The Competitive Advantage

June 11, 2012

Enhance your Marketing & Sales Message for a Competitive Advantage

Good morning class… Here’s an exercise that will help you more effectively communicate with prospective clients and why they should do business with your firm.

When we write (email or proposal) or deliver presentations, we’re all pretty good at espousing what we do – call it the features of our firm.  For example:

  • “We are a full-service shop.”
  • “We have a large team of experienced analysts on staff.”
  • “We are qualitative research specialists.”
  • “We have 20 years of experience in the automotive industry.”
  • “We do product testing, market segmentation, focus group moderating, blah, blah, blah…”
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June 7, 2012

The One Thing you Must Do to Measure your Marketing

There are three primary parts to executing your marketing & sales initiative.

The first is planning… all of that research, thinking, strategy and the details.

Next comes the execution… actually doing all of the things you set out to do in the plan – on time and on budget.

Some firms (but not nearly enough) go through the planning process.  Most firms handle the execution reasonably well.  And almost no one does the third part – measurement.

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June 4, 2012

Share your Knowledge to Build a Competitive Advantage

During my vacation on the East Coast last month, I made a call on the President of a research firm who had contacted me and wanted to meet.  I was happy to do it… you can only take so many days of sun, fun, beach and cool, refreshing drinks!

As we chatted, I realized that this gentleman was an absolute expert in the area of advanced analytics for research.  It came as a complete surprise to me because, until we chatted, I had no way of knowing that he had that level of knowledge.  There was no mention of it on his firm’s website, he didn’t have a blog, no Twitter account… no outlet of any kind to showcase that expertise.

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June 1, 2012

Should you Specialize to Gain a Competitive Advantage?

I’ve been out of town the past few days meeting with a couple of “good size” market research firms.

While the websites of both firms would suggest that they can (and do) conduct research in virtually all of the common vertical industries, the fact is that each of them DO have a specialty – on or two verticals that account for at least 50% of their business.  Yet, they are reticent to promote themselves as specialists.  Why?

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May 28, 2012

Marketing Execution… Your Success in the Details

There’s an old story from professional football with an important marketing lesson…

After a particularly difficult loss one Sunday afternoon, John McKay, then coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was asked by a sports reporter, “Coach, what do you think of your team’s execution?”  To which Coach McKay replied, “I’m in favor of it!”

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May 28, 2012

Marketing 101: It takes Work to make it Work

On the surface, marketing looks to be a pretty complicated discipline. Just think about it: marketing plans, strategy, branding, positioning, social media, advertising, e-mail, direct mail, analytics, content, SEO, CRM, MAS, etc., etc. Whew!

Unfortunately, because it looks difficult, many firms just sort of “play” at marketing. They’ll throw up a Web site, maybe make a few posts to their blog, tweet occasionally, take out an ad in a directory and call it a day. And then they complain that their marketing isn’t working!

The fact is, effective marketing is not all that complex. It’s about creating a good plan and then executing it. But execution requires discipline, persistence and focus. In short, it requires a little hard work. And that is why many companies fail at marketing: They won’t do the little day-to-day things necessary to be successful.

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May 21, 2012

Social Media Marketing Lessons Learned from an Engagement

My daughter, Laura, got engaged a few weeks ago… it was great news!  Her fiancé, Wade, is a terrific young man and my wife and I couldn’t be happier for them.   And what was really interesting about the announcement was how Laura did it (like a real marketing pro!)…

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May 17, 2012

Under-promise and Over-deliver… a True Story

As most of you know, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is a must-have in your marketing & sales arsenal.  Your CRM software is used to track and record client & prospect interactions, manage marketing campaigns, create sales reports and so much more.

I happen to use ZoHo (  This isn’t a story to promote a specific platform, but rather a story about the “customer experience” and how it can impact your business.  And I happen to be the customer.

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