Strategic Planning

How to Create a Compelling Brand Story

Great brands make an emotional connection with their market. And in today’s digital world, that can be more complicated than ever. Customers’ expectations of brands are changing, and we’re undergoing a massive shift in how we deliver that brand experience. Some brands won’t survive. But it’s still early in the shift. Even if you’re an…Read More

Strategic Planning

Discover Your Competitive Advantage

Why do your customers buy from you instead of your competitors? When asked that same question, research shows that nearly 4,000 CEOs of mid-market companies don’t know the real answer. Some think they do, but most are relying on false information. And this limits their ability to grow. In Jaynie Smith’s book Creating Competitive Advantage, only…Read More

Strategic Planning

Understanding the Psychology of Your Buyer

Here’s a secret of great marketers: They truly understand the psychology of their buyer. Marketing is about persuasion: creating the impression you want to make, eliciting a specific feeling or response, and then enticing a person to take action. If that sounds difficult, you’re right – it can be. The great advertisers of yesteryear kept…Read More

Strategic Planning

Top 4 Benefits of a Written Strategic Marketing Plan

Big brands almost always invest substantial resources to create a comprehensive strategic marketing plan. Especially in consumer markets. Yet from my experience, few small to midsize businesses bother to create one. (And many don’t even create a written annual marketing plan, opting to simply operate from a budget instead.) Why? Part of the reason is…Read More

Strategic Planning

Customer Retention Strategy

How much have you invested in sales and marketing over the last few years? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Millions? Tens of millions? Your customer retention strategy is about keeping the customers you’ve invested in to acquire. And if you’re in an industry where your customers make multiple purchases over the years, your entire team should be…Read More

Strategic Planning

How to Improve Marketing Planning

“Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan.” – Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister   “Have a plan. Follow the plan, and you’ll be surprised how successful you can be. Most people don’t have a plan. That’s why it’s easy to beat most folks.” – Paul…Read More

Strategic Planning

How Marketing ROI Calculations Can Get You in Trouble

Over the past decade, there’s been a big push for marketers to improve their use of financial metrics, especially marketing ROI calculations. This enables them to better communicate with the rest of their executive team. Instead of speaking in terms of brand awareness, conversion rates and leads generated, marketers have been focused on speaking in…Read More

Strategic Planning

Pricing Strategy

Pricing is one of the classic “4 Ps” of marketing (product, price, place, promotion). It’s one of the key elements of every B2C strategy. Yet for many B2B marketers, the pricing strategy in their marketing plan is challenging to write; many aren’t even involved in creating their pricing strategy. There are many factors to consider…Read More

Strategic Planning

Sales Process Management

How do prospects decide to purchase your product or service? Does a single decision maker find a product or service and buy on the spot, or does s/he go through many steps and approvals first? Perhaps there are multiple people or departments involved in the decision, each with their own needs? Your sales process management…Read More

Strategic Planning

5 Things Every CEO Should Know About Branding

If you review the background of the CEO of every company in the Fortune 500, you’ll find that most of them were trained in one of these areas: sales, engineering, finance, or operations. They either knew how to sell their product, build their product, manage their money, or manage their operations. By the time they’ve…Read More

Strategic Planning

Getting Distribution for Your New Product

Distribution is critical for every startup. It’s all too common for a startup with a great product to fail due to lack of distribution. If your business model is designed to rely on distribution partners to deliver your product to the market and you don’t have experience building and managing a distribution channel, then take…Read More

Strategic Planning

How to Choose a Price for Your Product or Service

Pricing is one of the “4Ps” of marketing, yet for many marketers, it’s a bit of a black art. Your price plays an important role in the psychology of your buyer. It can work to enhance your positioning and brand, or to dilute it. Here are two common reactions to different price points: “If it’s…Read More

Strategic Planning

Marketing Planning Without a Formal Marketing Plan

A new year brings new opportunities … both in life and in business. For many marketers, a new year, new quarter or new month is a time to start with a fresh approach to building brand awareness, creating new campaigns, and generating leads and sales. Good planning is essential to creating successful marketing programs, but…Read More

Strategic Planning

Preparing for a New Product Launch – Bumpies Protectors

Bumpies Protectors Enters the Highly Competitive Smartphone Case Market   A new product launch can be both exhilarating and terrifying. For startups, the emotions are even more intense; the launch often determines the ultimate success or failure of the company. We ran across a cool product that we really liked – smartphone protection without the…Read More

Strategic Planning

Social Media Strategy for B2B Marketers

B2B marketing has historically been driven by “interruption marketing” – sales reps making cold calls, firing off cold emails, and marketers sending direct mail pieces hoping for a response – along with participation in industry conferences, events and publications. Social media has changed that. Now that Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube have gone mainstream worldwide,…Read More

Strategic Planning

The Way Buyers Buy Has Changed Forever

Last week, the Business Marketing Association of Phoenix was treated to a keynote presentation by Marketo co-founder Jon Miller. At the high level, the key takeaway from his presentation was that the Internet has changed the way we evaluate and purchase products and services – forever. And the way we market and sell must change…Read More

Strategic Planning

Competitive Positioning

What sets your product, service and company apart from your competitors? What value do you provide and how is it different from the alternatives? Competitive positioning is about defining how you’ll “differentiate” your offering and create value for your market. It’s about carving out a spot in the competitive landscape, putting your stake in the…Read More

Strategic Planning

Brand Strategy

Your brand is more than your logo, name or slogan — it’s the entire experience your prospects and customers have with your company, product or service. Your brand strategy defines what you stand for, a promise you make, and the personality you convey. And while it includes your logo, color palette and slogan, those are…Read More

Strategic Planning

Distribution Channels

Distribution channels in marketing are one of the classic “4 Ps” (product, promotion, price, placement a.k.a. “distribution”). They’re a key element in your entire marketing strategy — they help you expand your reach and grow revenue. B2B and B2C companies can sell through a single distribution channel or through multiple channels that may include: Wholesaler/Distributor Direct/Internet…Read More

Strategic Planning

Marketing Campaigns

For many companies, marketing campaigns are the main method for both communicating with their market to reinforce their positioning, and for customer acquisition. Good campaigns follow a theme and include a series of touches with the market. It’s noisy in the marketplace, and a message delivered once through a single medium rarely makes a difference….Read More