May 22, 2010

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take get you there

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 9:50 am

Have a written marketing plan, listing – at a minimum – your objectives, strategies, tactics, strengths, weaknesses and benchmarks. Marketing plan templates are available online or through marketing professionals.

So, make a plan, but never fear to “break” a plan, replacing all or parts of it with something better.


May 20, 2010

It’s a numbers game

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 1:52 pm

To survive, let alone be a category leader, adequate numbers of prospects must be developed. This cannot be accomplished through time-and-energy-draining two-way communication, either face to face or on the phone. Publisher McGraw Hill has estimated that the average sales call requires approximately 45 minutes, and that an average of three calls is required to close a sale. That’s simply inefficient.  Prospecting is what marketing – the one-way communication element of sales – is ideally suited for.  Whether by e-mail, surface mail or online,  your sales success likely be in direct proportion to your one-way outreach


May 18, 2010

Want winning PR? build a better vehicle!

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 2:20 pm

General Motors has stepped back from the financial brink, reporting its first quarterly profit Monday since 2007. These earnings mark progress toward the turnaround GM mapped out last year in financial viability plans, which played up a role for the plug-in Chevy Volt.

GM used the extended-range electric Chevy Volt model — due out at the end of this year — in those bids for aid to bolster its credentials as an innovative, green-minded company. Today, 10 months after the “New GM” launched (leaving much of the automaker’s assets in a company controlled by the feds), the General has ticked the box for profits — thanks in large part to an improving economy and government-managed restructuring that allowed it to slash costs. Now comes the quest for a green halo, as part of GM’s efforts to sustain profits for the long term.

During the first three months of this year GM says it generated a net income of $865 million, compared to a $6 billion loss in the same period a year earlier. For GM shareholders (the U.S. treasure holds a 60.6 percent stake in the automaker), this amounts to earnings of $1.66 per share in the latest quarter — a dramatic uptick from the $9.78 per share loss in the first quarter of last year.

Chris Liddell, chief financial officer for the automaker, commented on Monday, ”We’re in the process of rebuilding a company here and putting down the foundations is one of the most important things when you’re rebuilding. One of those foundations is clearly achieving profitability.”

The road to building a nimble, green and innovative business that can be proactive with its technology, as competition heats up among car companies from Silicon Valley to China, holds plenty of challenges for the downsized automaker. But its significantly stronger bottom line puts it in a better position to invest in advanced alt-fuel vehicles like the extended-range electric Chevy Volt.

GM has reportedly spent more than a billion dollars to develop the model, and does not expect to turn a profit on it for at least the first generation or two. But it’s looking to gain other rewards from the Volt. In an automaker’s lineup, a “halo” car  is meant to cast a positive glow over a company or brand — showcasing technology, styling and smarts while also helping to define what the brand stands for and luring customers into showrooms to buy other models. With the Volt, GM has said it’s hoping in particular to boost its image in two high-growth market segments where the automaker has lagged: young and environmentalist car buyers.

In this latest quarter, newer models provided a bump to GM’s sales figures, with the new Buick LaCrosse, Chevy Equinox, Camaro and Cadillac CRX making up more than 110,000 of the nearly 184,000 vehicles that GM sold in April. As the Chicago Tribute reports, the models sold last month at a “combined rate nearly 300 percent over the vehicles they replaced.”

GM is targeting production volumes of only 8,000-10,000 units for the Chevy Volt next year. But with its high profile and the heavy bets GM has placed on it as a green halo vehicle, it could help increase the automaker’s momentum as it revs for an IPO.


May 16, 2010

Facebook, Google, and Your Mythical Privacy

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 9:57 am

By Francine Hardaway, Stealthmode Partners

Yesterday, on Mark Zuckerberg’s birthday, Google revealed in its blog that it had stopped collecting data from its street view service because it had inadvertently sniffed and collected about 600 gigabits of data from the open wireless networks of people like me in 30 countries. This came on the same day Read Write Web published an article on the growing number of people who are searching Google for the query “How do I delete my Facebook account?”

The full force of the change brought to society by the web is now upon us. The same people who thought “open” and “transparent” were such desirable terms are now freaking out. This genie is out of the bottle, and has been for twenty-five years, since the first attempts at electronic data transfer. And yet only a week ago, I heard Jeff Jarvis, a geek/journalist/pundit on This Week in Google laugh at Germans for trying to stop Google from collecting street view data in their country.

The pundits are as confused as I am about where all this is going. Surely the most dangerous owner of your information isn’t a company like Facebook that will use your Yelp authentication to reveal what you thought of a restaurant, or use your age settings to send you a targeted ad. It isn’t even Google, who can help you enlarge the view of your cousin’s house across the country so you can see his neighborhood.

Sure, you can snoop on friends, enemies, and potential employees with Google and Facebook. So can advertisers. But I’m still of the opinion that it doesn’t matter.

Why? Because the most dangerous gatherer of information is the entity that has had it all along: the government. When I was born, long before electronic data, I was issued a birth certificate. My parents are gone, the hospital I was born in is gone, but the birth certificate information still exists. I can get an official copy of my birth certificate any time I want. Same with my Social Security.

We have always been identified to the government at birth, and tracked from birth throughout life. Drivers’ licenses, passports, tax forms, bank accounts, insurance records — all of this is available online. Ditto your medical records. Perhaps YOU can’t get them, but they are there, and a skilled hacker can.

Since 9/11, things have gotten worse. We are happy to have cameras throughout Times Square to catch the occasional terrorist, but it took less than a day to identify him. How long would it take to identify you?

My point: “privacy” has been a myth ever since we came together to live in tribes, and we have been slowly giving it up in exchange for every little advance in technology. Each one of these advances comes with a little sadness and sense of loss, but that sense of loss might be false. You can’t lose what you didn’t really have.

Yesterday, on my birthday, I got greetings from all over the world from friends on Facebook. They are people I’ve met in foreign countries, people I’ve met online and never in person, people I have known since high school. Indeed, my brother and my niece and nephew are on Facebook. The joy I got out of hearing from those people was worth the privacy I have given up.

But this is an individual decision made by a person in a specific set of circumstances: someone who basically lives for love, not fear, and someone who likes and trusts most people. I realize my self-created world isn’t everyone’s.

Yet if you are thinking of deleting your Facebook account I still urge you to think twice: Google’s ability to “snoop” make’s Facebook’s look tame. And Google is just a metaphor for search. You can’t get rid of this problem by changing search engines. At some point, you have to exercise good judgment, retain a modicum of trust, and go with the flow.

Disclosure: Mark Zuckerberg and I share a birthday and mine was very happy yesterday while his was fraught with threats of boycotts. This post, written by a mother, is designed to make Mrs. Zuckerberg’s son and Randi’s brother feel a little better.


May 4, 2010

Marketing in Phoenix: The case for one-way communication

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 12:29 pm


Here is the fundamental premise on which all marketing is based:


If the consumer isn’t aware that you exist, you can’t sell your product.


When encountering a prospect on the showroom floor or at a trade show, in every case, he or she was “delivered” to that critical point by an awareness of you; whether through an advertisement, a referral or, in the trade show circumstance, merely because you were there.


What takes place at that point is two-way communication (you standing face to face with the prospect, closing the sale). Though your degree of success will be determined by your persuasiveness, product, knowledge, price, etc., something that happened before that gave you the opportunity: a prospect had to be delivered.


In today’s highly competitive marketplace, real success is largely a numbers game. To survive, let alone be a leader in your category, you have to close many sales. In order to do so, you have to have ample numbers of prospects with which to work.


Here’s the key point: developing adequate numbers of prospects cannot be accomplished through two-way communication, either face to face, by phone, the mail or, even, the Internet. Neither you nor your sales staff has anywhere near the time necessary for this crucial function. Prominent publisher McGraw Hill & Co. has estimated that the average sales call requires approximately 45 minutes, and that an average of three calls is required to close a sale. Surely, it’s no way to prospect.


Prospecting is what marketing ¾ the one-way communication element of sales ¾ is ideally suited for. Expensive, time-consuming two-way communication simply isn’t efficient, nor is it effective in developing prospects in the numbers sufficient for business success. Marketing communication, in one form or another, is the answer.


Most anti-marketing hard-liners got that way because they, at some point, were turned off by poor marketing efforts that failed to produce results. This is understandable, because much marketing is misguided or misplaced ¾ but it is not justifiable, and more than likely will be hazardous to bottom-line business health.


Is marketing foolproof? Will it always produce infallible, guaranteed results? No it won’t, nor is it fair to expect it to (after all, what does?). But it is more science than art, and, as such, has something very important on its side: LOGIC.  Marketing is measurable, quite often yielding predictable results, and as practiced by good professionals, should ¾ and most often does ¾ more than pay for itself.