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40 Questions for a Smarter Marketing Strategy

Are you getting a good return on your investment in marketing? Could it be better? One way to find out is to conduct a top-to-bottom review of your entire marketing plan to determine what’s working and what isn’t. This process is sometimes called a marketing audit. I’m often asked to guide audits as an independent marketing consultant and I recently shared advice on how to do an audit effectively. What specific factors should you assess in a marketing audit? Here are 40 questions I recommend for evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing and...

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The 7 Most Important Things to Do with a Sales Lead

Business-to-business (B2B) marketers often use such tactics as direct marketing, e-marketing, advertising, trade shows, and web marketing to generate sales leads. But a smart lead generation marketing strategy goes well beyond the creation of the marketing campaign. If your goal is to build a relationship with a business prospect, increase your sales conversion rate, and maximize the value of your sales resources, you need a careful plan for what happens after the lead comes in. Here are the seven steps you should take with a marketing-generated sales lead to achieve success....

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Which Super Bowl Ads Were a Smart Marketing Strategy?

Super Bowl XLV is history and so is the advertising that generated so much buzz and discussion before, during, and now, after the game. Best and worst ad lists are everywhere after a Super Bowl, and there generally is agreement among marketing experts about the winners and losers. But when you look more closely at Super Bowl ads, a smart marketer has to wonder about their strategic marketing value. According to the Wall Street Journal, marketers spent $2.8 million to $3 million for a 30-second spot during this year's matchup. Did the...

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Talkin’ About My Generation? Using Cultural References in Marketing

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” I heard a marketing consultant say in a recent meeting. I knew he was quoting the scene from The Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal that the Wizard is just an ordinary man. But judging by the puzzled looks on their faces, the twenty-somethings in the meeting had no idea what he was talking about. Situations like this don’t just make you feel your age. They painfully illustrate the fact that cultural points of reference are constantly shifting...

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What Makes Bad Advertising So Bad? It’s Not Believable

When an advertising campaign is so bad it makes you groan out loud, there’s usually a simple reason: It’s not believable. The worst offenders are campaigns that attempt to portray real-life situations. The dialogue often is so forced or the setup so phony that your only reaction is to roll your eyes and think, “Yeah, right.” But lack of believability in advertising is more than annoying. It’s a waste of the marketer’s money. Here are two ways to achieve believability in your advertising and two examples of smart marketers, including one in Northeast...

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21 Tips for Power Networking: When the Product is You

If you break into a cold sweat at the thought of walking into a business networking event as a complete stranger, you’re not alone. Networking is essential to building and growing a business, especially for business-to-business (B2B) marketers who participate in professional associations and trade shows. But it takes skill and experience to feel confident in a networking situation, and it takes careful planning to capitalize on the value of networking for lead generation. Here’s what I’ve learned about personal marketing and successful networking at B2B events, and 21 tips you can use...

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