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Integrated Marketing vs “Marketing Popcorn” October 20, 2014

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Leadership, Marketing Persona.
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I have a pet peeve, and it’s marketing popcorn. No, not the marketing of popcorn. “Marketing popcorn.” This is the exact opposite of truly effective integrated marketing. (more…)

Arm your sales team with the best corporate pitch. 3 guidelines to follow. October 2, 2014

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Leadership, sales enablement, value proposition.
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Executives and sales reps continue to struggle with the best way to present their company to new prospects. Especially if you are part of an early stage company, your personal and professional credibility are on the line. Unfortunately, the most common first slides I see in the obligatory corporate pitch are about technology. There is a much, much better way to open the door. (more…)

What’s your marketing team’s charter? February 22, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Leadership, Marketing Operations.
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One of the biggest challenges marketers face is in setting expectations with their internal “customers.” Unnecessary friction results when marketers and sales managers don’t understand the hand-off points between the two organizations. Or even when marketing functions don’t agree on the boundaries of their roles. Documenting a team charter goes a long way to aligning all marketers for best success. (more…)

How advisory boards can shape your marketing strategy January 25, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Customer Advisory Boards, Leadership.
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The customer advisory board (CAB) is quickly becoming a popular tool for aligning a company’s vision and product direction with the needs and priorities of its best customers. If your company is thinking about sponsoring a CAB, or if you want to compare how companies are using theirs to achieve competitive advantage, check out my new two-volume set of guidebooks about CABs. (more…)

Tips to energize your marketing team June 24, 2012

Posted by Mike Gospe in Just for Campaign Managers, Leadership, Marketing Operations.
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Summer is the time for reflection and assessment. As many marketers will soon be embarking on offsites and exercises to plan for the next fiscal year, I wanted to know what best practices my readers might share in how they’ve been able to accelerate their planning process and energize their team. Here are just a few of their insights. (more…)

5 Tips for a Successful Leadership Offsite June 13, 2012

Posted by Mike Gospe in Leadership, Marketing Operations.
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How much does it cost to hold an offsite with your leadership team? More than you might think if the offsite isn’t carefully planned. It’s not just the physical costs; it’s the opportunity costs. Consider that this is the one place and time that has every member of the leadership team in attendance to discuss the strategic issues facing your company.  Yet, executives report that they spend a significant amount of time in offsites that are poorly run and do not produce meaningful results. This is especially true when the offsites are meant to focus on complex issues like:

  • What’s our competitive advantage, and how do we defend it?
  • Should we focus on five market segments or only two?
  • How do we ensure our products are ready for market so that they result in satisfied customers?
  • How do we balance our bookings target against competitive pressures?
  • Operating under resource constraints: Are we trying to do too much?

Instead of productive discussions that lead to agreement and actions, the team becomes distracted by topics not on the agenda (i.e. trying to problem-solve operational issues or getting sidelined by small tactical items). It doesn’t take many of these ineffective meetings to derail strategic conversations, stagnate decision-making, and frustrate your team. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to structure the offsite to keep the team focused, constructive, and on track. (more…)

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy what you believe.” April 26, 2012

Posted by Mike Gospe in Leadership, Positioning.
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I’ve been watching Simon Sinek giving a TED talk. This phrase comes from him. And I love it. This dovetails exactly with the positioning statement.

What he says in 20 minutes, speaks volumes about good, product positioning and meaningful customer-ready messaging. He paints a picture he calls “the golden circle” that includes the What, How, and Why of a company’s reason for being. Most companies, he says, are very familiar with “what” they do. They are even good at understanding “how” they do it. But, when it comes to “why” they do what they do, there is a pause. What’s their purpose? What are the beliefs that drives a company to do what it does? Are they in business just to make money, or are they driven by a belief shared by all employees?

He shares an example contrasting Gateway with Apple. Both companies have access to capital, access to brilliant minds and innovative staff, and can tap into the same market conditions. Yet, the way these two companies communicate are completely opposite. And their relevant success is obvious to everyone.

Gateway might produce marketing messages that look and feel like this:

1. We make great computers.  

2. They are simple to use and affordable . 

3. Want to buy one?

Sounds pretty bland, right? Now Apple. Their messaging might be summarized like this:

1. Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently.

2. The way we challenge the status quo is in hiring people who share the same belief and by making products that are beautifully designed and easy to use.

3. We make computers, phones, and a variety of personal productivity tools that challenge the status quo. Want to buy one?

The secret is that Apple focuses on the “why” question first.

Simon also shares the example of Samuel P. Langley vs the Wright brothers. Langley was driven to become rich and famous and saw the invention of the airplane as a goal to achieve his wealth. Orville and Wilbur believed that flight would change the world. They didn’t work for a paycheck. They worked for a belief. This is exactly why the world knows the Wright brothers and don’t know Langley.

The lesson is clear: when you draft your company’s positioning and messaging, start with the “why”. What do you believe? Because if you don’t know, then your customers won’t either.

More on marketing best practices September 29, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Leadership.
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With the launch of The Marketing High Ground, I was interviewed by the editors of DemandGen Report. Our discussion covered a variety of topics. I’ve captured excerpts of the interview based on specific topics of interest and thought I would pass them along. (more…)

Netflix in crisis: a teachable moment for marketing leaders September 21, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Leadership, The Marketing High Ground.
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Monday morning I awoke to find an email in my inbox from Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix.  I, too, am a Netflix subscriber. The subject line read “An Explanation and Some Reflections.” I was surprised and intrigued, so I opened it. I expected to find a short email that acknowledged the customer firestorm that had erupted and offer an empathetic response.  This was not to be the case. (more…)