September 24th, 2018

8970947 - illuminated light bulb in a row of dim ones concept for creativity, innovation and solutionby Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

Disruptive innovation refers to new advances within an industry that fundamentally reshape or even completely replace an industry. Consider, for example, the impact of the personal computer on the typewriter industry, or the impact of the automobile on the horse-drawn carriage industry. Disruptive innovation is a boon to consumers and society in general, because new products, new services and new ways of serving customers add value to individuals and the economy as a whole. At the same time, disruptive innovation can be devastating to companies that are too slow to recognize the impending impact of disruptive innovation or too slow to react once they have recognized that potential impact.

In a post for Vertafore, Ben Deda, VP of Marketing, lists several examples of companies that failed to adapt to disruptive innovation. You’ve likely heard of them: Read the rest of this entry »

How to Tap Into Crowdfunding to Fuel Your Business Startup

September 13th, 2018

by Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

One of the most difficult aspects of starting a new business is raising some start-up capital. It’s great if you have sufficient savings built up to keep you going for a few years – yes, it often takes at least that long to start turning a profit – but that isn’t the reality for many entrepreneurs. In addition to the costs of running the business itself – which could include rent, marketing, utilities, raw materials, staff wages, etc. – entrepreneurs are often leaving an existing job, foregoing a steady paycheck.

Traditionally, start-ups are frequently funded by one or more of the “3Fs”: family, friends and fools. Read the rest of this entry »

Leveraging Big Benefits From Micro-Influencers

September 11th, 2018

Marketing is key to not only getting the word out about your products and services but also for convincing potential consumers that your offerings provide the best quality, best value, are the trendiest, etc. Influencers can be a huge benefit in this respect. Influencers are individuals or organizations that have the ability to influence the beliefs, attitudes and actions of others. An influencer might be a popular professional athlete who touts the efficacy of a particular shoe, supplement or clothing brand. Or it could be a celebrity who shows up on the red carpet wearing a particular fashion brand—one that carries your label.

These are examples of large-scale influencers. Small businesses typically don’t have access to such individuals unless by pure good fortune. But in an article for Forbes, Dinah Wisenberg Brin writes that some businesses have found success using “micro-influencers” to achieve similar effects, albeit on a smaller scale. Read the rest of this entry »

Is It Time For You to Move Away From Your Company?

September 7th, 2018

by Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

Entrepreneurs are typically very passionate about the companies they found. Some even take on a quasi-parental mentality. This is understandable. After all, many of these entrepreneurs pour their life savings and countless hours of work into getting their businesses off the ground.

But the skills that make a good entrepreneur are not always the same skills that help guide an established company. Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding, Managing and Communicating Consistently Across Customer Touchpoints

September 5th, 2018

Customer reviews, client reviews, best PR firm, public relations, content marketingIn an article for Harvard Business Review, Adam Richardson discusses the concept of customer touchpoints, which he broadly defines as “any interaction point between the customer and your brand.” If we think about this definition, it truly is quite broad, not least because it invokes the concept of the brand, which is itself extremely broad.

Does an online ad reflect on your brand? What about a discussion with a billing agent over a discrepancy on an invoice? While the answer to the first question is probably obvious, the second might seem like a stretch at first. But in truth, both are examples of touchpoints. And touchpoints have a direct impact on consumer brand perceptions. Read the rest of this entry »

Social Media Shifts Hold Both Challenges and Opportunities for Marketers

August 15th, 2018

Not so long ago, social media was the wave of the future in online activity. Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn revolutionized how we connect with one another; and apps like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat altered how an entire generation communicates online. These applications aren’t likely to go anywhere soon, but the landscape has changed drastically in recent years, and social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have been slammed over concerns of privacy, data sharing and online trolling.

Let’s take a look at some of the recent developments and the potential for user impact—whether for personal or professional purposes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Potential Perils of Tying Your Brand to a Real Person

August 10th, 2018

There are numerous examples of company names tied directly to an individual. That person is often the founder but could also be a key personality. Even our current president achieved a great amount of fame by attaching his name to everything from hotels and golf courses to steaks and an online university. Naming a company after an individual can add some personality to the brand and make potential customers feel a more personal connection to that brand. We know who the frontperson is; we know what they look like; and we know a bit about their personality and character.

But that isn’t always a good thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Companies Need to Make Sure Everyone, from the CEO on Down, Recognizes the Impact of Their Words

August 8th, 2018

In a highly publicized conference call, first reported by Forbes, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter used the “N-word” during a discussion between Papa John’s executives and marketing agency Laundry Service. What followed was weeks of turmoil where Schnatter first stepped down as chairman of the Papa John’s board of directors, then said his decision to step down was a mistake, and then filed a lawsuit against the company he founded for what he describes as the “heavy-handed” way he was treated. The company’s stock has Read the rest of this entry »

In Minneapolis/St. Paul, Bird is the Word

August 6th, 2018

by Justin Grensing, Esq., MBA

A few weeks ago, I was driving between work and home in NE Minneapolis along Marshall Street, a highly trafficked street running north to south through the heart of the Northeast neighborhood. While stopped at a stoplight, I saw four young people in their early 20s curiously inspecting four small, black scooters on the side of the street. The group looked fairly “trendy,” and I have to admit I was curious what they were looking at. Read the rest of this entry »

Go With Your Gut: When You Can Ignore the Algorithms

July 30th, 2018

A Harvard Business Review case study recently posed a provocative question: when should humans listen to algorithms vs. when should they trust their own experience and intuition? For this case study, the issue related to which of two employees to choose for a promotion. But, given the widespread applications for the use of big data and the power of predictive analytics, the question could be applied to any field or area of business practice—including content marketing.

When should content marketers listen to the algorithms instead of relying on their own instincts, which have been finely honed over time? Read the rest of this entry »