Senior marketer and brand enthusiast This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. leverages years of experience in....more

Brand Reputation on the Line?

Dealing with rumors, mishaps, or plain misinterpretations.

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Positioning Your Brand

Claiming many attributes is not how you position your brand in a competitive marketplace.

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Marketing Report How-To

Here's the fun way to pull together data for a marketing report and convert it into knowledge to provide information that allows an organization to make better decisions.

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What's Your Value Proposition?

Does your "Unique Value Proposition" separate your company, its products, and services from the competition?

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Pokémon: Reinventing the Category

"Voice of Customer" behavior research translates into dedication, time, and money, but it will reveal the potential for true innovation.

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The Power of the Secret Sauce: Keeping the Proprietary Part of Your Product Proprietary

How can you promote your product without divulging information about what makes your equipment or process better?

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Structuring an Effective Sales Conference, Pt. 2

Here's how to align your sales conference with measurable objectives and staff it with the proper support to result in an excellent company investment that achieves revenue targets.

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How to Structure an Effective Sales Conference

Planning a sales conference can result in significant benefits for sales, marketing, service, and executive teams as well as sales growth.

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Plateau in Sales Revenue?

Having sales growth is one of the most invigorating things to experience as a part of a leadership team. Once you’ve been part of strong growth, you want it again and again. But every company reaches a revenue plateau. Most young organizations get a foothold on a market with a strong sales/distribution team delivering a desired product/service to the market but fail to recognize when adjustments need to be made to offset an unavoidable flat line in sales once the immediate market has been approached.

Sales Revenue can flat line or plateau, which means you may need to start thinking of marketing as a strategy with more as a brand support than sales supportThey find that no matter how hard they pound on the sales team, the numbers barely move. “The beatings will continue until performance improves!” A flat line on sales revenue means you need to do something different. Something like innovating and bringing a new revolutionary product or feature to market OR, trying something “New & Improved” by reassessing your marketing strategy. I’m often blown away at how few companies have a marketing plan tied to a marketing strategy that supports the business objectives.

Some organizations believe they have a marketing effort, which in reality is simply a sales support role that manages lead fulfillment and literature distribution, coordinates tradeshow activity and facilitates direct mailers. But it takes a one-year, two-year and three-year assessment of your market trends, brand awareness and goals in different industries as well as a roadmap for your product portfolio and the categories they represent to develop a marketing strategy. And that strategy, tied to the business plan, will naturally launch you into a beautiful list of timed and purposeful action items.

Yes, marketing takes an investment. And to measure the investment, you’ll need to develop processes to track the changes in activity, which can be as simple as monitoring direct marketing and online activities. But for a more holistic view of the landscape, pair this direct response data with any fluctuations in a market share report or lifts in sales/lead activity. Rarely can you track marketing results directly to sales revenue… mostly only as a correlation.

Sales support is critical to support your sales growth. But if you find that you’re revenue has plateaued, consider reaching deep and developing a plan… then work your plan and growth will most likely be yours again!

Not Invented Here Syndrome - Web Site Development Roadblock

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Of all possible marketing projects, updating a website is the hardest. I simply cringe when faced with this request. The main reason? I've found that most (not all) web developers suffer from a syndrome coined as "NIH" (Not Invented Here).

Not Invented Here Syndrome for Webmasters and DevelopersWhatever your career, we all start off learning many different programs and ways of doing things, but as we gain success, we develop very structured and almost rigid processes for accomplishing our work. It’s the same story for developers… Wordpress, HTML, Drupal, whatever the platform, the best use of their time is to stick with what they know. But even when a request to update a website in their most proficient code comes in, my frustration comes with the way the developer (from my experience) immediately recommends a complete rework... as if the existing website was programmed horribly and we need to start over.

In my early years, I would buy into the NIH complaint and pitch to build an entirely new site. While that was always exciting, I’ve found it to be very expensive, and the results rarely penciled out. In hindsight, it would have been better to get a developer proficient in cleaning up code and finding ways to make the existing site more efficient.

There is a moral to this story that we can apply to almost any project. NIH syndrome is not limited to websites. Look at the way most managers and leaders approach their new role in an organization. Typically they come into their new position, are quick to point blame at the lousy manager before them, and begin to tell people how to get things done the “right” (their) way. The reality is that a company doesn’t get successful by doing things wrong. So if you are new to an organization, consider spending most of your time finding what is working well and provide guidance based on the talents and experience of the team you have. People who suffer from NIH syndrome can really kill the spirit of a company culture and waste a lot of time and money. As with websites, it’s best to dig into what exists, clean it up a bit, and then integrate new directions.

If you have an "old" (2-years + for our industry) site that you think needs updating, take a deep look at it. Chances are, most of the site accomplishes what your visitors need (content, images, downloads, forms, etc.) and you can probably just make some tweaks to achieve your current goals. Find a UX Designer (graphics) that can update the look and feel. Or work with a Content Specialist (writer) to help update the page names and words on the pages to help you optimize your site for Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization or SEO). The key to long-term success though, is to establish a strong relationship with a developer who does not suffer from NIH and is dedicated to keeping the site clean. When you find one that you feel is a true partner that continuously looks for ways to build on the existing site while keeping the code clean, then pay that person well, count yourself as truly lucky and please get me in contact with them!

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