Innovative person.
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12 Benefits of Niche Marketing

niche-marketing

I have been doing a lot of research on niche marketing and I am really beginning to think that it’s almost impossible to have a wildly successful product without taking some sort of segmentation approach. That statement is especially true if there is a big competitor you’re trying to take on because segmentation allows you to have more targeted marketing. When you have more targeted marketing, you look like an expert in your field. When you appear to be the expert in your field, you not only look like the only logical choice for your product, but you can also demand premium pricing (that customers are willing to pay) and your customers will be extremely loyal because in their eyes, you’re the first provider of a 100% solution for them. Continue Reading →

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A Template for Writing an Elevator Pitch: Crossing the Chasm

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One concept that was hammered into my head in a lot of college classes and at events like Startup Weekend has been the idea of the elevator pitch. However, there was a glaring problem with being told to have an elevator pitch for a project, nobody took the time to teach us how to write an elevator pitch that was truly meaningful.

In Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore, Moore lays out how to write a great elevator pitch. He says that the following template is an easy way to create a powerful elevator pitch:

1. For (target customers).
2. Who have (compelling reason to buy).
3. Our product is (new product category).
4. That provides (key benefit (which solves problem)).
5. We have ([differentiated] whole product most relevant for your industry).
6. Unlike (Also (for internal use only!) consider your competition, and why you provide a better solution: unlike [competitor]).

The template ingredients above look somewhat confusing, so I decided to create a visual template that you can print out and fill out to help you create your elevator pitch:

elevator-template

I’ve also created this template as a PDF so it prints well. You can download it here:

elevator-template-button

 

 

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New TLDs and Crossing the Chasm

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I just picked up the book Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore as a way to hone in on the way I think about New TLDs marketing for domains like .BIKE, .GURU, etc. I’m really excited about reading this book because it lays out a game plan for marketing disruptive products to mainstream customers. While I’ve been devouring marketing and business books at an obnoxious rate recently, this book has me extra excited for a few of the following reasons:

  • It sounds like I’ll learn some great ways to maintain momentum with New TLD adoption in order to create a bandwagon effect.
  • I’ll learn a more clear way to explain that New TLDs are the evolution of the Internet, not a revolution. New TLDs are just the next phase of the Internet and not a toppling of .COM. This is important because promoting New TLDs as an aggressor to .COM makes them appear like there’s some risk involved in adopting them early on.
  • I’m hoping that this book will make me think about how we announce and market New TLDs which are still far off down the pipeline.
  • Hone in on ways to explain why New TLDs are compelling. I think we need to develop a stronger narrative besides “.COM’s are running out.” I’m hoping this book can get my brain buzzing on ways to convey just how truly awesome New TLDs are. It seems like everybody who is aware of New TLDs is a skeptic about right now, so how can we turn skeptics into believers?

I think that this book will help me better understand that challenge that innovators and marketers often face to narrow the gap from early adopters to the early majority… how do we cross the chasm quicker? Just from reading a few pages of this book so far, I feel that one of the biggest marketing problems happening with New TLDs is that everybody is essentially throwing 100s of darts at once and hoping that one will stick. I’m already wondering if a smarter marketing strategy for New TLDs would be to become highly focused on introducing a few niche markets to a few specific New TLD. If a few niche markets successfully adopt the New TLD made for them, they’ll be trendsetters in the evolution of the Internet and make more people aware of the opportunity New TLDs bring.

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Decision Making: The Confirming-Evidence Trap

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Making decisions is the most important part of any job. It’s also the riskiest and toughest thing to do because if you make a bad decision you can harm a business, and sometimes even destroy a career. To learn how to make good decisions, it’s a great idea to consider the reasons why bad decisions are made.

Bad decisions come from not clearly defining alternative choices. That means doing things like not collecting the right information or not properly considering benefits and costs.

Bad decisions are often stemmed from the way the decisions were made. That’s because it’s easy for your brain to fall into psychological traps that make you disproportionally weigh the information received. This is called the confirming-evidence trap.

People tend to fall into a trap of becoming attached to the first information they receive and then unconsciously hone in on just the data that supports that information. This happens because humans are attracted to information that supports their subconscious leanings. The article The Hidden Traps in Decision Making by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa explains that we tend to do this because we, “subconsciously decide what we want to do before we figure out why we want to do it. The second is our inclination to be more engaged by things we like than by things we dislike.”

Just because you’re subconsciously drawn to a choice, doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong choice. It’s just important to make sure that the choice you’re subconsciously attracted to is the smart choice.

You can avoid making bad choices and falling victim to the confirming-evidence trap by doing a handful of things. These techniques can help you stay clear of the confirming-evidence trap:

  • Look for and then carefully listen to the views of people who were not involved with the earlier decisions. These people are unlikely committed to the earlier decisions. Better yet, have these people play play devils advocate with you. Have them argue against the decision you’re thinking about making so you can really make sure your making a smart choice.
  • Make sure to think about whether you’re really examining all of the evidence you have with equal thoroughness.
  • If you think somebody on your team has fallen into the confirming-evidence trap, there’s no reason why you can’t reassign roles within the project.
  • Think about if you’re really collecting all of the information that helps you make a smart choice or if you’re just collecting evidence that confirms what you think you’d like to do.
  • If somebody who you ask for advice from always seems to agree with you, find a new adviser. Don’t always surround yourself with people who say yes to everything.

The confirming-evidence trap is easy to avoid if you’re aware of its existence. Using the techniques above will help you better your decision making skills and analyze information in the most coherent and intelligent way possible.

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Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads on Strategic Marketing

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I just finished reading Harvard’s Business Review 10 Must Reads on Strategic Marketing. All of the articles in this book are fantastic and changed the way that I think about marketing. It has helped me think about how a great marketing strategy can do more than create or increase demand of a product or service, but actually make an organization run more smooth and streamlined. Continue Reading →

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Why I Think the Tour de France Really Added a Women’s Race

womens-cycling

The Tour de France just announced that they’re adding a women’s race to the 2014 race. It may just be one day, but that’s awesome! Women seriously don’t get enough love in cycling and they deserve it because they’re just as phenomenal athletes as men. However, I don’t think that ASO added the race to the Tour de France to try to level the women’s and men’s cycling playing field. But rather, I believe they did it because of the massive marketing opportunity adding women to the Tour de France brings. I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review called The Female Economy that really solidified my thoughts that ASO believes they found a marketing goldmine by turning to women. I decided to apply some of the stuff I learned from that article to women’s cycling. Continue Reading →

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Do people who get bored easily have an advantage?

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I get bored easily. I started thinking about that today and I ended up wondering if getting bored easily is an actual be a major advantage. After spending some time thinking about it, I decided that the ability to get bored easily is a huge advantage. I believe it’s a huge advantage because people who get bored quickly tend to have more social interactions and end up exploring the world when they can’t think of anything else to do.

Think about it… boredom motivates you to go do something. When you feel boredom starting to creep in, you can use it as a trigger. It can be a trigger than reminds you to go explore something, build something new, or work on something you’ve been procrastinating. Boredom is your brain saying to go do something that stimulates it so that it stays healthy.

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Why I No Longer Think Snapchat is Screwed

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Back in November, I wrote a blog post called Snapchat Might Be Screwed. I no longer believe that Snapchat is screwed. That’s because a few weeks ago, I decided I’d try making a Snapchat account for name.com. Within an hour of making our Snapchat account, my mind was blown because every post I made had 100% engagement/open rate. As a brand, that’s huge because Snapchat messages have the feeling of being extra personalized, which allows us to connect with our customers even further. And, if something has 100% engagement, it’s undoubtedly going to turn into a tool that brands are going to flock to.

I decided to do a simple contest on Snapchat. I sent a group of people a simple image that said, “Screenshot this and tweet it to @namedotcom to get name.com stickers.” To my amazement, people actually responded by Tweeting out our snap! This means that name.com got double the marketing goodness for that simple contest because people both engaged with our brand and then promoted our brand for us.

How can Snapchat capitalize on this?

I think Snapchat needs to have an option to publicly post snaps to an Instragram/Twitter style feed. While privacy and disappearing messages are the defining features of Snapchat, I think users wouldn’t mind if both people had to agree to an image being posted on a feed. A huge advantage to this idea is that people would start to follow other peoples feeds, meaning that they’d search for people and ultimately start to stumble across and follow brands. From here, monetizing seems somewhat simple because Snapchat could just copy Twitter and Instragram by having something like Promoted Snaps. If something like this existed on Snapchat, I’d seriously consider paying to promote a brand or product this way.

Anyways, I take back what I said on Snapchat being screwed. I strongly believe that Snapchat can crush it and be a long-term success.

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Cultivating Your Customers: Stop Marketing Like You’re Trapped in the 1960s

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Cultivating your customers and building relationships with them is an often overlooked and simple marketing strategy. Companies too-frequently only push products rather than turning their brand into a relatable entity that does marketing on a very personal level. Luckily, the Internet is making it extremely easy to become personal because there are so many powerful tools available for interacting with and understanding customers. It’s mind-blowing how many businesses function like they’re trapped in the 1960s when mass marketing and impersonal messaging was king.

To compete effectively, brands need to ditch mass messaging and concentrate on driving transactions through more personalized messaging. This is important because when a brand operates on a more personal level with customers, the customer becomes more valuable. This means that they start buying more from your company, while also becoming powerful brand ambassadors.

An article published in Harvard Business Review titled Rethinking Marketing suggests that, “the traditional marketing department must be reconfigured as a customer department that puts building customer relationships ahead of pushing specific products.” This is a simple, yet powerful statement because when you get more personal with customers you can start building products that truly reflect their needs. When a customer gets the products that they want and are excited about, they’ll play a bigger role in marketing your brand.

Making a customer-centric company is not easy task, but it’s a valuable task none-the-less because the way you do both market research and R&D will allow you to increase the value of each of your customers. When each customer becomes more valuable, it boosts a firm’s long-term competitiveness with regards to profitability.

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2013 Summed Up: Living my Dream

namedotcom

Sometimes I write blog posts that I never publish. I didn’t plan on sharing this post, but after writing it, my mind was blown by how much has happening in my life in the last year… so I thought I’d share it.

In the last year I’ve done so many things that it’s really hard to pin down just a few significant events and decisions. I thought for a long time about the biggest events in my life this year and how they’ve prepared me to absolutely crush it in the future. The four biggest events that I was able to hone down on are: I quit cycling, I graduated college, I started to work at name.com, and moving to Denver. Continue Reading →