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Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter

Mary

Idea Pool

Nobody Cares What “I” Want or Think.

Mary Schmidt

Aug 06, 2015

Full disclosure: I’m an Aries which means what “I” think or want is OF COURSE what everyone should think or want. Alas, I’m also a realist and know this simply isn’t true. 

“I” can be the single most dangerous word when deciding how to develop and launch new businesses or services.  Whenever a client starts with the “I like” or “I want” I do my best to steer them back to the reality that customers have their own “I” perspectives. Some of which may make no sense to you or me. However, the

In Brain Food, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

“WHY CAN’T THEY JUST TELL THE STORY??!!!!”

Mary Schmidt

Aug 04, 2015

I recently discovered the author Michael Sears and his Jason Stafford series of Wall Street-themed mysteries. Stafford has an autistic 6-year-old son…who somehow, in the second book of the series, ended up attending one of those way overblown Broadway musical spectacles. The little guy starts to melt down and screams “WHY CAN’T THEY JUST TELL THE STORY??!!!”  Now, can’t we all relate to THAT plea?

Look, I love words. I even love complex sentences and big words. But, less is often more. This

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

Advertise with Google! It’s Simple! It’s Cheap! It’s Easy! (Not)

Mary Schmidt

Jul 29, 2015

This keeps coming up as I travel around the interwebs and attend meetings…so, from the archives.

...Well, it can be cheap, but it ain’t easy…

Recently, I once again heard “You only pay for what you get!” and “You can cancel any time!” and “You can adjust the ads as you go!”  Which is all well and good, but Google ads, like any other form of advertising, is both an art and a science.

And depending on what you pay and the ad text, you may never actually show up, at least not on the first

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Web Bytes

But what if your customers will BUY a faster horse?

Mary Schmidt

Jun 22, 2015

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”—Henry Ford

Of course, this quote has also been used by entrepreneurs as an excuse for ignoring market reality. (It’s a GREAT idea!” Everyone SHOULD love it! Who needs a business plan? Or a market analysis? We HAVE no competition!  LET’s GO!”)

And, I’m all for wild ideas and out-of-the-box thinking. Once upon a time, I’m sure the general consensus was that newfangled fire thing would never catch on…and what’s with

In Brain Food, Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

The Illusion of “Incremental” Changes

Mary Schmidt

Jun 03, 2015

toilet paper hat At a conference recently,  Jason Kaufman of Irrevo told me the story of an entrepreneur friend of his who had come with what he thought was a great idea.(No, it wasn’t the toilet paper hat.) It was, as implemented, an incremental change to an existing consumer device. However, as Jason was talking about it, he used the word, “excremental.” We had a good laugh, but then I noted that—in reality—the newly coined word is actually much more apt than “incremental” for many ideas.

We all fall in

In Start-Up Sanity Checks

Can You Grow Out of (in) a Stagnant Market?

Mary Schmidt

May 12, 2015

Old McDonald's sign Maybe you can only sell so many burgers to a finite number of people who will buy them over and over…

Faced with Sagging Sales McDonald’s Chief Announces a Reorganization (NYT, 05/05/15)

I’ve been reading about McDonald’s trials and tribulations over a couple of years.  However, the behemoth company has been struggling with how to maintain stellar growth for much longer than that. Remember the “gourmet” sandwich flop?

This happened back in my corporate America days—after a long day I

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

The Not-So-Secret Reasons Secret Failed

Mary Schmidt

May 06, 2015

From the Silicon Valley follies file…

Secret, as you may or may not know, was a social app that allowed people to send anonymous messages. What could POSSIBLY go wrong with that? Why, it was, in the founders’ words, going to “reduce the barrier to communication.”  Starry-eyed VCs (Look, SHINY!) funded it to the tune of $35 million.

Apparently the founders were shocked, I tell you, shocked! that cyber-bullies would pile on. 

Of course, they were “pre-revenue” and didn’t want to be

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

Start-Up Sanity Check for B2B Tech Ventures

Got a great idea? Are people telling you it’s crazy? Good! You’ve got to be a little insane to take that start-up leap – rather it’s out of your garage, the lab or a day job. I'll help you decide where and when to leap (and what to do when you land).

Investment: $500.00 (Why do I call it an investment? Two reasons: 1. If you’re willing to pay, that tells me you’re serious. 2. When you pay for advice, you’re more likely to value and use it.)

Drop me a line and we’ll see if we’re a good fit. If I can't help you, I’ll tell you (and if possible, tell you who can.)

Got funding? I work with one to three start-ups a year, on retainer (minimum of three months, maximum one year).

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Social Media Isn't Free, Easy or Magic.

If one of the self-anointed experts contacts you, pitching magical thinking, ask:

1. What results can I expect if I work with you? (Note: Twitter followers aren't necessarily customers.)

2. What kind of time will I have to invest? (Social media, properly done, is all about personal relationships. You with your customers...and a good relationship takes time.)

3. How do I integrate social media tools with my current operations? (Your salespeople need to know what you're saying on Facebook. Your customer service process and policies should be consistent across the board, from phone to Twitter.)

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