Strategic Planning

Win Mindshare to Influence Your Market

Years ago Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, made a very profound observation: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” Yet…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Marketing Plan Tips: How to Get Your Marketing Budget Approved

If you’re a marketing manager, you’re probably swamped with this year’s planning and budgeting process.  Hopefully you find it exciting to create a marketing plan filled with new programs and campaigns to build your business in the year ahead.  (If not, it may be time for a new job!) And as you know, it can…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

How to Calculate Cost of Goods

Marketing campaigns are investments. And like any smart investment, they need to be measured, monitored and compared to other investments to ensure you’re spending your money wisely. Return on investment (ROI) is a measure of the profit earned from each investment. Like the return you earn on your portfolio or bank account, it’s calculated as…Read More

Strategic Planning

Positioning Strategy for Startups

Over the weekend I read Steven Gary Blank’s The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win. It’s a fabulous business book packed with a ton of valuable insights from the author’s 30 plus years of experience as an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist. I highly recommend that every entrepreneur running a…Read More

Creative & Brand Development

How to Improve Your Sales Literature

Do you know what your prospects do with your sales literature?  Do they 1) read every last word, 2) skim and file it away, or 3) glance at it and file it away? If you answered #1, you have very special prospects!  However, most people don’t actually read sales literature.  A quick glance, a general…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Improve Your SEO and SEM with a Quality Keyword List

If you’re revamping your website or launching a SEM campaign, the quality of your keyword list will play a significant role in your overall success. It’s only logical, right? When you optimize and advertise using popular keywords and phrases that are a good fit for your site, you increase your chances of obtaining traffic and…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

How to Get the Most from a Print Ad

Even though all the hype has been around social media and digital marketing for the last few years, print advertising is still effective and an important part of most B2B and B2C marketing campaigns. If you’re planning a campaign in a trade publication this summer or fall, here are a few tips to increase your…Read More

Strategic Planning

The Problem with Marketing Departments

Fifty years ago, Peter Drucker said that “any business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: innovation and marketing.” Yet even today, industry leaders are still lamenting that the marketing function is broken. Issue #1: Companies have vastly different definitions of “marketing.”  To some it’s a creative function that develops slick…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Valuable Marketing Data

Recently HubSpot reported their results from analyzing the marketing activity of over 2,500 businesses over the last two years. HubSpot offers a nice internet marketing application that allows companies to easily improve their search engine visibility through organic search, paid search and social media. I’ve embedded their presentation below. Things that stood out: Costs per…Read More

Strategic Planning

How to Develop Your Brand Architecture

Branding is a bit of a mystery for many small to mid-market (SMB) companies. There are many opinions and methods as to how best approach it. Top creative agencies have their own “proprietary” methods for crafting a brand strategy. They have to, in order to position themselves against competing agencies. They use cool-looking graphics: circles, triangles,…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

How to Help Your Prospects Buy

In my previous article, How to get the most from a print ad, I pointed out the importance of not inundating your sales force with unqualified leads.  When you run a campaign, focus on driving profitable revenue, not just a long list of names for your database.  It’s ROI, not just the response rate that…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

The Lost Art of Telemarketing

The Internet has made B2B telemarketing nearly obsolete. Most marketers in this digital age don’t even consider using it in a campaign. Often that’s a mistake; phone calls can still be a very useful component in most B2B marketing campaigns. In the telemarketing hey days of the eighties and nineties (i.e., before email), many companies…Read More

Strategic Planning

The Marketing Function Is Strategic, Not an Afterthought

The marketing function gets no respect. In B2B companies with less than $100 million in revenue, it’s the lowest rung of all the business functions on the ladder. Why? Because everyone thinks they understand marketing, yet few do it well. Actually, not quite everyone, but ask 10 non-marketer business people to define marketing and you’ll…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

How to Design an Integrated Marketing Campaign

Whether it’s the beginning of a new month, quarter or calendar year, it’s always a good time to review which marketing campaigns are working well and generate ideas for new campaigns. For those small to midsize B2B companies that typically use only a single medium for marketing campaigns (or, worse yet, use only their sales team),…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Create HD Screencasts for Sales Tools

Technology moves quickly. It’s time-consuming to stay on the front edge of the wave, and tricky to figure out creative ways to use it to improve corporate marketing results. I Tweet, but do I generate leads? How come the fans on my Facebook page never buy? It can be frustrating, and it can feel like…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

How to Measure Customer Loyalty

“A 5% improvement in customer retention rates will yield between a 20 to 100% increase in profits across a wide range of industries.”  (Reichheld, Fred. The Loyalty Effect.) Loyal customers are an indicator of great businesses, but many good businesses could become great by focusing more effort on serving and retaining their existing customer base….Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Generate Social Media Buzz with PitchEngine

Are you looking to generate some publicity from social media? Forget sending out an old school press release on the wire. While the traditional press release template is still useful for connecting with journalists and media outlets, it’s simply not an effective way for most companies to generate leads and customers and connect with their…Read More

Creative & Brand Development

Your Brand Lives in Your Sales Team

  Have you ever considered firing your star salesperson?? I thought not. Yet that’s just what the CEO of Anthropologie did.  It’s one of the great stories in “Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win” by William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre. We’ve talked about hiring sales reps that live &…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Share Content with Issuu

I finally had a chance to test Issuu, another document sharing website similar to Scribd, Docstoc and Slideshare. Each of them have different strengths, but their main focus is on allowing users to upload documents to share with others, download and embed in other websites. The embedding function is pretty handy, and I especially like the way Issuu took…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Who’s Doing a Great Job with Direct Mail? Google.

Last week I received a piece of unsolicited direct mail from an unlikely source. Are you ready for this? It came from Google! The familiar saying Google has never advertised is no longer true. I guess that even some of the world’s best brands resort to marketing in a down economy. But the good news is that they sent…Read More