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Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter

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Idea Pool

But what if your customers will BUY a faster horse?

Mary Schmidt

Jun 22, 2015

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”—Henry Ford

Of course, this quote has also been used by entrepreneurs as an excuse for ignoring market reality. (It’s a GREAT idea!” Everyone SHOULD love it! Who needs a business plan? Or a market analysis? We HAVE no competition!  LET’s GO!”)

And, I’m all for wild ideas and out-of-the-box thinking. Once upon a time, I’m sure the general consensus was that newfangled fire thing would never catch on…and what’s with

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

Can You Grow Out of (in) a Stagnant Market?

Mary Schmidt

May 12, 2015

Old McDonald's sign Maybe you can only sell so many burgers to a finite number of people who will buy them over and over…

Faced with Sagging Sales McDonald’s Chief Announces a Reorganization (NYT, 05/05/15)

I’ve been reading about McDonald’s trials and tribulations over a couple of years.  However, the behemoth company has been struggling with how to maintain stellar growth for much longer than that. Remember the “gourmet” sandwich flop?

This happened back in my corporate America days—after a long day I

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

The Not-So-Secret Reasons Secret Failed

Mary Schmidt

May 06, 2015

From the Silicon Valley follies file…

Secret, as you may or may not know, was a social app that allowed people to send anonymous messages. What could POSSIBLY go wrong with that? Why, it was, in the founders’ words, going to “reduce the barrier to communication.”  Starry-eyed VCs (Look, SHINY!) funded it to the tune of $35 million.

Apparently the founders were shocked, I tell you, shocked! that cyber-bullies would pile on. 

Of course, they were “pre-revenue” and didn’t want to be

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks

You Can Sell One of Anything

Mary Schmidt

Feb 12, 2015

In working with clients to get products to market, I go through a series of reality checks. And, one of the hardest realities is that you really can sell one of anything…to somebody. The “trick” (and how you build a sustainable business) is selling more than one, over and over.

So, here are some of the reality check questions we work through.

1. What makes your product better than others already on the market? Is it a lot better? How? Can we translate that into value? How can we displace

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting

When was the last time you closed a deal in an elevator?

Mary Schmidt

Dec 01, 2014

...or even talked to anyone? Mostly we all stare forward, working hard to avoid eye contact. Maybe we do one of the closed mouth Buddha half-smiles as people enter…but that’s pretty much it.  Of course, “elevator pitch” is shorthand for encapsulating your key selling points into a few words of sheer, unforgettable brilliance. Here’s a sanity check for you. In the last meeting where everyone was asked to stand and speak their bit—how many did you remember? Or were you busy obsessing about your

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves

“We owe you an apology, Mary, about social media.”

Mary Schmidt

Nov 20, 2014

Earlier this week I re-connected with an old friend and former client. And one of the first things she said was “We owe you an apology about social media.”  The folks building her company’s new web site are telling her that the company HAS TO HAVE Facebook, Twitter, etc. (It helps with SEO rankings!) After I told her that I didn’t need an apology (hey! It’s your business)—I also told her that no, they don’t have to have FB, Twitter, etc. They are a professional firm that gets almost all their

In Marketing Troubleshooting, Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks, Web Bytes

Is The Internet Dead?

Mary Schmidt

Nov 19, 2014

All My friends are deadFrom Fall of the Banner Ad: The Monster That Swallowed the Web (NYT)

Twenty years ago last month, a team of well-meaning designers, coders and magazine publishers inadvertently unleashed on an unsuspecting world one of the most misguided and destructive technologies of the Internet age: the web banner ad.

Banner ads are cheap. There’s a reason. People hate them and they’re (by all reports) ineffective. So why do companies (including—ahem—the New York Times) still have them? Because other

In Start-Up Sanity Checks, Marketing Troubleshooting, Social Media Reality Checks, Web Bytes

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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