Marketing Mix Confusion

No One is-or-has a Marketing Panacea


Seth Godin wrote a book with the above titled headline. Of course, it was a best seller because he already had the reputation as being an online guru. And, like Scott Adams’ and his Dilbert fame, it struck a nerve with all serious marketing people. (more…)

Community Connection or Rejection

Paid Pricing measured by Value Received

In 2004 when PM Community was going through its painful Proof of Concept period (aka Beta Testing by our tech members), we fumbled & stumbled like any good start-up. We discovered there were two major issues that our target audience had trouble with.  The first was our Value Proposition deemed “too good to believe,” and the second was our Pricing Schedule, which for the intended Value to be delivered also appeared “too good to believe.” In short, looking back, we were way AHEAD of our time…on both accounts.

VALUE: Then and Now

Client-Dev Entrepreneur, circa 2010

Client-Dev Entrepreneur, circa 2010

Like beauty, value is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a relative term signifying nothing to a party who is disinterested or cannot understand the how-much [paid] for how-much [value received]. Firstly, our elevator pitch focused at first was that we weren’t selling anything except “the opportunity to more easily connect with cross-discipline peers & colleagues.” In retrospect, they couldn’t understand their NEED for such a service. Fearing something unknown, many simply objected on the grounds that they have plenty of ways to connect with pros in other disciplines–thanks and goodbye. Others frowned as they announced Google and the Chamber were all they needed. And, of course, some embraced us wholeheartedly, loved the concept…until a price tag was announced. In the spirit of the Internet’s  free & open to everyone’s stance, they expected no cost (Think: free lunch.)

PRICE: Then and Now

Price is the cost paid, and in the beginning. it’s always problematic. With rather meager marketing materials (heavy on the Powerpoint) at hand, early targets fell into the mode of “deliver the goods, and then we’ll pay you! (whatever we think you’re worth).” These independent pros were not about to trust any new entity that showed up asking for money upfront. They reasoned that even though they may not work on a contingency basis, because the Community was untried, untested, & unknown, real results must be demonstrated beforehand. Since our business model was that of a lean bootstrap start-up, we were forced to chug onward to—either keep prospecting with low [entry] pricing or else turn our business into a full-blown marketing agency that worked on commission. (FYI–the latter was definitely not about to happen.)

Sure there were other rookie mistakes, like trying to be all things to all people–aka spinning wheels with little/no compensation. So we regrouped, experienced unbelievable growing pains, lost impatient partners, but with a major overhaul, we relaunched a few years later. We had “invented” Local Channel Marketing.™ The revised business plan called for not only locking the doors to the public but only opening them for qualifying members. Best of all, value & pricing were thought to be amazing. Oops; we soon learned that $100/month or an annualized $1,000 wasn’t the irresistible marketing program that we were presenting. The problem wasn’t the product-which now had highly professional marketing materials, but the audience (solos) who were diving deep into a severe cash crunch as the economy started to tank. Ouch. [Think: Meatloaf’s “All Dressed up and No Place to Go.”]


Sometime those “good old lessons learned” don’t seem as bad as they actually were! That said, the Community’s early years were still the stuff that entrepreneurs are made of. You know, bowed but not broken (just broke). Literally, fight or flight. Get mad or go home! Fortunately, there was still enough in the tank to persevere until our founding senior made it right — since failure simply wasn’t an option especially when you’re “paying it forward by giving back.

Fast forwarding to last fall, the pilot version of Concierge Marketing was introduced. It formally (without fanfare) starts in earnest on Wednesday, April 16th. This is the latest iteration of the retired Local Channel Marketing program. In point of fact, it’s the same core marketing engine but with advanced features, e.g. a greatly accelerated “call-to-action” registration process; long forms were replaced with checkmarks (now Linkedin members virtually stroll in); prices start at $19/year for pre-member positioning affording faster recruitment when there’s a new-client urgently needing services and Community Members are busy/unavailable! (Please note that these folks would still have to formally join; but what a fantastic opportunity to do so with a new client at hand…just for saying “YES.”  Talk about a rainmaking event!)

In case you haven’t heard, new members can start registering now and be processed on April 16th–with service starting on May 1st. In the spirit of continued SMB Advocate Pricing, 2014 Fee Schedule is:

  • New Pre-Members — positioning fee of $19/year would get “3rd call” when/if no full Members are available
  • Associate Members — part-timers, entitled to “2nd call” when no Preferred Members available are just $30/mo
  • Preferred Members — full-timers, entitled to “1st call” on new client opportunities, are $59/mo or $590 year

Details are within the website. Full memberships come with 60-day money-back satisfaction guarantee; then an “anytime opt-out” to get 100% refund of unused monthly fees, per the standard Community Marketing Agreement.