Camares Founder, Deb Di Gregorio serves as president and practice lead developing marketing programs and working closely with client/owners. She is a member of the NJ Advertising Hall of Fame and is the author of Zebworks: The Agile Marketing Framework and Triumph Over Toothpicks: The Essential Guide to Business in the Digital Age. 

Big Biz Style Automation Does NOT Work for SMBs. Here's what does!

Major corporations have automated to the "eye-teeth" and in the process drummed out any unique differentiators — be they in service delivery or brand voice. For SMBs, the way we deliver our services and products to our customers makes us unique. Our service delivery methods become our "unique differentiator" enabling us to stand heads and shoulders above our competition — and many of those major corporations too!

That means that automating workflows becomes a delicate balancing act between technology and human needs. Too ridged, and you risk causing immense frustration on the part of employees and customers, too lax and the data you need to run your business well will be inaccurate, dirty or inaccessible. Human Centric Automation delivers balance for optimal success: better customer experience, better employee performance and better data for better business insights.

Workflow design that puts people first

  • Automation and communications balanced and working in concert delivering a freeing satisfying user experience that empowers management, employees and customers alike.
  • A rich, frictionless customer/user experience
  • A facilitated, frictionless employee experience that moves employees easily through workflows, eliminating repetitive tasks, freeing employees to provide customers with higher value services.
  • A platform that provides for vendor interaction that is prompt, engaged and clear; with opportunities for mutually beneficial feedback and discussion.
  • Data capture that captures "just enough" data accurately to deliver ongoing, significant and actionable business insights to management.
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What to Expect from a Camarès Implementation

Engaging a new service provider is often a complete unknown until you experience the service directly.Here is a rundown of how we work with our clients and what you can expect when engaging Camarès for your Zoho implementation:

I Planning that balances business needs and tech solutions

Camarès works with you to understand your business workflows and requirements. This is so crucial to a successful implementation, we're not just techies, we are business savvy too. We develop an implementation plan that covers everything from database architecture, to record layouts to workflows and blue prints — the works. We review the first draft with you. It often inspires additional client ideas so we revise to accommodate and finalize. The plan divides your implementation into "Agile Sprints" with a clear scope of work and budget for each Sprint.

II Sprints – short implementations, each delivering a working component for review

Sprints ensure that our team and your team continue to be in synch with your business needs. In a few short weeks you'll receive a working component to test and review. This enables us to accommodate changing needs and swiftly moves your project forward.

III Training that ensures everyone is on board, even future hires

We take the time to train your team members. And, we record short "How-to" videos on your specific implementation so your team can refer to them as needed and new hires can get on boarded fast.

Interested in learning more? Contact Deb Di Gregorio This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Opportunities, Landmines and Fallout when the Economy Shrinks by 30%

Here's what we are seeing from our vantage point serving clients at Camares. One thing is for sure: weird times demand, weirdly creative approaches :) You may be experiencing the same things or not — do comment! Our collective knowledge is power! Here're my observations in random order…

  1. Boom or bust and very little in between! You may be out there pushing hard, pounding the email and the phone and…crickets. Things are wildly uneven right now. Some businesses are going gangbusters: I know a landscaper who's overwhelmed with work transforming people's homes into staycation hotel properties. But many business owners are wondering if now is not the time to hang up their spurs. This is a terrifying moment. Deep inside terrifying moments are seeds of opportunity. Listen to those crickets and consider a business transformation. I started Camares with the fax machine and survived a dozen white-knuckle terrifying busts — though we are still true to our core, Camares is a very different company today. Not one, but multiple transformations are the reasons why. Sure it's exhausting, have you seen how grey I am? But if I can do it…
  2. Clients gone mad! I've heard it from others, I've seen it myself, hell, I've had a client-gone-mad moment in the last few months myself! One thing we'd like to think we can count on from our colleagues is professionalism — but this is a truly crazy time. Stress levels are at all time highs across our entire lives. Things that were once mild annoyances are sending folks off the rails. Meltdowns seem to erupt from nowhere. So, let's cut each other some slack. Suggest a pause. Revisit the topic the next day. We're all in this together!
  3. Google Search Ad prices have dropped — with no one bidding or advertising it is an amazing time to advertise on Google. I haven't seen cost per clicks so low since the dawn of the search engine (which was a couple of decades after the dawn of the fax machine :)
  4. Advertising when no one is buying — well sure, that seems a stupid, but prospects are still active, if not buying, they are considering what they might want to buy when our world settles down. If ad buys are cheap and you have the budget, consider it a divine branding opportunity.
  5. Linkedin remains a cess pool of irrelevance, only now its a sewer break — OK I've never been a fan. And, yes there are some exceptions where Linkedin user groups are vibrant and relevant, so I'm not a total naysayer. But before Covid, Linkedin was hyper promotional — now with so many panicked and out of work — its a super spreader event. Wear a mask, or better yet, quarantine yourself from it. (And yes, yes, I see the irony that I'm posting this on Linkedin, LOL, but you'll find even more interesting stuff on my blog.)
  6. If not Linkedin what can you do to connect? How about old fashioned one-to-one E-Mail? Especially if you're selling B-to-B, there has never been a more meaningful time to reach out directly, with a personal and relevant message from you to a colleague. Connect, who knows what might emerge!
  7. Ring Ring Ring! If you're sick and tired ofZoom (aren't we all?) and we can no longer meet over coffee, breakfast or lunch, just pick up the damned phone and spontaneously call a colleague. Yesterday I spent 20 very enjoyable minutes connecting with an old colleague. It was good — no make that great! We uncovered some mutually beneficial opportunities. Groovy!

So, what's happening in your business life? Comment, email or call me I would LOVE to hear from you!

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Survive the Recession! What To Do Now!

Enough with the good news already! OK, here's a little more… Yup, we're in it. A recession is here. We're likely to see an uptick when we're all released from lockdown, then a longer downturn. So I reached back into the Harvard Business Review archive and found this excellent article from 2009 — and though past recessions are no template for this bad boy, human nature remains unchanged.

Here's the take away:

  • Indiscriminate cost cutting on the part of businesses is a mistake.
  • Do contain costs, and then take the time to examine your core customers' changing needs for longterm success.
  • Embrace recession psychology! There are four categories of customers — and this, in my experience, goes for B-to-B as well: Slam-on-the-Brakes, Pained-but-Patient, Comfortably Well-off and Live-for-today. Understanding their approaches to purchasing will inform your business decisions.
  • Categorize your products/services in this way:
    • Essentials are necessary for survival or perceived as central to well-being.
    • Treats are indulgences whose immediate purchase is considered justifiable.
    • Postponables are needed or desired items whose purchase can be reasonably put off.
    • Expendables are perceived as unnecessary or unjustifiable.

Triage and/or reconfigure your products or services to focus on Essentials or Treats — Postponable and Expendable options will see sales drop or longer sales cycles, but they too can be sold, though you will need to change your approach.

This reconfiguration can be deftly done while maintaining your brand promise.We can show you how.

Let's talk.

Best,

Deb 

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Pessimist or Genius? How Proving Worst Case Scenarios Wins!

Even More Good News — because we sure need it these days :). Ask my colleagues and they'll confirm it: I have a very low optimism quotient. Some say that makes me a realist, others just think I'm depressing. I scan the horizon for worst case scenarios. It's force of habit, and highly unusual for a marketers who are known to burble with optimism. But that burbling leads to blindspots and those will kill you!

Over the decades my worst-case horizon scanning has resulted in many, many, ways to thread the needle and succeed through tough times for my clients.

I consider it an asset — and many of our clients do too! It is also a relief: if Camares is proving out worst-case market scenarios I've got a good set of jaundiced eyes on the problem!

Now here's the good news, here's what our worst-case horizon scanning has found:

  • Market soft spots worth exploitation.
  • Alternative revenue streams that resonate in recessions and can be swiftly rolled out and aligned with a company's brand.
  • Adding services to a manufacturer, adding manufacturing to services company and developing strategic partnerships to accomplish it.
  • Ways to streamline and automate sales and marketing workflows to reduce costs and surface leads experiencing buying inflection points.

Want to get to a happy place by discussing the worst case?

Call me — we'll get you there.

All the best :)

Deb 

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