Why Marketing Fails In Small and Midsize Businesses

Why does marketing fail? The E Myth Revisited, the classic on entrepreneurism by Michael Gerber, talks about the needless management failures of small businesses. I’m reading it for the first time (thanks Kaarina Dillabough for suggesting it). It reminds me of the needless, all-too-familiar small and midsize business marketing failures I’ve seen over and over again.

So here are the top five causes for marketing failure that make me wonder: “What are these people thinking?”   Continue reading

How To Avoid The “Solutions That Matter” Trap

Strategic marketing messages aren't complicated

It’s message development, not rocket science.

For this post on strategic marketing messages, I was trying to invent a vague and completely meaningless example. The result: “Solutions That Matter.” 

Then I Googled it, just for fun. I invite you to do the same. 

I’m not sure how “Solutions That Matter” could add value to any brand, in any situation. Is it supposed to contrast with “Solutions That Don’t Matter”? 

Major brands can spend millions developing strategic messages to use throughout their marketing.  And still they get it wrong. Your business can do better, even if you’re bootstrapping it.

So with no further ado…

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5 clues that a business needs to change

Change doesn’t come easily to most of us. Companies, individuals and even entire industries don’t easily change their practices, policies and worldview – even in the face of irrefutable evidence that customers are unhappy. See: airlines, banks, auto dealers, cell phone carriers, real estate brokers, mortgage brokers. Continue reading

Your company story: A business lesson from Buzz Lightyear

In 2010, Toy Story 3 was the top-grossing film in the U.S. by a large margin, and one of the biggest films ever. It Buzz Lightyear with a lesson for businesses was five years in development. But if you assume the Pixar crew spent most of that time using fancy computers to replicate human facial expressions, Buzz Lightyear has a surprise for you.

A lesson for businesses small and large:
Pixar spent the first four years of development just getting the story straight!

For four years, they amped up the drama. They made every detail of every plot twist and turn flow together. They filled the story with emotion. Toy Story 3’s secret sauce is not Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks or amazing technology – it’s the storytelling. Continue reading