Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dropping Your Pants on the Second Date

I heard the expression "you sell like you buy" from my first ECM mentor back in the mid/late 1990s. Glad to see it still has relevance with the cool kids more than a decade later.

As I enter week #7 as Chief Marketing officer for Nuxeo (Open Source Enterprise Content Management), I am pleased to report tremendous progress on plan approvals, prioritization of marketing activities, even a budget that got all the right heads nodding on version 2. Yay team.

In the last 72 hours I made 4 important decisions on 2010 marketing spend.

2 were YES decisions
2 were NO decisions

Actually - that's not quite right. All 4 proposals were requested by me. Because I know what I want and need. The NOs were not meant to be "NO", more "can you go back to the drawing board".

The 2 yes decisions were made because the vendors listened to exactly what I had to say, wrote down what I asked for, repeated it back to me on the phone or in email, and when the contract was shipped over, I reviewed it, and yelled down the hallway for a PO number.

The 2 no decisions were for vendors who sent proposals that were ever so slightly off - but ultimately very salvageable. I asked them to go back and revise because in one case, the geographical focus was wrong. Right thing, right time, wrong place. In the other case the timing was wrong. Right thing, right place, wrong time.

But in both cases, when the first "No, but ..." came out of my mouth, the guy on the phone immediately dropped the price. As though a discount was going to change something important. I actually thought in both cases that the original price was entirely fair. What I wanted was a re-focus and alternative time-line, not a blue plate special.

Making the service cheaper doesn't make it more attractive. It makes it cheaper. And now I question whether it's worth anything at all.