Archive for the ‘Business Strategy’ Category

  • What’s the first question?

    If you’re looking online for a marketing agency to help you, good luck.  We’ve poured over competitive websites and if you can tell us all apart, you’re a genius.

    But I may have figured out a way to help.

    I just got off the phone with a friend who runs a creative agency and while we were talking, I pulled up his website.  Keyword for keyword, the capabilities look similar.  To help him understand how we’re different, I said, “it’s not our capabilities, it’s the questions we ask.”


  • Specialty Food Marketing Meets Special Delivery

    30 years of specialty food marketing teaches you that food people are a breed apart.   The passion for great food, delight at a clever new idea, and the compulsion to share our discoveries with others are the hallmarks of a group unlike any other.

    So for my fellow hopeless addicts, here’s great news: two really smart services that are taking fresh specialty food marketing from regional to national in the click of a mouse.


  • Focus Groups in the Digital Age

    A conversation with Anne Brown, moderator with JSC Consumer Insights, Inc.

    AC:  Clients often ask us for help choosing the right type of research – and new methods are coming out all the time.  Our recent qualitative work with you and JSC led to significant changes in marketing strategy – and tangible successes.  So why does it sometimes feel old-fashioned to recommend a focus group?

    Anne: Our clients are forward- thinking, so they’re eager to try ‘new and different’ research techniques, but there is still so much to learn from a good, in-person focus group.  For one thing, we develop screening criteria very carefully — and have fantastic recruiters with whom we’ve worked for years — so we know exactly who the consumers are who we’re getting in the room.


  • Budgeting for Small Brand Marketers needs Marketing Effectiveness

    2015 is coming.  Time for ambitious brands with limited budgets to make really tough choices.  We’ve just won our second award for Marketing Effectiveness, for a project that came in under $350,000.  So we hope you’ll find this helpful:

    Two things to know about changes in Social Media

    Be aware that an algorithmic change will drastically reduce your Facebook exposure:  Facebook is now public and under pressure to monetize, which means they want you to pay to advertise.  To encourage this, they are reducing the number of fans who see your post – to about 3%.  So if you have 20,000 fans, only about 600 will see any given post.  That’s going to minimize the impact of your content, to say the least.  So think about how much you’re budgeting for Facebook content creation, and decide whether it’s still worth it.  As an social, consumer facing measure, your efforts still matter, but don’t expect wild response to every post, assuming you’ve enjoyed that in the past. Sorry.


  • Specialty Food Brands – David versus Goliath battles

    These recipies were developed around the topic of Entertainment


    We worked with Rena through the creative food company she founded in 2000 with Tom Eckerle, Soup to Nuts.  Together they created and photographed over 200 recipes for our agency client, Arla Foods.

    Rena’s expertise in every aspect of food, from recipe creation for the home cook to food service design to the taste preferences of individual markets, was apparent in every conversation. Equally apparent is her warmth and enthusiasm for sharing her prodigious experience.

    We started having extended chats about the food business, specialty food brands & marketing, the challenges of grocers, the changing tastes in America, and hype versus reality.  These conversations have been so insightful and enlightening, we thought we’d share them with our readers.


  • “Fake It ‘til you Make It” is the Digital Manager’s Motto

    If you’re faking your way through the digital realm, you’re not alone. A recent survey by Adobe on “What Keeps Digital Marketers Up at Night?” shows that “less than half (48%) of professionals who consider themselves primarily digital marketers feel highly proficient in digital marketing.  A majority of digital marketers haven’t received any formal training in digital marketing: 82% report learning on the job.”

    Outrageous?  Not really. Getting up to speed, assessing new platforms, deciding whether to jump in and how to execute on brand is time-consuming, and most marketers a) didn’t grow up with digital media and b) have other calls of duty.

    It’s our job to make your job easier.  To that end, here are 6 quick Do’s and Don’ts to know right now.

    No faking required.


  • Top Planning Tools for 2014

    Is it August already?  For the kids it’s back to school, for the rest of us, it’s time to lock and load on our marketing plans for 2014.  If your frontal lobe is a bit rusty, these will help: some of our favorite planning tools and overviews.

    The Things to Come

    This will get you started with a 30,000-foot perspective.  Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins delivers an informative glimpse of the future in their 2013 Internet Trends report.  They have been spot-on for many years and the projected changes for marketers are great “food for thought”, especially if your strategic plan goes further than 2014.



  • Are you an Innie or an Outie? POV from a leader from a full service advertising agency

    Are you an Innie or an Outie?

    Once again, I’ve discovered something obvious: there are two kinds of people in business; insourcers and outsourcers.  And it makes a world of difference to know which one you’re dealing with.

    For years I was an in-sourcer; I would never pay another person to do something I thought I could do myself.  Design a PowerPoint for a pitch? Sure! I knew the program, I could draw a box and color it in.  What’s the difference?  Create our own bookkeeping system? Why pay Quickbooks when I had Excel spreadsheets?

    Computers exacerbate this tendency.  It’s natural to think that a program gives you a capability to do something well.  And for the past three decades, business consultants have pushed the cult of cost-cutting.   Notice what that’s done to our economy?


  • Get up to Speed: Marketing Automation

    With promises to drive sales conversion through the roof, here comes marketing automation — delivering improved email targeting, real-time triggered messages, customer relationship management integration, and stay-in-touch campaigns. Businesses around the globe are implementing automation with success. Their seeing lower overheads and more customer intimacy. They’re gaining access to useful return-on-marketing-investment (ROMI) metrics, because automation tracks the effectiveness of marketing at every point of the consumer experience, letting them see what’s working and what isn’t. They’re also achieving faster revenue growth. In fact, research by Marketo, Forrester, CSO Insights and others shows that automation platforms stand to increase the 20% of leads that are sales-ready by 50%, all while reducing average cost per lead.


  • Maximizing Mobile and Marketing Automation for Beauty

    With the number of US smartphone owners officially passing more than 50 percent of the population, marketers realize that these devices are shaping consumer behavior and purchase decisions at astonishing rates. Shoppers’ ability to access the internet on the fly affects all stages of the purchase cycle. Consumers constantly reach for their phones for product reviews, price comparisons, coupons, and product information.

    Case in point, we recently attended a Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) panel on Maximizing Mobile Moments. A beauty industry marketing expert from L’Oréal Paris spoke on how the company is utilizing mobile in innovative and effective ways.

    L’Oréal Paris launched a new responsive design web platform in early 2013 that creates a unique, customizable session for each user. Kelly Solomon, Vice President of eCommerce and Multi-Channel at L’Oréal Paris observed, “Consumers are more informed than ever and often know more than sales associates.” (Q: How will this affect your associate training and sales support?)

    L’Oréal Paris Web Platform

    L’Oréal Paris Web Platform