Archive for the ‘Product Marketing’ Category

Product Packaging Design and Messaging: Don’t be a Pansy

By GSS on April 11, 2010 | Category: Product Marketing | No Comments

It's tempting to answer the question: "what would it take for my product to appeal to a little bit wider audience or market?"  If you answer that question, repeatedly, and continue to make packaging changes based on the answers, you'll end up with something that speaks to a lot of people, but doesn't really say much.  Great for politics, not so great when trying to create perceived value.  

Seth Godin, in his post Telling a Story on the Label, brakes down how packaging adds $17 in value to a soap product.  It takes thought, and guts, to speak directly to who your market is, and turn away everyone who isn't.  Take it away Seth:

Seth godin packaging
 

Here's a $20 bottle of soap. Functionally identical to a $3 bottle, so what's the $17 for?

Let's assume the people buying it aren't stupid. What are they paying $17 for? A story. A feeling. A souvenir of a shopping expedition or perhaps just a little bit of joy in the shower every morning. Let's dissect:

1. The hang tag. It's special because most soap doesn't have a hang tag. Hang tags come on things that are a little more special than soap. And hang tags beg to be read. This one says a lot (and nothing, at the same time.) It reminds us that it doesn't contain SLS. What's SLS? Is it as bad as SLES?

2. This isn't soap. It's mineral botanic. Both words are meaningless, which means the purchaser can attach whatever feelings they choose to them. In this case, the marketer is hoping for old-time, genuine, down-to-earth and real.

3. It's not made by a soap company. It's made in a Dead Sea Laboratory. Laboratories, of course, are where scientists work, and the Dead Sea is biblical, spiritual and really salty. The company has a name (Ahava) that is onomatopoeic and reminds you of breathing. Breathe deep and find calm. [Even better, I'm told it means 'love' in Hebrew].

4. My favorite part is that it's made from bamboo and pansy. At least a little. Bamboo because it's fast growing and Asian and gentle and wood and grass at the same time. And pansy… well… pansy is for girls.

5. Two really good things here. First, it's for very dry skin. This is brilliant. If your skin is dry, you don't want to hear that it's sort of dry, kind of dry, not as dry as that guy over there… No, you want to hear that it's extremely dry, really dry, so dry it's like sand. That kind of dry. This bottle understands how very dry your skin is, and it's here to help.

Also, it's in French! I love that there's the language of love and sophistication and diplomacy right here on the bottle. I can imagine that models for Chanel are using it on the Rive Gauche as we speak.

6. Did I mention the part about velvet?

It took guts to take this packaging so over the top. It doesn't match my worldview, but it might match yours. There's not a lot of room for slightly-out-of-the-ordinary.

Selling to Mass Market through Big Box Retailers and Department Stores

By GSS on August 14, 2009 | Category: Product Marketing | No Comments

Kathleen at the Fashion-Incubator blog has written a great post on selling to retail chains and department stores for new product developers, and created a list of issues and tasks that will be involved in selling to these companies. 

What might you need to know about before considering the mass market channel?

  1. Vendor compliance standards
  2. EDI -electronic data interchange
  3. Getting paid -Factoring needed.
  4. Discounts and returns
  5. Penalties for non-compliance (chargebacks)

Check out the fashion incubator blog for a discussion of each of these.  Whether your product is in the fashion apparel category or not, your company will address all of them at some point in the process (although factoring may not be relevant to other categories, financing may be). 

These issues also remind me of some topics I covered with Barbara Carey, a friend and mentor of mine who has turned her own successful method of developing and marketing products in the mass channel into a formula for others to follow.  Check out the 3 parts of the interview: Interview With Barbara Carey, Part III: Working with Buyers, Team Members, and Other Third Parties, Interview With Barbara Carey, Part II: Pricing Your Product, Interview With Barbara Carey: A Woman With Something To Teach You About Successful Products and Business

Consumerism Rebounding? But a Different Direction?

By GSS on May 14, 2009 | Category: Product Marketing | 1 Comment

There has been much discussion in the media regarding the downturn's longer term impacts on consumerism, a topic I covered in this post.  Essentially, I discussed the changing of consumer habits as the downturn unfolds and what we may come away with as the consumer market as emerges.  Check out this NY Times article on the topic.  The articles conclusion on the impact of this experience on consumers and the changing job of marketers very much agreed with my own.  Looking for evidence of new consumers?

Richard Florida, of Creative Class fame, has written two interesting blog posts (here and here) looking at signs of change in consumers.  He cites a recent Pew Research Center study, which notes changing consumer perceptions towards common household items considered to be part of a core bundle of items consumers could be depended on to purchase. 

For example, the study cites consumers changing regard for microwaves–an item previously considered a necessity and now more a luxury (the product manager for microwaves at XYZ Inc. just tensed up).

Pew-chart

Next, Florida tackles an article in Esquire by Nate Silver, which inquires about the decline of car culture in American society.  Silver ran some statistics, and his words:

To sort this out, I built a regression model that accounts for both
gas prices and the unemployment rate in a given month and attempts to
predict from this data how much the typical American will drive… [The
results of the model are shown for the month of January in each year
since 1980 in the graph above.]…

Americans should have driven
slightly more in January 2009 than they had a year earlier. But
instead, as we’ve described, they drove somewhat less. In fact, they
drove about 8 percent less than the model predicted.

Esq-american-driving-stats-0609-lg

Just as product marketers, economists, and just about everyone, is desperate for signs of the bottom and subsequent upturn, so too Florida and Silver might be stretching for signs of major societal change.  But the data is compelling if not eyebrow raising. 

18.2 Months to Change Consumer Habits?

By GSS on April 21, 2009 | Category: Product Marketing | No Comments

They say it takes 3 to 4 weeks to form a new habit.  How about 18.2 months?  That's how long the current economic downturn has lasted.   What will this do to consumer consumption and spending habits?

The NPD Group and the National Retail Federation (NRF) have released their consumer perception and retail reports for the first quarter of 2009.  The gist?

NPD:

  • "Consumer confidence continues to decline, albeit slightly, while intent
    to spend at retail remains steady, indicating that consumers may have
    reached their cost cutting limits.  With concern down only slightly, consumers did not dial back spending intentions.  The Economy Tracker’s
    Retail Response Indicator rose 0.5 points in March. “This slight rise
    could be an indication that we are seeing the beginning of
    stabilization,” said Cohen." (Marshall Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst of NPD Group)

NRF:

  • Several months of stronger-than-expected retail sales provided hope
    that the industry was poised to bounce back, but March retail sales
    demonstrate that the industry is continuing to struggle.  According to the National Retail Federation, retail industry sales for
    March (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants)
    decreased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from February and dropped 3.7
    percent unadjusted over last year.

The NRF also issued a press release stating that "retail import volume hits the lowest level in seven years as number of cargo containers drops below 1 million mark". 

Two major questions: 1) When will we hit bottom and begin our way back
up? 2) Will consumer habits be markedly different because of this most
recent recession experience?

Stimulus package, tax refunds, latest shopping indicators.  Experts are looking for signs of the upturn.  We're all looking for signs.  But, do we really know?  What we can plan for, is the longer and more painful the recession is–the greater likelihood we'll see differences in the consumer that emerges.  My assumption is that a more painful experience for consumers creates greater motivation to not create the same
circumstances that lead to the pain again.  That's not a great leap in logic.  The generation that experienced the Great Depression, during which breadlines, shantytowns, and 1 out of 4 people were jobless, seemed to emerge with a measured approach to personal finance and consumption (in comparison to droves of people taking no down payment, interest-only, adjustable rate mortgages–like today).  Of course, the Great Depression generation didn't have easy access to credit cards and 55" HD flat screens calling their name. I'm just saying grandpa…

But what if some of the experts were correct, and the economy is very close to bottom and will begin inching upwards again soon?  The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that we won't see a conclusion to this recession until the end of 2009 at the earliest.  In comparing this recession to the 3 other "Bad Bears", or the last 3 major economic declines since the Great Depression, we've declined further than the tech crash of 2000 and the oil shock of 1973, but have bounced back to similar S&P 500 levels as those events in the last few months  (Hat tip to Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed and Dshort for the graph).  With respect to time, the current bear market has existed for 18.2 months so far, while the oil crisis lasted for 20.7 months and the tech crash lasted for 30.5 months.  The Great Depression? Forget about it…34.2 months.

Four-bears

If this was the beginning of the end of rough times, would consumers look back and think that for all the doom and gloom in the media, "that wasn't so bad?"  Mostly gloom–not as much doom.  And if so, would we change our consumption habits for the long term?  We have grown accustomed to a standard of life, or lifestyle, and to retain that lifestyle, consumers may emerge with a more discerning eye for the things that we feel are essential to our quality of life and those that are not.  A recessionary education on the risks of easy credit and the prodigality of thoughtless consumption, and I believe we'll see some changes in consumer habits.  We may not be able to have it all and we will be willing to cut consumption in some areas to enjoy a high level of it in others. 

What does this mean for product marketing?  Product sourcing and supply chains?  The job of the product marketer will be tougher…requiring a greater understanding of what particular products and features specific segments will want and those they'll be willing to trade out.  Supply chains will need to be more responsive, to reduce the costs of unsold inventory created by the fact that, even great product marketers may guess wrong with respect to what their choosey segments will want.  Even if the economy begins recovery soon, consumers may be different–perhaps smarter and more sophisticated.   Business as usual probably won't return: act accordingly.


Do Your Best Customers Like to Laugh?

By GSS on February 5, 2008 | Category: Product Marketing | No Comments

Puma_3
Marketing is about what?  Selling your product or service?  Yes, that’s true.  I just checked an MBA Marketing Principles 551 textbook and it told me it was true.  Going about that can be so much more of a challenge.  Some marketing experts, Seth Godin is one of them (I found this on his blog), believe that creating a product that people want in the first place will take care of quite a bit in the way of marketing.  Your sales people will thank you for the fact that they won’t have to really go out and sell that piece of …. in the box. 

Dare I say, a second goal of marketing a product, is creating a connection with people.  Connecting what?  Connecting people at the company to the customer?  Connecting the people at the company, the customer, and the product all together?  Yea…  in certain industries, that can be critical.  It could be everything.  You may not need this extraordinary bond with everyone, but it may be critical to have it with your best customers.  Given the 80/20 rule, and your best customers are a small 20% or less of the total that contribute 80% of your business…

I see this tag in a store and I chuckle inside.  "Dorks", I remark about the packaging designers at Puma.  But I appreciate it.  In some ways, I admire it.  That’s a connection.  As they point out, 96% of the people may not even read the tag.  But it’s the 4% who do, that Puma REALLY wants to make and keep a connection with.  If you’re product comes from who you are, there may be little ways like this that you can create a connection with people just like you, who will love your product.

Getting to “Bennett”: Design and Marketing Personas for Your Product

By GSS on September 20, 2007 | Category: Product Marketing | No Comments

Developing a product design and marketing messages for:

Excel_demographic_table_4

  • 39 of 100 users, ages 35-45, subscribes to 2 electronic device related
    magazines/newsletters per year, from San Jose, CA, average time on PC = 9.0 hours/day, average TV watching hours/day = 3.0

seems to be more difficult than to develop and market to:

Dork

  • "Bennett", a 37 year-old, tech geek, from San Jose, California, who
    spends 9 hours a day on a computer, doesn’t have a girlfriend, wears
    ties with short sleeve dress shirts, and lusts after the IPhone as much
    as he does Jessica Alba in Dark Angel reruns.

Bennett is a made-up guy.  But he’ll probably add a lot of value to a product designer or marketing team when developed from the above spreadsheet.  Far too many companies and entrepreneurs are sinking money into
products that will never get off the ground because they did not let
the market lead them down the path. 

User-driven design, user-led
innovation…development…marketing.  Sure, all of these buzzwords
sound great.  Companies often employ a number of techniques into their
development processes, but the kernels of valuable information they
extract often get tainted, lost in the shuffle, or dropped entirely, as
the marketing and engineering processes water down what started the
whole thing.

Marketing and design personas are a tool that have become
increasingly popular in the last few years, as a way of taking
quantitative and qualitative data and fleshing it out into a story or
persona of who their customers are and what their customers do.   These can get off track as well, particularly if they’re taken too far and the real purpose is lost.  But they still seem to be a useful tool in giving people something emotive and substantive to connect and work with, rather than reams of data.

How do we get from data to…"Bennett"?  The best design and
marketing firms in the world get intimate with their potential
customers by interviewing them, watching them in action, and staving
off assumptions about them until they have a significant amount of
research–qualitative and quantitative.  Based on this research, they
craft stories about their intended user which become personas. They are experts in the process just as much as the market.  That’s why firms like IDEO can work on all kinds of products for different companies in different industries.  They’re masters of the process.   

Here are some useful "how-to" resources to help you resuscitate,
refresh, and reinvigorate the process of understanding your customer
and letting them lead your creation of design and marketing stories and
personas:

From Garlic to Cell Phones: A Product Brand is Hard to Get and Essential to Keep

By GSS on September 17, 2007 | Category: Product Marketing | 1 Comment

Garlic_tallthin
Gilroy, California, the "Garlic Capital of the World"
.  This town holds an annual garlic festival and delivers the bulk of the garlic eaten in the United States.  But, this garlic isn’t grown here in Gilroy anymore.  It’s imported from China.
   

The overfarming and commoditization of garlic in Gilroy led to a decrease of Gilroy’s garlic value in the market by over $70 million.  Chinese garlic sales are up 5000%.  But, while Gilroy’s own garlic has gone downhill in dramatic fashion,  garlic farming is still thriving in the United States: just in New York rather than Gilroy.  In New York, it is much more difficult to farm garlic than it is in Gilroy.  Regardless, chefs and garlic connoisseurs (if there is such a thing), believe that the taste of New York garlic is worth paying a premium for–whereas Gilroy garlic, not so much. 

Seth Godin, in his book The Big Moo: Stop Trying to be Perfect, and Start Trying to be Remarkable, explains the above story and the importance of brand.  Godin points out that as soon as Gilroy sold their garlic far and wide, by making it a cheap and boring commodity, they set themselves up for new entrants to come in and create a tough price competition.  To try and fend these new competitors off, they began over-planting. 

Godin explains: "Once you make the standard, you’ve created a commodity.  Customers will seek out stuff that is the same as your’s, but cheaper.  That is why China won."  New York farmers, who run garlic farms that are but a fraction of the size of California mega-farms, are profiting from and ecstatic about the prices at which they sell their garlic.  These farmers are thriving because they’ve protected their brand and product from becoming average and differentiated from competitor garlic by price only.  Unlike the price of garlic, the brand of garlic is not something that new companies from around the world could come into the market and compete on easily.

Why is this so difficult to do? 

Gordon Graham writes the blog, Broken Bulbs: Innovation.  Graham is
currently in Taiwan performing post graduate research on the innovation
strategies of Taiwanese firms active in multiple country markets.

In a post entitled "Brand Innovation in Taiwan", Graham writes:

Here in Taiwan many of the high-profile OEM/ODM firms are having a go
at developing their own brands as a way out of the price game and its
teeny-weeny margins. Though many firms are attracted to the idea of
selling their own-branded products, they are finding that moving from OEM/ODM
is not as easy as it looks. Many have given up — retracting back into
what they do best: manufacturing complex, mass-produced electronic
products in low-wage locations for other firms. Why is the move forward
into brands so difficult for these Taiwan-based firms?

Some of the interesting reasons he cites?

- It requires patience. It can take years to get a return on the investment.

- It requires a deep interest in and understanding of country-markets in far away lands.

- It requires an interest in and understanding of other cultures.

- It requires a change in attitude: you can’t treat your staff as if they still work in a factory.

- It requires a loyal and committed staff that buy into the brand idea.

- It requires moving directly into the media spotlight — something many Taiwan-owned businesses prefer not to do.

- A brand requires an authentic story — not anonymous, behind-the-scenes PR.

- A brand is often linked to a country of origin and this needs to be actively articulated.

Brand_water_2 As the Taiwanese are finding out, branding is a challenge.  Branding is about creating and spreading ideas, messages, and experiences.  Cooking and eating garlic is pretty standard, unless it’s $9 a pound garlic from NY.  That’s an experience.  Talking on a cellphone is pretty standard, no matter the phone–unless it’s an IPhone.  Branding takes time, resources, and care.  So does manufacturing high-quality products.  But branding is altogether quite different than what’s required to manufacture 100,000 units of a cell phone.  Those that make the investment in brand, can sell a bottle of water for up to 1000x the price of tap water.  They can sell garlic up to $9 per pound.  A cell phone for $600.  And maybe…$300 socks someday? 

In branding, the sky is the limit.  In manufacturing, you can hit the floor pretty fast and before you know it, your product is produced as cheaply as possible in a given location and there is no way to accomplish this task more cheaply except by picking up and moving to a new destination.

It’s no secret that fantastic profits being made now and in the future are and will be made by companies that are the most adept at managing their brands in the minds of consumers while producing their products cost-effectively in offshore destinations–thus maximizing both ends.  Both activities require competency to be successful, and companies are generally better in one of these activities.  To be successful in the other, they either acquire the talent or outsource the task.

What are you good at?  Should/Can you acquire or outsource the other?      
 

$300 socks to go with your $300 jeans?

By GSS on September 2, 2007 | Category: Product Marketing | No Comments

Doredoresocks750377
$300 socks.  No way.  But I wonder how many people would have shaken their heads 30 years ago at the prospect of $300 jeans.  I still shake my head.  But they’re around and people pay for them.  Sure–they offer much better quality material and craftsmanship–but there’s an intangible value, created out of thin air, that for some people is real.  The value?  Identity?  A meaningful experience? 

This last issue of Fast Company magazine has served up an interesting article on this, proposing that $300 socks may indeed be inevitable.  Dan and Chip Heath, authors of Made to Stick, have a routine column going in the magazine, and their last article regarding "The Inevitability of $300 Socks", caught my attention.  They’re not the first to observe and comment on a growing trend of niche markets, connoisseurship, and customization.  Seth Godin has been heralding the idea for some time that "Small is the New Big".  The number of microbreweries of beer and coffee have risen sharply in the last decade (some of the products that I’ve been personally paying attention to).  In addition, as the Heaths point out, jeans, to the chagrin of many a teenage parent, have gone from a $30 run-of-the-mill product to $300 a pair.

Their claim?  The concept of luxury is evolving from being less focused on status and more centered around personal pleasure and self-expression.  The article quotes Zain Raj, executive director of the ad agency Euro RSCG, Chicago, who looks back at the 1980′s and points out that "You wore $200 pants with an $80 shirt and a $65 tie.  There was a relative order to the world in terms of value.  Today, it’s all personal".  Today, the Heath’s point out that it’s not uncommon to see people wear $300 jeans with $8 T-shirts or people who have a hard time affording their rent, pay for $15 a pound for premium coffee. 

Their point?  "Luxury goods are no longer a sign of status; they’re the mark of connoisseurship".  The difference between a product being run-of-the-mill with little profit margin, to a product that can command a premium from a group of connoisseurs, is the ideas behind them. 

This idea goes beyond just the concept of a product for a niche market.  It’s more about an idea that lends itself to a consumer’s identity and experience.  Think Iphone.  There are the people who paid $500 for an Iphone because they felt the functionality would improve their lives.  There are those that believed that something about holding and using an Iphone in public conveyed specific messages of status to others.  But I think the people I saw camped outside in front of the Apple store the night before the release–found more value packed into the $500 Iphone than either of these two groups.  They got an interactive experience with other people camped on the sidewalk who felt the same way.   

It’s similar to when one guy with a Red Sox hat sees another guy across the bar with a Red Sox jersey–and gives the "yeah, man" nod of approval.  Interacting with others who feel the same way is affirming, offering a sense of belonging and identity.  An Iphone sidewalk camper can look at the guy or girl shivering on the pavement next to them and say "Your’re a tech geek.  I’m a tech geek.  Let’s revel together in our tech geekness".  I’m not knocking it, because I do the same thing in other ways.  I bought the $30 concert t-shirt at a Page & Plant (Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin) reunion concert.  I show this to other Led Zeppelin fans and I am instantly elevated to "cool" status.  I connect with a fellow fan.  All the while, I am reminded of how great the concert was.  And the experience of the t-shirt keeps on giving and that’s why I paid $30 for it.  If I never went to the concert and saw it on a rack in a store–no way. 

So is it that crazy to think that $300 socks might someday do this for a group of sock connoisseurs? 

One of the great things about this phenomenon, is that it opens the door for so many small businesses and entrepreneurs, who want or are willing to cater to a specific market.  Distribution may be more manageable and building a brand and grabbing mindshare of the customers may be just as easy or easier for an unknown company as it is for an established company.  In fact, it may be much easier for a small company or start-up to do this because they can often achieve a closeness with their customer and maintain an air of authenticity more easily than a larger, more unwieldy company.  Someone did it with pants–watches, chocolate, beer, coffee, t-shirts, bags, and the list goes on.  Socks?  With the right message, communication, and a receptive audience, the possibilities are endless.

Selling Through Big Box Retail? Your Product Should Sell in Three Seconds, From Three Feet. Or You’re…

By GSS on August 24, 2007 | Category: Product Marketing | No Comments

Burnttoast1
"If you can’t get your message across in three seconds to someone standing three feet away in an aisle, your product is not going to work in a store like Walmart." -Tom Welch, Walmart

"What’s game changing about my product for it’s specific market?" – Chad Bell, Best Buy

The TiE event on Tuesday, What is the Right Channel to Take Consumer Products to Market, was full of thought-provoking questions and remarks like this that are highly relevant for any company or entrepreneur looking to get their consumer products into the right sales channels.  The speakers included:

-Marti Nyman (moderator), Director, Global Innovation Network, Best Buy

-Chad Bell, Merchant Leader for Digital Descriptions, Best Buy
-Tom Welch, Senior Business Manager, Music, Walmart.com
-Margita Labhard, Sr. Program Manager, Bestbuy.com
-Brent Dusing, Cofounder and CEO, Cellfire

I’ve put together a short summary, of what I think were the top remarks, concepts, and questions that came out of the hour and a half discussion led by the panel.  While these points should be taken into consideration no matter what channel, market, or product you’re working with, for those of you who are working in online and big box retail channels–this is coming straight from the source. 

What are the basic questions one should ask themselves about their product and getting into the right sales channel?

  • There are a lot of people out there with good ideas, but there are already things out there like it.  We look for products that are game changers; products that affect how a consumer in their target market goes about their daily life.  -Chad Bell
  • As a retailer, we need you to know exactly who you are going after.  This is not limited to the user, but also includes the person with the pocketbook.  What is their pain that you’re addressing?  Who is going to use it?  And, who is going to pay for it?  -Tom Welch

When is a good time to approach a retailer?

  • You want to start early, but your product is going to change over its lifecycle.  Your first sales will be the educational step for your customer.  If you’re product requires education, you’ll want to choose a channel that allows you the time and means to educate them and influence their buying decision.  Walmart is great at selling things that people understand.  If you can’t get your message across in three seconds to someone standing three feet away in a retail aisle, your product will probably not work in a store like Walmart.  -Tom Welch
  • Always think from the point-of-view of your customer and know that your channel marketing/sales will always continue to evolve throughout the lifecycle.  -Margita Labhard

What Types of Sales Channels are Available?

  • Traditional big box, higher touch…  Higher touch involves those products that require a longer sales cycle and more involvement with a sales person–high technology and high purchase price products like stereo systems, home theaters, etc.  -Chad Bell
  • Walmart will take a bet on a riskier product online to see how it does and test how it’s going to be communicated.  Everything will be planned out.  Ask "where am I in the process lifecycle and how will this step iterate to the next?  How does the internet channel translate to a phone call and then to the in-store channel?  -Tom Welch

What are typical new company mistakes?

  • I know of some horror stories.  I came across a company that was well financed, had what I thought was a cool product, and they spent all of their time on things that were "sexy", like in-store placement, cool inserts, etc.  When you have things like that, it feels like a win.  But, they spent no time educating sales reps.  So the people most critical to selling their product had little to go on, and it hurt.  The lesson?  You have to win over the hearts of the sales people and you need them to fall in love with your product.  Do you offer training programs?  Accommodation programs?   Driving more traffic to our stores is great, but you need to show us how conversion will take place.  -Chad Bell
  • Don’t miss out on how your customers experience the sales process?  Try to break down the complexities and work backwards to what is the right channel?  Online doesn’t provide for an incredibly complex transactional process.  -Margita Labhard
  • Trying to grow to quickly can be problematic because you miss out on the learning process and how that translates into future iterations in the cycle.  If you don’t learn anything and take the time to get that customer feedback, it can be a big problem that manifests itself later.  As you get farther through the product’s lifecycle, you are going to have less time to educate the customer, so you better understand them already. -Tom Welch

How do you choose the right sales channel?

  • First, know that this won’t be the only time you make this decision.  Ask yourself questions like "do I want visibility from retail shelves so I can gain legitimacy and sell online?  Do I want to get market feedback for future product iterations?  What do I want out of this channel?  How will it fit in with my entire strategy?"  And know that the answers to these questions will change through the cycle.  -Tom Welch

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A Few Good Sources for Ideas; Inspiration; and Lessons on Product Marketing

By GSS on August 14, 2007 | Category: Product Marketing | No Comments

I recently came across three blogs that I thought were good resources on product marketing.  Marketing is a tricky animal.  One of the biggest challenges in effective marketing is pushing ourselves beyond our own selfish needs and perspectives, to see the needs and perspectives of our customers and align our products with them from the start, get them back on track in the middle, or try again at the end.  It’s a process that requires consistent upkeep, continual assessment, and renewal.  Strangely, I think I heard that last line at a friend’s wedding somewhere this summer.  Different context, but same idea.

  • PragmaticMarketing: Read this post about The New Rules of Marketing.  It’s not just another post discussing the impressive marketing job done by Apple with the Iphone.  What I like about this post is that it draws attention to the fact that Apple built a phone that is a product people want to talk about.  Have you noticed that their commercials on TV are simply a hand using the Iphone and showing it’s features.  No one yelling in your face "$129 value all for $19.99".  No text flying all over the screen.  And it’s not depending on the SuperBowl for national acclaim.  It’s already a product that simply speaks to people in a way that makes them want to spend a sizable amount of money on a phone.
  • DuctTapeMarketing Blog: This blog on marketing is no secret and has enjoyed quite a bit of popularity.  The author, John Jantsch, gives a lot of great ideas, stories, and lessons to small businesses that need to not only get out the word, but get it out in the right way.  His post entitled, How Long Should it Take For My Marketing to Work?, is a great start.  Simply put, it takes time.
  • UserDriven:  The blog’s subtitle says it all, "Developing Products and Services from the Outside In".  The blog is written by a product manager at ATG, a software company.  The insights are valid for hard products and software alike.  I found this post, How Many User Tests Should You Run, to be particularly interesting.Lions

Finally, one last quote, which you very well may have heard before, but I enjoy every time I hear it.  A little marketing inspiration, if you will…  This was posted on PragmaticMarketing.com’s blog, in Are You a Gazelle or a Lion?:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up and knows it must run
faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in
Africa, a lion wakes up and knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or
it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle;
when the sun comes up, you better start running. –An African proverbGazelle1_4

Testimonials

“GSS worked closely with us every step of the way to ensure that we received top-quality product according to our specifications and at better-than-projected costs.”
by Gretchen Frankenstein COO, Paceasy, Inc.