21 May

Making an “elevator speech” work

Elevator pitches are a key part of most b2b sales and I read a good article by on this topic by Mike McLaughlin a site called “Guerrilla Consulting”

Although this particular article is focused on consultants, the essence of what is an effective answer to the question “so, what does your business do?” is no different.

The key observation in this article is that you need to create the “pitch” from your customers/clients perspective, not to grand-stand and to ask questions instead of blowing your own horn.

Now that may not sound too revolutionary to a lot of people, but it is by far the greatest mistake people make when they are put in the position to sell themselves or their service; they either undersell by giving some confused, convoluted, technical explanation or they go in to “sales” mode and lose credibility instantly.

Here is my spin on elevator pitches:

  • Facts about the problems you solve
  • Outline of what you do to solve these problems, including how you differentiate yourself
  • Clarified through a typical client project
  • Ending with a relevant question about their business to make it a two way conversation, rather than a monologue.

Write it down, rehearse it (tape it and listen to yourself) and refine it.

20 May

“Our product is so unique that it has no competition.”

Guy Kawasaki wrote this in his top 10 marketing mistakes and although there are a number of other good ones, this one I have heard in different disguises in the market place;

“Our product is so unique that it has no competition.” (Maura Welch). It has no competition for two possible reasons: (a) You’re clueless and don’t know how to use Google; (b) there’s no market for it so no one else is dumb enough to do the same thing.”

For some reason engineers are particularly prone to this bit of self delusion.

The issue about competition is that most people look for anyone that does the exact same thing. What you really want to look for is for anyone solving the same customer problem. Now if you can demonstrate that your solution to the problem is more marketable than theirs, it starts to become interesting.

16 May

How is technology changing marketing?

  • – How we manage our relationships
  • – How we communicate with our customers, partners and prospects
  • – How we develop new ideas for products and services
  • – How our customers look for us
  • – How we look for our customers
  • – How we monitor our competitors
  • – How we monitor customer satisfaction
  • – How we source our products
  • – How we sell to our customers
  • – How we check our pricing strategy
  • – How we present our company
  • – How we analyse our performance

– What have I missed?

10 May

Advertising money can’t buy; unplanned and very effective

Melbourne, Australia is arguably the most sports mad city in the world.
Australia also has it’s own code of football, Australian Rules, better known as “Aussie rules” football. I won’t go into detail about the game (just follow the link if you’re interested.)

As with most sports, many people have a particular commentator they love; maybe because they know their stuff, maybe because they are funny, maybe a bit of both.

Here in Melbourne a fellow by the name of Rex Hunt (an ex-footballer, ex-cop who is also known for his international fishing show) has a massive local following because of his unique humor infused into his commentary. He also has competitors from other radio stations and he doesn’t mind having a dig at them.

His biggest slur on his competitors is that they are boring, so he calls their team of commentators “The Tobin Brothers” which happens to be a leading brand in the undertaking business…

Imagine, your brand name mentioned in the middle of commentary, to a massive audience without spending a penny. Now that’s advertising money can’t buy.

PS: I recently met the Managing Director, Martin Tobin, and I can tell you that he had a smile on his face when I asked him about this.

04 May

Why advertising agencies don’t advertise

Re:Focus: Why Don’t Ad Agencies Advertise?
I love this; it really is a good question. Seth Godin highlighted this article from April 17, 2006 issue of BrandWeek written by SinekPartners CEO, Simon Sinek.

So why don’t they advertise? The article notes that advertising agencies find PR much more effective than simply advertising. Why don’t they practice what they preach?

Maybe because they know that just advertising your brand is ineffective and inefficient.
Because starting an advertising campaign in isolation is not marketing. the real question is not if you should advertise, but how you should advertise.

My question is how many advertising agencies actually have a marketing strategy. If they did, they would use a mix of media in a coordinated campaign, not just an advertising campaign using the most expensive media available.

Imagine this; advertising agency wants to gain customers in IT industry, determine that an online, interactive presentation of their work is a great way to communicate with this tech savvy audience. They use a combination of offline and online media to drive traffic to this dedicated website through curiosity inspiring creative. The online presentation is so good that it starts buzz in blogs which is in turn picked up on by their PR people…and so on.

The problem in the marketing services industry is that everyone is trying to sell their solution as the answer to clients marketing needs. And that simply doesn’t make sense.