Blog

What About the Stumps?

You never know what’s going to happen, but you should also not be in a position where you’re caught completely off guard.  The question about the stumps was posed to me by William, old friend and coworker at the company I worked for before I returned to school. William was a big, genial guy with a…
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Speaking Out of School, or Ansoff to the Races!

I know it’s a balancing act, doing what you have to do and trying to do more of what you really want to do. This reminds me of a marketing tool called the Product-Marketing Growth Matrix. An important side note: this 2 x 2 grid is named for Igor Ansoff, which gives me the freedom…
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Write You a Sonnet? My friend, I’m On It!

I like sonnets. Here’s the famous one that inspires me: https://poets.org/poem/shall-i-compare-thee-summers-day-sonnet-18 I once wrote a proper sonnet about my teeth for my mom because my sister challenged me to. To be clear, I’m no poet or expert on poetry, but exposure to a few of Shakespeare’s 14-line works of art leads me to stand in…
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Speaking out of school or Another name for the ball game

Our new semester is underway and at our first meeting I asked my undergrad class of Intro to Marketing students to tell me what is in this picture: As you might expect, the answers included basketball net, hoop, rim, net, backboard, pole, and other entirely correct descriptions of the physical object in front of them.…
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The Problem with Brainstorming

I’m reading a great new book by advertising and marketing legend Rory Sutherland called Alchemy and among the items jumping out at me is this quote: “reasoning is a priceless tool for evaluating solutions, and essential if you wish to defend them, but it does not always do a good job of finding those solutions…
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Life is not linear.

We’re getting toward the end of the week and I’m gently changing the dates on my to do list from this week to next week. Results? I’ve had a few but then again too few to mention. So here’s a little note to remind us all that life is not linear. Sometimes you just have…
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The Write Person for the Job

How do you let a coworker or employee know that they have to fix something? It might be easy to let a little thing slide, but you know, those little things can turn into big things. When I was in the shopping mall management business, one of my responsibilities was writing the words that shoppers…
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Your Four Walls

How many gas stations are within two miles of your home? One? Two? Twenty, including eight Mobil stations, every one of them somehow with a different price per gallon on the very same day? I’d say that the only one that matters is the next one you go to. All else being equal, this one…
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Don’t Keep Your Head Down

Positively Horrible, Horrible Advice: Keep Your Head Down. Two questions: Do you like lists? I sure do, but I’m not a big fan of advice or to do lists expressed as a negative, as in Top Ten Ways to Make Sure You Don’t Get Promoted or Do These Five Things to Ruin Your Relationship. See,…
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Title bout

Which fights are the ones worth fighting? Call this one a title bout, because it’s about a title. One function of a job title is to provide clarity, to oneself and to others, about the work you do and the offering you provide My first full-time job was “Assistant Mall Manager,” but I was really…
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What Would Midas Do?

For your next challenge, consider what you would do if you had all the resources you could possibly need or want. Apply a little bit of Brain Balm and see what you come up with. Almost all of my marketing class projects are for small firms, solopreneurs, or non-profits. Even when working with larger firms,…
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Are You a Chosen One?

Your choice. We’re not talking about religion but we might be talking about faith. Some of us are in the career we choose, but I think many of us feel like it chose us. Some of us know what we want to be when we grow up and that’s what we become. I know perfect…
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Volunteer or You’re Fired

When somebody offers you their time or wisdom or any other resource, recognize this, that a gift is being shared with you. Now, it’s true that your benefactor might be gaining something of value in return, whether something concrete from the outcome you create or more abstract (but still so very important)  like a deeper…
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Why Was I Invited?

What I learned in Class Today My career was stalled and I couldn’t find any traction. I didn’t know what to do to move forward. I asked my boss what was holding me back and he told me that I needed to speak up more at meetings. “But what if I don’t have anything to…
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A Marketing Mentoring Intervention

Welcome to your Marketing Mentoring Intervention. This site is open during construction. I’ll also be posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, directing you back here for more details and discussion. Thanks for coming over! Dave

Fired does not mean failure

One of my favorite students came to my office the other day, and it was great to get caught up. He’s in his early 20s but we’ve know each other for a few years. Our conversation covered a range of topics but at the end, he surprised me with this question: “If you get fired……
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BrainTrust Your Next Brainstorm

Trust your brain. You need to solve a problem but feel stuck, right? Here are five quick ways to generate new ideas, either by yourself or with your brainstorm team, but before you do, remember not to be distracted by the symptoms, focus on the key problem to be solved. Heal the Pain: Imagine the…
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It may be in tents: Embrace or replace if you can’t outrace

  One of my favorite old jokes is one I first read when I was much younger. Maybe you’ve heard this one before: Two campers are in their sleeping bags in the tent they share, trying to fall asleep when the first camper sees the shadow of a bear, cast by the full moon, through…
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Not Elite but Still So Sweet

The first part of the next sentence you read is a not true: I just got an article published in the Journal of Marketing, one of the elite academic journals in my field. The second part of that sentence is absolutely true. Take my word for it, I’m a marketing professor. Quite frankly, it would…
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Problem: What’s wrong with the way things are now?

When a new project crosses your desk or a new problem crosses your mind, here are a few questions to help you organize your thoughts and ideas: What problem are you going to try to solve? Why do you think this is a problem? Who is affected by this problem? Why hasn’t this problem been…
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My Lucky Cup and My Dry Pants

Let me tell you about my lucky cup. I was sitting in a coffee shop with my wife before she had to work her shift. Time’s up. She had to go to work, and I had go to my office for a bunch of meetings. The coffee shop was near her workplace and about halfway…
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What if he’s in your group next time?

Seems like no group project is immune: one or two teams in the class will be dysfunctional in some way. It’s inconvenient but not always bad… sometimes tension can lead to effort and creativity that too much harmony might otherwise smooth over. When conflict stifles or obstructs performance, though…. That’s bad. It might be a…
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I just got a mentoring intervention

This morning I ran into my friend Steve at the coffee shop. Steve is an expert on coaching, career management and the job search, and he spoke to my MBA students a few weeks ago. Steve offered praise for my students, and asked me to remind them that they should connect with him on LinkedIn and…
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To Teach or To Sell? Or… Building my Body of Work

I stopped at a local diner to grab some coffee, sit down and plan my day. It was early and the line to the counter was disorganized. Just as a path seemed to clear to the nearest cashier, I was blocked. A man, a large man, roughly my age and height but much wider, with…
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What can Mentorvention do for you?

What do you do, how do you cope, when you have a rough day at work? Here’s the proverbial elevator pitch: For the young careerist frustrated at work, feeling they’ve screwed up or been screwed over, Mentorvention.com is an online community and content site offering an immediate, anonymous online and mobile outlet for sharing one’s…
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