Value Proposition: An Unlikely Source of Strategic Inspiration

“You just saved $63.00 by using your library!”

That statement was printed at the bottom of a check out receipt for two books recently borrowed from my public library.

Credit: Morris County Library.


The focus of my last post was providing action tips for instituting a formal system to determine how your products and services stack up versus competitor choices. It’s an important part of monitoring and understanding your strategic situation analysis.

Critical outputs from such analysis can include identifying competitive differentiation opportunities and developing a value proposition. Surprisingly, the library check out receipt is a wonderful example that can provide inspiration for this type of strategic challenge.


Credit: Morris County Library (mclib.info)

The statement “You just saved $xx by using your library!” is brilliant. Continue reading

Get-Started Action Tips to Evaluate How You Stack Up Versus Competition

The late New York City mayor Ed Koch created a personal, attention-getting mechanism for gaining input and feedback. He famously asked: How am I doing?

Business and marketing leaders have much to gain by utilizing a “How are we doing?” outside-in learning approach. One easy-to-implement way to get started is to conduct a regular program to compare your products and services versus other available options.

During my brand management days at Unilever, the marketing teams had scheduled “cuttings” during which they would compare their products to those of their competitors, review new products and/or generally explore options in the category. It was a cross-functional gathering including R&D and sometimes other colleagues. It fostered collaboration and led to productive and interesting conversations about the business, beyond the technical details.

It was also a fun part of the job, and vividly demonstrated why we all came to work each day: to provide great tasting products to consumers.

I remembered those product review sessions when reading about the keynote speech former Kroger and Harris Teeter executive Fred Morganthall gave during this month’s Private Label Manufacturers Association trade show. His advice has widespread relevance beyond the grocery business: Continue reading

Take Net Promoter to the Next Level. Ask For the Recommendation.

Think about this sales growth opportunity. Companies may calculate their Net Promoter Score, but how many actually ask the customer to take any action?

Rhino Shelf does. The North Carolina company sells DIY garage storage kits. I learned about them recently when assisting my brother install his system.

The product is excellent, and if you’re considering garage storage options and are handy with tools, it might be a good solution for you. (They also offer an installation option.)

This isn’t a product review, so let’s continue with the marketing commentary. Continue reading

8 Brand Management Success Factors Drive Hess Toy Truck

Credit: Hess Toy Truck social media.

Both of these marketing statements are true:

  • The Hess Toy Truck brand is thriving.
  • The Hess consumer-retail brand is dead.

No, this isn’t a strange SAT logic test. It’s an example of how a strong sub-brand can flourish even though the parent brand is essentially defunct.

Keep reading for the explanation, and the eight, winning brand management success factors. Continue reading

This Is Marketing: We Are in the Holy S*** Business

A new corporate brand campaign for MGM Resorts International has a hidden benefit.

It helps translate and demonstrate what some business leaders consider “mumbo jumbo.” That would be marketing cornerstones such as branding, positioning and customer experience.

These critical building blocks, and others, are like oxygen to marketers and business leaders who believe in the power of smart, disciplined marketing to help build and grow profitable businesses, and keep them relevant.

But, not everyone is a believer, and not all practitioners have instilled confidence.

Credit: MGM Resorts International.

So, particularly for the marketing skeptics, this new MGM marketing is instructive. It’s strong, bold marketing that grabs attention. And seemingly has a chance to be effective.* Continue reading