What makes a company successful?...

... delivering products and services that are relevant and create impact among consumers.

I combine my expertise as a Marketing executive in a Fortune 500 company and my passion as an investor to find the Companies that I think have "cracked the code" with consumers. Advertising does work. When I see a new product that fits relevant consumer trends, and that is supported with a campaign that I find particularly shrewd and innovative, I know that Company is potentially a great investment.

One of the great investors of all times, Peter Lynch, recommends to "buy what you know". You watch TV, go to the supermarket and walk around everyday. Observe... look around: what you see can make you money in the stock market. Now, let's be clear: a Company is not good just because it advertises. What we have to look for is great products supported with -and enhanced by- great advertising. The principle is simple: if something is good enough to draw your interest, it will be of interest to millions of persons just like you.

It is my goal to share with the reader my findings in the world of marketing which I think will turn into great returns for investors. Profit from it!

Friday, August 8, 2008

May you live in interesting times...

OK, the summer is half gone, vacations are behind me now, and the strategic plan is moving along at work. It is hard to believe I have not been able to post anything in a little more than two months. Gosh! Well, is not like the market has been an inspiration either, right? We’ve had a very rough ride this summer, and even though we had a good rally today, I don’t feel very confident about the months to come. I mean, the economic situation is not looking exactly peachy, is it?

And yet, when you look at the big picture, one thing you know for sure: besides Bear Sterns and a handful of regional banks, the good companies will still be there when this thing gets better. Because it will get better; it always does. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It may take a while, but the good companies, those that are worthwhile investments, will not only survive, but they will thrive. You see, in every economic downturn, there are always opportunities. Consumers don’t stop consuming; they just change their behavior. Their needs and attention shift a bit, but that only means that there are emerging opportunities to profit by meeting those different needs. In addition, the true leaders take the opportunity to create and strengthen competitive advantages. They emerge from these challenging times as stronger, more successful enterprises while leaving their competition in the dust. What a better opportunity than seeing your competition retrench because of the economic difficulties? For the best companies, that is just a call to jump in and occupy the space their rivals are leaving wide open in their retreat. And it is exactly in these times when we have the opportunity to spot those leaders and scoop their shares up at bargain prices. Sure, don’t bet next month’s mortgage payment on a hot stock. But this is exactly the right time to fatten the down payment for that dream house you are planning to buy in a few years.

What do we have to look for? Don’t go too far. Think of yourself to start with. What has changed in your own behavior as a consumer? You might be thinking twice about buying things than just a year ago you wouldn’t have even bothered questioning. And now you are looking with renewed interesting at certain things or places that a year ago you wouldn’t have even entertained acquiring or visiting. Well, those things and places (and of course, the companies behind them) are a good place to start your exploration.

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to what companies are doing in these hard times to lure customers; which companies are focusing on the right things in their marketing approach. As I affirmed in my post “Cracking the consumer code”, it is possible to spot great opportunities when you stop for a minute and look around with your mind set in finding good investment opportunities. I don’t mean paying attention to Jim Cramer or Barron’s. I mean attentively watching the commercials on TV, carefully reviewing your junk mail, and walking the aisles of the supermarket with your eyes wide open checking out interesting promotions or daring displays. Pay attention at how the companies are trying to talk to you: if even for a moment you stopped and listened, then there is a chance you are uncovering a hidden –or not so hidden- gem.

I like what I am seeing in areas like insurance, retail, wireless and electronics to mention just a few. I will share my observations with you in my forthcoming posts, which I assure you, will not take two months to show up!