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 Sangria
Serving Size: Makes about 100 servings


  • 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

Thoroughly 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 and stir to blend. Add ice cubes and soda and garnish with fruit slices.
Courtesy of the NBC’s Today Show Weekend Edition circa 2005.

Recipe #2: Business Growth Through Better Marketing
Serving Size: Fuels a one person business to a Fortune 100 enterprise.


Social Objects

  • 2 weekly freshly-ground blog articles
  • 1 buyer-oriented news release each week
  • 10 comments on blogs, groups, or forums weekly


  • 1 new eBook each month (unsalted)
  • 2 educational webinars every month
  • 1 fresh PDF-ed presentation


  • 1 well-mixed promotion regiment
  • A pinch of valuable information for your community several times a day

Conversion Tools

  • Targeted, optimized landing pages (preferably simple)
  • 1 package of lead analytics
  • 5 cups of lead nurturing

Preheat your strategy by knowing your audience and gaining a deep understanding of the different buyer personas in your target segments. Understanding what is important to them and the language they use will guide your marketing strategy (Recipe tip: Even if you think you are an expert on your market, go on a customer interview. You’ll come back with five eye-opening insights you didn’t know before.).

Next, take a rolling pin to your ego and accept that your products (and how great they are) do not matter to 97% of your audience. Produce interesting content that is meaningful to each buyer persona by focusing on the problems your market faces, not your company or products. (Recipe tip: Multiply your efforts by engaging your entire staff in developing content.)

Turning your product-oriented web site into a portal of thought-leadership for your industry does not take huge budgets and Fortune 500-size marketing departments. Be sure to include compelling calls to action with each bite of content that drive prospects to landing pages where you can convert them into the top of your marketing funnel.

Sprinkle your market with your insightful content. Use tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slideshare, and email marketing to promote your content to your organization’s network (email list, followers, blog subscribers, fans, etc.). If the content is valuable enough to your market, members of your network will share your ideas with their networks and come back for more. If, after serving your content, your network does not ask for seconds, learn from feedback you receive and try again. Producing great content that catches fire in your market is a numbers game.

Once you understand your market, you and your team must continuously strive to produce ever more interesting content. However, the way and frequency in which you promote your content is critical. Consistently promoting your ideas (not your products) is key to an effective inbound marketing strategy that your bottom-line will love.

Continuously stir your marketing funnel so that your results never settle. The days of producing an article or email campaign and waiting for the leads to flow in are over. Set up an assembly line for creating great content and getting that content in front your target buyer personas.

Follow this recipe for at least 4 months (measuring, testing, and adjusting along the way) and reap the delicious rewards.

Together, these recipes lay out how to have the best Sangria on the block, as well as how to out-market your competition by generating valuable tools and information for your buyer and user communities, then promoting that content where your target audience is already spending their time looking for solutions.

Do you have any holiday recipes you want to share? I welcome your comments, recipes, and insight below.