Tag Archives: Marketing

Best Business Books of 2014?

strategy + business logoIt’s that time of year where we all talk about books that we read this past year and which ones stood out in our minds. These lists will start pouring in over the next couple of months. I will share some of these with you along the way. But to give you an early start, here are the top Business Books for 2014 as put together by Strategy+Business. Let us know if you have read any of these and what you thought…good or bad…it will help the rest of us that haven’t read them get a better idea if it is worth our time our not. Here’s the list…by topical category…

Business Strategy


Executive Self-Improvement

Organizational Culture




So if you were looking for things to fill your time during the holiday season, this should solve that problem. Enjoy…and let me know what you think of these books or if you have some of your own you would like to add to the list. If you have read a book and want to give our readers a brief summary, please e-mail me (Blaine Millet) and I would be happy to put your review up as a blog post.

Customers talk to others about the brands they trust

At the CEOtoCEO Breakfast last week Kurt Dammeier, CEO of Sugar Mountain shared the brand tenets his company beechersembraces that naturally converts customers and clients into passionate Mavens (brand ambassadors) and who in turn spread the positive buzz for his businesses.

Kurt stressed how important it is to gain your customers trust as a key to increasing word of mouth promotion of your business.  One way to gain trust is to emphasize who you are (your company) more that what you are (products and services).  If customers like who you are and what you’re about they will trust you more and share that with others.

Kurt’s demonstrates transparency to build trust with customers by locating his company Beecher’s Cheese  is in downtown Seattle and New York with ample windows for customers to view the cheese being made.

Speaking of windows Kurt spoke to how charity is also an important tenet to the Sugar Mountain brand as it provides customers a “window into the soul of the company”.  To walk the talk Beecher’s created and manages the Beecher’s Flagship Foundation that provides educational programs on healthy eating to Puget Sound schools.  One-percent of Beecher’s sales dollars helps fund the foundation.

What are you doing to build trust and your brand with your internal and external customers?  Answers to that question may start a word of mouth epidemic for your business!  Now that’s really something to talk about.

Improve your rate of hiring success

University of Washington Foster School of Business Sales Program students & faculty
Jack Rhodes
UW Foster School of Business

The typical standard resume review and interview practices commonly used to select sales candidates only gives you a 50:50 chance of selecting the best candidate.

“Easy to find, hard to hire.” is the answer Lisa Pike, CEO of ScribeRight provided when I asked what are some of the key challenges in managing a sales force.  She is right as it is not hard to find candidates to interview for sales positions but hiring the right candidate is a challenge.  Sales candidates do much more interviewing than most managers and are more skillful at presenting themselves than many managers are at seeing through the “front.”

The Solution

At the May 30th CEOtoCEO Breakfast Jack Rhodes, UW Foster School of Business, suggested by using a balanced approach to hiring your odds of selecting the best candidate increase dramatically.


Thirty percent of your decision should be based on each of the following:

30% based on predictive assessment tools

30% based on recruiting only strong candidates to start with

30% based on structured interview questions and the ideal answers

10% based on your assessment on the candidates culture fit with your organization.

What ideas can you share on how to select the best sales candidates?

To innovate you need to be “Remarkable”

During one of our CEO Innovation Team meetings we talked about differentiation. Not what most think about just having a product or service that is slightly different or better than the competition, but truly differentiated – both in product/service and experience. The concept of “Being Remarkable” was introduced by a well-known thought leader in both business and Marketing, Seth Godin.

Seth wrote a book a few years back, The Purple Cow, where he introduced this concept of “Being Remarkable.” Only it isn’t exactly what you think. It isn’t just being special, it is “having people ‘remark’ about your or talk about you.” This is what gets spread…

He also talked about being “very good” and being “very good” is actually just being average. You can be very good at what you do, perhaps the best, but if everyone else is doing the same thing, this isn’t really differentiating or sustainable. This concept is critical for companies and individuals who truly want to innovate and those that want to build of culture of innovation. In other words, how can you consider yourself to be an innovative company if you aren’t being talked about by others? But if you are innovative, you can also be remarkable, and this is what true differentiation is about.

But don’t just take our word for it, you can watch a short 5 minute video of Seth explaining this himself…definitely well worth 5 minutes of your time if you are a leader of anything!

So what did you think? After seeing Seth’s description of “Remarkable”, would you consider your company to be innovative to a point where people “remark about it? If so, please share it – we can all learn more by hearing your success stories. If not, why not? Share that too…

Social Media’s Place in B2B Marketing

John Rubino, President of Green Rubino, a truly integrated marketing firm led the discussion “Keys to Success In a Social Media Marketing World” at the November CEOtoCEO Breakfast.

A marketing question I share with others is “Where does social media fit in with the traditional marketing channels used in B2B?”

John provided some great insight to my question at the breakfast by using this helpful chart in his presentation.  If you are wading into the social media marketing pool and looking for sound advice consider joining the CEO Discussion Group.  John Rubino and my cohort in crime Blaine are both members.  Both are very knowledgeable and helpful.

Risk and Opportunity in Today’s Divergent New Media Landscape

The term new media has become synonymous with marketing strategies that are developed to acquire inbound marketing strategies.  Those strategies may include combinations of organic search, paid search, video, mobile, pay per click (or paid search), and social media (including blogging). Companies must adopt marketing strategies that meet the prospect’s intent and lead them to… Continue Reading

My "Journey" continues…

As many of you know by now, I have thrown myself into the “social media fray” and have become fully engaged in learning, understanding and using this revolutionary new media.  It has been an eye-opener to say the least. When I first met Blaine Millet and Clay Loges, my consultants and coaches, I realized the… Continue Reading

Business Tools??? – Executive View of Social Media"

Social Media is on just about everyone’s mind these days. It has been on mine for a while and I’ve been busy pioneering and learning the art of social media with my own blog. In fact, it just happens to be the topic for our March meeting. Last year I had the privilege and opportunity… Continue Reading

WELCOME – our new "Social Media" Sponsor…

During the last CEOtoCEO breakfast meeting in November, I had the privilege of announcing a new sponsor to the CEOtoCEO breakfast series.  Our new sponsor is WOM10 – “Word-of-Mouth on Steroids”.  Blaine Millet and Clay Loges are the two co-founders and principals of the firm and they gave us a brief introduction to their company.… Continue Reading