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Theresa Quintanilla
Houston, TX
Founder at
Interests: CRM, customer relationship management, marketing, loyalty, innovation, business books, houston's image, blogging, new york, marketing trends
Recent Activity
After earning an MBA, after spending 30 years reading about business strategy, after dozens of seminars and webinars and coaching sessions, business educators find it hard to stump me. In my struggle to market Steady CRM, my value proposition is an approximation, nothing that's providing any traction yet. Potential customers nod, but they do not buy. Harvard B-School teacher Frank Cespedes has great advice for honing our value propositions (see below). His "invisible differentiation" may not be the only problem I have, but it's the only problem I can address immediately... I'm confident that better customer relationship management reduces marketing... Continue reading
Reblogged Jan 21, 2015 at QViews
Posted Jan 20, 2015 at QViews
Sometimes there's something you know but you need to hear it in a new way, in a way that it sticks out better in your thinking. Sometimes you need to hear it several different ways until you think, I KNOW this... why don't I act like I know it?? I bought Brooks Palmer's Clutter Busting a couple of years ago, and it helped. Now I'm reading about Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. But what's really sticking out are the remarks by economics journalist Tim Harford, who rephrases things into the format of behavioral economics. 1. Status quo... Continue reading
Reblogged Jan 12, 2015 at QViews
As a creative professional, I have struggled to find a place to work where my creativity is supported. If I had seen myself as a creative when I started my career, it might not have been so challenging. But I knew that I was not an artist, nor a writer, nor even a software developer, so the right career path was elusive. I have never fit into any pigeonhole. The turning point for my self-image was the birth of Fast Company magazine, which profiles professionals like myself who develop business ideas, not artistic ideas. In the 1990's I ran a... Continue reading
Reblogged Jan 10, 2015 at QViews
The announcement that the NY Times is discontinuing the "You're the Boss" column now that it's originator, Loren Feldman, is leaving... sent me into a little panic. So I went careening through recent posts to get what inspiration I could before it fades from memory. Tech company founder Rebekah Campbell talked about wanting to hire a talented guy despite his exhibiting sexist behavior during the interview. That story led me to think about my own leadership challenges. As the co-founder of the non-profit alumni association Columbia Club of South Texas, I urged the other founders that we set up a... Continue reading
Reblogged Jan 7, 2015 at QViews
When leaders are admonished to 'be authentic' they sometimes translate that as 'stick to your knitting' or 'to thine own self be true.' Actually, leaders must always aspire to being better at what they do, and that means changing. The Authenticity Paradox, 2015-Jan by Herminia Ibarra When we look only within for answers, we inadvertently reinforce old ways of seeing the world and outdated views of ourselves. Without the benefit of what I call outsight—the valuable external perspective we get from experimenting with new leadership behaviors—habitual patterns of thought and action fence us in. To begin thinking like leaders,... Continue reading
Reblogged Jan 6, 2015 at QViews
In reviewing the challenges and frustrations of the past year, it's clear I need to do more to build trust. Not trust that I'm honest, but trust that I'm dependable and responsible. I clearly spend too much time trying to encourage people to take risks. Innovation Excellence: Re-Framing Innovation in 2015, 2015-Jan-1 by Mukesh Gupta Re-framing failure as "iterations" provides the employees the necessary cushion to explore slightly more riskier insights/ideas when going after innovation. As with most of the challenges relating to culture, leaders should start talking and behaving in a way that not only tells the employees that... Continue reading
Reblogged Jan 2, 2015 at QViews
Over the holidays I was pleased to see a profile of the ThinkUp service in the New York Times, and I hope the company gets many new subscribers. My chief error in Twitter has been focusing on myself and not sharing enough about the people I admire. Most helpfully, your errors can be reported to you every week or every day until you correct those bad social media habits. I highly recommend the service, and you can track yourself in both Facebook and Twitter for $5/mo. NY Times: ThinkUp Helps the Social Network User See the Online Self, 2014-Dec-31 by... Continue reading
Reblogged Jan 1, 2015 at QViews
When I worked at the Houston office of the Ogilvy ad adgency, we had a full-time proofreader. It was an amazing experience, but they don't fit into most business models. Usually, proofreading is something employees do for one another. For small business owners like myself, proofreading is something my customers and prospects do! Painful but true. Have pity. Moz: Google-leaked Dos and Don'ts, 2014-Dec-5 by Josh Bachynski You want to make sure that the spelling and grammar has been checked, that all the pages have been checked for errors, that there are no miscellaneous 500 errors, there are no naked... Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 18, 2014 at QViews
Some people use their creativity to rationalize dishonesty. Some people feel their creativity justifies immoral behavior. And some people discover that being creative requires them to break the rules. The Conversation: The dark side of creativity, 2014-Dec-11 by Lynne Vincent while individuals who self-identify as creative may feel more entitled, it’s possible that this entitlement will cause them to take creative risks Continue reading
Reblogged Dec 16, 2014 at QViews
Thanks for the gifts of poetry and humor. via hey hey hey hey hey hey not much to say today except hey hey hey yeah Today i builte a New fort it is called FOrt Abbie Number 2 I Have come tot he conclusion that maybe fort number 1 fell down because thats' the way things are sometimes as much as the ohter cat has sworn she had nothing to do withit and was only making a room for her buried treasures so when it happens I gues you just build a new fort and make it better and... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 28, 2014 at QViews
Lately I've been questioning what it is that I do. Where do I contribute? I know that my passion is in helping businesses build stronger relationships. Too many businesses look for transactions. But transactions, whether of love or commerce, arise because people think they can do something better with you than without you. David Brooks expressed it beautifully when recently talking about the movie Interstellar. NY Times Opinion Pages: Love and Gravity, 2014-Nov-20 by David Brooks Nolan introduces the concept of quantum entanglement. That’s when two particles that have interacted with each other behave as one even though they might... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 27, 2014 at QViews
When we treat social media as if they are publicity tools, we undermine ourselves. Our posts ought to direct people how to participate in a dialogue that leads to co-operative action. Over at The Bloggess, Jenny is founding a new religion, Blogessianism, as part of her ongoing effort to get everyone to take the world lightly. Extra gravy for all. Remember, "You may decline on the gravy, or give your gravy as a charitable contribution to those less gravied." Now make your own title and spread the word. Medium: Innovation Lessons from Taylor Swift, 2014-Nov-9 by Saul Kaplan isn’t... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at QViews
L.L. Bean has always been a leader in using customer data. When following, the challenge is to figure out what you can afford to imitate. They've been doing it since 1912, when the business was launched using a list of people with hunting licenses. Not just a group of hunters, but a list of men holding nonresident Maine hunting licenses. That's a very targeted list of people with cold, wet feet, and little preparation on how to avoid the discomfort. The first lesson, I think, is that having a lot of data is less important than having strategic data you... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2014 at QViews
The more we interact with a company, the more we expect them to remember us and to recognize our context. As 'always on' technology increases, we can experience surprising benefits. In thinking about our own customers, we have to plan ways to track them for their benefit. Acquia: Champions of Context, 2014-Nov-4 by David Mennie These trends add up to a new capability -- a requirement really -- to engage with a customer in context -- delivering relevant context when and where he or she wants it. You can start this process from the very first, anonymous, interactions. You can... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 17, 2014 at QViews
The pressure for all organizations to adopt CRM software is not going away because our customers derive substantial benefits. Once they've worked with a firm that uses CRM data appropriately, they enjoy receiving more relevant updates, knowing that everyone at their supplier can understand their status, and being able to specify how they will be contacted. CRM software is an vital lever for improving customer experience and competing effectively for today's savvy consumers. And it can be used to drive down operating costs. It's never going away. Econsultancy: Seven reasons for the unstoppable rise of CRM, 2014-Nov-4 by Ben Davis... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 13, 2014 at QViews
Most professionals are confused about CRM. They see it as a piece of software that helps them collect information about customers and remind them what to do next. Actually, customer relationship management is a mature business practice, similar to financial accounting. In fact, you could think of your company's CRM as the way you track your marketing and sales results. Recently I was shocked when talking to a CRM consultant about working with this team. I asked him who his top customers were, and he fumbled around, pulling up his accounting software to see the customers table. If we believe... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 12, 2014 at QViews
Quinn Norton has written an amazing article about navigating social relationships for people who lack social awareness or empathy. For those of us who have been more successful in our relationships, it opens an amazing view into what we could be missing... how the world might look if we were blind to expressions and social norms. Even more importantly, she makes explicit what many of us take for granted. If you believe, as I do, that good relationships are the rock-solid foundation of a sustainable business, then we will find it's good to review the basics every now and then.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2014 at QViews
I have been reading every long, deeply-researched article about Amazon recently, trying to find some renewed respect for them, with no luck. Turning off my Kindle, spending more on cat food, wondering what I left behind on my wish list... all these actions have been wrenching for me. My loyalty to Amazon was based on the amazing convenience they supplied. I have worried that their prices are "too low" to be healthy. Now there's evidence piling up that they are willing to exploit everyone else to maintain their control of the market. Sam Walton was a great guy with a... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 7, 2014 at QViews
Wonderful interview with Troy Carter about all the different views and habits he has that allows him to survive big career setbacks... Well, he doesn't view them as setbacks, and that's one of his secrets. Fast Company: Troy Carter's Hard-Won Tips for Handling Career Road Bumps, 2014-Oct-30 Luckily for Carter, his relationships were built on "years of nurturing" and saw him through his biggest career setback. "I got a lot of phone calls that gave me confidence that things were going to be all right. People took my phone calls." Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 5, 2014 at QViews
Does your CRM system have a mechanism for capturing exceptional acts of loyalty? A customer who picks up the phone and argues for your value with a referral? An ex-customer who publishes an article about their positive experience with your company? Someone who skips a big discount to stay with you? Sometimes we can't even know an act of loyalty has happened. So we have to handle our customer records as if they represent real people we know. We have to give them ratings and rankings and make notes. We make those records accessible to everyone in the company so... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 4, 2014 at QViews
Having a lot of data in your CRM system can give you a false sense of security. Unfortunately, on every day that goes by, some contact records are going out of date. The only way to maintain the data is to use it. Any record that hasn't been touched in a month ought to be verified before it's used. Wayne O'Neill & Associates: Why CRM Doesn't Work, 2014-Oct-13 by Wayne O'Neill So you have a huge CRM database. Pat yourself on the back because you have a lot of data about your clients – but are you really connecting with... Continue reading
Reblogged Nov 3, 2014 at QViews
We've been using a very unfortunate metaphor for years: the sales funnel. Supposedly, leads are dropped into the top and slide out the bottom as customers. Yuck. Actually, we are guiding contacts on a journey, and we need to think about the next step they have to take because we can't take it for them. CMS Wire: Customer Journeys Trump the Traditional Sales Cycle, 2014-Sep-15 by Julie Hunt To connect authentically to what customers need and want, customer journeys trump the traditional sales cycle. The sales cycle has been an inside-out process, tied primarily to sales goals and operations. Learn... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 30, 2014 at QViews
Most businesses plung into a loyalty program with their most frequent or biggest customers. Although it's not a mistake, there are pitfalls in this approach. We may discover that our biggest customer is only accidentally our customer--a big cause for concern on many levels. Before we invest in in a loyalty program, we check our most important customers to find out WHY they are using our services. In the first place, we'll discover whether or not it's sustainable. Then we enter a loyalty program with our eyes open as to the real long-term opportunities. Hub Magazine: Sweet Spot (Excerpt from... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2014 at QViews
I was in Zabar's again a couple of weeks ago. There's really no good reason for me ever to go back. Their food makes me fat. I actually dislike their bagels and coffee! I usually have to go out of my way to be there when it's open. There's nothing important nearby. And yet every year I trek back. They continuously update it, but Zabar's always feels the same. Like the first year of my happy marriage when my husband and I were starting out in New York. My loyalty to Zabar's is irrational. It's not based on any shared... Continue reading
Reblogged Oct 24, 2014 at QViews