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January 2009
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March 2009

Talking Loudly in Public Places: Corporate Espionage

Aa I'm traveling today and am totally amazed on the different conversations going on as I wait for my next flight.   Right now I'm getting an unintended update from a real estate developer on the health and progress on three major projects, two here in the US and one in Italy.

I make it a habit never to do any business while traveling.   When I worked at PC Week I used to get lots of scoops just by traveling from Logan.   But if you must, go to a corner where no one is around, and use your inside voice.   With a good headset, you can talk very quietly and be understood.

Or else run the risk of finding your trade secrets in the trade press.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - Health Information Technology

Physicians want to do right by their patients, but they can't always.  Aa Why?  Because they're driven by reimbursements.   Electronic Health Records have been talked about as a small step in this direction, but not a whole lot has been done about it.  So have best practices for treatment.   

Everyone thinks it's a good idea, but no one has put money (think reimbursements) behind it.  But it appears this is going to change.   The last administration put in a $20M budget for HIT.   This administration put in a $20B budget.   This should be interesting.

Which goes to the heart of marketing to a particular group.  You need to really understand what drives them.  And if an obstacle is in the way of what they want to do, remove it and you'll have a new friend.  And new business.

Delta Airlines comes through again on Medallion program

I've been a Delta customer for over a decade and a Medallion member for just as long.  Last year was a very slow travel year.   And I didn't even come close to meeting the minimum requirements.

Yesterday I got a letter from J.W. Robertson, VP Loyalty Programs:

"We notice that you recently decreased your travel on Delta.  We understand that life happens, and your loyalty is important to us, so we would like to give you complimentary Silver Medallion status....."

I'm a fan.

Discover Card & CitiBank:Which One Doesn't Want Customers?

Over the course of time, I tend to acquire more credit cards than I really need.   So as one falls out of favor, it tends to end up in the back of the desk drawer.  

Last week Discover sent a letter.  It had been a long time since the card was used.  They gave a special phone number to call and offered a short term promotional rate if only I would start using them again.   Otherwise, they were very sorry, but they would close the account.  And when you called them, a real person in Arizona talked to you.  

The week before, CitiBank sent a letter informing me they had already closed my account.   No phone number.

Today's quiz.  Which company had to be bailed out by the taxpayers because of stupid decisions made by management?  Who are still there.

CRM Basics: Defining Roles

Now that you have installed or are using, SugarCRM or vTiger, all you have is a glorified address book.   Before you start adding users you need to set up the crm so it works for your business.

Start with roles definition.   Things like support person, marketing person and sales person.   Then the management.  Basically build out a ORD chart.   For each position figure out what they need access to, and what rights.   For instance a support person needs access to all accounts, but have read only (view) rights.  Not the ability to delete them.

I find it useful to have each level only able to view their items and those below them.  For instance a sales person should only be able to view their accounts.  A sales manager should be able to view all accounts below them.  It gets trickier when you have inside sales and outside sales.   I tend to put inside sales above outside sales typically because they support mutliple sales people.

And for those documents, accounts or whatever you want available to everyone, just create a level at the very bottom.  I tend to call the role documents or something like that.