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“This is Dineh Mohajer, founder of Hard Candy, a cosmetics company with more than $10 million a year in sales. She knows what young women who love nail polish want because she is a young woman who loves nail polish.” That’s just one of the many great examples in Seth Godin’s marketing classic, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

This reminds us of how important it is to not discount the great RESEARCH value of being your own customer as well as listening to what your customers have to say. The customer IS the answer to EVERY marketing question in some way. If that sounds a little too simplistic or a little too much like “winging it” or like you’re gambling on instinct, just think about your own experiences as a customer and of how much you wish THEY would ask YOU what you think or what you want.

The “expert” is the one who is writing the check, as far as I’m concerned.

  If you want to know what to expect on the road ahead, ask someone who has just come back.” – Chinese Proverb 


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shopping_mall.jpgToys R Us is doing something that reminds us of how to take advantage in a so-called down market! Recognizing that mall vacancies are up, Toys-R-Us is negotiating with several malls to rent space just during the Christmas season, thereby giving themselves an expanded retail presence, a “mall presence,” they can capitalize on during their busiest time of the year. If the space proves viable, they can probably negotiate for an extended rental period or simply abandon the space once the lease is up, all the while maximizing their investments in the mall locations. 

A good lesson from all this is that bold companies in a good cash position can not only survive in a downturn, but get control of the situation and thrive! If we worry not so much about “the” economy and instead worry about “our” economy, chances are we’ll put ourselves in a better position to take advantage of the same situations that cause others grief.

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.”

Dalton_Delaine_Veterans_day.jpgTo whom do we owe our thanks for the privilege of living in a free market? If you happen to be a veteran reading this, we have YOU to thank!

I think the fact that we live in a free market economy is among the greatest blessings we enjoy in this nation. You’ve probably gathered that if you’ve been a reader here for a while. What I probably don’t mention often enough is that a free market economy wouldn’t be possible without having freedom in the first place. That freedom was bought and paid for by our men and women in uniform, and we should all be constantly mindful of that as we enjoy the benefits of what they fought for.

The notion of freedom and what it costs to have it seems to get more important to me every year, especially since becoming a dad in 2007. To think that both my son’s grandfathers wore their country’s uniform is something that puts a lump in my throat, and I look forward to the day when he is old enough to really appreciate their service in our armed forces for himself. The picture to the left shows my son with my wife’s father, his Grandpa Delaine, when they took a trip to the Infantry Museum here in Oklahoma City this summer. Grandpa thought it’d be fun to put on his old uniform just to show him.

My father died when I was in college, but I took great pride in showing my son his Granddad Tom’s infantry patch at the museum. When he’s older I’ll tell him the story of how his Grandad served in World War II, how he was drafted and pulled out of high school just after he turned 18 and, like thousands of other boys who were pulled off the farms and put in uniform, he was being trained for a D-Day type invasion of Japan. The invasion was avoided by President Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb. I’ll tell him how his Grandad’s parents cried when they put him on the train to be shipped out because word had it that in an invasion of Japan, the survival rate for Allied Infantrymen would have likely been only 1 in 4. I’ll try to explain how men and women we may never meet put that uniform on knowing they are taking an oath to die to defend our freedom if necessary.  And I’ll probably have to tell him that it took me a long time to fully grasp what that means, and that it may take him quite a while, too. The most important thing, I’ll tell him, is that we just can’t ever forget it.

We have more abundance in this country than we can accurately measure, and the thanks we owe our service men and women can’t be adequately described. Let’s be sure Veteran’s Day isn’t the only time we salute them!

There can be no real peace while one American is dying somewhere in the world for the rest of us.” – Ronald Reagan