Peter Drucker

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Andrea Syverson is the founder and president of IER Partners, which has guided and strengthened brands of all sizes with savvy best practices for creating customers for life. Combining her passion of adventurous listening and working across diverse industries, her "outsider-insider" creative branding and merchandising expertise and objectivity has been valued by companies as diverse as Spanx, Ben & Jerry's, Celestial Seasonings, CHEFS and Boston Proper.  She holds an MBA and has dedicated more than 20 years to providing clients both domestic and international with innovative approaches to branding, product development and creative messaging. She is the author of  two books in which she shares her hands-on approach for both brand building and creating customer-centric products that enhance brands: ThinkAbout: 77 Creative Prompts for Innovators, and BrandAbout: A Seriously Playful Approach for Passionate Brand-Builders and Merchants. You may reach her at asyverson@ierpartners.com.

Peter Drucker, the legendary management consultant, is quoted as saying: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” If only customer relationships were that easy. Technology has leveled the playing field, providing potential and existing customers with access to information to make more informed decisions around engagement.

US News and World Report recently pointed to Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management as the nation’s top educational institution for aspiring marketers. Among the likes of Penn, Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia, what makes Northwestern’s program stand out from the crowd?

Design great Tom Kelley once called the devil’s advocate the single greatest threat to innovation, because a devil’s advocate encourages idea wreckers to assume the most negative possible perspective. Once those dangerous floodgates burst open, they can quickly drown a new initiative in negativity. It’s true. Your devil’s advocate will introduce a bump or two into the smooth path of your fundraising and marketing groupthink. There’s just no way to avoid it. But don’t despair—I’d argue that those bumps can be hugely important, and I’m in good company here: “Decisions … are made well only if based on conflicting views

So I'm sitting on a hard wooden seat in my local Apple store, waiting patiently. It had been a half hour since I was politely shown to a waiting area while the large crowd buzzed around me. Twice, an Apple rep came over to apologize for my wait. Her apology felt sincere, like she actually cared that I was waiting and inconvenienced. Another point scored for Apple—sincerity. Which is when it hit me: In any other store, I'd be cursing under my breath, impatient as heck, demanding to be served. So why was I being patient?

"How much time do I need to devote to LinkedIn and/or Facebook per day?" Stop. Behind this question is a lie that is preventing your success. Wanting to know the optimal amount of time to invest in social media platforms each day is a natural desire, but having that answer won't make social strategies produce more leads. That's why top social sellers are putting down "hour-a-day" books and picking up a new habit: Changing the question entirely.

It’s fair to say we all have a place either in our homes or offices that we hope others won’t see. Whether it’s a crammed closet, junk drawer, three-car garage with no cars in it, musty attic boxes or sagging basement shelves, we all have some place that doesn’t pass Martha Stewart muster. We have just accumulated too much stuff.

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