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

Does It Really Matter What You, Or Anyone, Thinks Of Chick-fil-A?

I ask this purely from a marketing perspective.

Here’s why: Chick-fil-A takes in more than $4 billion each year by aligning perfectly with the community it serves: traditional, family-oriented people of all ages, races and creeds.

Chick-fil-A has raving fans

Meanwhile, they’re extraordinarily efficient about not expending resources elsewhere. They’ve targeted exceptionally well, just by being who they are.

If you’re not a part of their extended community, you may be unfamiliar with how the company became so successful. It’s more than just tasty sandwiches and lemonade, or cool ads from The Richards Group.

No matter where you stand on Chick-fil-A’s values, or the size of your business, or what markets you serve, you can take lessons from their success.

The secrets of Chick-fil-A’s brand power Continue reading

Make your marketing stronger: Focus

Want to make your marketing message unique? Relevant? Powerful? Then focus on solving the hardest problems for your customers.

Soft focus equals soft salesI worked with a great art director way back when. His favorite expression was, “If it were easy, anyone could do it.” It’s unassailable logic, and more true now than ever.

By focusing on the hardest problems, you’ll be forced to innovate. You’ll be able to do things that no one else does, or can do. You won’t be all things to all people – you’ll be the only thing for a lot of people. How much better for your business and your message.

In marketing-speak, that’s called “differentiation.” And “positioning.” It means you’ll have a story no one else can tell. Here are some examples.

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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

“The Al Jazeera Revolution”

An interesting column in at ForeignPolicy.com says this of the Egyptian uprising:

Can marketers learn from the Egyptian uprising?

Harder than ever to control the message

“It underscores the new reality facing Arab regimes: They no long control the message.” Competing messages gets out via satellite and digital technologies. The days command and control dwindle. (see: The Al Jazeera Revolution)

Comments welcome at the end of this post. Or email me directly.

If even ruthless dictators can’t control the message, how can you as a marketer control yours?   Continue reading

The “vision thing”: part II

Last year I wrote about how to create a more useful vision statement (here). But vision means different things to different people. So recently, I loved hearing two great presentations that dealt with the importance of vision — they were talking about two completely different ideas.  Continue reading

The “vision thing”: Who needs it?

Most “vision statements” end up as self-serving, wishful thinking with questionable value. But a client of mine recently learned how valuable a vision statement can be — when created with the right purpose in mind.

Comments welcome at the end of this post. Or email me directly.

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