Andrew Rudin

Hate, Bad Product Placement, and Brand Risk

The author and his dogs on The Lawn at the University of Virginia. The Rotunda appears in the background. What keeps marketing executives up at night? A duo of sticky problems: how to create unique product designs that consumers easily recognize, and how to ensure…

Skepticism: An Antidote for Statistical Malpractice

Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptics Society, doesn’t suffer fools. He questions assertions that others accept as fact. He challenges claims of “scientifically proven” when he doesn’t see any science. He examines experimental hypotheses, and weighs research methods and data. “The principle is to...

Do Salespeople Lie More Than Other Professionals?

Compared to other professions, are salespeople disproportionately prone to lying? To reveal the answer, I searched online for most dishonest professions, and was rewarded with several surveys. One study conducted in 2014 listed the top 10 least honest (the number following indicates the percentage...

Companies That Abuse Customer Privacy Will Feel Their Fury – Again

The company Ashley Madison offers an audacious capability: extramarital affairs.  “Ashley Madison is the most famous name in infidelity and married dating,” proclaimed the company’s marketing pitch in 2015. “Have an Affair today on Ashley Madison. Thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands signup...

In the Digital Revolution, Customers Have Nothing to Lose But Their Privacy

“If advances in technology during the industrial revolution swung the balance of power toward the corporation, those of the digital revolution have swung it back toward the customer,” Matt Watkinson wrote in his book, The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences. The precarious balance of...

Is Maximizing Shareholder Value Poisonous?

If you grab your favorite marketing book and boil away process diagrams, statistics, and literary fluff, just two words will remain: create value.  Easy-sounding advice, but for most executives, it’s wicked hard. An ideal place for opportunists to step in and promote simple answers...

Doused Fyre: Does Our Obsession with Audacious Innovation Make Us Suckers for Scams?

What’s the difference between aggressive marketing and a sales scam? The aftermath of the 2017 Fyre Festival  explores this question, and lawyers are debating the answer. Was the event a wayward business venture, or a get-rich-quick scheme? The festival’s originator, entrepreneur Billy McFarland, claims honest...

The Unfinished Business of the Internet

These days, there are a lot of secrets in Washington, and people are struggling to contain them. But I have a good grapevine, and as soon I heard scuttlebutt that Vint Cerf, Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist would be speaking this week...

Will the Smart Machine Age Make Today’s Sales Skills Obsolete?

In 2015, nearly four million babies were born in the United States.  Today they are toddlers, and many will be asked what they want to be when they grow up. Expect hesitation. The question will not be as easy to answer as it was...

Shaming Customers Drives Conversions, but at What Cost?

Magnolia (not her real opinion) “Don’t put words in someone else’s mouth!” This sage advice from my first-grade teacher has stuck with me. I have my conversational faults, but I’ve steadfastly avoided this transgression. Yet, the gaffe persists in society today, and it's growing. We…

Why Companies Should Care about How They Earn Revenue

“I don’t care how you make your number, as long as you make it,” my district manager admonished his sales team back in 1993. He chuckled, but he was dead serious. His laissez faire attitude was risky. We could have interpreted his statement as...

Disobedience: A How-to Guide for Managers and Employees

Somewhere, a manager just ordered an employee to take a questionable action. To do something immoral or stupid. Something that causes harm to customers. There – it just happened again! In less than the time it takes to read this paragraph. Relentless wrongdoing. It...

The Difference Between Loyalty and Habit – and Why It Matters!

If you ask me to define a word, I usually start by describing what it is, or what it means. “A screwdriver is a hand tool used for turning screws and bolts. Also good for opening paint cans. Also, a cocktail made from vodka...

Personalization: Gateway to Dystopia

Back in the ‘90’s, Robert, a project manager at a systems integrator, asked me for some technical guidance about automated identification. “I want to track people,” he said. “Basically, I want to know when a person enters a room, when he exits, when he’s...

Optimize: Meaningful Math or Over-worn Word?

If you want to become a linguistic maven, or the life of a party, read Made in America - An Informal History of the English Language in the United States, by Bill Bryson. The book is saturated with interesting stories about the origins of...

Wells Fargo Disinfects Its Sales Culture. Will Other Companies Follow?

I’ve never taught corporate strategy to second graders, but I sometimes think about how to approach the challenge. I’d begin by representing a company as hodgepodge of contraptions. Maybe, a school bus with feathered wings on top, a boat anchor dragging behind, and wheels...

Should Companies Stop Worshiping Sales Rock Stars?

“Can you find us a sales rep? And not just any rep. We want a rock star!” An ordinary request for something truly extraordinary. I hear it often. Lately, I began to wonder, what does this honorific mean? I searched online for sales rock star,...

Six Strategies for Managing Revenue Risk

When you boil off the ancillary stuff that business developers do, four distinct objects remain: 1. Capture: Acquire new customers 2. Maintain: Keep current customers happy 3. Grow: Encourage customers to increase spending with your company 4. Reclaim: Win back former customers No mere coincidence…

How Does Global Risk Impact YOUR Company’s Revenue? Let Me Count the Ways!

The World Economic Forum, or WEF, holds its annual conference every January in Davos Switzerland, two hours from Zurich by train. Public policy wonks, government officials, and monetary experts flock there in search of brutally cold weather and panel discussions delivered in monotone. I’d...

Is the Voice of Risk Being Heard?

“If only HP knew how much HP knows, we would be three times more productive,” Hewlett-Packard CEO Lew Platt said. Had Mr. Platt been talking about his sales organization, he would have pumped up the multiple. Sales teams possess a trove of valuable commercial knowledge....

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