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By Joseph Wilson

Turbo EncabulatorHow to communicate your idea to the media

I’d like to introduce you to the Turbo Encabulator. It’s an innovative invention that “would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grameters.”

The product is, of course, a joke, designed to poke fun at the way scientists try to use the media to communicate their products. The footage below is from 1977, but the joke goes back even further. In 1946, the “turboencabulator” became an in-joke amongst engineers on their lack of marketing savvy.

So how can I avoid the “turboencabulator” method?

To begin with, take a careful look at your target market and determine which media are most important to your customers.  Do your customers spend a lot of time on the Internet looking at gadgets? Or do they browse a specific set of stores to find the latest fashions? Do they watch TV or play with their iPhones?

Such decisions will determine where you plant your message.

Time & money

Since you’re running a start-up, your time and money is limited. You can’t afford to blanket the media with billboards, TV ads and flyers. As such, you’ve got to identify the key opinion leaders in your field and target your marketing to them.

Who are the people in your industry that your customers listen to?

Language and your “IP story”

Is your elevator pitch full of technical jargon or clear, meaningful words? A good way of achieving clarity is by using a metaphor to explain your product. One of the reasons the Microsoft Office suite is so popular is because people immediately understand it based on the over-riding metaphor of the “Office.” You turn on your computer to your “desktop,” arrange your files into “folders,” and when you delete something it goes into the “recycling bin” (which used to be called the “garbage” or “trash” in less environmentally conscious times).

One of the most important MarCom skills to learn is the art of the sound-bite. Get a video camera and film yourself explaining your technology.  Go through the following tips for perfecting the sound-bite for different media:

Tips for soundbites

Medium Content
  • Look the interview in the eye (not the camera)
  • Pause for edit points
  • Strong voice
  • Clear, enunciated phrases
  • Less than 20 seconds
  • Mention your company
  • Avoid technical words
  • Use metaphors
  • Avoid cliches
  • Call to action
  • Emotional connection
  • Use numbers and stats

Bite by bite, you’ll eventually gather together a compelling MarCom toolkit that tells the right story to the right people, giving your product the air-time it deserves.

Join us

MaRS has designed a workshop series to help technology clients clearly define their marketing and communications (MarCom) strategy. The Entrepreneurship 201 Workshop Series: The MarCom Toolkit is an interactive, hands-on session of between 15 and 24 technology entrepreneurs devoted to steering them away from the “turboencabulator” method. We go through all of the stuff above, right down to handing out Flip cameras and getting you to film each other.

To enroll for Entrepreneurship 201: The MarCom Toolkit, talk to your MaRS advisor or email entrepreneurship201@marsdd.com.  Workshops are free for clients of MaRS and other innovation centres in the Ontario Network of Excellence.

Reposted from MaRS

JosephWilson is currently an education advisor at MaRS. He also writes on issues of technology and culture for NOW Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Spacing and Yonge Street. He is the Executive Director of the Treehouse Group, dedicated to fostering innovation by hosting cross-disciplinary events.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Stephen Rhodes

More and more, I hear clients talk about being lost when it comes to the latest trends in marketing, meaning, of course, social media.

It reminds me of the mid 90s when many small businesses migrated to the Internet because…well because they thought they had to be hip. Many jumped on board without much consideration for why they were among the newly converted or how it would help their business. “We gotta be there,” was the mantra in many boardrooms. Some are still trying to figure it out.

The same thing is happening today with social media. Businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Flickr and even YouTube accounts without so much as a …how will this help our business grow?  “We gotta be there” is still the clarion call.

Advertising hasn’t changed much in 100 years. It’s still about  attracting attention, engaging minds, triggering  emotions, and changing the way people think. If you can do that you will generate sales.

What has changed is the delivery methodology.

If you want to influence behavior there is a spectrum of tools including direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, commercial websites, radio and TV, and, of course, social media – the new darling of marketing.

The key is knowing which tool(s) works best for you. And not all tools will be effective for your business. I have a client who can track new sales every time we deliver a direct mail piece to a group of targeted clients. The key word here is targeted, often lost among the “I gotta be hip” crowd. But the point is, direct mail works for him, and he can see (measure) the return on his investment.

First and foremost is understanding your customers. Who are they and how can you reach them is the pivotal question. What do you have that they want. (the what’s in it for me question) Can I build an ongoing relationship and how can I capitalize on that to build an even bigger customer base.

These are questions you should ask every day.

Don’t get me wrong. Social Media is the future of marketing and communications. Building your own group of followers, a community of customers, all engaged and part of your business is a powerful opportunity to communicate a targeted message.

But take a measured approach. Who is your customer, what message do you want to deliver and what is the best way to get it there? Some things never change.

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full-service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit The Marketing Pad online.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Stephen Rhodes

Sometimes we think that doing what we always do will yield better results. Often, doing what we always do yields the same results and if you are not happy with those results you need to change things.

Here are five things to think about as you enter a new calendar year.

1. Review your past year for what did and didn’t work.

It’s simple, if you measure the return on your marketing program. Have a look at what worked and what didn’t. Common sense should tell us to stick with the things that are working, and try new things in place of those that are not. Don’t beat a dead horse.

2. Develop a program to measure success. Survey, measure results, ask your customers.

Ok, so you couldn’t complete the first assignment above because you don’t measure the success of your marketing program. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you need to understand what is working and what isn’t, so track sales related to a specific campaign and compare those results to the cost of running the campaign. If it costs more to run the campaign than …I think you get the idea.

3. Look at new ways to create a dialogue with your customers. Twitter perhaps.

Some business owners are afraid to talk to their customers and that’s why social networking tools like Twitter are unattractive. Developing an ongoing dialogue with your customers can help you retool the business on the fly, responding specifically to needs identified by your customer. Try it, it’s addictive. Talking to your customers is a good thing.

4. Find bloggers in your industry and subscribe to their musings for new ideas.

You are not alone in your sphere of influence. There are experts everywhere online and you can subscribe to any number of blogs that could be useful to your business. Go to Google blog search (http://blogsearch.google.com/ ) and search for your areas of interest. You can subscribe through a reader or simply have the material delivered to your email inbox.

5. Set out a measurable plan for the year and check the pulse monthly.

Don’t wait until December to find out that your business is under-performing. Set out a plan and check monthly to ensure you are on target. If you have three months of under-performance, you need to make a change. Better you do this in March than November. Be nimble, monitor your business and adjust accordingly.

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full-service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit The Marketing Pad online.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By David Pasieka

I’ve read a lot about the selling process and how to target the person who makes the final purchasing decision. The problem is that the approach may be all wrong. Instead of concentrating on a person, we should be focusing on a thing –  specifically, the brain.

I recently attended a CEO Global Network meeting — an organization providing peer-to-peer mentoring for CEOs. The guest speaker co-authored the book, Neuromarketing (Morin & Renvoise). Christophe Morin says at least 80% of business self-help books purchased or given out at conferences remain unopened on the shelf. After a couple of hours with the author, I was convinced that this book would not be destined for the unopened faith. Let me provide some of highlights to hook your interest and demonstrate how you will need to change your sales approach to increase the probability of success.

The human brain is composed of three distinct components which evolve as we grow. The first or reptilian brain is present at birth and ultimately becomes the trigger in our decision-making process. The middle part of our brain develops and processes our emotions, while the outer part develops our ability to think. Research has shown that the reptilian brain will make the final decision by considering emotional and rational input from the other two components.

Morin and Renvoise’s research suggest that the brain reacts to six key stimuli. By mastering and re-engineering your selling proposal you will increase your probability of success. These stimuli include:

  1. It’s all about “me” – The brain is motivated by anything that pertains to itself. Presentations that spend too much time talking about your company and its products without focusing on what it will mean for a prospect will be wasted effort.
  2. Clear comparison – The brain is sensitive to comparisons that provide clear differentiation. By making a product claim that is a sharp contrast to the competitive product you have sped up the decision-making process.
  3. Concrete – The brain is stimulated by facts presented in a clear manner. The more thinking that has to go into the process, the slower the decision that gets made.
  4. Strong open/Powerful middle/Strong close – The brain is a very efficient machine with an embedded energy management system. It will look for ways of conserving energy by forgetting about details in the middle. In sales mode, MRI studies suggest that you need to have a strong opening, a simple but powerful middle and a strong close. The brain’s energy management system means you only have 10 minutes for the complete process. Your middle section should be constrained to three key messages.
  5. Stunning visuals – The reptilian brain is directly connected to the optic nerve. This means that of all your senses, sight has the most immediate and lasting impact on a decision making process. We’ve written in previous blogs about the importance of this item and how it relates to crisp and uncluttered PowerPoint charts (see here and here).
  6. Hook me emotionally – The brain recognizes over 16,ooo emotions which lead to chemical stimulations. It’s no surprise that the most memorable commercials are those that somehow play to our emotions including joy, trust, sadness, fear and anger.

These concepts are essentially the guiding principles of messaging. The neat part here is that we can tie the science of the brain to understand why it works the way it does.

Back to that ugly statistic on business books on the shelf: I can assure you that this is one of my books that is already highlighted, dog-eared and in active use.

PHOTO:  DelosJ

David Pasieka is the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the RIC Centre. Learn more here. Visit Our Contributors page for more information about David. Read his blog at www.cedarvue.blogspot.com


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Axel Kuhn

Chances are that you – or someone in your organization – are thinking about investing in a marketing campaign at this very moment.

But how do you know whether this planned marketing investment will pay off? What metrics will you use to figure this out? Can you calculate a believable ROI on your marketing efforts?

For many years, investment in B2B marketing was largely an investment in faith.  You had to develop a “brand”, build “awareness” in your industry, and engage in activities like PR and advertising – all activities that didn’t result in a measurable return on investment. The reason is that there were few available metrics to allow you to actually quantify returns.

And so most decision makers justified marketing on the basis that their competitors were doing it, and so it was simply a cost of doing business.  And when you questioned the lack of measurable return, you were told that you clearly didn’t understand marketing.

Well, thankfully, that time has passed.  Today, more and more marketers are embracing the importance of demonstrating tangible Return-on-Marketing-Investment (aka ROMI). In fact, a quick check on Google Insights for Search on the phrase “ROI in marketing” shows a strong uptrend since the beginning of 2007.

Today, 3 factors are driving organizations large and small to focus on ROMI:

  1. The recent economic downturn, tight budgets, and the added emphasis on cost accountability.
  2. The rise of digital marketing – including Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Inbound Marketing Automation – with built-in metrics and conversion tracking. Now you can easily track results, all the way from initial sales lead generation to actual sales.
  3. The rise of a new breed of results-oriented marketers, sometimes called Revenue Marketers.

If you are looking for an easy way to help you calculate ROMI, here are a few helpful links:

The bottom line: Investment cash is always in short supply. Especially for new ventures. Especially now. So make sure any recommended investment in marketing is fully justified by a ROMI calculation. Don’t treat Marketing any different than Sales, Manufacturing, or any other functional area screaming for your cash.

And feel empowered to question the capability of any Marketer who refuses to justify his recommendations with some hard numbers.

Post by Axel Kuhn, President, www.inbound-marketing-automation.ca

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