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Blog Post Archive
Firsthand Customer Learning Always Beats “Behind the Desk”
Business leaders need to avoid the ivory tower syndrome and get out into the market for real learning. There’s only so much you can accomplish sitting at your desk. If you’re not interacting with everyone and everything that makes your company tick, that’s a problem – and a lost opportunity.
Is this the Best Customer Service Feedback Question?
Asking the right questions can make all the difference: to understand customers, gain early warning about issues, for problem-solving, to interact with team members, and overall to help run your business effectively.
Marketing-driven Highway Safety Signs Blocked by Feds
New Jersey deployed clever road safety messages on electronic highway signs carefully crafted to connect with local drivers. The federal government said STOP.
Jersey Mike’s Manager Conducts Master Class in Humanity & Customer Relations
An inspiring customer interaction at sub shop Jersey Mike’s provides four important takeaways for business and life.
Make it Easy (Easier) for Customers to Interact and Buy More
There is one thing that every company or organization should be able to do to increase sales potential and/or learn more about what’s happening with their customers: make it easy for the customer or potential customer to get in touch.
Ask This Question to Beat Your Competition
Are you asking powerful, business-changing questions like retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods? Here’s how to do it to beat your competition.
Make Your Trade Shows More Strategic and Higher ROI
What do sales and marketing teams get from their massive trade show investments? “9 Action Points” to make your trade shows more strategic and higher ROI.
Getting People to Speak Up at Work
One of the greatest challenges to a high performing organization is getting colleagues to robustly and constructively engage. Why this happens plus five action steps for improvement.
10 Leadership Lessons from Ernest Shackleton’s Famous Arctic Survival Mission
10 reasons why arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew survived an unsurvivable mission. More than 100 years later, they are still relevant and highly applicable to businesses and organizations.
Urban Farmers are Growing Fruit Trees in Philadelphia. Really.
Fruit trees do grow in cities! Nonprofit organization Philadelphia Orchard Project promotes inner city orchards to increase access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Autonomous Agriculture Technology is Here. Will it be Adopted and Make a Difference?
Agriculture growers are testing artificial-intelligence-powered autonomous equipment. There is potential to improve sustainability, solve labor shortages and increase the efficiency of the global food supply chain.
Bumble Bee Tuna Influences Customers with Typically Unused Packaging “Real Estate”
The Bumble Bee marketing team cleverly used a typically overlooked portion of the can, the top lid, to communicate key product benefits.
Innovation & Sustainability Power Food Supply Chain – Yet More Work Remains To Be Done
How is it possible to purchase your favorite produce virtually any day of the year? The “secret magic” of the food/produce supply chain is grounded in science-based innovation, powered by safe and effective technologies specially designed for the task.
Six Ideas for Team Recognition & Celebration That You Can Implement Today
Six easy ways to implement recognition, celebration, coaching and injecting fun at your organization for team success.
In Sales & Marketing, Remember: It’s About the Customer, Not You!
A true “customer first” story how one team member took extraordinary action to create an amazing and unique customer experience. Plus, how you can apply such sales and marketing at your company.
Execution Breakdown: Sales Team Sent to Trade Show with Defunct Email Address on Business Cards
What separates the winners from everyone else when it comes to successful business execution? Attention to details, or put another way, making sure the operational nuts and bolts are in order. Example and discussion.
Interact with Customers in Real Time to Boost Satisfaction & Repeat Purchase
Act and influence the outcome in real time by asking your customers “How is everything?” instead of waiting to ask how was everything. A mini case study.
Value Proposition: An Unlikely Source of Strategic Inspiration
“You just saved $xx by using your library!” This brilliant, yet unlikely marketing example can help you identify differentiation opportunities and develop your value proposition.
Get-Started Action Tips to Evaluate How You Stack Up Versus Competition
Business and marketing leaders have much to gain by utilizing a “How are we doing?” outside-in learning approach. One easy-to-implement way to get started is to conduct a regular program to compare your products and services versus other available options.
Why The Return of “Geoffrey the Giraffe” Demonstrates the Power of Brand Marketing
Supermarket leader Kroger has leveraged a Toys “R” Us brand asset to launch “Geoffrey’s Toy Box.” It’s a testament to the power of brands and an example of how marketing can be a cornerstone for strong customer relationships and sustainable long-term business success.
Teamwork Difference-Making Tips from Little League, Marvel and Town Hall
Success is often determined by how management treats its workforce and how well colleagues jell together as a cohesive team. Three examples of how people and teams can make the difference in business from the Little League World Series, Marvel and a Minnesota community civility project.
Showtime’s New Series is Built on Deception and Bad for America
Showtime’s new series with Sacha Baron Cohen, Who Is America?, is not authentic or transparent. It’s deceptive. While it may be good for their business, it’s not good for America.
Continue Marketing After the Sale with Packaging Messages. Even B2B!
Marketing doesn’t end when the sale is made. The packaging that comes with your product — whether it’s the retail shopping bag, the shipping box, or the actual product contents structure — can be a strong influencing factor for company image and brand perception. This includes B2B.
Why Every Marketer Dreams of a Wiffle Ball Type Customer Connection
You can buy other plastic baseballs, but there is no comparison when it comes to the combination of WIFFLE® Ball’s performance and emotional attachment. That’s what makes the product and brand a marketing success story.
Take Net Promoter to the Next Level. Ask For the Recommendation.
It’s one thing to ask your customer how likely they would be to recommend you. It’s so much better to ask them to actually recommend you to a potential customer!
8 Brand Management Success Factors Drive Hess Toy Truck
The Hess Toy Truck brand continues to thrive even though Hess Corporation no longer operates gas stations. How? Eight brand management success factors.
A Business Remedy for Conventional Wisdom and Groupthink
Four business remedies to make sure conventional wisdom and groupthink don’t derail your company’s success.
This Is Marketing: We Are in the Holy S*** Business
A new corporate marketing campaign for MGM Resorts International helps demonstrate the power of what some consider “mumbo jumbo” — marketing cornerstones such as branding, positioning and customer experience.
All Aboard. Back-to-School Marketing Refresher from 1929 Blue Comet Train.
Unexpected benefit from taking my young nephews to a local museum this summer: a marketing communications refresher about the importance of painting an image and creating anticipated, sought-after experiences in the mind of the target customer.
Brand Management Dilemma: Grow, But Don’t Kill the Core
How to expand the appeal of brand x and/or position it for growth without alienating existing customers and destroying the core business.
Wegmans Supermarket Entices Shoppers with Impressive Magazine
Wegmans Menu Magazine demonstrates the marketing benefit of creating content that helps the customer.
Packaging Has Strategic Role in Brand Refresh/Renovation
Marketers and business leaders who take a disciplined, strategic approach with packaging have a distinct advantage. A five-plus-years study of the Arrowhead Mills brand from Hain Celestial.
Unexpected Sources Can Power Content Marketing
Where do business teams get the content to fuel their content-driven marketing? Great content can come from unexpected places. An example from Allen Edmonds.
Don’t Retreat Marketers. Ben Franklin to the Rescue.
Are corporations failing at higher rates or is something else going on? The danger is a “blandization” effect, where marketers and company leadership are so afraid of any criticism that they self-censor to such an extent that their messages become super-plain vanilla, indistinguishable, and not very effective.
Poor Integration and Sales Bombardment Equals Bad Customer Experience
When customer-facing personnel are not integrated, customer experience is likely to suffer. Eventually, the ultimate one suffering is the company itself, with lost sales.
Why “Pop-up” Thinking Can Boost Your Marketing
Marketers can apply “pop-up” thinking to gain important business advantages.
“See Thru Can” Is Vivid Example of How Packaging Can Drive Marketing
McCall Farms used packaging innovation as a marketing change agent. They introduced a new brand of ready-to-eat vegetables in see-through composite containers.
5 Pointers for Writing a Letter to Your Customer
Most customer “letters” go right in the garbage. Why this letter from an online retailer’s Brand Manager stood out.
Topgolf Provides Marketing Inspiration. Fun Entertainment. And Even Practice If You Want It.
Topgolf is a marketing story. It’s a cool example of being able to think creatively and reimagine a commodity activity.
Gatorade’s High-Tech, Sweat-Reading Vending Machine Delivers Brand Positioning
Gatorade developed a high-tech vending machine that dispenses free bottles to workout warriors — if they’re sweating enough. Gatorade’s marketing is noteworthy because it consistently delivers the brand’s positioning and customer benefits.
Free Supermarket Turkey is Easy. Donating is Harder. Why?
Free turkey promotions are common at USA supermarkets leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. But something’s missing: providing shoppers with an easy donation option.
Stories Make a Difference – Expert’s 6 Points for Great Storytelling
Stories create connections that are emotional and inspiring. Maybe that’s why the best storytellers win. Expert ideas to optimize your business communication and team leadership.
When Strategy and Tactics Don’t Mesh, You Get Ruth’s Chris Steak for -50%
Management at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Ann Arbor, MI had a bad case of indigestion. That’s because they faced a week of giving 50% discounts on every check. It’s a case study on why you need Marketing Discipline. Strategy first, then tactics.
Dynamic Duo – Ingredient Suppliers and Marketers Work Together for Consumer Success
Food and beverage marketing teams are increasingly paying attention to ingredient trade shows such as SupplySide West. That’s because marketers realize they can win with food ingredients – if they do it right.
You Want Change, Sit in the Same Office
Lands’ End’s CEO departed Monday after only 19 months on the job. Working in New York City, 1,000 miles away from her team in Wisconsin, didn’t help achieve her change mission.
Why You Should Stop Asking Your Customers: “How Was Everything?”
Change your customer experience mindset. Stop waiting until the end of the transaction to ask: “How was everything?” Instead, ask in real-time, “How is everything?”
Bold Marketing: Travel Website Dares Customers with DNA Testing
Travel website momondo stands out with terrific marketing not found in a typical playbook. They dare customers to get DNA tested, and then encourage them to explore their geographic ancestry.
Smart Differentiation Powers Wholesale Fish Purveyor
Fish wholesaler Red’s Best combined brand management, technology, a keen understanding of end users and storytelling to craft a differentiated, go-to-market business strategy.
Has Crowdsourcing Gone Too Far?
A minor league baseball team is letting fans pick its new name. Where is the line between using informed judgment to make solid, on-strategy decisions, and just opening the proverbial office door to say “Hey customer, you decide.”
NJ Wine Shop Thrives on Marketing Differentiation
Wine retailer Amanti Vino is different than competitors, and that means special benefits for customers. Taste the action with 3+ marketing differentiation examples.
Topps Hits Marketing Home Run with New 24-Hour Baseball Cards
Topps demonstrates how to keep a 65-year-old brand fresh and relevant. The iconic company has launched TOPPS NOW, a limited edition, 24-hour-only series of baseball cards that caters to today’s always on, Internet-connected fans.
Why Your Business Needs “Marketing Discipline”
Marketing Discipline is essential. It’s a strategic operating mindset that serves as a guide and roadmap for well-grounded decision-making. Plus, IMD Professor Goutam Challagalla on the importance of Marketing Doctrine.
With Rolling Stone a Memory, General McChrystal Now Inspires Business Leaders
In “Team of Teams – New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World,” General Stanley McChrystal offers ready-to-implement ideas on leadership, teamwork and organizational effectiveness.
Take Poll on New March Madness Basketball Courts
Notice the “packaging” change for this year’s men’s basketball tournament? The most important new design feature is highlighting the “March Madness” brand with a giant center court logo. That’s a smart brand management marketing move.
Inside Look: How to Make the “Special Sauce” of Excellent Customer Service
“Treat every customer like they are your mother (and if you don’t like your mother… haha, treat them like someone you love dearly and would do anything for).” Get a little bit of the Duval’s customer service mindset into your teams and across your organization.
Movie “Burnt” Depicts Both Ugly & Good Teamwork Lessons
If you want a vivid training primer on how teamwork and collaboration make a winning recipe for business success, cut-up a few scenes from the movie “Burnt.” Plus, 10 Leadership, Collaboration & Teamwork Lessons.
Basketball-Playing Cop Demonstrates Power of Touchpoint Marketing
Everything is marketing. A Gainesville, FL police officer’s handling of a basketball noise report delivered everything the police department could have ever wanted in terms of creating goodwill and a feel-good perception within the local community.
Focus on Customer Content Drives Costco Marketing Strategy
Costco utilizes a consumer education strategy. Take a spin around costco.com, and you’ll find consumer-friendly product information designed to inform, persuade and generate “Add to Cart” shopping clicks.
How ESPN’s College Football Megacast Can Impact Your 2016 Marketing Plan
With Megacast, ESPN offered 15 different viewing and listening choices for the 2016 college football championship game. Read on for “6 Business and Marketing Lessons.”
Shake My Head Marketing (Automation Run Amok)
Beware the unintended consequences of marketing automation gone awry. Even one or two misdirected emails has the potential to threaten the customer experience and brand goodwill that your company has worked so hard to build.
Domino Confuses and Optimizes with Sugar Package Change
Why marketing changes packaging. Domino converted a brown sugar in a pouch to a product in a canister with a different name. A good move, even though some consumers were confused.
Duke’s President Offers Actionable Philosophy for Life and Work
In his welcoming comments to the Class of 2019, Duke’s president encouraged the new students to adopt a set of profound life and work ideas that are applicable to all of us.
Update: Shopping Center Fixes Poor Brand Signage
Update – New Jersey shopping center corrects brand signage mistake. Olive Tree Marketplace sign can now be read from busy state highway.
Hey Tom Brady – Fun Foods are Here to Stay, But …
Tom Brady has declared that Coca-Cola is “poison.” My 4 points reaction and a call for personal responsibility in the food nutrition debate.
Turn Customer Listening into Learning and Go-To-Market Action
Why is Hostess Brands getting into bread? They listened carefully to customers and realized there was a business opportunity.
Personal Branding Helps NFL Player Move Forward
Our personal brands are the most important professional asset we manage and nurture. NFL player Steve Weatherford demonstrates how to make a classy career transition.
19th Hole Marketing: Positioning Requires a Decision
EZeeGolf needs to pick one positioning strategy. What is the brand concept and who is it for?
Marketing Blasphemy: Don’t Use Your Logo?
For optimal brand logo use, make sure you have contextual appreciation and a corresponding usage plan. Otherwise, expect lousy communication.
Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. Part 3 of 3.
Part 3 on marketing differentiation. Why did a nonprofit best-known for planting trees in Israel participate at this year’s South by Southwest® (SXSW®) festival?
Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. Part 2.
European hotel brand Mama Shelter is now open for business in Los Angeles. Local artist ceiling murals and free adult films are part of the attraction.
Marketing is Fun, Differentiation is Hard. A 3-Part Series.
A three-part series on marketing differentiation. Part 1: the NYC wine store that lets you taste before you buy. Every bottle!
Texas Bus Company Caters to Fed-Up Air Travelers
Vonlane puts a smart-differentiation twist on bus transportation with a unique option for fed-up Lone Star State travelers.
Creative, Multipurpose Packaging Drives Customer Engagement – And Hopefully Sales
Don’t overlook opportunities to leverage packaging in your marketing mix. Two examples from KFC Germany and Pizza Hut Hong Kong.
How L.L. Bean Creates Employee Brand Ambassadors
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.
“Internet of Everything” Chief Talks Digital Disruption Implications at IWNY
Cisco’s Internet of Everything chief detailed the “Top 5 Implications of Digital Disruption” in his Internet Week New York presentation. Find out what they mean for you and your team.
US Senator Politicizes National Guard-NFL Team Sports Marketing
The National Guard uses NFL team sponsorships for recruitment and retention marketing. A US Senator is opposed. Is it legitimate criticism or sensational politics?
This Law Firm is a Marketing Powerhouse
National law firm Cordell & Cordell embraces marketing. Take a deeper look at the marketing fundamentals that underpin its growth strategies.
NJ Hospital Improves Patient Experience with Free E-Cards
Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey prints and delivers free, same-day E-Cards to patients. It’s a small, patient experience touch-point that can make a big difference.
“Magic Hour” is Real Deal Marketing for European Outdoor Clothing Brand
European outdoor clothing brand Peak Performance’s “Magic Hour” marketing campaign is outstanding. It’s rare to see such marketing harmony between advertising, positioning, branding and promotion.
Uber Shifts Gears in Spain to Build Brand
Uber switched gears in Spain. The smart move nurtures its developing brand equity, maintains its business platform foothold, and positions the company for when it can re-boot its car service.
How To Take a Fresh Look, Get New Ideas & Tackle A Challenging New Job
How can you get ready for the crucible of a new business assignment? A global news example demonstrates how a leader can apply an outside-in approach to get prepared for both the challenge and the boss.
Whiplash Movie is Case Study for Terrible Leaders
The movie Whiplash explores the tortured relationship between an aspiring drummer and his sadistic band leader. It may become content for b-schools and corporate training sessions to help teach leaders what not to do.
Florida Beach Targets Freezing Millennials with Eye-Catching Street Marketing
Every business needs marketing, even a Florida beach during a brutal winter. Visit St. Pete/Clearwater created a clever guerilla marketing program to target new millennial customers.
Surprise Performance: Kids Movie Characters Teach Adults How to Thrive at Work
SpongeBob, Penguins of Madagascar and Planes: Fire & Rescue are fun movies to watch with young kids. Surprisingly, they offer adults a reminder about critical organizational factors for success such as teamwork, collaboration and effective leadership.
Decisive Super Bowl Play Demonstrates Power of Being “Always Ready”
The Coast Guard motto, Always Ready, is also a valuable mindset for business and marketing teams. Because something unbelievable happened at the end of Super Bowl XLIX, we need to talk about “Always Ready” again.
Free Marketing Advice from the US Coast Guard
The motto for the US Coast Guard is Always Ready (Semper Paratus). It’s a good mindset for marketers, too. Plus, what marketers say is the number one most important thing to be ready about/ready for in 2015.
5 Branding Pointers Every Marketer Should Embrace
Power Branding is an easy read that will challenge your thinking and/or reinforce any brand marketing discipline that may have gotten a bit out-of-shape.
Tweets from Brooklyn: NBA Team Exec Wins with Direct Customer Engagement
Her team lost, but Brooklyn Nets’ executive Irina Pavlova won by demonstrating how a business leader can effectively communicate directly to customers, in this case on social media via Twitter.
Demystifying Omnichannel Marketing
Before you apply any omnichannel strategies, understand your business, existing channels and how your customer shops, or wants to shop. For best success, understand the discipline of brand management — and how to apply that expertise in today’s omni-touchpoint world.
Creative Branding Hooks $1M Investment from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban
BeatBox Beverages earned a $1M Shark Tank investment from Mark Cuban because the founders created a differentiated concept with clever branding, defined targeting and clear positioning.
Verizon Seeks Big Gas Results from Half-Fast Advertising
Verizon FiOS has a new double entendre ad that takes a page from Kmart’s 2013 playbook. Time will tell if Half-Fast marketing leads to Big Gas results.
Rabbi’s “Look Up” Sermon Reminds that Attitude Essential in Life and Business
At Dante’s View in Death Valley National Park, it’s possible to see both the highest and lowest points in the United States. A Rosh Hashanah sermon that encouraged a “Look Up” personal mindset also offers a powerful tonic for business success.
How LinkedIn Users Earn an “F” in Personal Marketing
How you act on business social media sites such as LinkedIn reflects your personal brand. When you ask a stranger to connect with no stated reason, you get an “F” in personal marketing.
Joe Pulizzi Knows Content Marketing. You Can Too.
There’s an overload of buzz about content marketing, but if you want to get smart and understand how to implement it to grow your business, read Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi.
Sports Marketing Triple Play: Team, Retailer, Shoppers Win in Free Furniture Promo
Ashley Furniture HomeStore in College Station, TX powered a sports marketing triple play when its free furniture offer activated following Texas A&M’s season-opening football victory.
Hain Celestial Gives Rice Dream Easy-Open Top
Hain Celestial’s Dream brand non-dairy products have a new easy-open, easy pour screw cap. It’s a good example of utilizing packaging to deliver consumer benefits and revitalize brand concepts.
Humorous Twitter Character Fights Severe Drought in California
Changing behavior is perhaps the hardest marketing challenge. The Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) created a humorous Twitter-character-based marketing campaign to get Californians to conserve water.
Mr. Selfridge’s Philosophy is Timeless – And Still Valuable
You may know him as a PBS television character, but Harry Selfridge was an innovative, retail marketing pioneer. More than 100 years after opening his iconic London store Selfridges, his ideas remain spot-on and valuable to today’s marketing and business practitioners.
Pro Teams Score with Direct-to-SportsFan Marketing
Pro sports teams are deploying head coaches and owners to directly communicate with fans and build/maintain engagement. This direct-to-sportsfan marketing strategy (D2SF) offers a unique brand management tool to score points off the field.
Make Your Mission Statement Actually Mean Something
Mission statements don’t have to be so complicated. Take a lesson from The Lazy Lobster restaurant in Longboat Key, Florida. Make your mission statement meaningful.
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