Posts filed under ‘Lead Generation’

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.

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

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

A Quickie Guide to Web 2.0 SEO Strategy

By Mike Kolbrener

Lately, a lot of people have been asking us about Web 2.0 strategies and more particularly about Web 2.0 SEO and social media strategies. Below, are 6 things that you can do yourself to take advantage of SEO as an integral part of your company’s lead generation strategy. A Web 2.0 SEO “social media” strategy will build awareness of your products and services and help engage your prospects in a larger conversation about the topics in which you are an expert.

1.    Build multiple blogs on multiple ideas around your expertise, all linking to eachother and back to the main site. You’ll need 5 to 6 (minimum) people who are willing to write for these blogs on a weekly basis. There are many good blogging tools and many of them are free. Take a look at www.wordpress.com.

2.    Create video content (interviews, discussions, activities, etc) to post to http://www.youtube.com that also links back to your main web site. Inexpensive digital video cameras can be purchased for as little as $225 and are an invaluable tool. With drag and drop interfaces for YouTube, the process is easy.

3.    Post photos on http://www.flickr.com that link back to the main site.

4.    Develop pod casts and post on your main web site (you can take audio contentfrom the videos or an interview with some of your key clients on the benefits they receive from your company).  Here’s a great link explaining DIY podcasting. Also check out mypodcast.com as a good place to start and create and host your podcasts.

5.    Open LinkedIn, FaceBook, MySpace or Twitter accounts for your company and or yourself. The one’s you choose largely depend on who your target audience is, but don’t underestimate the power of these locations.

6.    Find 5 or more advocates of your product or service and ask them to blog about your company. Make sure that their blogs link back to the main page.If you’d like to know more about Web 2.0 strategies you can contact me at mkolbrener@axiscomm.com

October 6, 2009 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

New Product or Service Launch?

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
Product /Service Brand Evaluation Research
Competitive Analysis
Product or Service Brand Platform Development
Brand Attributes/Definitions
Brand Essence
Positioning Statement
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.

October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Growth Constraints on Business

By Mike Kolbrener

I read with great interest Bill Eastman’s inaugural blog for Inc Magazine. Bill offers some excellent insight into the pain felt by “fast growth companies” who may no longer be in that fast growth track. In our practice at AXIS, we are often engaged by companies who have lost that growth edge. After achieving some measure of success via riding the wave of a technological innovation, limited or no competition, a stretch of national economic expansion, one great client or just good old luck, there comes a time when that party has run its course.

Bill offers up the following: “There exists only two primary constraints on growth; all others issues are parts of these two. Constraint One – the company is experiencing a CAPACITY problem and simply cannot do more under present conditions, making increased sales suicide. Constraint Two – the company is experiencing a SALES problem that is idling production, affecting revenue, and collapsing margins.”

Eastman does a nice job a examining the root of Constraint One, so let’s take a closer look at Constraint 2: The company is experiencing a SALES problem. As mentioned earlier, there are several reasons that may have contributed to earlier sales success that may no longer be in play. Overall lead and opportunity volume are diminishing and management sees a shrinking sales pipeline. Sales is at a loss to explain how to fix the problem. After all, they are selling the same thing that has been flying off the shelves for years. A typical “fix” may be for the VP of sales to ask for additional bodies on the sales team.

1. Sales process – Often times a salesforce is comprised of one or two MVP sales people, a few average sales people and a few underperformers. How do you bring the mid and lower levels up to the MVP level?

2. Brand Articulation – Is it clear to your prospects what you are actually selling? Is your message too technical? Are you conveying the real benefits that your product or service can deliver? Are those benefits believable?

3. Customer/Client identification – Are you clear on exactly who your ideal prospect is? let’s face it. It may have been pretty easy to find the early adopters who initially embraced your offering. That is no longer the case, and your going to have to work harder to find buyers.

4. Are your sales and marketing initiatives working in unison – Often, and particularly in earlier stage fast growing companies, much attention is paid to sales, while marketing is either ignored or delegated to an administrative assistant. Imagine if Proctor and Gamble took the same route? It’s critical for companies to look at their marketing staff and marketing budgets as critically as they do their sales staff and budgets. Once the right players are in place, sales and marketing can dance in lock step, taking your company to new sales heights.

5. Are you still relevant – Things change. Technology evolves rapidly. Global economies change. Weather patterns shift. Are you still selling something that people need or want.

September 6, 2009 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment


Categories

Share this Blog

Share |

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2 other followers

Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Recent Posts