of us have a backseat driver in our business life?  Do you have a colleague who is always first with criticisms of “slow down” or “speed up” or “watch out”?  You can read the street signs, obey the traffic signals and follow suggestions of the GPS.  But how many great new ideas and products have a GPS attached?  How many disruptive innovations obey speed limits?  How many products are introduced to the market while in reverse?

Suggest that your colleague take the wheel for a few miles.  This should give her some perspective.