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Month: October 2010

Smart Marketers Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) for Affordable, Credible Testing

It does not take a big budget, large team, or advanced degree to be a smart marketer. So, what does it take to outsmart your larger, seemingly more well-funded competition? While I talk often about deeply understanding your buyer personas (and still believe that it is priority #1 for marketing executives), marketers can also get a lot of mileage from listening to other marketers. Not a day goes by where I don’t learn something or find inspiration from one of the 100+ feeds in my Google Reader marketing feed or my Twitter stream. Using Marketing to Test Marketing It does not take much for an idea to spark new life into your marketing operation. For instance, buried deep in a  recent HubSpot article, I came across some sage, yet common sense, tips for adding intelligence into a company’s marketing plan. Even if you fall in the 50% of marketers who don’t use PPC for lead generation or driving web site traffic, Jeanne Hopkins at Hubspot reminds us of how testing permeates everything that marketers do and of the opportunity to use PPC to refine your message and tactics: Test email campaign subject lines or concepts in PCC ads to see which get traction. When naming an eBook or a kit used in inbound marketing, test the titles in PPC campaigns.  Test keywords to refine organic search by tracking the conversation rate of PPC click-throughs....

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Can a Giant Plastic Bag Inspire You to Solve Market Problems?

I love seeing product management done well. The following concept could not be more simple… You buy the bag. You fill the bag with stuff you don’t want. When you are done filling the bag, the bag is taken away. Bagster is a new product from Waste Management designed to aid do-it-yourselfers with an easy and affordable way to discard the waste from home improvement, remodeling, and landscaping projects. You begin by purchasing a folded up large 3-cubic yard bag at your local home improvement store. When you get home, you unfold the bag into what looks like a long nylon dumpster (hence the name, Bagster). When the your project is wrapping up, you schedule a pick up and a special Waste Management truck comes along and picks up your giant bag of debris. Innovating in an established market Disposing of trash and structural waste rivals the world’s oldest profession, prostitution, in longevity. The first trucks were used for trash pick up in United States during the1920s. Waste Management has been in this business since 1968 and is one of the countries largest providers of large business, small business, and home waste removal and recycling. They already provide steel dumpsters to residential customers for remodeling projects. So, how did they arrive at this innovative new product, the Bagster? I have to admit that I don’t know the back story of the...

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Great Brand Positioning Demands Deep Understanding of Your Customers

As I walked my dog, Finnegan,  this morning, I listened to the Wall Street Journal’s Tech News Brief podcast as I do most every morning. I am usually annoyed by the commercials embedded in the podcast or I ignore them as I plan my day, but today a new audio ad for Paul Fredrick, the dress shirt/men’s clothing company, entered the ad rotation. As a marketer, outstanding branding or positioning gets my attention (so does noticeably poor marketing). Today I heard, “Brought to you by Paul Fredrick…..the shirt you wear most.” Paul Frederick is the company you’ll see in publications, like Newsweek, offering men’s white dress shirt by mail order. Little is more commoditized to the average American businessman than a white dress shirt. For this reason, I was intrigued by their branding effort. Understanding Your AudiencePaul Fredrick could have said, “The shirt that will help you succeed in your professional life” or “Your favorite dress shirt,” but they didn’t. They understood their audience enough to know that audiences won’t overtly connect a shirt with professional success since there is a lot more that goes into success than your ensemble. Paul Fredrick also knows that with a mortgage, children, and a long commute, their audience does not care too much about a shirt moving into the coveted position in their closet of “favorite work shirt.” They knew that they needed to dig deeper to position their product as relevant to their target marketing personas. Identifying Value to Customers by Asking WhyPaul...

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The Importance of User Success in Product Management

Think about the ingredients that drive a product’s success in the marketplace. Salespeople sell on pain and/or pleasure (“With this product, you won’t have to work weekends to manually enter data!“). As a  product marketer, you market customer success (“This solution is designed to grow your bottom line within months!“). As a product manager, you have to keep a close eye on both of those factors. However, there is a critical third pillar, often overlooked during the product planning process…. User Success Often times, product managers develop products based largely on customer success, rather than adding equal weight to user success. So, what is the different between customer success and user success? While their definitions vary for different products, markets, or user personas, these concepts can be easily applied to your products and services once you understand the fundamental difference. To illustrate the delineation, let’s breakdown these two concepts in a B2B context, since consumer product success take into account fewer tangible elements and user success includes more emotional and physiological factors. Customer Success (or Client Success) In the B2B world, customer success is the outcome of helping organizations achieve their goals. Decreased costs, more leads, higher revenue, more market share are all examples of customer success. User Success User success brings the success down to the level of the individual. User success is the ability for a product to enable people to do their jobs and accomplish their tasks with...

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