Understanding and Design Thinking…

Agile Marketing Circle

Many businesses are in touch with their customers from an information perspective, but not necessarily an insights perspective. The purpose of insights is to connect head and heart knowledge—information plus inspiration. Too often, information just describes phenomena with no clear path of what to do with it. But the best insights reveal behaviors or phenomena and point to solutions or ideas. And because insights are grounded in human needs and desires, they lead to ideas that create value in people’s lives.

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Digital Transformation – How Change Happens…

How change happens

At OneDayOne, we love the portion of Good to Great below. So many people want to talk about ‘transformations’ and set up massive ‘projects’ to transform their businesses. We have heard plenty of stories of projects being written off and huge disappointments from engagements that never delivered the results you desired. In our experience the results come from a continuous commitment to improving your business. It’s your mindset, approach—working in an agile, iterative, and build-measure-learn way—and people that really make it happen.

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Sales Development Function Justification

sales development

One of the most impactful programs that we have experience with is the implementation of a solid Sales Development program. The need for a Sales Development program didn’t come from reading a book or an article or anything like that. It came from practical, real-world experience of trying to increase sales through a channel.

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Life is People! – Life lesson in career transition

life lessons from career transition

Life is People! - Life lesson in career transition

By Eric Schmidt

I had the fortune of meeting with a colleague recently who had worked at a company for 30 years before leaving – and he gave me the analogy, as we talked over coffee. “Put your finger in the cup” he said. “When you remove it, you will notice there is no hole left in the cup.  Business is the same thing – it will fill your absence and move on.”

Our meeting came on the heels of leaving an organization after 19 years myself.  Obviously, with leaving an organization after that much time – regardless of circumstance, comes a lot of soul searching and reflection – along with the excitement, anticipation and drive for what’s next (stay tuned for that – later in this blog).

With my recent departure, I learned an incredibly positive and valuable (and rather unexpected) lesson about life.  One that is so incredibly important to me. Sometimes it takes a life event like this one for me to act as a reminder of what’s really important in life. In my case, I was reminded of the true value of relationships and friendships.

Some of your relationships you know are strong – but in reality prove to be so much stronger than you could have ever imagined. You also learn some things about people that you thought you were closer to.  My transition has clarified incredible friendships, it has shown me folks that I believed I had a ‘business relationship’ with that have been willing to help and actually go out of their way to assist, offer encouragement and let me know how much they appreciated my work/effort. On the flip side, it has shown me people who I thought were friends with solid relationships built over the years – and they turned out to be mere circumstantial friends – friends of convenience or routine. This clarity of relationships and the power of true relationships is invaluable. Knowing that you have touched and impacted the careers of some folks and feeling and hearing the appreciation is incredible. And exposing the lack of true relationships with others has been just as equally invaluable.

Fast forward to today, and I was reading a blog by Ryan Estis (which can be found here).   The title of it is:  How to get unstuck

I found the following portion to be incredibly relevant to me at this point in my life:
The biggest accelerator to getting unstuck and moving through fear is taking bold and decisive action. You may never feel completely ready to take that big leap of faith. I didn’t. But I’ve learned from experience that you have to simply step up and get started if you want to create the necessary momentum to move forward.

Navigating any significant life change is going to be hard work. Anticipate adversity and trust that mistakes are truly the place where we learn and grow. You are going to struggle. There will be missteps. You’re going to fail. I most definitely have. The good news is that failure isn’t final. It’s simply the next test we have to pass, and it helps us develop the resolve we need to eventually succeed and fulfill our purpose.

With that in mind, it is with great pride, excitement and happiness that I move forward in starting a new business venture. I am so incredibly fortunate, grateful and excited to be partnering with two of my closest friends – whom I have worked with for over 12 years.

Another quote from Ryan’s blog which feels incredibly relevant today is the following:  When you love what you do and get to do it with people you love, work doesn’t feel much like a job anymore. It’s actually an extraordinary privilege.

It’s been an amazing adventure and an incredible time to re-connect and reach out to people and get feedback, thoughts and opinions.  That’s a big part of our new organization – Understanding. It’s such a refreshing and cool reminder of the power of relationships and not to get too philosophical, but this whole experience of starting up a company, asking for help, connecting with folks from the past and meeting new people has been one of the most rewarding experiences I could have asked for.  It’s a great reminder of what’s important in life – life is people and the relationships you have.

What’s it mean to become a data-centric organization?

Data-Centric Organizations

What does it mean to become a data-centric organization?

By Eric Schmidt

Data alone doesn't change the world. People do.

Moving to a data-driven organization can be scary.  Especially when you have been a successful business or entrepreneur that has relied on gut or feel for so long, it can can be incredibly scary or overwhelming to rely on data.  So many questions about the data  – do you trust it?  Is it accurate? Etc…

If you have survived this long (and been successful) you might be tempted to think you can keep doing what you have been doing.  Unfortunately, that thinking won’t get you very far these days.

The world of business is being transformed before our very eyes. Consumers' and business' expectations are changing weekly, maybe even daily. Innovation is happening at a breakneck pace. Technology is driving new models and new roles within organizations. It's an exciting time and yet, all this change can easily leave a company paralyzed trying to find that magic formula to growth.

We are not saying that becoming a data-centric organization is the magic formula to growth – but it plays a huge part.  In future blog posts we will explore the other components of that formula – especially the people/culture/philosophy part (which we believe might be the most important component).

You can hope the whole data thing blows over and goes away (we don’t recommend that).  As scary as “data-driven product development” or “data-driven marketing” sounds, with the right tools, basic foundational knowledge and some courage you can collect and analyze data quickly to make the best decisions for your business.  You are not collecting data in order to judge, but rather in order to study it to determine how you can improve.  It’s not about success or failure – but rather making better informed decisions.

One of the important things to keep in mind, is that gut or feel still plays a key role (in our minds) in becoming a data-centric organization.  In our case, developing initial hypotheses is a critical starting point – waiting to accumulate data or analyzing existing may not always be the most practical starting point.  Another important aspect to becoming a data-centric organization is to remember that data-centric doesn’t necessarily mean deep data capabilities  – analytics, predictive modeling, AI, BI and other sophisticated methods and expensive tools.  All of that is important but can be overwhelming and reminds me of this quote:

“Big Data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”- Dan Ariely, Author of Predictably Irrational
In our minds, you can start down the path of data-centricity with simple mindset shifts – start with a gut feel hypothesis and then get out in the world and validate it.  A simple example of a past project for us was working with ice cream shops (changed the industry for confidentiality purposes), we wanted to develop a cornerstone piece of collateral that would resonate with and speak to solutions specifically for a subset of a specific type of ice cream shop.  We built an MVP – minimum viable product (a huge concept for us – cultural/philosophical approach – more on that later) and proceeded to take that product out to our targeted ice cream shop owners to validate our hypothesis.  Turns out we missed the mark and our messaging really wasn’t limited to that specific type ice cream shop – the problem we were addressing was the same for all ice cream shops.  The messaging needed to shift to the specific problem and solution vs the original hypothesis of these issues only existing in specific ice cream shops.  We were now able to look for all ice cream shops that would potentially have those issues or problems vs targeting a specific type of ice cream shop.  Again, the goal is not to get into specifics on ice cream shops, but rather to illustrate that becoming data-centric can be as simple as shifting mindsets – getting outside the four walls of the business and truly starting to understand your customers. In the spirit of our mission to provide tangible, specific examples of some of these theories and concepts, let us provide a tangible, real-world example.  Again, this example is to illustrate that you can easily get on the path to becoming a data-centric organization without a huge investment or crazy level of maturity or sophistication in the data world. In this example we worked with a SMB (small-to-medium sized B2B) distributor.  We used their historical sales and marketing data (CRM data) to analyze their major sources of revenue.  The slides are as follows:

Hopefully this example helped provide some context as to how you can slowly move towards becoming a more data-centric organization without feeling like you have to have incredible data scientists, sophisticated processes and platforms.  Eventually the goal is to get to more and more maturity and sophistication, but that will be a natural evolution as you get more and more comfortable with the data and the decision making abilities it enables.  One of the biggest issues we see and will explore in a subsequent blog post is best described by the following illustration.  This (in our experience) especially holds true in the SMB market space.  So stay tuned as we will share our experiences with the ‘Data Wheel of Death’.

Wholesale Distribution Disruption

Distribution Disrupted Blog Post - ODO

Research indicates we are at a strategic inflection point with wholesale distribution – a time in the life of a business when its core fundamentals (or progress) are about to change. This inflection point offers an opportunity to grow to new heights, but could also just as likely signal the beginning of the end. Many distributors are wrestling with this inflection point by exploring incremental growth and cost reductions. Most have faced evolutionary change (ex: geographic expansion into contiguous markets, extension of product offerings into complementary categories), but few have faced truly transformational change.

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