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Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Monday, December 31, 2007

A to Z of Marketing: Z - the Z Factor

At the end of the year ... as we come to the end of our series A to Z of Marketing ... what a perfect time to tell you about the Z Factor. The photo at the left shows the scene at Maple Creative. Yes, the office is decorated for Christmas and the holidays. Sure, we sent cards to our clients, vendors and friends of the firm. We even had a party, as many of you did.

What about those snowflakes? They are 297 in number. Each one is unique. The snowflakes are handmade, then hung with care throughout the entire Maple office suite. Mind you, all of this is done on top of the normal workload and end-of-year rush. To understand why we do it, is to understand the Z Factor.

In truth, officially there is no Z Factor. I just made it up a few hours ago. But stay with me--there is a lesson here, I promise.

Say that the X Factor is about outworking one's competition. Try harder. Work longer. Be more determined than the other company. Not the most creative approach, but still a source of competitive advantage.

Now, let's attribute the Y Factor to outsmarting the competition. Be more clever. Utilize more of the latest, most powerful technologies. Hire more talented people than the other guys. Beat 'em with your brainpower. Indeed! I heartily recommend such an approach.

And that leads us to the Z Factor. It's what we call "the Maple difference." The Z Factor is the most intangible of those intangible attributes. It is about passion and caring. The Z Factor is your environment, your attitude and your heart. The Z Factor case in question is caring so much about what you do (and those you do it with) that your are driven to display your passion by creating a visibly different and inspired environment. It's the spirit and passion behind 297 snowflakes. Discover and harness your Z Factor and your competition doesn't stand a chance. This is as applicable to marketing as it is to macrame. It is the ultimate competitive advantage.

[Incidentally, I cannot begin to express how much I have enjoyed the snowflakes
and the resulting environment. They are such a light, cheerful visual reminder
of the season and of the Maple esprit de corps. It's hard to be in a bad mood
dashing about the office, dodging snowflakes.]

To all of you, our beloved readers, those marketing geniuses around the world ... I invite you to discover and act upon your Z Factor in 2008. Bring it! If you have it already, please take a moment and share (spread) your inspiration with all of us; post a comment and tell us all about your Z Factor.

PS - Special thanks to Lora Franco and Ashley Rees, our little elves who hung most of the flakes. And thanks to our artists, whose origami prowess is nothing short of amazing.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Emily Bennington said...

Great post Skip! Your "Z Factor" (i.e. passion, heart and drive for what you do) is inspiring. Thanks for bringing it.

Looking forward to Z-overdrive in 08!

Emily B.

4:25 PM

 
Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Thanks, Em. Much appreciated.

7:13 PM

 

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