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Masterclasses in entrepreneurship

By Francis Moran

Two of the many events at last week’s Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Week featured presentations by young entrepreneurs who were generous in the sharing of personal stories and business and life lessons learned. Ryan Blair is a self-confessed former hoodlum and street-gang member who eventually embraced “legal entrepreneurship” and has built and exited a couple of companies. Y Combinator general partner Garry Tan shared his journey from “born employee” to reluctant entrepreneur and the lessons he learned along the way.

Here are a few of the things I heard that I really liked.

“You have to figure out what the customer is afraid of and become a solution.”

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Marketing: Steady as she goes

By Francis Moran

If there’s one thing more difficult than persuading technology company executives they need a well-researched, well-funded, coherent and integrated marketing strategy, it’s persuading them to stick to that strategy.

Now, I’m not saying that course corrections aren’t in order as market winds buffet and blow. But in the main, once a strategy has been properly developed, persistent and steady adherence to the objectives, messaging and tactics it sets out is essential if the company is to arrive at its desired destination — more leads, higher sales and improved revenue and profit.

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When a product fails miserably, why is the customer blamed?

By Francis Moran

When a product fails miserably in the marketplace, why is the customer blamed for not wanting to buy it?

Hang on, you say; that doesn’t happen, does it? Well, it did, and in spades, just last week.

Three well-established brands competed openly for the custom of a large pool of potential buyers. Their marketing campaigns used every media format available — television, radio, billboards and other outdoor, print, social media, telemarketing, direct mail, media relations, events and much, much more. Key spokespersons and local brand representatives travelled constantly throughout the marketplace bringing brand messaging directly to potential buyers. There has never been, perhaps, a more intensive, expensive and well-coordinated an effort to woo customers than was exhibited by these three brands.

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Achieving marketing escape velocity

By Francis Moran

It was with a mixture of delight and trepidation that I learned a few months back of technology visionary Geoffrey Moore’s new book, Escape Velocity. You see, I’ve been using the phrase for years to describe what I think is a critical requirement in the marketing of new technology — the harnessing of sufficient resources to escape the pull of existing conditions and catapult a product or company into new revenue territory. So my delight lay in having someone like Moore use the same metaphor; my trepidation was that maybe he was using it in the same way. No cause for worry; Moore applies the metaphor in a far more comprehensive, considered and well researched analysis of what companies must do to escape the pull of their past activities so they can better address the challenges of finding new opportunities.

I may use the metaphor in a far narrower context but it remains valid nonetheless. Let me explain.

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Is public relations in the public interest?

By Francis Moran

My valued colleague, and an associate here at Francis Moran and Associates, Caroline Kealey, drew my attention yesterday morning to a Twitter disagreement she is having with McMaster University’s Dr. Terry Flynn, an assistant professor and interim director of the Master of Communications degree program in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia. Flynn and a colleague have developed what they say is the first Canadian definition of Public relations. According to them:

Strategic public relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals, and serve the public interest.

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