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

April 10th, 2018

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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Stop Using Content Marketing to Sell

March 20th, 2018

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

February 20th, 2018

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

December 12th, 2017

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

October 17th, 2017

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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My son quit his job to pursue his dream!, Part 2

October 10th, 2017

dreams4Three months ago, I wrote a post about my son, Alex… quitting his job in Dallas to pursue his dream in New York City. Not only did he want to relocate to a city where he had no real network of contacts, he also wanted to change industries – from healthcare to music – again, with no real connections. But he had a dream!

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What Makes a Specialist Special?

September 19th, 2017

specialistMost research firms are ‘generalists’… offering a variety of research methodologies to all kinds of firms in all kinds of industries. If it’s a profitable opportunity and if it fits their team’s skill set – they’ll take it.

And that’s fine. But with that broad approach to business comes a muddled and murky approach to marketing… decisions are difficult to make. Trying to serve so many kinds of companies in so many industries means far too many marketing options. So, how do you choose?

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Differentiation: Just Being Different Isn’t Enough

July 31st, 2017

goldfishOver the past five years, without a doubt, the most popular topic in my conversations with clients and prospective clients has been around ‘differentiation’… what they can do to stand out from their competitors. Everyone agrees there is far too much “sameness” in our industry – too many firms that look alike and sound alike all offering a range of services that are essentially the same. If you’re a prospective buyer, how do you choose?

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