Provocation-Based Marketing in Action

“Rather than resign themselves to hearing the standard ‘Sorry, we have no budget for that,’ some vendors—even some very young start-ups—have found a way to reach their customers’ resource owners and motivate them to allocate the necessary funds. Using what we call provocation-based selling, they persuade customers that the solutions they bring to the table are not just nice but essential.”

That’s a quote from In a Downturn, Provoke Your Customers, an article written by Philip Lay, Todd Hewlin, and Geoffrey Moore, and published in the Harvard Business Review in March, 2009.

The article – I only read it for the first time a few days ago – reminded me of an exercise/experience I had in early 2017, although I think it’s more accurate to describe my own experience as provocation-based marketing.

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Posted in Marketing

Thinking of a career shift? Here’s how to increase your odds of success…

pexels-photo-66100-arrowEvery so often people ask me for career guidance. I guess I’ve done pretty well charting my own career path, so far at least, and folks want to know the ins and outs.

Well, here’s a shortish post that captures how I usually answer the question.

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Posted in Careers, Everything, Soccer

Book Report: Escape Velocity

escape-velocity-coverWhat if there is some hidden force that is working against your best efforts? What if this force is operating inside your own company, with the full support of your executive team, your board of directors, your investors, and indeed yourself? What if this force is able to mysteriously redirect resource allocation so that it never quite gets deployed against new agendas? That force, I submit, is the pull of the past, most concretely embodied in your prior year’s operating plan.” (Escape Velocity)

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Posted in Books, Everything, Leadership, Management

Book Report: A Higher Loyalty

a-higher-loyalty“In that moment, something hit me: It’s just us. I always thought that in this place there would be somebody better, but it’s just this group of people – including me – trying to figure stuff out. I didn’t mean that as an insult to any of the participants, who were talented people. But we were just people, ordinary people in extraordinary roles in challenging times. I’m not sure what I had expected, but I met the top of the pyramid and it was just us, which was both comforting and a bit frightening.” (A Higher Loyalty)

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Posted in Books, Leadership

Book Report: Microstyle

microstyle-coverSo, how do you pack a lot of meaning into a little message? You don’t. That’s the first lesson of microstyle. A message isn’t a treasure chest full of meaning. It’s more like a key that opens doors. A message starts a mental journey, and meaning is the destination…Keeping this in mind makes you think about how your message fits into a larger picture and points to ideas without expressing them directly. The interaction of message, mind, and context makes meaning happen.” (Microstyle)

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Posted in Advertising, Books, Everything, Marketing

Looking Back on Planning Ahead: 2012-Lee Edition

I was clearing out some boxes this weekend, basically tossing papers and things from my previous career, and I came across a neat little blast from the past.

In 2012, a few months after becoming the manager of the Product Marketing team and shortly after we’d added another team member, I asked each person on the team to fill out a “Self-Development Questionnaire”.

I always saw my role as making sure the team achieved or contributed to the organization’s goals, and I knew that we’d be in a better position to do so if I could assign/distribute tasks in such a manner that they appealed to each member’s interests and desired areas of growth. So this questionnaire was a straightforward way for me to learn what interested and appealed to the members of my team.

But enough about them! The fun part is that I also filled out the questionnaire, and (in addition to the ones from my team members) I found my own completed sheet!

It’s neat to look back almost six years later to see what I entered and to assess how well I used the insights.


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Posted in Careers, Everything, Leadership, Management

Contributing to Company Values

A friend/former colleague of mine is starting a company, and from the outset he wants to codify values by which the organization will be run.

After drafting a proposed set of values and principles, he reached out to a few folks to provide input. I feel quite strongly about such things (codifying leadership principles and structure? sign me up!), so I appreciated the opportunity to weigh in and to contribute something to what could well become one of the region’s hottest tech companies in the coming years.

In this post, I’ll share some of my comments and the reasoning behind them.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a recurring theme of accountability, empowerment, and discipline.


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Posted in Everything, Leadership, Management

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