Marketing Research

Tell me brands don’t matter.

While you may not care about Walmart or how it does business, there is something to be gained from watching them learn marketing and merchandising lessons – especially when they learn the hard way. Think about it. Walmart is huge. Regardless of how you feel about the company, they represent a giant consumer laboratory – when Walmart makes a move, the cause and effect can be clearly seen in statistically significant numbers. Case in point: Over the last year or so Walmart has been reducing the number of “branded” projects they carry (little names like Kraft, General Mills and Heinz) and increasing placement of in-house brand “Great Value” products.

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Marketing in a recession. What’s the difference?

Everywhere I turn I see companies attempting to leverage the much hyped “downturn” in the economy. All of a sudden, they are touting special “Recession” services and techniques to overcome impending doom. Marketing and advertising agencies are especially guilty offenders. So, in my inimitable tradition of cutting through the smoke and smashing the mirrors, allow me to deliver some straight talk (McCain and Obama aside). When it comes to marketing, there is no difference between a recession marketing strategy versus a boom time marketing strategy. There are simply two ends of the marketing strategy continuum. On one end, there exists the Well Planned and Executed Strategy. On the other, the Wild Ass Seat of the Pants Unstrategy. That’s it. All companies are on this continuum somewhere. If you find yourself on the right side of the continuum, you will experience more pain when the economy gets tight. It’s as simple[…]

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The single most important thing you can do to grow your business.

First let me say that I’ve been guilty of what I’m about to share with you. In the past, as the founder and owner of a successful marketing firm in Milwaukee, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about what my customers want and how they buy. My biggest mistake was thinking that my company could do no wrong when it came to servicing clients. I thought we were the best and I knew my clients knew it. The sky was the limit and my ego was pushing this limit to the max. The irony is that my team regularly developed and executed customer surveys for our clients but we never did one for ourselves. After a particularly perplexing client phone call, I called my friend, Bill Lowell from Business Development Directives and asked him to perform executive interviews with a random sample of my clients. Something wasn’t[…]

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