Tag Archives: curated

VP Marketing Humor



dilbert 1-17-2015 post

Some clever marketing spin from a  VP Marketing at an unnamed manufacturing company.




What is a Modern Marketer?

modern marketing

Modern Marketing in Manufacturing

It’s great to see a discussion about defining the duties and responsibilities of a person we might call a Modern Marketer or performing in a job defined around modern marketing.  This blog post on the HBR Blog Network addresses one aspect, the analytical marketer.  I would add other components as far as the definition goes.  A modern marketer should have experience and knowledge in these areas:

Perhaps not a comprehensive list and I’d love to hear from you, my readers regarding your definition of a modern marketing in manufacturing.


Is differentiation overrated?

differentiation might be overratedMaybe Differentiation Is Just Not That Important

At our fancy and not fancy MBA schools, we’re taught about marketing fundamentals like positioning, the 4 Ps, value propositions, value chains, perceptual maps, differentiation ad nauseum.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe most of these principles are essential for good business growth and success.  The one principle I’d like to think about and discuss critically is ‘differentiation’.

I recently came across this white paper authored by Jenni Romaniuk, Byron Sharp and Andrew Ehrenberg titles, ‘Evidence concerning the importance of brand differentiation’.  In the white paper, which, by the way, is a true white paper and not one of those self promoting pieces masquerading as a white paper, the authors challenge the importance of differentiation as a piece of the marketing strategy.  They argue and present empirical data demonstrating that differentiation plays a very limited if not inconsequential role in competition between brands.  They make a compelling case.

It is important to note the context of the paper is around product attributes and not brand perception.  In fact, they argue that there are differences in the eyes of the consumers, but the perceived difference is in the brand itself, not the product features.  Thus, if you do read the paper, keep in mind that differences are relevant, but differentiation with relation to the product is minimal.

Great Collection of Marketing Infographics

I came across this post from Vanessa Bright’s blog, ‘Online Marketing Moment’ with a link to a great collection of infographics about marketing.  Every topic you can think of is covered.  I haven’t looked at them in detail, but would love to have you check them out and call out any you think are exceptionally relevant and real.


Epic Content Marketing in Action

I love this Volvo ad.  It evokes a number of emotions that most of us subconsciously tie to the reliability of Volvo trucks .  The ad is about the stunt, not about the product.   This video has been viewed 43,560,622 times as of this writing!  People remember it.  I guarantee that anyone who happens to be in the position to influence the purchase of a commercial freight liner will shortlist Volvo and possess an inherent bias towards the reliability of the Volvo truck line.
Anyone who watches it first says “Wow” then says “Is it real?” It’s real baby!  There is very little mention of the product until the very end.  If you consciously think about it, we, as humans, will attach these emotions to the Volvo brand.  The video creates extremely high credibility for the Volvo truck and places the Volvo truck brand and product top-of-mind, perhaps, for years to come.
Granted, a small portion of the 43 million views are from the target audience.  However, there are also thousands of people among the viewers who will influence the purchase of a commercial truck over the next few years.
To borrow a phrase from Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute, in my opinion, this is epic content marketing!

Marketers Must be Allowed to Succeed and to Fail

I ran across this while I was reviewing Tweets and Blog posts today.  I highly suggest reading it, living it and assimilating the ‘you are allowed’ philosophy & practice within your life and within your marketing teams.  Allow your marketers to succeed and to fail.  Quotes from Addicted to Success.


And one not just for the leaders, but for all of us every day.
and one more…



Comments on ‘Youtility’


I’m a huge believer in ‘Youtility’.  ‘Youtility’ is the title of a book authored by Jay Baer, but more importantly, it is a concept or perhaps even a philosophy about marketing by helping people in the target audience be better.  I understand this is a broad definition, but it is a good definition by which to judge your content.  If you ask yourself and your team this question, “will this piece of content help the people in our target audience be better?”, it will put you on the right track towards effective content marketing.

These are a couple of key points/quotes I wrote down as I listened to Jay’s presentation:

  • Just be useful.
  • Be the best teacher.
  • Those firms who become the best teacher in their competitive space will eat everyone else’s lunch.
  • The problem with most content is that it’s about you.

I know from personal experience that the type of content marketing described by Youtility works exceptionally well. I recently worked for a global electronics manufacturing company making electronic devices that measured humidity.  How boring is that?  The product was perceived as a commodity in the eyes of the target audience.  Sales relationships were the only differentiators in the marketplace.  Advertisements talked about reliability, accuracy, robustness and global leadership.  Every competitor said the same things about their very similar products.  We shifted from a strategy of promoting products and their related attributes to a strategy of education.  Believe it or not, humidity is a tough measurement. Certain processes like semiconductor or drug manufacturing require very stable environments which require very reliable measurements.  Our customers were frustrated and perplexed with measuring humidity.  We decided to educate the people in our target audience about how to make a better measurement of this pesky parameter, humidity.  The response was tremendous and the business began to grow at a much faster rate!

This company gained top-of-mind awareness and increased credibility within a commoditized market.  We gave away white papers, application notes, seminars, webinars, calculators and more about how to make a better humidity measurement asking nothing in return.  We didn’t talk about the product, we only talked about how to make the measurement.  Our audience loved us for it and it worked to grow the business and gain market share.

Take a look at  your business from a new perspective.  Identify a specific expertise within your company and figure out how that expertise can be given to the people in your target market in order to help them be better at what they do.  You don’t have to be the only one with the expertise, just be the best teacher.

One last thing, buy Jay Baer’s book, Youtility.  You’ll be glad you did!

Great Content Marketing Quotes

Came across this in SlideShare posted by Salesforce.   Good stuff!!

Effectual Marketing Planning

Effectual marketing like a speedboat

I have to say, I’m intrigued and maybe even fascinated by this concept of effectual marketing planning.  With a bit of research, one discovers that effectual marketing planning is based on the verb, effectuate.  Effectuate means to cause to happen or accomplish.  Effectuation is the noun; the act of implementing, providing a practical means for accomplishing something or carrying into effect.

I was exposed to the concept via an HBR Blog post written by Peter Whalen and Samuel Holloway.  They published a paper about the subject titled, Effectual Marketing Planning (EMP) for New Ventures, in September 2011.  Their premise states that traditional marketing planning (TMP) is not effective for new ventures suggesting a framework for EMP. I suggest the concept could and should be adopted by all firms regardless of size or number of years in business.

I highly recommend reading the paper whether you market for a large multinational, a small start-up or anything in between.  Suppose we look at a spectrum of marketing planning ranging from TMP to ad-hoc.  Where do you lie on the spectrum?  Likely, you like someplace in between leaning one way or the other.  EMP lies closer to ad-hoc.  Therein lies one of the dangers of this concept, confusing EMP for ad-hoc.  Ad hoc or seat-of-the-pants marketing is wasteful and ineffective.  You’re better off not marketing at all if your current modus operandi is ad hoc.

Even if you market for a large multinational, there is a lot of value in Effectual Marketing.  It’s not that the established markets will change much year to year, but the shorter cycles of Effectual Marketing as compared to TMP could benefit any organization.  We have the tools available allowing us (in large firms) to act with agility and an entrepreneurial spirit.  This agility allows the large firm with such a marketing culture to beat the other large competitor stuck in an annual planning cycle.  TMP was developed and grew up when optimization tools like marketing automation were not available.  Many, many firms still don’t get it remaining stuck marketing as if it were the 80’s.

Let me be clear,  I believe strongly in the marketing fundamentals we’re taught in MBA school like the 4 Ps, Porter’s Five Forces, STEP, positioning, value propositions, value chains, etc.  I also believe that in this modern Marketing 2.0 world, by leveraging the digital tools, we are able to measure in real-time, draw quick accurate conclusions, adjust, optimize and engage with our target audiences in a timely and highly relevant manner.  The result, proven to be effective, is higher organic growth rates and bigger market share.

While a company like Emerson is running a 18 month campaign that cost millions and would take a nuclear blast to derail, a company like Siemens could make quarterly adjustments to audiences, messages, and even the design to optimize the effect.  (these are only examples, I have no idea how these companies market)  There’s no excuse not to be measuring, monitoring and optimizing in this day and age.  It doesn’t take too long for a savvy CMO to get a very strong understanding (backed up by data) as to what messages engage his audience and what messages do not work well.  Why would any CMO wait for 12, 18 or 24 months to modify his plan if it isn’t working or shift budget to programs that are working well?  EMP is agility!

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.