Forget all the blather about how companies love their customers. It’s just talk. I’m convinced that 90 out of 100 organizations simply tolerate customers. Their customers represent only a means to profit, and that message comes through loud and clear to those callers all too often.

Five recent examples from my own experience illustrate the point all too well:

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Tom Hogan and Carol Broadbent, Founders, Crowded Ocean

Virtually every industry has some version of the saying: “You want it fast. You want it cheap. And you want it good (or of high quality). Pick any two.” That saying applies to one of the most valuable and strategic positions on the executive staff today:  the CMO. And it also explains why everyone from venture capitalists to corporate recruiters refer to quality CMOs as unicorns (as in impossible to find).

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Josh Denning, Founder, Authority Factory

As a savvy business owner, you are, most likely, familiar with the 80/20 rule (or Pareto’s Law): in many cases, 80 percent of the outcomes can be attributed to 20 percent of the causes for a given event.

Popularized by Tim Ferriss is his bestselling book, The 4-Hour Workweek, the 80/20 rule can be applied to many areas of business: customer complaints, revenue, profits, and more.

But, for many business owners, there’s one crucial area of applying the 80/20 rule that often gets neglected:

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