Wednesday, June 26, 2024

3 Ways for a Small Business to Become More Creative

 By Sharon Lee

Have you ever wished you could be more creative?

Modern culture often labels creativity as a gift, something we are born with. Yes, there’s some truth in that. In my opinion, though, every single one of us can become more creative. You simply require the right stimuli, tools and environment. Creativity is a skill to be learned, practiced, and developed, just like any other. Juggling takes practice, as does surfing, coding, and driving a car. Creativity is no different. The more you make creativity part of your daily life, the more it will grow.

So, how can we be more creative? Here are three suggestions:

1. Stretching the Vision

Letting your mind wander outside the box, can help fuel your creativity, especially when you’ve already invested a lot of time and energy on a project—daydreaming for as little as 12 minutes was shown to improve creative thinking in a study published in the Journal of Psychological Science.

Alternatively, if you feel too busy to daydream, consider interspersing tasks that demand more creativity with less mentally-intensive ones, as this has been shown to be beneficial too.

And, if you still feel guilty about visualizing during the work day, consider that studies have shown that visualizing so improves working memory (the kind of memory that enables us to think about multiple things at once) so you will be more proficient at multi-tasking.

2. Test Yourself

Many of us take the path of “least mental resistance” when forced to solve a problem, according to research by the Institute of Education Sciences. In other words, we resort to solutions that have worked in the past.

In contrast, we are often at our most creative when facing limitations—one of the most famous examples of this was Dr. Seuss producing Green Eggs & Ham after being challenged by his editor to produce an entire book in fewer than 50 different words.

Try restricting your work in some way and you may see the benefits of your brain coming up with creative solutions to finish a project around the parameters you’ve set.

3. Build a Playful Environment

Consider keeping toys such as Play-Doh, Lego and origami paper at your desk—building something physically with your hands, as opposed to typing on a keyboard, can give you just the creative jolt you need.

Be open to reading books, viewing artworks and watching movies that are surreal, even absurd, as these can help boost pattern recognition and problem solving. A study at the University of Southern California, Santa Barbara showed that participants were more creative after reading Franz Kafka and Lewis Carroll because surreal/absurd art puts the mind in “overdrive” for a short period while it tries to understand what is seeing.

Lastly, don’t overlook the relationship between your creativity and your emotions. I know that I’m the most innovative after a rest. An open and positive mood are the best place for me to be creative in  and more importantly, being influenced by other designs and looking at what other people are doing makes me want to create something more original. Reflect on what type of moods works for you and, when you find yourself feeling that way, focus that energy on creating something extraordinary. 

Thanks for reading. 

I'd love to know what you think of this article - leave me a comment with your thoughts or suggestions.



Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How to Create the Go-To-Market Strategy for Your Product

By David Ronald

First, the bad news. 

Around 95% of new products launched every year fail, according to Harvard Business School

What does failure mean in this context? Well, in simple terms, it means that the revenues derived from the new product failed to have any positive impact on a company’s revenues.

Now, the good news.  

Proactively defining your go-to-market strategy ahead of the introduction of a new product significantly increases the probability of its success once launched. 

Why You Need A GTM Strategy

A go-to-market strategy (GTM) anticipate the challenges of a competitive market by thoroughly identifying the target audiences, articulating the product’s value proposition, describing a marketing plan, and providing a strategy for its sales channels. 


Some of the most common benefits of compiling an effective GTM strategy include:

  • Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, the target market, and your product’s place in it.
  • Defining and rroubleshooting product positioning and messaging before going to market. 
  • Keeping marketing costs down by identifying promotional channels with the highest return on investment.
  • Concretely defining the logistics of distribution and sales channels before launch to ensure maximum market impact.

In addition to helping you launch a product successfully, compiling an effective GTM strategy can benefit your business in several ways, including:

  • Understanding the market—compiling a GTM strategy involves gaining a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, the target market, your competitors, your competitors, and your proposed product’s place in it. With more insight into customers and the market conditions, your organization will have more tools to thrive in all areas of business, from product launches to introducing a new brand identity to the world.
  • Reducing costs—with a solid GTM strategy, you can keep marketing costs down by identifying promotional channels with the highest return on investment (ROI) and developing marketing messaging and content that will resonate with your target market.
  • Reducing time to market—GTM strategies also help you launch products more quickly in the following ways:
  • Prioritizing tasks that are essential for a product to enter the market.
  • Troubleshooting product positioning and messaging before going to market.
  • Concretely defining the logistics of distribution and sales channels before launch to ensure maximum market impact.

Depending on the kind of product you are launching, you might consider the minimum viable product approach: making sure the product has enough features to attract early adopters, validating the product, and learning what product updates or improvements could improve customer experience.

Your GTM strategy, when skillfully executed, can increase your organization’s growth potential. With access to new niche markets, organized market data, and an efficient process for launching products, you can seize growth opportunities more easily than without a predefined and clearly-articulated strategy.

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan vs. GTM Strategy

People sometimes use the terms marketing strategy, marketing plan, and go-to-market strategy interchangeably and, although there is overlap and similarity, they are not the same thing.

  • Marketing Strategy—a long-term strategy (often many years in the future) that outlines a business’s overall marketing objectives.
  • Marketing Plan—an action plan outlining the concrete steps required to undertake a marketing campaign.
  • Go-to-market Strategy—a strategic outline of the considerations and steps required to bring a new product to the marketplace successfully.

While GTM strategy can include a marketing plan and be directed by a marketing strategy, neither a marketing plan nor a marketing strategy includes a concrete GTM strategy!

Creating Your GTM strategy

A go-to-market strategy compiles several other strategies and marketing methods to ensure a product enters the market with the best possible chance of success. To help you better understand what goes into compiling a GTM strategy, the following guide includes key elements you should develop throughout the process.

1. Identify Your Target Market

The customer is the centerpiece of any marketing strategy.  

As a result, whether you are bringing a new product to market or refreshing an existing one, it is imperative that you first research and identify the target market that will be most interested in purchasing it. 

A target market is a group of individuals who have a shared set of features, such as demographic or psychographic similarities. The process of identifying the shared similarities between groups is called segmentation and involves researching the kinds of individuals or organizations that would be most likely to purchase your product. 

As you identify your target market, answer these questions:

  • Is your product being sold to everyday consumers (B2C) or to other businesses (B2B)?
  • Will you use demographic, psychographic, or other types of segmentation to define your target market?
  • What are the pain points of your target market? What problem are you solving with your product?

Repeat this exercise if you are addressing more than one target market. 

2. Describe Your Value Proposition

A product’s value proposition is the benefit it provides customers and the problems it solves. In other words, your product’s value proposition articulates why the target market should purchase the product. 

The value proposition that you identify should be as much about the target market you are selling to as the product itself. For example, while some products position themselves as a cheaper alternative to another product, others position themselves as the solution to a particular problem that currently has no market solution. 

The exact value proposition that your product or service will provide is dependent on what it is and who its target market is. To define your product's value proposition, answer the following:

  • What pain points does your product remedy?
  • How does your product stand out from your competitors?
  • What unique features or experience does your product or service provide potential customers? 

Ideally, your value proposition delivers a significant (ideally 10x) improvement compared to the solution your customers are using at present. If not, it may be challenging for your sales team to persuade your prospects to switch from your competitor to you.

3. Define Your Pricing Strategy

Price is an important factor for any product. You don’t want to sell a product for too much or too little. If you do, you’ll risk either not moving enough product or eating too much into your profit margin. 

Now that you have an understanding of your target market and the value that your product offers, you have a better understanding of what price a consumer might be willing to pay for your product. 

As you consider your pricing strategy, some questions you might ask yourself include:

  • How much does it cost to manufacture your product?
  • What price do you need to meet in order to make a profit?
  • How much do your competitors charge for a similar product or service?
  • What is your target marketing willing to pay for your product?
  • Will you use a subscription or transactional model?

A good price is one that fits your business objectives, matches your customer profile, and makes you competitive in the marketplace. (Keep an eye open for a future blog post on pricing strategy.)

4. Craft Your Promotion Strategy

Your promotion strategy is your action plan to promote your product to your target customers. Here, you should craft a marketing plan that outlines the exact steps you will take to reach your customer base. 

The techniques you use to promote your product will depend entirely on the product or service you are selling. For instance, while one business might use a sales team to pitch their product to other businesses, another might instead focus on social media marketing to raise brand awareness and draw in potential customers organically. 

As you craft your promotion strategy, some questions to consider include:

  • What is the best channel to reach your target audience? Online or offline?
  • Does your customer respond better to outbound marketing methods, such as phone calls or radio advertisements, or inbound marketing efforts like SEO?
  • Where does your target audience spend most of their time? What marketing channels penetrate that space?
  • What marketing methods can you realistically implement now considering your current budget?

This is your opportunity to be stand out from your competition by being bold and innovative!  I’ve heard this described as a “Broadway Show” It’s an apt metaphor.

5. Build Your Sales and Distribution Ecosystem

Sales channels are where buyers can purchase your product, while distribution channels are the ways that your product actually gets to your customer. 

Often, sales channels and distribution channels can be the same, such as when a consumer buys directly from a manufacturer. In other instances, distribution channels can be much more complex, such as when a producer sells to a wholesaler, who in turn sells to a retailer who then finally sells their product to a consumer. 

Some points to consider when choosing sales and distribution channels include:

  • What is the nature of your product and does it have any specific sales and distribution requirements?
  • What are the manufacturing needs of your product and how does that impact its sale and distribution?
  • Where does your target market shop or buy products?
  • How can you make the sale of your product as seamless as possible? 

Whether you decide to sell your product in-person or online, directly to a consumer or to a wholesaler, or some other variation, depends on the unique needs of your product. Whatever you pick, the buyer’s journey should be as seamless as possible to reduce friction and increase sales.

6. Identify Metrics and Track Performance

The success of your go-to-market strategy is completely dependent on the goals that you set. In setting these goals, you are also identifying the metrics you will use to measure your success.

For example, if it turns out that you are paying more to acquire customers than they are paying for your product, then you will need to adjust your strategy to reach a better customer acquisition cost. 

Some common metrics for measuring the success of a go-to-market strategy include:

  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC).
  • Cost per dollar of sales expense.
  • Closing/ conversion rate.
  • Length of the sales cycle.

As your GTM strategy goes from idea to reality, it is important to keep track of your metrics and to make any necessary adjustments as you go along.  

Get Market Ready

An effective GTM strategy is at the core of every successful business. 

Your target audience likely has tens or even hundreds of competing offerings to choose from, and by planning your GTM strategy and tracking each relevant program through an analytics dashboard, you can keep a constant pulse on your strategy's effectiveness and pivot towards more effective programs. 

This can make the difference between being one of the 95% of new products that fail every year and the 5% that succeed. 

Thanks for reading.

 If you found this article helpful be sure to read our blog post on product launch planning.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Empower your Sales Team with Training, Tools, and Insights

 By David Ronald

Always Be Closing was the mantra repeated menacingly by Alex Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross. And, although real life sales environments require much more sophistication, every company needs its reps to be closing deals.

The success of your business maps directly to the proficiency of your sales team. In this blog post I will explain how sales enablement can increase the performance of your reps by providing them with the training, tools and metrics they need to win.
  • First, training. Many companies fail to invest the time, energy and expertise needed to acclimate new hires adequately, resulting in missed quotas and high turnover. Don’t fall into this trap. A formal on boarding plan minimizes the time before a new hire begins contributing to the bottom line and enhances the long-term productivity of sales reps. It can also increase the probability of sales staff staying longer with your company.
  • Next, marketing tools. Since large companies may have a dozen people or more involved in a buying decision, create content that will resonate with your audience. Avoid the mistake, for example, of talking “speeds and feeds” to someone in finance, or profit and loss to someone in engineering. Identify your key buying personas, understand their business issues and create content relevant to each one.
  • Last, but not least, insights. Data help you understand what’s working, and what’s not working. Ask your sales and marketing teams a series of questions and use this information to make adjustments. Repeat these questions at least twice a year, and act on insights they yield.

(Click here to read our white paper on sales enablement:

Every selling opportunity counts, especially for a new business, and, although it is incumbent on your sales team to be “tip of the spear”, everyone in your organization should be able to articulate your value proposition. After all, potentially anyone could find themselves in the seat on an aircraft next to the gatekeeper at your biggest target account. Open up your new hire product training (described above) to everyone in your company, and encourage all your staff to participate in it.

Selling is a challenging role and requires a special type of personality, one who thrives in competitive situations. One of the marketing’s responsibilities is to empower reps with the training, tool and metrics they need to win. I have witnessed first-hand the power of sales and marketing teams working together synergistically and, in those circumstances, the closers were fully entitled to their coffee!

Thanks for reading.

What do you think of this post - did we omit anything?

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

What Types of Branding Are Best For Your Business?

By Sharon Lee 

A strong brand gives you an edge over your competitors. 

Branding is not only about getting your prospects to select you over your competition, it’s also about getting your prospects to see you as the best provider of a solution to their problem. 

A strong brand is invaluable when you battle for customers every day. It's important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your buyers.

Branding includes a name, logo, a strong theme that affects the website, ads, social media, signage, label, packaging, or the brand identity program of a seller and the services or products. 

The objectives that good branding will achieve include:

  • Building your credibility.
  • Emotionally connecting your target buyers with your product or service.
  • Motivating your prospects to buy.
  • Establishing user loyalty.

Your brand is the sum total of many aspects of your business.

Building Brand Equity

The effectiveness of branding doesn't just happen before the purchase, it's about the life of the brand and the long-term experience it provides to buyers.

  • Did the product or service perform as expected?
  • Was the quality as good as promised or better?
  • How was the customer service experience?

You can go a long way to creating a loyal customer if you can get positive answers to these questions.

And it’s important to realize that good branding not only creates loyal customers, but also loyal employees. It helps employees understand the purpose of the organization or the business—a strong brand gives your team something to believe in, something to stand behind.

If you are effective in creating a good brand, it will live within the hearts and minds of your customers and employees.

Good Design is Good Business

To build a successful brand you must understand the needs and wants of your prospects and customers.

This can be achieved by integrating your brand strategy through your company at every point of public contact—think of branding as the expression of who you are as a company or organization and what you offer. 

Start by answering the following statements:

  • What is my brand’s intention?
  • Does my brand reflect the company's objective?
  • How does my brand (look and feel and content) engage with my customers?
  • Does my brand create a need that it needs to be shared by others?
  • Does my brand bring likability to my customers?

Good design is an essential component of effective branding. Good design creates freshness, attraction, monetization and it compels action. Without good design your brand will lack cohesion, power and sustainability.

Your color palette, imagery/iconography, typography, brand consistency, brand tonality, messaging, are some of the key design considerations that span all buyer touchpoints.

Specific design considerations include:

Your brand is the sum total of your buyers’ experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.

Types of Branding

When creating your brand it is important to think about what type of branding you plan on utilizing. Online branding and offline branding refer to different strategies and channels used to build and promote a brand's identity and reputation.

Let’s look at the differences between them so that you know how best to use each one effectively for your company.

1. Online branding

  • Online branding refers to the activities and efforts carried out on the internet to establish and promote a brand's image.
  • It involves creating and maintaining a strong online presence through various digital platforms such as websites, social media, online advertisements, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO).
  • Online branding allows for direct interaction with the target audience through online platforms, enabling real-time engagement and feedback.
  • It provides the opportunity to reach a wider audience globally and target specific demographics through targeted online advertising.
  • Online branding focuses on building brand awareness, enhancing brand loyalty, and driving online sales and conversions.

2. Offline branding

  • Offline branding refers to the traditional marketing activities conducted outside of the online space to establish and promote a brand's image.
  • It includes offline advertising methods such as print ads, billboards, television and radio commercials, brochures, flyers, packaging, and direct mail campaigns.
  • Offline branding often relies on physical presence and traditional marketing channels to reach and engage with the target audience.
  • Offline branding strategies are typically location-specific and can be effective in reaching local communities.
  • Offline branding aims to build brand recognition and credibility through traditional marketing channels and in-person experiences.

Online branding, in essence, focuses on leveraging digital platforms and strategies to build and promote a brand's identity, while offline branding relies on traditional marketing channels and physical presence to establish and promote a brand's image.

Both online and offline branding strategies can complement each other and contribute to a comprehensive brand-building approach. Most established companies thrive to maintain the two types in equilibrium because they understand the importance of reaching different target audiences.


A brand can be viewed as both strategic and tactical.

Your brand serves as a guide to understanding the purpose of business objectives—it enables you to align a marketing plan with those objectives and fulfill the overarching strategy.

Defining and developing a brand takes expertise, care, and effort…but it will provide abundant benefits when done correctly.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

Let us know what you think about this blog post.