disruption1I want to share what I believe is some really great news for your business. No matter how big your firm or your ambitions are, you can succeed spectacularly – or if you’re already doing well – more spectacularly. Want to know why? Because the business and competitive landscape has been disrupted and it will never be the way it used to be again.

Today, business success is determined less by the products or services you sell (someone else almost certainly sells them too). It’s not the biggest ad budget or the most clever creative either. Today, business success is driven by great ideas and the relationships and experiences that companies create for their employees and their customers.

I call this the Good Guy marketplace, because the modern marketplace rewards companies who do more to engage their people and their public. In the 21st century marketplace, the Good Guys have the advantage.

Here’s what I mean when I say “Good Guy companies”. It’s not some subjective judgment about how nice a woman or man is as a CEO, Founder, President or manager. Sure, it may be great if leadership possesses gregarious, engaging personalitys – Richard Branson comes to mind – but that won’t guarantee an engaging experience for employees or customers.

I did some work for company founders who were great about treating their employees, to use their words – “like family”. They brought treats into the office regularly. They were generous at weddings and baby showers. They were quick to enter into casual conversation. But when it came to the work these talented people were doing for the company, the company’s President and VP could not have been less inclusive or engaging.Sad employees

While leadership treated their employees as though they were friends, they did nothing to challenge or advance their best people, they provided no career path or opportunities for self-improvement, and they ignored their employees’ customer insights – even though they were the ones who were face-to-face with those customers day in and day out.

Employees were expected to work on outdated equipment in a physical environment with no consideration for the employees’ health or well-being. You get the picture. The leaders were “nice guys”, no doubt about it, and their employees were generally satisfied. But from a marketing perspective, this was not a Good Guy company.

Running a Good Guy business is about systems: The policies and procedures that encourage and promote interaction, collaboration and reciprocity. Good Guy companies operate organizations that communicate constantly, not because it’s in someone’s nature to be communicative, but because the behavior has been institutionalized, acknowledged and celebrated.

Let’s start by taking a look at the crucial work of engaging your employees.

By now, you’re probably aware that an engaged workforce gives companies a remarkable competitive advantage. Organizations like the Great Place to Work Institute exist to educate companies about the advantages of an engaged workforce and the statistics are compelling to say the least.

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  • Increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation)
  • According to Bersin and Associates, the current annual employee engagement spend in the US is $720 million. Bersin expects this spend to increase drastically to about $1.5 billion.
  • Highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation), one of the most powerful contributors to improved profitability.
  • Companies that foster engaged brand ambassadors in their workforce report an average of 2.69 sick days taken annually per employee, compared to companies with weak engagement efforts, reporting an average of 6.19 sick days. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation)
  • Companies with engaged employees, outperform those without by 202%. (Source: Dale Carnegie)
  • Companies who implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback. (Source: Gallup)
  • Only about 25% of business leaders have an employee engagement strategy. (Source: Dale Carnegie) 

Engaged Employees lead toHappy employees

  • Higher service, quality, and productivity
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Increased sales (repeat business and referrals)
  • Higher levels of profit
  • Higher shareholder returns or earnings

Now you may be wondering why I, a marketer, seem to be so obsessed with a workplace concern that would fall under Human Resources in a larger company or management in smaller businesses.

Here’s why…in today’s marketplace, operations and marketing are inseparably and irretrievably connected. What you do is every bit as important as what you say.online reviews

Thanks largely to digital media, Marketing in the 21st century has been democratized. Today, user reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor.com, Angie’s List, Yahoo, eBay and Amazon are more influential than any amount of advertising – no matter how good the advertising is.

Of course, advertising, PR and other traditional marketing tools have their place. Billions each year is still spent on these channels to stimulate interest and generate awareness.

But today, these tools must be considered within the whole of the clients’ experience

  • Which is directly impacted by the employees’ experience,
  • Which is directly impacted by companies’ leadership,
  • Who are challenged to establish systems that
  • Serve the greater goal of creating a real connection with the people your company employs, and the people your company serves.

This helps explain why growth in digital marketing has, and will continue to, outpace traditional marketing. Digital marketing is all about generosity. This is what I think is such great news for your company, especially if it is or can be a Good Guy company. Generosity is built into Good Guy companies. They understand that before they ask for the business, they need to earn trust. Your company, no matter how big or small, can do this. I look forward to hearing great things about how your Good Guy company has seized the opportunity.

Thanks for your comments and readership. As always, it’s a pleasure hearing from you. If you like this or any of my other articles, I hope you’ll share them. Yours ~ Michael

February 26, 2015
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