3 Ways to Separate Yourself

separate-yourselfEach summer I attend my sons’ youth soccer games. Little kids’ games are extremely entertaining. They play what I call “the huddled masses” soccer, where a herd of children swarms the ball tripping over each other in the process. It’s wildly fun to watch.

Parents shout at their child to “kick harder” and “run faster”, hoping their kid can separate the ball and themselves from the pack. Any time a kid accomplishes this feat he or she generally is seen racing toward an open net and for an easy GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!

Businesses face a similar frenzy, getting lost in the masses while attempting to claw, kick and scream to be recognized. Having a good product or quality service isn’t enough; you must find distinct ways to separate yourself from the pack.

Here are 3 ways to separate yourself:

Understand the Business You’re In

Years ago I worked for a minor-league sports team. We started with the misconception that we were in the football business. We were wrong. As a sports team, we competed against movie theaters, concerts, amusements parks, miniature golf and other sporting events. We were in the entertainment business.

We needed to convince customers to spend their money attending our games over other forms of entertainment. Once we understood the business we were in, our marketing improved, each game became an event, and eventually ticket sales increased.

Be Known for Something

What do you want to be known for? What makes people think of you first?

When I want sushi, I think of Simply Sushi in Salt Lake City. To me, they are the best value for good sushi. There are cheaper sushi restaurants. There are higher quality ones too. Simply Sushi decided they would be known as the best value. This definition often wins my lunch money.

McDonald’s is known for the Big Mac. Burger King is Home of the Whopper. They offer other menu options, but they’re known for one main thing.

Trying to be all things to all people may result in not being known at all.

Be Social

Many professionals and businesses still struggle to know what to do with Social Media. It’s okay to start simple and build your strategy from there. Social Media should be used to entertain, educate and engage.

Think of social media as another communication channel. Yes, it requires an investment in time, resources, and creativity. Your investment will be part of what separates you from your competition. Find ways to be different. Be interactive. Be memorable.

 

What other ways have you found to separate yourself?

– DJ

True stories, truly connect us

Came across this quote while looking back at notes I made from Hubspot’s Inbound 2015 conference. Couldn’t find the source to reference which session or author used it in their presentation.

True stories move us – and motivate us to take action.

Simple, yet profound. Connecting with our audience through storytelling is one of the most powerful marketing concepts we should be implementing more effectively in 2017.

How are you using storytelling to connect?

true-stories-move-us

5 Steps to Starting Your Marketing Plan

Started your 2017 Marketing Plan?

Did you even have a 2016 Marketing Plan? Did you follow it?

I’ve worked for start-up companies, mid-size businesses, and large companies with hundreds of employees. It is shocking how different each company approaches building a marketing plan. There’s always a lot of discussion around how and where to get started for developing a new plan.

Here are 5 steps to get started:

  1. Review what happened in 2016 (1 hr. 30 minutes)
    1. What worked?
    2. What didn’t work?
  2. Segment your 2016 Marketing Plan into two buckets (30 minutes)
    1. What should I keep? (do again)
    2. What needs to be scrapped?
  3. Determine “What else” (2 hrs.)
    1. What should be added for 2017?
  4. Let it sit for 48 hours
    1. Let it simmer – more ideas will come to mind
  5. Evaluate the new plan and answer the following questions: (1 hr.)
    1. If we accomplish this what will be the outcome or result?
    2. If we don’t accomplish this what will be the consequence?

Very simple, very basic – but it’s a structure that will give some direction. The goal is to come up with a general outline for your 2017 Marketing Plan.

This outline can be shared with other departments and the management team. Remember, you’re showing them the picture of the forest, don’t try to paint every tree yet at this point.

After you get initial buy-in, further develop the specific strategies, initiatives, and campaigns.

This may seem overly simplistic, but for many businesses getting started doesn’t need ot be more complicated than this.

It’s not Me, it’s You

i-me-i-me-iiIf you want to be more successful with your sales and marketing stop making it all about you.

Here’s a novel idea:

Make it about the customer!

Otherwise, I can guarantee you that:

  • I won’t respond to your emails
  • My company won’t consider your solutions
  • My company won’t ever buy from you
  • We will find someone who cares more about us

Yes, people send me two to three emails a day just like the one I screenshotted above. No, I don’t ever respond to them.

The Sales and Marketing Gap

pablo-3Why is there a large gap, a seemingly unfillable chasm, between sales and marketing?

Does it stem from different goals (or the perception thereof)?

  • Marketing’s view on Sales’ objective: They just want to earn a commission, and could care less about anything else.
  • Sales’ view on Marketing’s objective: They just want to make things look good, and could care less if it drives sales.

Bridging the gap means having the same objectives – real and perceived.

It starts with larger corporate objectives that individual team goals align with.

Sales and Marketing must explicitly understand how their goals help the overall company, and how they support the goals of other teams.

Sounds simple, right?

Way too often, in companies large and small, this isn’t happening.

Now is the time to develop your 2017 goals.

Corporate strategies must first be developed by executive management. Then team goals can be created to support the larger strategy.

Throughout the year, transparency via regular reporting will give improved visibility into how all teams’ goals support one another – thus bridging the gap.

 

Is Hubspot’s Inbound Conference Worth It? Part 2

Inbound_2015 Worth It“Worth it” – is a relative term. For this article the question is, is it worth it for an employer to send marketing people to Inbound?

Here’s why it is worth it:

  • Shows an Invest in Your People
    • Employees want to know they’re working for more than just a paycheck. Companies that invest in their people find those people are more fully invested in the job. What a great opportunity to invest in your people while helping increase their value to the organization.
  • Gain Access to Top Marketing Leaders
    • Your company may not be able to hire a swarm of marketing pros, but Inbound gives your marketing people exposure to some of the best and brightest marketing minds. It’s a way to expand your marketing influencers with fairly limited investment.
  • Demonstrates You Value Marketing
    • No matter what your company does, marketing is important, maybe even crucial to your success. Sending your top marketers to Inbound shows a commitment to marketing and show you’re looking for new ways to market and promote your goods or services. This is beneficial to your employees and your customers.

Tip: Make the Decision Early to Save Money.

  • Early entrance fee starts at $600 and goes up to $1,500 as the conference draws closer. I paid $950 this year. Additionally, hotels fill up fast and that means prices go up. Request that your marketers book their hotel early to save money.

Are you a manager that sent marketing people to Inbound 2015? Let us know if you thought it was worth the investment.