Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. Part 3 of 3.

This is the final post in a three-part series this week on marketing differentiation.

Part 1 highlighted New York City wine retailer Taste Wine Company (User Experience Innovation Creates New Kind of Wine Store). The innovative idea propelling this new venture: shoppers can taste every bottle before buying!

Part 2 featured European hotel brand Mama Shelter, and their USA launch in Los Angeles (Redefining the Boutique Hotel Experience for an American Audience).


In this final installment, we’ll take a look at the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Why did a nonprofit best-known for planting trees in Israel participate at this year’s South by Southwest® (SXSW®) festival?

Kosher Carne - JNF at SXSW 2015

“Meet Me at My Place” or Create Experiences Where Your Customers Are

It’s a common marketing desire:  How can we broaden our reach and attract new customers? Continue reading

Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. Part 2.

This is part two of a three-part series on marketing differentiation.

Part 1 highlighted New York City wine retailer Taste Wine Company (User Experience Innovation Creates New Kind of Wine Store).  The innovative idea propelling this new venture:  shoppers can taste every bottle before buying!

Today, in Part 2, we take a look at global hotel brand Mama Shelter, and how its founders are putting a different spin on the US boutique hotel business.

Credit: Mama Shelter.

Credit: Mama Shelter.

 

 

Redefining Boutique Hotel Experience for an American Audience

The Mama Shelter hotel brand is an example of both marketing differentiation and a global-brand applied geographically. Continue reading

Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. A 3-Part Series.

Marketing is fun – and hard work.

It’s the latter part that’s not always so obvious.

I remember a former colleague who sought a cross-functional transfer from technical product management into global marketing.  I asked why.  Her response:  marketing is more fun.

Yes, marketing can be fun, but like the rest of business, it’s also a serious challenge.  Non-marketing observers may not realize all the hard work and preparation required to achieve success.

Which leads to the focus of this post – marketing differentiation.  It’s hard to do.

To stimulate your thinking, I have three new examples to share.  Note how the idea of “customer experience” is central to each marketing story.

And, I’m experimenting with something different myself to provide a better reader experience:  short, one-example posts on three consecutive days.


Part 1:

User Experience Innovation Creates New Kind of Wine Store

https://twitter.com/TasteWineCo/status/616788732751032320 Continue reading

Texas Bus Company Caters to Fed-Up Air Travelers

You might think the bus transportation business – and bus operator marketing – are boring.

That’s the wrong answer in Texas, where a new company offers a unique transportation option to fed-up Lone Star State travelers.

Credit: Vonlane.

Credit: Vonlane.

Vonlane puts a smart-differentiation twist on the old-fashioned bus ride.  It’s a reminder that when you think like an end-user, you may find a path toward commercially successful differentiation.

Vonlane demonstrates, at least sometimes, that what appears to be a commodity product or service doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else. Continue reading

Creative, Multipurpose Packaging Drives Customer Engagement – And Hopefully Sales

Packaging can play a role in delivering your marketing objectives.

Get some creative packaging ideas into your marketing mix by giving this topic attention and focus during your plan development process.  While “package design” or graphics tends to get more attention, don’t overlook opportunities to leverage the actual product container (“structural packaging”).

Plus, depending on your product or service, there may be integrated, total experience, packaging-related benefits and/or news you can create.

Here are two recent examples that caught my attention.  They’ll give you some food-for-thought this summer.

KFC Germany's Bluetooth tray liner. Translation: Try the zinger burger. Credit: photo from KFC video.

KFC Germany’s Bluetooth tray liner. Translation: Try the zinger burger. Credit: photo from KFC video.

Bluetooth Tray Liner Keyboard – KFC Germany

For fast-food marketers like KFC, creating news and staying top-of-mind with customers are always primary objectives.  But there are only so many price-oriented product promotions to roll out.

Plus, since some of the KFC menu items are eat-with-your-hands foods, it can be difficult, or should we say greasy, to operate a smartphone at the same time.

So, while their American colleagues are pushing the return of Colonel Sanders, the German KFC team (and partner Serviceplan) came up with a clever idea.  They turned a common tray liner into a useful tool – a Bluetooth connected “Tray Typer” keyboard for smartphones and other mobile devices. Continue reading

How L.L. Bean Creates Employee Brand Ambassadors

Wouldn’t it be financially advantageous if employees throughout the organization could regularly think like their customers?

There are creative ways to encourage the development of passionate customer-focused champions/ambassadors for products and services.

L.L. Bean store in Freeport, ME. Credit: L.L. Bean.

L.L. Bean store in Freeport, ME. Credit: L.L. Bean.

Iconic brand L.L. Bean offers and implements a suite of programs to create raging fans inside the company, which ultimately help Bean outside the company.

Consider Bean’s “Team Days” and “Outdoor Experience Days:”

“From hikes to paddling trips, we provide opportunities for employees to develop their outdoor interests, enjoy L.L.Bean products and build stronger relationships with coworkers.”

These are paid days out-of-the-office.  Depending on seniority, salaried employees receive 3-5  per year for such activities.  That’s money well-spent. Continue reading

“Internet of Everything” Chief Talks Digital Disruption Implications at IWNY

Challenge what you believe to be true every day.

Joseph M. Bradley – IoE Evangelist and Vice President IoE Practice, Cisco Consulting Services – May 20, 2015

I didn’t know what to expect from Internet Week New York, the annual celebration of technology’s impact on business and culture held last week.

It was cool to hear from the well-known — like Chelsea Clinton and New York City’s Police Commissioner William Bratton  —  and to learn from new people like Cisco’s Joseph Bradley.

Joseph M. Bradley - VP, IoE Practice, Cisco Consulting Services. Photo credit: Cisco.

Joseph M. Bradley – VP, IoE Practice, Cisco Consulting Services. Photo credit: Cisco.

Bradley was in New York to talk about the Internet of Everything (IoE) and to encourage the leveraging of “dark assets.”  The word “evangelist” isn’t in his title by accident.

Bradley is a dynamic speaker and presenter.  He commands the stage, engages with stories, and comes across as someone who knows what he’s talking about. That’s a rare combination.

What stood out for me were Bradley’s “Top 5 Implications of Digital Disruption:”

  1. Innovation is more than ideation. Invention + Execution = Innovation.
  2. Context is king.
  3. If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work.
  4. Real-time is too late.
  5. Data is everywhere but insights are scarce.

These five points have broader, day-to-day meaning for marketing and business professionals.

Continue reading