Archive for June, 2011

Six Steps to Creating a Profit. A guide for the small and mid-sized service-based businesses. Patricia Sigmon

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Six Steps to Creating a Profit. A guide for the small and mid-sized service-based businesses. Patricia Sigmon . 2010. ISBN 9780470554258.  I picked this book up for  my research on pricing.  It seemed to be aligned with that topic.  However this is not totally the case.  What the book is is a small handbook on getting and retaining the profits you have worked for.  This  is often called controlling the margin waterfall. It is a very useful book, with a valuable set of checklists to cover any and all operational issues that end up draining your company profits.  In our experience with technology firms, all of them could have used some or all of this book’s guidance. If you are a smaller player , without a large support staff and suspect that there are things that could be improved, you will enjoy this book.  It is written in a quick no nonsense style, making it immediately useful.  I also recommend it to to turnaround specialists as a helpful reminder.

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How to Market to People Not Like You. Know it or blow it rules for reaching diverse customers. Kelly McDonald

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How to Market to People Not Like You.  Know it or blow it rules for reaching diverse customers. Kelly McDonald. 2011. ISBN 9780470879009.  Right out of the gate Kelly makes a statement I really know is true all about the reduced power of demographic marketing.  She goes on:

  • The difference between a 30 yr old unmarried career gal and a 30 yr old suburban mom creates a huge disconnect for traditional marketers.
  • You need to market to peoples’ values. We spend money on things we care about.  (I thought of the 25 yr old single stockbroker, vegan, who jogs and uses an iphone to catch up to his friends on facebook.)
  • You can market to groups  (First time latino home buyers have different needs  from first time caucasian home buyers)
  • People willingly pay a premium for what they truly want.  ( $2500 for a pair of Stanley Cup tickets!)
  • How do you make your customer feel?
  • How do you fit in with their lifestyle? ( I thought of the young couple redoing their kitchen. To go “appliance shopping” requires a babysitter, getting organized and then the store is almost closing when they get there. )

This is a useful book for any marketer looking at diverse markets. She gives enough examples for so many groups that you get the picture immediately. Initially you think this is a B2C focus, but B2B can learn lots too.  After all you are still selling to individual buyers.  Clearly written and insightful. If you market – get this one. Her website.

Launch. How to quickly propel your business beyond the competition. Michael Stelzner. #content marketing

Internets = srs.biz. Parody motivator.

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Launch. How to quickly propel your business beyond the competition. Michael Stelzner. 2011. ISBN 9781118027233.  Wow.

So much packed into a reasonable read.

  1. How Stelzner built and drove to incredible success two completely different web businesses. White papers (http://www.stelzner.com/copy-HowTo-whitepapers.php)  and social media (socialmediaexaminer.com )  From that comes online events, research papers, books and deep valuable content.
  2. More than a how to do it, he also shows you why things work, the details on how to build great content, and simple progressive methods to grow any business, and when to turn down the volume.
  3. Case studies, examples of best practice and personal experiences are threaded through this book.
  4. Plus he refers to lots of other great content you can use to grow your expertise and success.

If you market or sell anything- this is the book on todays methods.  Its educational, thoughtful and inspirational.  He is a good writer, so  its a fine read.

I rate this a must buy.

The Speed Traders. Edgar Perez. A guest post by Nora McCallum of Scotia McLeod

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The Speed Traders. Edgar Perez.  A guest post from  Nora McCallum of Scotia McLeod.  2011. ISBN 978-0071768283

Reg, thanks for passing along “The Speed Traders” by Edgar Perez.  I enjoyed reading this book. Most of the research to date demonstrates that HFT’s (and hedge fund managers for that matter) can have a period of very high success but ultimately fail. The extinction ratio for this investors class is very high. I think that the book gives a clear and concise overview of the (short) history and current role that High Frequency Trading plays in the capital markets. Given that speed is of the essence with this tool, I am not sure how much more time can be shaved off the technology; it will be very interesting to see how these trading techniques continue to develop and influence the global capital markets.

Roadmap to Revenue. How to sell the way your customers want to buy. Kristin Zhivago.

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Roadmap to Revenue. How to sell the way your customers want to buy. Kristin Zhivago. 2011. ISBN 9780974017924.  This is likely to be a trailblazing book for 2011. In our work on Content Marketing we are always looking for good reference texts to get across that you need to have content that’s relevant from the customers point of view .  In our pricing work, we stress having companies find out what customers tell them what is the value of the products.  This book helps on both these fronts plus it is written from a sales point of view.  That is important because sales packs more clout in most companies still.  Zhivago has made very pertinent analyses of four types of purchasing scrutiny (from light through to intense scrutiny). She has laid out the most complete  and succinct description we have seen of customer interview techniques yet.  This is a must buy, must read book for sales and marketing types.  There is not a wasted page in the whole book.

Your web based content could be driving more leads away than its bringing in.

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Your web based content could be driving more leads away than its bringing in.

Search is now the dominant buyer behavior:
  • 93% of B2B buyers use search to begin the buying process. (source: Marketo)
  • 62% of business buyers now spend more time researching product and services online than they did prior to the recession. (source: Google)
  • 65% of C-Suite executives conduct six or more work-related searches daily (source Google).

Recent data  from Demandgen on what buyers do  these days show that :

  • Less than 10% of recent buyers were contacted cold by the solution provider
  • More than 80% said they contacted the solution provider directly
  • 9 out of 10 buyers say that when they are ready to buy they will find you

Is your content set up to attract the right buyers?  DemandGen tells us buyers make up a short list of who to contact through these activities:

  • 78% started with informal info gathering
  • 59% engaged with peers who addressed the challenge
  • 48% followed industry conversations on topic
  • 44% conducted anonymous research of a select group of vendors
Right now,  unless the bulk of your qualified leads are finding and approaching you, your content is not doing its job. How do you feel knowing that there are all these short-lists being made out there and you will never know about them!! And if you keep going the way you are, you will keep missing opportunities.
It gets worse, since even if the buyer finds you, IDG Communications says:
  • IT buyers found relevant content on a vendors website only 42 percent of the time.  (way less than half)
  • The lack of relevancy for the prospect reduced the vendor’s chance of closing a sale by 45 percent. ((Cut it almost in half again – your chances just dropped to less than 20% of a win, that is if they find you)

So before you redo your sales dept, add a bunch of technology to sales and marketing, spend a ton on outbound marketing, first ask yourself if your content is even giving you a fighting chance. It sounds like for most companies it is working against them.


Report on Art of Marketing Roadshow – Vancouver June 11

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Kudos to Peter Hrabinsky of Antaractica  who flew in a ticket for me to watch these sessions yesterday. Peter , you are a prince (and you have played hockey with Guy Kawasaki).

The Master of Ceremonies Ron Tite,  did a great job relaying the brilliant tweets from the attendees through the event.  The speaker line up:

More smartphones sold last year than PCs
Amazon Prime makes any item an impulse buy
Youtube is still second highest search engine
Some kids will never use a mouse and keyboard.
Check out apps Snaptel, Bazaarvoice
New lines:
  • Utilitarian marketing  (Charmin has an app on clean toilets) and
  • Create real  utility and real value
He came up with the best quote of the day:  “Steve Jobs came down from the mountain bearing tablets.”
Bill Taylor on Strategy  (Ex Fast Company)
How does your company differ from competitors.?
What do you promise and deliver that others can’t?
Interesting people in your company stay interested.
Just answer the phone.  gethuman.com
There is amazing talent available ( unpaid) in your client, fb,twitter, linkedIn communities. Tap into it
Great leaders act with a sense of humbetition
Best speaker of the day – funny, engaging, personable and he was the uber geek – numbers that really made sense
He was very clear about great ads (Googles $500 superbowl ad – the trip to paris) and dumb ads ( Bings information overload)
Great ads make you feel very good.
His latest book goes well beyond the original metrics and shows us how to find the economic value
of the social media platforms.  If you do the work you can find the justifying numbers with present tools.
He gave ideas about how important it is to still track bounce rate (how badly do you suck?), visitor loyalty,
visitor recency, conversion rate, task completion rate, (yet with all the metrics on activity – you really are only measuring 2% of the economic value = revenue + value)
There is still a lot of value left on the table with present reports. Do this at your peril cause the boardroom needs to know more. How would you quantify the value of your second level Twitter touches?
Explained how to make better use of Youtube data. (Views, likes dislikes) ,  Google offers was his eg., and mentioned that Youtube is a great testing ground for ads potentila for success before you run them big time
How to use Google optimizer on AB testing. ( reference to Obamas campaign donation webpage)
New acronym,   Company marketing is decided by HIPPOs. Highest Paid Persons Opinion.
Hard scrabble guy from Brooklyn.  Dropped F bombs all the time.
This was the most refreshing speaker of the day.
He is a good measure ahead of the regular crowd, and not afraid to say it.  He is sending me a copy of the book to review
“Its now all about listening, including using search inside twitter”.
The disruption by the Internet continues.  Everyone will underestimate it . Just this week, what will be the impact of General Mills going directly to Groupon to offer coupons – what does that do to WalMart and other retailers?  Who loses control over their market?
The battle that matters is over the content in context.  You will “check in” when you check in at the bar and the waiter then  offers you a free shot of JDaniels.
Customer acquisition has been mapped by the geeks.  If you do not understand this you are like the marketers using social as a broadcast ( Like me to win an ipod) instead of being a listening post. The day of the talkers is fast ending.
The battle moves to total lifetime value of a prospect – keeping all you can get.
What happens when WofMouth closes business and it scales. When it hits the customer with context.  This is not interactive billboards, people on the road are not looking at the billboard – they are texting and talking.
It is now about the execution that makes sense in a business, its about the humans – take the millions wasted today in a company, employ 50  passionate people who can execute one on one contextual marketing from lonelyguy15 to Obama.  Go from being a just merchant to being a service.

Smart Pricing. How Google, Priceline, and leading businesses use pricing. Kagmohan Raju & Z. John Zhang.

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Smart Pricing.  How Google, Priceline, and Leading Businesses Use Pricing. Kagmohan Raju & Z. John Zhang.2010. ISBN 013149418x.  This is a book by two Wharton Business School professors that is very very useful for pricing practitioners.  I first found  it as an Itunes podcast by the authors on pricing.  I compliment them on having a very concise and clear writing style that compels you to read more.  I was fascinated at the way they described how the Chinese market is able to use price wars so often and strategically that when the same companies come to North America they see unlimited opportunity to apply the lessons learned.  ( Sun Tzu in action.)  The chapter on the power of a penny added new material to what I had found in other texts. The section on measuring product marketing profitability is applicable to every company I have worked with. The idea of measuring coat tail sales (ala the Disney model) is worth the price of the book in itself.  They fully describe so many models and so clearly,  this is a must buy book for any company leader who touches pricing.  I also appreciated that they wound all the models around real companies with real stories.  Buy it,  read it and reread this one!