Marketing: Traditional or Social Media?

Macro Marketing

Kool-Aid or Cappuccino?

New vs. Traditional Media?” Is that even the right question?

… And the Marketing Micro Trends

I’m not sure which changes quicker; trends in food, fashion or marketing?

Debates rage on the merits of natural versus genetically modified foods. Are we moving towards South American or Middle Eastern cuisine? We diffract between local, organic and artisan. Really? Does anyone care beyond food consultants, critics and connoisseurs?

Similarly, over-active, hyper-caffeinated marketing mystics are quick to proffer their latest philosophical pronouncement on what’s in, what’s out, what’s dead and what’s not. And the new hot thing … the marketing dish de jour. [Read more…]

Marketing versus Sales

How Does Marketing & Sales Fit Together?

marketing versus sales like the chef vs. waiter

“Why can’t sales and marketing just get along?”

Marketing & Sales – Two sides to the same coin?

Sales and marketing,” a familiar phrase uttered in business.

But shouldn’t marketing come first?” bemoans the marketing department.

Why can’t marketing and sales get along,” laments the CEO.

Marketing versus Sales. Sales versus Marketing. Sales versus Marketing. Marketing or Sales? Two different sides of the same coin. One without the other… ineffective. Let me illustrate. [Read more…]

Effective Strategic Marketing Action Plans

Absent An Action Plan

Recipes are for cooking and marketing

Without recipes, implementation is inconsistent, loses focus & lacks accountability

Major Marketing Malfunction #6

A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Having performed numerous marketing assessments and marketing audits over the years, I often see good marketing intentions, (wishful goal-setting); deteriorate into a messy mixture of marketing initiatives with marketing ingredients impulsively amassed — in the absence of an action plan. Creating a strategic marketing action plan is akin to an Executive Chef’s key responsibility in creating recipes and menu planning that keeps guests returning for more.  [Read more…]

Select the Right Marketing Weapons, Instruments or Ingredients

Ineffective Integration

Select the Right Marketing Ingredients, Marketing Weapons, Marketing Instruments

Major Marketing Malfunction #5

Strategically Select Your Marketing Ingredients

Yesterday we discussed how marketing is not any one ingredient and that every touch point is a marketing opportunity. Since there are over 175 ingredients to choose from, the strategic selection of appropriate marketing weapons to maximize this marketing opportunity is critical. In evaluating clients’ marketing strategy, I frequently see that in the haste to “put something out there,” organizations undermine their marketing effectiveness by not being more discriminating and shrewd in their selection of marketing instruments.

Imagine walking into a kitchen, you survey the spice rack with its plethora of dissimilar seasonings, spices and herbs. The pantry is teeming with an array of ingredients of differing tastes, textures and aromas. The refrigerator and freezer contain yet more ingredients – dozens more. Each ingredient possesses distinct attributes. Some are sharp and tangy, some soft, sweet and seductive, some have more meat than others, and yes some are junk! [Read more…]

Marketing At Every Touch Point

An Apple - One ingredient doesn't

Marketing, like in cooking, isn’t any singular ingredient

Every Touch Point is a Marketing Opportunity

 “What do you think of Twitter?”

“Are traditional websites are thing of the past?”
“Should I be replacing my brochures and one-sheets with YouTube® videos?”

Three typical questions I hear when giving marketing speeches. But underlying these and many other similar questions is a mistaken singular focus on a specific marketing ingredient as if it’s going to be the panacea of one’s marketing. It would be like asking a chef,

“What do you think of pomegranates?”

Or, “Is goose liver passé?”

“Shall I get rid of the cauliflower and broccoli and replace them with broccoflower?”

Both sets of questions don’t make a whole lot of sense. Marketing, like cooking, isn’t any one thing you do. The power of marketing, as in cooking, is in the appropriate selection, combination and deployment of ingredients.

There are over 175 marketing ingredients in your “marketing pantry” – there’s plenty to select from! The key is strategically selecting the right ingredients for your particular business. Marketing ingredients are not just the obvious things like your business card, website or advertising, but everything in your business. Because everything you do, (and don’t do), sends a message: how you answer your phone, the quality of your service and the cleanliness of your facilities all send a message. [Read more…]

Mediocre Marketing Messages – A Major Marketing Malfunction

Mediocre Messaging

Mediocre Messaging is a Major Marketing Malfunction

Too many choices, too many options, it’s overwhelming …

Major Marketing Malfunction #4

Part 1 – The Issues

Your prospects, clients and referral sources are being bombarded with marketing messages almost every hour of every day. It’s worse than the cereal aisle in your grocery store. Too many choices, too many options, it’s overwhelming and more often than not, you end up sticking to your established preferences unless something irresistible cuts through the clutter.

  • In 1970, the average person was exposed to about 500 advertisements each day. In the early 1990s, it was 5,000.[1] Today it is estimated that people are exposed to close to 30,000 marketing messages a day.  [Read more…]

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…]

Brand Baloney or a Bold Brand Full of Promise

Brand Baloney

Is your brand phony baloney or bold and full of promise?

Is your brand phony baloney or bold and full of promise?

Major Marketing Malfunction #3

 Part 1 – The Issues

Is your brand bruschetta or phony baloney? The first is appealing and appetizing; the latter is the definition of nonsense or “foolish or deceptive talk.” A brand is a set of promises and associations that a person (or group) perceives about an organization, product, service, or now with increasing frequency, an individual.

Your brand associations may be tangible, explicit and intentional – that is, they may be communicated through your graphic identity and other overt tactical marketing means. Or, your brand association may be more implicit and intangible, but still within your control: how you answer the phone, the cleanliness of your facility, or your follow-up, are simple examples. Sometimes they may be out of your control, for example a thumbs-down website review, a harmful press article, or negative rumors about you.

Brands make promises, build relationships and possess personality. They amply your value proposition and create a valuable asset that can potentially surpass the value of your individual offering.

“If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.”~ Coca-Cola Executive

Brand Promise: If you think about taking a bite into a piece of Ghirardelli chocolate or a sip of Dom Perignon you probably envisage a specific sensory expectation. As you purchase an Apple iPhone, check into the Hyatt Regency or shop at Macy’s you probably have an expectation about the experience. This expectation, is essentially the promise of the brand whether based on your past experience, their marketing or someone else’s encounter. Years ago, I took my family on vacation to Italy, a culinary heaven. At the Spanish Steps in Rome, stands a world-renowned restaurant that constantly draws patrons. How can McDonalds thrive here? To Americans, Europeans and Asians, McDonalds delivers on a simple brand promise: a cheap, dependable, fast delivered meal in a clean establishment. What’s your brand promise?

Brand Relationship: Loyalty is the outcome of the strength, trust and depth of a relationship. But loyalty in a relationship doesn’t just apply to a person. It can be applied to an offering or brand that’s bold, holds strong values and is emotionally evocative. Are your followers loyal to your people, your offering or your brand?

Brand Personality: Every brand has a personality. For example, companies in the automotive, insurance and beverage industries have all very effectively crafted distinct personalities around their offerings. What’s the personality of your brand? What are the five words you want to be known by? Would they be the same five words your customers would give me if I asked them about you?

 

Positioning Products & Services – “The Battle for the Mind”

Poor Positioning

Unappetizing Positioning

Photo: Tobias Pohler

Major Marketing Malfunction #2

Part 1 – The Issues

Positioning your organization or offering: irresistible or unappetizing? No distinction has no appeal. Trout & Ries in their classic manifesto: Positioning calls it a “battle for the mind”. Furthermore, I would suggest if you don’t position yourself, the marketplace will position you … and it won’t be appealing! Just as a stock is foundational to making a soup or a sauce, positioning is foundational to marketing. In my thirty plus years of business experience I see poor positioning as one of the fundamental flaws in organizations’ marketing strategies.

Your organizations’ offering or your particular product or service offering must “own” a space in the marketplace that is uniquely yours. Your positioning must also be credible, defendable, and sustainable.

  • Credible positioning means when challenged with the words: “prove it!” you can back up your claims.
  • Defendable positioning means no one else can easily lay claim to your “space.”
  • Sustainable positioning means that it works today, next week, and next year.

A simply irresistible™ positioning starts with your Extraordinary Value Proposition; don’t just have an ordinary boring value proposition. Literally make it “extra – ordinary!” [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…]

Graphic Identity – Marketing your Brand Visually

Marketing Ingredient # 014 - Your Graphic Identity & Palette

Photo: Dave Di Biase

Food that’s colorful and visually appealing is more tempting.  Is your brand identity and color palette visually stimulating?  Or unappetizing marketing?

Your graphic identity is the visual representation of your brand.  It includes the logo, fonts, your color palette and any other tangible imagery such as photos, packaging and signage.  It’s visually marketing your brand through imagery. Brand identity reflects in every graphic display of your organization: Web site, printed materials, social media headers, golf shirts, and even your physical facility and vehicle fleet, (if you have them).  Your graphic identity is not your brand, (how you are perceived by the marketplace), but it is an important element of your branding.  Your graphic identity will probably be the first impression, the first message received by the outside world and your target market.

A strong brand has a graphic identity that is simple and distinct.  But is must also be consistent, relevant to your target audience and spark an emotional connection.  Think of robust brands such as Apple®, Starbucks®, Target®, Coca-Cola®, NBC® and Amazon®.  Can you see these brands?  What do you feel?  Each of these brands possess a level of simplicity combined with an instinctive emotion.

So what makes for a superior graphic identity?  [Read more…]

Your Marketing Calendar Prevents “Marketing Episodes”

Marketing Ingredient # 012

Photo: Maxime Perron

The key marketing ingredient that facilitates the success of your marketing goals is your marketing calendar. It helps you prioritize all the other ingredients and sequence them just like a recipe.

After all what is a recipe? A list of ingredients in specific portions accompanied by a sequence of strategically oriented actions.

Implementing your marketing calendar effectively, will not only enable you to coordinate all your marketing, but also assists you in budgeting your efforts.

A marketing calendar will strategically systemitize your marketing efforts and eliminate “marketing episodes” – when the panic sets in and you say – “We need more business, lets _____(Fill in the blank)*___ “ and causes more wasted marketing dollars than anything else!

* Redo our website / do a direct marketing campaign / launch a Facebook page / create a marketing video / and many 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!

Competitive Differentiation with Relevancy & Value

Marketing Ingredient # 008

Competitive Differentiation

Photo: Liz West

 

Competitive Differentiation – What make you different from everyone else? What attribute, specialty, service experience or customer preference uniquely belongs to you? Find it – communicate it – and you will command a premium in the marketplace … with a caveat.

There are many way to differentiate yourself: features, service, performance, pricing, target audience. BUT, it only matters if it matters to your client or customer. If they don’t appreciate the differentiation then don’t bother! Competitive differentiation is a step in the right direction – differentiators that your customer actually cares about and values is an ingredient to Irresistible Marketing™.

… I’m curious … what’s your competitive differentiation? Share here and pass it on!

Competitive Assessment – How do you rate relative to your competitors?

Marketing Ingredient # 007

Competitive Assessment

Photo: stock.xchng

A common pitfall among entrepreneurs and business executives alike is underestimating the competition. It’s a crowded and noisy marketplace – to be different you have to know what’s out there! (And please don’t tell us you have no competition!)
Also, don’t forget that two of the biggest competitors are apathy and the incumbent.
Key question: What are the key product – service attributes that are important to the customer? How do your competitors rate? How do you rate relative to your competitors? Plotting the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses relative to yours is a key marketing ingredient.

Target Market – Who’s The Ideal Target Audience

Marketing Ingredient # 006

Target on apple

Photo: Jay Lopez

Your target audience – Your best customers and clients are probably your most profitable … what attributes make them ideal? Who are your “ideal” customers? What do they look like? What are their attributes? Their needs? What’s their core issue? What is the fundamental problem that keeps them awake at night … which you can uniquely solve?

Irresistible Marketing™ starts here …
“To hit the target you must aim for the center – therefore start by defining the 100% ideal client – the bulls eye!”
Andrew Szabo – The Marketing Chef

Who’s On Your Marketing Team?

Marketing Ingredient # 005

Leadership in marketing

Photo: Svilen Milev

Your marketing team … your advisors … your marketing champion. Who are you listening to? Is the advice birthed out of strategy?
Be careful, everyone has a opinion about marketing, and you know what they say about opinions – everyone’s got one!

Also, do you have a champion that spearheads your marketing – the creation of demand for your offering? Marketing counsel needs to be strategic, profitable and proven!
“If your marketing champion cannot clearly clarify the distinction and the correlation between marketing and sales in a single sentence – fire them!”
Andrew Szabo – The Marketing Chef

(Photo: Svilen Milev  http://efffective.com )

The Totality of Your Product – Service Offering

Marketing Ingredient 004

A quality offering!

Photo: Daniel N. González

Your Offering? The quality of your product or service sends a message. How is it innovative? How does it address the customers’ core issues? Quality commands a premium and begins to create differentiation. Without a quality offering you have little to market. The quality of your product-service offering is in itself a powerful marketing ingredient.
Irresistible Marketing™ starts here …

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

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

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The Most Powerful Marketing Action You Can Take: A Strategic Trip

THE MOST POWERFUL MARKETING ACTION YOU CAN TAKE: A STRATEGIC TRIP
983 words – Less than 5 minutes to read

Imagine for a moment that you’re planning your first trip to Greece. You call a friend, who says “Greece — wonderful! I just took a cruise there. All you need are a few swimsuits!” A business associate hears where you’re going and says, “I love Greece. Be sure to bring hiking boots.” The professor who lives next door warns you, “I went for an archeology conference. Take enough paper and several pens — I almost ran out.” You take all the good advice and pack your suitcase. When you arrive, you don your swimsuit and hiking boots, and grab your paper and pens — for your ski trip on the slopes of Parnassos.

I know, you’re thinking the whole scenario is absurd. Nobody would spend that much money, have that much time to plan, and have this once-in-a-lifetime trip, and blow it by making inappropriate choices based on other people’s trips. But people do it with their companies — where the stakes are a lot higher than a ruined vacation — all the time.

A business will see a “great deal” on a newspaper ad and feel like they can’t pass it up — even though the company’s prospects don’t read that paper. Somebody at a network lunch mentions they got great results using a late night infomercial, and four different CEOs call their marketing departments on the way to the office. A retailer gets on the blogging bandwagon, and the unplanned blather tears down the image they’ve cultivated for years.

What’s the cause for these missteps which, at best, are a waste of money and, at worst, do irreparable damage? The lack of a marketing strategy. A company’s strategy is foundational. If you don’t have one, go clear your calendar for the rest of the day and get one. It’s that important.

In order to determine your company’s marketing strategy, do our 2×5 analysis: two topics, five questions each. They seem simple, but dig deep. Call in people from your office — heck, call some of your clients or vendors if you need to. Do what you must to discover the answers to these questions.

Topic 1: Your Company
Ask yourself the following questions about the business:

  1. Who are we? What is your brand personality? What’s your company’s identity? Look at your key people, your culture, projects where the company has excelled, the clients you attract and why. Craft a brand identity that is compelling to your ideal customer and that authentically fits who you are and what you do.
  2. What are we selling? What are you offering? What are the products, services, benefits and emotions you provide?
  3. Why are we in business? Go to your mission statement, vision, values and goals. Examine the unspoken values as well as the published ones. Compare the original vision to the ideal the company aims for today. How do these fit in your marketing plan?
  4. Where is the competition positioned? What positions have been taken by competitors, and what haven’t? What characteristic are already “owned” by a major competitor? How do you differ from the competition, and how are you similar?
  5. How do we differ? This is your Unique Selling Proposition — or better yet, your Extraordinary Value Proposition. What do you do that is credibly, sustainably, energetically your own?

Topic 2: Your Message
Ask yourself these questions about what you should communicate.

  1. Who is our target audience? Do you know who your ideal client is? What does a qualified prospect look like? Do you know their demographics? If it’s an organization, what are its characteristics? Most importantly, what “pain” does your ideal client feel that you can help cure?
  2. Why are we communicating? Why are you talking? What is it that you want to say? Develop your message and your core story. Everyone in your organization should be able to communicate your core story in 30 seconds and 5 minutes, with key players able to deliver it in a 15 minute conversation and a 45 minute presentation as well.
  3. What are we going to invest? Time to put your money where your marketing is. How much are you willing to spend now, and how much on the long term?
  4. How should we communicate? Given who you are and who your clients are, what marketing ingredients make sense? What media matches your message? What media conflicts with the image or message you’re trying to portray? Commit to a “hands-off” policy for whatever doesn’t fit — no matter who talks it up, no matter how good a deal you can get.
  5. When will we use the methods? Figure out your priorities. What’s urgent, what should be done in the next 6 months, what needs to be done sometime in the future? I suggest creating a rolling 90-day marketing calendar to keep the momentum going.

A marketing strategy will save you money, because it prevents throwing money into ineffective marketing tactics. It will prevent public perception missteps, because it will give you and all your employees guidance on who the company is and who it’s not. It will help you uncover opportunities, spend wisely, communicate consistently and attract your ideal customer over and over again.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ll tell you outright, strategy is my passion. Nothing excites me more than to see an organization transform through my proven strategic process. And the process generates results. Whether it’s opening up a whole new market for a credit union, taking a portable air conditioning company from 8 straight quarters of declining sales to a 42% increase in sales over 12 months or helping a technology company obtain 7 million in new business, it works. If you don’t have a comprehensive, authentic marketing strategy, or if yours needs to be updated, take care of it now. It’s the most important thing you’ll do.

Here’s another action step you can take: Start your year off right by getting MORE business! Watch your sales soar as you apply the ideas, concepts and practical action-steps from Andrew’s newly released “Foundations to Irresistible Marketing,” a 5 CD set and 180 page workbook. The secrets to Strategy, Publicity, Referrals, Networking and Sales are revealed to make your marketing irresistible. In addition, your purchase will provide 720 meals, enough to feed 24 orphans for 1 month at a designated Children’s Hope Chest Care Point facility in Swaziland, Africa; which has the highest AIDS rate in the world. So, when you invest in “Foundations to Irresistible Marketing,” you will not only transform your business but you will transform the lives of starving orphans. Click here to learn more.

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