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Showing posts with label Marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marketing. Show all posts

Innovation Impact Roadmap



For 20+ years, I taught in the University of Arizona entrepreneurship program which, at one point, was ranked #1 in the world by several major business publications. 

On the whiteboard in my office, I drew a roadmap of the new venture creation process. It was, in essence, the syllabus for our entrepreneurship program in graphical form. [I was the keeper of the whiteboard, not necessarily the author of all that was there! I had some pretty wise and wonderful UA collaborators as well as entrepreneurship gurus from around the world from which the information was collected.]

Students and colleagues at UA would ask if they could take a photo of the whiteboard. Of course, yes! And I did the same. I took a photo, but ... I wanted to add a bit more here and there. And then I got carried away!! So ... the diagram you see today is the result.

One of the struggles we encountered, in teaching entrepreneurship concepts and building new ventures, is that the process is not particularly time-linear. It is often iterative, a back-and-forth process. Hence, a roadmap outlines the elements that need to be addressed, but not necessarily a hard path in doing so. At some point, the venture team should visit all the "attractions" on the map, but the order of the trip may vary depending on the nature of the venture.

The "main highway" is the mission statement, highlighted in yellow.

Essentially,this roadmap for innovation commercialization is an entrepreneurship checklist, ... the key elements that should be considered and addressed when putting together a plan for a new business venture.

PDF, JPEG, and PNG versions are available here: InnovationImpactRoadmap.com

--Jim

[7.26]

Marketing Brochure Prototype

A prototype marketing brochure is a good tool for "testing the waters" with prospective customers.
  1. Easy way to test a new product, service, solution idea
  2. Easy to iterate a concept
  3. Easy to put in front of prospective customers for feedback: test, measure, learn
  4. Customer can become part of the design process ... pencil and paper and eraser
  5. Inexpensive ... time, money, resources
  6. Works for most any idea concept
  7. Flexible "size" (number of pages) although the fewer the better 
  8. Can incorporate in the venture business plan, summary
  9. Can use to design and develop a product and/or service based on prospective customer reactions to the product and/or service describe in the prototype brochure
Here's a "pencil sketch" of a marketing brochure template:


What's in a Name?

What's in a name? When deciding what to call your venture, the answer is plenty. A venture name can be too broad--or too confining. It can be too quirky--or not memorable enough. The challenge is to pick a name that's catchy, but also fits well with your particular type of venture. Here are 10 questions to ask as you ponder various names, keeping in mind that the choice could make all the difference in establishing your venture in the marketplace.

What do I want a name to accomplish for my venture?
A name can help separate you from competitors and reinforce your venture's image, says Steve Manning, founder of Sausalito, Calif.-based Igor, a naming agency. He suggests clearly defining your brand positioning before choosing a name, as Apple did to differentiate itself from corporate sounding names like IBM and NEC. "They were looking for a name that supported a brand positioning strategy that was to be perceived as simple, warm, human, approachable and different," Manning says.

Will the name be too limiting?
Don't box yourself in, says Phoenix-based Martin Zwilling, CEO and founder of Startup Professionals Inc., an advisor to early-stage startups. Avoid picking names that could limit your venture from enlarging its product line or expanding to new locations, he says, citing the example of Angelsoft.com, a venture formed in 2004 to help connect startup companies with angel investors. A few years ago, the venture realized it needed to appeal equally to venture capital and other types of investors. So, it did a costly rebranding to Gust.com, which is less specific and evokes a nice "wind in the sails" image.

Does the name make sense for my venture?
For most companies, it's best to adopt a name that provides some information about their products and services. That doesn't mean it can't also have a catchy ring. Lawn and Order, for example, is a good name for a landscaping venture because it gets people's attention and also clearly relates to the venture's services, Zwilling says. While unusual words like Yahoo and Fogdog sometimes work, quirky names are always a crapshoot.

Is the name easy to remember?
The shorter the name, the better, Zwilling says, suggesting that venture owners limit it to two syllables and avoid using hyphens or other special characters. He also recommends skipping acronyms, which mean nothing to most people, and picking a name whose first letter is closer to A than Z because certain algorithms and directory listings work alphabetically. "When choosing an identity for a venture or a product, simple and straightforward are back in style and cost less to brand," he says.

Is the name easy for people to spell?
That may seem to be a given, but some companies purposely select names that consumers can't easily spell. It's a risky strategy to try to make a venture stand out, and some naming consultants recommend against it. "If your name looks like a typo, scratch it off the list," says Alexandra Watkins, founder and chief innovation officer of Eat My Words, a naming service based in San Francisco. She also believes that it's important that your name be spelled exactly as it sounds. Otherwise, you will forever have to spell it out for people when saying the name or your venture's email or website address aloud. "Think of how often you have to spell your own first or last name for people," she says. "Why would you want a brand name with the same problem?"

How will potential customers first encounter your name?
Some naming experts believe there are exceptions to the easy-to-spell rule, especially if most people will see your name for the first time in a print or online ad. For example, consider Zulily, the online venture offering daily deals for moms, babies and kids. "If you just heard that name, you might not guess how to spell it, but the venture's aggressive online ad campaign has meant that most people first see it spelled out," says Chris Johnson, a naming consultant in Seattle and author of The Name Inspector blog, who came up with the name Zulily. "The payoff is that the unusual sound and spelling of the name have helped them create a very distinctive brand."

Does the name sound good and is it easy to pronounce?
Manning says the sound of the name is important in conveying a feeling of energy and excitement. You also must be sure potential customers can easily pronounce your venture's name. "It is a hard fact that people are able to spell, pronounce and remember names that they are familiar with," he says, pointing to Apple, Stingray, Oracle and Virgin as strong names. But he doesn't like such venture names as Chordiant, Livent and Naviant. "These names are impossible to spell or remember without a huge advertising budget, and the look, rhythm and sound of them cast a cold, impersonal persona," he says.

Is your name meaningful only to yourself?
A name with hidden or personal meanings evokes nothing about your brand, and you won't be there to explain it when most people encounter it. "Refrain from Swahili, words spelled backwards, and naming things after your dog," Watkins says. She gives the example of Lynette Hoy, who was using her first and last name for her PR firm in Bainbridge Island, Wash. The name didn't work because it failed to evoke Hoy's fiery personality and passion, Watkins says. So, the company was rebranded Firetalker PR, and Hoy took the title of Fire Chief. She called her office The Firehouse, and began offering PR packages such as Inferno, Controlled Burn and The Matchbox. "Her entire brand is built around that name and lends itself to endless ways to extend the name," Watkins says. "Her prior name didn't lend itself to any theme or wordplay."

Is the name visually appealing?
You also want to consider how the name looks in a logo, ad or a billboard, Manning says. He points to Gogo, the inflight Internet service provider, as a good name for design purposes. "It's the balance of the letters, all rounded and friendly, versus a word with hard, angular letters like Ks and Ts and Rs," Manning says. Other visually appealing names include Volvo because it has no low-hanging letters and Xerox for the symmetry of beginning and ending with the same letter.

Have I conducted a proper trademark search?
A great name is worthless if someone else already has laid claim to it. Start with some free resources like Trademarkia.com or USPTO.gov to do a cursory search to see if the name is already in use. Then, hire a trademark attorney to do a more thorough screening, and if the name isn't taken, to register it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "Get it right the first time," Watkins says. "A third of our business comes from companies who are being threatened with trademark infringement."

[1.09]

Perfect Press Release

Trait #1 – Make sure the organization you belong to is very clear.  Placing this information at the top is a good start.
Trait #2 – If your press release doesn’t contain news, you may as well not even send it.  Promise news at the top with “NEWS RELEASE” in a larger font than the rest of the press release.
Trait #3 – One of the main traits of news is that it is current.  Since you are offering news, make sure it is as current as possible.
Trait #4 – Get the name of the person you are sending your press release to and place it in a prominent position.  Be sure to double check the spelling.
Trait #5 – Provide a specific contact person with a phone number where they can be reached. Don’t make contacting you a challenge.
Trait #6 – It’s important to inform your contact when specifically you’d like your press release to be run.  If you don’t have a specific date, be sure to allow for immediate release.
Trait #7 – Just like your other marketing materials, headlines are a must.  Include a newsworthy angle in your headline for best results.
Trait #8 – Where is your press release being released from?  It’s always best to use a local angle, so try to place the story from a local perspective.
Trait #9 – Try to tell your entire story in the first paragraph.  If everything else is cut, at least you got your main points in.
Trait #10 – Turn the story in a personal angle as soon as possible.  Use quotes from known individuals if possible.
Trait #11 – Use subheads to highlight important parts of your story.  People are busy and only read the parts that interest them, so include subheads for each of your target markets.
Trait #12 – Beware of sexism and humor.  What is funny to some groups may be offensive to others.
Trait #13 – Use quotes from each of your target markets.  Be sure to include quotes from groups that read the publications you have targeted with your press release.
Trait #14 – Use later paragraphs for dispelling or confirming rumors. It’s always best to cover your bases with a little objectivity.
Trait #15 – Include quotes from senior executives to build credibility. News releases are taken a little more serious when the boss’s name is on the line.
Trait #16 – Could the local community perceive your news in a negative manner?  If so, highlight the potential positives.
Trait #17 – If promising a specific future result, be flexible.  Not reaching your specific results on time will always bring bad publicity.
Trait #18 – If space permits, allow your executive to inject some human interest to the story.  Use these quotes as a transition back to a more positive tone.
Trait #19 – Is there an executive that matches the demographics of your target audience?  If so, place them in your target audiences shoes to close the story with added trust.
Trait #20 – The notation “-30″- is the standard way of concluding a press release.  Keep your press release to one page!
Trait #21 – Including photographs is a great way to gain more attention for your story.  Make sure the photos you submit are easily reproducible and will hold their quality in both color and black and white.
Trait #22 – If you have other media you’d like to include or have available, be sure to provide the information here.  The more peripheral media you have available, the easier it is to use your press release in a story.
The most important things to remember are to include a newsworthy angle that is of interest to the local community or specific readers of the publications you send your release to.  By including as many of these traits in your next press release, you will drastically increase the likelihood of gaining some free publicity for your small business.

[Thank you, Prevail PR]

Tips for Promotion

A way to attract attention to our venture is to choose an advertising or promotional medium that is unusual for our industry. Here are some ideas ...

Advertorials ... attention getters ... balloons ... billboards ... blog marketing ... brochures and pamphlets ... bulletin board signs ... bumper stickers ... bus and taxi ads ... bus bench/shelter signs ..
business breakfasts/lunches ... business cards ... business networking ... buttons ... calendars ... charitable contributions ... high profile ... charitable volunteerism ... city/regional magazine advertising ... classified advertising ... community involvement ... computer bulletin board ... computer data service ... consumer magazines ... contests ... co-op advertising ... customer newsletters ... decals ... demonstrations ... developing a sales slogan ... direct mail and sales letters ... direct mail with co-op advertising ... discount coupons ... discount premium books ... door hangers ... door-to-door canvassing ... drive-time radio ... employee events ... endorsements or promotion by famous personalities ... enthusiast magazines ... envelope stuffers ... envelope advertisement ... event sponsorship ... exterior building signs ... fliers and circulars ... folders and binders ... format radio ... free information ... free trials ... general business magazines ... gifts and premiums ... grand opening/anniversary celebrations ... greeting cards ... grocery store cart signs ... home parties ... hot air balloon ... Internet ... letterhead ... local business magazines ... local cable ... local newspapers ... local TV ... loudspeaker announcements ... magazine ... mailing labels ... major network TV ... membership in organizations ... messages pulled by airplane ... moving billboards on trucks ... mugs ... magnetic holders ... etc. ... multiple purchase offers ... national cable ... national newspapers ... news releases ... newsletters ... newspaper ad ... newspaper insert ... offer a reward for referrals ... on-line computer services ... package inserts ... packaging ... per-order/per-inquiry ads ... personal letters ... personal sales ... picket your establishment ... place mats ... point-of-purchase signs ... postcards ... price specials ... print advertising ... print on the box/container ... product exhibitions ... programs and yearbooks ... promotional plan chart ... proposals ... public relations and publicity ... radio advertising ... radio spots ... rebates ... referral incentives ... reminder advertising ... sales calls ... sales incentives ... sales tools ... samples of product ... search lights ... seminars ... free or low-cost ... send a thank you note after a new purchase ... share costs with event sponsors ... shopper classified newspapers ... sidewalk signs ... signs at sporting events ... signs on your building ... signs towed by airplanes ... skywriters ... special events ... special sales ... specialty items ... spokesperson ... sponsorship of charitable events sponsorships ... statement stuffers ... stickers ... symbols ... take-one racks ... talks and presentations ... tape or ribbon ... telemarketing ... telephone hold messages ... telephone pole signs ... television advertising ... television spots ... thank-you letters ... tie-ins with other products ... tours ... trade and technical magazines and newspapers ... trade fairs ... trade journal advertising ... t-shirts ... two-for-one offers ... vehicle signs ... video commercials in stores ... video tapes ... walking signs ... window signs ... and yellow page advertising ...

Conjoint Analysis

Conjoint analysis is a statistical technique used in market research to determine how people value different features that make up an individual Product or Service. The objective of conjoint analysis is to determine what combination of a limited number of attributes is most influential on respondent choice or decision making. A controlled set of potential products or services is shown to respondents and by analyzing how they make preferences between these products, the implicit valuation of the individual elements making up the product or service can be determined. These implicit valuations (utilities or part-worths) can be used to create market models that estimate market share, revenue and even profitability of new designs.

Advantages
  • Estimates psychological tradeoffs that consumers make when evaluating several attributes together
  • Measures preferences at the individual level
  • Uncovers real or hidden drivers which may not be apparent to the respondent themselves
  • Realistic choice or shopping task
  • Able to use physical objects
  • If appropriately designed, the ability to model interactions between attributes can be used to develop needs based segmentation
Disadvantages
  • Designing conjoint studies can be complex
  • With too many options, respondents resort to simplification strategies
  • Difficult to use for product positioning research because there is no procedure for converting perceptions about actual features to perceptions about a reduced set of underlying features
  • Respondents are unable to articulate attitudes toward new categories
  • Poorly designed studies may over-value emotional/preference variables and undervalue concrete variables
  • Does not take into account the number items per purchase so it can give a poor reading of market share
[Thank you, Wikipedia]

Elements of a Marketing and Sales Plan

  1. Market research and analysis ... customers, problem, solutions, competition, risk and reward, resources, feasibility ...
  2. Opportunity
  3. Mission
  4. Business model
  5. Marketing objectives
  6. Sales goals
  7. Competitive advantage strategies
  8. Positioning strategies
  9. Target market and customer segments
  10. Product and service offerings
  11. Value proposition
  12. Pricing strategies
  13. Sales strategies and tactics
  14. Distribution strategies
  15. Promotional strategies
  16. Customer relationship management
5K

Name Calling!

Picking a name for a new venture, product. or service is not easy. It may well be one of the hardest things we'll ever do in our venture.

Picking the wrong name could prove disastrous; the right name (brand) could add many sales dollars.

The following checklist should help. However, it is unlikely that any name will meet all these criteria, and there have been many successful names that met but a few.

Good luck!
  1. Can we get the .com URL for the name we want? 
  2. Is the name distinctive?
  3. Is the name instantly recognized?
  4. Is the name easy to remember?
  5. Is the name pleasant to see?
  6. Is the name pleasant to say?
  7. Is the name easy to spell?
  8. Is the name itself confusing?
  9. Is the name easily confused with other names?
  10. Is there a connection between the name and the product, service, or business venture it represents?
  11. Does the name suggest what the business venture, product, or service does? If not, the tagline that accompanies the name may have to carry more communications weight.
  12. Is the name descriptive of the benefits offered by the product, service, or business venture?
  13. Does the name convey the proper image?
  14. Does the name fit customers expectations?
  15. Does the name reinforce customer expectations?
  16. Are there any negative connotations with the name
  17. Is the name limiting?
  18. Does the name coordinate with other names used in the organization?
  19. Does the name work in all target markets?
  20. Can the name be legally protected? Check with USPTO.gov and your state corporation commission to see if the name you want is already taken. If it is, start over!
  21. Can the name be used in other countries?
[4.01]

Sales Tips

Most business owners would like to focus all their energy on daily business operations and serving existing client demands. It's critical to your success, however, to focus on gaining new business from current and potential customers in order to grow and sustain your company.

Creating a Competitive Advantage

The following questions are designed to help you determine whether you have an identifiable competitive edge and whether you are currently capitalizing on it ...
  1. Have I clearly defined my company and my target market?
  2. Who are my competitors?
  3. What is my company's specific strategy for success?
  4. Do I regularly track my competitors' moves?
  5. Do I take advantage of my competitors' weaknesses?
  6. What have I learned from my competitors' mistakes?
  7. What have I learned from my competitors' strengths?
  8. Do I take advantage of competitive opportunities?
  9. Does my company possess a uniqueness that easily separates it from my competitors? What, specifically, is it?
  10. Would I pay money to use my own product or service?
  11. How do my prices compare with the rest of my industry?
  12. Who are my customers?
  13. Do I have a loyal customer base?
  14. Am I sensitive to my customers' needs and requests?
  15. Are my employees trained in customer service?
  16. What trends do I see for my industry in the future?
  17. Is my company and my product mix aligned with those trends?
  18. Do I have the capabilities and resources to compete in the market five to 10 years from now?
  19. What is my vision for my company five to 10 years from now?
If you answered "no" or "I don't know" to more than one of the above questions, you may need some assistance with discovering and/or leveraging your competitive edge.

[Thank you, SCORE]

Finding a Name for Your Venture

There isn't a one-stop place to find out whether a business name is already in use, so it requires some checking around. 

A good start is a thorough Internet search ... If you do come across another business using the name, there are a couple questions to ask: Is the business in the same industry as yours? Is it operating nationally or solely in its local area? Would prospective customers confuse your business with the other business?

Under federal trademark law, a business can claim rights to a name if it's first to use a name in a particular category of business in the geographic area it serves. So you want to determine whether another business in your industry is using the same name in the same geographic region you are. A business still has rights to the name if it is using the name publicly -- even if it hasn't officially registered it for trademark protection.

The next step is to go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Web site, www.uspto.gov, to see whether another business has officially registered the name for federal trademark protection. Click on "Trademarks" on the left navigation bar. Then click on "Search TM database" on the left to access the trademark search database.

If another business has registered the name, you're typically restricted from using it only if that business is registered in the same category of business as yours or sells the same goods and services. If the businesses are totally different -- say, you're a bakery and the other business using your chosen name is a florist -- then it probably isn't a problem.

But you do want to ensure that your business name won't be confused with another business in your area ... the last thing you want is your potential customers to be confused ... and end up having to change the name.

Some businesses register trademarks only in their state, so check with your state's trademark authority as well. Many states have online databases. You also can hire a naming consultant or a trademark attorney to conduct an exhaustive name search.

Another issue: Make sure there's a domain name available that closely matches the name for your company, since that will be important if you want your business to have a Web presence.

[Thank you, Wall Street Journal]

AIDA

AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action ... every ad or promotional activity should have these four elements. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule!) ...
  1. Does the ad grab viewer/reader/listener attention?
  2. Does the ad hold viewer/reader/listener interest?
  3. Does the ad develop viewer/reader/listener desire to do something?
  4. Does the ad provide a clear path to action by the viewer/reader/listener?
(Note: a business plan or executive summary or proposal is a form of advertising ... it is intended to "sell" the reader on the viability of the concept.)