Are You a Lottery Marketing Victim?

Lottery marketing, like its gaming counterpart, is easy to identify and can be just as addicting.

Put simply, lottery marketing is putting a few dollars and lots of time into every marketing related activity you can think of and hoping, fingers crossed, that one of these activities will work. And they do, just often enough to keep you chasing the next marketing guru idea or content marketing fad.

The rise of social media has decreased the odds that your lottery marketing strategy will work. You may not be spending the kind of money you did with old-school advertising, but your time-sink factor has risen by 1000% because social media outreach is a hungry beast that needs to be constantly and consistently fed to provide even a small return on your investment.

Lottery marketing does not have to be fatal. Here are the top five traps of Lottery Marketing that you need to avoid:

Produce. Produce. Produce. Content and more content: A never ending torrent of content and social media postings. That kind of fire, ready, aim philosophy is the premise of lottery marketing. It will cause you to latch onto the latest hot marketing idea or gimmick without asking important, fundamental business questions like: What is the focus of our content? Is this really the best distribution channel for us? How does this help us reach our goals?

Over Amplification. A second cousin to overproduction, over amplification sends your content out through every possible distribution channel or customer touchpoint in a frantic effort to “get some results” in likes, shares, tweets, etc. Imagine the gambler racing from Mega Millions to Scratchers to Super Lotto Plus to get the winning ticket and, well, you get the idea. The trouble with lottery marketing is that it works just well enough to keep you hooked on the frantic activity.

No Target Audience. That’s lottery marketing in its truest form. This philosophy believes that content marketing is really just a “numbers game.” So, your team sends out thousands of emails, populates your social communities with tons of content, crosses its collective fingers and hopes your number comes up.

Wrong Target Audience. Targeting the wrong audience can be even more expensive than having no target because you are courting people who don’t need or want your services. If you can’t clearly state who your audience is, what your value is, and why they will buy from you rather than someone else­ (in 25 words or less) you’ve got a targeting problem.

Spending Without Tracking. Gamblers never want to look at their losses because the next one will score big. A content marketing lottery player will “double down” on the production engine, spend big on systems, tools and techniques without ever checking their metrics or investing in an analytics dashboard. Don’t let that be your team. Track your results so you can measure your ROI with confidence.

The best way to avoid the trap of Lottery Marketing is to have a content marketing strategy, process and implementation plan in place and stick with it. It’s easier than you might think, and it will save you time and money in the long run.

What’s your story? Are you a Lottery Marketing victim? Or have you got a solid content marketing strategy to share? Please comment and let us know.

Becoming an Industry Disruptor

Entrepreneurs are visionaries. We wake up every day thinking about how we can change the world. Companies like Instagram, DoorDash, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Clark Pacific have made that dream a reality by changing the game and, sometimes, the rules.E

“Don’t be afraid to Fail Up. You can get eight things wrong before you get one right and still be successful,” advises Keith Yandell, chief business and legal officer of DoorDash.

“Don’t get too attached to your big dream. It’s easy to dream. It’s not so easy to get from where you are now to where you want to be,” cautions Shayne Sweeney, founding team of Instagram.

This was just a sample of the great advice from the front lines of industry disruption that attendees got to hear at the DCA Partners Success Series event held Thursday September 19 at the Northridge County Club in Sacramento.

The all-star panel that included Sweeney and Yandell also featured Paul Janicki, CFO of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Don Clark, Co-CEO, Clark Pacific.

While all these companies are considered disruptors now, none started out to be. Only one, DoorDash, even had a model for that direction. Yandell had also spent time at Uber. What they offered at the DCA event were experiences and insights that can benefit entrepreneurs and business owners of every stage of growth and type of industry.

Disruption was the last thing on the minds of the team at Instagram when they started. “We were focused on leveraging technology to make beautiful moments,” Sweeney noted.

But they realized that they had a tiger by the tail when celebrities started becoming heavy Instagram users. The team had to adjust their thinking and learn how to manage explosive growth. Instagram became a disruptor because they changed customer behavior from taking pictures to sharing them. Making it easier and fun to do something new with something users already had, digital pictures, took the company from start up to acquisition by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion.

DoorDash had Grubhub to thank for its role in disrupting the restaurant service industry.  According to Yandell, Grubhub was focusing on the ordering experience leaving their restaurant customers to figure out how to get the food to their buyers. That “blind spot” created the opportunity for DoorDash which Yandell called a blend of “good decisions and happy accidents.”

For Sierra Nevada, it was all about making a better beer. Founder Ken Grossman wanted a beer that was better than the big brand beers of the day like Millers and Budweiser. In 1980, his Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. brewed its first batch of what is now its most popular beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, in an old warehouse with a patchwork of pumps and tanks. Though Sierra Nevada practically created the craft brew industry, Janicki notes the company culture, driven by founder Ken Grossman, is to stay hungry and innovative to continually keep the customer experience fresh.

Clark Pacific had a unique challenge in becoming a disruptor in the commercial construction industry, known more for being stodgy than innovative. But when Clark Pacific bid and, somewhat to their own internal surprise, won the project to build Apple’s futuristic headquarters, known to locals as the spaceship, Co-CEO Clark said they had to innovate both because of the size of the project and the challenges of the 2008 recession.

To stay a disruptor in the staid commercial construction industry, the company continually thinks about reinvention. “We create plans for change. We have had Clark Pacific 2.0; Clark Pacific 3.0 and now Clark Pacific 4.0,” Clark says. A key part of 4.0 was to prioritize and productize their approach, focusing on products rather than projects.

As the panel shared their journeys as disruptors, they offered memorable takeaways and insights to empower entrepreneurs, innovators and potential industry disruptors across the Sacramento region.

Advice like:

“We try to get 1% better every day. That 1% compounds into big success over time,” Yandell.

“Focus. There are many things that you can do, but what should you really do? Once we have focus, we have incredible power,” Janicki.

“We love what we do. And we are ready to shift for the big opportunity,” Clark.

“Sometimes you have to be obsessive and only think about what is best for the customer,”  Janicki.

“You have to believe in your own perspective. Don’t care what other people think,” Yandell.

For more on the DCA Partners Success Series, visit

Six Growth Maximizers for Scaling Your Business

Gaining traction. Scaling up. Maximizing business value. Whatever your definition of business growth is, investing in these six proven business accelerators is bound to make a difference.

We call them Market Fuel Strategies because they are designed to bring new energy to your business operations and increased profit to your bottom-line.

In hundreds of client engagements across the past 15 years, I have found that these six factors, when planned for, can have a dramatic impact on company, product and customer success.

As you consider these six accelerators, ask yourself:
1) How well are we doing today in this area?
2) Where do we want to be this time next year?
3) What is it going to take to get us there?

There’s a lot to unpack here so let’s look at each in detail. Today, we take a deep dive into product/service fuel. Over the next few weeks we will examine the rest of these six business accelerators and offer ideas on how to make them work better for your business.

Product Fuel

Your product fuel is driven by these three attributes:
• Product Strength: the marketability of your product/service based on the benefits and features that you offer to your customers.
• Competitive Strength: capabilities which enable you to take advantage of new market potential in competitive situations.
• Customer Strength: the match between your product results and your customer’s needs and wants. This drives market penetration.

Think of these as the lens from which to evaluate your product/service success.

Here’s a tool to help you determine the competitive and market strengths of your products and services. The key question is listed across the top. Examples are product strength features to consider. Add your own!

First, list the product or service’s top three strengths. You can determine that by answering a simple question: Why do customers choose your product over the alternative? The top three reasons are, from a market perspective, your top strengths.

Second, consider your competitive strength from two angles: 1) List your competitive advantages (product features, service practices, pricing, delivery, etc.); 2) consider your market opportunity: how many customers who could buy this product or service are actually buying it?

State as a percentage from 1% to 100%. The difference between your number and 100% is your market penetration opportunity.

Third, consider your customer strength by your ability to sell more of your product or service to additional customers (upsell) and new customer or market types you might be able to reach.

Once you have completed this snapshot, you should have a pretty good answer to the first and second accelerator questions: How well are we doing today in this area? Where do we want to be this time next year?

The third question – what is going to take to get us there? That’s all about resources: time, money, tool and talent. What resources do you have in your company to address the challenge and what do you need to get?

What’s the next step? Consider these:

• Where you are strong but not well known in the market, the accelerator step is most likely a new marketing or sales program.

• Where you are weak, especially competitively, the accelerator step is most likely product improvements or new product development.

Turn Competitive Info into Cash


There’s information gold in knowing what your competitors are doing and how they’re doing it. The trick is finding it and then knowing what to do with it.

Most of us know in general who our competitors are and what products and services they offer. But too often we don’t know much more than that or if we do know we may not be using the information as effectively as we could to improve sales, marketing and customer service operations.

This is where a new focus on competitors, called Competitive Marketing can help. When you focus more specifically and directly on what your competitors are doing and how well they are doing it, you gain the competitive advantage.

Done well, Competitive Marketing means you can almost predict what your competitors are going to do next and convert that information into cash.

Know Them

A strong Competitive Marketing plan includes these ten elements.

  1. Competitor name and general background information
  2. Corporate Team Background
  3. Products and Services
  4. Market Strength and Presence
  5. Branding/Message/Customer Focus
  6. Customer Loyalty Index
  7. Pricing
  8. Product Trends and Directions
  9. Lead Sources/Win-Loss Analysis
  10. SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Beat Them

If this sounds a lot like competitive research or analysis, you’re right. The difference between competitive analysis and Competitive Marketing is what you do with what you know.

Competitive research gathers the data, competitive analysis draws conclusions and provides recommendations, Competitive Marketing turns that information into better, more effective sales and marketing tools. Tools that result in your company’s ability to:

  • Win more sales deals
  • Arm internal customer champions with competitive facts
  • Give customer confidence in their choice of product/service
  • Train new sales reps
  • Provided a better customer experience
  • Improve strategic planning
  • Accelerate new product development

Competitive Marketing is an emerging new area of marketing that entrepreneurs, marketers and business owners can use to create tools to leverage their company strengths and protect against their weaknesses. To know your competitors is to beat them at their own game.







What’s Your Social Business Personality?

How you show up in your social communities matters. It matters a lot. Your personality probably shows up naturally in your personal social media interactions. But what about your business?

Global corporations spend millions creating “personalities” to represent their businesses. Personalities like “Flo” from Progressive Insurance or the AFLAC duck or even good ole “Tony the Tiger” from yester-year.

Your business has a personality too. Especially when it comes to social business. Your personality is more than just a way of connecting, it has an impact on the kind of content you deliver, the kind of connections you make, and how people will do business with you and refer you.

It’s that important.

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Is Your Content a Little Tyrant?

We all know that content is king but what do you do when your “content king” turns into a little tyrant? What happens to your marketing campaigns when content becomes an end in itself instead of a means to the end of connecting you to your customers?

Content becomes a tyrant when it drives the message instead of amplifying the message, the vision or the story. It becomes a tyrannical beast when the end goal of your content production is meeting a content quantity goal or due date instead of providing valuable educational, inspirational or practical insights.

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