Marketing Leverage Times – Spring 2005

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Marketing Leverage Times. Our goal is to provide you with provocative information and thought-provoking commentary on marketing and business issues to help you better leverage your investment in marketing programs, processes and people. We hope you will enjoy this regular collection of tips, tidbits and tools and we welcome your input and feedback. Tell us what you like and don’t like and what you’d like to see in future editions.


Anyone who’s ever undertaken a home painting project knows the frustration of choosing just the right shade of paint for that particular wall, ceiling or trim. For example, you can’t just choose a white or off-white paint-there are literally dozens of shade of white or off-white colors-hundreds, if you consider multiple brands. Some have a hint of yellow, some a touch of pink, others a bit of grey, or a bluish tint. How do you figure out which one is right for you?

Those nice little paint chips they give you at the store are only marginally helpful-it’s nearly impossible to visualize how a whole room or even a wall will look from that 1 x 2 inch sample. So if you’re like most people, you pick two or three colors, buy a small can of each, take them home and put them on the wall. If you’re lucky, one of these gives you what you’re looking for and you’re set. If not, it’s more trips to the paint store, more small cans of paint, and a lot of extra, unused paint and expense before you’re done (All that unused paint is considered hazardous waste, by the way, and must be disposed of properly).

Consider what the folks at Ralph Lauren Paint have come up with: a small 1 ounce plastic pouch of paint that is just enough to cover a 2 x 2 foot section of wall. No leftovers, no disposal problem, easy to apply, and a pretty ingenious way to pick paint colors. They’re inexpensive enough (about $3 each) that you can buy half a dozen of these, put them on your wall next to each other and easily see what color you really like. It’s a great find for homeowners, an additional service for retailers, and a solution that required virtually no new R&D, limited investment in packaging and virtually little expense to launch and deliver.

Think about your own products and services. There may be nothing really wrong with how you provide your offerings to customers, but maybe there’s a way to make them more “right.” Perhaps by better understanding your customers’ business problems, you can make incremental changes to the way your offering is delivered that provide additional value and significantly improve your customer’s experience. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch, re-engineer a product, or deliver the next big innovation to create a more memorable experience for your customer. Sometimes you just need to think outside the can.

CHECKLIST: Are You Thinking Innovatively?

  • How well do you understand your customers’ problems and needs?
  • Do you know how your customers really use your product or service?
  • What about your current offering frustrates your customers or makes it more difficult for them to solve their problems?
  • What issues do they have that aren’t addressed by your current offering?
  • How can you influence the whole experience your customer faces when using your offering?
  • Can you make small changes to the way your offering is delivered that will help solve incremental needs or create a better customer experience?
  • Have you thought about creating a low-cost try-before-buy option, to let customers “sample” your offering practically risk-free?

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We’ve created a new feature on our website. Marketing Leverage Points are short, focused tips on specific marketing issues or problems. Each includes a checklist to help stimulate discussion and thought as you build your marketing programs and initiatives. Look for more Leverage Points each month.

A new marketing program, a new message, a new theme. It’s a lot of work and sometimes it’s more than unnecessary, it’s actually harmful.

Consider this. Your message may look familiar and even overexposed to you, but not necessarily to your audience… Go to Leverage2Market’s website for the rest of this Leverage Point.


Need to find out what’s happening in the Bay Area in Marketing? Check out the new Resources section of our website, including a list of upcoming events of interest to marketing professionals and executives in the Bay Area. Events are added regularly so check back here often. If you know of a series of events that should be added, please let us know.


On May 13th, Linda J. Popky, President of Leverage2Market Associates, Inc, will be speaking to the San Mateo IMC Area Breakfast for Consultants on “Three Things They Didn’t Tell You About Running a Consulting Business.” Admission is free; attendees pay only for their own breakfast. For more information, click here.

On May 24th, Linda will be speaking to the IEEE Consultants Network Silicon Valley (CNSV) on “Why Advertising Doesn’t Work for Consultants.” For more information on this free presentation, click here.


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