Product Positioning Resources

I’ve spent over 20 years in marketing. I’ve positioned so many products in the market that I’ve lost count. I’ve gathered the best resources on the web and written some of my own, but I have to admit that my best lessons in positioning are from my 9-year-old son. Here is a recent conversation:

Sandor: ‘Mom, I need a 50 cent chore.’

Me: (I’m thinking great! I have this plant that was in my pond in its plastic pot, but it grew well beyond its pot so that it was twice the size of the pot.) ‘Okay, Sandor, see that plant that I pulled out of the pond? All those roots need to be cut off so that we can get that plastic pot out of there and put the rest in the compost.’ (I’m thinking this will keep him busy for at least an hour.)

Sandor: (Thinks for 20 seconds) ‘Okay!’

Me: (Very suspicious about him signing up for this much work) ‘Are you sure?’

Sandor: ‘Yep!’ (I leave the room)

Sandor: ‘Alex! I get to perform surgery on a plant – would you like to try it first?’

Needless to say Alex did most of the work and Sandor got the 50 cents.

Okay, so in 20 seconds, he analyzed his target market (Alex) and found a message (surgery) that would appeal to her, then he added sense of urgency (try if first), threw in emotion (great enthusiasm in his voice) and was able to monetize (50 cents) the transaction.

If you can’t do this as quickly as Sandor, you may want to use some of the resources that I have discovered on the web. Click on the binder below to view the sites:

Just what is viral marketing?

That was a question a friend of mine asked recently. Being a marketing person, I should have had a short answer to this question – but I didn’t.

Viral marketing is incredibly powerful tool when properly harnessed. But the way you use viral marketing is completely dependent upon the type of business that you have. There are some great resources on the web that describe, and give examples of, viral marketing. I have captured some of those in this binder:

I’m happy to report that my friend came up with some fabulous ideas for viral marketing programs for his business after reviewing this binder.

The Acceleration of a Startup

There is nothing quite as exciting as seeing a startup company hitting that key acceleration point. That is when all those hopes and dreams and long hours start to look like they will eventually pay off.

I love it when my friends’ companies hit this point. So I was especially delighted to see all the great press on Picateers. What a fabulous concept! Take the old model of school pictures and turn it on its head and turn it into a fundraiser. At a time when schools are scrambling for funds, who wouldn’t love this idea?

But there are lots of great ideas out there. It takes more than a great idea, it takes excellent execution to build loyal customer base and that is just what Picateers is doing.

Click on the binder below to see all the latest press on Picateers, including a great interview with CBS:

Marketing Genius

I have worked with many marketers from the pharmaceutical industry and I have to admit that they really are some of the best and the brightest. The pharmaceutical industry, as a whole, works really hard on tracking metrics and they have a detailed understanding how each commercial and each sales initiative impacts their bottom line. The more I learn about the industry the more I am in awe of their marketing power.

But what happens when you harness that marketing genius and add to it the pressure of running a public company – where quarter-to-quarter profit growth is the only judge of a company’s performance? What happens to ethics when you will lose your job if your don’t show quarter-over-quarter growth? It is clear that this is where regulation needs to come in to play. But just how do you regulate companies that can spend more on lobbyists than any other industry? Do you know that the United States and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise?

Click on the binder below for some interesting videos on the marketing tactics of the pharmaceutical industry. Some of videos are funny and others are more deeply disturbing, but they are all very insightful.

Tracking and Sharing Great Press

There is only thing better than getting great press and that is is sharing it with others! Round up all those great on-line comments in a LiveBinder like this one:

You will want to use the ‘LiveBinder It’ button on your toolbar so that you are ready at anytime to add your great press to your binder.  Please see LiveBinder It for more information on how to gather links while you browse.

It is great to have everything in one place so that you can send it to others or just read all the positive comments yourself (when you are having one of those days!)

Creating Great Presentations

Don’t you just hate sitting through a boring presentation? The only thing worse is being the one standing up there giving the boring presentation!

But creating a great presentation takes knowledge of the target audience, graphics design, and a bit of theater. I’m always scouring the web for good resources on how to create great presentations. In this binder, I have pulled together a group of excellent sites. Click on the binder below to see my collection thus far…

Google: Minor Mistake or Major Privacy Issue?

I received an email yesterday from a product manager at Google. I am one of  Google’s advertisers and they wanted me to fill out a survey. However, this product manager was not well versed in email marketing 101 and put about 350 the Google advertiser’s email address in the ‘to:’ line. I have had several people already take advantage of this and spam me. This was a minor mistake on the product manager’s part, but the implications are huge. Doesn’t Google have protections in place to keep this from happening? I wonder how many more spams I will need to endure?Everyone who sends out mass email needs to be versed in the basics of email marketing. So Google, I dedicated this binder to you!

You call this marketing?

I’ve been in marketing in the software business for longer than I like to admit. I used to believe that software marketing was a particularly difficult task because the technology changes so quickly and there wasn’t a lot of institutional experience to be shared. But that was before the Internet. Software marketers today have no excuse for being lousy at their jobs. Yet, there seems to be a whole lot of incompetence out there. Let me share my recent story…

We recently decided to look for a new web analytics package. Like most people who research a purchase these days, I went to the web and did a Google search and started browsing websites.

I was astonished at the number of sites offering web analytics that wouldn’t even let me see a data sheet without registering on their site! Oh my, what year do they think this is?

For all you marketers out there, we are now in the 2000s, and products are, and should be, easy to find on the web. I found several web analytics packages with data sheets and on-line demos that are completely accessible. By having access to this information, I could make an intelligent decision about which products I wanted to analyze further in my process of evaluation. In my early stages, I’m not about to register on 10 different sites just to see a data sheet. Just what are these companies hiding? Surely with Google Analytics breathing down their necks these companies should be reaching out to prospects – not driving them away!

BTW, I should mention how well LiveBinders works for this task of researching products. I just bookmarked the products that I wanted to review and made several notes alongside each site. I even included the products that I’m not interested in so that I don’t waste time looking at them again.

I would love to hear anyone’s opinions of ClickTracks Pro, VisiStat, or other web analytics recommendations – especially for a social networking site.

Here is the binder that I have started for this research: