The Difference Between Winners and Losers

From Steve Blank‘s Four Steps to the Epiphany: The difference between winners and losers is simple. Products developed with senior management out in front of customers early and often – win. Products handed off to a sales and marketing organization that has only been tangentially involved in the new Product Development process lose. It’s that simple.

Dangers Related to Upgrading Customers

…from a business perspective, account limits like Basecamp has for the number of active projects can be a double-edged sword. On one hand it’s an opportunity to upgrade customers and have them pay you more money each month. On the other hand, it forces customers to revise their position, and if you’re not doing a really great job, it can prompt them to question the value of an account they may have otherwise carried on using for years. (via Moving

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Gently Introduce the Product

Respect your customers, but gently introduce them to a better product: Oskar’s didn’t just bring in its own selection of hand-crafted brews, though; the tap line includes draughts from competitors, such as Left Hand and New Belgium. “We’re all about promoting great beer in general,” Gray said. “Introducing craft beer to the consumer is so important to us. When someone orders a Coors Light, we serve it with a 3-ounce sample of Mama’s Little Yella Pils.” (via 43 beers and

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Steve Jobs on Marketing the iPod Touch

It makes me feel better about my own marketing efforts to read that Steve Jobs and Apple had trouble with the initial marketing of the iPod Touch: “Originally, we weren’t exactly sure how to market the Touch. Was it an iPhone without the phone? Was it a pocket computer? What happened was, what customers told us was, they started to see it as a game machine,” he said. “We started to market it that way, and it just took off.

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How Do You Prefer Web Startups Communicate?

I’m in the process of launching a new product and with a clean slate I’ve started to re-examine all my processes. One communication aspect I feel the need to visit is how users of a service prefer to stay informed about developments and news. Specifically, I’m talking about new features and updates. While there are many options, the main ones come down to the following: Email Blog – visit directly Blog – subscribe to RSS feeds Twitter View notifications when

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Bad Email Marketing from Priceline

This is one of the worst marketing emails I’ve seen in a while: Priceline.com wants me to fill out a survey for a recent car rental I made through their site. Simple and innocent enough at first glance. What really bothers me with this email is their reason why I should fill out the survey. Usually, I hesitate to fill out any survey unless I have had a bad experience. If I’ve had a positive or neutral experience, I usually

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Corporate Twitter usage for marketing

I’ve praised Twitter many times already, but we’re starting to see more companies use the service effectively for marketing and customer support. Silicon Alley Insider posts a list of the top corporate Twitters worth following. At the top of their list are @comcastcares, @zappos, @jetblue, and @southwestair While many bloggers have praised Comcast for its use of Twitter, I would just add that some caution is needed (especially in the case of Comcast). It’s very easy to use a service

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Changing the name of your company

Pat Matthews writes about changing the name of Webmail.us to Mailtrust: “The first challenge in the naming process was coming to the realization that we needed to change our name. Even though we knew our name was flawed, we spent a lot of time, money, and energy building our brand over the years. And all things considered, I think we did a pretty good job. Weâ??re no Nike or Yahoo!, but in our industry, people know who we are. Starting

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Don't send me calendars when all I want is respect

I was doing some cleanup around the house this weekend and finally got around to a large pile of junk mail sitting on the counter (you know you have one too). One of the items sitting there was a set of calendars and a form letter from the sales agent of the builder of my house (bought two years ago). Realtors are trained that this farming is a good sales practice. Send out something to every potential prospect on your

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Customer experience in retail

I read that Circuit City, despite its troubles, was continuing its multi-quarter turnaround plan. Here’s my free advice to Circuit City – copy Best Buy. Yes, it’s quite simple advice. Just hang out at your local Best Buy (Circuit City management you may have noticed they’re everywhere now) and start taking notes. The last time I ventured into a Circuit City store I felt the atmosphere to be dark and depressing. Additionally, the sales people pounced on you as soon

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