Author Archive

How to Use Trademarks Properly – Are Your Documents Compliant?

September 24, 2011

How to use trademarks in any document is simple and straightforward.

It was 8:00 P.M. when the call came through. New B2B client in a panic. Some wireless company threatening a lawsuit. A letter that says there’s a trademark problem.

I was about to calmly tell him to talk to their attorney but, instead, I asked him to email me a copy of the letter.

While waiting, I recalled something my sushi buddy Michael Bierman once told me: “Many trademark cases could be avoided by complying with the rules when writing. It’s always neglecting the simple things that turns into costly and time-consuming litigation.” As a partner at Luce Forward, he speaks from decades of trademark litigation experience.

A few minutes later I’m reading the frenzied client’s letter. I breathed a sigh of relief. It appeared to be little more than a form letter advising my client that “[product brand name] is a registered trademark….”

Prior to retaining my firm, this client had been a DIYer (Do It Yourself) that wrote its own documents. Unfortunately, use of trademarks must have not been observed, and that triggered the boilerplate warning letter.

My firm has always done some amount of oversight/mentoring work for B2B wireless clients who create their own documents. Document review typically accounts for the bulk of those activities. The trademark faux pas has happened often enough that years ago I created a basic how-to document just for such moments.  Here’s that advisory:

Mandatory Trademark Compliance Is
Straightforward and Simple

Proper trademark usage in your documents protects your B2B wireless company’s valuable brand. Applying the same usage to other company’s trademarked brands will help avoid legal entanglements.

What Is a Trademark?
It is any brand name, symbol, slogan/motto, word, image, or emblem that a company is claiming legal rights of protection to prevent a competitor from using it.

What Are the “Marks”?
There are only three trademark identifiers:  “R,”  “TM”, and occasionally “SM”

  • When written, they are either
    • Superscripted, e.g., ®, TM, SM, or
    • In parentheses, e.g., (R), (TM), (SM)

Which Identifier to Use for Another Company’s Marks ?
Simple! The one that the company claiming the mark uses.

Where Do I Apply the Mark in My Documents?
The rules are easy:

  • Always apply the mark the first time the brand name, symbol, slogan/motto, word, image, or emblem appears in the main body of your document
    • Apply the mark only once in your document, no matter how many other times you may use the same brand name, symbol, slogan/motto, word, image, or emblem
  • Never apply the mark to the brand name, symbol, slogan/motto, word, image, or emblem when it appears in the title or subtitle of your document

Are There Other Rules?
Yes, and this one seems always to be misused. Trademarks should never be used as nouns or verbs. The mark is always used as an adjective. Here’s an example:

Right (Adjective)

Wrong (Noun)

“… announced the availability of its
UniMobile® software that
runs on any smartphone.”
“… announced the availability of UniMobile® that runs on any smartphone.”

One Last Rule
Always insert a trademark notice at the very end of your document. This is usually in small type. Here’s an example:

 UniMobile is a registered trademark of Wireless Widgets, Inc. All other
trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Regardless of the type of documents you’re creating—press releases, white papers, web content, sales collateral—proper trademark usage is more than just a nit-picking detail. Follow the simple rules, and you’ll save time, money, and frayed nerves at 8:00 P.M..

Other helpful writing tips are available in MarkeTech’s Monograph:  The Perfect Press Release. Email your request for a complimentary copy to Team[at]MarkeTechCom[dot]com.

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Guerrilla Selling’s Mind Map Challenge Revisited

September 12, 2011

While Guerrilla Selling’s “Mind Map” focuses on one-on-one direct sales interactions, can its face-to-face principles of buyers’ “phases” and sellers’ “best approaches” be effective in today’s online social media environment?

My Theory
In a B2B online social environment, without the requisite buyer’s presence in a face-to-face or one-on-one situation, practicing mind-map-driven guerrilla selling isn’t practical. My theory is that a seller can use his/her “Seller’s Approaches” – I view these as “behavior” — as triggers that cause a favorable response in a buyer audience. This flip-flops the original Mind Map chart, which teaches that the buyer’s behavior triggers the sellers reactive behavioral approach. For reference, I have included a slightly-modified version of the original Mind Map here.

The theory’s flip-flop premise is based on an online B2B audience of prospective buyers in which there are individuals, each of whom is in a particular identified left/right brain phase. If a seller were to address that audience with messages about “Fair-Care-Share” for example, the “Principle Phase” individual buyers would be responsive.  

In application, one might theorize that the six “best approaches” (disregarding the “Amoral Phase”) could be implemented in a series of blogs, Tweets, or other social media channels. By doing so, a seller could build – over time – a dynamic online personality profile that would appeal to more than one of the Mind Map’s categories of prospective buyers.

A Theoretical Example
For example, blog #1 portrays the seller as factual and logical, then blog #2 demonstrates fair-care-share aspects of the seller, while in blog #3 the seller is relaxed and just tells her/his story, and yet another blog (#4) stresses the seller’s responsibility to community and the good works his/her company is doing. This chameleon-like seller behavior is acknowledged in Chapter 4 of Guerrilla Selling. In the “Guerrilla Challenge” section, it teaches that “You must…adapt to the needs of each prospect you meet.” And, “They [Guerrillas] can shift from Ego to Pleaser to Authority to Principle phases as the situation requires.”

It would seem that the cumulative effect of such a blogging strategy could, over time, attract the identified Mind Map audience segments (as B2B leadgen). Similar-minded individuals in those segments would find the seller a person with whom a relationship might be formed.

The original Mind Map was reactive, i.e., the buyer’s behavior (phase) caused the guerilla seller to respond. It required an interactive situation, with a face-to-face meeting, or one-on-one (phone call).Today’s Internet reality is that in the online social communities, clearly identifying a particular individual’s phase is difficult, if not impossible. The Web’s social media tools are not equipped to provide face-to-face or one-on-one interactions. Therefore, a potential solution would be for the seller to behave online in more than one particular Mind Map phase, so as to attract (pull mode) compatible sales prospects.

Next Steps
My theory has not been tested in my real B2B (technology) world. I would be interested in your inputs. If feedback indicators are positive, I’d be willing to develop an alpha feasibility-validation program.

The Mind Map (Revisited)

The Mind Map is a model of behavior and personality that divides our human minds’ functions into seven “personality phases.” Guerrilla sellers use the map to understand people (prospects and customers) they encounter and be equipped to adopt a strategy that enables a relationship. At any given time, a particular person can shift from one mind phase to another.

Here are the Mind Map phases, listed with the most primitive “amoral” phase at the bottom:

Source:  Guerrilla Selling: Unconventional Weapons & Tactics
for Increasing Your Sales. William Gallagher, Orvel Ray Wilson,
and Jay Conrad Levinson, 1992. (http://www.gmarketing.com/)

Is Social Media Really a Free Ride to ROI?

September 11, 2011

While the best things in life may be free, social media has a price tag.

Browsing through some survey data recently, I stumbled upon one which indicated that some 113 (15% of those surveyed) Chief Marketing Officers indicated that the cost of social media is basically FREE! This response was to MarketingSherpa’s question of “…how you perceive social media’s ability to produce an ROI at budget time.”

Wait!…What? Do these marketing professionals actually believe that the budgeted investment in social media is ZERO? That would mean that any ROI would yield a de facto 100% profit.

I had to admit, however, that a case could be made supporting the perception of social media costing virtually nothing. There are companies that apply the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) approach to many social media activities. You know, those businesses that do everything in-house. A VP writes the blogs, an engineer or two Tweet, someone else is responsible for content on Facebook, and the sales guys plunder LinkedIn looking for leads. It’s all DIY. But, does that really mean it’s free? It sure would look that way in a budget, because salaries are an operational line item, and not indicated in the marketing budget.

My common sense and experience tells me that social media is time-intensive. Activities that consume significant personnel time should produce financial outcomes that are favorable to the company’s bottom line, either directly or indirectly. Is a VP’s time invested in blogging going to yield an ROI?

ROI at Budget Time
It was MarketingSherpa’s connection to ROI that bothered me the most. How can one realistically answer a question about ROI at budget time when the cost of leadgen is ZERO? The company budget may treat salaries one way, but can we ignore the real company money these DIY social media participants are spending when they use time on the job for blogging, tweeting, and the like?

Some businesses, mine included, do calculate “personnel ROI.” The IRR (Internal Rate of Return) on a reallocation of a current employee’s tasks has implications on the company’s bottom line. I actually have “target” income values that express how any employee’s time utilization should translate into productivity. That productivity is defined as revenue, so it’s “Revenue on Employee (ROE).”

My Hokey Hypothetical Model
Using an ROE approach, I constructed a rather hokey hypothetical model that shows company earnings as an outcome of the time an employee might spend doing social media activities. The following figures are annualized.  

The revenue value of each conversion is based on landing one customer out of each batch of 10 sales leads. The average revenue-per-conversion is $50,000.

This hypothetical employee would spend +/- 7 hours/week (about 20%) on social media pursuits. Thus for a salary-driven budget of $30,000 for 333 work-hours/year, the projected social media revenues are $100,000 for this employee. Personnel time utilization should be budgeted and clearly spelled out. So, it’s always time-is-money, and social media time invested does have a calculable ROI.

There’s also an ancillary issue of personnel time utilization, especially for employees who become addicted to Twitter, Facebook, et al. Productivity of other tasks can erode, perhaps enough to even threaten those other tasks’ ability to generate revenue.

While employees engaged in DIY in-house social media campaigns may believe that everything is free, business owners have a solid case for believing otherwise.

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Crossing the Chasm For Geoff Moore

August 29, 2011

My experiences as one of Geoff Moore’s first chasm test cases
certainly taught me a lesson about confronting
my client’s new-technology launch.

My very first project as a principal at RMI (Regis McKenna Inc) was as the team leader on the launch of a client’s new thermal-wax color printer technology.  

It was a year before Geoff Moore, a partner at RMI, would publish Crossing the Chasm. He approached me to alpha test his still-under-development chasm models. As he explained his ideas and concepts about this “chasm,” I became excited about the potential benefits it could bring to B2B-technology-marketing practitioners like me. My client’s pending launch seemed the perfect test bed.

I Go Head-to-Head with One of the World’s First Chasms

In those days, RMI methodologies defined what product-launch marketing and PR strategies and tactics were. The firm’s market relations® processes and techniques had launched all the major high-tech players, and went on to create — virtually single-handedly – the brand “Silicon Valley.” Dataproducts, my client, certainly had great expectations (more…)

Tactics for Generating B2B Sales Leads

August 14, 2011

MarkeTech’s New Interpretation of B2B Survey Data

How other B2Bs are generating qualified leads was surveyed by eMarketer over a year ago. While the data are a bit long in the tooth, the results deserve a revisit. One reason is that useful data on the topic for B2Bs is hard to find in today’s B2C-focused research landscape. I also want to look through a different lens at this survey’s interpretation of how B2Bs perform lead gen.

Here are the survey results:

eMarketer TABLE 2

MT Tactics TABLE notes

The chart reveals methods and tactics employed by surveyed B2B sales professionals to generate qualified sales leads. The issue is whether or not the outcomes cited reflect the maximum sales leads each tactic can deliver. I have taken the original survey chart and supplemented it with three variables: Frequency, Cost, and if the tactic was Outsourced or not.

  • Frequency is repetition of the tactic. For social networking sites as an example, the “Low” frequency rating indicates that posting to and monitoring a social media site didn’t happen often enough. Therefore, the 42% survey result is below its potential for achieving maximum sales leads.
  • The Cost column interprets the survey scores by money and time invested. The “Medium” expenditures can also contribute to the underperformance score of social networking sites.
  • In the Outsourced column, the values shown are to be interpreted as who implements the tactic. “No” indicates the company performed the tactic in house, while “Yes” identifies an outside source. As to the example of social networking sites, the interpretation is that the company likely performed the work in house. Results would be better if it had been outsourced.

Therefore, social networking sites’ low performance was likely because it was done in house. Further, the effort was only moderately funded, and not performed frequently enough to generate every available sales lead.

MT Survey ImageComplete the survey form before 30 September 2011!
Our 2nd Annual “Online Presence” Survey focuses exclusively on the B2B wireless industry.

An overview of the chart indicates a transition from top to bottom depicting decreasing performance attributable to frequency, cost factors, and/or incorrect use of in-house or outside resources.

Outbound Prospecting
It’s no surprise that tried-and-true outbound prospecting tops the preferred-methods list. It’s an in-house activity that requires virtually no outsourcing (no outsourcing’s $$ overhead can skew cost-per-lead). The high frequency (number of times outbound prospecting is performed) should also be considered in my interpretive view). In the hands of a capable sales professional, outbound prospecting results in unparalleled lead-gen.

Website
The company website as a lead-gen source, as I interpret its functionality, is essentially the usual online form (RFI, or even RFQ). It’s a semi-passive resource that, except for the costs (time and $$ to update the site), reliably pulls site visitors into becoming prospects. Please don’t slam my seemingly shallow interpretation here of the typical B2B website…the emphasis is on its passive and low maintenance aspects. The frequency here is medium, based on content updates. Cost is rated as medium, but that can vary based on whether the site updates are done in house or outsourced (either/or options are both shown).

Inbound Calls
Inbound calls come in third place which, again, is no surprise. Sales personnel are expected to turn every incoming call into a lead or conversion. I know the drill, and I have sold my family members my firm’s products and services…I just can’t seem to turn phone selling off! More to the point, as with outbound prospecting and the company website, the cost-per-lead is negligible and no outsourcing is required. The frequency here is variable, but we’ll consider it moderately repeated daily.

As the survey chart continues its lead-gen categories, the implications of outsourcing instead of in house, as well as cost and frequency, take on real meaning to me. My B2B business development firm specializes in the marketing and PR lead-gen methods and tactics of the bottom five on the list.

Email Campaigns
When it comes to email campaigns, my hypothesis starts to take on more meaning. The interpretation of what an email campaign is can range from using email blasts, to leveraging highly-personalized bulk emails sent to a well defined audience. Since the type of email program is unknowable from the survey, I’ll leave the interpretation to you. While email campaigns can be and are performed in house, as often as not they are outsourced and medium costs are incurred. Frequency: not very often may be the most realistic answer, but let’s say low, at once a month for argument’s sake, especially if the activity is outsourced.

Events and Tradeshows
Events and tradeshows are certainly well understood as to not only their low frequency, but also to their affordability. Generating a qualified lead from a tradeshow is pricey. In my interpretation, most all of the activities involved in event participation are outsourced.

Social Networking Sites
In my view, social networking sites as a lead-gen tactic being so far down the list suggests several interpretations:

  • Frequency, as a B2B company’s ability to achieve reliable and consistent repeatability of fresh content, is most likely a key contributor. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, you simply must hammer at it daily. LinkedIn participation is even more important when it comes to being social every day – don’t limit your activities on LinkedIn to just low-cost lead-gen research.
  • Social media is best outsourced – no, I’m not trying to drum up business. Unless your in-house talent is hand-picked for its personnel’s social networking skills, trying DIY to generate qualified leads from your online presence will invariably cause the low scores shown in the eMarketer survey results.
  • Social networking is an investment pit. It’s not just the money…it’s the time. Unlike your passive website that is run through the carwash and hot-waxed now and then, social media requires 24/7 real-time involvement and participation. The costs go from low for research and lead gen, to high for social participation and customer acquisition.

For the record, eMarketer in an adjacent survey identifies “social networking sites” as LinkedIn, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for lead prospecting and research. Blogs also, while not discussed here, should never be an infrequent post.

Note that this blog does not evaluate issues such as which of these social sites were used by survey participants. If they used only YouTube and Twitter, the low-performance results in a chart would be understandable.

Are the commitments to outsourcing and investments to achieve sufficient frequency worth the number (and quality) of leads generated? In my previous blog, eMarketer and HubSpot surveys both show that B2B participation on LinkedIn is not only growing, but that it’s a productivity winner in generating prospects and actual customers.

Direct Mail
Direct mail (or what I call a blast from the past) is seeing resurgence these days. Okay, it’s pricey, and you can’t really validate that anyone opened your mailing piece (as you can with email). But what else can you do when your list’s email addresses bounce? I like direct mail because it creates a nice perception of the sender when done professionally. But, to see the results in this survey that direct mail produces as many qualified leads as online social networking either reinforces how poorly B2Bs are performing social media, or that someone stuffed the ballot box on behalf of direct mail. I suspect it’s not really the ballot box. Direct mail is rated low in frequency because, like email, it works best as an ongoing campaign. The medium cost in the table would then change to high for a campaign.

Webinars
Last on the list are webinars. I flinched when I first saw how miserably the B2B sales professionals rated webinars’ ability to generate qualified prospects. Further analysis, however, leads me to consider that webinar production is complex (i.e., costly). A successful quality webinar requires outsourcing (I’ve seen enough of those in-house DIY webinars to know that they damage a company’s brand). The script, PowerPoint visuals, press release, database building, invitations/RSVPs and an email campaign – to name most of the big items required for a successful webinar – should all be performed by experienced pros (okay, this time I am blatantly plugging MarkeTech).
                                      ___________________

This interpretation of the survey’s findings does hopefully add a new dimension to the data. Here are some quick pointers from someone who puts her company’s brand, reputation, and livelihood on the firing line with clients. My team puts its collective fannies on the line every day in creating lead-gen strategies, then executing the very tactics covered in this survey.

Consider the following:

  • The complexity of your product/service correlates with the cost and number of different tactics you’ll want to employ
  • There is no one tactic that will capture all available prospects. Your target audience is scattered (almost willy-nilly) across the Internet. You should shoot for an online presence that causes them to encounter (sometimes stumble upon) you
      • As a subset of a web-diversified audience, is the same multiple-exposure paradigm that applies to advertising. Your pipeline requires repeated exposures. Some schools of thought hold that as many as 20 exposures are needed to close a prospect
  • Every lead-gen tactic in the survey can – and should – interconnect with the others. Over time, a mashup will evolve as a mix of tactical methods that works best for you
      • Your mashup is not limited to the items in this survey. White papers, feature articles, press releases, case studies, etc., aren’t even mentioned but deserve your attention. Good content is king
  • Put particular emphasis on video. Cisco projects that, by 2015, video will account for 66% of all network traffic. Webinars and other video content are the future
                                               _______________

Speaking of surveys, have you completed the survey form for our 2nd Annual “Online Presence” Survey? We’re the first to focus exclusively on the B2B wireless industry.

LinkedIn Works for B2B Sales Prospecting

August 12, 2011

With a growing membership of 120 million worldwide (40 million U.S. members), survey data indicate that LinkedIn is becoming the preferred social networking site for B2B sales prospecting and customer acquisition.

HubSpot’s 2011 State of Inbound Marketing survey reports that 61% of B2B respondents state that they have acquired a customer using LinkedIn. The site, according to survey results, significantly outperforms Facebook and Twitter by 20% and 22%, respectively, for B2B sales lead generation and new customer acquisition.

Hubspot Customer acquisition

eMarketer’s 2010 B2B SalesPulse Survey reports that, among U.S. B2B sales professionals surveyed, the most effective social network for prospecting and research is LinkedIn. The site’s effectiveness has, according to OneSource, translated into a significant increase in usage. Nearly half, or 47.8%, of the respondents say that they use LinkedIn more now than compared to a year earlier. An additional 14.7% of previous users will continue with LinkedIn for prospecting and research. Combined, 62.5% of B2B respondents find LinkedIn useful for prospecting, a statistic nearly identical to HubSpot’s 61%.

eMarketer Chart

These findings point to the benefits and tools that LinkedIn offers companies marketing and selling B2B.

See my next post Tactics for Generating Sales Leads.

________________________

MT Survey Image Complete the survey form before 30 September 2011!
Our 2nd Annual “Online Presence” Survey focuses exclusively on the B2B wireless industry.

The Benefits of Specs and Standards Marketing

May 21, 2010

I grew up in a technical environment. My Dad, a mechanical engineer, VP of Manufacturing for ITT Europe, and disciple of William Edwards Deming, was always reminding me about the importance of science and technology. (That’s probably why I wound up working in high tech and then founding MarkeTech.) Many years ago he sent me the following.

“How Specs Live Forever (author unknown)

“The U.S. Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and the U.S. railroads were built by English expatriates.

“Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

“Why did ‘they’ use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

“Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because that’s the spacing of the old wheel ruts. 

“So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts?

(more…)

The Apple-Gizmodo Affair…Publicity Stunt or Accident?

April 29, 2010

Having been in the high-tech marketing and public relations industry for decades and as president of MarkeTech, I find it hard to believe that this Apple-Gizmodo affair was an “accident.” An Apple employee inadvertently leaves the next-gen iPhone prototype in a bar. Really? Someone picks it up and just happens to sell it to Gizmodo for $5,000. Are you serious? From where I sit, this looks more like a brilliant publicity stunt and calculated press leak to build anticipation.

As a former principal at Regis McKenna, Inc. (RMI), the firm that launched Apple, I can tell you that every move, every message, the timing and substance of communications with press and analysts, were always carefully choreographed by Apple down to the last detail. Nothing was leaked “accidentally.” RMI employees couldn’t even share information with other in-house personnel who were not on the Apple account.

While at RMI, my team had wrapped up a marathon session on Motorola’s launch of the industry’s first wireless LAN. My team and I, along with a group of Motorola engineers, dashed to O’Hare airport. Two days later Motorola called. Which one of us had left confidential
(more…)

My Two Cents About “Getting Your Money’s Worth”

April 17, 2010

UCBTHRPZMQNB

While I realize that Roopinder Tara’s blog, presented here, gives good marketing advice to its CAD CEO audience, there are a few misconceptions about the cost effectiveness and results of “marketing campaigns” that warrant further comment.

 “Press: Getting Your Money’s Worth
By Roopinder Tara

 “Let’s say you are a beleaguered CAD CEO and are trying desperately to move your company ahead in these tough times. Marketing is a good place to start. Let us examine the prevailing marketing guidelines that seem to be emerging.

 “DO:
          1.  Spend your advertising revenue on Google ads.
          2.  Befriend an already popular blogger

 “DON’T:
          Develop and invest in a marketing campaign.

 “Let’s look into this a bit further. (more…)

Five Telltale Signs: It’s Time to Fire Your Marketing/PR Firm

April 2, 2010

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I recently heard that, at any given time, 40 percent of companies represented by marketing and PR firms are looking to replace the incumbent.

If you’re already a member of the 40 percent club, then here’s further validation of your decision to terminate. If you’re not, here are the issues to pay attention to…you may already be in the 40 percent club, but just don’t realize it.

I’m intimately familiar with the reasons for making a switch. As a high-tech marketing and PR professional for 30 years, I’ve been one of those two out of five clients who had to replace a firm. Likewise, as president of my own firm, I’ll candidly admit that I’ve replaced incumbents.

While there may be other “good causes,” invariably, decisions to terminate a firm come down to budget concerns. If you’re experiencing any of the following budget-related issues, it’s time to cut the cord. (more…)


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