Understand Why Before Who As You Steer Your Business

Classically trained marketers at BigCo can too easily assume they know WHY people buy their products. This is because they generally work for holding companies selling yesterday’s innovations that are household names in basic categories. The WHY behind repeat purchase has become essentially common cultural

Working with Agencies – The Creative Brief

If you don’t want your agency or marketing director to develop a communication strategy that’s totally disconnected from your actual competitive strategy, you need a creative brief. I don’t see it as a luxury at all. It has the same value for a small startup,

Attract Consumers New to Your Category

It's a law of marketing seldom discussed, but first popularized by Byron Sharp many years ago. What's the gist? Well, the evidence shows that consumers with a robust set of brands they're content within a category are much harder to distract with a new brand

Business Acumen…What to Do If You Didn’t Go to B-School

Here’s a sneak preview of my upcoming podcast interview with Prof. Tom Eisenmann of Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, author of Why Startups Fail. Airing in June on Startup Confidential – available on all major podcast platforms. Believe it or not, founders with prior business operating experience DO

What to Do When Target Calls

I wrote a white paper almost four years ago on this topic, and most of it holds true still, four years later. Target is rarely a place you want to launch because you are very unlikely to be capitalized to spread nationally when the test

The Irony of the Pre-Pandemic Trade Show

If you heard my recent podcast, you heard me opine on the future of trade shows as true industry events. There is a burning need to re-design these retailer-centric events better for the benefit of manufacturers and brands. Standing in cages for 8 hours hoping

Memorability: Does Your Brand Have It?

Memorability. It's the most critical growth pillar for premium CPG brands. Why? Because you don't have the cash, credibility, or sales network with which to leap to 80% ACV in mere months. So, how do you enhance it? Design a superbly positioned innovation at the head of

The Problem With Growing Too Slowly

Although I caution against chasing unicorns, this is not meant to validate any brand's growth rate being in the single digits, YoY. This slow growth rate may be in line with the premium CPG sector overall, and it may be much faster than commodity brands

The Majority of Serial Entrepreneurs ‘Fail’ with Their Second Venture

Wow. I knew it was bad, but not this bad. Where did I get this figure? From my early reading of Why Startups Fail? By Tom Eisenmann. In the book, he mentions research that indicates only about 22% of serial entrepreneurs’ second ventures succeed (i.e., succeed in making more money for early investors than was