Category Archives: Go-To-Market Strategy/Philosophy

19th Hole Marketing: Positioning Requires a Decision

I just couldn’t get 100% comfortable with the gunshot-type-sound every time my partner hit the ball during a round of golf this summer.

If you’ve played golf or listened closely on TV, you understand the thwack of the driver or the whoosh of a good iron hit.  And, if you’ve been to a gun range, you know the sound of a firearm.  But you wouldn’t expect a gun sound on a golf course.

That’s what you get with the EZeeGolf Power Driver, which automatically drives a ball down the fairway.

There’s also a worthy strategic marketing discussion to be had.

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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

This Law Firm is a Marketing Powerhouse

It’s no longer a surprise to see a law firm or medical practice marketing itself.

What stands out now is when one embraces marketing to grow its business — in this case a law firm advertising on sports radio station ESPN New York 98.7 FM.

That’s worth a deeper look.

Cordell & Cordell is a nationwide law firm that “levels the playing field for men in family law cases.”  They operate in 29 states, with more than 100 offices and a team of 170+ attorneys.

Credit: Cordell & Cordell.

Credit: Cordell & Cordell.

I like the fundamentals that underpin the Cordell & Cordell go-to-market and growth strategies.

1.  Sharp Business Focus.   There’s no room for misunderstanding.  Cordell & Cordell is “the law firm for men going through divorce and/or related issues such as child custody.”

2.  Clear Positioning and Defined Target.  Cordell & Cordell are “advisors and advocates for men before, during, and after divorce.”  Take a look at this TV commercial:

3.  Easy-to-Understand Services and Benefits.  Spend less than 30 seconds on their website and you know exactly what the law firm does and whether it matches what you’re looking for. Continue reading

Uber Shifts Gears in Spain to Build Brand

Uber is an agile marketer and tenacious competitor.

The company is known for disrupting (positively, for the public) the taxi/car ride industry.

Whether by design or not, Uber has demonstrated many agile for marketing characteristics, including being flexible, experimental, empowering and customer focused.  As I’ll explain, Uber also seems to have a strong, clear vision that’s aligned with adaptive execution.  (Thanks to Barre Hardy of CMG Partners, and her recent webinar introduction to the agile for marketing concept.)

Vision and execution bring me to what Uber is doing in Spain.  

In December 2014, a Spanish court ruled that Uber could no longer operate its UberPop car sharing service in Barcelona.  Instead of being hamstrung, the company made a smart and creative brand-building pivot.  Uber switched gears to nurture its developing brand equity and maintain its business platform foothold.

In February, the company launched UberEats.

UberEATS - Barcelona, Spain. Translation: From hungry to happy in 10 minutes. Photo Credit: Uber.

UberEATS – Barcelona, Spain. Translation: From hungry to happy in 10 minutes. Photo Credit: Uber.

According to the intro blog post, UberEATS is “an on-demand food delivery service that gets you the best meals from the best local restaurants in under 10 minutes.”  (Uber has a similar Uber Fresh service in Los Angeles).

Here’s how Uber is executing the strategy: Continue reading

How To Take a Fresh Look, Get New Ideas & Tackle A Challenging New Job

Let’s say you’re a new business unit leader or CMO.

You want to get an unvarnished, 360-degree view of the situation and challenge at-hand.  You have to get prepared to give your boss an action plan.

What do you do and how do you do it?

To demonstrate, let’s use a high-profile, global example that just happened.  I’ll tell you who it is at the end of the post.

Blackboard with words Look Listen Learn

Image: iStock

Here are some of the steps taken by the new leader:

* Invited a range of outside industry experts to a private dinner.  They represented views both consistent with, and alternate to, the company’s strategic direction.

* The guests had to earn their meal by commenting on the most pressing problems facing the company.  Specifically, they were asked:  “Tell me something I don’t know;” and “Give me a new way of thinking about things.”

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Free Marketing Advice from the US Coast Guard

Credit: United States Coast Guard.

Credit: United States Coast Guard.

The motto for the United States Coast Guard is Always Ready (Semper Paratus).

It’s a good mindset for marketers, too.

The best are ready to adapt, change and adjust as needed, guided by a solid business strategy.  Of course, sometimes you also have to be ready to change the strategy.

Top performers are ready and able to:

  • Experiment
  • View and process things from a different lens (e.g., competitors, markets, colleagues)
  • Explore new ways to work better with their team
  • Understand that maybe the other guy is right (at least sometimes)
  • Embrace a new challenge or initiative

A now famous example of being ready led to the Oreo team’s real-time marketing success in the 2013 Super Bowl

Being ready usually means you’re in a position to be successful.  Consider one of my favorite quotes:  Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

So I posed the following question to members of MENG, the Marketing Executives Networking Group:

What would you say is the number one most important thing for marketers to be ready about/ready for in 2015?

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Demystifying Omnichannel Marketing

“It’s less about creating another channel to sell product. “For us it’s pretty different. It’s about providing a really great experience.” — Andy Katz-Mayfield, Co- Chief Executive, Harry’s

Omnichannel marketing is getting a lot of buzz.

Here’s a quick way to understand the concept, from Daniel Newman writing in Forbes:

[It’s ] “a reflection of the choice that consumers have in how they engage a brand, and therefore is best represented as how brands enable their clients and consumers to use these channels to engage with them.”

Newman points to the emergence of a new breed of “marketers with a hybrid capability to not be just focused on one type of marketing whether it be direct, digital or retail, but rather a marketer that understands experience, and how consumers are seeking ubiquity. From their cell phone to the desktop to an in store visit; we are entering an omni-channel world, where consumers seek an omni-channel experience.”

Omnichannel marketing is not necessarily a new idea, though.  It’s more an evolved idea.

For example, in the pre-social media days, one marketing challenge was to integrate consumer promotion, trade marketing and advertising — plus maybe some PR events — into a cohesive marketing mix.  Today, there are more platforms than ever to engage with customers and build brands, and that’s exciting for the marketing community.

Those “hybrid marketers” also need to understand the discipline of brand management — and how to apply that expertise in today’s omni-touchpoint world.  What’s needed are smart, flexible marketers (those with strong consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand management training should thrive).

With that introduction, let’s explore three current omnichannel marketing initiatives.  See what you can take and apply to your company and team.

Credit: Jack Erwin.

Credit: Jack Erwin.

Jack Erwin

Founded in 2013, Jack Erwin is a new brand of men’s shoes.  This week, the online seller adds a special brick-and-mortar component.

Their approach is a try-on physical outlet dubbed The Fitting Room, opening in New York City on November 13th.

As The Wall Street Journal’s Lauren Sherman explained, it’s a place to get fitted, try on the shoes, and buy.  You can’t walk out the door with any product though – there’s no inventory.  So, unless you need the shoes immediately, it’s a win  — you like them on arrival and know they fit! Continue reading