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How to Launch a New Product or Service

By Mike Kolbrener
For any new venture, an undifferentiated brand and undefined integrated marketing and lead generation strategy are potential barriers to realizing growth. As part of a three-fold effort to (1) Clearly articulate the value of your offerings to prospects, (2) Build the marketing material to communicate this value and (3) Develop a lead generation program to increase inbound opportunities, the following is typically recommended:
  • Develop Brand Positioning and Marketing Communications Strategy
  • Marketing Communications Implementation
  • Develop and Implement an Integrated Drip Marketing and Lead Generation Program

To achieve your goals, you must carve out the unique and compelling reasons for potential customers to select your over competing products and services…and consistently communicate both your distinct personality and benefits in ways that connect with your target audiences.

A good process must walk a fine line between too much and too little, and allows for collaboration and ensures that the outcome makes the highest possible impact.

Recommended Steps
1. Product /Service Brand Evaluation Research
2. Competitive Analysis
3. Product or service Brand Platform Development
4. Brand Attributes/Definitions
5. Brand Essence
6. Positioning Statement
7. Target “Persona” Development

This comprehensive approach ensures that your brand becomes the thread that runs through all of your discreet marketing efforts…and that each and every effort reflects positive equity back to the overall brand.

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December 8, 2009 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

Top 6 Marketing Mistakes Companies Will Make in 2010

By Mike Kolbrener

1.     Not Narrowing your Focus: Find your target audience and gear your marketing efforts to that audience. Trying to appeal to everyone typically does not work.

2.    Inconsistency in your Marketing Efforts: You need to have the same look and feel across all of your ads, promotions, and overall marketing efforts. This is a critical part of creating a consistent brand.

A thorough marketing report
will guide you throughout the year.

3.     No Clear Marketing Message: Marketing messages that are complicated, contrived, too subtle or too long can easily miss the target market entirely. Your efforts are wasted if no one understands what you’re selling.

4.     Tactics with No Strategy: Sending marketing messages into the world without an overlying “big picture” strategy will waste your company’s time and money.

5.     Confusing Marketing with Sales: Marketing and sales are two different disciplines that must compliment each other. Marketing defines the audience, builds awareness and generates the interest. Sales should hunt down those who show interest and bring new customers in the door. Connecting your sales process with your marketing process is critical.

6.     Extraneous Activity: Attending networking events, sending out marketing materials, writing blog posts, etc. are all necessary, but if they are compromising your company’s sales activity, you are probably putting your company at risk.

December 1, 2009 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

Whatever Happened to Parental Responsibility?

By Mike Kolbrener

The week’s Advertising Age reports that even after Big Food, 11 major food marketers including Kellogg, Kraft Foods, General Mills and Unilever, voluntarily shifted or eliminated $1 billion in kid-targeted junk-food marketing, critics, watchdogs and regulators such as Federal Trade Commission’s Jon Leibowitz are now pressing for more restrictions on more marketers including media companies. They are going after Viacom, Time Warner, the TV Networks as well as ConAgra, Chuck E. Cheese and Burger King.

The FTC is preparing subpoenas for 44 food and fast-food companies to examine how they are marketing products to kids. What does this mean? Coca-Cola and Hershey’s won’t aim advertisements at kids younger than 12. Mars/Masterfoods won’t advertise any of its candies to kids. PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Kellogg, General Mills, McDonald’s, Unilever and Campbell Soup will limit all their marketing of food to children younger than 12 to more healthy foods. No more Cap’n Crunch. No more “Silly Rabbit” (Trix). No more Count Chocula. Possibly, no more Happy Meals. These developments make me take pause and ask whatever happened to parental responsibility? I don’t see kids younger than 12 checking-out at the grocery store. I’ve never witnessed an 8-year-old placing their order at McDonald’s or Burger King.

Does Congress really need to mandate a study of how products are advertised to kids? Rather than following in the footsteps of “No Child Left Behind”, another federal initiative that has removed parental accountability in the education of our nation’s children, maybe Congress should look at the state of parenting in America. When I was 8 years old in 1980, there were advertisements for Cap’n Crunch during Speed Racer, Big League Chewing Gum during GI Joe, and Hershey bars during the Justice League.

I could have probably sung the Big Mac song, word for word. This didn’t mean I ate Cap’n Crunch for breakfast every morning, chewed gum and devoured Hershey bars all day and ate at McDonald’s every night. Why? My parents. My parents dictated my diet. My parents were involved in my education. My parents . . . well, they were freakin parents. Today, I see too many parents shifting the blame and not taking on the responsibility they should. It’s not my fault or Billy’s fault he’s failing, it’s the teacher, the school, or the school district. It’s not my fault Cindy isn’t healthy.

“It’s all the marketing for the junk-food. I’m compelled to buy it for her.” Really?! I do applaud Big Food for the steps they have taken, but I am equally dismayed as to why they need to.

October 6, 2009 at 4:40 pm 2 comments

All-Bran: Take a load off

All-Bran cereal has a new commercial, which really speaks to the brand’s promise.

By Mike Kolbrener

The construction worker in the commercial had problems staying regular until he tried All-Bran. The advertisement never comes out and says what ‘staying regular‘ is or how All-Bran will help, but their metaphors are pretty hard to miss (especially 16 seconds into the commercial).

Makes a pretty cool viral video too. Via Ad Rants.

October 6, 2009 at 4:38 pm Leave a comment

Are any of your Targets Transumers?

By Mike Kolbrener

There is a new marketing type in town and they are called transumers. As classified by Rainer Evers in a trend briefing on trendbriefing.com, transumers are “consumers who are more interested in the experience rather than owning.” Well, yeah . . . that’s called renting. They’re just renters, right? Not exactly. Transumers do rent, but they rent items that normally require ownership.

Here are a few examples:

FlexPetzA pet-sharing program that works like a time-share or fractional ownership in a jet. The service targets customers who want to have a dog but cannot care for it full time.

FractionalLife.comWith the tagline “The Smarter Way To Own”, FractionalLife offers partial ownership in an array of products and services. As expected, categories include yachts, jets, luxury vehicles, but other offerings such as high-performance computing and livestock are unanticipated.

Bag, Borrow or StealAn online luxury bag and jewelry sharing service.

ZipcarA car sharing program that allows members to reserve and drive a car whenever they want. Should you be targeting a transumer segment among your target audiences? Your answer might be yes if: • You sell luxury items or your product or service requires a large, up-front capital investment. • You find that an audience segment for your product or service doesn’t have the time to own or the need to own, typical of many targets who live in metropolitan areas and/or travel frequently.

October 6, 2009 at 4:32 pm 1 comment

Marketing and Sales: “Two great tastes that taste great together”.

By Mike Kolbrener

You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter on my chocolate! That very successful 1970s launch for what is now a ubiquitous treat is the perfect metaphor for the way marketing and sales disciplines often view each other. To make matters worse, most marketing professional have convinced their clients that “successful” marketing will get them noticed! What about marketing and branding that actually fills the new business pipeline? Novel idea, but it shouldn’t be.

How do you really generate sales? Some companies are lucky enough to ride the wave of an emerging technology, others are just lucky, the rest have to actually work at it. We’ll assume that you have something that others really want, have identified who those people are and then differentiated your offering from competitors. We’ll also assume that you have someone to sell your offering (even if it’s just you). Next, you might consider allocating a marketing budget of 2-4% of your gross revenue. Now comes the part that will define your sales success or failure. In order to get that 2-4% of gross revenue to actually work, you’ll need to align that marketing spend with your sales process. That means documenting how your sales team sells and weave in marketing tactics that are in lock step with that process.

Don’t have a sales process? There are many good ASP (on demand) and server-based options out there, but you’ll need to choose one (Landslide.com or Salesforce.com). Next, find out how often your sales people contact a prospect? How do they do so? Letters, phone calls, direct mail, email, newsletters, etc. How are those timed with relation to a projected close date? Herein lies the secret. It’s the synchronization of sales and marketing that makes it all work. When they are synchronized, they work harder than each on their own. At the end of the day, marketing and sales need to dance together. Just like peanut butter and chocolate. After all, marketing and sales are “Two great tastes that taste great together.” peanut butter cup

October 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

What do Barry Bonds and Arnold Schwarzenegger have to do with Google?

By Mike Kolbrener

For those of you new to SEO and the terminology, first let me explain PageRank.

PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weighting to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents, such as the World Wide Web, with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance within the set. The algorithm may be applied to any collection of entities with reciprocal quotations and references. The numerical weight that it assigns to any given element E is also called the PageRank of E and denoted by PR(E). (Wikipedia)

In layman’s terms, Google has a PageRank of 10, Facebook has a PageRank of 8, and AXIS has a PageRank of 5. If you are an SEO and are not aware of Google’s latest PageRank Leg Drop, it may be time to hang up your keyboard. Google hammered websites that were selling text links on their website to pass PageRank to their advertisers. Because typically a link on a webpage has a PageRank of 8 will pass more rank than a webpage with a PageRank of 3. Around the webmaster community, site after site was devalued, with many webmasters responding with “well our rankings didn’t drop, so what does it matter?” Well it does, here is why.  I will begin with an analogy. If SEO were No Limit Hold’ Em, and Eric Ward were Doyle Brunson, then right now would be the Poker boom of 2004-2005. (This next paragraph is a generalization, so please take it with a grain of salt.)

Swarms of SEOs clamoring for top rankings, flooding forums with questions like “I lost my rankings, please help!” while their forum signature is a link to Satellite Equipment (It won’t help your website!). The goal is to be the Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, or Joseph Hachem. The mentality is “if Moneymaker did it, I can do it.” But this group, values links solely on PageRank. That is their problem, and it was a blessing to webmasters of high PageRank websites. Now that blessing is a curse. Google hit websites where it counted, in their pockets. Because the PageRank fiends would be willing to spend a ‘C’ note on a sitewide link if the domain had a PageRank of 6. Now that it deflated to a 4, they would rather spend their money elsewhere.

So back to the original point: What do Barry Bonds and Arnold Schwarzenegger have to do with Google?

Plus paid links, and you get:

Are you surprised when people want to put an asterisk next to his records? Same holds true with Google’s PageRank.

So Matt Cutts (head of Google’s Webspam team) said:  “Hey you!  That’s right you, PageRank 8! You look like this, huh?”


And you are selling links on your homepage to “Dog Beds” and “French Property”? Watch this!”


Remember it is Google’s world, we’re just optimizing in it.


Check Page Rank of any web site pages instantly:
This free page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

October 6, 2009 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

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