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Month: December 2010

Holiday Wish List: Business Books to Significantly Grow Your Business – Part 3

This is the third and final post of a three-part series about books that marketing and product management executives should internalize to create seriously successful products and services. If you have not read the first or second articles in the series, you can do so here. Inbound MarketingGet Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs By Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah How will these ideas help you?What percentage of your purchases over the last year came from telemarketers, product email asking you to take a demo, or advertising? If you are like most business people and consumers, it is a relatively small percentage. You get your information from search engines, bloggers (or online journalist) that you trust, and recommendations shared by friends. For most organizations over the past 5 years, the facts support the notion that you are wasting your company’s time and money by following the same interruption-based marketing plan that you and your competitors have spent your budgets on for years. Inbound Marketing provides the rules and game plan to purposefully get found by qualified customers by consistently producing original, insightful, and helpful content that your target audiences will consume, follow, and share. Example: Whole Foods Market’s website gets thousands of views every day by the exact market they are trying to reach. Compare the website traffic of Whole Foods, whose inbound strategy positions them as a resource for their customers, with that...

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Holiday Wish List: 3 Business Books to Significantly Grow Sales – Part 2

This is the second part of a three-part series about three books that can help you significantly improve your business’s performance. Read the first article. Purple CowTransform Your Business by Being Remarkable By Seth Godin How will these ideas help you? The world is full of boring products and “me too” marketing. Running a safe company with a very good product is bad in today’s business environment. Think about the horse race that is the US car market. Manufacturers produce very good cars that sell approximately the same number of units each year as similar cars sold by competitors.  Margins are small because manufactures and dealerships compete on price, marketing/awareness, and the release of new models.  Every once in a while, a car manufacturer releases a purple cow. When Volkswagen re-released the Beetle in 1998, you heard about it all year from friends and family. People pointed them out to others in the car when driving. Volkswagen’s design team created a remarkable product that generated a lot of attention and awareness (and allowed them to charge a premium for this small car). Defy your market by focusing on creating and selling something that is worthy of being talked about (note: this book is not about creating marketing campaigns that generate buzz, but products and services that inherently get your target audience talking about you to each other). The result is an idea or product that spreads across your market...

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Holiday Wish List: 3 Business Books to Significantly Grow Sales – Part 1

It can been said that successful business people fall into the category of, “What do you get for the man or woman who has everything?” Business strategy, marketing, product management executives are busy and often rely on past experience, short articles, or conferences for new ideas and fresh takes on foundational business concepts. Giving brilliant books is an excellent way to show the executives in your life that you understand their objectives and share their passion. Giving the gift of valuable, business-changing ideas is always in style. The following are three transformative books that every executive, with a stake in marketing, strategy, or product management, should internalize to have seriously successful products and services. Blue Ocean StrategyHow to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition IrrelevantBy W. Chan Kim and Renée MauborgneHow will these ideas help you?While competitive strategies are important, astounding growth lies, not in your existing market, but in creating new market space (“a blue ocean”), thereby making the competition irrelevant. By investing in the innovation that matters to your market and stripping away the rest, the strength of your product or service will align with where your target audience places value. This book outlines how business leaders can both systematically create wide-open new markets and consistently innovative strategies, as well as how to communicate their vision to the rest of their organization, investors, and board members. Example:Imagine if IKEA entered...

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How P.O.S.T. Marketing Helps Clarify Intangible Leadership Concepts

Here is a comment I added to a recent discussion about Charlene Li’s keynote address on open leadership at the ASAE tech conference in Washington DC. I thought this contribution would be valuable to the marketing and strategy leaders that read this blog. Photo via ASAE’s Photos on flickr Having spent my career in various for-profit businesses, I found Charlene’s remarks to contain some squishy ideas that those in leadership positions might have trouble translating into concrete business plans. Here is the post I am responding to and here is my comment: An alternative way to wrap your head around the ideas that Charlene lays out is to run her concepts through the P.O.S.T. approach to marketing, engagement, and customer relationship management. P.O.S.T. methodology helps incorporate the “Learn, Dialog, Support, Innovate” steps into a plan for impacting your organization’s key performance metrics. P: People – Spend time identifying the different personas that you are trying to reach. What are their needs, problems, expectations, and communication preferences? O: Objectives – What are your goals for each persona? Building a framework of objectives helps keep less concrete ideas and initiatives focused on meeting the needs of your target audience while staying true to the culture of your organization. S: Strategy – How would you like your relationship with your target audiences to change? This is an area that Charlene espouses often when discussing open leadership. Given...

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Sangria and Better Marketing: Two Recipes to Raise Your Holiday Spirits

As the end of the year approaches and we spend our evenings hopping from one holiday party to another, you and the other executives at your organization are finalizing the plan for improving upon 2010 next year. To help both get your through the rigor of your holiday social calendar and focus your marketing plan on impacting the metrics that matter most to your business (e.g. revenue), I want to share two recipes that I believe in. The first will delight any gathering from intimate dinner parties to large holiday soirees. The second will pull your marketing out of the “we’re working our asses off, but not growing” syndrome by building a solid foundation of interesting content that buyers in all stages of the purchase-cycle will find valuable. Recipe #1: Holiday SangriaServing Size: Makes about 100 servings Ingredients 2 gallons Cabernet Sauvignon or other big red wine 1 cup brandy 1/2 cup Cointreau 2 quarts orange juice (not from concentrate) 2 cups fresh lemon juice 1 cup sugar, dissolved in 1/2 cup water on stovetop, then chilled 20 ice cubes 2 quarts chilled club soda 3 oranges, thinly sliced 3 lemons, thinly sliced 3 limes, thinly sliced Several sprigs of mint, basil or rosemary for garnish PreparationThoroughly chill all ingredients. Pour the wine, brandy and Cointreau into a large punch bowl. Stir orange and lemon juice with the sugar syrup. Then add to bowl...

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