Monday, November 22, 2010

You're Not Hired - Untangling the Myth of Market Expertise

Browse through any marketing job board, open up a listing and one of the first things that you'll find is a requirement for experience in a specific market or segment -- do you have experience in enterprise marketing, consumer marketing, in the storage industry, software, or retail industry. You name a market there are companies that will judge your ability to do the job based on whether you have worked within it in the past. Ultimately, the dialog goes something like this:
Have you sold blue pencils?
You have? Great.
Yellow pencils?
Oh, I'm sorry, you don't have the background needed for the blue pencil market.
Note » Just follow this is a simple recipe for uninspired marketing.
If this seems like a frustrating over-simplification to you, then please join me as we explore the logic and the quackery behind marketing segment expertise.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is Your Brand on the Endangered Species List?

For some consumers, the brand of a product isn't their primary consideration in selecting a product. At Targets, Costcos and Walmarts across the country, people will buy things not because they have a connection to the brand, but because it is there and it is on sale. From paper towels to cleaning products and just about anything that is available as a generic, some consumers are willing to abandon any sort of branded connection in favor of price and availability.

But rather than dive into the relationship between brand and those products, I want to highlight a shift that is taking place in the brand ecosystem that really stood out for me during some recent shopping trips at Target. I used to shop at Target for products like toiletries, cleaning products, and paper towels. While I used to count on Target for carrying a fairly broad collection of products at prices, over the past year or two I've noticed that they are carrying fewer and fewer of the brands that I purchase. Now, instead of being able to buy these items at Target, I find myself purchasing at my local grocery store because they actually stock the brands of products that I'm looking for.

An Endangered Species?
What happens when the brand that you prefer is no longer carried by the big box stores? You have to expect that for the manufacturer, losing an outlet like Target is going to have a negative impact on your product's numbers. Meanwhile, distribution to traditional outlets like your local grocery store probably have more costs associated with them. At what point do you start thinking about EOL?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Worth Reading: Why Products Suck post on Techcrunch

Heads up on an amusing post over on Techcrunch. It's Why Products Suck (And How To Make Them Suck Less) by David Barrett, CEO of Expensify. It's a worthwhile read. I particularly like the connection to the movie 12 Angry Men. If you've ever been in a marketing meeting where you had to overcome the objections of one individual who just didn't get it, this post is for you. It's a good reminder about the reality of team and consensus dynamics. Sometimes those consensus obstacles that you face can be a single voice causing you to completely recalculate the lowest common denominator. And suck.