Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

It worked for them. Will it work for me?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

During a recent meeting, I was asked about an early viral video campaign I developed way back in 2006. My client loved what we had accomplished and asked whether he should do the same thing. My answer: “Maybe, maybe not. You’re asking the wrong question.”

Marketing discussions should never start with execution. Is mobile marketing a good idea? A new TV commercial? Twitter campaign? All are useful tools if used in service of the correct objective. But there’s the rub: unless tactics are designed in service of a specific goal, a great tactic may lead you in the wrong direction. “What’s the objective?” should always be the first question of any marketing discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Street Fighting Strategy

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

[excerpt from our ebook, The 13 Deadly Sins of Marketing]

On the mean streets of marketing, where thugs lurk in every alley and aisle, your choices are few. Five strategies, that’s it. Of those, only two of those are worth pursuing. Of those, neither will succeed if they haven’t been built with a keen understanding of the competition as they will exist tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

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What’s Your Innovation Sweet Spot?

Monday, January 9th, 2012

It is fashionable among innovation writers to scorn Sustaining Innovation (what this blog calls Organic Growth) – the kind of incremental product changes that allow ads to scream “New! Improved!” These writers generally applaud Apple’s ability to create new markets via Disruptive Innovation, conveniently forgetting that Apple is also masterful at Sustaining Innovation.

We have argued that the only rational innovation strategy is to balance effort behind both organic sustaining growth  and disruptive innovation. However, Clay Christensen, Harvard’s innovation theorist, points out that companies have a greater chance of success by specializing in one or the other. Specifically, he argues that Read the rest of this entry »

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But Is It Innovation?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The trouble with talking about innovation is that we’re dealing with the opposite of potatoes. The old Gershwin song reminded us that whether we call it a po-tay-to or a po-tah-to, it’s the same tuber. With innovation, however, the same word has two very different meanings. You say innovation and I say innovation, and we might as well call the whole thing off.

Because it’s not a trivial miscommunication. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Trouble with Fact-based Innovation

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Here’s a fact for you: my most successful new product, out of well over a hundred that I’ve launched, had the worst qualitative and quantitative test results of anything I ever encountered. People hated it. Then it sold a quarter of a billion dollars in its first year. My second most successful new product, which won awards on three continents and became a 70-year-old company’s biggest new product ever, was similarly panned in early testing. Is there a pattern here?

The trouble with most innovation methodologies and processes is that they look for “facts” to guide decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Create Innovation Opportunities by Changing Your Glasses

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Often the best way to understand something is to forget what you understand about it. Look at things from another angle. Borrow someone’s glasses and view distortion. Or as Peter Murane of BrandJuice writes in Lessons From the Vinyl Sofa, “Getting stuck in information samesness forces people to only look at the world as it currently is, not think ahead to how it could be different.”

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Why You Need a Strategy for Organic Growth

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Some managers are lucky. They passively coast to growth inside high growth markets – the market drives their growth. Eventually they’ll fail, of course, but for now, it’s great to be them. Most managers, however, face the difficult decision of how to allocate resource between the other two available growth drivers: 1) organic growth, and 2) innovation.

Many leaders believe they must choose one or the other, that it is not possible to execute both successfully. In fact, it’s become quite fashionable to claim that only “white space strategies” – disruptive innovation – can drive growth.

We disagree.

Read the rest of this entry »

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What Makes P&G Great

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Last summer I was invited to visit Procter & Gamble’s headquarters in Cincinnati. I was filled with nostalgia, for that is where I began my career in marketing and general management long ago, and I had not been back in over two decades. At first I was struck with the strangeness of the place. There was a coffee bar in the lobby, turnstiles blocked the elevators, and I recognized few faces. But by the time I left, I realized that the truth was more complex, and therein lies the secret of P&G’s continuing success.

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From Trainer to Guru: Kevin Eikenberry’s Leadership Journey

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Kevin Eikenberry of the Kevin Eikenberry Group is well known in leadership development circles, so it is no surprise that his new book, From Bud to Boss (co-authored with Guy Harris), is creating a lot of buzz. I recently got to chat with Kevin about his career, his goals, and especially his current project. Following is Part 1 of the interview. Read the rest of this entry »

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SPICIER Selling: A Better SPIN

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Readers know I am a fan of Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling. However, I’ve mentioned that his model is a bit awkward; when I am in a sales process and think “SPIN,” the N doesn’t give enough guidance to remember what comes next. So, as previously promised, here is my evolution of Neil’s theme, SPICIER Selling. Read the rest of this entry »

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5 Questions to Answer Before Starting a Social Media Campaign

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Social media experts are popping up like mushrooms, and most have a program to sell you. I mean no disrespect. Many of their programs are very good. But before you buy any social media program – or begin any marketing campaign, for that matter – please do yourself a favor: Answer these 5 questions.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The New Brand Management Model

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Consumer marketing has changed in significant ways this decade due to the growth of social media and other communication channels. Here are some of the biggest shifts.

During the classic era of CPG marketing, focus was easy. Now, not so much.

Back then, marketing managers had a handful of clear priorities: business planning and execution to deliver results, product development, research & analysis, training newbies, and advertising (which primarily meant TV, sometimes supplemented with PR, magazines, radio, POS, billboards, and sales collateral). In the classic model, one functional group served as hub of the wheel, controlling and coordinating all internal and external activities related to the product or brand. It was all about one brand, one position, one message.

Today that model has been blown up by complexity. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 3-Dimensional Customer

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

It’s easy to talk about being customer-focused. It’s less easy to focus on specific customers. There are so many, and so many different types! Here are three customer dimensions to consider when selecting your growth strategy. It’s not a trivial exercise: wrong focus, no growth. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Twitter Manifesto

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I love Twitter. It has helped me meet several remarkable thought leaders and given me a new venue for sharing my own ideas. So it distresses me to see how rapidly Twitter is getting devalued by junk. You know, the programs that troll for followers, push the same generic automated tweets through subscribers’ feeds, and litter the twitosphere with garbage.

This is my reply to Twitter Trolls and those folks who promise to make you rich and famous if you buy their software, program, or advice. It’s a personal manifesto. Read the rest of this entry »

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Slow Advice, Fast Growth

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

You’ve heard of the Slow Food movement? I’d like to recommend something similar for those dispensing business advice. These days, a lot of people are trying to force-fit whatever they’re selling into every situation, and they make their fast food one-size-fits-all approach sound haute cuisine by saying they’ll coach you.

Yuck.

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Selling vs Helping: SPINning Your Way to Better Results

Monday, December 6th, 2010

You’ve got a business. You need to grow it. What should you do first? Meaning no disrespect to my colleagues who specialize in sales, let me suggest you don’t start selling. Until you have deep insight into what your prospective customers need and have used that insight to earn their trust, don’t even think of trying to sell – that is, if you think of selling as trying to close. The best salespeople know that closing is simply the last step of a complex process during which your main task is to seek insight – to ask questions, shut up, and listen. Read the rest of this entry »

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Got a Great Product? Now Make a Great Business (Pt 2)

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

As discussed in Part 1, having a great product, insight, or vision is a fine starting point for building a great business. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly enough. We continue analyzing what else you will need if you’re not going to end up begging your former employer to take you back. Read the rest of this entry »

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Got a Great Product? Now Make a Great Business (Pt 1)

Monday, October 18th, 2010

In the 80’s, Procter & Gamble invented a superior shampoo technology that could obsolete the need for a separate conditioner. It worked great in the lab and in-home-use tests. The company was convinced it represented the future of their haircare business.

Except consumers didn’t care. P&G couldn’t sell the stuff.

Sound familiar? How many brilliant engineers have built a better mousetrap only to find that no one wanted one?

Maybe you’re one of those for whom creating something remarkable is satisfaction enough. But most of us aspire to generate income, make a difference in the world, or both. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 7 Questions to Ask About Your Market

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

It’s easy for any entrepreneur or organization to be so obsessed with production and internal goals that they forget they are surrounded by competitors trying to serve the same customers. Here are 7 questions that will keep you focused on what ultimately decides your success. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 4th Question that Leads to Insight

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I recently posted a discussion titled “The 3 Questions that Lead to Insight,” which triggered several discussions with colleagues. There were two areas of controversy. First, is insight different from vision, strategy and action? Second, are these 3 questions sufficient? Let me address those by saying Yes and No, respectively.

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