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Government – Catalyst or Impediment to Small Business Growth

Reflections from the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) Matchmaking Summit As a participant in today’s SBAM Matchmaking Summit held in Livonia, Michigan, I was a witness to the positive role government can play in catalyzing growth opportunities for small businesses. The summit is a public/private initiative organized by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Pure Michigan Business Connect in conjunction with the Small Business Association of Michigan to connect buyers to suppliers of Michigan goods and services. The goal is to help build Michigan’s economy by making it easy for companies buying products to find qualified Michigan-based suppliers. It is difficult t

The Power – And Efficiency – of Online Qualitative Research in Finding Insights to Drive Innovation

Traditional in-person qualitative research still plays a key role in innovation work – especially when unique “twists” are added to make it more cutting-edge and “real” in terms of capturing insights into consumer attitude, behavior, and needs. But, increasingly, we are using the power and efficiency of online qualitative research to help drive insights that lead to transformative innovation. There are situations where online qualitative make great sense as an alternative or supplement to more traditional approaches. Here is a summary of some of the key benefits online qualitative can provide, which also suggest key situations where it can be helpful to include it in the mix when pursuing in

Great Lakes Proud: The Sticker That Says It All

You know those Great Lakes bumper stickers that are displayed proudly by Michiganders everywhere? Turns out the creator of that image-turned-company called “Great Lakes Proud” is an entrepreneur who takes his pride in the Great Lakes to a whole new business level. Here, Andy Holsinger talks with Jennifer Buechel from MyNorth.com, the online home of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine about who he is, how the idea was born, and how he incorporates social awareness and charity into his business plan. Sometimes all you need for success is a great idea, a solid mission, and the tenacity to make it all work. Northern Michigan People: You’ve seen it a thousand times and probably have one of you

The Importance of Social Media in the Marketing Mix

I recently came across a blog entitled “Marketing is Dead” and I guess out of morbid curiosity I decided to read it. I understood marketing to be about understanding consumer needs and finding ways to address them. I figured this was still relevant but marketing, in the context the author intended, amounted to various tactics and vehicles marketers use to communicate and promote their brands. Within that definition, apparently social media has made everything else obsolete and traditional media and PR plans have become a waste of money. After 25 years in brand management and before social media, I wasted plenty of money. But, before we accuse social media of murdering marketing, I think a l


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