Crowds are never a good thing for business unless it’s outside your front door.

How do you stand out in today’s tech drenched smartphone in hand world full of noisy content?

Most of you have a muddled go to market strategy blending/borrowing from competitors, what your exec staff, BOD, marketing & agency geeks thinks, etc., etc.

OMG Where do we Start? >here

Your not shouting fire in crowded theater? Your trying to make a business stand out from the herd.

I want to talk about your brand strategy.

It’s about the Truth. Ignore the “too much information” syndrome.

Huddle the team and have someone write this stuff down.

How does our product make the customer’s life easier.

What are the key attributes of your products or service List everything.

Stuck? Get a customer in the room or on a conf call and ask them why they bought from you.

Who doesn’t love dogs? (other than cats) Use this as a branding strategy.

Be of service to your customers.


Next: How do you Differentiate Your Business?

You need to think about four key metrics.

  • What’s unique about your products/services?
  • What differentiates you from the herd. (No, no, no, you all have competitors!)
  • What’s common in your marketplace (pricing, feature sets, what’s out there on the radar screen)?
  • Are you relevant and credible in the market you are targeting.

As you work through these elements try to overlay three functional marketing maxims: core value proposition (why should anyone buy from you), competitive strategy and differentiation (see Michael Porter), the profile persona of your customer.

Three brands to think about in terms of how they positioned themselves: Patagonia (they own: ‘bulletproof” products), Nordstroms (single-handedly created unquestioned customer service) and Target (stuff you can wear shopping at Whole Foods or Safeway with abandon).

go west young man

Third: Remember Ideas are Cheap and Tactical Execution is Not

Don’t fall in love with all your ideas. Test them with customers, not the husband, BOD members or your staff.

Get out of your own way: remember, you have to scale the business with iteration and crystal clear marketing. Many execs stumble when they fail to listen to others: see: ego.

It’s all about User Experience today: build it right and they will come. Don’t scrimp on any aspect of design that defines your brand: web, images, pictures, logos, infographics.

Growing the business is going to take time, money or some combination of the two. See: it’s noisy out there.

Tie everything back into conversion metrics that drive revenue. Traffic via social media (or any other source) that does not convert is water in the desert. Change your tactics and marketing platforms accordingly.

Don’t forget about building a persona profile: create and image with key bullet-points and hang them around the office. Make this “person” real in the minds of your staff.

Fourth: How do we market this baby and find customers?

  • Where are your customers congregating: (“connected consumers”): think communities: real world, social, water cooler, wherever you can leverage one to many marketing.
  • The competitiveness of the social platform where you think you need to be? Can you afford to play in this market? Social media marketing is not free.
  • Regional, Local or Global focus?
  • Where and how are your competitors creating and sharing content.? Do some finite analysis and measurement: Buzz Sumo is a great tool.
  • What Digital Metrics are Being Used? You won’t know how you are doing without some formal ROI metrics.

If you read this far then grok this: every brand lives or dies based on the content they create.

Remember, your building a movement not a brand!

Tactical Stuff: Content Pain Points Every Business has to Come to Grips with

What’s the right budget for content development and marketing?

Use 20-30% of your overall marketing budget as a line item for content marketing initiatives and test the back end ROI for all content.

How do you make content that the visitor wants to share? Key attributes: useful, emotion laden, factual, practical, newsjacks (events, moments in time, stuff that relates to your biz).

Is your content distributed and published? A blog is not enough: you gotta do more.

Content created in-house or outsourcing; or some combination of the two. Your probably better off with the latter initially.

What content marketing platforms should you use for syndication?

Where do you find visuals to insert with your content? They are on your web site, embedded in your social channels and/or part of the visual story every employee tells with their profiles across the web.

What’s an SEO strategy and how do we implement one? Start with the basics:. use a keyword in your title and repeat it maybe once or twice on page of 300-700 words. Google understands more than you will ever know BTW.

Don’t bog down in SEO hell – Google is constantly tacking back and forth. Just create stellar content.

starign into smartphones

A Boring Mundane List is At the Heart of Every Great Content Marketing Inititive

  • Your readers have an attention span of a gnat.
  • Lists facilitate content re-purposing via other content forms (email, other blog posts, social content). See: the growth of platforms like Evernote.
  • Every good blog post starts with a list for many content marketers: those scatter-shot ideas can then be fleshed out into topics or on page content elements.
  • Millennials thrive on real time updates and lists are part of the picture and “secret sauce” to reach them according to Twitter and others.
  • Brands can be creative with lists: use them as a shorthand way to poll your staff, customers, partners, BOD members and any other stakeholders for company, product, customer wins and content marketing topics.
  • See texting as a way of life for many today. These people “live” on lists (stretching the metaphor a bit)- so, map your content accordingly.


It’s a “Visual Age” kinda like the Victorian Age but with Selfies

  1. Your building authenticity with your community: visual’s impact drives relevance.
  2. As technology “takes over our lives” visual strikes a chord within others. Sensory currency is “real” to the visitor.
  3. Visuals drive cultural relevancy that engages the visitor in ways that text cannot equate with.
  4. “Archetypes” have been around since the days of ancient cave man paintings and visuals are a powerful storytelling tools that feature “heroines” and “heroes” embedded in brand storytelling.
  5. Visuals cut through the clutter and chatter that’s “smartphone” driven for many consumers and professionals.

Condensed Words

The buzzword du jour back in the .com era was all about “dog years” and how everything was compressed with this 7-1 ratio.

Well, it’s probably a term that’s in vogue more today than then.

Your business is fighting headwinds, competing with frothy markets full of billion dollar babies, marketing to distracted prosumers and technology is taking over our lives.

Find a way to passionately serve your customers, create and syndicate content that garners mindshare, measure what’s happening, build for speed and relevance and look up from your phone once and a while and talk to people.

Reach out if we can help you. #livedigital