Strategic Planning

Competitive Positioning: Start with a Market Profile

A market profile reveals the unique characteristics of your typical customer and customer groups. It paints a picture of whom you are selling to and what your typical customer looks like. A good one will allow you to separate your prospects from those who aren’t interested in your product. Your brand strategy should be focused…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

New to B2B Internet Marketing? Start with Content.

There’s a reason marketers are literally pouring their budgets into new internet marketing programs. They work. Marketers spent $16.9 billion on search, display and rich media in 2006, and that number could be $31.3 billion by 2011 according to ClickZ and IDC Internet. Internet advertising is growing three times as fast as the overall ad…Read More

Strategic Planning

How to Improve Distribution Channel Performance

Distribution channels have become the least glamorous strategy in the B2B marketing portfolio. Who writes about building channels, nurturing partners and how to improve distribution channel performance? I feel grizzled just tackling this subject. Social media, search marketing and new media are the topics with heat even in the B2B crowd (a small group compared to…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Getting Talent on the Bus

It’s always challenging to recruit top talent for your marketing team. If you’re an early stage company, it’s even tougher. You need extremely talented people who share your passion and vision, are willing to work longer hours, carry more responsibility, in a less defined position, and for less cash than your established competitors. Even if…Read More

Strategic Planning

CEOs Who Sell Gain Clarity on Competitive Strategy

Carol Hymnowitz’s recent Wall Street Journal article “CEOs Are Spending More Quality Time With Their Customers” highlights a trend that can directly impact your company’s competitive strategy. CEOs of Nike, Intel and Sun are becoming more involved in the selling process, focusing on tailoring products and services to meet the demands of their top customers. And it’s…Read More

Strategic Planning

Marketers Need a Whole New Mind

Today we’re finishing up our series on Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind.  In our first post we introduced Dan’s premise that we’re in a new Conceptual Age where companies will succeed or fail thanks to right-brained, “R-Directed” thinking. Last week Nancy introduced his six critical right-brained skills:  design, storytelling, symphony, empathy, play and meaning. …Read More

Creative & Brand Development

Flex Your Right Brain

Our last post talked about Dan Pink’s groundbreaking book “A Whole New Mind.”  His premise is that we’ve moved into a new era — the Conceptual Age — where people and companies will succeed or fail thanks to right-brained skills like inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness and big-picture thinking. Dan isn’t suggesting that left-brained analytical skills aren’t important…Read More

Strategic Planning

A Whole New Mind for Marketing

A friend recently introduced me to Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind.  It’s a profound and exciting book and I couldn’t recommend it more.  So I’m writing a series of blog posts to share his ideas and apply them to the world we live in – that of the CEO and marketer in a small-to-midsize company….Read More

Strategic Planning

Test a New Pricing Strategy

Our last post about Parker Hannifin’s pricing strategy brought up a lot of great questions from our readers and colleagues. To recap, Parker Hannifin (a $9 billion company) was struggling with their profit margins, so they modified their pricing strategies. They grouped their 800,000 products into categories based on their level of differentiation in the…Read More

Strategic Planning

Pricing Strategy to Capture More Revenue

  How does your company determine the price of your products and services?  Do you try to maximize revenue with prices based on value, or do you use a formula where you add a desired profit margin to your cost? Consumer product marketers generally try to set prices based on what the market will bear. …Read More

Strategic Planning

A Wakeup Call for Marketers and Agencies

Suzanne Vranica’s article “On Madison Avenue, A Digital Wake-Up Call” in today’s Wall Street Journal (page B4) highlights how critical it is for today’s ad agencies to understand and embrace digital media. Nike has worked with the brilliant creative agency Wieden + Kennedy since 1982. Their founders have a longstanding close relationship. Yet Nike needs…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Presentation Tip: Create a Storyboard That Sells

In my last post I wrote about giving your next presentation a plot.  Whether you’re trying to persuade one person or a thousand, you need to grab attention, build value and close with something meaningful and exciting. Just like your favorite filmmaker! Today I’ve got tips about storyboarding.  When you create a storyboard instead of…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Presentation Tip: Give It a Plot!

When Martin Scorsese won his long-awaited Oscar® two weeks ago, he joked that The Departed was his first film that actually had a plot. What do Marty and marketers have in common?  Stories.  Great plot or not, we’re all in the business of telling stories. We tell stories in campaigns and sales materials.  When we meet with colleagues…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Customer Service Champs

I just finished reading today’s Business Week special report on customer service and wanted to pass it along.  It offers a rich look at companies who have excelled and stumbled in their service efforts. Though it focuses on consumer brands, its messages and lessons are relevant for B2B companies as well.  Great weekend reading and inspirational ideas….Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Guerilla Marketing Takes Persistence

I just ran across this post by Paul Allen “the lesser” and had to share it.  Paul runs an internet business incubator called Provo Labs and has founded a number of successful companies including In this post, Paul talks about the long tail cumulative effect of guerilla marketing tactics.  He explains that building website…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Shorten Your Sales Cycle, Step 3: The Big Picture

Here’s the fourth and final post in our “shorten your sales cycle” series.  In the first article we provided a general intro to the problem of growing sales cycles and identified three things you can do to solve the problem.  Step one is to improve your lead quality.  Step two is to improve your sales…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Shorten Your Sales Cycle, Step 2: Improve Your Sales Execution

Here’s the third post of four in this “Shorten Your Sales Cycle” series. In my last post I talked about the first step in shortening your sales cycle:  Improve your lead qualification.  Today I’ll focus on the second area of improvement:  Executing your sales process. (New to the concept of “sales process?”  These posts address…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

Shorten Your Sales Cycle, Step 1: Improve Your Lead Quality

Yesterday I wrote about a common business problem — growing sales cycles. Today I’m continuing with the second post of four in this series, “Shorten your sales cycle.” So your sales cycle is getting longer and you’ve met with your sales and marketing teams.  You escaped in one piece but heard a resounding “too many…Read More

Campaigns & Execution

How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Does it seem like it takes forever to close new business deals?  You’re running strong campaigns, generating plenty of leads, seeing a flurry of sales activity. But even though your sales reps are consistently following up, prospects just aren’t ready to buy.  Your sales cycle used to be 4 weeks, but now it’s 6, 8…Read More

News & Updates

Web Awards You Don’t Want to Win

This week, Vincent Flanders of Web Sites That Suck posted his dubious list of 2006’s worst sites.  His winners include #10 Brown University (“overwhelmingly difficult to use”) and #7 P&G (for their strange sideways navigation, among other things). Vincent also notes, “There were so many bad sites last year that I had to divide The…Read More