Find your “teacher customer.”

Berkonomics

Your customers know what they want more than you do. This week’s insight came from personal experience and from a good friend who advanced the notion of the “teacher-customer” years ago. The customer would be the first to receive the new functionality in a new release.

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Can you defend your pricing niche against your competition?

Berkonomics

This week, we continue our series on marketing and positioning. There can be nothing more important in your business planning that selecting the proper pricing niche, making your story clear using that niche, and the defending your position against the competition.

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How To Highlight A Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Startup Professionals Musings

Don’t bash the competition. Every investor knows how vulnerable a new startup is to competitors, so investors always ask about your sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. I look for entrepreneurs that can sell themselves and their offering to discerning customers.

Why I Look for Obsessive and Competitive Founders

Both Sides of the Table

When second place isn’t good enough because we live in winner-take-most markets. He wants to compete to be the lead drummer in the competitive ensemble and study under Terence, an obsessive instructor who is hell bent on winning competitions for the school. Obsession.

6 Keys To Convince Investors Of Your Competitive Edge

Startup Professionals Musings

Most entrepreneurs are quick to assert to potential investors that their product or solution will kill the competition, but unfortunately your opinion alone is not enough to convince most experienced investors. Skip the fuzzy marketing terms, like “easier to use” and “more functions.”

Here’s how NOT to define your competition

Berkonomics

An entrepreneur pitches using a deck with no slide for competition. We have no competition.”. Your potential customers could choose “do nothing.”. Perhaps buyers cannot obtain attractive financing in the current market. We investors see this all the time.

7 Keys To Active Listening For Real Customer Feedback

Startup Professionals Musings

Entrepreneurs and business executives seem to be even more focused on their technology than the rest of us, and less inclined to listen to the voice of the customer, even if they remember to ask. I doubt if any of these are really listening to their customers.

6 Keys to Marketing Customer Experience vs Products

Startup Professionals Musings

Not so long ago, every business assumed that the keys to success were the highest quality product, the best value for the buck, and the best customer service. Now all we hear about is providing the best “customer experience.” Customers don’t want prescriptions - they seek possibilities.

Make Yourself A Key Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Startup Professionals Musings

The only “sustainable competitive advantage” in business is self-awareness. Ultimately, self-awareness is about being the best competitor and the best leader that you can be, always making sound judgments, and effectively engaging with your team, partners, and customers.

6 Marketing Tips To Attract Customers To Your Rollout

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Flickr by jardenberg Your marketing launch is the most important element of startup success these days, to get customer attention in this world of information overload. Even great products need great marketing “content” to fuel the ascent of their online message.

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Customer-Centric Strategies Win Over Product-Centric

Startup Professionals Musings

Is your marketing focus product-centric or customer-centric ? With a wealth of products now available, customers look for the most memorable experience , not just the best product. Amazon is very customer-centric, but it can make all the difference in retail as well as online.

10 Marketing Strategies To Drive Exponential Growth

Startup Professionals Musings

Traditional marketing may be adequate for linear growth, but it likely won’t catapult you to Amazon’s unicorn status , or make waves in the business world. Let your highly motivated customers be your best marketing advocates for new customers.

4 Customer Decisive Moments That Your Startup Can Win

Startup Professionals Musings

Today’s customers are much more in control of their buying decision, as they have more choices and more information than ever before. Bloom’s classic book, “ The New Experts: Win Today's Newly Empowered Customers.” This new world is all about empowered customers.

7 Key Strategies To Ensure Long-Term Customer Growth

Startup Professionals Musings

They forget that adapting their company and themselves as their customers evolve is the key to long-term survival. Think of Blockbuster and Toys ‘R’ Us , both of whom missed customer changes and the move to online. Create an overt strategy to react to emerging customer trends.

Custom 101

8 Keys To Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences

Startup Professionals Musings

Most businesses spend big money testing their brand logo, catchy marketing phrases, and demographics, but spend little time training and validating that their employees can and do deliver exceptional experiences to their customers. Keep your team happy to create engaged customers.

Niche marketing works. Here’s how.

Berkonomics

How many of us throw away marketing dollars because our paid efforts reach an audience that is much larger than the target or niche audience we need to reach? So, let’s up our marketing knowledge first with a few short answers to marketing questions…. What Is niche marketing?

7 New Dimensions Of Market Value In This Digital Age

Startup Professionals Musings

As a startup advisor, I see too many entrepreneurs get distracted by technology or their favorite cause, and then wonder why they can’t find an investor, attract customers, or build a long-term business. Customers now put big value on experience, social impact, empowerment, and feedback.

Do you take those loyal, key customers for granted?

Berkonomics

And that behavior results in leaving little time for outreach to the most critical component in your chain – your key customers. Then, what is a benchmark for customer outreach? But, do your customer know that they want? Do customers know what they like when they see it?

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8 Principles For Building A Competitive Core Business

Startup Professionals Musings

As a startup, you need to use your limited resources to excel at a few core things for your best customers, in order to stand out and get the momentum going. Your customers’ biggest need is not for more things. Revenue and competitive position followed.

4 Strategies To Ramp Up The Total Customer Experience

Startup Professionals Musings

Much has been written recently about the requirement to focus today on the total customer experience, as a competitive edge or even for survival. You want that customer to be delighted by the overall experience, rather than remember the many steps and the pain.

7 Ways To Attract Customers Without Viral Marketing

Startup Professionals Musings

Contrary to popular opinion, viral marketing has not eliminated the need for old-fashioned lead generation to bring customers to a startup. His professional background includes having held marketing-executive roles at big companies as well as startups. Email marketing.

Customer Service Can Kill Your Customer’s Experience

Startup Professionals Musings

With the advent of the Internet, social media, and instant communication via texting, customer expectations for service, as part of their entire customer experience, have changed. Company finds customers based on interests. Technology must improve the customer experience.

Competitive Intelligence

SoCal Tech Calendar

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 -- Competitive Intelligence: 007 Market Intel. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to estimate market size, competitive market share, how many potential customers are there, and price points. Just who is doing what in the market? This interactive session will address methods of uncovering market information when there simply aren't any established sources or published reports.

5 Strategies To Thrive In Customer-Driven Disruption

Startup Professionals Musings

I’m more convinced that technology merely enables disruption, and changing customer interests and needs really causes it. Many companies try to recover with more advertising and rebranding, and discover that these strategies don’t work well in today’s market. Customers don’t wait today.

Competition Is A Lie – Tracy DiNunzio Explains Why

InfoChachkie

Tracy DiNunzio, Founder and CEO of Tradesy , recently shared her insights regarding the best approach for entrepreneurs to address competition. competition''s a really interesting thing. To this day, Microsoft remains a tertiary player in the remote access / remote meeting market.

How To Get New Customers By Targeting New Markets

Startup Professionals Musings

Many entrepreneurs assume that everyone will love their solution as much as they do, so they tune their marketing focus based on their own needs and wants. That’s the right place to start, but real growth and scale requires attracting customers who are not like you.

Investor Secrets For Smart Competitive Positioning

Startup Professionals Musings

This raises a big red flag with potential investors, who conclude that no competitors means no market, or you haven’t looked, and the new startup is likely not investable. First to market, for example, is not normally a sustainable advantage for startups.

Be careful how you define your competition.

Berkonomics

Professional investors laugh when they hear an entrepreneur state, “We have no competition.” Perhaps buyers cannot obtain attractive financing in the current market. It could be that a larger competitor has met with its customers, promising to extend its product line into this very niche. So, do your homework especially well by putting yourself into the minds of your potential customers.

7 Tips For Success With Today’s Demanding Customers

Startup Professionals Musings

In addition to obvious economic challenges, the emerging generation of customers is determined to radically change the rules for customer engagement. I summarize here my interpretation of his key points: Take heed of serious next generation customer expectations.

10 Keys To Results With Social-Local-Mobile Marketing

Startup Professionals Musings

The world of marketing is changing faster than technology these days. Winning entrepreneurs have long since supplemented conventional print and video “push” marketing with digital online interactive “pull” marketing, and a while back added social-local-mobile ( SoLoMo ) to the mix.

7 Reasons To Think Positively About Competition

Startup Professionals Musings

Most entrepreneurs spend far too much time thinking negatively about competitors, and can’t resist making derogatory statements about them to their own team, investors and even to customers. Here are seven key ways to do this: Frame the competition as manageable.

Investors Look for These Six Competitive Elements

Startup Professionals Musings

One of the toughest and yet most important questions you will be asked by savvy potential startup investors is “What is your sustainable competitive advantage?” First to market, for example, is not sustainable. The competition is transportation, not slow machines on tracks.

7 Strategies For Anticipating Future Customer Trends

Startup Professionals Musings

The market is changing so fast these days, and if you are not planning a solution today for tomorrow’s customers, you may be setting yourself up for failure and don’t even realize it. Ask the right questions, and listen to your customers.

6 Key Drivers To a Long-Term Competitive Advantage

Startup Professionals Musings

One of the toughest and yet most important questions you will be asked by savvy potential startup investors is “What is your sustainable competitive advantage?” First to market, for example, is not sustainable. The competition is transportation, not slow machines on tracks.

6 Ways To Create Experiences That Customers Crave

Startup Professionals Musings

For decades, efforts to satisfy customers have been built around demographics – capitalizing on race, ethnicity, gender, income, and other attributes. Customer personalities define customer experience, and sets what they love, and what they hate.

Why Your Marketing Campaign Sucks

Both Sides of the Table

Mostly it’s because your marketing campaigns suck. Or more directly – they are likely narcissistic resuscitations of your newest features or bragging points that nobody but your marketing team and your mom care about. They offer a point-of-view about their market.

Meet Our Startup of the Year Competition Semifinalists: Mobile Therapy

Tech.Co

From apps to hardware, to KickStarter successes and international startups, we’re inching closer to finding out who will take home the title of Startup of the Year competition at our annual Celebrate Conference in October. Among the dozens of participants that applied for the online competitions, only a few progressed into the semifinals. Tech.Co: Since launch, what was the most challenging part of gaining market traction?

8 Principles For Keeping Customers With You For Life

Startup Professionals Musings

Most businesses spend big money testing their brand logo, catchy marketing phrases, and demographics, but spend little time training and validating that their employees can and do deliver memorable experiences to their customers. They have to out-behave and outperform your competition.

How To Create Customer Value And Profit To Survive

Startup Professionals Musings

As a startup advisor, I see too many entrepreneurs get distracted by technology or their favorite cause, and then wonder why they can’t find an investor, attract customers, or build a long-term business. Customers now put big value on experience, social impact, empowerment, and feedback.

Don’t Wait To Catch Up Until Your Customers Hate You

Startup Professionals Musings

After working in business at all levels, and consulting to entrepreneurs for years, I’m still surprised to see so many situations where things that should be easy are painful to customers, and lead to customers hating your business.

How Great Entrepreneurs Really Listen To Customers

Startup Professionals Musings

Entrepreneurs and business executives seem to be even more focused on their technology than the rest of us, and less inclined to listen to the voice of the customer, even if they remember to ask. I doubt if any of these are really listening to their customers.

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7 Guidelines To Assure Two-Way Customer Communication

Startup Professionals Musings

Entrepreneurs and business executives seem to be even more focused on their technology than the rest of us, and less inclined to listen to the voice of the customer, even if they remember to ask. I doubt if any of these are really listening to their customers.

Organic Growth Startups Won’t Scale Competitively

Startup Professionals Musings

Startups are usually so focused on selling more of their branded product or service to their own customer base (organic growth) that they don’t consider the more indirect methods (non-organic growth) of increasing revenue and market share. Fresh customer base.