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Brendan Ziolo
Technology marketing dude that has successfully launched several start-ups. Writer and photographer when time allows.
Recent Activity
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The last few posts in the Getting Started series have focused on naming and messaging which are crucial to any start-up. I find that many companies don't spend enough time creating their elevator pitch and then constantly change it which hurts the process more than helps it. Recently, we looked at the 5 Ws (who, what, where, when, why) that are behind your key messages and also explored how and why to come up with a short descriptor (3-5 words) that explains what bucket your business is in. These are the cornerstones of your message. But ultimately, what you need... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
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One of the crucial questions you need to answer for your start-up, and maybe the most difficult, when you are getting started is "who are you?". I don't mean this to be philosophical but you need to answer this question so you know what business you are in or as others put it "what bucket are you in?" There are many reasons why this is so critical but the ones that stand out for me is that it forms the foundation of your elevator pitch and also defines who you competitors are which helps you to differentiate your solution from... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
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One of the main problems I see with startups that are Getting Started is that they are unable to communicate a short simple message about the company. This is oftentimes called the elevator pitch as the goal is develop what you would say to someone in an elevator between floors if they asked what your company does. This is not an easy task and these key messages set the foundation for your marketing efforts as they should be used time and time again to communicate a simple and consistent message to the right audience. To help you along in creating... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan), a New York Times bestselling author and social media guru with a widely read blog, talks about how it took him years to become an overnight success. In fact, he recently said it took him 8 years to get his first 100 readers which now number 100s of thousands I'm sure. Now in fairness to Chris he started his blog before social media and even RSS for that matter. The point is that Chris is just one example of thousands. But I read that stat in Chris's newsletter and it got me to thinking about how marketing... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
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You don't need to look too far to see the effect that online marketing, social media and other tactics have taken on the tradeshow industry. Some have disappeared altogether, like Supercomm; many have gotten smaller, like Interop; and others have changed their name to reflect an expanded scope, like VoiceCon to Enterprise Connect. But despite this changing landscape, some tradeshows, like RSA Conference, have continued to not only live on but thrive. However, after each and every tradeshow, marketers question whether it was worth the considerable investment or is it a must attend event? In fact, it was 2 years... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
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Product launches are key to your start-up's success both from a development perspective but also from a marketing and sales perspective. We've all seen how Apple does product launches where everything is a secret until the big event and then a master unveiling takes place. This has been very successful for them as they are able to draw a large crowd and create buzz. However, this is the exception and only a handful of companies can pull it off not to mention the fact that a lot of time and effort goes into these launches that is just not possible... Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
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There's no doubt that coming up with a name for your startup is not easy but it's one one of your first big decisions when you're getting started. Last week, I talked about some key attributes to consider when you select a name but probably more important is to avoid the three pitfalls I'll outline below: not securing the domain name, not spelling the name correctly, and using your name inconsistently. There was a time when naming involved doing a trademark search to make sure someone else in your industry was not using it as well. But now there are... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
Coming up with a name for your startup is difficult when you consider that this is something you will need to live with for a very long time, especially if you're successful which is the goal of course. Many rush into naming their company without considering how much it matters both when you're starting out and over the longer term. I don't believe there is a silver bullet in naming your company and you don't need to spend weeks or thousands of dollars to come up with one but there are a few attributes that you should focus on when... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
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A startup begins with an idea for a product or service but this is really only the first step when you're getting started. While you may think your idea is revolutionary, will others? If you want to make a business out of it, you need to make sure there is a market for your product or service. Put another way, will people buy your idea and if so will they buy it instead of other similar ideas? Before you invest too much time and money in your idea, you'll want to research the market to ensure there is a need... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
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A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about some of the first marketing steps you should take when you start a company as a result of a call from a friend. But then I realized that this is a problem many face and it would be great to talk about what needed to be done, from a marketing perspective, in the early stages of a startup. Before I get into some of the marketing strategies and tactics that you need to look into, I thought it would make a lot of sense to actually define the different stages... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2012 at Dude, It's Marketing
In this last post of 2011, I want to thank all the readers of this blog for taking the time to visit Dude, It's Marketing. I hope you enjoyed reading the posts as much as I appreciated the feedback I've received on them. When I wrote this post last year, I said I wanted to blog more regularly in 2010. While I'm still not writing as often as I would like on this blog, I did manage to have 30 posts this year which is a 50% increase compared to 2010. Next year, I hope to post even more often... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
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It's that time of year, where we are all scrambling for gift ideas and there is always one person that is difficult to buy for because they have everything. If that person works in marketing, then I may be able to help with a list of books that every marketer should have on their desk. Even better, give them one of these books on an iPad, Kindle or other eReader and they will love you forever, especially if they don't have one of these devices. New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott This book is now in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
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It was 2 months ago, on October 5, 2011, that the technology industry lost a true visionary, Steve Jobs, who revolutionized several industries with his genius. Published shortly after his death, I recently read the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. The book is very well-written, with deep insights into the man that are not sugar coated so it only presents the good ones. It's one of the best biographies I have ever read and I strongly recommend it to others both in technology and other fields. However, for this post I didn't want to do one of my... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
I am still surprised that to this day there is one aspect that is missing from many marketing tactics that could make the campaign much more successful. In particular, this one element is absolutely critical to lead generation and nuture campaigns -- it is a call-to-action. A call-to-action is an image or text that grabs the visitor's or prospect's attention and directs them to what you want them to do. In the case of a lead gen campaign, the call-to-action would direct the person to a landing page where you can collect their info in exchange for the offer. There... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
It appears you have developed a great strategy and if its working keep at it. I talked about being a thought leader to build your credibility a while back: http://www.dudeitsmarketing.com/2009/11/be-a-thought-leader-make-your-marketing-credible.html. My question to you, which was what my friend asked me, is what do you do first? Did you get the speaking engagements right out of the gate or did you develop a website? You talk about using keywords so I'm assuming there was some message development as well. When did you do that? There are a lot of things that could be done when you're starting out but what is the most important one that needs to be done first? You raised a key point when you said "know your customer, know what is important to them". Thanks for the ideas and feedback. I'm sure it will help others too.
A month ago I got a call from a friend who is starting his own company and he wanted to know what some of the first things were that he needed to do to market his company. He was very excited about the new opportunity and I was very impressed that he was looking at marketing so early in the process. This got me to thinking about what to tell him and where to point him for more resources. But I quickly realized that most books and blogs about marketing assume you have already started your company and want to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
There is little doubt that social media is one of, if not THE, buzzword in marketing. But, as I've written about before, social media is still only a tactic and not the only tactic you should use. Recent findings show how crucial it is to build an overall marketing strategy that uses multiple tactics if you goal is to generate and nurture quality leads (and who doesn't want to do that). As reported by ZDNet, a recent study by Demandbase and Focus.com showed that corporate websites were the top online lead source and second overall to personal connections and referrals.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
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For those that read this blog, you know I'm passionate about creating compelling content as the cornerstone of your marketing plans. That's why I was excited to finally read Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business by Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs) and C.C. Chapman (@cc_chapman). In the book, Ann and C.C. start by presenting the case for why content is important but they don't dwell on that as most reading this book, I would assume, are already convinced of it's importance. The first part of the book is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
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Over the last few posts, I've looked at how creating content and getting found are the most important components of any start-up marketing plan. In the last post, I added how you also need to nurture the leads through the sales funnel. In this post, I wanted to tie these concepts together by bringing in the sales funnel. Producing compelling content on a regular basis is the key ingredient that you need to nurture leads and mapping the content to the sales funnel will help you know what to create and when to move your prospects along. For example, you... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
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I wrote a blog post a few months ago that the start-up marketing plan can be summarize in four simple words: create content, get found. While I was trying to really simplify the marketing plan for companies that don't have a lot of resources, in looking back I was missing a key part of the equation. Once you get found, what's next? So, I want to add to the start-up marketing plan the concept: generate and nurture leads. To generate leads, you can use tactics like the get found tactics I outlined previously so for this post I want to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
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Almost 40 years ago, Al Ries and Jack Trout wrote a series of articles in Advertising Age that introduced the concept of Positioning which became their ground-breaking first book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, a marketing classic. As part of my series of posts on which fundamentals of marketing have really changed or are no longer relevant, I wanted to look at the concept of Positioning to see where it fits. Before we look at how the concept may have changed, I want to define positioning so we are all on the same page. Ries and Trout define positioning... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
Recently, Pam, a Dude, It's Marketing reader, sent me an email asking if I had a template or suggestions for a product brief format to help developers draft a detailed document that will help her marketing team create better sales collateral. I realized in answering this email that it would also make a good blog post as I'm sure many have faced this same issue. When launching a product, marketing tends to get brought in later in the process. While that's not ideal, it is a reality and quite often you will need to take a list of features that... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
Hi David, Once again, great post. Agree with your points, especially the ones about creating content that helps educate your audience rather than running advertising campaigns about your product. The issue is that the 4 Ps of marketing are too limiting and outdated to be the only aspect of your marketing strategy. Any marketing plan that only addresses product, place, price and promotion is doomed to failure today. However, product, place and price are still concepts that need to be addressed as one piece of your plan. Promotion is the one that has changed or should be removed more than the others. Most importantly though, your marketing strategy is a lot more than the 4 Ps. Right now I'm working on a blog series about other fundamentals of marketing to see which other ones have changed, should be ignored, or which ones still need to be a key part of your strategy? I'd love any input.
For the last couple of years there has been a lot written about how marketing has changed and there is no doubt this is true. SEO and social media are just two examples of new tactics that didn't exist a decade ago. Other new strategies, such as content marketing, are key to your marketing but I would argue that creating good content has always been a key strategy to educate your market and it's the term 'content marketing' that's new. All of these new concepts have led many to move away from what is now called traditional marketing to try... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
For anyone who follows this blog, you know that I think it's extremely important to make your marketing more credible. Language and words play a key role in making your message credible and engaging to your audience. In fact, credible marketing is about many things but it starts with words. It's always surprising to me that so few companies spend a lot of time and money on crafting the messages and communications they use for their business. Or, they change the words so frequently that no one remembers them, including employees. Yet, it is these words that can make or... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2011 at Dude, It's Marketing
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