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Taking the lean approach to market

This is the next entry in our “Best of” series, in which we venture deep into the vault to replay blog opinion and insight that has withstood the test of time. Today’s post hails from April 2011. We welcome your feedback.

Fotolia_27389812_XS-300x200By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

It’s fitting that we follow up last week’s post on the strategic value of marketing in its purest sense as a process for enabling customer validation and iterative product development with a definition of this thing called lean startup.

Strategic marketing is a fundamental aspect of the lean startup methodology, a methodology first defined by Eric Ries almost three years ago. And lean startup itself as a process for bringing technology to market warrants careful consideration by any entrepreneur in the socially enabled age of Web 2.0.

It’s fitting because just this month, Ries updated his definition of lean startup based on how the concept has evolved since it was first coined.

Ries defines lean “in the sense of low burn. Of course, many startups are capital efficient and generally frugal. But by taking advantage of open source, agile software, and iterative development, lean startups can operate with much less waste.”

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Great articles roundup: PR agencies and Google, digital marketing misconceptions, startup failure, investor pitching

linkBy Hailley Griffis

In this week’s roundup, we explore how PR agencies are in fact not dead, and why digital marketing is more than just social media (and other misconceptions.) In addition, we focus on startups, with reads that look at the top ways startups screw up and a few red flags when pitching to investors. This week’s articles come from Spin Sucks, Fourth Source, Wamda and Forbes.

Don’t die PR agencies, what the recent Google changes really mean

Gini Dietrich replies with a resounding “no” to the idea that Google has just killed PR agencies, or news releases, with its new update. If you consider PR to be purely news releases then you need to get back to the media relations that were actually supposed to be happening, where you build a relationship with journalists and reporters, call them and then pitch an idea after that.

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When the rampaging elephant drops dead

When the rampaging elephant drops deadBy Francis Moran

When I started inmedia Public Relations in the late 1990s, Ottawa and much of the rest of North America was mid-way through one of the most inflated economic bubbles that had been experienced up to that point.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act in the U.S. had spawned scores of ILECs, CLECs and a host of other acronyms describing various flavours of telecommunications carriers, all of which were on hungry equipment-buying sprees. This coincided nicely with the rise of data versus voice traffic, and so the requirement to build out brand new kinds of packet- rather than circuit-switched networks. These twin market drivers were the impetus behind a raft of new optical, silicon and networking startups in Ottawa as well as the unprecedented climb of Nortel Networks, which at one point had a market capitalization worth more than one-third of the entire Toronto Stock Exchange.

Driving much of that data traffic — either actual or anticipated — was this thing called the Internet, which was in its first furious bloom. The notion had somehow taken hold of otherwise canny people that you could put up a web site to transact almost any sort of business and that massive value would swiftly be created simply by attracting eyeballs to that site, even if precious few of the owners of those eyeballs ever actually bought anything.

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How small businesses can prosper from B2B marketing

b2b

By Heather Campbell

Small businesses account for a huge chunk of business revenue produced in our country. In fact, there are nearly seven million small businesses in America. This includes everything from mom and pop shops in your local town to freelance work done in your neighbor’s basement. All of these businesses are important.

Completing a business to business transaction for a large corporation may be no big deal. These big businesses market their strengths easily. In many cases, they have a budget set aside for these things. They are experts at it. What about a small business though? Does it have the same success? Can it have the same success? Does it complete small business to big business marketing or small business to small business marketing?

The concept of business to business (B2B) marketing is very simple. B2B marketing is the relationship of selling and promoting between two businesses. Read More

A tale of ProFantastic customer service

Outstanding-Customer-ServiceBy Leo Valiquette

Your quality as a vendor is often demonstrated best by how you deal with prospects who have decided your product or service is not for them.

As Francis wrote in his last post on customer service, we have a particular preoccupation with this subject because of its timeless relevance to any technology company:

“Customer service is based on what I have come to call my first law of competitive differentiation, the proposition that, in an age when almost any technological or cost advantage will rapidly and inevitably be eroded, the only sustainable competitive differentiation for most companies is to treat their customers like the centre of the universe, which they are.”

My most recent experience should be of particular relevance to software vendors, especially software vendors that are targeting niche markets and are trying to keep a lot of balls in the air with a small team.

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