Positioning Products & Services Purposefully & Profitably

Profitable Positioning

Chocolate soufflé

Major Marketing Malfunction #2

Part 2 – The Solution

Yesterday’s post outlined how a poor positioning for your organization or offering without distinction or appeal is unappetizing and far from irresistible.  And positioning yourself with purpose and intention is not just a good marketing exercise – it’s a profitable one!

Positioning is as foundational to marketing, as a stock is to a soup or sauce. If your stock is rancid the soup or sauce will be unappetizing! And it’s not enough to just be differentiated – although that is important. What is the value you bring to your target market? The recognized value you bring to your clients combined with your novelty and differentiation will position you, your organization or your offering with the highest potential profit.  [Read more…]

Market Conversations – Listening to the Marketplace

Lackluster Listening

Lackluster-Listening-vs-Market-Conversations

Photo: Ryan Glanzer

Major Marketing Malfunction #1

Listening or broadcasting? Are we singing our praises so loudly to our target audience that we can no longer hear the marketplace conversation? To be effective in our marketing, listening is as important as broadcasting. In reality, not listening or just poor, lackluster listening damages your advertising, dilutes your brand, and undermines your marketing campaigns.

Effective listening in the marketplace reveals strategic answers about your target market, their core issues and decision-making criteria. Without this, your marketing – may turn into a futile investment. It would be like planning a dinner party without knowing who’s coming to dinner. Can you imagine the embarrassment of making a steak au poivre for a distinguished vegan guest! Irrespective of how good a cook you are – not taking your prospective guests’ (audience) preferences into consideration can lead to disaster.

Three causes behind lackluster listening [Read more…]

Brand Taglines – Your Key Marketing Ingredient to Position your Offering

BRAND TAGLINES

Marketing Signature Ingredient #15

Marketing Ingredient # 015 - Your Brand Tagline

Photo: M. A. Makky

Part 1 – Tagline Basics

When you think of a company, product, or service, what is one of the first things that come to mind?  Probably the tagline With so many business names out there and many more goods and services, memorable differentiation is key. Think about it, can you remember the name of your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant?  You will more than likely remember it as ‘eggs and bacon’, or ‘the nacho platter’.  This applies to many things we spend our money on.

Taglines that are memorable position your offering in the mind of your target audience.  Taglines are the key ingredient that will make your business, product, or service memorable above all others.  Taglines are what make certain cereals stand out and sell better than others.  Taglines position particular automobiles to be dependable: “Built Ford Tough” or perhaps the exceptional: Land Rover “Go beyond.

It’s unclear when the first tagline was ever used. However we do know that in 1907, a coffee company used a slogan stating their brand was “good to the last tiny drop.”  That slogan was used well into the 1980s. Maxwell House proved a great tagline withstands the test of time.  Others have had similar success stories following a few simple principles.  [Read more…]

What’s Your Story?

Marketing Ingredient # 011

Is your message as bland as spam?

Photo: Joe Gough

Every person, every business, every organization has a story to tell. Sadly, most are as bland as spam!

Children and adults alike, love stories. A good story is the underpinning to great movies, sermons and life! And your core story is a key foundational ingredient to your marketing, just as a tasty stock is foundational to an excellent soup or sauce!

Find your story. Structure it as a story. Begin with an irresistible set-up; the middle holds you with fascination or action, and the end builds to climax and resolution.
In addition, make sure it’s relevant to your target audience. Ensure it is persuasive (moves the heart, mind and soul), and it’s compelling  … ignites action!

What’s The Personality of Your Brand?

Marketing Ingredient # 010

Branding iron

Photo: Shutterstock F.C.G.

Every brand has a personality – what’s yours?

Every automobile brand has a particular personality … actors, singers and great speakers all have a distinct personality.

What are the five words you want to be known by?

Test it:

* Is it emotionally evocative?
* Is it authentic?

* Is it aligned to your vision?

Whether the brand is for an organization or for yourself – make it intentional and explicit – don’t let it be accidental and implicit!

Your email address – What does it say about you?

Marketing Ingredient # 003

Email Address @ Symbol

Photo: Zoran Ozetsky

 

Your email address –  What does it say about you?
Does it support your personal brand?
… especially if you’re in business for your self?
Using @yahoo.com, @att.net, @gmail.net, @hotmail.com etc., while appropriate for a personal email, for business sends the wrong message! Invest the ten bucks – get an appropriate domain name (URL) and set up a professional email account.
Irresistible Marketing™ starts here …

“Everything you do and everything you don’t do sends a message.”
Andrew Szabo – The Marketing Chef

 

 

 

Effective URLs – Irresistible Marketing Starts Here …

Marketing Ingredient # 002

Your URL www

Photo: Svilen Milev

 

 

Your web address –  What does it say about you or your business or organization? Three things to consider:

1. Does it add or subtract from your brand?
2. Is it memorable?
3. Does it help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Irresistible Marketing™ starts here …

 

(Photo: Svilen Milev)

Business Name / Organization name – What Does it convey?

Marketing Ingredient #001

Marketing Ingredient # 001 - Your Business Name

Photo: Bill Davenport http://lightnshadow.blogspot.com

Irresistible Marketing™ starts here  … Marketing Ingredient # 001 – Your name – What does it convey  about you, your organization or business?

 

 

 

Marketing, Innovation and the Branding Disasters of 2010

The power of a ubiquitous commanding brand is undeniable. It gets our attention. We find them irresistible. Large companies invest millions into building and protecting their brand. But in the “everything you do sends a message” department, the higher you climb the bigger the potential fall.

24/7 Wall St. published a list of top ten name brands that have appear to have lost over $100 billion, (yes that’s a “b” not a typo) since the beginning of the year. The selection criteria was based on evaluations from top branding companies: Interbrand and Brand Z’s brand valuation methodology and a whole host of other market and financial criteria.

There are the obvious reputation management disasters: the oil spill of BP (BP), Toyota’s (TM) vehicular debacle, the SEC investigation of Goldman Sachs (GS) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) recall calamities.

But then there are brands that have lost their way – companies once known for their innovation: Sony (SNE), Adobe (ADBE), Dell (DELL), Research in Motion (RIMM), Nokia (NOK). The lessons to their fall are a reminder to all of us, (in Peter Drucker’s words): “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.”

It is interesting that Drucker chose to put marketing ahead of innovation. After all, a decent product that is well marketed will always outperform a great product that has only modest marketing. A lesson for all of us. Pay attention to your marketing, especially your reputation. And never lose your streak of innovation.

Click here for the full article “The 10 Biggest Brand Disasters of 2010” in Daily Finance.

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management

Discontinuous Change or Incremental Change?

Discontinuous Change or Incremental Change?
by Andrew Szabo

(Originally authored in September 2000)

Alvin Toffler, in his introduction to Future Shock, said, “Change is the progress by which the future invades our lives.” September is often a month of change, the future is invading our lives a little … our children are back in school a new year – new teachers – a new grade. You may find the rhythm of business changes, and of course, we have all been hoping that the weather would change!

Well we finally got a brief respite this week with our first rain in 70+ days! But then it went back to 90-degree heat and no rain – unfortunately that was only an incremental change – we went from the 100s to 90s. No inspiration on change there. A perusal through my collection of business and marketing books was a little disconcerting. The problem with books on change: books are static; change, by definition, is dynamic. There is, then, almost always a lack of synchronicity between what the reader knows of change in life, and what he or she experiences on the page. It does not help that the topic seems to attract writers who–in many instances–never oversaw any change efforts at all. Thus, most books on change are stern little sermons about pulling up your socks and looking for opportunities in adversity, peppered with snake-oil aphorisms, mantras of dubious efficacy (“Reframe, restructure, revitalize, renew,” comes to mind).

Another popular approach is anecdotal: a story of how people did–or didn’t–survive whatever grisly processes a particular company was going through. Many strategic leaders at companies, abetted by a sense of urgency and bevies of willing consultants, have convinced themselves that all they need to do to change is to decide to do it and then tell the troops, in the manner of “Star Trek’s Captain Picard, to “make it so.”

But isn’t the urge and the ability to “make it so” two separate things? Any kind of change is an organic process composed of many competing elements, an inevitable, unavoidable force with a life of its own. “Discontinuous,” as opposed to incremental, change is especially so. It is shaped by external forces–technological, competitive and regulatory innovation or the decline and rise of whole industries and regional economies–that engineer a radical break with the past. I have found that my strategic work in the last five years increasingly deals with clients facing discontinuous change brought on by external forces. Naturally, the commercial applications of the Internet have been a pervasive driver to change.

Why are we so resistant to change? Is it the fear of moving from that which is known to that which is unknown? I have seen many companies go through: “rational” resistance to change; the search for people to blame; increased informal communication, faction formation; the emergence of informal leadership; realignment of relationships, etc. However, the radical redirect that discontinuous change heralds, often requires a transformation of the culture in an organization. It means changing the values and worldviews of its people. People don’t come by their values lightly and they don’t check them at the company door, so they surely don’t give them up easily. Psychologists argue that people experience change as loss — even if they accept the need or inevitability of it. Change, like loss, requires time to repair.

An interesting collection of essays: “Discontinuous Change: Leading Organizational Transformation” was compiled by consultants from the Delta Consulting Group in New York. No one will be surprised to learn that C.E.O.’s loom large as change agents, though they might be surprised that the authors zero in on senior management, rather than the much- maligned middle management, as a major source of resistance to change. In addition, to believe they have a stake in the future and in not being an obstacle to change, middle-level employees must feel that the discomfort is being spread around equitably and that the company is willing to help them gain skills and opportunities they can use to move forward in their careers, wherever they end up.

In counseling our clients in branding and marketing matters, a quote from an esteemed colleague often comes to mind: “it’s like trying to ask a goldfish describe the water they are swimming in.” Discontinuous innovation compounds the problem in that they are often no longer in the gentle creek they knew so well, but they are about to merge into the perils of the Amazon River! Bon voyage — the future is about to invade your life!

Back to the Future

Back to the Future
by Andrew Szabo

Often I find myself counseling our clients to market with a customer-centric approach versus a product-centric approach. This thinking is supported by the results of a survey of global companies that I recently came across. The Economist Intelligence Unit and Andersen Consulting contend that “Customer Relationship Management” (CRM) is becoming central to corporate strategy. While only 18 percent of businesses surveyed are currently organized around customer type, the figure is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2002.

Since the Internet allows the (already unpredictable) customers to exercise even greater freedom of choice, major corporations must therefore craft a clear customer relationship strategy. Businesses are shifting their attention from attracting new customers to retaining profitable ones and fully realizing their profit potential. And, in some cases, they will “choose-to-loose” unprofitable customers.

“Focusing on customer needs seems the most basic, fundamental tenet of business. Yet, major corporations are just now beginning to blend strategic thinking, management resources, front-line support and technology to better understand and serve more sophisticated buyers,” said Dale Renner, global managing partner of Andersen Consulting’s Customer Relationship Management practice. “In the wake of relentless cost-cutting, organizations are developing long-term customer relationships as a path to enhancing profitability … this shift is nothing short of revolutionary.”

Other major findings of the survey include:

  • Companies are becoming more sophisticated at tracking customer profitability. Nearly 50% said that customer profitability would be a critical measure by 2002, up from 26% today.
  • By 2002, 83 percent of companies expect to have customer data warehouses, up from about 40 percent today.
  • More than 60% of businesses believe that “changing customer demographics and needs” and the “pressure to customize” their offerings in light of these changes, now have the most profound influences on their business
    strategies.
  • This new sophisticated approach will be aided by the evolution in interactive technology, specifically the soaring popularity of the Internet. Companies predict their use of the Internet to collect customer data will surge 430% by 2002.

Since not all customers are created equal companies need to build viable relationships to intelligently gather more data and discern the differences among customers. This “customer knowledge” can shape their offerings and marketing propositions based on the relative value these customers bring to the enterprise.

At The Marketing Chef we are particularly excited by the Internet’s capability to build customer knowledge. In my previous life in direct marketing we were able to build databases over a few months using mail, within weeks by telephone, but now with the Internet we can literally help our clients build at the speed of light! In addition, not only is it faster but also it is qualitatively far richer. New levels of customer learning lead to an increased ability to communicate with relevance to a targeted audience that is interested.

So the future lies in developing intelligent relevant relationships …  a premise that dates back to the prehistoric dawn of communication.  Back to the future.

More Business Decisions Occur Over Lunch…

“More business decisions occur over lunch and dinner than at any other time, yet no MBA courses are given on the subject.”
~ Peter Drucker

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