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October 2008 | Volume 27 / Number 5
Publisher's Outlook


By Nadji Tehrani
CEO, Technology Marketing Corp.

We continue with our series of the Top 32 New Principles of Modern Marketing. In our last installment we left off with number 16, so this month we present numbers 17–22.

Rule 17 – Be A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. Don't be a Copycat

I would like to bring to your attention to read my editorial titled, "Every Company Wants To Be A Peacock In The Land Of Penguins" (www.tmcnet.com/2370.1) in order to appreciate the importance of being different than your competition. One has to admit that the copycats at best, may only get the crumbs and the crumbs are not going to sustain a viable business. Having said that, there is no other way to gain market dominance but by having an outstanding product and market it similar to a peacock in the land of penguins. Of course, it is easy to be a penguin, they all look alike and they all are a copy of one another. Obviously, it is extremely difficult to be a peacock in the land of penguins, but it is not impossible and when you achieve it, I am sure you will enjoy maximum market share and you will find that all of the difficulties were well worth the effort.

Many companies in the past have done an exceptional job of being a peacock in the land of penguins and much of that stems by being a pioneer. Some examples are; Xerox, a pioneer in Xerography in the early 60's and today, nearly 50 years later, everyone says, "get me a Xerox copy of this document." Everyone who thinks of the sneaker, the first name that comes to mind is Nike and that is also true in the shaving area, where the first name that comes to mind is Gillette. I consider all of those products as peacocks in the land of penguins. So develop your marketing strategy to position your company as a peacock in the land of penguins and market it in the most powerful way, 24/7 and always remember that there are no shortcuts to effective marketing.

Rule 18 – Think Out of the Box

Along the lines of being a peacock, one must think out of the box and avoid following the trend, or should I say the competitive trend. Thinking out of the box requires extreme creativity and vision. Obviously, not everybody has that, but even if you do not currently have that type of talent in your marketing department, you need to hire people that are blessed with such attributes. Thinking out of the box will be difficult, indeed, but it will set you apart from competition and that is vitally important today if your marketing department is going to be marketing your products and services.

Rule 19 – Remember the Golden Triangle Rule

This rule says, you need to dominate, print, online, and in person at events in order to dominate your market.

Many marketing departments are extremely restricted by budgetary problems. Limited in this area, they choose only one of the above vehicles. In other words, they only choose print or online or events and that will never work. I am reminded of a company that existed in the Chicago area some 27 years ago and did not believe in anything but print advertising. Today, that company barely exists. Some 27 years ago, there was another company not far from the first company, which believed in dominating the market place and developed a marketing strategy accordingly. That company became extremely successful and the founder of it is a multi-billionaire today. He is a friend of mine and I am telling it like it is. In fact, whenever the founder of the company sees me, he says, "Nadji you helped me build my company and I'll never forget it!" In other words, don't look for shortcuts. Dominate all three areas of marketing with an effective, out of the box thinking marketing plan and you will find that no competitor can take anything away from you.

Rule 20 – Innovate, Don't be a Copycat

Please forgive me for being slightly redundant in some of these. One of the greatest rules of direct marketing is that if something is important, repeat it several times in your marketing and advertising copy; because executives are extremely busy and they only skim a marketing piece or advertising piece and if you don't repeat it a few times in different ways, they will probably miss the point. Therefore, it is in this spirit that I keep driving the importance of innovation and avoiding being a copycat. Along those lines, my father had a good point regarding the copycat. He said that, "if the good lord wanted us to be copycats, we all would have been created as monkeys!" and with all due respect to Darwin's theory, I believe such is the case.

Rule 21 – Focus on Strategy: Seat of the Pants Marketing Doesn't Cut it Anymore

I love entrepreneurs. They are really and truly a different breed of cat. They all have tremendous egos. If the ego is out of control, they get nowhere. But if the ego is managed and properly directed, they will go everywhere. In the call center industry, I have noticed two executives, both extremely intelligent, business savvy and were blessed with powerful egos. In the first case, the ego was under control and that person is a billionaire today. In the second case, the ego was not under control and even though that person had greater business skills, he only became a multi-millionaire. So the ego can be a double-edged sword. If you don't have it, you cannot have outstanding achievements and if you have it and it's out of control, it will definitely hurt you in the long run. Having said all of that, one of the problems with most entrepreneurs is that they think they know everything better than most and therein lies a major problem for their growth. Indeed, many of them depend on seat of the pants marketing, which may have worked years ago, but it doesn't work today. Marketing must be sophisticated, be well planned and well strategized to be effective, and once again, there is no shortcut in these guidelines.

Rule 22 – Focus on Quality Lead Generation and Follow Up

As I have stated in many of my editorials, one of which was titled, "Lead Generation, the Forgotten Art in Marketing", lead generation, indeed plays a vital role in business. Suddenly, companies who didn't seem to care about lead generation in the 80's, 90's and even as recently as a few years ago, are all interested in lead generation today. What makes matters worse is that the universities also do not teach or explain anything regarding lead generation to the students. If my experience with one of the leading universities is any indication, the word lead generation does not exist in the curriculum of the marketing department either under graduate or graduate departments. To me, that is a crime because just as "companies live or die from repeat business, "by the same token you can also say that "companies live or die from quality lead generation or lack of it."

Suddenly, corporate America has woken up to this very important fact.

The other problem in lead generation was that in the past ten to fifteen years ago, many companies would spend a lot of money attending trade shows, marketing and advertising to generate leads and 80 percent of the time the leads were not followed up or they were given to a very poor sales staff which could not generate any business from them. I thought that was a disgrace. But today, I am happy to say that many companies have come a long way and are working with us toward quality lead generation on a regular basis.

As always, I welcome your comments. Please email them to me at [email protected].

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