About Joe Melle

Joe Melle has founded and ran several successful businesses, and has had an interesting career in direct contact media, call center operations, sales operations, customer service operations, customer retention, and quality assurance; he has written over 140 business articles, previously served as a part time adjunct professor for a university teaching business, marketing, and management courses to both graduate and post graduate students.Email Me

Business is War

I have heard people over time say that it is a good policy to work with your competitors to make it fair for everyone.  I could not disagree with this more.  Business is war.  The competition is the enemy.  Your goal as a business it to take as many of your competitor’s customers as you possibly can; because believe me they are attempting to take yours.

Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank said in a 2015 interview with Businessinsider.com that “My attitude is business is war. You send out your soldiers every day in the form of your capital, and you want them to come home with prisoners. You want to salt the earth that your competitor is lurking on. You want to steal their market share. You want to destroy them and get their customers”

Your purpose in being in business is to be a warrior; business is a cut throat endeavor and if you’re not willing to do this, you might not be cut out for this line of work.  If Bill Gates wasn’t cutthroat, Microsoft wouldn’t have had market share, but he was, and he came out ahead.

While we try to play fair in life, we do what we need to do to win in war, and business is war.  Granted your not shooting anyone; but your goal should be to eliminate the competition to the best of your ability.

 

Number 1: Cash is king. Number 2: Communicate. Number 3: Buy or bury the competition.”  – Jack Welch (Former CEO of General Electric)

It is my belief that those that try to be fair end up with very poor market share or out of business.  IF you want to succeed as a company, you have to fight with the competition.   Fight to win.  Fight to make as many of their customers your customers.  When you do accomplish this, don’t become complacent.  It is easier to become number one, than to stay number one.

The Naked Waitress

The following is an article that I wrote and posted to my blog in 2011.  The info in it was relevant to marketing than and it just as relevant today.  While the tools of marketing have changed, evolved if you will, the fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed.

 

In April of 1993 I drove from Philadelphia to Spring Hill, Florida, a small town right outside of Tampa; I left in the middle of what they labeled the storm of the century.  As I drove down the I-95 the snow was coming down pretty quickly and most people probably would have just turned around and gone home and waited a day or two, but not me, I told people I would be in Florida in two days, and by God, I had every intention of keeping that promise, regardless of the risks.  As I drove into Delaware the snow was coming down harder and faster than I have ever seen in this part of the country, and the driving was slow, but I continued driving for several  hours into passing through Virginia and finally into North Carolina, where the real fun started.

If you were thinking that once I got out of the eastern states into the south that the weather would improve and the driving conditions would be better, you couldn’t be further from being right; while the snow stopped, but the wind increased, and blew faster and faster and faster until what seemed to me to be hurricane like conditions, mind you never having been in a hurricane, this was just an uneducated guess. As I drove through North and South Carolina, the wind was blowing so hard, that my little Honda Accord was being tossed around like a bee bee in a jar.  I’m thinking to myself as I struggle to keep my car from veering into the other lane that while this is difficult, it’s probably the worst of it, and I am handling it ok.  Yeah right.  It got worse.  At some point in the middle of the night, with the wind still howling like mad,  the freezing rain began, coming down in sheets and creating an ice highway for the next two or three hundred miles.  I noticed everyone was pulling over and stopping, even the cops, which I probably should have taken as a sign to pull over for a while; do you think I did that?  Noooo.  I kept driving on the bed of ice with the wind blowing me all over the place, albeit I was only moving about 25 miles an hour, but moving I was.

I drove until about 4 a.m. when I decided I really needed some sleep.  So I found a little hole in the wall motel and I got a room and I slept for two hours, got up, bought some coffee, and hit the road.  The ice was still there and the wind was still blowing, and so my journey continued.  After about two hours, the ice started to disappear and I was left with just the howling wind trying to blow me into the next county.  I spotted a rest stop up ahead and decided I would take a break for a few minutes as I was feeling a bit tired.  As I pulled in I noticed that there were very large trees here, one in front of each parking slot and the wind was blowing so hard that it was knocking the trees over, making it impossible for me to park without risking having a tree fall on top of my car.  So I kept driving, and I drove through South Carolina and Georgia and sometime in the middle of the second night I crossed the Florida border.  I was really tired but I figured I was almost there I didn’t want to stop now as I only had around three hours to go and the wind had finally let up a little bit.   So I kept driving, and about halfway through Florida I got very tired and I was fighting falling asleep at the wheel, when I spotted a little pink diner and thought I could eat and I need to rest.

So I pulled into the parking lot, got out of car stretching my aching legs and walked into the diner.  I found a table and sat down putting my head in my hands and closed my eyes which I didn’t even open when the waitress asked me if I would like some coffee I just grunted “uh huh”.  A couple minutes later she brought my coffee and as I lifted my head to thank her and fix my coffee, I was suddenly jolted awake.  My waitress was completely naked.  I mean not a stitch of clothing, just her shoes.  What the hell was going on, did I drive into the twilight zone? As my extremely fatigued brain was trying to comprehend this odd situation I looked around and noticed all of the waitresses were naked.  Not quite able to speak I just sat there staring at the waitress like a coma patient; finally the waitress put it together and said to me “You didn’t know this was a nude diner did you?”  I sure didn’t I told her, I was so tired I barely noticed the sign.  She asked me if I still wanted to eat, I said “uh yeah”.  What guy on the planet doesn’t want to eat breakfast while a bunch of hot naked women are walking around?  And no they were not on the menu, they just served the food.

I looked around and noticed people were starting to come in, by the time I had finished my breakfast it was around 7 a.m. and the place was getting packed.  I asked my waitress, my completely naked waitress, if they get this busy every day?  Oh yes my completely naked waitress said, “We are packed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then most of the evening up until around 10 or so, and on the weekend all night sometimes, they come in after the bars and clubs and have something to eat and admire the scenery”.   They were known for miles around and that people drove from miles away to come eat said my completely naked waitress.

So you are probably wondering why I told this strange yet probably amusing story right?  Because in every business it is important to brand your product, without a brand, you are just another business among many.  There are lots of diners out there, and most of them are pretty much the same, nothing spectacular about them, just a place to get a greasy burger, get a coke, a sundae, some eggs, toast and coffee, they are all the same.  All but for this one little diner somewhere in Florida that made itself different from its competitors by having completely naked waitresses, and while what they did was bold, and some probably didn’t  like what they did, one thing is for certain, you will never confuse them with their competition. They branded their product, their diner, but using, yes you guessed it, completely naked waitresses to serve the food.

I may not be here the rest of the week, I have an odd desire to go to Florida……..

 

“Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.”
Orson Welles

 

The Tax Cut Argument

Over the past few months I have heard the arguments between Republicans and Democrats over whether the Trump tax cuts are good for the American people.  Its not a new argument, its one that has been around for a long time.  To me it’s an easy answer; is it better for people to have more money in their pocket?  Duh.  Of course, it is.  The democrats are saying if they win the House and the Senate in November that they will repeal the Trump tax cuts.  I don’t understand the logic in this.

Here are the facts; Lowering taxes for businesses does the following:

  • Creates more spendable income for companies
    • Allows them to hire more people
    • Allows them to pay more money
    • Creates income for employee bonuses

The above is not conjecture it is fact which is evidenced by what has happened since President Trump lowered the corporate tax rate.  Not only has the above happened but it has even brought back companies that had left the U.S.

Currently our economy is booming, unemployment is the lowest its been in years.  According to the United States Department of Commerce the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 4.1%   in the second quarter this year.   What more evidence do you need?

I fail to see the argument that tax cuts don’t work.  They do work and are working.  Why would anyone want to change this in an economy that is doing so well?

Is Email still a worthwhile marketing tool?

Every year I hear people say that email is dead or is going to be dead soon.  Yet my inbox continues to get emails from various companies.  So, is email still a viable option?  I think that it is.  Most businesses still use email to engage with their customers.  This has been a question that has been coming up for several years.  I wrote an article in 2011 on this very same subject (Email Marketing Alive and Well) in 2011 and not much has really changed since then.

According to HubSpot email is still very much alive and is being used as a regular business communication tool for both B2C and B2B.

Three-quarters of companies agree that email offers “excellent” to “good” ROI. (Econsultancy)

Email use worldwide will top 3 billion users by 2020. (The Radicati Group)

Gmail has 1 billion active users worldwide. (Statista)

Email continues to be one of the best way to engage with customers and still has one of the highest ROIs.

59% of B2B marketers report that email marketing is their most effective channel for generating revenue, and marketers continue to find ways to innovate (Forbes).

Its also important not to confuse spam with legitimate emails from companies that you do business with.  Spam is sent indiscriminately to anyone and everyone, legitimate email is sent from companies that you have a relationship with.

Email is also very effective when used in conjunction with other media’s such as Social Media.  You probably have noticed that some of your emails include a Facebook page or a Twitter.  Marketing has always been more productive when used in multiple platforms.

At the end of the day it doesn’t appear that email is going away anytime soon.

Why Customer Experience Management is important

The customer is the life blood of every company; regardless of the size of your organization you need customers. That being said many small businesses miss an important aspect of the sales cycle; the customer experience. Many customers lag on following up to ensure the customer is happy with the product or service they purchased. The deal is not over just because you have been paid. It is important to follow up with the customer, to make sure they are satisfied, and to make sure their experience with your company was a good one.
Customer Experience Management (CEM) should be an integral part of your customer strategy. As a business you need to strive for high customer retention. You want that customer coming back again and again over the years, and you want them to spread the word about your company. Word of mouth is better than any advertising you can buy especially in the modern world of social media; but you want to make sure that word of mouth is good. Bad social media press can hurt a company for years to come.
The idea of CEM is to optimize the customer experience by looking at it from the customers perspective in order to ensure customer loyalty. Having a customer experience strategy is important and is something that every employee should be involved in, not just sales people. Whether the sale is done in person, over the phone, or online, you need to ensure that the customer received what they paid for, and that it was a seamless experience leaving them satisfied and wanting to come back in the future.
CEM requires that you understand your customer, that you understand their needs and their wants, and their expectations of you as a company. Customer feedback is a good way to do this whether that is in person, a phone survey, or an online survey. You need to understand what makes your customers tick, what’s important to them, and what’s going to make them continue to do business with you. Price is important to customers, but not always the most important; customer service is often more important than price.
In the end you need to monitor your customers experience as a whole and find out what is making them happy and what is not.