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Mary Schmidt Marketing Troubleshooter


Idea Pool

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

Why You Shouldn’t Hire Me To “Do” Your Social Media Strategy

Mary Schmidt

Jan 29, 2015

Short answer: Because you need a comprehensive, integrated offline/online marketing strategy…with an implementable plan and ROI measurements.  (Relax, you can put all this on one page, if you do some serious thinking and analysis before putting anything down on the page…and are willing to make course corrections quickly. That I can help you with…) 

As regular readers know, one of my biggest pet peeves is the instant “expert”—for everything from life planning to social media.  And, just

In Pet Peeves, Social Media Reality Checks, Web Bytes

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

Are You Dealing With “Needflation?”

Mary Schmidt

Nov 18, 2014

In biz or life (and you really can’t separate the two, after all)—we all do it.  We transform our wants into “needs.” Or, we use need as a way to avoid dealing with hard decisions and daunting realities.

For example, in my first meeting with an entrepreneur seeking funding, I ask, “How much money do you really need to get going?”  Almost always we can get from “want” to the real “need.” We can then have a much better discussion about how to meet that need. What starts out as a “How do I get a

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

All Business is Personal.

Mary Schmidt

Nov 11, 2014

Regular readers know one of my pet peeves is “It’s not personal. It’s business.” Usually said (with a sneer) right before the knives go in…

I was reminded of this recently in what should have been a mundane meeting about (what I thought was) basic operational process.  *Yawn* Oh. wait. Voices started to rise. People stopped listening. Sighing. Huffing. The general level of angst in the room rose about two levels. Everyone had valid points…but…

So, what happened? Two things. People were

In Brain Food, Pet Peeves

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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