Marketing U

Marketing is about developing a strategy to interest customers in the products or services you offer, and then implementing it. Marketing is a plan for how to communicate benefits. Marketing yourself works the same way as marketing for profit or non-profit organizations.

Begin with determining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) Use the formula from Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch: Action Verb (What you actually do) + Noun (target market you do it for) + Benefit (the result of what you do.)

Once you know your USP, think about your brand. With a brand, you plan the entire customer experience by packaging an image that reveals identity. An effective brand, appeals to emotional needs, and includes things like:

  • graphics
  • logo
  • business cards

Find ways to sell benefits rather than features. Benefits are the results that you can achieve if you use the features. An effective brand appeals to emotional needs. After you’ve done all the homework, you still have to fish for the hook.

As an individual, your products or services include your strengths, skills and talents. List these, then next to each one list features and benefits, your target market, and media that are most likely to reach it. Media can range from print materials to videos on a website, and can vary greatly in cost. Get creative to achieve wow factor without spending a lot. To get ideas, brainstorm with others and ask for feedback.


Additional tools in your marketing toolkit

Be ready with a clear, concise, creative, compelling answer to the question “what do you do?”

  • A verbal business card communicates value, going beyond a simple statement of occupation to describe the results that you achieve.
  • An elevator speech is a micro sales presentation of self, pitching the high points of an idea.
  • A mission statement describes who you are and what you stand for, including the values you hold most important.
  • A vision statement describes what you see happening in the future

See Also: Copyblogger on Unique Selling Proposition.

Information and Findability

Like talents that are never found or expressed, like ideas that languish and are lost, “Information that’s hard to find is information you can’t use.” -Peter Morville, author of “Ambient Findability.

This is something that fascinates me about productivity and information. Productivity methods enable us to save information so that we can find it again when needed. Blogging is a very effective way of doing this. And information can be valuable indeed.

It also fascinates me the way we sometimes find the most interesting information in a very serendipitous way. I read the above quote from a blog in my feedreader and it aroused my curiousity to Google the name, which led me to There I found a post that mentioned an article “Being Shallow” by Grant Campbell at boxesandarrows. It deals with the difficulty of “doing it all” and the advantages of focusing. One of the most commented posts there is “Comics: Not Just for Laughs” by Rebekah Sedaca, which talks about comics as an effective way to communicate.

Back to findability

See the honeycomb diagram in the article User Experience Design at Semantic Studios.

Is this site?

  • useful-providing innovative solutions?
  • desirable-visually attractive and a clear brand?
  • accessible-designed for access for all?
  • credible-providing regular, dependable information?
  • findable-
  • can users find the site?
  • can users find their way around the website?
  • can users find info on the site despite the website?
  • usable-user friendly?
  • valuable-advancing the mission through the user experience?

“Findability precedes usability. In the alphabet and on the Web. You can’t use what you can’t find.” – Peter Morville

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath

Want to know how to communicate ideas effectively? In “Made to Stick” authors Chip and Dan Heath practice what they preach by providing concrete examples of successful messages that are understood, remembered and have a lasting impact. To design one, simply follow their SUCCESs checklist.

Simplicity gets right to the core idea and packages it in compact form. If there was time to communicate only one thing, what would it be? The curse of knowledge is that once we know something, we forget what it was like not to know it. We arrive at answers by reading data and arriving at conclusions, but sharing this information is not the effective way to tell others.

Gain attention and interest with the unexpected. Arouse curiosity by posing a question which points out a gap in knowledge. Then reveal one clue leading to another down a path to an answer we now want to know. 

Get concrete by converting abstract ideas into clear images of tangible, specific things.

Boost credibility with authorities, demonstrations, and details that symbolize the core idea.

Inspire emotions with imagination. Appeal to interests by spelling out the benefit of the benefit with why, not what. Identify on an individual level to create an emotional response. 

Stories involve us in the idea and invite participation. Stories remain in our memories. Be alert for stories with the potential to inspire, entertain, illustrate and teach.

With these ideas, anyone can make an idea stick.

Made to Stick Blog

Common Craft review

To the point of no return(s)

Interruptions and Distractions

Over at Creating Passionate Users, Kathy Sierra talks about Is Twitter Too Good? There’s a great illustration about how the newfangled ability to be constantly connected interrupted and distracted has shot dramatically up. How can we focus and accomplish great things something anything? We need to be aware and take control of our tools! Know when you’re at the point of low return(s) and absolutely pull the plug when you’re at the point of NO return(s)!

By the way, some blogs I read to kick-start, dial-up, get in touch with, and just plain old inspire creativity. Creating Passionate Users is awesome for this! Sometimes I do serendipitous typing, and ended up with Crating Passionate Users…no, no, no…we definitely do not want to box up our users or our creativity. Think outside the box!

Email Management

Managing email is a major task. Knowledge workers spend 28% of their time on Luckily, there is lots of information available on how to handle it. Listed below are a few links to articles I have found helpful.

The four D’s for decision making are similar to the ones for paper management.

Getting To Done: email triage at Lifehacker describes a folder system.

Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload by Stever Robbins.

An Inbox Zero Resolution

Melin Mann at 43 Folders has an “Inbox Zero” series. Here is a slideshare.

For those interested in Getting Things Done, Gmail has a GTD Firefox extension.

8 Things Email is Good For and How To Keep Your Inbox Empty: 7 Simple Email Tactics from