Posts filed under ‘Marketing’

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

AT&T vs. Verizon

By Kirk Littell
A heavyweight ad battle continues to rage during commercial breaks across America. It’s a somewhat equitable battle in terms of dollars spent but my scorecard shows AT&T getting drubbed by Verizon in terms of creativity.

AT&T continues to advertise in “damage control mode” after Verizon’s recent onslaught of ads, with a new spot featuring actor Luke Wilson. If you watched any TV over the weekend you invariably saw him standing in the middle of the US map where he tosses postcards to all of the locations covered in AT&Ts 3G network. This spot is very tedious as he slowly reads city names one by one and adds odd “fun facts” as he throws the cards. The initial ad gains some momentum when you see a second commercial where he continues to throw cards until the map is bursting with them. Kudos on that media buy, but this pair seems like a big “so what”.

All of this was of course brought on by Verizon’s choice to deride AT&T’s coverage areas in multiple ads that coincided with the release of it’s new 3G phone, The Droid. They turned the iPhone’s “There’s an app for that” line into “There’s a map for that” and started attacking the largest US phone company with said maps. This ad (seen in the photo above) uses a classic holiday special to compare the networks. But as entertaining as these commercials are, comparing the maps side-by-side isn’t exactly fair. Or at least that what AT&T argues in their lawsuit against Verizon, saying that they do have 2G coverage in the areas that are not 3G-ready. (Verizon’s map for AT&T only depicts the 3G areas and nothing more; they’ve omitted the 2G and 2.5G coverage areas.) reports: “U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten said that while the ads, which use maps to compare the companies’ third-generation networks, might be “sneaky” or “clever,” they are “literally true.” AT&T will have another chance to ask the court to prohibit the ads in a Dec. 16 hearing. Batten said AT&T is unlikely to prevail.”

Stay tuned, and if you read this blog with your 3G device just stay out of Death Valley, I don’t think either wireless carrier covers it – yet.

November 24, 2009 at 9:43 pm Leave a comment

Websites Go Green by Going Black

By Kirk Littell

Consider this. Your website is more green if it is black. In January of this year, Mark Ontkush wrote a blog post that claimed if Google changed their page background to black, they would save 750 megawatt-hours a year.  As Mark says:
Blackle - Energy Saving Search

As noted, an all white web page uses about 74 watts to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts. I thought I would do a little math and see what could be saved by moving a high volume site to the black format. Take at look at Google, who gets about 200 million queries a day. Let’s assume each query is displayed for about 10 seconds; that means Google is running for about 550,000 hours every day on some desktop. Assuming that users run Google in full screen mode, the shift to a black background will save a total of 15 (74-59) watts. That turns into a global savings of 8.3 Megawatt-hours per day, or about 3000 Megawatt-hours a year. Now take into account that about 25 percent of the monitors in the world are CRTs, and at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, that’s $75,000, a goodly amount of energy and dollars for changing a few color codes.

Enter Blackle, a customized Google search, created by Heap Media in response to Mark’s post as directly stated on their About page. Amazing.

October 6, 2009 at 4:42 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, 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

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