The Book for your input…in pieces…

Being a marketer through and through, I’m always interested in market feedback and input. So I’m going to start publishing pieces of my book on the blog for your comments and input. Below are a draft synopsis and table of contents. The bullseye audience for the book is executives responsible for the profitable growth of certain types of companies – those that are prone to commoditization, because customers can’t easily see, touch or experience the offering’s points of differentiation prior to the sale. These include B2B professional or technology services, technology-based products, innovative offerings, or intangible offerings rooted in expertise (e.g., professional services, educational services). Technology entrepreneurs will find it very useful. There are lots of other audience categories the book applies to – if you aren’t the prime target but are trying to stand out in a crowded field and avoid competing on price, read on in case you can relate and benefit from the insights.

Draft Synopsis

Why are seemingly excellent products or services forced to compete on price as me-too commodities, while other offerings have strong brand equity, command premium prices, and stand out as the Go-To in their markets – the first name that comes to mind for customers as the superior option? They leverage the four pillars of differentiation to uniquely brand themselves and delivery superior value. Through extensive research and 25 years of personal experience working with both Go-Tos and Me-Toos as a practitioner and consultant, the author has noticed a pattern of what the Go-Tos do differently, particularly when a company’s offerings are rooted in technology, innovation, or intellectual expertise. She lays out these four pillars as a step-by-step strategic marketing framework called the Apollo Method for Market Dominance, named for the Apollo Space Program, the ultimate against-all-odds success story under circumstances paralleling those of competitive markets.  Sharing numerous examples and practical how-to tips, the author says that nearly every company can use the four pillars of differentiation to call its own “moon shot” and dominate its chosen markets for huge profits and sustainable growth.

Did it grab you at all? Did it make you want to read more? Why? Why not? What would make it better?

Table of Contents

Part I: Why You Have a Problem

Introduction: How In the World is that Person Making $30,000 a Day?

        Chapter 1: Commoditization is Enemy #1

Part II: What to Do About It

Chapter 2: Be the Go-To for the Solution to a Business Problem

Part III: How to Do It: The Apollo Method for Market Dominance

Chapter 3: Overview

Chapter 4: Launch Phase

Chapter 5: Ignite Phase

Chapter 6: Navigate Phase

Chapter 7: Accelerate Phase

Part IV: Getting Started

Chapter 8: Your One-Page Plan

I realize it’s hard to comment without seeing more, but at a glance, does the table of contents look enticing and logical? (Note: Yes, Ignite comes after Launch. You’ll see why when we get to that.)

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Who’s On First?

I’m about to recommend an article. Marketers and designers: Print it and bring it to your meetings with each other.

abott and costello whos on first

The other day I was interviewing a creative director and, once again, felt like I was part of an Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” comedy routine.

It seems that whenever marketers, designers and even operations executives and VCs start throwing buzzwords around, like “branding” and “identity,” we get each other completely twisted up. Our lexicons contain the same words, but we use them to mean very different things. One of my biggest peeves is the way “brand” as a term gets abused and confused. We think we’re in sync when we aren’t. And we think we aren’t in sync when we are. That’s why I was excited to run across this fabulous article on the Creative Market blog, “Designing a Brand Identity.” It offers a very simple, clear explanation of the distinctions between “brand” and “identity,” for example. From now on, I’m going to distribute this before meetings to make sure we’re all on the same page and speaking the same language. Check it out. You may find it useful.

Creative Market Blog Identity article screenshot

 

What a Book in Gestation Looks Like

This is what a book in gestation looks like. 🙂

Book in Gestation - studio wall

All the walls of my writing studio look like this. What you don’t see is the massive expanse of tabletop space covered in research files and a stack of reference books.

After having to put it down for five years to tend to my kids, I’ve recently resumed work on my book. Thank goodness. Because every other day, I find myself wishing I could hand it to the person I’m speaking with and say, “Just read the book, and then come back if you still want help fixing your problem.”

Here’s the working title with a preliminary cover design:

Front cover design V4 Green cropped

 

Would love your feedback. Does this sound like a book you’d want to read? Why? Why not? Add your comments.

It is a how-to book that will explain the Apollo Method for Market Dominance, a strategic marketing framework for how you go about differentiating yourself as the sought-after leader in your field. A key piece is selling full-on solutions to problems, not just piecemeal products or services. But that’s only the beginning.

It’s mostly for B2B companies that have trouble differentiating, esp. if they sell intangibles, software as a service, professional services, technology solutions, etc. It can apply in a consumer setting as well.

I think I’ll start posting chapter material here at some point for comments and suggestions, so subscribe to the blog for alerts, if you’d like to get first dibs.

Having Trouble Telling Your Story?

Image

How to Make Your Story Compelling

I encourage you to take ‘this free, online crash course on pitching. Spend as little or much time with it as you want. Get the basics in 10-15 minutes or spend a few days honing your story. It’s available through Stanford’s new, online crash course platform.

http://ecorner.stanford.edu/modules/16/pitching_101_how_to_make_your_story_compelling