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Mary Schmidt Business Builder & Renovator

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Idea Pool

The Three Most Abused Words in Business

Mary Schmidt

Feb 22, 2017

In no particular order:

1. Partner.

As in, “We want to partner with you, Mr./Ms. Customer.”  Calls to mind a meeting I once had, in a Fortune 50 gig, with one of our top sales executives.  He had great fun (snort, snort), “Yes, we want to be YOUR PARTNER, Mr. Customer. Give us all your money!”

“Partner” implies that both parties in the transaction are in it for more than dollars or that single transaction. There’s nothing wrong with being an operationally excellent company who excels at

In Brain Food, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

Biz Lessons From The 2016 Election

Mary Schmidt

Nov 17, 2016

No, these are decidedly “not normal” times and this was not a “politics as usual” election. However, some basic, unchanging truths about biz planning and marketing strategies were well illustrated. Rather you’re an entrepreneur or in an established company, keep the following in mind:

1. Assume all your assumptions are wrong. Then do another scenario, and another.

2. Things that look great on paper go awry in the real world (People aren’t line items on spreadsheets and they will use your

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

Hitting a Moving Target.

Mary Schmidt

Jun 08, 2016

“The short road to ruin is to emulate the methods of your adversary.” - Winston Churchill.

Benchmarking.  Best Practices.  “Competitive Intelligence.”  (often an oxymoron anyway) “Competitive Analysis.”  All this will tell you where people have been and are - not where they’re going or what the next BIG thing is/will be.  Plus, “industry standard” may in fact be thoroughly mediocre, not a good thing to emulate.  Your customers can’t tell you the revolutionary BIG thing either - but they

In Marketing Troubleshooting

Markets: Creating or Evolving? Disruptive or Incremental?

Mary Schmidt

May 03, 2016

Recently I was talking to a young entrepreneur (or trying to…the man’s ability to not take a breath was truly amazing). I did manage to get in one or two basic questions about his market research and product viability. He then proceeded to give me a lovely 101 lecture on creating markets, using Steve Jobs and Apple as the example of creating a market and a demand.  If they could do it, so could he! And, certainly, Apple is a fascinating story, but “they” didn’t do it overnight (and Jobs had a

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

You Mean You Don’t Care What I Had For Lunch?

Mary Schmidt

May 02, 2016

pimento cheese(Previously published on LinkedIn.)

But look! I posted an image which is supposed to increase my views! And it was really good sandwich! And, here’s the recipe!  Okay, I’ll stop now.

Here’s a very brief Social Media sanity check for you.

LinkedIn now has over 400 million users. I’ve personally got about 500 followers (which is not anywhere close to a “power number” and I’m fine with that. I only have one brain and a limited number of work hours to offer. I’m not a mass marketer of

In Brain Food, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

A Patent Isn’t a (Commercial) Product.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 07, 2016

Consider the ballpoint pen. John J. Loud patented a “rolling-pointed fountain marker” on October 30, 1888.  Over the next 30 years, 350 similar patents were issued by the U.S. Patent Office. But none of these products appeared on the market.  The idea was fine—they just couldn’t get the ink right. If it was too thin, the pen leaked. Too thick, the pen clogged. Eventually two French brothers solved the problem and licensed their patents, in 1950, to a Frenchman named Bich. He then took

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

Social Media Isn’t Marketing.

Mary Schmidt

Apr 01, 2016

Certainly, marketers have glommed onto SM for communications. Especially the increasingly desperate (and clueless) ad and PR agencies (who anoint themselves social media experts…and send out cold email spam to bloggers - such as me - about topics that aren’t even remotely related to my blog and biz.  Jelly Belly jelly beans and moms? Really?)

However, social media isn’t marketing.  (Just as advertising isn’t marketing, another one of my pet peeves.)  It’s a tool set that can - properly used -

In 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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