Legal Marketing with a Big Upside for Startups: FreeTrademarksForStartups.com

November 19th, 2008

This is not my marketing concept, though I wish I had thought of it.  Trademark lawyer and Red Sox diehard Erik J. Heels has a new initiative to help startups understand and protect their trademark rights.

FreeTrademarksForStartups.com: Free Trademarks For Startups » @ErikJHeels

If your company is a bona fide startup, Erik will help you file a trademark application for free.  He is up front about the fact that he is doing this to get your future paying business as well, which sounds entirely reasonable to me. 

If you have a startup and need help evaluating your preferred trademarks and filing an application, go check Erik out.

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A Business Applications Company With No “Enterprise” in its DNA (in the Best Way)

April 7th, 2008

Exactly when people started saying “enterprise” instead of “large business” is pretty good material for light banter. I don’t know the answer, though I have discovered an almost perfect inverse correlation between a company’s use of the word enterprise to describe itself and my ability to understand what the company does: if they say “enterprise” I am basically guaranteed to have no idea what the company’s product does.

The conversations that start joking about enterprises usually segue directly into wondering why the same businesses talk about “solutions”. Their websites have sections entitled “Products” and “Solutions”. One might think that these could be the same section- aren’t the products supposed to be the solutions? It doesn’t work that way, though.

I think the reason I never understand what the companies do is that they never state the “Problem”. They assume that visitors hit their site already knowing what they are looking for. If most visitors are not like me, then they are probably right. I always find myself wishing for a frame of reference, though.

That’s why I was so happy when someone pointed me to Timebridge. It makes a product that connects calendars across application platforms. I don’t use Outlook or Google Calendar, the two products it work with currently, so I haven’t tried it out. When I saw the site, though, I found something really great:

No Solutions. There is the product and there is “The Mess”. Thanks, Timebridge, for telling me why I might be interested in your product.

Bonus points for having live demos of the product in place of management headshots on the Management Team page.  That’s a smart way to make the product real.

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Marketing Your Way Through a Recession — HBS Working Knowledge

March 10th, 2008

From Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge newsletter- eight (!) tips for keeping one’s business intact through a recession.

For the most part, these are things any business needs to review periodically in any case.  For me, the one-line summary is "avoid the temptation to withdraw into product-engineering mode. You still need to sell too".  I recall many stories from the last recession about companies that laid of all their sales and marketing staff and kept all the engineers- only to end up with a product no one was buying.

Marketing Your Way Through a Recession — HBS Working Knowledge

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