Nov 23, 2011

The business marketing app for iPhone and iPad – Marketissimo!

Marketing iPhone apps
We are very excited to announce that our new marketing app for iPhone and iPad is available in the Apple iTunes App Store. Marketissimo helps you jumpstart your marketing by asking the right questions and exploring new marketing ideas & strategies. You can also easily share topics and ideas with others via Facebook, Twitter or email. The app will guide you through key questions to improve the effectiveness of your marketing and accelerate the growth of your business:

  1. How effective is your marketing strategy?
  2. Do you have a compelling value proposition?
  3. Does your story sell?
  4. What's your social media strategy?
  5. Is your website delivering enough sales?
  6. Do you fully leverage SEO and Search Marketing?
  7. How do you measure success?
  8. and more...
For whom is Marketissimo? The marketing app is designed for marketing & sales professionals, executives, Chief Marketing Officers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Marketissimo is like a personal “marketing coach” in your pocket - it guides you through critical questions to grow your business to the next level.

The Marketissimo app for iPhone & iPad is free and is available in the Apple App Store!

Oct 25, 2011

The email marketing success checklist

Emails and newsletters to opt-in audiences are still working. What’s not working as well are "cold" emails to rented or purchased lists, long-winding emails without a clear offer or call to action. Here is a list of things you should check:


Segmentation and targeting is everything
Any communication is only successful if the message is target towards your audience. For different audiences you need different emails, content, offers and call to action. Even within one segment, try A/B split testing: 50% get subject line A and the other 50% get subject line B, etc.

Subject line is key
Large percentage of email marketing success is driven by the subject line. The subject decides if the email gets opened or not, or worse, goes directly into the spam folder:
  • Make it short (50 characters or less)
  • Create curiosity
  • Match with your actual email content and offer

Short and simple

Nobody wants to read long texts or emails (anymore). More and more people scan texts, they don't read. Make it easy and quick to get the essence of your email.
  • Short (No scrolling required)
  • Use bullets (versus paragraphs of lots of text blocks)
  • Use images to get attention or emotional effects
  • Clean, simple and professional design

An offer they can’t resist with a clear call to action

Probably the second most important driver for success is an attractive offer (what do I get?) targeted to your specific audience and a clear call to action (how do I get it?) in the email.
  • Sign up, register, or download
  • Buy now, free trial – special offer
  • Get a chance to win
  • ...

Landing pages for a "safe" landing
The goal of a landing page is to “land” people and don’t let them take off without having signed up, registered or purchased something. Here is how:
  • Deliver what you have promised in the email
  • Don’t distract with other offers, navigation, etc
  • Ask the minimum amount of information you need
  • Make is easy and obvious (buttons, etc.)
  • Simple and clean design of page

Measure success and always be testing
Email marketing has many variables such as, time of day sent, day of the week, subject line, offers, design, etc. If possible, test different subjects lines, offers, layouts, and optimize your email campaigns over time. Here are the key metrics:
  • How many emails were delivered (did not bounce back)
  • How many were opened (use HTML to track)
  • How many clicked-through to the landing page
  • How many actually "accepted" the offer
  • Cost per lead/sales

Sep 25, 2011

Market positioning and messaging is key

A few months ago I asked an executive of a startup company what they do. He said: “We are the global leader in software-as-as service for ….bla, bla, bla”. Throughout my career I heard similar statements over and over again. People work lots of hours on fine-tuning a sentence that is pretty much meaningless to the target audience. Your target customers only wants to know:
  • Is this for me?
  • Can this help me to make my life easier, better, more exciting, etc.
  • Does it save or make money, improve quality, etc.
  • How does it work?
  • Is it worth the money and effort?

There is a great book called Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout and I found one quote in the book that tells it all:

“Positioning is not what you do to the product, it is what you do to the mind of your audience”

So, don’t look at your product, think about your customers and prospects and how they will use it. You just have to “position” a picture that shows your audience that life will be so much different, better, more efficient, etc. when they use your product or service.

Jul 15, 2011

Do you have your VC pitch ready?

Your pitch to Venture Capital firms should answer one essential question: Why should I give you my money?

I have created VC slide decks that answers this question through the following 11 sub questions. The answer to each question becomes a slide. Here you go:

  1. What customer problem do you solve?
  2. How does your solution or product solve it?
  3. How big is the market for this?
  4. Who is competing with you and why are you better?
  5. How do you plan to sell your product?
  6. How do you make money with this?
  7. When do you expect a return?
  8. Do you have an experienced management team?
  9. What are the key mile stones and when will you reach them?
  10. What do you want to do with our money?
  11. So, why again should I give you my money?

By answering each question with one slide you should have a nice and short story that you can tell and that VC's will remember. This also means you won't end up with 28 or more slides. Keep it simple, short and compelling.

The goal: Get them interested, get them curious enough to get another meeting.

Jun 10, 2011

Are you a customer of your own company?

The key of doing great and effective marketing is to understand your customers. Besides doing research, focus groups and ongoing interaction with your customers, you should think about these three questions:

1. Step into the role of your customers and ask yourself: Would you buy your product, honestly?

The answers will help you better understand why people buy and why they don’t buy.

2. Do you use your own product?

It always amazes me how many companies find lots of excuses for not using their own products – probably the same reasons why their customers don’t.

3. Are you selling a product, or are you selling the value (of the product)?

People don’t buy products; they buy the VALUE of the product. Don’t market and sell features, sell the value of the features.

Answering these questions will help you be more effective in your marketing activities and also to improve your product or service offering. Be your own customer - everyday!

May 20, 2011

Accelerating sales and growth through partnerships and channels

Are building partnerships and channels a key strategy for your company to accelerate sales, enter new markets, deliver new products, and drive overall growth?

Startups are understandably focused on proving out their sales and marketing model or internally building technologies and solutions. However, as your company evaluates its growth alternatives, it is important to thoughtfully consider and evaluate the benefit of partnerships and channels sooner than later. Partnerships and channels can provide:

  • Faster access (and at lower costs) to customers, new markets, segments, and geographies
  • Complementary products and services that help drive your sales
  • Needed sales and engineering resources, capital, and expertise
  • Differentiation from competitors
  • Validation of your business with the investor community
  • Strategic funding and downstream potential exit

As you evaluate whether partnerships and channels can help you achieve any of the above goals or other strategic objectives, it’s also important to assess whether your company’s culture supports or can support partnerships? Does your company have the expertise and experience in developing effective partnerships? The CEO and management team may understand the value of partnerships, but is this value embraced throughout the organization? Developing a strategy is just the first step. How to execute a partner strategy, develop effective partnerships and channels, and achieve projected growth – that is the great opportunity.

Apr 12, 2011

Is Camtasia the next American Idol?

Do you know Camtasia? It sounds like the name of an American Idol contestant, but it is not. Anyway, Camtasia is my idol. It is a video capturing and editing tool that makes it fairly easy to create product demos and videos. Here is why I think Camtasia is a great marketing tool for start-ups:

  • You can create low-budget videos in a few days
  • You can easily combine product screen recording with other graphic elements
  • You can easily edit the time-line and overlay your marketing message
  • Audio can be recorded separately and overlayed with music
  • You can easily export the video to Flash, Mov or other formats
  • It is "Do-it-yourself" - you don’t have to be a flash designer
  • You can easily edit the video as things change (which happens quite often in start-ups)

And I am not getting any commission for saying this, I am just a customer. And I write about this although I never talked to the Camtasia guys – they didn’t even have to sell it to me. Isn't that what you want from your customers?

Feb 18, 2011

Marketing made simple

Here is a nice quote from Leonardo da Vinci: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"

We all have the tendency to show off all the cool features and product capabilities to impress people. We pack lots of information on our slides and forget about the core value of our product or service.

Why is simplicity important? It brings you back to the essence and core value of your product or service offering. Your customers will find it easier to understand what you do, they can better remember it and it is just easier to make the buying decision.

Why is it so difficult to achieve simplicity? It takes more time (not less) to make things easier, simpler and shorter because you need to capture the essence of the product or service your are offering.

Another great quote from an unknown author: "I did not have the time to make this letter shorter".

Tip: Try to explain in ONE (1) sentence what your company does. If you have some more time try this one: 5 word, 10 word, 25 and 50 word statement of what your company does. Just by going through this exercise, you learn a lot about the core value of your offering.

Jan 15, 2011

Marketissimo = Marketing Excellence

Marketissimo shares marketing advice, ideas and strategies on how to grow your business. The suffix "issimo" comes from the Latin (Italian) language...

-issimo

... and is added to adjectives to form absolute superlatives. If you are an entrepeneur, CEO, or marketing executive of a b2b company then this blog is for you.

Get the Marketissimo app for iPhone or iPad now!