The Competitive Advantage

September 4, 2012

After attending a conference this fall… don’t let the flame go out. Nurture those leads!

Our industry offers up some great conferences, particularly in the fall of the year – CASRO, QRCA, ESOMAR, MRA, TMRE and so on.  They are all great places to learn and (wait for it…) network.

That’s right… these conferences provide you with the chance to meet with prospective clients in a non-threatening environment.  Whether it’s during a conference session, at a cocktail reception or on the exhibit floor, conferences give you the opportunity to shake hands, swap business cards, do a little personal “selling” and lay the groundwork for future business conversations.

But then you head home from the conference… return to your back-to-normal business routine… and before you know it, that pocketful of business cards representing a number of warm leads now has a thin layer of frost on it.

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August 28, 2012

Conduct an Old-fashioned SWOT Analysis to Find Your Competitive Advantage

The SWOT Analysis (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) has been around for a long time as a way to take a critical look at your own company.  Strengths and weaknesses are internally focused… opportunities and threats are for looking outward.

What you do is think about your own firm in terms of each of the four categories: “What are our strengths?”, “What are our weaknesses?” and so on.  In those answers could be ideas for helping you to move your company forward.  Not a bad process.

But even though it’s “old school,” with a few tweaks, the SWOT Analysis can continue to play a valuable role in helping to look deep inside your firm to find your competitive advantage(s) and market position to help drive future success.

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August 26, 2012

Come prepared, dress the part and follow up: 10 dos for exhibiting at MR trade shows

In an article last month, I shared 10 things conference exhibitors should avoid when working the booth at a trade show. Now that we’ve established what not to do, I’d like to share 10 best practices that can help sales professionals improve their success at the shows.

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August 22, 2012

Don’t Kid Yourself… Social Media is NOT Free

Almost all businesses have embraced social media – at least at some level. Blogging, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the others all represent potential weapons in your marketing arsenal.  And we love them for two primary reasons:

  • Reach!  900,000,000 FaceBook users, 550,000,000 Twitter users and so on… the numbers are staggering!
  • Cost!  It’s $0.  That’s right… you can jump into social media in a pretty big way and not have to pay anything.

Well… that’s not entirely true.  While there may not be any out-of-pocket expenses, they do require and can take up a lot of your time.  And for very busy or smaller market research firms, time may be even more precious than money.

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August 14, 2012

A Checklist for Conducting your own Sales Audit

Last week, we discussed ways to step back and take a look at your marketing with a fresh set of eyes.  This week, let’s apply that same philosophy to your sales effort…

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August 8, 2012

A Checklist for Conducting your own Marketing Audit

Sometimes, we get so busy working IN our business that we forget to work ON our business.  When that happens, it helps to step back and take an objective look at what’s going on around you. And one of those areas of your business that most often needs a fresh set of eyes is marketing.  If that describes you, here are some ideas for conducting your own marketing audit and getting back on track.

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July 31, 2012

Want to get better at marketing? Become a student of it!

Marketing has evolved and changed as much as any discipline in business.  We used to think about marketing as print ads and direct mail.  Then along came the internet and our choices expanded to include email and banner ads.  And in the last few years, thanks to advances in technology, our choices have expanded further to include social media marketing, search engine optimization and mobile marketing.  And now to tie it all together, there’s Marketing Automation Software (MAS).

With the proliferation of options – where do you turn for answers?  Ironically, to the same technologies that are the cause of this anxiety in the first place… the internet and social media.  There’s enough information available – most of it for free – to make almost anyone a marketing expert!

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July 29, 2012

No rookies, no gum and no Frisbees: 10 don’ts for exhibiting at MR trade shows

The fall conference season will be here before you know it – ESOMAR, QRCA, AMA, CASRO, etc. – and many of you have committed to exhibiting at one or more of these shows. Done right, exhibiting can be an outstanding marketing vehicle and help you to generate highly-qualified sales leads, launch a new product or service, generate market awareness and support your association.

Now think about this: With the cost of the exhibit space; travel and lodging; building or updating your booth; shipping; event marketing; etc., your firm’s presence there could very well be the single largest marketing expense you have all year. Exhibiting is one of those things you must do really well to see a solid return on your investment.

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