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Tagged Marketing

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Entrepreneurs: Know Thy Marketing!

I don't know who is more exasperated, entrepreneurs flummoxed by marketers or me, upset that another entrepreneur has been flummoxed by marketers!

People, language is for communication and marketing terms, abused as they are, fall somewhere within the scope of language.  To communicate you need to learn the terms.  To practice marketing or to hire a marketer you need to grasp some basics. Please.

Marketing Help Rule 1.

(<> means "not equal to")

Blogging <> PR <> Brand <> SEO <> Logo <> Advertising <> Tagline <> Messaging <> FaceBook <> Positioning <> Twitter <>Lead Gen <> [Enter mktg term here]

Marketing Help Rule 2.

Trust me, you don't need all the marketing tactics listed in Rule 1.

Marketing Help Rule 3.

The right marketing tactics for you, right now depend on WHO your prospective customers are and WHAT stage your company is in.

Marketing Help Rule 4.

All Marketers have a core competency (or two).  Regardless, (almost) all Marketers will sell (almost) all marketing services.

Marketing Help Rule 5.

You need marketing to grow your business.  And more likely than not, you need or will soon need help marketing.  Admit it.

For a moment, forget everything you know or think you know or have heard about marketing.  Start with a clean slate.

Now imagine you are a new customer of a particular product or service.  You just finished buying.  You are a bit giddy: Continue reading “Entrepreneurs: Know Thy Marketing!” »

The Truth About Evil Marketers

A technical CEO learning marketing is the equivalent of a sales/marketing CEO learning development engineering.

Not.

I am not a developer.  If push comes to shove, I can code in PHP, or develop shell scripts, and truth be told, I did take a couple of ECE courses in college; courses which inexorably told me I was not going to be a developer.

My path to becoming a marketer was unusual, I think, which has had both its advantages and disadvantages.   I like to think I'm a "technical marketer," rather than what I call a "Madison Ave" marketer; not to dis the later, since they have their role to play in the grand scheme of marketing.  By technical marketer, I don't mean one who only markets technical products, or who does only "product marketing" in the industry vernacular, but rather a marketer who uses processes and actionable metrics to achieve near term business objectives that lead to realizing company vision.

IMO, development is harder than marketing.  Continue reading “The Truth About Evil Marketers” »

Market Segments

As with most marketing terms, the phrase "market segment" is often tossed about carelessly by entrepreneurs, technologists, and yes, even by some marketers. To my mind, however, segments are a cornerstone of market-driven business plans. Market segments are fundamental to a process-oriented view of taking technology to market and building business plans from the "bottom up."

In 1991, Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm defined a market segment as:

  • a set of actual or potential customers
  • for a given set of products or services
  • who have a common set of needs or wants, and
  • who reference each other when making a buying decision.

Most of this is pretty intuitive.  In a nutshell, a market segment is comprised of like buyers who share the same pain.  But there's more to it.   The reference part trips some people up.  The key point to understand is that the customers and potential buyers must be willing AND able to reference each other. 

So, for example,
Continue reading “Market Segments” »

Quick hit re: lead gen webinar

I just got off a webinar about lead gen in today's economic environment.   I was pleased to see several process-oriented and metrics driven marketing recommendations, including:

  • need to be revenue focused, rather than # of leads focused;
  • marketing taking greater responsibility for pipeline management;
  • measuring, testing, refining every step of way through pipeline;
  • identified information and activity overload problem;

A few key points still missing, IMHO.

First, in today's environment, business needs to be profits-focused, not just revenue-focused.  This is a critical distinction.   An expensive advertising campaign may add more leads to your pipeline, some of whom eventually buy.  You've increased revenue, but hurt the short-term bottom line.   (Arguably there may be longer-term benefits from raising "awareness" through advertising.)

Second, this may just be a language thing, but I'm guessing not.   Marketing and sales professionals continue to talk about the "sales process," e.g., the necessity to create activities and produce collateral that "nurture" customers through the sales cycle.   Despite the fact that this webinar correctly identified information overload as a problem, the end recommendations still pushed for "getting all the information the sales team needs into their hands."  Step back!  This is classic reactive marketing and emblematic of VP of Sales (& Marketing) driven marketing.

Key question to ask:  what is the buyer's process.

Third, "who is the prospect" was asked at the end of the webinar, when it should have been slide 1.   Even if your company was able to handle multiple segments before the economy tanked, you need to reassess to determine what are your profitable segments now. See point 1.

Comments welcome.

Who "Gets" Marketing?

A CEO of a high-tech start-up recently lamented to me:

I was told I needed marketing, so I hired a PR firm and after 6 months and a lot of money, I got nothing.

Paraphrasing, a local venture capitalist admits:

Most CEOs lack marketing skills.  They need marketing help.

Yet his portfolio is dominated by companies without dedicated executive marketers.

According to the uninitiated,
PR = Marketing = Advertising = Branding = Logo + Slogan = Lots of $$ and yet, sales suck.

Both the initiated and the uninitiated think sales suck because so does the web site, and the collateral, and the webinars, and the white papers, and the demo, and there are no leads, and they're attending the wrong trade shows, and there are neither counterpoints to the competition nor answers to buyer objections, and the product is missing this feature -- no that feature -- well, really, both features.

Is this really what's wrong?

In a seminar on venture financing we put on the other night, one of the presenters rightfully stated that the amount of money the entrepreneur is asking for will be important in determining the type of capital investors willing to fund the opportunity. $3M, for example, is often considered to small for many VCs. While true, I'm not sure the entrepreneurs got the point.

Typically, they've already decided they want VC money. So they pick the sum of investment based on the type of money and build their plan around that.
Continue reading “Who "Gets" Marketing?” »

The San Diego Marketing Scene

Since moving (returning) to San Diego from the San Francisco Bay Area in June of 2007, my running joke has been:

In the Bay Area I was a small fish in a large pond.  In San Diego, at least I'm a small fish in a small pond.

bah-dump, bump.

The San Diego market for marketing professionals certainly is different and has, not surprisingly, both its ups and downs.  Clearly, fewer opportunities exist for software and Internet high-tech marketers.  There are just not as many companies as in the SF Bay Area, including Silicon Valley.  San Diego has a strong bio tech industry, but the cross-over is not simple (or at least that's the perception).  Wireless technology is big here, led by, of course, Qualcomm which has resulted in a number of wireless/telecom start-ups.    There certainly is some crossover into this market.  It's my view, however, that a mini-bubble exists in that there are serious business model issues with some wireless start-ups, and I'm guessing the current economic downturn will expose these.  (I talk more about this in a separate post.)

Generally, I'm not feeling a lot of marketing love in San Diego.  Perhaps it is simply the natural evolution of a technology ecosystem.   First a region must build a strong technology base and then a demand for marketing expertise will emerge.  Despite the fact that San Diego-based WebSideStory was instrumental in leading the marketing ROI trend through its web analytics products, and the fact that there are several marketing related start-ups here, e.g., JuiceMetriQs, Island Data (now Overtone, I see), and Certona, generally, the idea that Marketing doesn't mean Madison Ave, appears to me to be poorly understood.

(BTW, I don't know the motivation, but Overtone moved its marketing organization to the Bay Area.  Aside from founders, until recently the entire Ortiva Wireless management team was from outside San Diego.   The same goes for Paraccel. Trend or merely emblematic of the state of San Diego resources?)

There is upside:
Continue reading “The San Diego Marketing Scene” »

Market By Numbers

For the last several years, many marketing professionals have been discussing and blogging about metrics-driven marketing.   As a matter of fact, measuring marketing ROI has become its own lucrative market.   Any marketing services vendor worth its salt is an ROI driven service and to determine ROI, one needs to measure metrics.

Hence, Market By Numbers.  Marketing by numbers goes way beyond measuring ROI, however.  "Market by numbers" also evokes an analytical, process-oriented approach to marketing.

Process-oriented and metrics driven marketing go hand-in-hand.  While I wouldn't say that such marketing derives from Engineering processes, it is similar, and is also born of analytical thinking.  We're not talking Madison Avenue here. (Not an inconsequential benefit of such marketing is the potential for a better relationship between marketing and technologists.)   While "market by numbers" is maybe not so easy as "paint by numbers," the point is that there is a process -- distinct steps one can take -- which provides CEOs and boards:

  • business plans with tight and defensible financials;
  • marketing plans with well-defined, cost-effective budgets;
  • fast and optimized customer acquisition;
  • well-defined, scalable, and replicable sales;
  • mistakes, but assurance that lessons were learned.

So you might ask, if this is so great, why has it taken so long to get here?
Continue reading “Market By Numbers” »

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