If You’re Not Unique Why Do You Exist?

Solving a customer problem is only part of what makes a product marketable. There’s another part of this – and that’s the question of if others already do this, why should people switch to you?

Let’s face it – there are a lot of products and services in the world, with many of them tackling the same problems. If you’re starting a new company or launching a new product, there is probably someone out there already doing the same thing. Their product might be somewhat different from you, but at its core it might be very similar. So why should people use your product?
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Kellogg's Advertising Pulled from Breitbart

Kellogg’s Advertising Pulled from Breitbart. Smart Move?

News just came out today that Kellogg’s Advertising firms are pulling all of its advertising from the site Breitbart.com.

The site has recently come under stronger fire from groups condemning it as sexist, racist and promoting hate-speech. A big push for this has been on social media, particularly on Twitter and Facebook.

The reasoning for Kellogg’s decision to pull their advertising is that Breitbart’s recent articles and rhetoric “aren’t aligned with our values as a company,”

(And for the record, I’m staying out of the debate about Breitbart’s content, I’m questioning the brand move from advertising and PR perspective)

But with a country as divided as it is right now, is this a smart move? After all, Donald Trump’s top aide and future White House Adviser, Steve Bannon, used to actually run the site.

Is this decision to pull their online advertising from it likely to get it caught into a new firestorm with people who are regular readers of the site, or Donald Trump supporters? Or do you think it was a decision mostly to just get out of the crosshairs of any kind of public backlash?

My last question – the one I’m really pondering, is this: If journalism (let’s just call Bretibart journalism, for the sake of this argument) is reliant on advertising to survive, and groups can rise up online against speech or reporting they don’t like, are we risking a censored journalistic environment?

As much as there are plenty of things out there that are reported on and opinions I don’t agree with, I fear that we risk setting a precedent where we stamp out speech we don’t like by threatening boycotts of the companies who are just trying to get in front of potential customer eyeballs.

So what do you think of Kellogg’s advertising pull from Breitbart? Leave your thoughts below.

Every Customer Has a Problem

Marketing Basics: Every Customer Has a Problem

Every customer has a problem. That’s one of the most important marketing basics to remember.

Not a personality problem like fear of emotional commitment (although have those as well) or a customer service type problem like a major complaint about your return policy. Instead they have a problem that you or your product can solve.

It’s your job to figure out what that problem is, how to help them solve it, and to let them know you can.
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Marketing Books

Marketing Books Essentials: The 5 Best Books for Marketers

Go to any book store and you’ll see there are a lot of marketing books out there. Amazon currently lists over 62,000 marketing books in its marketing category.

And that’s just taking into account the books that are specifically tagged as being about marketing. That doesn’t include general business books, pyschology books or others that while not specifically marketing books, are still useful books for marketers.

I read a lot. And while I haven’t read all 62,000+ marketing books that Amazon lists, I’ve read my fair share. And of those, there are five in particular that I believe to be essential reads for any marketer.
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Fender Guitar

Fender’s Struggle to Get Guitars Under the Tree (And How To Make Your Brand Relevant Again)

As Black Friday looms near and the holiday shopping season kicks off in earnest, it seems Fender Guitar may be struggling for a spot under the tree for a shiny new guitar. According to a recent article from The Salt Lake Tribune, Fender’s marketing is battling flat sales due to that old foe, competition for mind share.

While people have been saying the guitar is dead for quite a while now, Fender’s fight for relevancy in a modern world full XBoxes and iPhones, a crumbling infrastructure for the arts and music, and a general lack of use and excitement around the guitar in modern music is one that, in my opinion, can still be won. But it’s going to take a lot more work to get there than just standard marketing can do.

I’ve argued for a while now that in order to build a strong brand, you need to encourage behavioral change. Yes, it’s possible to ride along on the waves made by others and sell popular ancillary products, but when you’re in a position like Fender is, where frankly there’s nothing out there in the greater zeitgeist that’s increasing the demand for guitars, you’re fighting an uphill battle.

As I like to say: If you can’t get anyone to do it for you, you might as well do it yourself.

And that’s what Fender and other companies are going to have to realize. It’s part of my Inspire, Aspire, Perspire theory of marketing.

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Business Card

Never Underestimate the Importance of the Good Old Business Card

In our modern tech-driven world, the idea of a business card seems kind of … quaint.

After all, with LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter and e-Mail and all the other ways we can easily get in touch with someone, or at least look them up, the idea of carrying around a piece of paper in your pocket to hand to someone seems almost counter-intuitive to technology.

It’s not the case though. In fact, I’d say that having a business card on hand now is just as important as it ever was.
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Content Marketing About Content Marketing (This Post Is So Meta)

It’s kind of bizarre, isn’t it?

The whole idea of writing an article about writing an article.

Creating valuable content about creating valuable content so I can help others improve their marketing in an attempt to improve my own marketing.


It’s like our own little blog version of Inception.


But that’s what this article is about. It’s about the idea that in order to be seen as valuable today, you have to provide content that people find valuable. Or at least entertaining. (Do I entertain you?)

You see, the very idea of content marketing is to provide content that drives people to your site or business, or at least builds awareness around it. It’s about building a rapport with others. They come in, they read whatever you wrote, or they download your whitepaper, or they watch your video or whatever. You make content, target it to people who are interested in the content, and build engagement.

And if you’ve read this far, I’ve engaged you. If not, you left and that’s okay. You weren’t my target audience.
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It’s Okay If Your Click Doesn’t Convert

Your ad is set. It’s super cool. Engagement is off the charts. People are clicking like their lives depend on it. But people aren’t buying.

Nightmare? Far from it.

A lot of the time when I’m working with people on their marketing campaigns they are looking for immediate action – which in most cases means getting people who click the ad to make a purchase (conversion rate). They do all the work to get the ads out there or the third-party relationships in place to drive traffic, and people are engaging. They’re clicking through. But according to analytics, no one is buying after they click.
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12 Must-Do Marketing Tips to Give Your Small Business a Rock-Solid Digital Strategy

Even though the bulk of the career you see on my resume is working with multi-million dollar businesses, in my day-to-day life I, like pretty much everyone else, interact with people outside my professional circle. Be it the local coffee shop, an independent publisher, a digital design firm, a newly-launching small clothing shop or even an accounting agency, one thing is for certain – every business looking to succeed is also looking for some tips on effective online marketing.

Since the basics of marketing are honestly the same regardless of your business, any research you can do into the basics of how marketing works will be useful. Better yet, look at bringing on an agency for a short engagement. But if you want my list of quick tips on things I think every small business should be keeping in mind when they look to grow through marketing, read on.
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Without Purpose, Your “Content Marketing” Is Just a Noisy Distraction

I go to a LOT of marketing conferences. Most of them are at CMO / VP-level, and deal with some pretty cutting-edge concepts when it comes to brand strategy and adopting to the ever-changing world. This year, the biggest discussions are around Brand Experience – and for many, that means Content Marketing.

At its core, Content Marketing is simply creating content to drive business awareness and leads. Pretty simple, right?

Of course the answer is yes and no. Here’s the issue I’ve been seeing with Content Marketing: A lot of businesses are jumping onto the content marketing bandwagon and producing content, but without consideration of just what the point of it is.

When I was at the GDS CMO Summit in Mexico in October, you might have seen me tweet “Marketing 2016: Let Me Entertain You.” That’s a pretty good summation of what I’m seeing, and for the most part it’s what I see modern marketing turning into – a desperate, unfocused grab for attention through entertainment as a way to get customers through the door.

The problem is, a lot of companies aren’t thinking their strategy through on this. In their excitement and eagerness to stay current, they are forgetting the important question of WHY?.
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