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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…)

New fast & easy online course: Mastering Product Positioning March 14, 2014

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Positioning.
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Product positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. So, how do we influence that, exactly?

It starts with developing a positioning statement that unites and aligns your marketing, sales, product development, and engineering teams. This statement clarifies the value you offer to a specific target market. And to successfully execute this statement, you need 3 things, and this online course delivers what you need to know:

  1. How to become a positioning master
  2. How to become  savvy in organizational politics
  3. How to boost your teamwork skills.

How to build, critique, and apply positioning statements

The positioning statement is not just a template. It embodies an entire approach that puts the customer in the center of your universe.

I’ve written a lot on this subject in the past, and now I’m pleased to introduce you to a new online course entitled, Mastering Product Positioning.

This new online course teaches you everything you need to know about positioning statements. Specifically, you’ll learn how to work cross-functionally to build them, critique and tune them, and apply them to your products and business.

Mastering positioning statements is a skill that every marketer needs to have complete confidence in. Whether you are a novice to marketing or a veteran, this course will help you hone your skill set. And these skills will help you become a better marketer and a more valuable executive.

Check it out. Preview some of the lectures. Let me know what you think.

Win/loss analysis: 5 questions to answer before conducting interviews July 2, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing.
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There’s a lot of information on win/loss analysis available online. This blog post summarizes the “best of the best” advice available. Read on to see 5 questions you should consider before embarking on your own interview process and analysis. (more…)

Social Media & the CEO April 25, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Social Media.
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What percentage of senior executives engage in social media? This new infographic created by MBAOnline provides some interesting data and thought-provoking questions.
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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…)

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…)

What separates the best B2B marketers from all the rest? August 24, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Operations, The Marketing High Ground.
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If you’ve been navigating the marketing groups on LinkedIn lately, you’ve probably run across this thought-provoking question: Can you use ONE WORD to describe the biggest challenge facing B2B Marketing today? Answers vary wildly from “time”, to “noise”, to “myopia”.  All good answers. But I have a different take on this question. Instead, I wonder if there is one word that can be used to separate the best B2B marketers from all the rest.  As a consultant to high-tech marketing leaders, I spent the last 10 years working with B2B marketing teams looking for clues, and I think I found the answer. (more…)

A new sales book that B2B marketers should read June 30, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Operations, The Marketing High Ground.
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I loved Kevin Davis’ new book, Slow Down, Sell Faster! The key here is simple: who ever understands the customer best, wins! Davis embraces this notion by pushing sales reps to really understand the customer, their pain points, goals, interests, priorities, and their buying process before making the sales pitch. (more…)

Say no to “marketing popcorn” June 16, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Operations.
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I have a pet peeve, and it’s marketing popcorn.  No, not the marketing of popcorn. “Marketing popcorn.” (more…)

Communications Objectives and the Buying and Sales Processes September 14, 2010

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Lead Gen, Marketing Operations.
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How does our marketing communications objectives fit against the customer’s buying process or our selling process?  This is a weighty question that can be tough to decipher.  Here’s a handy overview with respect the selling into the B2B technology market.

An overlay of communications objectives to the corresponding stages of the customer's buying process and a company's sales process. Although generic, this graphic provides some relevant context for marketers selling to B2B.

I titled this graphic “Mapping Customer Perception” because that is our goal, ultimately.  Marketers strive to influence how prospective customers think.  To do that, we need to understand how and when to guide them.  First, they must be aware of who we are and the solutions we offer.  Then we want to hook them and engage them as they become interested.  Next, we need to build understanding and become a credible source of information.  And, finally, we want to entice them to take action and purchase our products and services.

In an ideal world those communications objectives would map directly to the B2B Technology Customer Buying Process.  For example, the best time to hit the prospect is early in their buying process, when they are doing an operational analysis or building their budget during the investment planning phase.  Once we’ve got their attention, we want to provide relevant content throughout the purchasing cycle.  If we can guide the outline of the RFP we stand a better chance of winning the deal.

Next, let’s overlay both those processes with the ideal  B2B selling process.  It’s no coincidence that the sales process is a reciprocal of the buying process: the sales rep wants to identify and qualify opportunities as early as possible.  They want to work with the prospect as they are establishing their needs in order to determine if there is a potential fit.  Reaching the “go, no-go” decision point prior to generating a proposal is preferred so that time isn’t wasted.   Sales will negotiate with prospects as they are selecting and making a final purchase decision.  The sales process doesn’t end there.  While the solution is being implemented, the able-minded sales rep will be following-up and conducting account management duties, all the while looking for opportunities to engage the next sales cycle.

If life were simple, these three processes would overlay nicely.  But life is like a Rubik’s Cube.  Each of these processes are not static, and they don’t always start at the same point in time.  That is why marketing is an ongoing processes, constantly creating awareness and offering opportunities for the prospect to raise their hand and engage us on their terms.  When they are ready.

Have ideas on how to make this graphic better? Let me know.  I welcome your input and feedback.