Small Business Marketing Strategy & Process Development


Creating Your Own Vocabulary – Tracyisms

on August 15 in Soapbox | 0 comments

As you learn new things, identify trends, or solidify your own ideas about your industry or your world, it’s often useful to create your own vocabulary. I’ve created this post as a running tab of the words I’ve created or picked up on and made my own. I call them Tracyisms. Do you have words that aren’t really words you’re using regularly? Post in the comments! Tracyisms Bounce-backiness: The measure of your ability to bounce back from a difficult or stressful situation or event. Scarecitement (or scarecited): Feeling scared and excited at the same time, which happens often. I’ve heard it said that “the difference between fear and excitement is the breath.” This term can be used to describe the specific place before you’ve harnessed the breath or decided how to feel as well as the general space of not knowing which way you will go–or being comfortable in the limbo if you choose. It’s the journey. Conflictedness: The feeling or state of holding conflicting or competing ideas in the mind, which creates indecision or procrastination. It’s not always bad; it just needs to be...

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Change Starts with You (and 3 Steps to Start)

on May 17 in Soapbox | 0 comments

“Stuckness” sucks. The way out? Realizing that nothing is keeping you glued in place but you. That you don’t need to wait for something to happen to loosen you from the grip of whatever’s got you. And the big realization: That change starts with you. What do you mean, “Change Starts With You?” It starts with a hope, or a thought that things can be better than they are now. Then, exploring how that might happen. Accepting that we do have the power to make change. It’s doing this versus dwelling on the negative, blaming others, shutting down new ideas, thinking it’s not worth the effort, or whatever other negative self-talk may be taking place. All those things cause us to be stuck. You control the dialogue with yourself. If your response to everything is “I can’t, I can’t,” you will stop change from happening. I admit–I’ve been guilty of this before. What I needed to do was turn that around. To really believe the “change starts with you” mantra. Blamethrowing? It’s usually a pretty strong reaction to something.  This is when change makes you, because you are confronted with something–stress, or a specific situation. I remember being in a work environment where everyday was a chore and I dreaded it. I didn’t realize then that change started with me. I felt trapped.  At the time, there was some limiting belief about myself that I didn’t make change, or if I did, didn’t do it fast enough. Or maybe the belief was that I could change others. Have you been there? Either way, change starts with you. In order to make change at any level of “stuckness,” you have to identify a small action you can take and from there gain momentum. This is, in part, what I help success coaching clients to do. And I do it based on looking at what they truly want and what they naturally excel at (their strengths). Obviously, it’s highly situational to each individual, but the change has to come from having the courage to take that initial action. Action is the cornerstone of confidence–and change. Action is the cornerstone of confidence--and change. Click To Tweet 3 Steps to Getting Started Feeling...

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StartUp Connect Summary, Part 2

on December 19 in Soapbox, Tech | 0 comments

(This is a continuation from Part 1.) I only attended the Saas/e-commerce breakouts since tech marketing is more my thing.  Here are my rough and random notes, with commentary. Brad Jannenga of WebPT and Bob La Loggia of Appointment-Plus had an amusing session addressing life as an entrepreneur.  No slide deck, just a background of changing images with their heads on bodies of animals, icons like Jules and Vincent, and even inanimate objects like jet fighters. In terms of challenges, they noted execution (Bob) and prioritization (Brad).  Basic as it sounds, it obviously was important to state that “the right product and demand for it is required” for success.  (In my mind, when marketing is an integral part in product development instead of being brought in as sales support after the fact, success can be assured. But, I’m biased of course!) Metrics and measurement was also covered, with monthly recurring revenue (MRR) a key for SaaS companies.  Other measurements include churn, customer acquiring cost, and LTV (which should be 3x the acquisition costs). Trends identified included “platform as a service, portability aka ” How is my data formatted and how do I get it out of there?” (Brad), and enterprise service bus (Bob). Brad  had some great points around content marketing, such as “Be a voice in the industry,” and he noted how marketing has changed and is “no longer about tradeshows and ads but is science now.” I think it has always been thought of as (at least part-) science, just in larger organizations.  Now small businesses and startups are getting more savvy and adoption of testing and measurement is more commonplace (and in part because tools are more affordable). Other panelists addressed marketing in interesting ways as follows: Carlos Roman from Insight highlighted the shift that has happened since the 1990s in solution marketing, which is from a scarcity of information (from the buyer’s perspective) to abundance via the Internet.  The content provided allows you to be found at the right time. Now, when an enterprise client calls, he says,  the sale is 60-80% completed. Alan Lobock, co-founder of SkyMall and now Worthworm, raised the point about investors needing to know what the sales cycle is like...

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Marketing Soapbox: Nonprofits Need to Segment

on March 19 in Non-profits, Soapbox | 0 comments

Nonprofits need segmentation strategies. One of the biggest problems I see as a donor is when I receive mailings and other costly marketing materials (such as gala invites) when I have only donated a small amount to a particular charity. Nonprofit organizations need to understand their markets (i.e., target donor personae) and design communications strategies  accordingly. For example, we might classify any nonprofits’ donors into three types: Philanthropists,  Cause Supporters, and General Public, as illustrated by the sample chart at right*. Philanthropists will donate because they have vast resources but may not give consistently because they have varying commitment levels. Cause Supporters may or may not have volumes of cash to donate but they will consistently donate to a cause they care about. In other words, they have high commitment levels and are often involved beyond monetary contributions (or instead of them, in some cases). The General Public can consist of new donors with any amount of cash (but sometimes only a small amount) and their reasons for donating a very different than the other two groups. To spend a lot of marketing attention on this group may or may not make sense depending on a nonprofits’ budget and operational concerns.  Obviously, the best place to focus is the first two groups, but if there is not an abundance of of donations or fundraising success, then looking at that third group and how to segment it appropriately will be a key strategy in raising funds. Understanding the WHYS of donating for this group is imperative to construct a marketing initiative that makes sense. (It should be noted that a complete segmentation of each of these 3 groups specific to a particular organization would yield the best marketing results.) Also, looking at the data for the General Public–as evidenced by any tracking methods or accounting software–will be important. Ask questions of the data such as: What are the ranges of amounts donated and the percentages of donations in each? How many new donors from this sector did we have year-over-year? What do we attribute any changes (increases or decreases) to? Or if it stayed the same, where did they come from consistently? Using this data plus any specialized market research...

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Meta-Blogging: 21 Unwritten Marketing-Related Blog Posts

on September 2 in Soapbox | 0 comments

I should be blogging more frequently, I admit. Really, lack of time shouldn’t be an excuse for any of us. Mostly, I think there’s so much that needs to be said to the SMB market about marketing.  That realization led me to this post,  which is actually a list of blog post topics I’d like to write about.  I may be cutting corners but, hey, it’s a new post.  Let me know if any of these strike your fancy and maybe I’ll get to work on some real blogging . . . Marketing-Related Blog Posts Titles and Ideas Product Development: The Missing Link Process:  A Service Differentiator How Marketing Compares to Pushing Drugs Why Your Marketing Tasks Fail (or are at least ineffective) You Don’t Know, Because You Don’t Track Marketing’s Role in a Knowledge Economy OR Marketing Is Knowledge Work: Invest Accordingly You’re Too Busy to Succeed: Here’s Why OR Tactics Keep You Too Busy to Succeed Marketing: Part Science, Part Art, but Whole Hearted Stop Trying to Solve Your Communications Problem Misdiagnose Marketing Issues . . . and Misuse Funds Don’t Underestimate the Work Required If You Don’t Invest in Your Company, Who Will? Ease on Down the Road . . . to Marketing Failure What You Need to Make Smart Marketing Decisions You Don’t Need Marketing, You Need Sales Learning to Love Marketing Strategy Unconscious in the Ocean: When Businesses Ignore Their Markets If You Really Want to Improve, Stop Following Others Brand-Based Decision-Making Internal Marketing’s Blind Spots: Value, Logic, and Competition Born Yesterday:  Where Today’s Marketers Come From  ...

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Someone Has to Be the CMO

on July 26 in Small Business, Soapbox, The Office | 1 comment

Many small businesses or even mid-to-large-sized businesses with geographic dispersion have marketing people in-house or at least marketing-minded employees, whether at the top or within the company’s ranks.  But oftentimes, there’s not a dedicated, experienced resource at the C-level.  The lack of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or equivalent leadership role often results in a task-based approach to marketing, which means energy and resources can get expended based on assumptions, whims, and good sales pitches vs. data, analysis, and strategic goals.  The result?  Unknown value and potential waste of profits. For every company, it may not be feasible to bring in a marketer at this level and caliber; the costs of an executive search alone could be more than what is usually allocated in a market budget!  Bringing in an outside firm is also not always a smart economic investment.  So what is the internal champion of strategic marketing to do? My advice is find an ally–someone you trust who knows what questions to ask to put the potential for a marketing strategy into perspective, can help that get traction within the organization, and will assist with implementation at a cost in line with expected outcomes.  Large companies know that, for effective marketing results, there has to be a CMO at the helm; in small business, someone has to be the CMO (even if acting or undercover) so it might as well be you. Ready for your new role?  Let’s talk.  ...

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