Monday, March 31, 2008

Continuing Ed

Welcome to the April edition of “Not Your Usual Marketing Tips” from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

One of the great things about the Internet is the opportunity for a kind of “continuing ed” in one’s chosen field or industry.

I’ve discussed, in the past, the benefits of subscribing to certain e-zines – “electronic magazines” or newsletters – from those I consider true marketing gurus. They’ve got a lot of knowledge to impart, and some of that knowledge every now and then takes the form of a “tele-seminar” they put on. I listened to one just last week, and there was some great stuff in it (part of its greatness was it was free!)

Alexandria Brown, the self-anointed “Queen of the E-Zine” did a two-night series on the benefits of trotting out an electronic publication – such as what you’re reading right now – for reasons too numerous to mention here. (You can go right to the source, though, to learn more at )

One of the notions she puts forth is that, in the seemingly impersonal world of business, one can communicate through the clutter with a more “personalized” approach. Seasoning your message, now and then, with little dollops of info on yourself, your achievements, even stuff on your family.

So, here goes: “My” movie opens later this week (April 4).

Leatherheads is the new George Clooney screwball comedy that embraces the early days of pro football (1925) as a colorful backdrop to a romantic triangle with co-stars Renee Zelwegger and The Office’s John Krasinski.

“My” movie?? Well, sure…after all, I'm in it. As an extra. Actually, more than an extra. I played the role of Assistant Coach of the Chicago Buffalos, the team Clooney’s Duluth Bulldogs play in the dramatic denouement-revealing game at the end of the film.

So if anyone out there in e-zine land is interested in reading more about my adventures on the film set – taking direction from George, for example – well, I won’t take up any more sacrosanct space in this missive…but you can access it here in a fun website created by another amateur thespian who also took part in the film:

(Then check out the Photo Album section and go to Album 5 and scroll down to see a caricature I did…which was finally presented to our star this past week when he made his whistle stopping tour through Salisbury, NC.)

I’m not sure I know what all this “personal” stuff through my e-zine is supposed to do. But, I suppose if it gets people talking either about me or to me, a little PR in my direction can’t hurt, right?

And if I can assist you, or anyone you know, with promotional needs – self or otherwise – let me strap on my leatherhead and get on it!

In the meantime, let’s huddle again the first Tuesday of next month for another bone crushing edition of “Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.”

Joel Kweskin

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What Is Your USP?

What's your USP?

And, no, it has nothing to do with the US Postal Service.

It’s your “Unique Selling Proposition.” Or substitute the word Proposition with Proposal or Point.

Any way you say it, it’s what those three words say about your business that, theoretically, no one else can say.

Welcome to another edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Simply stated, your USP should – in your marketing materials, position papers, sales letters, perhaps even your slogan – reflect the contention that what you sell is unique, something your competition cannot or chooses not to promote…culminating in the decision by your customer to act by exploring and/or purchasing your product or service.

You may remember USP from Marketing 101. But, since Spring Training has begun this month down in Florida and Arizona, I’m reminded that it’s occasionally a good thing to re-familiarize oneself with the “fundamentals.”

Wikepedia further explains USP as a “marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to explain a pattern among successful advertising campaigns (of the 1940s and 1950s). It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer and that this convinced them to switch brands.

“The term was invented by Rosser Reeves (an account executive with former independent ad agency giant) Ted Bates & Company. Today the term is used in other fields or just casually to refer to any aspect of an object that differentiates it from similar objects…A number of businesses and corporations currently use USPs as a basis for their marketing campaigns.”

Jay Abraham, with a string of successful books on the “guerilla” ways of marketing, opines that, “Even while you creatively imitate others, remember that it's also important to be different. Distinguish your business or practice from all the rest. Make your enterprise special in the eyes of your customer or client. A USP is that distinct and appealing idea that sets you and your business, or practice, favorably apart from every other generic competitor.” has a little more “tough love” message for you: “There may be very little difference between your product and your competitors’. But if you can't find a way to communicate uniqueness and connect it to a need of your target, you might as well quit fighting your competition and sell out to them.

“There are many different ways to stake out a position. Just remember, your position reflects your unique selling proposition, and it is what makes your offering more valuable to your customers than what's being offered by your competition.”

No doubt by now you may have taken a cold, hard look at what you do for a living and thought. “but my business is really no different than others in this field.”

That’s the challenge. But it’s not unmeet-able. There are things about your business you may not be able to see – the old “forest for the trees” deal. And that’s where it may take a professional marketing firm (ahem!) to help adjust your glasses for you…

And help truly, and memorably, distinguish you vis-à-vis your competition.

If you haven't done so by now, maybe it’s time you worked on your USP...ASAP.

Hope to chat you up again the first Tuesday of next month with another initials-laden serving of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin