Book Review Marketing Research Kit for Dummies by Michael R. Hyman, Phd

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If you are in business, marketing research is an essential part of being successful. If we do not know who are target market customers are, we will not know how to reach them. We also need to realize why we are doing the marketing research. Do you want to understand your customer better? If we understand what products our customers prefer and why the purchase, we can market better to them? If you are having problems with your business or product, market research can uncover these issues and allow you to fix them and have a strategy to recover.

Part I of this book outlines the Stages of Research.

Stage 1:  Identify the problem

  • Ascertain your objectives
  • Understand the problem background
  • Isolate/Identify the problem not the symptoms
  • Determine the unit of analysis
  • Determine relevant things to ask about
  • Translate marketing problem into researchable objectives

Stage 2:  Designing the study

  • Types of questions
  • Data source
  • Can you get accurate answers by simply asking people?
  • How quickly is the information needed?
  • How should survey questions be worded?
  • How many questions should be asked?

Stage 3:  Selecting a Sample

  • Is the sample necessary?
  • Can the target population by identified?
  • How accurate must the sample be? 

Stage 4: Gathering the data

  • Who will gather the data?
  • How long with it take to gather the data?

Stage 5:  Analyzing the results

  • Will standard editing and coding be used?
  • How will data be categorized?
  • What data analysis software will be used?

Stage 6:  Communicating the findings

  • Who will read the report?
  • Will presentations be required?
  • What format will the report be in?

As you can see, there is much to consider when creating marketing research for your business. These are just a few of the questions you must ask yourself as you journey through the stages of market research. We must also consider the cost, time-frame and our abilities when creating our market research plan. I look forward to reading more in this book. Stay tuned as I will be back with more information from the Market Research Kit for Dummies.

Hyman, M. R., & Sierra, J. J. (2010). Marketing research kit for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

A Little Marketing Fun with Radio Ads

Radio Ad #1

I love all Progressive Insurance commercials.  I think that this commercial entitled “Elk Country” is very funny.  This ad aired in 2019.  The ad was created by Arnold Worldwide.  The chief creative officer is Icaro Doria.  One of the main reasons to have a commercial is to entice the consumer to listen to it and remember your business.  In this case, Karen’s camper sewage tank is spewing all over her camper.  She is screaming and they compare it to a bull elk. 

The commercial successfully tells what the company does.  You will remember it because the commercial is so off the wall.  While there is no time frame on this ad, the ad encourages you to call today.  This ad also emphasizes that Progressive will cover even the strangest claims.  Since there was not a time frame, measuring the success of this ad through sales might be difficult. 

The target customer for this ad would be outdoor travelers.  I think this ad would appeal to campers and travelers.  I also think that the uniqueness of the ad will bring brand awareness to all.

The ad encourages you to call today to get insurance from Progressive Insurance.  I interpret the ad as insurance that covers the unexpected.  If you get Progressive Insurance you will not have to worry about paying to fix the crazy, odd events that can come your way.

Awards are given for this ad:

D & AD Awards Graphite Pencil Award

Radio Mercury Award 2019

https://www.dandad.org/awards/professional/2019/writing-for-advertising/231001/elk-country/

Radio Ad #2

This ad was created by The Richards Group and won the Best Radio Commercial 2019.  It is a funny take on the current trend of vocal fry.  Tom Bodett is the famous Motel 6 voice in the commercial.  The writers of this commercial were Wendy Mayes and Chris Smith.  This commercial, like all of Motel 6 commercials emphasize the low price and the availability.

The target customer for this ad is someone looking for a place to stay at a low price.  The ad is consistent with the usual Motel 6 ads.  The ads mention the low price and that they will leave the light on for you.

Radio Ad #3

Her Man Can Do It

This ad is for Herrmann Services which provides services for heating, AC, electric or plumbing. In 30 seconds this commercial is quick to tell you that whether you have a pipe burst or problems with your heating or cooling you can call “her man”. 

The target market for this commercial is anyone that does not have the skills to do the repairs.  You would think that the target market is women but Audrey is trying to tell the narrator that her husband can’t do the repairs.  This radio ad even supplies the number and website for easy contact. 

The value proposition of this ad is the service that can be provided by this company.  This company can handle multiple household problems. In addition to being effective in getting you to listen to it with its catchy spin on the name, you have the companies telephone number and website address by the end. 

This commercial was awarded the Best Radio Station Commercial and was produced by Hubbard Radio Cincinnati.

Radio Ad # 4

Glad Force Flex Odor Shield garbage bag

This ad features a catchy song.  The song is about the tolls and turmoil of a trash bag.  It is funny and makes you think of possible accidents you could have with a subpar garbage bag.  I think the objective of this ad is to get you thinking of the quality of the Glad garbage bag.  The song emphasizes the new features which are Odor Shield and Force Flex.  This ad’s target market would be broad.  This bag would be for anyone that wants a great smelling bag that is durable against tearing.  The ad even mentions recycling.  I think that this ad would have you seeking out this bag at the retailer.  The value proposition on this bag is made clear by the commercial, durable and odor resistant.

This ad won the Best Student Produced Spot award given by Radio Mercury Awards 2019. It was created by the Miami Ad School.

Radio Ad # 5

This quick 30-second ad won the Best Radio Station Commercial.  It was created by Entercom communications.  The product featured in this ad is pest control.  The ad gives you an image of a raccoon in the attic eating your wiring. I think it is funny, but it could provoke fear in some people. The company that is being advertised is Allied Termite and Pest.  This ad aired in 2018.  This ad is designed to quickly give you an image of one of the problems this company could solve for you.  I think the ad is designed to get you to call immediately because the telephone number is supplied.  The ad is memorable enough that you would possibly remember the company and call later.  The target market for this ad would be people that do not have the expertise to catch wild animals or pests.  This ad may be short but the value proposition is clear.  This company offers quality professional skilled technicians for pest removal. 

Week 8 Book Review

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

As I wind up my review of this book, I reflect on the general theme to be a strong CEO and not give up. This weeks reading discusses evaluating the CEO. Being a CEO requires a varied set of advanced skills. Some of these skills come naturally and some are learned. When evaluating a CEO, you want to ask the following questions:

Does the CEO know what to do? This includes matters of personnel, financing, goals, and marketing.

Can the CEO get the company to do what she knows? Can she lead her company to execute her strategy? One of my favorite passages in the book was this paragraph.

“In a well-run organization, people can focus on their work (as opposed to politics and bureaucratic procedures) and have confidence that if they get their work done, good things will happen both for the company and for them personally. By Contrast, in a poorly run organization, people spend much of their time fighting organizational boundaries and broken processes.”(Harowitz, 2014)

The CEO must be help accountable. The CEOs position is constantly evolving with the change of the economy and the size of the company. There are so many factors that can change the company so the CEO may have to change with it.

Horowitz, Ben. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. , 2014. Print.

Week 7 Book Review

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

Ben Horowitz writes of the hardest things about being a CEO.  He said that the most difficult thing is to manage your own psychology. He says that hiring, firing, product and organization design are straightforward skills.  

One problem is that to learn to be a CEO, you have to be a CEO.  No amount of training prepares you for the job. Even if you know what you are doing things will go wrong.  As CEO, you will feel responsible for everything and anything that will go wrong will be your fault. A mistake that most CEOs make is taking things too personally or not taking things personally enough.  According to Harowitz, a CEO will be urgent yet not insane. They will move aggressively and decisively without feeling emotionally culpable. They will need to separate the importance of the issues with how they feel about the issue.  The author advises that to calm your nerves as a CEO, you should get some friends, put your thoughts on paper not carry them around in your head, and focus on the road, not the wall. Don’t focus constantly on what can go wrong. Focus on where the company is going rather than what you hope to avoid.  Many times CEOs feel like quitting. Many have trouble with not sleeping, drinking, and stress. Harowitz says most CEOs have different strategic moves but most just say “I didn’t quit”. 

Harowitz explains that there are two kinds of CEOs. He labels them as ones and twos. The ones spend time gathering information, love making decisions, but get bored with the important execution details of running a company. The twos love making the company run well. They insist on super clear goals and love action. Big decisions worry twos more that ones. The best CEOs have a combination of traits for ones and twos.

The author points out that there is no perfect CEO. The most important attribute is leadership. Three key traits of a leader are the ability to articulate the vision, the right kind of ambition, and the ability to achieve the vision.

Horowitz, B. (2014). The hard thing about hard things: Building a business when there are no easy answers.

Week 6 Book Review

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

Good management is key to running a successful business.  As a CEO, Manager or business owner you do not want to get caught up in office politics.  Some managers do not even realize that they are guilty of it. They have an employee come to them soliciting a raise. They end up giving this employee a raise to keep them from leaving only to have others hear about it and do the same thing.  The only employees left out might be your best employees. Ben Horowitz spells out his two key techniques for minimizing politics.

  • Hire people with the right kind of ambition.  The right kind of ambition is an ambition for the company’s success with the employee’s success coming as a by-product of the company’s victory. 
  • Build strict processes for potentially political issues and do not deviate.  These activities include:
    • Performance evaluation and compensation
    • Organizational design and territory
    • Promotions

Horowitz advises to carefully word job titles and manage promotion.  He suggests defining a formal process for all promotions. Have a promotions council, make promotions unilateral, and compare the employee with both the level’s skill description and other employees to determine whether to approve the promotion.

The author sums it up perfectly.  If you structure things properly, nobody other than you will spend much time thinking about titles other than an employee of the month (Harowitz, 2014).  

Horowitz, B. (2014). The hard thing about hard things: Building a business when there are no easy answers.

Procrastination Podcast

Please enjoy this podcast inspired by the video The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers.




 

References

Grant, Adam. “The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers.” TED. April. 2016. Lecture.

“Adam Grant: Books, Podcast, TED Talks, Newsletter, Articles.” Adam, https://www.adamgrant.net/.

Duan, Crystal. “This Is How You Show Your Creativity, Based on Your Myers-Briggs Type.” Bustle, 27 Mar. 2018.

https://www.bustle.com/p/these-myers-briggs-types-are-the-most-creative-in-the-conventional-unconventional-sense-8546249

Grant, Adam. “Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Jan. 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/opinion/sunday/why-i-taught-myself-to-procrastinate.html.

Week 5 Book Review

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

This weeks reading started with the fact that companies justify their employees leaving by saying that they were going to fire them anyway. The company hired them and they were great. How did they suddenly become a bad employee? Most times they do not. Many times the company fails to train them or inform them of their expectations.

Being a good place to work is only the beginning for a company. It is crucial to train your employees in all levels of the company. Training will increase productivity, performance management (setting expectations), product quality and employee retention. We all have probably worked somewhere you are not properly trained. Not being trained can lead to a very poor work environment. The training will build confidence in the employee which will spill over to your customers and products.

Training starts with Manager training. The manager needs to know their expectations. Managers should be held responsible for the training of their team. The team will respect the managers if they take the time to train them and let their expectations be known. Better training leads the company to better performance, product quality and better employees. If you wont your company to be successful, your employees must be successful.

Week 4 Book Reflection

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Harowitz

This weeks reading included the difficult things that a CEO or Entrepreneur may go through. These include the struggles, having to tell it like it is, laying employees off, firing an executive, and demoting employees when things fall apart.

Horowitz’s answers to overcoming the “Struggle” include not putting everything on your own shoulders. He encourages you to get the maximum number of brains on your problems even if the problems represent existential threats. Second, understand that your business can be extremely complex, business is like chess there is always a move. Third, Play long enough and you might get lucky. Things can be going dead wrong and if you make it long enough to see tomorrow, it may bring you the answer that seems impossible today. Fourth, Don’t take it personally. Finally, Remember that this is what separates the women from the girls. If you want to be great, accept the challenge.

Mr. Horowitz’s thoughts on laying employees off. You should not delay telling your staff that there are going to be layoffs. It is better that they hear it from you. Be honest. Train your managers on the proper things to say. Assure your employees that it is a company failure, not an employee failure. Be prepared to offer employees benefits and support.

Firing an executive, the person that you have many times searched months for to carry out your mission at the company, is usually not because of incompetence or laziness. It is probably you, the one that hired them, that blew it. You possibly did a poor job defining the position, you hired for their lack of weakness instead of their strengths, or you possible failed to integrate the executive into your company. You prepare when firing an executive: be clear on your reasons, use decisive language, and have their severance package ready. You will then have to inform the company being careful not to damage the reputation of the employee.

Harowitz includes a section on how to demote a friend. I am sure he included this because of a personal experience. In my experience, this is a very hard thing to do. Unfortunately, you have to look at the good of the whole company over the good of your friend. While your friend will be embarrassed and feel betrayed, you have to decide what is your friends best role in the company. When demoting a friend, you must be honest. Many times your are not telling them what they want to hear. You have to admit reality while acknowledging their contributions to the company. Harowitz also suggests when demoting include and increase in compensation to let them know they are still valued. Now that is a tactic I have never witnessed.

This weeks reading was intense but informative. I find it interesting that he always uses the pronoun her or she when referring to the CEO. I am going to try to figure that one out.

Week 3 Reflection Book Review

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The book continues with Ben getting hired by Netscape. You get a good feel of Ben’s relationship with his boss Marc Andreesen. He admits that they do not see eye to eye, but in the end it works.

Netscape sells to America Online(AOL). They invented JavaScript, SSL, and cookies. After the buyout, he was assigned to run the e-commerce platform and Marc became Chief Technology Officer. They worked through problems and experienced crashes. In 1999, they incorporated a company called LoudCloud and began raising money. Marc Andreesen would end up being the full time chairman of the board and Ben would be the CEO. The company grew at an alarming pace, but less than a year later they experienced the dot.com crash. This crash spooked their investors. The money was getting seriously low so they were faced with going public to stay alive. The IPO(initial public offering) did not bring in the the revenue they had hoped for and as time goes on their stock drops from $6 to $2. The company ends up selling LoudCloud to EDS in 2002. They retain their intellectual software property and become Opsware.

Ben receives some very important advice from another CEO, Bill Campbell. Don’t celebrate the sell, let your people know where they stand so that you will be trusted. After the sale, the stock dropped to 35 cents per share.

Ben interjects the words to a song “On To The Next One” by Jay Z. ” I move onward, the only direction Can’t be scared to fail in search of Perfection.”

He takes the 80 employees left with the company to a meeting at a motel for a night of drinking and explaining the Opsware opportunity. Seventy Eight remained with the company. After the restructure, stock rose from 35 cents to $7. Ben thought they were out of the woods. But were they???

This books continues with the theme do not give up. Whether we are coming up with an idea or running a company, it is important to continue with the quest of success.

Discovering Innovation through my WCU class ENT601

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

I chose this book because I liked the title.  You know they say do not judge a book by its cover.  As I eagerly awaited the delivery of my Amazon purchase, I had no idea what the book was about.  Imagine my surprise upon opening the envelope containing this gorgeous hardback book to find a book about Ben Horowitz and his experiences, issues, and lessons learned the hard way throughout his life. His life as a tech guru! If you follow my discussion prompts, blog posts, or you just know me, you will soon find out that technology is not my friend.  Technology has been one of my biggest challenges as an Entrepreneur. Fate may be telling me something as I embark to read and understand the life of Ben Harowitz.

This book is dedicated to Ben Horowitz’s family.  The notation in the front of the book states that 100% of Ben’s proceeds of the book will go to help women in developing countries gain basic civil rights via the American Jewish World Service. 

Mr. Harowitz starts his book with all of the things that we may think are not hard in managing a business. In his words, “The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.”(Harowitz,2014)

This book is an autobiography.  The first couple of chapters outline Horowitz’s first jobs which happen to be in the tech industry.  He is at the forefront of the technology industry and things did not come as easy as you might think. I will continue reading about the saga of Ben Harowitz and apprise you of all his experiences both good and bad.

Horowitz, Ben. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. New York, Harper Collins,2014.