Latest Fortune Column: 5 Clever Marketing Ideas
December 6, 2011
BOG/EMP Reunion; Five Management Metrics; Fill Pipeline in December; Power of Pricing
December 15, 2011

Jobs Fielded Service Calls; YPO Europe Event; Employee Savings; Political Request

"…keeping you great"

HEADLINES: (apologize for the warnings and urgencies!)

WARNING: Political Request Below (PRB) — but first…

URGENT: Specific Story Needed Today — did any of you work at a large company; decide, on the side, to make an angel investment in a company (friend, relative, etc); then end up jumping into the venture yourself? Please email me immediately – [email protected].

Thank You Readers … Atlassian, Armenta Collection, Pixability, PropelGrowth, and LEFKO Renovations for contributing your clever marketing ideas for my latest FORTUNE column – I greatly appreciate my insight readers providing material for my various writing projects – keep those ideas flowing.

Jobs Directly Involved in Customer Service — given Apple's high customer service scores (ACSI), it didn't surprise me to learn that Steve Jobs got directly involved in customer service issues. Notes Mark Milian, author of Letters to Steve: Inside the E-mail Inbox of Apple's Steve Jobs, "He fielded e-mails about broken laptops and intervened on support calls." And Jobs proclivity for responding to e-emails led to Apple repurposing all the messages he personally received "to be used as data points for internal use, evidenced by a graph charting customer complaints about the ill-fated Internet service, MobileMe." Take two minutes to read this excerpt from Milian's book – and then figure out how you'll be more involved in fielding customer concerns more directly – a great way to learn and make improvements.

FORTUNE's Blue Ribbon Companies — 38 companies appeared on the most FORTUNE lists in 2011. My guess is a basket of stocks in these companies might do well over the next decade – but this guess is worth about as much as you pay for these insights! Anyway, worth one minute to peruse the list (and if someone wants to calculate the cost of owning 100 shares in each of these 38 companies, please send me the total and I'll publish!).

Real Savings for Employees — Jim Curcuru, an employee with Appletree Answers, just saved $138 on his Firestone repair bill. Appletree signed up for Abenity at the Fortune Growth Summit – it's a FORTUNE 500 quality employee benefit program where your employees get substantial discounts on many regular services they use – like car repairs. Notes Emily Ratliff, head of HR for Appletree "Great feedback about our new Abenity program! I have heard so much positive feedback! So glad we found them at Gazelles Growth Summit!" Get in touch with Brian Roland at Abenity – a great holiday gift for 2012 for all your employees.

Real Savings on BooksMastering the Rockefeller Habits is part of a December Kindle promotion – just $3.99. If you've been wanting an e-version of the book, now's the time to grab a copy.

European YPOers — Prague 30th May – 1st June — Gene Browne, Greater European YPO chapter, is Day Chairing a 2.5 day YPO "Rockefeller Habits" workshop I'll be leading 30th May (19:30) to 1st June (17:00) in Prague. Limited to 10 more YPOers and their executive teams. Here's a link to more info or just email Gene.

WARNING: PRB — Charles Koch, head of the largest private firm in the world, has been an acquaintance for decades (EO is headquartered in DC because of his help 25 years ago, for instance). Anyway, roughly 3% of all companies in the US are the real job generators (most of you reading these insights), but we have no voice. So Koch's foundation wants to help give us a voice and put several of you on tour, in short videos, etc. Here's a summary of what they want to do – email me if interested in telling your story:

Because so often no one speaks for the entrepreneurs and business owners who drive economic growth, we want to launch a national and local campaign to showcase (1) positive stories of job creation and growth and (2) how government policies (such as overregulation and crony capitalism) prevent or make job creation difficult. Our research suggests that real stories told by real entrepreneurs are the most impactful. For example, we've all heard "regulations hurt business." Let's put a face on it.

This campaign could entail some or all of the components below depending on the story, the spokespeople, the comfort level of the individuals involved, sensitivity to time constraints and ability of the story to resonate with audiences:

  • Short video clip of story
  • Local talk show circuit with the media
  • National media tour
  • Media training in DC office
  • Leverage the story and add expert commentary from economics professors or others qualified to comment on the policy and economic ramifications of specific stories
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.