Smart Differentiation Powers Wholesale Fish Purveyor

You wouldn’t expect to hear “differentiation” and “wholesale fish” in the same sentence.

Until now.

Credit: Red's Best.

Credit: Red’s Best.

Boston entrepreneur Jared Auerbach created a company that brands wholesale fish under the Red’s Best name. He’s combined brand management, technology, a keen understanding of end users and storytelling to craft his go-to-market business strategy: Continue reading

Why Your Business Needs “Marketing Discipline”

This isn’t about the kind of discipline you get in the principal’s office.

I’m talking the good kind of discipline here, what I refer to as Marketing Discipline. You’d better have some in your business, or don’t be surprised when the CEO calls for the wrong reasons.

To me, the concept of Marketing Discipline is a fundamental criterion of success. Yet, with the unrelenting focus and fascination on shiny new tactics, the discipline part of marketing often gets lost in the wash. Continue reading

Inside Look: How to Make the “Special Sauce” of Excellent Customer Service

Winning ideas stand out to me, even when enjoying a fine dinner of fresh grouper and a glass of red wine.

So it was recently at Duval’s restaurant in Sarasota, FL, where I was impressed by the shared responsibility, customer service teamwork of the staff.

According to  Joshua Halbrucker, the restaurant’s General Manager/Partner, their approach is simple:

“Treat every customer like they are your mother (and if you don’t like your mother… haha, treat them like someone you love dearly and would do anything for).”

Duval's Logo

Our waiter orchestrated the evening and was our primary service provider. He was friendly and effective. Where Duval’s stood out, though, was the totality of service provided. The entire team, regardless of title or role, formed a rapid-response customer service unit. Whenever someone passed by our table, he/she did so attentively and ready to act. For instance:

  • Need more bread? Coming right up.
  • Low on water? Be right back.
  • Appetizers finished? I’ll clear your plates.

It was customer-focused versatility in action, all geared to make sure that Duval’s provided us with an excellent dining experience. As one of the managers told me after dinner: “I tell the team to look at the tables as you walk by and if the customers need something, take care of it.”


A few days later, I reached out to Joshua Halbrucker to learn more about the restaurant’s operating philosophy. He answered my questions via email. Look for a number of marketing and business nuggets, some of which I’ve highlighted, followed by my three takeaways for your company. Continue reading

Focus on Customer Content Drives Costco Marketing Strategy

Credit: Costco.

Credit: Costco.

Take a spin around costco.com, and you’ll find a website loaded with consumer-friendly product information designed to inform, persuade and generate “Add to Cart” shopping clicks.

Costco utilizes a consumer education strategy online, particularly for many of its OTC healthcare and dietary supplement products.

Pay attention, B2B and DTC marketers. Shoppers desire complete product information and accurate photos as part of their research and purchasing process. I can’t quantify the benefit, but it stands to reason that investing to upgrade the content for your communication platforms will pay-off, and effectively differentiate your company and brands.


Recently, Costco added a consumer website called TreatMyHeartburn.com to promote its Kirkland Signature branded acid reducer product.

Credit: Costco.

Credit: Costco.

Continue reading

Turn Customer Listening into Learning and Go-To-Market Action

Good things can happen when you listen to customers.

Consider Hostess Brands,  which “has nurtured retail sales of its products nearly back to their pre-liquidation level of more than $1.3 billion in 2012” as reported by Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal.

Credit: Captain Cupcake1 Flickr

Credit: Captain Cupcake1 Flickr

This summer, the company expanded the Hostess brand product range with white and wheat bread along with hamburger and hot dog buns.

Why is Hostess getting into bread?  They listened carefully to customers and realized there was a business opportunity. Continue reading