The Competitive Advantage

tag: strategy

October 16, 2012

Go team go! Integrate your marketing & sales for maximum impact.

Two heads are better than one.  And three or four are even better than that.  The fact is, putting together teams to tackle your big issues or your big projects is simply smart business.  The team gets together, discusses options and tackles the assignments as a single unit.  Good stuff.

The same concept applies to your marketing & sales… and not just having your people working as a team, but to have elements of your marketing & sales initiative also working together as a unified group.  When you do this, the effects are additive, each one building on the other in the minds of your clients and prospects.  It’s called “integrated marketing.”

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October 2, 2012

Content Marketing Execution and Promotion

(Part 2 of a 2-part series)

In last week’s post, I defined ‘content marketing’ and wrote about the many benefits of including it in your marketing strategy.

This week, I want to get into the nitty-gritty, starting with a review of 10 different ways to provide quality content to your target audience.

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September 26, 2012

If Content Marketing is not part of your Marketing Strategy… it should be!

(Part 1 of a 2-part series.)

Read through any marketing resource, website or blog post these days and you’ll see that ‘content marketing’ is THE hot marketing topic… and with good reason (we’ll get to that in a minute).

First, what is ‘content marketing?’

As simply as I can state it, content marketing is the development and sharing (a.k.a. giving away) of useful information that will help the reader to better understand a particular subject and/or help them to do his or her job better.  As an example, for a research firm, that could include providing content with titles like:

  • 10 things to look for when sitting “behind the glass”
  • Conducting ethnographic research in the digital age
  • How to save time and money with online bulletin boards
  • The top 5 coming trends in CPG research

Notice anything unusual?  None of the topics are salesy.  None of them are internally focused.  Content marketing is about providing genuinely helpful information.

Are you giving away some of your ‘secret sauce’ when you do this?  Maybe.  But, it’s the price of admission.  If you don’t – your competitors will.  And those that provide the best content often win.

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September 12, 2012

15 Ways to Focus on the Client Experience

I had coffee the other day with an old friend, Clint Smith, Founder of EMMA (, one of the Southeast’s fastest-growing technology firms and provider of one of the top email marketing platforms on the planet.  I’ve been a client of theirs for almost 10 years.

After catching up on our families and life in general, we started talking about what specific things were happening at our respective firms.  Clint’s comments were all around one topic – the customer experience.

The on-going focus for he and his team is all about adding to and tweaking little things on his email platform with the goal of making his software easier to understand and easier to use – thus providing a better overall use experience.  And superior performance keeps clients coming back.

Do you think about your firm and the services you provide in terms of your client’s experience?

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June 27, 2012

Dramatically Improve your Marketing with A-B Testing… it’s Easy and Free!

There’s an old saying that I really like… “That which is easy to do is also easy not to do!”  Evidently, that sentiment applies to A-B testing in marketing, because almost no one does it.

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June 21, 2012

If You’ve Got it, Flaunt it… using Case Studies

Do you do good work?  Have some completed successful projects?  Have you helped your clients find insights in new and unique ways?

No doubt, you have.  But are you using those success stories to help build your brand and enhance your credibility?  If not, you should be… through the use of Case Studies.

A Case Study is a fact-based, somewhat ‘clinical’ way to tell a success story.  In fact, it’s a “proof source.”  And it’s because of this approach that Case Studies have a high level of acceptance in our industry.  Do great work… tell the facts of the project… improve the perception of your firm.

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June 14, 2012

Want to know the REAL Story about your Firm? Here’s how…

We all want the research firms that employ us to be the best they can be… to provide top-notch service, use the most current methodologies and deliver the deepest insights for our clients.  So, how do we get there?

For many of us, we start with post-project client satisfaction surveys of some kind… for that immediate feedback on the work we just completed.  And you should continue to do that.  It’s good and valuable information – from clients who LIKE you.

Where you have an even bigger opportunity to learn is from those clients who DON’T like you… your ex-clients – those firms who used to bring their projects to you, but who, for whatever reason, no longer do business with you.  These firms can be an amazing source of insight about your firm, its services and much more.

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June 11, 2012

Enhance your Marketing & Sales Message for a Competitive Advantage

Good morning class… Here’s an exercise that will help you more effectively communicate with prospective clients and why they should do business with your firm.

When we write (email or proposal) or deliver presentations, we’re all pretty good at espousing what we do – call it the features of our firm.  For example:

  • “We are a full-service shop.”
  • “We have a large team of experienced analysts on staff.”
  • “We are qualitative research specialists.”
  • “We have 20 years of experience in the automotive industry.”
  • “We do product testing, market segmentation, focus group moderating, blah, blah, blah…”
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