September 11, 2013

Before I get into my favorite subject, J.C. Penney, I want to thank everyone that sent me birthday wishes today. It is strange having a birthday on a day that is now remembered as a tragedy. But hopefully we can all make this a “day of service”  to others to remember the thousands that lost their lives. Now, back to J.C. Penney.

It seems like they are developing a new marketing plan that is going in the right direction. But so far, sales have been elusive. Their fiscal-second-quarter loss widened to $586 million, compared to $147 million last year. Online sales slipped 2.2% and sales at stores open more than a year declined 11.9%, compared with a decline of 22% a year ago. That is a bit encouraging. New Chief Executive Mike Ullman, who has been working to return J.C. Penney to a discount-oriented strategy, has stated, “There are no quick fixes to correct the errors of the past.”

That’s true, and that is why I keep talking about J.C. Penney. Their saga supports one of the core principles of my marketing book: because the world is moving and changing faster and faster there is little time to correct a marketing error. You must have the research and decision-making team in place to make the right decisions, first! That’s why Microsoft just spent billions on buying a has-been cell phone maker (Nokia) because their mobile software has missed the mark. and that’s why Apple just introduced a low-cost iPhone.

Do you have the research base and the team in place for your company? Now’s the time to hire outside help with your year-end retreat so you can make sure to ask the right questions. I can help.

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