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The Competitive Advantage

tag: strategy

July 17, 2018

5 Times When You Should Turn Down a Project.

While we all have some level of responsibility to help grow our businesses – and for business leaders, there’s the added responsibility of keeping our employees employed – sometimes, as painful as it might be, there are projects that you just need to walk away from. Why? Because taking on those projects can do more harm than good.

Based on conversations with clients and my own experience, there are 5 times when you should turn down a project:

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May 27, 2018

Think. Plan. Do. A Smarter Way to Grow Your Firm

Those who are regular readers of my content have heard me say (on more than one occasion), that “Market Research is an industry that does not embrace marketing and sales”… particularly among agencies and consultants. And when these firms do decide to execute some business development efforts, they often just execute. There isn’t a lot of thinking or planning that goes into it… in reality, they’re just “winging it.”

Why does this happen? Why do the smart people at these firms not invest the time upfront to help ensure better results on the back end?

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May 7, 2018

Has marketing changed over the years? ‘Yes’… and an even bigger ‘No!’

We hear it all the time… “Marketing is so different compared to the way it used to be.” Or, “Marketing is changing so fast that I can’t keep up.” And you know what? Both statements are true.

Think of all the technology-driven tools, developed in just the past few years, that have impacted the way we work: marketing & email automation, social media, CRM and SFA, data & analytics, SEO and – more recently – chatbots, AI and blockchain. In fact, there are more than 5,000 (!) software platforms and apps purpose-built to support marketing and sales. (Want to see them? Click here: https://cdn.chiefmartec.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/marketing_technology_landscape_2018_slide.jpg)

It’s mind-numbing!

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April 10, 2018

8 ‘Excuses’ for Not Embracing Sales and Marketing… and What to Do About It

During the time I’ve been in this industry, I have often said that, “Market Research is an industry that does not embrace sales and marketing.” And in 12+ years, no one has ever disagreed with me about that.

To be fair, certain segments – tech providers and panel companies, for example – have done a better job of making sales and marketing an integral part of their organizations. But one of the core segments of the industry – market research agencies and consultants – uhhh… not so much!

And when I chat with the leaders of these agencies about their lack of sales and marketing activity, they always respond with some sort of reason. Make that, some sort of “excuse.” So, for each of these excuses, I want share a new way to think about it.

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March 20, 2018

Stop Using Content Marketing to Sell

I’ve been a subscriber to INC. magazine for years. I take away a nugget or two from every issue. In this most recent March/April issue, I started to read an article about a concept called the “active office.” It looked interesting.

The article began with what appeared to be an interview with the CEO of VariDesk, a manufacturer of sit/stand workstations. As I read further, I realized it wasn’t an article, but a well-written sales pitch and ‘advertorial.’ At the top of the page was the tiny header, “Branded Content.” And right next to the article was a full-page VariDesk ad.

It really angered me (both VariDesk and INC.)… trying to hide their advertising under the guise of editorial content, even designing the page so that it looked like a standard article. Now, whenever I read any article in any magazine, I look for the “Branded Content” header at the top of the page. Kind of sad, huh?

It was the perfect example of a lesson we share with all of our clients and emphasize during conference presentations…  Stop using content marketing to sell!

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February 20, 2018

It’s Time for Revised Thinking: The New Marketing Funnel

Guest post by: Whitney Duprey, Marketing Account Manager, Harpeth Marketing

I’ve never really liked the “Marketing Funnel”. There, I said it. My name is Whitney, I’m a marketer, and I don’t like the marketing funnel.

Wow, it feels good to get that off my chest!

Now, let me clarify. I think that the marketing funnel, in its current iteration, does a good job of depicting and helping marketers visualize the sales process and how a lead becomes a customer. You have leads coming in at the top of the funnel, and as they progress through the buyer’s journey, some “fall out” and decide not to purchase with you, while others make it to the end of the funnel and then become customers (yay!).

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December 12, 2017

Corporate retreat coming up? Here are 3 key questions to answer there.

It’s that time of year when a business will gather its management team together and head to a secluded location somewhere in the woods or at the beach for their annual corporate retreat – to talk about and make plans for the future of their firm.

I am a HUGE fan of the idea (even doing it when I was a solopreneur: http://www.harpethmarketing.com/competitive-advantage/corporate-retreat-part-1/). In fact, we had this year’s corporate retreat just last week… and I have the pages and pages of flip chart notes to prove it!

As you prepare for your retreat, I believe there are three key questions that must be asked, discussed and collectively answered by the group. They are:

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October 17, 2017

Better, Faster, Cheaper? Which do your clients really want?

better faster cheaper“Which do you prefer – better, faster or cheaper?” I’m sure if you asked your clients directly which they would choose, their immediate response would, of course, be “All three!”

But if they had to pick one, which one do you think it would be?  It’s a topic I discuss frequently with firms across the MR industry.

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