August 31, 2010

Four Fatal Marketing Assumptions

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 12:45 pm

1. “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
• Strategic alliances
• 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? Do they have:

. . . MORE: awards, degrees, training, experience? (This is the service company’s equivalent of, “My product is vastly superior.”)

KEY POINT! If you claim to have superior employees, you’d better be prepared to back it up.


August 23, 2010

Have you raised any eyebrows lately?

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 6:58 pm

How long has it been since your company has made news? Not necessarily the earth-shaking kind; perhaps just a new product, service, client, equipment, modification, reconfiguration or idea. Something that might even justify sending out a press release. If you’re not making news, or at least causing the eyebrows of some current customers or prospects to raise, you’re not sitting still – you’re drifting backwards. Put on your thinking cap, and move ahead.


August 19, 2010

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 4:45 pm

Have a written marketing plan, listing – at a minimum – your objectives, strategies, tactics, timelines, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats 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.


August 17, 2010

Are we having fun yet?

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 6:18 pm

A banker told me this morning, “The banking business isn’t as much fun as it used to be. .  . I hate turniing down friends who seek loans.” Several other business people recently have remarked, “Nowadays you have to work harder for less!”

Is business supposed to be fun? I’ve always thought, – it is if  you do it right. Why shouldn’t it be. At least one-third of our waking hours (not to mention our nightmares) are occupied with it. And how about the concept of working harder for less reward? Most would agree that’s better than having no work at all. Right?

So, let’s get on withihe quest. Most of us feel our ship, once again, will come in. In the meantime, we can pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, and draft our action plan for a brighter tomorrow. Entrepreneurship comes with no minimums, no maximums and no guarantees.

Are you in with that?


August 16, 2010

What ever happened to issues?

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 5:32 pm

It seems to us that “candidate marketing” has taken the ugly path to something akin to campaign muckraking. Instead of telling you what they can do for us, the varios candidates tell us what a “crook” or how incompetent and dishonest their opposition is. Who was it that said, “You protest too much!” Alas, it seems unlikely that the next couple of months (until the campaign mercifully ends) will only bring us more of the same. How sad.


August 12, 2010

A dozen tips for working with a marketing firm

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 12:52 pm



Over the past three-plus decades our marketing agency in Phoenix has had numerous opportunities to work with firms, usually younger companies or startups,  that have not previously worked with a marketing agency, advertising agency or public relations agency in Phoenix or anywhere else.


Sometimes their approach to our initial meetings takes on the tone, “be gentle, it’s our first time,” or at least it feels a little like that.


Certainly, a cautious approach makes sense at the outset of any kind of new relationship, business or otherwise, and the fact that there are lots of stories of some rather aggressive marketing, advertising and public relations firms out there makes such 

a wary attitude somewhat understandable.


That said, though there have been abuses, even cases of runaway budgeting, some even without taking the client’s circumstances or comprehension into account, a client/agency relationship has the best chance for success if it is built upon trust, openness from both sides and mutual respect. And, if the client has done their homework properly and thoroughly when going through the agency selection process, a feeling of comfort, satisfaction, even with a generous dash of optimistic anticipation would be more appropriate than anything even remotely approaching trepidation.


Frankly, sometimes this overly cautious attitude has been borne out of a unwillingness on the part of the new client to have sought the kind of professional marketing help it needed until the step was finally taken more out of desperation than anything else. But, fortunately, such cases are not the norm.


Here, then, are some guideposts for such relationships that we hope will be helpful in fostering healthy relationships between clients and their marketing agencies. Let’s call them .  .  .


A dozen tips for working with a marketing firm:



1.     Treat them as insiders; share pertinent information liberally.


2.     Always keep them “in the loop” on seemingly trivial as well as important decisions that may have an effect on sales and your marketing success.


3.     Acquaint them with your corporate culture and key management staff.


4.     When practical, introduce them to other key outsource vendors, such as their HR or CFO counterparts.


5.     Have your staff members and other outsource vendors submit to them for review all internal and external communications that could have a possible impact on your corporate image and sales.


6.     Meet or communicate with them regularly, not merely in last minute or emergency situations.


7.     Neither discard, nor accept their advice, suggestions, copy-writing points or strategic advice without first understanding the rationale involved.


8.     Respect their marketing expertise and heed the advice that results from it when doing so seems inherently warranted.


9.     Read every communication they create carefully before approving it.


10. Never approve suggestions with which you are not comfortable.


11. Maintain what amounts to a “partner relationship” conducive to the development of mutual trust, constructive dialog, creative and strategic two-way input, and a level of synergy that promotes effectiveness. 


12. Have an overall strategic plan, and amend it as may be required.



August 5, 2010

Can you survive in the “Age of Skimming”?

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 1:17 pm

Anybody with an inbox knows there’s way too much data out there to absorb. The same holds true for the media messages with which we are constantly bombarded.  All consumers can do is to skim the surface for ideas or propositions that may catch their eye. If you’ve got something interesting or important to say to your prospects or associates, you had better say it: 1) Succinctly 2) Memorably 3) With a benefits orientation and eye-catching heading.

But – by all means – DO say it! 

 Don’t just sit there quietly, waiting to be discovered. If you pride yourself on being low key, make no mistake, sooner or later, your pride will kill you.


August 3, 2010

If I have but one life to live in marketing

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 2:03 pm



Let me live it with .  .  .


  • flair
  • originality
  • relevance
  • honesty
  • consistency
  • insight
  • sensitivity
  • integrity


Let me be ever mindful that the ultimate effectiveness of my advertising will be in direct proportion to the accuracy of its message.


May I remember that I am not speaking to myself, or other marketers, or competitors, or new-business prospects, or editors, or judges, of competitions, or anyone besides those who could benefit from – or at least enjoy – what it is that my words are extolling or describing.


Induce me to focus my thoughts, energy, time and whatever talents I may have promoting only those ideas, services, products or causes that are worthy of my precious and limited resources.


If ever I am able to determine that money, pride, self-aggrandizement or misrepresentation is among the overriding motivations for delivering a selling message, may I be stopped in my tracks, not by rules, regulations, regulators, critics, judges or the intended audience, but myself. 


It is for me to seek the higher road to my personal and professional goals, not because I can afford to do so, not because of financial independence, but because of ethical dependence and a set of time honored virtues with which I may have been gifted, and to which only the most worthy of practitioners of the communication trades aspires. 


I am thankful for perception, my seasoned skills and the ability to influence others, but more than these for a deep seeded sense of purpose and adherence to the ideals that are the bedrock on which the value and power of marketing communication has and always will rest.