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Author: Joshua Paul

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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Is Social Media a Waste of Time for Businesses?

I recently enjoyed both the content and format of a Webby Debate titled, “Social Media is Overrated.” In the passionate discussion, well-known social media personalities Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of, and Techcrunch columnist, Paul Carr, unpacked the following question: Is social media a waste of time OR has social media (and social networks by default) changed the way the world works socially, politically, and economically? If you are an executive reading this post and think that you’ll find validation for your point of view in this debate, you may be disappointed. Those looking for these thought-leaders to reinforce the views that either marketing teams should abandon any other strategy for a 24×7 Twitter stream or that they should continue to dismiss the urging of their Generation Y staff for more Facebook and LinkedIn activity will find that the outcome is nuanced. If you are doing it right…..if you are testing, measuring, and adjusting…..if you are adding value to your market or community…..if you are using social media to drive conversions through your marketing funnel, you will find success over time (not overnight). Unfortunately, most of the marketers and “experts” on the social web are wasting their time. They are often confused or in denial about the marketing strategy and business skills needed to utilize social media and social networks to impact business performance. Don’t let your marketing team confuse activity for effectiveness (in any marketing channel). Look around. You may have ineffective social...

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7 Recent Strategy and Marketing Articles You May Have Missed

The long Thanksgiving weekend is an excellent time to refresh you business brain by both not thinking about the projects you have on your plate and catching up on the thought-leadership taking place outside the walls of your enterprise. I don’t recommend discussing these topics over Thanksgiving dinner with your extended family. They love you, but surely do not get as excited as you do about business leadership, product management, and marketing. Enjoy and leave your thoughts in the comments below. Some thoughts on innovation from Google’s Astro Tellervia The Equity KickerInsight from Google’s current Director of New Projects on how to deliver step changes in a company’s direction/performance, rather than incremental change. Developing Organization Mission, Vision & Valuesvia Branding Strategy InsiderBranding basics that are often overlooked when you are in the weeds of your week. Take some time over the holiday weekend to develop or re-evaluate your mission, vision, and values. Then, bring your ideas to your team on Monday. Industry Reference: The Social Business Stack for 2011via Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang | Social Media, Web Marketing An interesting forecast, to the National Venture Capital Association, of where the enterprise social business space is headed in 2011. How can your organization capitalize on this insight? Ten Questions Internet Execs Should Ask And Answervia TechCrunchMorgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker’s slides highlight strategic points that executive teams should be...

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