October 29, 2014
Get your hand off my knee.
Your horse won.
You have the account.
Basic events require simple language, whereas idiosyncratically euphuistic eccentricities are the promulgators of triturable obfuscation.
What did you do last night? Enter into a meaningful romantic involvement . . . or fall in love?
What did you have for breakfast this morning? The upper part of a hog’s hind leg with two oval bodies encased in a shell laid by a female bird . . . or ham and eggs?
A great American theatrical producer once said, ”If you can’t write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea.”
For clear writing, you need not engage a celebrated, widely recognized, overwhelmingly gifted word–smith and grammarian . . . simply call Allan Starr.
October 21, 2014
It seems like there’s a lot of “me-too” marketing going on, whether it be on the strategy or the tactical side. This happens when the collective “we” see a strategy or tactic we like, and adopt it with no regard to it being a good fit – or not.
As one critic put it, “there’s a lot of gray out there.”
Marketing communication is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Do some self-analysis before merely copying an approach that may look promising at first glance.
October 14, 2014
Oversimplified definitions of these two disciplines is:
- Advertising is selling what you have.
- Marketing is having what will sell.
As this suggests, it is critical to have a lineup of products and services that fits the needs of your key prospects. Otherwise, a sale made can be little more than an opportunity – for an ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship – wasted.
Of course, it is crucial to position your products and services effectively through advertising and other forms of marketing communication. It’s best to have an ongoing, unified campaign that does justice to your offerings.
To come up short in the promotional effort would be like “hiding your light under a bushel basket.”
October 8, 2014
Back before most of you were old enough to shave (neither was I … ha, ha!), there was a Gillette Razors commercial that went:
Push–pull, click–click – change blades that quick!
Push–pull is also a good approach for a marketing communications campaign.
Push-pull is about diving your marketing communication efforts between the proactive and reactive. Two examples of this would be – Push= a direct mailer and Pull= a really effective web site.
October 1, 2014
A Marketer’s View
Marketing and its primary sub–categories, advertising and public relations, have earned well–deserved recognition as a primary factor in business and brand building – and more. The late Peter Drucker, widely regarded as the most important business management figure of the 20th Century, expressed it this way:
“Business has two basic functions: Innovation and Marketing. These produce results. All the rest are costs.”
This quote may have been less remarkable had Drucker been a marketing person rather than the giant among management authorities that he was.
Perhaps equally unrecognized is the key role marketing plays as a business designer. Indeed, a well–conceived marketing plan causes a growth–driven business to take a good look at its resources and goals in an effort to order its priorities. It requires that it come to grips with such crucial issues as:
High volume versus relative exclusivity
Timing of product and service releases
The realities of the competitive marketplace
What benefits to emphasize
Which consumers to target
How to reach them.
Good marketing liberates a company from dependence on emotion, chance, lead–time and inertia, allowing it to focus on vital issues such as:
What do we do best?
Where are our high–profit opportunities?
What are our key production and service capacities?
What are the impacts of the economy and competition?
What course is most likely to help us reach our goals?
Actually, marketing is not about sales; it is about profits. Among its pivotal qualities is its emphasis on timing and action. In the “natural” course of events (barring, of course, a weakened economy), a company with good people and products will, likely, grow –– even though at some random pace.
But, like an uncultivated garden, the weeds may eventually outgrow the crop.
September 22, 2014
- “My competitors are stupid!”
You can learn from your competitors, their successes and failures:
Customer benefits you’ve overlooked
A new technology and service being introduced
A new market being explored or a new office opened
Revised terms of sale
New ways of handling service or orders
Changes in their client list
Personnel comings and goings
Literature and promotional activities
2 “My customers won’t know the difference.”
Your customers are specialized in (at least) one thing — BEING CUSTOMERS!
They are far more tuned in to your market and the offerings of your competitors than you may give them credit for (your competition never sleeps!)
3. “My product is vastly superior.”
Most entrepreneurs — particularly manufacturers — consider his or her product to be truly astounding.
If your product IS vastly superior, (can you) come up with a head-to-head demo?
KEY POINT! Don’t become so enthralled with the “excellence” of your product that you lose the customer’s perspective in the process.
4. “My people are special.”
Most companies feel this way. Unless you can qualify and quantify it, this claim will hold no water with most clients.
Don’t overestimate the impact of your people. How are they special?
MORE: awards, degrees, training, experience? (This is the service company’s equivalent of, “My product is vastly superior.”
KEY POINT! If you claim your staff as a key selling benefit, you’d better be able to back it up.
September 17, 2014
If the answer is yes, consider this Business Scene 2014 scenario:
The sign going one direction reads, Coast. The other is marked, Accelerate.
Fact one: Those who choose the “coast” route in a difficult economy will learn that the only movement possible when coasting comes from going downhill.
Fact two: There are two kinds of businesses that make gains in a downturn –
- Bankruptcy attorneys, collection agencies and the like
- Companies (some of your competitors?) determined to grab market share from the coasters.
Fact three: Closing sales is harder than ever and there are, neither, enough hours nor energy to reach as many prospects as it will take to make a significant difference, unless and until you change your approach.
What to do:
Plug in some “sales support.”
What is that?
Hard-hitting, direct-response communication to your best prospects, that will pave the way for your sales efforts by effectively relating your value proposition –
In other words, what’s in it for them.
No offense intended, but
. . . especially in a recession, this is no work for amateurs! Sure, you’re a pro in your own field, but where has that been getting you lately?
No laughing matter
Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”
September 4, 2014
“Business has two basic functions: Innovation and Marketing.
These produce results. All the rest are costs.”
– Peter Drucker
About Peter Drucker
Peter F. Drucker — writer, management consultant and university professor — was born in Vienna, Austria in November 1909 and died in November of 2005.
He published his first book, The End of Economic Man, in 1939. He then joined the faculty of New York University’s Graduate Business School as Professor of Management in 1950. Since 1971, he has been Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at the Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. The university named its management school after him in 1987.
Drucker has written 35 books in all: 15 books deal with management, including the landmark books The Practice of Management and The Effective Executive; 16 cover society, economics, and politics; 2 are novels; and 1 is a collection of autobiographical essays. His most recent book, Managing in the Next Society, was published in fall 2002.
He was a regular columnist for The Wall Street Journal from 1975 to 1995 and has contributed essays and articles to numerous publications, including the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Economist. Throughout his career, he has consulted with dozens of organizations – from the world’s largest corporations to entrepreneurial startups and various government and nonprofit agencies.
Experts in the worlds of business and academia regard Peter Drucker as the founding father of the study of management.
For his accomplishments, Peter Drucker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on July 9, 2002.
August 26, 2014
10 Fatal Flaws in Marketing
1. Thinking that being best ensures success
- How this can work against you.
- How this can work for you.
2. Disregarding the power of the “Three-Foot Rule”
- Spread the word at every opportunity.
3. Failing to stake-out your unique position
- Focus your marketing on what your competitors can’t say.
- 4. Portraying features as benefits
- Convey “what’s in it” for the customer.
5. Thinking that a lot of brilliance compensates for a lack of reliability
- People aren’t easily dazzled, but need to know they can count on you in a pinch.
6. Being too “wordy”
- “If you can’t put your idea on the back of a business card, it’s not a clear idea.” — David Belasco
- The confused mind says “No!”
- Read: Why Business People Speak Like Idiots — Fugere
7. Choosing style over substance
- Who have you served?
- What have people said about you?
- How long have you done it?
- Success stories
- What can you do for someone like me?
8. Ignoring Drucker’s Law
- “Business has two basic functions: Marketing and innovation.
These produce results. All the rest are costs.” — Peter Drucker
9. Letting prospects and customers/clients forget you
- Maintain visibility.
- Keep selling the “sold.”
10. Buck Fever
- You’ve got to pull the trigger, to hit the target.
August 19, 2014
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Had he not decided to “go straight,” Will Rogers would have made a good advertising copy writer. He had a way with a phrase, and was a pretty good country philosopher, too. Here are a few examples:
Some of his sage advice:
1. Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.
2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
3. There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.
4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
5. Always drink upstream from the herd.
6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.
8. There are three kinds of men:
• The ones that learn by reading.
• The few who learn by observation.
• The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.
9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
10. If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.
11. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.
12. After eatingan entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring.
• He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him.
• The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
ABOUT GROWING OLDER…
First ~ Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
Second ~ The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
Third ~ Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me; I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.
Fourth ~ When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
Fifth ~ You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
Sixth ~ I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
Seventh ~ One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it’s such a nice change from being young.
Eighth ~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.
Ninth ~ Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
Tenth ~ Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft.
Today it’s called golf.
And, finally ~ If you don’t learn to laugh at trouble, you won’t have anything to laugh at when you’re old.