Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marketing Automation - the epic journey

One good thing about being in the job search mode is that it gives one time to reflect some on one's last work experience.  In my case, one of the things I have been reflecting on is implementation and use of marketing automation as a key component of my marketing strategy and execution.  Four years ago, after careful evaluation, I chose Eloqua as our marketing automation system.

One day, my boss sent me a video about Eloqua where National Instruments was talking about how they were able to leverage the tool in their marketing strategy.  I immediately saw the power of automating nurturing campaigns, digital body language, segmenting, and the rest.  Imagine, all those wonderful programs chugging along happily in the background generating all those leads.  How the Sales Team would love and adore Marketing.  Well it didn't work out exactly as I envisioned.  Yes, I believe the business did grow substantially more than it would have without marketing automation.  It's a journey, an epic journey.

There were many lessons learned on the way.  Looking back, it feels like one of those epic journey movies, The Wizard of Oz, perhaps.

Is it worth it?  Yes, if you have a Champion.  I was the Champion and I made it work.  Stay tuned for my series of blog posts about my 4 year epic journey with Marketing Automation.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Time to walk the Modern Marketing walk

You may not know it, but I used to be in the promotional products business.  I sold all that crap companies like to put their brand on like pens, mugs, shirts, caps, key tags, etc.  My little one-man operation earned me a meager living at the time.  The dotcom bust of 2001 came along and killed the business, thank god.  Looking back, my problem was that I was the same as thousands of other poor saps out there hawking the same exact stuff.  Sure, I'd get a sale if I happened to be in the right place at the right time or if they just happened to like my smile.  I had no value proposition.  I had no differentiation.  I had no market position.  My target market was simply anyone and everyone.  It's no wonder I sucked at the promotional products business.

Today, I suddenly find myself in between jobs with a great opportunity to re-evaluate my professional career direction.  As part of my re-evaluation, I harken back to the past and the promotional products industry.  It's an $18 billion dollar industry of which about 1/3 is in shirts and caps.  A fleeting thought crosses my mind; could I apply Modern Marketing principles and ideas to the promotional products business and make it a roaring success?  Images of private jets, BMWs, exotic vacations fill my head.  Is it possible the Universe is saying something like, "time to put up or shut up about all this modern marketing talk".

Not one to shy away from a dare, I accept the challenge from the so-called Universe.  I've formed an exploratory committee (made up of me, myself and I) to consider the possibility of starting a custom embroidered corporate shirt business.  I'm calling it Dapper Shirts and I even have a logo ready to show to you, my faithful readers.

Here is my first draft at positioning, value proposition and slogan.  Feedback is welcome.

Positioning:  For discriminating business professionals who consider their appearance as an important asset to their personal brand and career success, Dapper Shirts is the embroidered shirt company that enables you to look your professional best by providing well known and high quality brands like Ralph Lauren, Greg Norman, adidas and Izod  along side your professionally embroidered logo.   With a simple and comprehensive online store you get high quality, custom decorated shirts quickly and easily allowing you the peace of mind and confidence to get back to your important tasks.

Value Proposition:  Dapper Shirts enables your people to look professional and successful with brand name, high quality shirts custom embroidered with your logo.  The online 'shirt shop' makes shopping, ordering and tracking simple and easy so you can get back to your important business tasks.

Slogan: Choose Dapper Shirts when your professional appearance matters.

Stay tuned for more blog posts about Dapper Shirts as I develop the concept, business plan and marketing plan.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thanks Seth Godin

I have never been a big fan of Seth Godin.  Some of the stuff I read, for example, 'Meatball Sundae', I just said 'meh'.

But I was recently inspired by one of his podcasts called 'Seth Godin's Startup School'.   I was listening to it with my usual open-minded cynicism and I was pleasantly surprised.  I looked up his web page, there he is, a funny looking bald guy with yellow glasses.  Disclaimer:  I happen to be a funny looking bald guy too, so I feel it's ok to make fun of funny looking bald guys.  I looked over some of his blog posts and I saw this one that inspired me (see below). 

So thanks Seth Godin for this blog post:

You already have permission.  Just saying.
You have permission to create, to speak up, and stand up.
You have permission to be generous, to fail, and to be vulnerable.
You have permission to own your words, to matter and to help.
No need to wait.