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Author: Joshua Paul

Strengthening the Reasons Customers Should Buy Your Product

Many business leaders approach questions of growth, revenue opportunities, and customer acquisition from the perspective of “Why would customers not choose us?”. Many product managers plan their offerings by reducing reasons why customers might not choose their product or service. While those are important aspects of successful products to consider, this model is upside down. Successful businesses look at their brand and products with the intention of giving their customers, and prospective customers, reasons to pick their product over all alternatives. Alternatives Extend Beyond Direct Competitors Alternatives include competitors, as well as other ways customers can solve their problems. For an example, a not-for-profit technology company that provides a donor-management system to help manage fundraising campaigns needs to view alternatives as both not-for-profit solution providers offering similar products, as well as other ways to drive cause marketing and fundraising such as Facebook Deals. Executive at this software company need strong answers to this question. Why would a not-for-profit organization select you over the full spectrum of alternatives? This critical “guilty until proven innocent” approach causes executives to ask the hard questions and not overlook details that are important to their market.  In turn,  they lead their teams to continuously refine their offering until there is no reason for their product not to “sell like iPhones in June” in its target market. Identifying reasons why customers would not chose your product should not cast blame on anyone for designing a product...

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Can Your Marketing Team Recreate the “Magic” of Disney’s Latest Campaign?

Finding the Essence of Your Value Proposition For those of you who know me, you know that I have a big place in my heart for the Walt Disney Company. Having worked for the “the mouse”, met the love of my life at Disney World, and gotten married on Disney property with a view of the castle in the distance, I believe in the “magic” that the Disney brand represents. Those who have vacationed at a Disney resort (Disney World, Disney Land, etc.) know the “magic” I am referring to. If you have never been to Disney, you know what the brand represents from hearing friends and family talk about their experiences with Disney. Disney “magic” is the emotional response created by artfully crafted traditions, theming, and customer service. The essence of Disney’s value proposition is the memories that couples, families, and friends can create. Learning from Disney’s New Marketing Campaign Disney’s new campaign brilliantly highlights the “magic” that real people experience. Disney knows that when they exceed guests’ expectations, their guests want to share that story with others. By creating a platform for people to share their Disney memories, Disney is able to bring the smiles and memories that they have always highlighted in their marketing further down to the level of real people. When you see the videos online, or on TV, after a long day of work or...

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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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