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Engaging Marketing Minds

January-February 2013

Brains vs. Brawn How thought leadership can build market share INSIDE New Day Sell Benefits, Not Features How to stay relevant in a changing world

quite simply... We wanted a group in Central Indiana that: 1. Specializes in B2B marketing. Because B2B is different than B2C. 2. Provides a fraternal network for sharing of information. Let’s face it, it’s good to know a lot of people who know you and can help you— whether it’s finding the right vendor or the right new job.

3. Helps us get better at our jobs with _________ discussions and presentations by experts who’ve “been there and done that.” a. Informative b. Practical c. Insightful d. All of the Above

B2B Marketers of Indiana is that group. Go to to receive details and sign up for emails on our upcoming meetings:

January – Google Analytics: Understand the basics and get a certification in this workshop February – Media Panel: The role of TV, radio, and print

Get a Head Start on the New Year! Get a full perspective of 2013 by ordering your FREE 2013 calendar, featuring all 12 months on one page. Order the desk-sized version and the wall posters by going to

Richard’s Letter


Seeking the Highest Return


he rich get richer. Consider the idea that money always finds the highest return. For example, investors always decide to put their money where it will generate the most cash. The wealthiest people in the world typically end up with more money. And companies usually keep the employees who provide the most return on effort. In other words, a dollar that finds itself in an unprofitable business eventually will find a home where profit exists. Subsequently, profitable brands are popular brands. Brands that are not popular have lost chemistry with the marketplace. Complacency, a lack of intimacy and innovation all lead to the dilution of brands. In turn, great brands stand the test of time by engaging their right brains and working tirelessly to deliver value to the world. Great employees do the same. They realize that wealth and security come from productivity and ingenuity. Great marketers understand you cannot rest on your laurels. They realize that market share is no longer a sustainable strategy by itself. There is no such thing as “too big to fail” anymore. Healthy companies derive their profit from being attuned to their client bases. They are part of their communities and, in some small part, define their communities. It is not enough to be known by name alone. Consumers want to get a feel for whom the brand represents and the values the brand carries. Making people feel differently and think differently is at the core of great brands. Marrying market leadership with thought leadership is a powerful plan. More important, it is a profitable plan.

Publisher Fineline Printing Group

Managing Editor Jill Wangler

Art Direction Sandy Kessel connect is published bimonthly copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

Great marketers understand you cannot rest on your laurels. They realize that market share is no longer a sustainable strategy by itself.

We believe that thought leadership is a powerful tool in the new landscape. In our cover article, “Brains vs. Brawn,” we detail the differences and synergies between market share and thought leadership. You can draw your own conclusions. Our second feature, “The New Day,” attempts to define the new landscape within which marketers are operating. All great marketers want to get a feel for the multiple generations that are playing a role in our economy and how they may buy, view work or spend their time. Marketing is at the core of your relationship with your clients. That’s why developing a meaningful brand depends on understanding the changing needs of those clients. Profitable companies are a derivative of powerful brands. Powerful brands are a derivative of passionate and disciplined people. Don’t believe us? Just follow the money. Warmest regards,

Richard Miller President & Owner

Richard Miller

Contents 03 Richard’s Letter

10 New Day

Seeking the highest return

How companies and organizations can adjust to the new realities of marketing, branding and their own workforces

04 Marketing Insights 06 Brains vs. Brawn

14 Sell Benefits, Not Features

How thought leadership can build market share

15 Book Recommendation

The Business Model Innovation Factory: How to Stay Relevant When the World is Changing

877.334.7687 Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013


marketing insights

Communicating with the new generation As marketers continue to evaluate email clickthrough rates (CTR), direct digital marketing solutions provider Knotice offers these insights. According to a recent study, from the second half of 2011 to the first half of 2012, U.S. mobilebased email opens on smartphones and tablets jumped from 27.4 percent of total opens to 36 percent. Reports like these will continue to spur marketers to consider the growing influence of smartphones and tablets.

That’s what he said …

“Hiring a separate agency or person to do social [media] is probably anathema to achieving that objective. When brands lean on social media experts to find marketing solutions, they are generally barking up the wrong tree.” –– Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer on how agencies should shy away from the social media pigeonhole

All about lead generation Today’s marketers plan to focus their lead-generation efforts on optimizing their websites, social media and search engine presences. According to the MarketingSherpa survey, “2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report,” 52 percent of marketers said their top lead-generation strategy for the next year was to meet or exceed quantifiable return on investment goals. Next was optimizing the marketing/sales funnel (51 percent), gleaning more audience insight (51 percent) and maximizing the lifetime value of customers (47 percent). To reinforce just how important online tactics have become, the survey showed that marketers expect to increase their budgets in these areas. In fact, the three lead-generation techniques listed for the smallest budgetary bumps were all offline: direct mail, tradeshows and print ads. In addition, two-thirds of marketers didn’t make a huge distinction between business-to-business and business-to-consumer lead-generation efforts, concluding that the techniques in both spaces were more similar than different, the survey said.

What’s in a QR Code? Funny you should ask… If QR Codes are considered the most common of mobile barcode formats, you wouldn’t necessarily know it by how many times users scan them. Truth is, the mobile technology has not fulfilled its promise to connect with large audiences, according to eMarketer’s “QR Codes: Marketers Keep Hitting Go, but Consumer Adoption Still Slow” report. As it turns out, consumers and marketers are on a different page altogether. Consumers want deals and discounts, while marketers want to provide information. In fact, a September survey by the Association of Strategic Marketing of U.S. marketers who used QR Codes found that twothirds of the codes delivered product information, while less than one-quarter offered discounts. The theory supports a recent study by international mobile payments and marketing company Mobio that showed 60 percent of North American consumers only scanned QR codes once. But some good news is out there. eMarketer forecasts that U.S. adult smartphone penetration will grow from 43.9 percent in 2011 to 58.3 percent by 2014. It also projects that the percentage of smartphone users who will have scanned a mobile barcode will go from 25 percent to 27 percent during that timeframe. The amount, in billions, that retailers will spend on local digital advertising in 2013, according to a BIA/Kelsey report. The amount will account for 11.2 percent of total local ad spending. The report found that the automotive, general services, restaurant and financial sectors will each account for more than $2 billion in local online campaigns.

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013

marketing insights


ways to measure your Did you know? content marketing success So your website has all this great content. But do you know if it is reaching anyone? The best way to approach any creative, analytical or research task is to ask a series of questions that are organized into key categories. The process will help you pinpoint the areas of your content strategy that are working well, and those that are not. To help out, author and marketing coach Roger C. Parker offers seven ways to measure your content marketing success. For more on this topic, visit the Content Marketing Institute at 1. Consistency – Because your content marketing projects a professional image, and builds comfort, familiarity and trust, it requires consistency and predictability. Rate how consistently you share your content to attract new prospects, and retain existing clients and customers. Remember: Consistency boils down to the existence of a detailed schedule (think editorial calendar) and your ability to keep it current. 2. Relevance – Rate your content’s ability to help your market solve its most pressing problems and achieve its most important goals. To answer this question, review your reader website visitors’ personas and compare them to benchmark metrics like comments, re-tweets, “likes,” referrals, landing page visits and conversions. 3. Style – This is a measure of your tone or ability to provide helpful, relevant information in an authoritative, yet conversational way. One of the best ways to engage your markets’ interest is to use stories to which your audience can relate to. This provides a context for the information you’re sharing.

4. Efficiency – Being efficient eliminates the needless frustration, stress and burnout caused by constantly struggling to meet deadlines. Efficiency measures your organization’s ability to choose topics, delegate responsibilities, produce and edit/obtain approval for each topic in a timely manner. Signs of trouble include an undue emphasis on meeting deadlines, frequent last-minute meetings, multiple phases of rewriting and ruffled feathers all around. The goal is to create a process that resembles a well-oiled machine.

6. Goals – Your content marketing should support both short-term and longterm goals. An overemphasis on deadlines and specific projects can get in the way of completing major projects, such as premium books, major reports, research projects or white papers. Ideally, individual content marketing projects should be viewed as building blocks that can be repackaged and used as elements in future major projects or new business initiatives.

5. Influence – This is a measure of the cumulative impact of your individual content marketing projects. Although the metrics associated with individual projects (articles, blog posts, events, etc.) may change, influence refers to the longrange view of your firm, relative to its competitors. As with efficiency, your firm’s influence should reflect continuing improvement each month.

7. Challenge – Avoid complacency. Content marketing never should become so routined that your staff fails to challenge themselves by addressing new topics and ideas. Predictability can be deadening. If your staff is bored because your content constantly readdresses the same topics, just think how your audience feels.

According to BIA/ Kelsey’s Media Ad View reports, local advertising spending will experience a compound annual growth rate of 2.6 percent between 2011 and 2016, with revenues climbing from around $132 billion to more than $150 billion. BIA/Kelsey expects spending to shift more from traditional media and direct advertising to digital alternatives. Mobile and online will account for the largest increase in local ad spending, nearly doubling from $11.1 billion in 2011 to $21.8 billion in five years.

That’s what he said … “Social media is just one traffic source. It can be very targeted, but it is also usually something that works better at the top of the funnel to solidify your reputation, and help in the productresearch stage. Social media is the hot new thing right now, but conversion rate optimization is the gift that keeps on giving.” – Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners, on understanding the power and promise of social media

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013


By Michael J. Pallerino

Brains vs. Brawn H

e called it the “X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System.” And during the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, Douglas Engelbart introduced his prototype to the world. Using a totally primitive 192 kilobyte mainframe computer located 25 miles away, Engelbart astounded attendees with how he was able to control everything on the screen with the touch of, well, a mouse – the name the device eventually would embrace.

How thought leadership can build market share

The interactive, userfriendly information access systems that Engelbart unveiled during the conference would forever change the computing world. The mouse. Windows. Sharedscreen teleconferencing. Hypermedia. GroupWare. While seemingly light years ahead of his time, Engelbart was a thought leader before thought leader was the term we affixed to people who incite change. Joel Kurtzman, now with the Milken Institute, coined that term and the definition for a thought leader in 1994 as a theme for a series of interviews he conducted as editor-in-chief of Strategy + Business magazine. Kurtzman Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013

defined this person as someone who had ideas “that merited attention.” “Thought leaders have a critical advantage, because if they’re guiding the discussion in their industry, people are obviously drawn to them,” says strategy consultant and author Dorie Clark. “But you also have to have a solid strategy to monetize and harness the potential for growth. To bring it to the level of an individual, you can be the smartest tech blogger in the world, with a huge readership, but unless you can figure out how to translate that into income (advertising on your site, speeches at conferences, a book deal, etc.), you’ll stay

7 Content is a game changer for thought leadership positioning of a company or organization. Brands now are able to communicate directly to their customers. – Lori Rosen, Executive Director, Custom Content Council

steps to owning thought leadership Former presidential campaign spokesperson and branding expert Dorie Clark knows a thing or two about how thought leadership is created through exciting and relevant content. Here are her five tips for branding yourself as a leader.

Start a blog It’s the easiest way to demonstrate clear expertise.

Create a schedule Content creation often slips, as more urgent business needs take over your day. Build a schedule to make it happen.

Leverage Twitter It’s a great way to publicly acknowledge your customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders by sharing their content or giving shout-outs.

Start a video blog Video is prioritized by search engines (and as broadband has become ubiquitous, customers often prefer it).

Make it the responsibility of everyone in your company Sure, it’s great to have a “voice” for your Twitter account. But you should get everyone involved in one way or another. For example, film a fun video about what it’s like to work in your warehouse, showing off exactly how efficient the company is and how customers can expect overnight delivery.

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013


Brains vs. Brawn

poor. The same goes for companies that are thought leaders in their industries. Apple is the extremely obvious one, for elevating their ethos of design excellence.” Perhaps few individuals lived this out more than Steve Jobs, who became a living, breathing example of what is was like to be a thought leader in everything he did. It was no secret: Steve Jobs wanted to change the world. That he did it on such a grand scale is what history will continue to record. Channeling the words of Wayne Gretsky, Jobs once likened his vision for Apple to the hockey legend’s vision on the ice: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Evidence of Jobs’ thought leadership is apparent in the many products he helped pioneer, from the Mac, to the iPod and iTunes. Revolutionary and standard setting – that is where his thought leadership mojo pushed him to be. Jobs understood long before we did how important “devices” would be to our future. Staying two steps ahead of the curve transformed Apple into a market leader, eventually setting the foundation for brands such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the list goes on. As the CEO of Clark Strategic Communications, Dorie Clark has helped companies such as Google, the Ford Foundation, Yale University and the National Park Services enhance their reputations as

The J bs’ Way

How to become a market leader

The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, holds that rare air of being both a thought leader and market leader. The secret to his success is no secret at all. When asked how a brand can own its market, he offered three simple steps.

Step No. 1:

Own and control the relevant technology in whatever market you serve, either patents or other proprietary protections

Step No. 2:

Immediately adopt and implement better technologies whenever they become available, regardless of whether another organization currently is using them

Step No. 3:

Be the first to use a technology or create a category for a product; then, make it an industry standard

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013

industry leaders. The former presidential campaign spokesperson understands the lines between what makes a market leader and thought leader. “A market leader is the ‘big fish’ in an industry, leading in sales or overall size. I’d define a thought leader as a person or company that is setting the tenor of debate: What’s important? What’s innovative? Where’s the edge? That’s what the thought leader contributes.” Clark says that, while market leaders may also be thought leaders, it is not always the case. “As the theory of disruptive innovation suggests, it’s easy for big, established companies to get languid and complacent, and that gets them supplanted. Real thought leaders create high-quality, useful content on a regular basis. Whether it’s blogs, podcasts or a great, curated Twitter feed, they pinpoint key issues and developments in their field and help others see the future.”

Taking the bulls by the horns

Branded as a thought leader in your industry is a major step toward increased credibility for your business and its products/services. It also can help you stand out from your competitors. Are you more likely to trust and purchase from a company whose leaders are recognized as industry experts or from one whose leaders you know nothing about? Lori Rosen believes the strongest attribute your company or brand can have is being considered a market leader or thought leader, preferably both. Rosen, founder and president of The Rosen Group, a Manhattan-based public relations firm, also is the managing partner of Swiss eTailer Blacksocks U.S., and executive director of the Custom Content Council. “In today’s competitive landscape, you need to be a market leader and a thought leader,” Rosen says. “Some of the most successful brands today – Google, Apple, Nike, Wal-mart, Microsoft, Facebook, Coca Cola, McDonald’s – are all market leaders, and in varying degrees, and for better or worse, thought leaders. I believe that thought leaders and market leaders are becoming more and more one in the same.” Rosen believes that, to be successful and to create long-term capital and value for your company, you must be both. “Thought leader companies have gravitas; they are viewed as more substantial; they are perceived as bringing more than just a product; but ideas, substance and several layers. They are more human and, as a result, they are able to bring an emotional element to the company, which has intangible benefits.”

9 Thought leaders have a critical advantage, because if they’re guiding the discussion in their industry, people are obviously drawn to them. – Dorie Clark, CEO, Clark Strategic Communications

All about the content…

In an ever-revolving marketing landscape, ideas of substance are built on the information a company and/or brand provides – and how often. “Content is a game changer for thought leadership positioning of a company or organization,” Rosen says. “Brands now are able to communicate directly to their customers through magazines mailed to their homes, online content delivered through email, blogs, video, and of course, social media, which provides additional and varied distribution channels.” Take BMW, whose eight-part, 10-minute BMW Film series featured actors such as Clive Owen as the “Driver.” The breakthrough series, started in 2001, generated headlines around the world for its innovation in branded content. More recently, the Clean Break web series, sponsored by Schick Hydro, gave three men who wanted a break from their routines the chance to get away, reevaluate and recharge their lives on a branded entertainment journey, which featured a trip to Hawaii, where they surfed, dove with the sharks and skydived. The new reality series, which aired on Fuel TV and online, never mentioned or showed a razor, just the branded message: “Presented by Schick Hydro.” “Today content is pervasive in all forms and the success lies in presenting it in smart, thoughtful and often breakthrough ways that provide engagement with your audience,” Rosen says. “An ideal thought leader is someone who takes the word ‘thought’ seriously. For example, organic food market leader Whole Foods and its CEO John Mackey, which extend its brand beyond stores and into being an advocate of healthy living. Founder and CEO of Zappos Tony Hsieh was an early adopter of Twitter

and a market leader in the ecommerce world. He was able to communicate the company’s positioning, underscoring its generous return policy, through lots of tweets and subsequent speeches and interviews.” Clark says the strategy to extend your brand into a market leader and thought leader is critical in today’s evolving marketing landscape. “As mainstream media has fragmented and declined (you can’t count on everyone at work having watched the same sitcom and seen the same TV ads the night before), you have to attract attention based on providing truly interesting, valuable information. People are no longer willing to be bombarded with ads – they choose what they seek out. And as a company or an individual, your success is predicated on becoming the source they choose.” Joe Pulizzi is a leading author, speaker and strategist for content marketing. As founder of the Content Marketing Institute, he has become an evangelist for doing content marketing the right way. From where he sits, being a market leader refers to a company being the leader in overall sales/revenue for its particular market. A thought leader is a firm or individual who is moving the market in certain directions from an attention standpoint, not necessarily revenue. Who will be the winners on the new landscape? “I believe that those companies who best capture the attention of the market from the information they develop and distribute position themselves for the best chance to capture revenue,” Pulizzi says. “Still, even though thought leaders have a better opportunity at market leadership, it all comes down to product selection and execution. The market leaders who don’t put the processes in place to become thought leaders may lose their leadership position.”

Your five-step plan to great content Joe Pulizzi, author, speaker and founder of the Content Marketing Institute, believes that great, consistent content is the key to branding yourself as a thought leader in your marketplace. Here is his fivestep plan to great content.

Clearly define your target audience Define what their pain points are as they relate to the products or services you offer Create your content strategy by sharing with your customers information that’s not about your products and services and will solve their pain points Develop relationships with key influencers in your industry to help distribute your content Integrate your content into all of your marketing and continually listen to customer feedback; then repeat

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013


How companies and organizations can adjust to the new realities of marketing, branding and their own workforces By Graham Garrison

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013



he pie is the same, but the slices are different. “As a marketer, you used to have your pie list – PR, advertising and maybe digital marketing, events or direct mail,” says Drew Davis, author of the book “Brandscaping.” “You had five or six big slices that you focused your energy and effort on. What’s happened today is that pie is ever-more sliced. Now you’re focusing on social media and video strategies, LinkedIn strategies. On top of that, you’re trying to master SEO and SEM, update your website, etc. You’re essentially overwhelmed. Vendors and service providers are offering you services you think you might need toward the activity of the day. You feel like you should be doing that you think you’re missing out on.”

In the new marketing landscape, marketers are creating content that potential customers want to read or watch in and of itself. – Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS

Davis says there is a deep desire to simplify, and that’s what people have to look toward in the future: “Build a better framework of understanding of what our marketing efforts are and then what tactics might flow out of those.” In short, take a deep breath and evaluate. What are the new realities for marketers, branding and the people who put the initiatives in place? We spoke to several experts to get a handle on the new landscape and how companies and individuals can adapt successfully.

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013


New Day


brand. “If you’re the CMO of GE, and you’re on Twitter, you can build a huge audience of people who respect what you’re doing. It’s hard to get a relationship with a logo-type GE on Twitter or Facebook. I think there is a real conflict there that people are struggling with. It’s one of the biggest untapped opportunities in the digital space. Everyone today has an audience – that’s your employees, partners, vendors. All the people who work at those institutions have audiences of their own on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. The more you can message those personal brands to build real relationships, the more successful your business will be.”

With the explosion of social media platforms, customers recognize and engage with a company’s brand like never before. But how should companies position themselves, and communicate, with their brands? Davis says the confusion over branding involves the mix of corporate brands with the brands of employees/personnel who may have their own audiences. “How do I leverage both to the greatest efficiency?” Davis asks. “It’s one thing to have a digital strategy that’s based around your corporate brand, but it’s hard to have a social interaction around your corporate brand.” Davis says what ends up being successful are social interactions within the

Relying on the ‘old’ way of interacting with customers because ‘that’s what’s made me successful’ will likely drive many Millennials away. – Thomas DeCarlo, Ph.D., Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business


The old marketing strategy was almost apologetic in its attempt to gain attention. That’s changing, says Daniel Burstein, director of editorial content, MECLABS, an independent research lab focused exclusively on marketing and sales. “The biggest shift I’ve seen in the marketing landscape is from interruption-based marketing to inbound marketing built around quality content.” Interruption-based marketing involved the traditional practice of latching onto someone else’s quality content, he says. “So, for example, I read The Wall Street Journal every

morning, and on page 3 of the newspaper every day there is an ad for Tiffany & Co. Now, I’m not reading the WSJ to learn about a really nice pair of diamond earrings, but Tiffany hopes they can interrupt my interaction with the newspaper long enough to get my business. “In the new marketing landscape, marketers are creating content that potential customers want to read or watch in and of itself,” he continues. “You see this on blogs, videos, social media, etc. Customers are coming to you, hence the term inbound, because they want to hear what you have to say.”

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013

Burstein says a need for that interruptionbased marketing will always exist, because it is hard to get customers to come to your content. But that interruption-based marketing might be better used to promote something of value to potential customers that invites customers into your content, he says. “For example, instead of showing an ad with diamond earrings and a price, what if Tiffany was promoting a diamond-earring buying guide on their website to me? ‘Learn from our 175 years of experience crafting legendary diamonds.’ I might be much more likely to engage with them.”


Solutions People

A shifting landscape doesn’t mean a company should abandon its foundation. Davis actually recommends companies focus on the assets they own, rather than the time, space or relationships they rent when developing marketing and branding strategies. “By that I mean, if you’re creating white papers or video content or podcasts or e-mail newsletters – those are assets that you can own, and then you can use those as leverage to figure out what distribution channels you might use to increase the consumption of those assets,” he says. “I challenge people to look at their marketing assets, rather than their marketing tactics, and spend more time understanding what they’ve probably got and leverage it to their fullest extent. [I challenge them to find] what they need and where they should fill in some gaps. That seems to be an effective way of getting out of the ‘slice of the pie’ game and focus on the assets you have to be more successful.”

Success also lies in how companies communicate with their own personnel – usually a mix of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and increasingly more Millennials (also known as Gen-Y). The younger workers deploying these new strategies will require different motivations, says Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding, and author of the best selling book, “Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.” Millennials aren’t driven as much by money like older generations, Schawbel says. They want to make an impact on society and feel like they are making a difference. Research shows that they would choose that over a higher salary. “Managers who want to motivate Millennials will have to become their career counselors, offering them constant feedback and advice for getting ahead,” Schawbel says. “They will have to trust them with bigger and bigger projects and allow them to become more ‘intrapreneurial.’ They need to show Millennials a clear path forward, or they will leave to work somewhere else or start a company. Managers should also ensure that Millennials are paired together to collaborate on projects, and they are given the ability to pitch new ideas freely without consequences.” In order to attract the new workforce, companies will have to start acting more like startups if they want to compete against startups for talent, Schawbel says. “I wouldn’t say that 10 years ago, but now it’s true. A million more Millennials enter the workforce each year, and by 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will be Millennials, so it’s imperative they switch their culture now, before it’s too late. They should allow for more casual work attire, telecommuting, etc.” Thomas DeCarlo, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business, and Ben S. Weil Endowed Chair of Industrial Distribution, says companies that embrace technology will be more attractive to the new workforce, and the shift also will have a positive influence on customer communication. “Because Millennials have grown up using technology and think of it as an extension of how they communicate and how they brand themselves, companies should attempt to immerse new hires into not only using technology in their training programs, but also foster a culture of advancing opportunities for use of technology in new and different ways to grow the business,” DeCarlo says. “Relying on the ‘old’ way of interacting with customers because ‘that’s what’s made me successful’ will likely drive many Millennials away.”

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Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013



Sell Benefits, Not Features By Martha Guidry


hy is developing and launching a new product or service so hard? It takes time and resources ­– both human and financial – to make it happen. According to various research studies, between 50 percent and 80 percent of new products launched each year fail, costing companies and shareholders billions of dollars. While the concept is not always the only reason a product or service fails, a winning concept is an essential cornerstone for all successful marketing communications.

Benefits come in several shapes and sizes. It’s important to find a specific type that best leverages customer needs and perceptions of your brand or company, while still being unique and ownable among your competitors. It generally is easiest to divide your potential benefits into four categories as follows:

• Equity

Without it, you’re simply using resources with little to no productive results in the market. A concept fundamentally is a representation of an idea for a product or service. With a definition that simple, it might seem surprising that so few professionals can craft a great concept. One of the biggest challenges in creating concepts is making sure the customer is the focus and that it offers a meaningful and relevant benefit. All too often, those developing new ideas sell product features rather than true customer benefits. Customers buy benefits, not features – so find a benefit with a strong hook. Two fundamental types of concepts exist: core idea concepts and positioning concepts. Most concepts comprise some elements of each. A core idea concept simply describes the product or service. For the most part, it’s

a relatively concise description of what’s being offered to the end buyer. The purpose of a core idea concept is to determine whether the idea is of interest. Typically, a core idea concept doesn’t attempt to sell any benefits to the potential buyer; it simply elaborates on all the key features the product or service offers. In contrast, a positioning concept attempts to sell the benefits of the product or service to a potential buyer. The positioning concept must tap into real consumer beliefs that provide a relevant context for the product idea. A positioning concept focuses on the rational or emotional benefits a buyer will receive or feel by using the product. Your positioning concept identifies the winning customer approach – the foundation for a communications strategy used to execute your advertising, PR, sales materials, website, Facebook page, etc.

Known as the Concept Queen, Martha Guidry is the principal at The Rite Concept, which helps marketers, product developers and market researchers win in the marketplace. To understand more about positioning your products and services within your target market, check out her book, “Marketing Concepts that Win! Save Time, Money and Work Crafting Concepts Right the First Time.” For more information, please visit or

Now that you understand the benefit, the next question generally is, “What do I do with all my features?” The features of your products and services are used to convince your target customer that your benefit is true and believable. For example, Dial has a line of hand soap called “Dial Complete.” The product promise (or benefit) is that you can protect yourself and your family from germs by washing with Dial Complete. Supporting these claims are that Dial Complete kills 99.9 percent of germs and is the No. 1 doctor recommended antibacterial soap. The idea of protecting your family is a bigger, more important claim for the target audience: moms. This is manifested with the selling line of “protect yourself.” Even though the manufacturer likely loves and is proud of the bold support claims, that’s all they are – support for the benefit. The active ingredients probably can be put in another competitor’s products. They could make the same statement on 99.9 percent germ kill, but Dial already owns this greater piece of consumer real estate. The same is true for you, your business, your brand, your product or your service. Sell a meaningful customer benefit, and you’ll have a lot more marketplace traction. You’ll better own a position in the marketplace that can be leveraged through all your communication touch points.

Customers buy benefits, not features – so find a benefit with a strong hook.

Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013

Derived from the heritage benefit of the brand (i.e., Robitussin® tablets for the same relief you trust in a new form)

• Efficacy

Grounded in formula – or service-based claims (Tylenol® gives you effective pain relief that won’t irritate your stomach)

• Experience

Based on appealing to the senses of sight, smell and touch (i.e., Use Downy® to get softness and a freshness in your washables)

• Emotion

Based on personal feelings about the process or final outcome (i.e., Send Hallmark® cards when you care enough to send the very best)

book recommendation


The Business Model Innovation Factory:

How to Stay Relevant When the World is Changing Authored by Saul Kaplan


s the founder and chief catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory (BIF), a real world laboratory for exploring and testing new business models and social systems, Saul Kaplan has become a well-known thought leader. He also is the architect of the highly acclaimed BIF conference – a who’s who of storytelling.

Saul Kaplan believes you must create a new vision and experiment your way to its prosperity. Minor changes and cuts won’t get it done.

Kaplan understands the power of content and community – ideas he put forth in his latest book, “The Business Model Innovation Factory – How to Stay Relevant When the World is Changing.” The book explores how companies and individuals create, deliver and capture value. High-level marketers and entrepreneurs will enjoy “The Business Model Innovation Factory,” because many of Kaplan’s points are about how to create value with passion, how to connect to unusual suspects outside of your industry, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to take an honest look at yourself. These are the kind of ideas that will drive success and transform the way you operate. Kaplan believes you must create a new vision and experiment your way to its prosperity. Minor changes and cuts won’t get it done. The changes you demand must be important to people in the real world. He motivates you to operate in grey areas, to hook up with people outside your “comfortable little worlds,” and to eliminate the constraints that limit creativity. Business innovation is not a concept. It truly is the model for success going forward. This is a relevant book for any marketer, agency or entrepreneur who wants to inspire, act and have fun. “The Business Model Innovation Factory” will make you think. That’s why we recommend you give it a read. Fineline Printing Group – connect • January-February 2013

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connect: January/February 2013  

Our beautiful bimonthly publication was launched in June 2011. It is packed with articles devoted to marketing, marketing services, and stra...

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