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Gary Busey McDWhen I found this article after hearing the story on CNBC, a chuckle turned into an all out belly laugh! Maybe it’s just me, but I thought this entire happening was hilarious. The buzz is about how McDonald’s launched a new mascot for its Happy Meal last week, and some think it’s a nightmare in the making.

You can judge that for yourself, but the real lesson here is a reminder of what we talked about earlier, which is how our brands are not “ours” any more, but are owned by the customers thanks to the miracle of social media.

All that aside, you’ve really gotta hand it to Busey as a “brand” because he’s been able to reinvent himself for five decades now, largely by just  being able to poke fun at himself.

Think simple. Think like a customer and your brand will become more successful.” – Al Ries and Laura Ries



Two marketing terms you hear thrown around a lot are “market segmentation” and “share of customer”.

Market segmentation basically means taking this thing called “the market” and recognizing that there really is no “the market,” but instead multiple markets of prospects with similar characteristics, wants, needs, etc. So what you do is to take “the market” and break it into relevant groups called segments. Your marketing strategy then becomes going about targeting a segment or multiple segments with value-based messages aimed at differentiating yourself from your competitors who are trying their best to win those same customers (which is where positioning comes in).

Share of customer simply means getting more business from your existing customers. Often the term is used to describe how to get your existing customers to buy what they are currently buying, or plan to buy, from your competition to buy from you instead.

Here’s an example of how DeBeers Diamonds has done a sparkling job of using market segmentation to grow share of customer. For one thing, they have taken “the market” and divided potential customers into like groups based on stages in the customer’s life or life style. For those who are just friends, they offer friendship rings. For those who promise to maybe offer a deeper commitment one of these days they offer promise rings. For the  about-to-be marrieds, they market engagement rings. For those who are married there are anniversary rings, motherhood rings, eternity rings, etc., all of which help commemorate various stages the customers go through in their lives.

They are segmenting the market by these stages, and simultaneously gain the opportunity of growing share of customer by having something to offer the same customers  as they progress through these different stages of life.

Smart way to mix and match!

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust




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TombstoneBrands are still powerful. Building a solid brand is still a noble – and profitable – pursuit. You should work to build as strong a brand as you can and then work to make it even stronger, because a good brand is indeed money in the bank. It’s like having a printing press on which you can print your own money, in fact. (More on that here.)

That’s the good news. The bad news is, this brand of “yours” really isn’t yours any more. Brands are owned by the customers, not us. We can work all the live-long day to try to develop the perception we want them to have of us, but when it’s all said and done, the customer gets the last word. You may be thinking that this has, ultimately, always been the case, and you’d be right. What is different today is the kind of access customers have to their own media empire thanks to such tools as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Pintrest, and any of a number of other online forums in which they can express their opinions, good or bad, to their spheres of influence. All with just a few clicks.

So what’s the answer? Well, as we’ve said before, if you want more business, do GOOD business. Do the kind of business people will like so much they’ll want to come back, that will get them to proudly tell others they are your customer,  and that will lead them to use their ever-growing digital influence to tell others they should become your customer, too.

As we’ve also said before, it may not be easy, but it is that simple.

The brand is any association the customer can have with your product.” – Philip Kotler



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Why ask why?

By Dr. Burt Smith May 6th, 2014

Questions are the sales professional’s most powerful tool in building trust-based relationships in which he or she helps the prospect  find a valuable solution. Properly used, questions result in the prospect doing  the vast majority of the talking in the sales interview. If the right level of rapport is achieved, and the right questions are asked, the prospect will describe exactly what needs they have, what problems exist, what consequences are resulting or could result from not solving the problem, etc. Then the prospect will have the opportunity to describe the ideal solution and how finding that solution would provide benefits much greater than the investment required. The prospect “sells” himself or herself, in other words, and the only real “presenting” the sales professional then does is to specifically describe how the product will deliver that solution and then addresses any concerns the prospect has before asking for the prospect’s commitment.

Directing this process can be accomplished with a variety of questions, both open-ended and closed ended. The most valuable skill a sales professional can learn is how to ask good questions. Exactly what is a “good” question may vary with the situation, the product, the industry, the personality type and communication style of both the sales professional and the prospect. Learning how to be a good “questioner” is both an art and a science and comes from lots of practice. The good news is, you can “practice” in just about every area of your life, because this skill can benefit you in every area of your life.

One type of question I’d suggest avoiding are “why” questions. This is simply because why questions sometimes result in the prospect going on the defensive. This may seem like a minor thing, but if you think about your own experiences, you’ll probably find that “why” questions seem like a challenge or even an accusation.

Try to find a way to ask “why” without using the word “why” and you’ll stand a better chance of building more solid rapport throughout the interview, whether it’s a sales interview or any situation where you’re working to persuade.

Men are best convinced by reasons they themselves determine.” – Ben Franklin



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