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Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter


Idea Pool

Mind Share Before Market Share

Mary Schmidt

Apr 22, 2014

Recently, I was discussing next steps with an entrepreneur. Cool product. “Why didn’t I think of that?” Smart people. Tons of international market potential. Already moving ahead…but not exactly sure where “ahead” was leading.

So, we had a brief conversation about needing mind share before market share.

Couple of basics:

1. Anyone can sell one of anything to somebody.

2. Customers may love the idea…and then will never pay for the actual product.  (And if you talked about it with them

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

Tough Love for Entrepreneurs—Three Tips

Mary Schmidt

Feb 19, 2014

My red boots (My favorite power boots, more about them in a sec.)  Recently, I met with Focus creative agency to talk about my blind spots. (Yes, we all have them, even experienced consultants who’ve been groking and rolling for years.  The most difficult client is always ourselves…just like doctors can be the worst patients…and don’t take their own advice…)

They asked what I do for clients. “Marketing Troubleshooter” is interesting, but what do I really DO?  After much huhhhing and ummming, (and staring

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

Three Things A Customer Service Rep Should Never Say

Mary Schmidt

Feb 10, 2014

Regardless of the type of support, product, service, or industry…B2B, B2C, whatever…

1. “I can’t do that. You’ll have to go to our web site.”  In response to—for example—a request to change an email account for paperless billing since you can’t get into the web site.  Or, the web site keeps crashing, so you can’t make that “easy” online payment.

2.  “I’ll transfer you to someone who’ll take care of that for you! Have a nice day!”  And then the system hangs up…or you’re transferred to yet

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

A Reality Check: Super Bowl Ads

Mary Schmidt

Feb 03, 2014

Last week, a colleague and fellow member of what we call “The No BS Club” asked me, “How much of ‘marketing’ do you really think works?”  We were talking about what I call “color marketing”—brochures, commercials, ads…cute little moppets…dogs and ponies…the “fun” stuff.

It was the end of a long and trying week, so I was in full “no bs” mode. My answer: “Not much.”  For example, much of advertising is—ahem—corporate ego reinforcement. That, or some combination of marketer naivete, CEO

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

Here’s a Wild Idea: Make Products, Not Ads.

Mary Schmidt

Jan 20, 2014

NYT: For Google, A Toehold Into Goods for a Home

“Google, which dominates much of life on the Internet, has been trying to expand beyond computers and telephones to living rooms, cars and bodies. It made its way a bit further into people’s homes on Monday when it agreed to pay $3.2 billion in cash for Nest Labs, which makes Internet-connected devices like thermostats and smoke alarms.”

Well, so far, so good. (So what?)  Google remains a bunch of scary smart Type As in search of a

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

You Never Know When You May Need an Old Idea. Here are Three.

Mary Schmidt

Jan 14, 2014

“You never know when you might need an old idea.” - Ian McEwan, at Edge, in attacking this year’s question, “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?“post at

He’s talking about Aristotle, who was actually wrong about a lot of things…but “his invention of zoology alone was priceless. Would you cast him aside?”

I love a good “intellectual bar fight” as the NYT described Edge (Over the Side With Old Tenets)...and I also love old ideas. Here are three old ideas that should never

In Brain Food, Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks, Web Bytes

“Mama Don’t Text.”

Mary Schmidt

Jan 06, 2014

I sometimes shock people when I tell ‘em I don’t text. However…

I hear some variation of the following lament with increasing frequency.

“I hate it when people text/chat/video/photo during _____ (dinner, movie, conversations, concerts, grocery shopping, etc.)” 

And yet…we all struggle with maintaining a balance—using technology as a tool, not a time-sucking, costly addiction.  I love technology…have worked in “high tech” off and on for decades. At one point, as a product manager/director

In 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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