Author: Jeff Haines

3 Ways to Create Valuable Product Partnerships

There are many products that sell nicely by themselves. It’s morning as the author writes this, so bacon comes to mind. Home sprinkler systems, chocolate bars and paper calendars are easily marketed as stand-alone products as well. Even if your product or service has the ability to soak up the limelight by itself, think about complementary connections with other products that could boost its brand awareness and increase usage much further. In the world of consumer products marketing, tremendous gains can be achieved through a nicely positioned partnership of complementary products. Many times, marketing success can be found in simplicity, like combining eggs and Nutella® chocolate spread to make a delicious flourless cake. In his New York Times blog, Nick Wingfield recently discussed advances in remote home automation through the partnership of a Wi-Fi applications company with a home sprinkler manufacturer helping to better manage water consumption. Fitness club franchise Snap Fitness has partnered with dozens of health insurance companies to offer membership discounts to policy holders, boosting club membership for the gym and reducing claims for the insurance companies. What partnership could your company create to improve the reach or usefulness of your product? Below are three suggestions for developing effective product partnerships: Keep it simple: your customers are under a daily barrage of marketing messages. Make sure the partnership is so simple that they can easily “get...

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15 Ways To Get Yourself Motivated

Is every morning a like a Monday Morning to you? If it’s hard to get yourself going in the morning, sometimes a stiff cup of coffee isn’t enough to do the job. Solo entrepreneurs complain of the tedious “Bottle Washer” jobs they must complete in their startup.  Salespeople need more “Yes” when their day is filled with “No”. If any of the above describes you, grab your smart phone or MP3 player and make an energizing music playlist with the following Rock Anthems: We Are The Champions – Queen Who Are You? – The Who Born In The U.S.A – Bruce Springsteen Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin Move Along – All American Rejects Raise Your Hands – Bon Jovi Dancing In The Streets – Van Halen American Idiot – Green Day The Anthem – Good Charlotte I Will Follow – U2 Bring Me To Life – Evanescence U.S. Blues – Grateful Dead Young Americans – David Bowie Star Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix Sometimes a playlist of great music can help make you more productive. If a particular song gets you going in the morning or during a late afternoon sinking spell, share it with us. If more than great music recommendations, you need help managing those parts of your business that distract you from your goals of growing it, we might be able to...

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Customers on the Dark Side of the Moon

During the famous 1968 space flight of Apollo 13, Mission Control in Houston was unable to communicate by radio with the crew of the spaceship when it traveled around the dark side of the moon. This is similar to the voluntary approach businesses take with their customers, allowing communication with them to “go dark” between one sale and the next. Before the emergence of the Internet as a means to promote businesses and their products, successful entrepreneurs did a great job of communicating with customers prior to the sale. They provided all the right information and often a compelling sales pitch to gain the customer’s interest and trust. Some went a step further by mailing out a newsletter to customers to keep them abreast of changes in the business and development of any new products and services. But in the weeks or months between one sale to a customer and the next, they often didn’t see the value in communicating with them. In fact, many successful businesses still do that. Many business owners today don’t realize that their customers have changed the way they get their information about suppliers and the products they offer. It now comes less from print media, TV and radio and more often from the internet in the form of web visits, blog posts, e-mail and social media. It’s not enough in today’s economy to...

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On Lawn Paint and Challenging Assumptions

Oh, my lawn. Every summer, as the temperature rises to the triple digits here in the high desert, my wife threatens to pull out the green lawn paint to cover over the yellow, bone dry patches in our front lawn. Not wanting to be exposed to my neighbors as incapable of growing healthy green turf, I protest and double the watering of my pathetic hardpan. Many organizations find themselves doing the same thing. They sell into markets that drain company resources or employ the Peter Principle by promoting employees until they are no longer competent. Or they suffer, year after year, waiting for that in-house packaging project that can’t deliver a splatter-free yogurt lid as promised. Is the problem currently plaguing your organization the parched lawn that could use less lawn paint and more xeriscaping? Think about your approach to the challenge at every possible perspective to determine all potential remedies. Instead of promoting the brilliant but narcissistic marketing specialist into management where she’ll crush department morale, try adding more lateral responsibilities with an expanded title to keep her happy and her colleagues from chasing career opportunities elsewhere. If your inbound marketing project can’t get its feet off the ground, don’t be afraid to consider outsourcing that service to a group of experts who think about social media for a living. Taking that different approach could save you time,...

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Entrepreneurs Play Midfield

Last Saturday as I watched my son’s lacrosse game, I empathized with the players in one particular position. While the defense and goalie were required to stay on the half of the field where their goal was located and the attack positions play near the opponent’s goal, the midfielders were allowed (and expected) to roam the entire length of the field. Their job, as in soccer and hockey, is to catch a pass from the defenseman or goalie with their stick, run down to their opponent’s side of the field and then pass the ball off to an attackman, who will in turn, shoot the ball into the goal and score. Wow, I thought, the midfielder’s exhausting job is similar in many ways to that of an entrepreneur. Just as a midfield player must be able to play both defense and offense with great stamina, small business owners have to be skilled in all aspects of their business: sales, marketing, production, shipping, bookkeeping, HR, often touching on each of those aspects of the business in a single, often very long day. In addition to stamina, the midfielder needs to be a master communicator and to understand intuitively where he needs to stand in relation to his teammates to be most effective. Successful entrepreneurs must also be able to clearly express their needs to employees and vendors and to articulate...

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