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Yup ... it's all about shootin fer the moon!! Nice avatar & even nicer Hugh thingy-ma-bob!

The Norwegian Texas Tart

; *

Psssssst. Found you via Hugh, natch!!!

John Dodds

Not sure that customer contact under pull marketing must necessarily involve fewer personnel resources Sig. This does not imply a big business, but I think paring this element is potentially conter-productive.

And please refrain from using the word holistic (it gives me a headache).

John Dodds

P.S. Moreover, customer contact point is not just about sales - customer support is nperhaps even more important.


John, expected that one :D

(BTW, agree on "holistic", yechh - got any alternative?)

OK, lemme see - what entails contact with customer?

Ideally it should be someone useful for the customer - CEO? Yes, if I'm interested in the firm as such. Designer? Yes, if I'm interested in next step and so forth.
Not easy to copy old days "shoe maker discussing with customer" - but we have technology to make it possible with few people: Blogs, wiki, FAQ - and that works.

Then sales - given pull instead of push in essence this becomes redundant. New name for the guy/gal you talk to in purchase moment, expert? OK, semantics, but that group could be pared drastically down given efficient 1. above I think.

Support. Of course! But here the use of resources outside the classic company borders comes in: If you use a distribution channel of some sort much of support could be / is there. (As would the "expert" - ex-sales function.)
Again much dependent on structure of 1 above. A huge and efficient knowledge base, selfhelp and whatnot do work!

All in all I think you can pare down dramatically inside the core firm.

But I would agree this part needs more discussion and thinking!

John Dodds

Fair points Sig - I think there are definitely functions within classic "marketing" and "sales" areas that can be rendered superfluous, but the existence of a human contact point will always be more satisfactory for potential and existing customers (assuming of course that those humans are proeprly trained and empowered).

The real variable here I guess would be the number of customers you have - which of course is dependent on what your product/service is. Business to business can get away with fewer people I think.

My basic point is that the potential downside of an improperly serviced customer (whether that be pre or post sale) is increasingly important in a pull marketing world. The business is not approaching the customer, the customer is coming to the business and therefore the business must be damn certain that these contacts are always viewed as excellent experiences by the customer. So pare away, but don't over-economise.

As for holistic - well many new-agey types use it in the sense of looking at the whole (on the grounds that focus means not being able to see the wood for looking at the diseased tree). The word has been appropriated and is now loaded with inferences of worthiness and validity (unjustifiable in my view). Hence my aversion to it.

When you Sig are talking about something, I think it's clear that you're looking at the whole anyway so you don't really need to emphasise that. Then again you're not likely to utter the synonomous platitude "thinking out of the box" thank goodness. Why not say, "let's not limit our thinking/approach" or "let's take this even further?


Norwegian Texas Tart - wow, must say, that's certainly something, how did that come about? :D


John, good suggestions re no-more platitudes a la "holistic"!

As to the "contact points" - agree fully, will be very dependent on type of product/customers indeed.

One thing that hits me - if the filter named "marketing department" went away, the contact with real people with real functions that interests the customer we get a double whammy - it's even more important for these to be in direct contact with the customer (face to face or thorugh blogs / wikis / newsgroups) so they can better their products and services.

After all, how can they deliver value without that direct contact? We know what happens when the feedback filters through market survey firms and marketing meetings and what not!

Ideal would be the "strategy keeper" who is the main contact point! Just the small detail of bandwidth to fix then - better bandwidth solutions, less payroll and less filters ;)

John Dodds


see point 1!


Saw that one! Prexisely!

And 2. of course as dicsussed above...

Awast ye scurvy marketing departments! as Hugh would have said :)


This is a rather interesting and quite thought provoking discussion of how a small or even one-man operation might function without that expected huge payroll budget. Your reasoning seems sound, and I'm intrigued by this new concept.

F Foster

Wow, great thinking, great mind, I'm fired-up just reading your thought processes. Excellent and keep going. As you said, aim for the moon.


Great post Sig, have revisited it a number of times over the past month.

The fundamental idea you advance in this post addresses a question posed by Peter Drucker, "What is our business". Peter went on to suggest that, in general, a major re-think is in order relative to this question.

I think John Dodds is working hard toward getting his head around your fundamental idea. At the same time initial comments may indicate that it is a tad more that a bit challenging to integrate your post with the "status quo" thinking and needs of traditionally minded companies.

I LOVE the idea set forth in your post!


Much appreciated Sheamus!

Should follow up with a "Acquire and grow in lieu of a strategy" post :)

See that all the time - one firm I have interest in was approached recently by a buyer who was really into growing and become big. When pressed for a strategy we got blank stares and the usual yada, yada in the vein of "we will be better and bigger than the competitors...". Better? How? Blank stare again... sigh.

Guess it's a "man" thing - big is good, thinking is for sissies :D


Thanks Sig!

True story on-point to your post. I was a young guy, maybe with entrepreneur orientation, started a consulting firm in order to solve specific economic performance issues for companies.

Success from the start, grew to 37 staff and multi-millions in revenue within first 18-months, international roster of 400+ clients within 3-years.

Didn't know a damn thing about business management, just knew how to use my brain and loved solving problems.

Flash forward 10 years... Big shock, lost some money, didn't know why and something didn't feel right. Sought out a couple of great librarians, explained the situation, asked them to put put together a reading list of great business books, which they kindly did, all of 200 books with some going back to 1910. Read every one.

A few great lessons learned: [1] Some men and women had taken the time to write of their experiences, sharing the hard lessons [2] Since I was dealing in millions it was amazing that I had not lost more money and sooner due to my astonishing lack of business knowledge [3] Learned why I had lost my money (mis-match of revenues and expenses), and most importantly [4] Discovered the writings of Peter Drucker... I was introduced to first principles... What is our business? and, introduced to the concepts of knowledge work and the implications for knowledge workers and business... with Drucker suggesting that men and women in business had to re-think the fundamental issues around business.

The GE's of the world may not be able tobuy into the idea per your post.

However, there are millions and millions of small, medium and very small businesses that can begin to use the fundamental idea (and thingamy) to create something new, better, faster, more flexible, more in-tune with customers, suppliers and... at lower cost.

I LOVE your post even more! :)

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