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3 Tips for creating your best B2B buyer personas August 25, 2015

Posted by Mike Gospe in Marketing Persona, personas.
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A new online course by Mike Gospe

How to Build Better Buyer Personas

“I know I’m wasting half of my marketing budget. I just don’t know which half!” Have you or your management team ever expressed this concern? It’s a common one. What if I told you that I know how to know, with certainty, which half of your budget is mis-spent? (more…)

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…)

It’s time for a marketing assessment — here’s what you need to know January 16, 2014

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Operations, Marketing Persona, Messaging.
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January is the perfect time to conduct a marketing assessment. Take a moment to look back at last year’s plan.  How well did your marketing campaigns work last year? What worked well? Where were your surprises? What elements of planning and execution require improvement? Whether you decide to conduct your own assessment or hire an outside expert to facilitate the process, here are a few tips to get you started.
(more…)

New online course: How to build, critique, and apply a B2B persona for your business November 6, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Persona.
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A new online course for B2B marketersCreate High Impact B2B Personas in 4 Easy Steps

A new online course for B2B marketers

The key to accelerating any revenue growth is found in how well you understand your target audience and what makes them tick. This isn’t new information. We have all heard the advice. The challenge? In the rush to get to market, we don’t always make the time. That’s why I created this new online course. Now you can download the template and master the persona exercise.

If you are already a reader of this blog, you’ve read about the technique and seen some examples. This new online course let’s you practice what you’ve read about. Not only that, you can build a persona for your business as part of the online course.

The course takes about 2 hours to complete, but you can work at your  own pace by stopping and starting the lessons as your schedule permits.

  • Download the persona template for B2B marketers
  • Review and critique B2B persona examples
  • Learn how to apply the template and the exercises to your own business
  • Expand your marketing experience as you build and hone your persona skills online and on your terms
  • Evaluate your success by comparing your knowledge via our pre- and post-course assessment quiz
  • Earn the B2B persona certificate, showing your mastery of this technique

Good luck, and good marketing!

Mike

Personas, positioning, & messaging – a highly effective 1/2 day workshop May 8, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Marketing Persona, Messaging, Positioning, workshops.
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Want to rally your marketing team? Marketing is a team sport, not a solo activity. This half-day workshop, which you can run yourself, will help align the team and unleash untapped sources of creativity and positive energy. Here’s how it works. (more…)

New mini-guidebook! How to build a PERSONA February 11, 2012

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The Marketing High Ground series: PERSONAS is now available in both paperback and Kindle versions. (more…)

Available now: The Marketing High Ground May 5, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Marketing Operations, Marketing Persona, Messaging, Positioning.
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Dear readers,

My new book, The Marketing High Ground, is now available on Amazon! It is a playbook for B2B marketers, with focus on persona-development, crafting focused positioning statements, and creating messages that will engage your prospects. Lots of illustrations, graphics, tables, and examples.

Link to book page on Amazon

Link to book page on CreateSpace   

Check out it, and please let me know what you think.  Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

Kind regards,

Mike 

Preview “The Marketing High Ground” March 23, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Marketing Persona, Messaging, Positioning.
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Download an excerpt — The Marketing High Ground

If you are interested in the best practices surrounding persona development, drafting crisp positioning statements, and crafting messages that are relevant and meaningful to your persona, you’ll want to read The Marketing High Ground. Available in May 2011 on Amazon.com, this book is the essential playbook for B2B marketing practitioners.

All about Personas March 14, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Marketing Persona.
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Here’s a collection of some of the most popular postings on this subject.

A B2B marketing playbook: personas, positioning, and messaging best practices

Defining the Persona

 

Persona Examples

Strategy

Looking for more?

The Marketing High Ground is a new book that captures tips, techniques, and examples about personas, positioning statements, and messaging. This is the only practical playbook that describes in detail the process for driving these marketing best practices and applying them to your business. This is an action-oriented reference tool written from marketing practitioners and leaders at every level.

The mousetrap the world has been waiting for? May 11, 2010

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Operations, Marketing Persona, Messaging, Positioning.
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Conceptually, the theories of persona-building, positioning, and messaging are easy to understand.  However, sometimes it’s helpful for a marketing team to critique a real example and then discuss the parallels to their own business.  An example that everyone can easily relate to, and that is separate from the business you represent, is also an effective way to diffuse any emotion that may hinder folks from seeing the lessons associated with trying to execute a poor go-to-market strategy.

The following is a true story: the case of a better mousetrap.  In 1955, an eager entrepreneur introduced  a revolutionary new product that was destined to change the world of “rodent control”.  In addition to producing leaflets, promoting through friends and family, this ad (click on the link below) ran in  a variety of publications at the time.

Ad for a better mousetrap, circa 1955

Issues and Opportunities

You can infer a lot regarding the marketing strategy by looking at an example of the execution.  While the product design clearly is creative (and not for the squeamish), the entrepreneur fell into several traps that are common today, especially in hi-tech marketing:

1) Failure to focus on a clear target segment/persona

Who is the target audience/user/buyer?  It looks like pretty much “everyone.”  For fear of leaving a sales opportunity on the table, the entrepreneur attempted to be all-inclusive.  In a single swoop, he went after farmers, restaurant owners, food processors, meet packers, ships, homes, and orchards.    Although the confusion of trying to address multiple audiences at once maybe obvious to us gentle bystanders, one wonders if anyone asked the entrepreneur the following questions:

  • Who is most likely to buy your product? Who is the persona?
  • Do all these audiences look alike? behave the same way? have the same concerns?
  • What problem(s) are you trying to solve?
  • How well do you really understand the target buyer?

2) Failure to properly position the product

Every product needs to have positioning statement.

What’s in a name? Clearly, not all “mousetraps” are alike.  In 1955 (and even today!), the top-selling mousetrap is the Victor snap-trap.  In 1955 the snap-trap sold for 5 cents.  Our entrepreneur’s mousetrap sells for $29.95.  Branding the product against a generic “mousetrap” nomenclature will not serve his marketing interests.  (Although, a branding effort would introduce its own set of challenges.)

A new category? He’s attempted to establish a new category of mousetraps, namely, the “sanitary, self-setting, portable” mousetrap.  This is good, and goes a long way to justifying such a massive price increase over the competitive alternative. However, what you can’t quite make out in the photos is the following:

  • The mousetrap’s dimensions are 3 ft long, 8 inches wide, and 18 inches high.
  • It holds 3 gallons of water, and is quite heavy (especially if loaded with 102 mice!).

NOTE: Years ago, when I developed my first Positioning Workshop, I had the opportunity to view and touch this actual, very real mousetrap.  Unfortunately, it is actually neither, sanitary, self-setting, nor portable.  We have a category mis-match.

Benefit?  Which benefit? There are many benefits floating around in the ad.  Which one is most important?  Some seem hard to believe.  Again, it’s the “everything for everyone” approach.

For a benefit to be meaningful, it must be relevant to the target audience.  It must also be single-minded, clear, substantiable (e.g. you can prove any claim with data), and differentiable.

Differentiation? We come back to the 5 cent snap-trap alternative.  If anything, this ad makes the competitor’s product look better.

3) Failure to have a crisp, clear “elevator pitch”

Because there was no positioning statement to guide the marketing strategy, the messaging is a confused mess.  The entrepreneur would have greatly benefited from the Message Box template where he could underscore 4 key messages:

  1. An “engagement message” designed to establish relevance with the target audience and their primary “rodent control” pain points they are trying to address.
  2. A “solution message” that illustrates why not all mousetraps are the same, and certain applications require something much more than the standard snap-trap.
  3. A “reinforcement message” that shows how his invention is superior to alternatives.
  4. A “value message” that describes how the target’s life will be better than before after using his new, revolutionary product.

Critique your own work

How well does your ads/direct mail/website stack up?  Use the mousetrap example as a teachable exercise.  Never be afraid to critique your marketing strategies with regards to your persona, positioning statement, and messaging.  It’s not about placing blame; it’s about reaching the “next level” of marketing effectiveness.  Otherwise, your success may be limited to selling 4 units to your brother-in-law.

Good luck!