Archive for Marketing

Thinking sideways

Sometimes the answer is right in front of you, but most of the time the answer is right next to you.

Lateral thinking is an important part of business agility.  While many businesses only think in terms of “forwards and backwards”, the business world is multi-dimensional.  Many business owners only measure along one axis.  The pitfall of operating a business on one axis is that your problem-solving skills are reduced to one axis (your intellect becomes a product of your practice).

Rockets travel a trajectory (and very few businesses are like rockets).  A business can’t travel on a straight mission line.
Business is more like sailing - traveling from one point to another requires a series of course corrections – tacking left, then right, then left again.

Maybe you’re stuck with 1,800 branded racquet balls from a past event because of a quantity typo on the production order?

Thinking forward and backward makes that error a net loss…by creating “garbage”…all because someone hit the ”zero” key one too many times.

Thinking sideways provides for creative “recycling”.

Example: Charge another client a discount rate to add their logo to your overstock and give them away as promotional items (branded stress relievers?)…and use them to market the stress-relieving component of your business (product or service).  You have to advertise anyway, right?

Nothing is garbage until it is completely destroyed.

Gardeners, for example, appreciate the value of thinking sideways (because recycling is part of their craft) – what one person considers “waste”, a gardner would consider “fertilizer”.

Maybe I should make an illustration of a guy in cover-alls standing under your business with a bucket?
Nah – I think you get the picture.

Mark

(reprinted from 1/21/11)

What Advertising Buys

There is a difference between Fame & Fortune – I don’t know how many ways I can communicate this to my clients, so I’m just gonna say it:

“Fame is easy. Fortune (on the other hand)…well, that’s kind of a b#tch.” – Mark Mahar

Fame doesn’t require a real plan…it just requires volume, a spotlight or a spectacle.
Fortune requires a plan (and sometimes it even demands silence).

The question isn’t whether you can get in the spotlight, or even if you can convert an audience into customers, the REAL question is:

 ”What do you have if your audience doesn’t act?”

Typically you’ll just have an invoice as proof you paid for your 15minutes of fame.
Instead – We CREATE ASSETS that you can sell or license to get your money back.

Marketing Firms, Advertising Agencies, Publicists and Promoters will all quote you a price to REACH an audience.  Anyone who promises you that an advertising campaign or promotion will be successful for your sales is over-extending themselves (nobody is savvy enough to predict whether your outreach will result in a transaction…they can only guarantee that your message will reach the audience).

At Mahar Enterprises, Inc. we make bold promises but “consumer action” isn’t one of them (it is always the goal, but nobody can make that promise).  We will, however, promise you a safety net – a backup plan.  EVEN IF your advertising campaign or promotion isn’t as successful as it needs to be for your sales, we can promise that any promotion we help you with WILL result in creating an alternative value somewhere else in your business or career…so you’re at least guaranteed to recoup the money you spent on advertising & marketing.

What?  (You might want to read that again.)

Who could possibly secure a marketing campaign with real assets?  WE DO…and you CAN.  Why put your dollars to use “only once” with conventional advertising? You don’t buy anything else in your business to use once (and then throw it away) unless it is a direct expense.  Why should advertising be any different?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this statement:

“The [PICK ONE] market has 3million customers and if I can just capture [TINY PERCENTAGE] of it, I can make a fortune”
(There are a 20million people who love Frisbees…and if I can reach 1% of them I’ll sell 20thousand of my new toys, right?  Wrong.)
Go ahead – roll the dice on a ”reach only” campaign and see if it pays for the 10,000 units you had to manufacture (or the phone bank you hired for the influx of sales orders which never came to your new 800#).

If I had half the budget that some of my competitors charge for a regional tv ad campaign, I’d be able to put a company on the map (nationally) and inject enough asset creation into a business (just with the savings) that even if the ad campaign fell on it’s face they could still show a net profit by liquidating the new assets (and start all over again).

I’m not saying “buy the cow and get the milk for free”, I’m saying:

“buy the entire farm (for the price of a cow), get the milk for free (and sell the farm if your milk business isn’t what you thought it was gonna be)”.

Who else can promise you that you’ll have a net profit from advertising?  I can.

I would never make the claim that I’ve always succeeded in getting an audience to take action.  BUT, I’ve ALWAYS succeeded in walking away from my investment in marketing with something I could sell for more than I spent on the marketing…and in some cases I’ve had to sell those things (no worries – that’s why I bought them in the first place).

Doesn’t that sound like something that is worth discussing?
Are you paying for advertising right now?
Isn’t the prospect of saving money, creating more assets and reaching a larger (more emotionally connected) audience worth a few minutes of your time.

Call me.  Email me.  Tell me what you’re buying for your money. If I can’t double the effectiveness of your effort and spending (while creating NEW assets) for the same budget or less, I’ll write a feature story about your company AND the campaign you’re running.  I’ll post the story right here on my site - I’ll tell the world you are a savvy business owner who is TRULY getting the full bang for their marketing buck…and that you stumped me (you’ll be the first).

Advertising doesn’t buy a plan…it buys an audience’s attention (like funding a megaphone).  With the decreasing attention span of audiences it becomes increasingly challenging to motivate them towards action.

Advertising isn’t an asset…it is a liability.
Wouldn’t you like your marketing to create assets (and reduce your liabilities)?

Introduce yourself and say, “I would like to see if your Passive Marketing Strategy is the right fit for me”.

Solutions!  It is what we create here (win/win/win).  For example: Either way, one of us will end up impressed, you’re guaranteed to reach a larger audience, and my visitors will have a new product or service to look forward to (bonus: we all learn a little something we didn’t know yesterday).

;-)

Let’s discuss your plan, product, service or campaign.  What have you got to lose?

Mark
(508) 985-0001

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“Wing Theory” for Business

…so I was sitting around the other night, thinking about how business navigates the marketplace…and how the market may or may not actually respond as much like a fluid as many market professionals would like to believe.  If it were a fluid…[insert idea].

It occurred to me that Bernoulli’s principle is simply a scientific statement of how fluid reacts (pressure, speed, distance)…and that science is applied with great success for many innovations (not the least of which is an airplane wing).  There you have it:

WING THEORY for Business (TM) – utilizing Bernoulli’s principle as a creative basis to determine strategic modeling for business, where the market is a fluid.  Designing to gain altitude/distance or less pressure in business as a result of an efficient design.

I decided to diagram my thoughts as it relates to “altitude” in business.  A wing is for flight, right?  Let’s give your business wings.

I’ve attached a PDF for the curious and included preview images.

Bernoulli For Business (“Wing Theory” pdf)

 

 

 

In short – the innovative element of modeling a business in this manner is that it places a hierarchy on management, while also labeling (and illustrating) the most important component of a business (the “high spot”).  That “most important thing” is different in EVERY company (something that conventional business modeling doesn’t allow for as efficiently in visual depictions).

The tallest column in the structure of a wing determines both the radius of the wing and the potential for “lift”.  It illustrates a requirement for all the supporting/surrounding elements – what relevance they play in giving a business the shape necessary for strategic “lift”.  Weaknesses in a business model are more visually identifiable as well.

There is way more to it than that, but this 4 page illustration very clearly communicates the broad strokes of adapting conventional business designs, while treating the 21st century marketplace as it should be interpreted (a fluid that can be navigated with the right design).

It isn’t science as much as it is a really just a clever/visual analogy.  In any case, this depiction allows for the most simplistic illustration of three simultaneous components (all of which are sometimes difficult to communicate on their own, let alone together):

  1. linear hierarchy (business processes)
  2. business philosophy (brand & market focus)
  3. management strategy (strengths are strengths)

Enjoy,

Mark

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