How To Grow A Small Business In A Crowded Market Segment

Many small businesses are faced with the same challenge – how to differentiate their service or product offering and increase their customer base. Most small businesses are created by the vision of the founder and lots of hard work. As the business achieves early growth, the founder may bring in family members or others to help run the business. Through hard work, the business achieves success and builds a stable customer base. Now the founder has become a manager, with most of his or her attention focused on running the business. However, after a while the business plateaus and growth becomes harder to achieve and sustain.

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Brand Value – What Does Brand Value Mean To A Small Business?

The most common understanding of brand value is a percentage of financial value assigned to the brand’s name. It is an educated guess based on how much more a customer will pay to be associated with the brand.

Let’s move past the educated guess part and toward the trust factor associated with the brand.

Nike, BMW, Pampers, and Southwest Airlines all covet their brand value because it represents a repeatable and trusted experience associated with the brand. In essence, it’s the brand’s reputation.

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Are You Investing In The Right Marketing Channels?

Most B-to-B marketers are faced with the dilemma of more marketing channels than resources.

We are living in the age where there is a marketing channel or marketing platform for almost every aspect of B-to-B marketing. From outbound channels for customer acquisition to platform channels for managing the marketing process.  It seems there is a provider at every turn offering the latest marketing technology with promises that their technology will wholeheartedly produce the marketing results you are looking for.

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The Demise Of Personal Choice

Will AI know what’s best for us?

I’ve been reading predictions with some amusement about how AI virtual assistants will make our lives easier and better by thinking for us. The prognosticators of AI technology remind me of the early days of social media and its love fest promise of brands building relationships and interacting with their customers. Well, we all know where that got us. Which brings me to AI platforms and big tech.

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MarTech – Blending Marketing & Technology

Do you have the resources to achieve your business goals?

Altimeter Research recently released a new research report entitled Key Elements of a Next-Gen Digital Marketing Strategy.  In the report, they correctly identify that marketing is no longer considered a stepchild on the organizational chart but rather a leader in innovation and digital transformation.

Today, achievement of many business goals requires an integrated digital strategy that encompasses traditional awareness goals as well as the ability to reach customers on an on-demand personal level thought to be unachievable just a few years ago.

Below are my thoughts for business-to-business marketers as they start to navigate the technology and resources needed to achieve their business goals.

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Where Is The Urgency?

Smaller manufacturing firms are still viewing marketing as an expense rather than an investment.

Why do manufacturing firms treat marketing as an afterthought?

Currently, I’m in prospecting mode for new business. Saying good bye to Dallas and hello to Denver has required me to rev-up my prospecting skills and make business contacts in a new region. One of the realities I’m seeing is the lack of urgency or thought that manufacturing firms display toward their own brand.

Let me explain. There are fewer big dog companies in Colorado than there are in Texas. This is due to several factors, including cost of living, strain on natural resources, availability of affordable housing, etc. For comparison, the population of Dallas and Fort Worth is greater than the entire state of Colorado. Most of the business activity in state is spread out along the front range. Some market segments such as healthcare and recreation display some pretty savvy branding chops. However, many of the smaller manufacturing firms are still viewing marketing as an expense rather than an investment.

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In Social Media We Trust?

Is there guilt by association for brands on social media platforms?

Well, here we are at another crossroad for social media platforms. Masters of the universe in Silicon Valley are being taken to task for their lack of control and protection of user information and accountability for the content posted to their platforms. Both of these topics are specifically related to trust. Continue reading

How the Lenten Season Weaned Me From Facebook

The day after Fat Tuesday is a time for taking stock of what’s going on in our lives.

The day after Fat Tuesday is a time for taking stock of what’s going on in our lives.

Giving up Facebook for the Lenten Season showed me how manipulative it has become.

Go ahead, I DARE you – avoid logging onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever your social media platform of choice is for six weeks. This is one way to gain perspective on what a total time suck, and how manipulative these global monsters have become. This is not a rant about Facebook and their apparent disregard for protecting their users private information, there’s enough of that going around already, but rather a reflection on distancing myself a seemingly innocuous part of my daily routine. Continue reading

Rethinking The News Intake Cycle

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Why day old news may be better for you

Today we live in a two-hour news cycle environment. It’s exhausting, not only for those charged with gathering and reporting the news, but more for us that consume the news. Overload is inevitable, leading to accepting the unacceptable as normal behavior.

Bombarded by the likes of FOX, MSNBC, and the social media channels — Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube — we can find little respite to gather our thoughts and make informed decisions as to what is credible content and the effect it has on us. Continue reading