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Play-Doh and Product-Market Fit

Product-market fit can be a big challenge for companies with new innovations. Many struggle to align their technologies with the interests of the market. Luckily for generations of kids, the company behind Play-Doh kept its eyes open when its original product began to falter. It’s a fascinating case study that provides four great lessons in product-market fit. The Story of Play-Doh Play-Doh began as wallpaper cleaner in 1933. Yes, wallpaper…

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How to Avoid Becoming a Zombie Tech Company

I’ve read dozens of marketing books over the years, but the one I continue to revisit is Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm. During my 25 years working in B2B technology marketing, I’ve seen his theories play out time and time again. I’ve also watched many companies fail to cross the chasm and turn into zombie companies, trapped in a slow death spiral and trying to avoid extinction. (If you’re watching…

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Your Product Needs a Messaging Map. Not a Message.

Think one clever tagline will suffice for your product message? For an effective sales and marketing effort, it won’t. Instead, you need a Product Messaging Map, a go-to, internal document that ensures everyone in the company communicates your story consistently. Why you need a Messaging Map I refer to a Messaging Map as the source of truth for your message. Creating a brochure? Turn to the Messaging Map. Writing website…

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The 5 Go-to-Market Principles for Revenue Success

Pop quiz! What go-to-market principles do you need in place to successfully monetize your product? Choose all that apply. Positioning Messaging Timing Endorsement Execution If you picked every option, you get an A+. Whether you’re launching a new product or selling your signature solution, you need to get every one of these right to achieve market acceptance and revenue success.   The success formula for monetizing your product Principle #1:…

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How “Stick Man” Guided a Startup to $500 Million

Anyone who was at Citrix in the early years will remember “Stick Man.” This was the mantra of Roger Roberts, the CEO who grew Citrix from pre-revenue to a half-billion in sales. Stick Man was the summons to make everything as simple and streamlined as possible. He was everywhere at Citrix – in our engineering, finances, marketing and sales departments. If you were presenting your next big idea at a…

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Get an “Aha!” from Your Prospects

Bringing new technologies to market can feel lonely. Your product is truly special, which can change the life of your target customer. But unfortunately, those customers aren’t yet knocking down your door. When your sales reps finally get them in a room (or Zoom), they’re met with a litany of excuses. The song goes something like this: “This is a really cool solution, but it’s not something we can consider…

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A CEO’s Most Dangerous Love Affair

I’ve met a few CEOs lately who are having an affair. They gladly confess that they’re madly in love… with their product. They tell me how their product will change the world. That it’s the next iWatch or Uber. They love their product soooo much. If only they could find more customers to love it too.

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How to Turn a Decent Idea Into a Great One

I see a lot of small tech companies struggling with their strategic marketing decisions: What should our message be? What product feature should we add? What new vertical should we go after?

They spend months agonizing in search of the “best” idea. But the truth is that there are only a few truly great ideas in the world, and most become great only because they’ve been executed well.

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Market the Fruit, Not the Chemical Compounds

Many tech companies are brilliant at inventing new products, but not at describing them. They expect their customers to see their solutions as clearly as they do. Maybe it’s because many tech leaders were educated as engineers. So they naturally explain their technology-enabled products from the inside out. For example, someone who invented the world’s first orange, might express they’re message this way: “Our product is built using a unique…

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