Tag Archives: planning

Walmart Finally Gets It: Employees Matter

19 Oct

For years, Walmart has had tough labor practices and been heavily criticized for them. For example, it has been sued by many women for unequal pay and promotion opportunities, fought hard against employees unionizing, paid low wages, etc. But, now Walmart is loosening up; and it realizes that happier employees can mean happier customers due to better customer service. It has even brought back store greeters in many locales where they had been eliminated to reduce costs. Yes, this comes at a time when U.S. revenues have been weak.

As Neil Irwin reports for the New York Times:

“A couple of years ago, Walmart, which once built its entire branding around a big yellow smiley face, was creating more than its share of frowns. Shoppers were fed up. They complained of dirty bathrooms, empty shelves, endless checkout lines, and impossible-to-find employees. Only 16 percent of stores were meeting the company’s customer service goals. The dissatisfaction showed up where it counts. Sales at stores open at least a year fell for five straight quarters; the company’s revenue fell for the first time in Walmart’s 45-year run as a public company in 2015 (currency fluctuations were a big factor, too).”

“To fix the situation, executives came up with what, for Walmart, counted as a revolutionary idea. As an efficient, multinational selling machine, the company had a reputation for treating employee pay as a cost to be minimized. In 2015, Walmart announced it would pay its workers more. Executives sketched out a plan to spend more money on increased wages and training, and offer more predictable scheduling. The results are promising. By early 2016, the proportion of stores hitting their targeted customer-service ratings had rebounded to 75 percent. Sales are rising again.”

“An employee making more than the market rate, after all, is likely to work harder and show greater loyalty. Workers who see opportunities to get promoted have an incentive not to mess up, compared with people who feel they are in a dead-end job. A person has more incentive to work hard, even when the boss isn’t watching, when the job pays better than what you could make down the street.”


Click the image to read a lot more from Irwin.


A Walmart trainee perfecting a cereal display in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Credit Melissa Lukenbaugh for The New York Times

A Walmart trainee perfecting a cereal display in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Credit Melissa Lukenbaugh for New York Times.


Enhance Your Career Credentials

14 Oct

I regularly ask my undergraduate and graduate students: Why should an employer want to hire YOU? What can YOU offer that is distinctive?

One good way to answer to these questions is by publishing material online through your own blog or at other Web sites. By doing this, you can show off your Web-related related skills, highlight your own expertise on a specific topic, and demonstrate how well you write.

Recently, Mark Miller presented some great observations on this subject for Business 2 Community.

“Writing is one of the most productive things you can do for your career. You don’t have to be seeking attention from creative recruitment agencies in order to benefit from it, either. On a personal level, you grow your personal brand and get an opportunity to show off your communication skills–something that’s valuable no matter your field. From a job perspective, it can help you draw attention to your employer’s company, drive traffic to its site, and have a positive impact on SEO.”

“The advantages to being a published author are many, but getting started isn’t easy. That’s something I found out the hard way working closely with content marketing recruitment. I’ve spent much of 2016 developing my authorship profile, developing relationships, and creating opportunities for myself and others in my business to share our ideas and insights. Now that I finally have some momentum going, I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned so you can avoid making the same mistakes and get a head start!”

Here are a few of Miller’s suggestions:

  • Know “what you bring to the table that’s unique enough to justify being read over dozens of similar articles and posts.”
  • “If you’re first starting out, begin with smaller publications even if they have much smaller readership. You can even self-publish on a personal blog or on a site that allows anyone to self-publish like LinkedIn.”
  • “Most blogs and Web sites that publish regularly and accept external contributions will have easy-to-find, publicly accessible editorial guidelines and directions to submit content.”
  • “Building up a portfolio of published articles and opinions takes time, and a lot of it. And submitting content, communicating with editors, and finally getting published will probably take longer than you think.”

Click the image to read a lot more tips from Miller. And look at the links below the image.



What One Factor Separates Good Leaders from Bad Ones?

6 Oct

The title of this post certainly raises an interesting question. What’s your choice of attributes? Why?

Here are excerpts from an interesting discussion on this topic by Andrea Thompson, a partner at McChrystal Group (an advisory services firm):

“What’s the one thing I should know to be a better leader? My answer remains the same: Know who you are, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Self-awareness will be that ‘extra something’ that boosts you up the corporate ladder. As we move up the ranks in our careers, our technical skills are usually the primary reason we get promoted. We closed the most deals or sold the most product. But as we develop as leaders, functional excellence is no longer the main component required to be high-performing and succeed as a senior leader. Self-awareness plays a much more prominent role.

“We’ve all worked for ‘that’ boss. He/she made a lot of money for the company—a real mover and shaker. And then they got promoted. Unfortunately, for those on the team, this new boss doesn’t have the necessary leadership skills to lead them. What went wrong? Why didn’t the successes of the past lead to success in the new environment? In my experience, it came down to self-awareness. Self-awareness is that critical skill that will help influence how you relate to others, how you communicate your guidance, and how you process input from others. Self-awareness underpins all that we do. It’s the difference between good and great.

“Those leaders who soon recognize that their own behaviors and emotions have a domino effect on their team—and adapt accordingly—build stronger teams. Self-awareness is that ‘multiplier’ that not only makes you a better leader, but those on your team better leaders, too.”


Brands That Millennials Love

4 Oct

As we have noted before, Millennials represent a huge, demanding, and challenging consumer segment for marketers. With that in mind, let’s ask: What brands are doing best among Millennials?

Recently, Moosylvania — a company involved with branding, digital, and experiential (“Digital connectivity has changed the way we interact with one another – people no longer want to consume marketing, they want to participate in brands.”) asked more than 1,5000 Millennials to select their favorite brands. The findings are interesting and some rankings may be surprising!!

In describing the top five companies in the 2016 Moosylvania study, Mallory Schlossberg and Kate Taylor report the following for Business Insider. [Note: In their article, all 100 companies are described.]:

  1. Apple — “has a fanatical following, and many of its customers are Millennials. The company’s iPhones, iPads, and Macbooks, and Apple Watches are wildly popular. The company has a cultish following.”
  2. Target “owns the intersection of style and affordability. It has been giving its kids’ clothing business a makeover to be more stylish. The company also sells gender-neutral room decor and stopped labeling its toys by gender.”
  3. Nike — “When it comes to active wear — and apparel in general — Nike is the go-to brand. Nike has focused on incorporating top-tier technology into its clothing. It helps that it’s a massive retailer.”
  4. Sony — “is ready for innovation, from robots that can interact with humans to its wildly popular PlayStation.”
  5. Samsung — “Galaxy phones and tablets are extremely popular with Millennials. The brand’s Galaxy S6 smartphone received rave reviews. Tech Insider’s Steve Kovach said that Samsung’s designs have eclipsed those of competitor Apple.” [NOTE: The Moosylvania study and these comments preceded the problems that Samsung is now facing due to product safety issues. It’s unlikely that the firm would be ranked so highly today. Right?]

Click the image to see the top brands for Millennials, from 100 to 1.

Photo by Business Insider / Matt Johnston


Improving E-Commerce Results

30 Sep

Would you be surprised to learn that only a small percentage of E-commerce sites gain any traction at all? Most dwell in obscurity.

Consider these observations from Cent Muruganandam, writing for Business2Community.com and check out the infographic shown below his quote:

“You might be astounded to know that there are between 12-24 million E-Commerce websites online. But what’s even more intriguing is the fact that only about 3% of them (650,000) ever make it past $1,000 in annual sales, according to Internet Retailer. What’s the point I am trying to establish here, you might wonder? Well, from where I see it, a whopping majority of E-Commerce outlets fail to make a significant amount of money. It’s not that there’s no money in the E-commerce industry. It means is that majority of online retailers are not doing things right, because if they had been successful in doing them right, the number of outlets making more than $1,000/year would have been way more than a mere 650,000.”



How to Get Digital Media Right

29 Sep

MillardBrown Digital has produced an excellent report and Webinar on how to best engage in digital marketing:

It’s no longer about traditional or digital. It’s all marketing. Digital marketing has emerged as a vital part of the marketing landscape, forcing marketers to grapple with scaling across a variety of engagements. And while there’s a surplus of data available to help inform decisions, selecting the right data, and combining, analyzing, and creating actions from that data is challenging. With input from over 300 senior executives across advertisers, agencies, and media companies, our 3rd annual Getting Digital Right study identified four key findings for getting digital right and creating extraordinary marketing in a connected world.”

Click here to access the full report. A free login is required.

Click here to view/hear the Webinar.

Here are two charts from MillardBrown Digital.  To view a larger version, click on each chart. The first chart identifies the steps necessary to undertake a great digital strategy.


The second chart highlights the ease/difficulty of measuring ROI (return on investment) with various media platforms.  [This shows why E-mail marketing is NOT dead. It ranks first in measuring ROI.]


The Fascinating Evolution of Blogging

27 Sep

Blogging has come a long since its humble origins in the 1990s. Based on Tumblr data, we estimate that there are about 310 million blogs worldwide, with millions and millions of posts each day. So, how has the blogosphere evolved over the years?

Recently, HubSpot’s Amanda Zantal-Wiener helped us answer this question:

“We’ve found that there’s quite a history behind blogs. According to the documentation we uncovered — and will share with you below — they’ve been around since 1994. They looked a lot different back then, and had many different names and meanings.”

  • 1994-1997 — “Many original bloggers, despite not having yet earned that title, were the same people who first understood the value of the  Web in the 1980s. One of them was then Swarthmore College undergrad, Justin Hall, who created a site called links.net in January 1994. It was essentially a review of HTML examples he came across from various online links, but it was enough for the New York Times Magazine to dub him the “founding father of personal bloggers’.”
  • 1998-2001 — “The later part of the 1990s saw an uprising in resources created for bloggers. Open Diary launched in October 1998 and became one of the most pivotal blogging platforms. The name was a nod to its community approach to blogging; it was the first to have a membership model that allowed members of the community to comment on the work of others.”
  • 2002 — “Technorati, one of the first blog search engines (but today a company of “advertising technology specialists”), launched in February 2002. That month, blogger Heather B. Armstrong was fired for writing about her colleagues on her personal blog, Dooce.com. While it’s not clear if she was the first blogger to be terminated because of her personal Web site’s content, it sparked a conversation about privacy and freedom of expression for bloggers.”
  • 2003 — “TypePad and WordPress launched in 2003, offering new platform options to a growing number of bloggers. That year, live blogging was estimated to have started — the Guardian was one of the first outlets on record to make use of live blogging during the 2003 prime minister’s question time.”
  • 2004-2005 — “It wasn’t until the middle part of the decade that visual content really had the opportunity to take root. In February 2004, videographer Steve Garfield , who went on to be one of the Web’s first video bloggers, declared it to be the “year of the video blog.” YouTube launched only a year later in February 2005, shortly thereafter inviting the public to upload their own videos. It actually began as a short-lived dating site. YouTube turned its focus to general video uploads (which seemed to take effect by June 2005). Huffington Post launched that May.”
  • 2006-2007 — Microblogging was introduced (sharing stories, news, and other content in the smallest format possible). “The start of life in 140 characters (or less) began in March 2006, when Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sent out the world’s first tweet. Microblogging continued to gain momentum in February 2007 with the launch of Tumblr — yet another blogging platform that encouraged users to be brief. Being able to comment on blogs was becoming less of a novelty, and more a point of contention.”
  • 2008-2011 — “During this period of four years, there weren’t many major events that propelled how or why people blogged. By 2010, 11% of bloggers reported earning their primary income from blogging.” Google  made some changes that would impact bloggers in 2011 with its rollout of the “Panda” algorithm change. A lot of that had to do with bloggers having a lack of inbound links — a link to your Web site that comes from another one.”
  • 2012In August, a co-founder of Pyra Labs — the creators of Blogger — Evan Williams, created Medium, one of the newest blogging platforms. Today, people can use it to write and publish original content, like most other blogging platforms. But Medium is continuing to blur the line between news reporting and blogging. On its Web site, the company describes itself as serving up ‘daily news reimagined, straight from the people who are making and living it.’ That year, LinkedIn introduced its Influencers program, which recruited notable business figures to guest blog on LinkedIn’s publishing platform.”
  • 2013-present — “Recently, the creators of WordPress announced they would be rolling out the .blog domain. Until November 9, 2016, users have to apply for one of the highly-coveted domains. [and it won’t come cheap]. But here’s the cool thing about .blog — even though it was made by the creators of WordPress, you don’t have to use the WordPress platform in order to build a blog on that domain.”
  • Forecasting the Future — “How blogging continues to change will determine what our careers look like, and  all marketers, corporate or otherwise , are encouraged  to blog on behalf of their respective brands. It might seem like a lot of work, but if the evolution of blogging has indicated nothing else, it’s that the sphere will only continue to expand. And that’s something marketers should continue to pay attention to — not just the growth of blogging, but how many different interpretations [platforms] of it exist.”


Click the image to read a lot more by Zantal-Wiener.


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