Strategic Advantage 

Marketing, Social Media and Business Strategies

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Thought leadership for business development.


To BE or not to BE … Effectively

July 17th, 2017 by Dale Jones

“Marketing takes a day to learn. Unfortunately, it takes a lifetime to master.”
- Phil Kolter

Are you a brand name stalwart, practically married to a coffee, computer software or a particular service?

If so, you’re probably able to rattle off a litany of reasons to rationalize your brand name relationships.

Considering why a product or service earns your trust, hence your cash, is a science called Behavioral Economics: “… a method of economic analysis that applies psychological insights into human behavior to explain economic decision-making.” (Oxford Dictionary)

To be truly successful in marketing and advertising, we need to understand Behavioral Economics (BE) at a deep level in order to most effectively influence potential clients and/or customers.

Long before BE had a name, marketers were implementing it, for instance, Three for the price of two offers. Yet, despite marketing industry leadership use of BE, to this day, few utilize BE principles in a systematic way.

Solid BE marketing management works like magic to make seemingly irrational purchasing patterns more predictable. Understanding exactly how small changes to the details of an offer can influence the way people react is crucial to unlocking significant value-driven marketing technique and dominance.

Marketing professionals worth their salt know: ‘the ground is moving beneath our feet’. Fickle consumers are more demanding, enlightened and empowered. Hence, maintaining brand control is harder than in the past.

Customers expect brands to create meaningful, relevant experiences to simplify their purchase decisions and … their lives.

Behavior follows trends.

The secret sauce in BE is understanding how your customers make decisions and how your marketing should influence these decisions.



The Great Glass Elevator Speech

July 17th, 2017 by Dale Jones

Why the ‘Traditional Elevator Speech’ Leads Nowhere

As marketing and communication professionals, we’re frequently asked by nervous entrepreneurs and professionals headed to networking meetings about the best way to put together an “Elevator Speech”.

Fear not! Surprisingly and simply Willy Wonka has the answer.

First, let’s define an Elevator Speech.

Wikipedia says:

“An elevator pitch (or elevator speech or statement) is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition.

The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.”

Back to Willy Wonka, the fictional character originally played by Gene Wilder and later Johnny Depp in the 1964 Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Incredibly, Wonka depicted the best way to begin thinking about effective ‘elevator speeches’ in his description of the Great Glass Elevator, which he called the Wonkavator.

Willy Wonka:  “This is the great glass Wonkavator.”

Grandpa Joe:  “It’s an elevator.”

Willy Wonka:  “It’s a Wonkavator. An elevator can only go up and down, but the Wonkavator can go sideways and slantways and longways and backways…”

Charlie:  “And frontways?”

Willy Wonka:  “…and squareways and front ways and any other ways that you can think of. ……”

To be effective, think in terms of your creating a Great Glass Elevator Speech that moves up, down, sideways, slantways, longways, backways, frontways, squareways.

Instead of a Traditional one-way Elevator Speech which proceeds only from the speaker to the captive, often dismissive listener.

Let’s look at a few reasons traditional one-way elevator speeches potentially do more harm than good.

For the complete article: Pay it Forward



An Answer for Growth Starved Companies: Thought Leadership

July 7th, 2017 by Dale Jones

Growth starved companies are commonly practicing Random Acts of Content; releasing periodic white papers, articles, videos, and blog posts with little focus or depth. However, when you are dealing with high level clients facing serious business challenges, this scattershot approach provides little value.

Thought LeaderThe answer is Thought Leadership:

An invitation for discussion…which ultimately provides an opportunity to get to know your client – and connect better – through meaningful communication.

A Strategic Thought Leadership Program helps position you as The Trusted Advisor in your industry.

Gartner, Inc. the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company defines Thought Leadership Marketing as “the giving – for free or at a nominal charge – information or advice that a client will value so as to create awareness of the outcome that a company’s product or service can deliver, in order to position and differentiate
the offering and stimulate demand for it.”

A thought leadership program provides the organization, the executives and the salespeople with a sustained stream of education and advisory content to help open doors, make more effective sales calls, differentiate their organization and deliver trusted advice, services and product. 

As you build a thought leadership position over time, your company will be increasingly seen as an industry authority, resource and trusted advisor, enhancing your brand’s visibility and reputation, helping you generate revenue and inspiring client loyalty.

In order to reach those objectives, a strategy is required which focuses on the creation of content relevant and compelling to your target audience, engaging those audiences where they congregate.

Thought leadership programs enable companies to leverage business development, marketing, sales, and strategic branding.

There are practical steps your company can take to design and execute a thought leadership program to help your sales force generate measurable sales growth in the next sales quarter.

  1. Build the foundation. Like building a house, a thought
    leadership program must be built on a sound foundation. If a thought
    leadership program is going to create business value, it needs to directly
    support your sales process and drive your communications, branding and
    product sales goals.
  2. Create building block assets. A profitable thought leadership
    program is built upon a common set of sales assets – such as original
    research reports, client videos, client ideas, practical “how
    to” articles, client education web sites, and advisory tools – all
    integrated with your sales process.
  3. Deliver multi channel programs. Deliver these
    thought leadership assets to your clients using disciplined sales programs
    such as education events, monthly “micro sales campaigns”, sales
    calls, e-mails and phone calls.
  4. Take a Stand: Make bold statements that might
    seem counterintuitive to what common sense says. You have to think about
    your messages as something someone is going to want to read.
  5. Be Vertically Famous: What you want to do is figure out
    to which audience you wish to be famous. You want to be known by all in
    that very particular industry.
  6. What Does Your Competition Miss? It’s a good
    idea to see what is not being done well, or perhaps not at all, by your
  7. Develop Your “Voice”: Whatever your
    style is, make a conscious decision to use and develop it. This is
    integral to your new branding effort.
  8. Get Published: There is a distinct halo effect
    when you can add the word “author” to your attributions.
  9. Start a Newsletter and a Blog: If your
    product or service has a long lead time, it makes good sense to start a
    periodic publication online. An e-newsletter is the most obvious way to
    go, but you should probably augment and amortize the content by employing
    other channels, such as publishing your own blog. When done right, there’s
    no better way to spend your marketing money.
  10. Talk Less, Listen More: Ask questions of everyone around
  11. Press the Flesh: In this age of increased computer
    marketing, there’s a lot to be said for a physical presence.

Leverage your content. A thought leadership program is about pervasive presence and ongoing conversation, not just traditional publishing and speaking. Clients want to think about and debate your ideas.
To encourage and facilitate this discussion, you need to leverage your thought leadership content by publishing compelling bits and bytes in appropriate formats across the networks and channels frequented by your clients.

If you’re working on a white paper, for example, you want to think: Is there a short video we can produce?

Where can we blog about this?

What articles can we publish?

Where are the opportunities to brief our clients on our new thinking?