Steve Marr's Blog

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Aug 24
2020

As COVID-19 Accelerates Change, We Must Adapt

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A crisis like COVID-19 creates devastating pain across the nation while at the same time opens opportunities. We see dramatic change in life patterns and are experiencing business changes occurring at a rapid pace. One critical skill for any businessperson is to recognize the changes that are already occurring and adjust to them.

One devastating statistic is that 25% of small businesses have closed this year and bankruptcies have increased 26%. This reality demonstrates how existing business models no longer work for many. In some situations, the change has affected entire industries, like the airline and the restaurant business. At the same time, the US Census Bureau reports new business applications have increased 5% between the first and second quarter. This represents 40,000 new business startups.

Aug 20
2020

Allow Political Shirts?

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Goodyear Tire Company created a bit of a stir when establishing a policy regarding what type of messages employees may wear into company facilities.  The controversy arose because the company established specific acceptable and unacceptable criteria. Some examples:

 Acceptable                                                                 Unacceptable

Black lives matter (BLM)                                         Blue lives matter

Lesbian, gay, bisexual                                               All lives matter

Transgender pride (LGBT)                                      MEGA attire

                                                                                       Political affiliated slogans

Aug 17
2020

Managing the Easily Offended

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At times I have conducted performance evaluations with staff.  I have been surprised when I’ve given a strong rating to somebody followed by offering areas for improvement that some individuals take exception to criticism, regardless of how valid it is.

A study by Dr. Jeremy Bernerth, Associate Professor of Management at San Diego University, writes “those with a proclivity to be offended (PTBO) make terrible employees.”

In his report Dr. Bernerth writes: “What is PTBO? According to the study, it's a state-like tendency to be sensitive to customarily innocuous societal events and traditions,’ such as ‘playing of the United States' National Anthem,’ and is the ‘tendency to view an array of events and/or traditions as offensive.’ People with high PTBO ‘are likely to feel that social events or traditions to which they take offense also violate moral or equitable standards.’"

Aug 11
2020

Machines Eliminate Seasonal Farm Workers

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For many years, the use of migrant farm labor has been controversial. We read an account from Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and other movies highlighting the plight of migrant workers, both immigrants from other countries as well as US citizens.

The challenge for many farmers has been to obtain the correct amount of temporary field hands at the right time, in the correct place and at an affordable price.  As labor costs have increased, it placed an additional burden on farmers who needed hands to tend the crops and harvest when needed.

Aug 07
2020

Developing Online Video Sales Presentations

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In today’s competitive sales environment, the salesperson faces two significant challenges. First, the Covid 19 pandemic reduces the amount of face time available for selling. Many of us don’t like making client visits during this time and many prospects don’t want to sit across the desk from us even if we went to their office. Second, the majority of people don’t like to read, especially millennials. This includes sales literature, booklets, and website copy. The millennial prospects would rather watch a three minute sales video.

However, the key principles of marketing still apply: lead with benefits and follow with evidence.

A professional marketing video is particularly effective to demonstrate a product. A great example is the Flex Seal advertisement showing the effectiveness of the product for plugging leaks.  The ad shows a basement window where water pours into the house.  Then, the video shows what happens when the home owner uses the Flex Seal product to stop the leak. Marketing a product that requires hands on use is tailor-made for a video presentation. It allows the customer to see exactly how an item works.