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Author: Joshua Paul

How Kris Kringle Invented Content Marketing

Was Santa a Marketing Innovator? One could argue that when the Macy’s Santa in Miracle on 34th Street pointed Macy’s customers toward other department stores when Macy’s didn’t have the gifts they were seeking, the inbound or content marketing movement was born. Inbound marketing or content marketing is a strategy that employs helpful online content to both get found by prospective customers and convert those website visitors into leads (and eventually customers). By helping customers, Santa significantly differentiated the Macy’s brand and increased customer satisfaction. It was revolutionary in the age of Mad Men, but it shouldn’t be now. Providing insightful, original, and useful content to your market is how companies build brands in an era when customers control how they find information and when they are ready to engage your organization. How Can You Market Like Santa? This holiday season, keep in mind that your customer are going to need help during this next year. Identified the information that would be most useful to them – be it how to solve a problem or where to fine a red fire truck toy. Then, map out how you are going to create, optimize, and share this content to help your...

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How Good Product Management Makes Marketing Easier

When I have lead product management teams at technology companies, I made it clear to the rest of the marketing team that my job was to make a product that markets itself. I told the sales team that my job was to make them rich. This is a foreign concept to most market-facing divisions. How can product strategy decisions made earlier on translate into tangible sales and marketing wins? They are used to fighting with product management executives feature by feature, then working independently to come up with ways to differentiate their solution in a crowded market. However, strong executive teams know that the most successful products and services have marketing baked into the product plan. Apple Has Done It Again The go-to example is Apple’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad products. While their technology and features are in line with competitors, their signature design and comfortable interface set them apart. Well, Apple has done it again. They have given themselves a big marketing boost, not by running more ads or through channel relationships, but through product management. Consumer Reports, one of the most trusted authorities on B2C products, recently recalibrated its ratings of tablets after reviewing Apple’s new iPad. What does this mean? The new iPad is such a standout product that they had to create a new category for it. Since Consumer Reports could not create a category...

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231+ Business and Technology Predictions for 2011

You have probably seen at least a few articles outlining business trends and predictions for 2011. I’m not going to add to the noise by finding another way to rephrase ‘cloud computing is going big this year’. However, I suspect that marketing and product management executives will find value in the trends in the predictions that business minds across the Internet have laid out. Before Your Drive Into the 2011 Predictions Just as product management professionals consume lots of data from multiple sources, marketing and strategy executives should review all of these trends before taking their business, product, or marketing in a new direction. Why? In the same way, a product manager should not set the product roadmap based on one customer conversation, executives should not jump on a trend based on one or two articles (I’ve witnessed this and it is very sad for the entire company and takes years to correct). Just as the data coming from surveys and customer interviews is often conflicting, the following data is full on contradictions. Marketing automation will get a wake up call AND Marketing automation will see explosive growth Companies will put more money into social media AND Companies will cut their social media spend HTML 5 will overtake Flash AND HTML 5 will not be ready for prime time Content is king in 2011 AND Inbound marketing will remain the best kept secret in...

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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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