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Convincing Clients to Spend: 5 Tough Questions for Tough Economic Times.

- Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You don't need another reminder that we're working through a period of slow economic growth and a jittery business climate. But amongst all the doom and gloom, this stormy cloud comes with a silver lining for people working in Online Marketing and Web Design which are traditionally B2B consulting services.

Your prospects and clients probably realise that when times get tough they need to get creative and innovative with their products, their services and, most importantly, their marketing. It's a time to invest in the future and look inwardly at how you can improve, all so you can prepare for the next boom.
Despite this fact, it's no secret that you're finding it harder to close deals. But lets go back to basics: your pitching needs to begin with education, and education begins with asking the right questions. Here's some questions you should be asking your prospects to clinch your deals:

1. What's In Your Marketing Inventory - Is it working for you?

One simple activity I like to do is pull out a spreadsheet and line up all my advertising spending and how many leads each one is generating for me. 'Leads' can range from anything to phone calls, inquiry forms, direct emails, site registration for forum participation, leaving comments - whoops, there's one problem - I don't actually know how many customers I'm getting from all my offline advertising...

The point is that print ads like classified ads in the local paper and yellow pages ads are expensive and have declining reach and readership.
Most importantly, it's hard to measure how much business they generate for you. This is not to say they're valueless - but contrast this with an fully fledged online business. With concrete and clear metrics, you know the exact ROI of your online marketing campaigns. Best of all, you can optimize and redeploy online campaigns in a few hours - dollar for dollar, online is where the smart money is.

2. People are staying home, and staying online more - what are you doing about it?

Tight belts and high gas prices mean people are spending a lot more time at home in front of the TV and the computer. Where are they hanging out online? Have a think about this - you need to be advertising in their space, participating in their blogs and becoming an authority in their forums.

For example, let's  imagine you sell model train kits. You could be sponsoring some train modelling blogs and forums in return for some inexpensive and targeted advertising. These banners can link back to pages on your website which could be designed to educate, sell and encourage online community participation. All of which is 100% measurable, so if it's not effective - just cut the spending.

3. What's your Freemium Strategy?

People love free stuff and they love it even more when they haven't got much to spend. I'm not asking you to give away your products for free but what about online 'cash' coupons or discounts that they have to register on your website to receive? And once they've registered you'll be able to market to these customers in a monthly e-newsletter. We all have to move stock and attract new customers - so think about some clever online marketing strategies to do it...

4. Have you Cleaned your House yet?

Back to basics once more - now's the time to be pushing business branding and website makeovers. Is the website from 2003 looking a bit tired? Does it match up with your bricks and mortar branding? Does your customer service live up to your promises? Is your content up to date? Are your landing pages and catalogs well laid out and easy to use? Lets spring clean your whole online business 'house' and entice those customers back.

5. You are the Online Business Hero.

Working in a B2B industry, you're going to get worried business owners looking for advice and solutions to their problems. You can gain their trust by giving your expert advice for free. And to your clients?

Well you can tell them that anybody can make a dime when times are good. But true to the old saying, when times get tough...the tough get going.

So ask them: What are you doing to toughen up your (online) business?

Fortnightly Roundup of Best Articles For Web Designers

- Friday, November 07, 2008
If you're busy like me, probably don't have the time to keep updated in the latest web design news, tutorials and tips piling up inside your RSS reader. I'm going to make your life easier by recommending 3 must read articles for web designers that have been published this fortnight

10 Most Sought-after Skills in Web Development from Nettuts
"In a time of economic crisis, web developers and freelancers everywhere have started chewing their fingernails. However, no matter how bad the economy worsens, there will always be work in certain booming fields of web development.

As the moderator of the Freelance Switch job board, there are certain types of jobs that are constantly in demand. Here are the 10 skills that are or will be in highest demand for developers. If you are proficient in these skills, you'll be in a great position to find work and weather any economic downturn."

15 Key Elements All Top Web Sites Should Have from Freelance Folder
"There are a lot of details to consider when designing and developing a web site. In reality, it can seem like an endless list — but if you look carefully you’ll see that there are certain elements that are more important than others, elements that are used consistently among the most successful sites. "

Creative Design Firm Names from Design O'Blog
Branding and identity design is quite possibly the most difficult aspect of graphic design. Afterall, we are our own most difficult client. I found some creative names of Freelancer/design firms that were memorable and made me smile." - Editor's Note, great inspiration if you're stuck for a remarkable name for your company.

5 Goals For Online Businesses and The Strategies To Reach Them

- Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I was recently called in my capacity as a GoodBarry online marketing guru to give some advice to a friend who wanted to get a web designer to build her website. In the same way medical doctors get asked at dinner parties by friends for free medical advice or a 2nd opinion, mechanics about cars and computer engineers about...well you get the idea. My friend runs a make-up studio and she was one of those people who only knew that she needed a website...

She had no idea what Web Designers charge, she didn't know how her website would work for her, she hadn't thought about what content she was going to put there, she just knew it was 2008 and every small business needs a website like they need a yellow pages advert. Well, it was time to teach her a couple of things as a favor and correct her brochureware perception of websites.

Here's 5 Online Business goals I went through with her when I explained to her what she needed from her website:

Goal 1: Selling Online
- The most well known goal for Online Businesses where you're looking for an extra channel to push your products whether it's make-up, clothes, shoes, pet products etc.  

Strategy: To reach sales targets and reduce shopping cart abandons, you'll need to focus on an all-in-one eCommerce site complete with catalogs, products, shopping cart, shipping and a payment gateway and that provides an immersive and seamless shopping experience. Don't forget to add extras like upselling, recommended products, product galleries and plenty of credible product information to help meet your sales and orders targets.

But what happens when you can't sell online because what you sell is a physical service or you're not running a for-profit business? There's 4 other goals you can set for your Online Business to get return on investment...

Goal 2: Build Your Community - this goal applies particularly well to non-profit organizations like Churches, local Government organizations, Community organizations, Charities etc - they need to have online conversations/discussions with their current members and attract new ones.

Strategy: To build an online community, you'd need to nurture a social site with a discussion forum and post regular news on a blog to keep visitors coming back. Make a space for photo-uploads to show what's going on in your community, post podcasts of speeches or presentations for your visitors to download in a members-only area. Make sure members know about your site and that they contribute as well!

Goal 3: Automate Your Customer Service - are you spending a large part of your day getting interrupted by customer care phone calls instead of working on your business? You need an Online Business to be automating some of that for you.

Strategy: Some simple ways to to build a online self-help portal you would be to build a highly customized webform that qualifies your customers requests before they reach you. It would be good to focus on publishing a well organized FAQ page and direct customers to how-to and do-it-yourself articles on your site that you've published before they ask for live help. Not only is this good for your customers but it's good for search-engine optimization too!!

Goal 4: Generate New Leads - if you're a business that's selling high-value high-margin products (especially in the B2B arena) and you're having a tough time with the cold-calling and outbound marketing then you need your Online Business to be generating leads.

Strategy: A bit like automating customer service, you'll need customized webforms that qualify sales with questions such as: what products is the customer interested in? Price-range? Intended purchase period? Focus on publishing high quality information on your products and your services (features, price, value proposition) with calls-to-action to make an inquiry after which you can follow-up with a phone call. Set aside space to publish customer testimonials and positive customer feedback, websites make it easier for your customers to refer you onwards because they just pass your URL to your friends.

Goal 5: Amplify Your Voice - need to get your message out there at minimal cost?

Strategy: You need to focus on email marketing and blogs. Does your site have a incentivized email subscription box like a "Sign-up Here for our monthly specials?" or a "Sign-Up Here for our 5-part email series on recession proofing your small business". This will get you visitors opting-in to receive communications from you which you need to follow up with email-marketing. Too much push-marketing for you? Don't forget you can use your blog to publish material and pull visitors as well by posting your blog headlines on small and niche blog/news-aggregators and slowly building up from there!

Have you thought about your Online Business goals yet? Which ones apply to you and what strategies are you using to reach them? Just remember your website is so much more than an online brochure or an online catalog - it's an essential part of your business that can integrate your sales, support and marketing channels for you!

2 Cream Cheese Customer Service Lessons

- Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday is "Coffee and Bagel" day for me. A white toasted bagel with cream cheese to be exact. See, I figure after a working week it's nice to treat myself to an easy, simple and delicious breakfast, right?

I really look forward to that bagel and its creamy cream cheesy cheese goodness. It's sorta like a mini-christmas day on friday - it makes me get up a little earlier and walk to work with a spring in my step.

And so it was that I bounced down the hill and into my coffee shop (they have the best bagels in North Sydney), rolled up to the counter and stopped. I ordered.

The lady took my order cheerily, then turned to her colleague. "Hey, are we still out of cream cheese?"

My mind entered a state of panic. No cream cheese was almost a deal breaker for me. So I waited anxiously for an answer.

"Yeah we are. Would you like butter instead?" She happily asks me.

My brain snapped back: "No-i-don't-want-butter-butter-sucks-on-a-bagel-you-silly-person-i-want-cream-cheese!!!!" But those words didn't make it to my mouth.

"Ummm..." I replied. I'm sure I looked pretty upset. "Ummmmmmm...." I looked down and resigned myself to butter on my bagel. "Ok."

The counter lady continued to serve me, taking my change and passing my order along. I was distracted, wistfully thinking about how much better my day would be with some cream cheese in it.

Just as I took my change, she says "Hey, we're sorry about the cream cheese. Next time have a drink on us, ok?" She passes me a free drink voucher. Now while  this may be pretty standard, I was surprised and thanked her.

I was suddenly a lot happier. I still missed my cream cheese, and my Bagel wasn't quite as good. But a simple gesture like that turned me from a disgruntled customer into a happy one. And more importantly, I will go back there next friday, in the hope that they have cream cheese once more.

Two important things to note:
  1. She made the decision to give me that voucher herself.
  2. The gesture didn't give me cream cheese, but it did improve my mood.
Which makes me wonder: in your business are you:
  1. Giving your front-line team the power to make decisions that make a difference?
  2. Giving your customers something extra when you disappoint them?
And finally, the most important lesson: A token gesture and saying "sorry" really does get you a long way.

Sometimes, human beings are incredibly simple animals. When we're upset or angry, we're usually in our basest, simplest state. And that means that it only takes simple gestures to start making it just that little bit better.

Keeping it Real, Part II: Get "Real Life" Market Understanding.

- Monday, August 18, 2008
Every marketer understands their target market, but how intimately you understand them varies. Getting involved with customer support teaches you a lot about your target market, and lets you intimately understand their needs, wants and motivations.

You'll learn not only what they want to use your product or service for, but why they want to use it. You'll learn the language they use to describe it and how they see it. There is no better way to hold a mirror up to your company than to talk to your customers about their experiences with your product.

Take Carol, for example. Carol is a customer of ours that I've helped on a few occasions with technical support. And she's taught me a lot about our market - while some of it isn't news, it's confirmation that our approach is correct. For example, here's a few things I know because of my support interactions with her:
  • She needs support. Free technical support and the ability to talk to us during our support Q&A webinars is a big reason that she loves us.
  • She loves to learn. She's constantly exploring and learning more about functions in the system she could use, and she really appreciates our business advice (not just tech advice). This has influenced our blog's direction and our technical documentation's direction to include a little background, too.
  • She doesn't know what a CMS (Content Management System) is. She just works on her website. This isn't a surprise and we don't use that acronym ourselves, but it's a good example of how you can glean knowledge of how customers talk and understand your product.
These traits are common to a large chunk of our market, and there are many more. We've got several customers that we have interacted with over time, and they've become archetypes of our target market.

So after all your effort doing support and customer service, let's say you've gained a deeper understanding of your product and your target market. Now we can put that to work in our marketing messages.

Creating a More Authentic Message.

After my experience with customer support, I've definitely gained a great deal of understanding about our product and our customers, and I would expect that most marketers would find the same thing. Doing support at GoodBarry, I can say that I have:
  • Better understanding about which features our customers use the most
  • Greater appreciation of the areas of the system are easiest to use and which are harder.
  • Knowledge of the strengths of our products, according to the customer
  • Better understanding of what motivates and excites customers
Now your product or support may be different to GoodBarry's, but I would bet that similar benefits would be gained anywhere.

To put it simply: I can see the product in it's true form, as it really is - not in an academic light. This then feeds directly into our marketing messages, making them far more authentic for our audience.

So how can you create a more authentic message?  By applying those lessons you've learned from your time with your customers. By using that authentic experience and true understanding you gain from dealing with customers after they've purchased, you can create marketing messages that:
  • Set the right expectations - just as my laptop technician did.
  • Communicate the most attractive benefits of the product - as Carol has shown us
  • Better motivate your prospects to buy - by using the language the customer uses and the benefits they find most attractive in real-life usage.
And most importantly, these marketing messages are true and authentic - so they don't disappoint.

Word of Mouth Marketing That Sticks and Stays.

The best thing about authentic messages: customers repeat them. If they don't agree with your message they'll make up their own, which may or may not be favorable to you. But if they do agree with you, they'll just repeat your message. It's easier that way!

Real marketing messages that aren't mere puffery and positioning but true representations of the benefits of your product spread smoothly and are accepted easily. Authentic marketing messages are a big part in successful word of mouth marketing.

Some Caveats and a Final Word

Maybe you're involved in customer service every day, and if so that's great. My primary role is as a marketer, but I'm also involved in support and training at GoodBarry. And I'm confident that this has helped improve our product and hone our messages.

Of course, not everyone can do support or customer service. Technical support in some organizations requires some serious knowledge that marketers might not have. But what you can do is sit next to them, listen to their customer calls or read their support tickets. Maybe you can pull the support team into your next marketing meeting and see what they think of your ideas.

Traditionally, marketers have worked with sales and legal departments, but the customer service team is too often ignored. These guys are at the forefront of dealing with your happiest and unhappiest customers, they know your product inside out and can tell you in five minutes the best and worst things about your service.

My key point is that as marketers, you should engage and understand the customer service side of your business. Talk to them, sit next to them, try doing their job for a day or two.

Trust me, it's worth it.

Keeping it Real: 2 Reasons Marketers Should Do Customer Service

- Monday, August 04, 2008
Marketers, Lawyers, Politicians. These three groups are often accused of misleading people by spinning tales and moonshine. Marketers in particular are known for their ability to spin tales about anything. We're known for the ability to excite and amaze, grab people's attention and keep it for a while. That's our job as storytellers.

So what happens when the story you're telling isn't entirely true? The lights fade and some people buy and then they learn after a while that you sold them on a story that wasn't entirely real. At best these people will be mildly disappointed. At worst they'll be downright angry. In either case, they will not listen to you again.

Marketers now face the toughest, most cynical audience ever - and it's largely our own fault. The above scenario has happened too much and too often, as we've exaggerated the benefits and hidden the flaws of our products in an effort to sell ever more.  As banner click through rates continue to decline and most ads being largely ignored, we are becoming more and more desperate to cut through the noise and make an impact.

The Authentic Marketing Message

If there is any lesson from the advent of Web 2.0 and the rise of "New Marketing", it's that consumers are people; they like to be engaged and they like to be told the truth. In regaining the trust of consumers it's time to sit back and be a little more honest. To cut through the noise and make an impact, we need to create more authentic marketing messages.

So what's the best path to do this? How can we create a more effective marketing messages and product promises that resonate with the consumer that the customer willingly spreads?

I'm suggesting a novel approach that we use at GoodBarry: get you and your marketing team to help out with customer service and support.

Get Involved with Customer Support.

Whatever that is for your company, get on the front line and get involved. Do some tech support, some phone support, some front desk customer service. Hear the real voices of your real customers telling you their real thoughts.

There are two reasons you should do this.

Get "Real World" Product Knowledge.

Most marketers do understand their product and what it does. Unfortunately, this isn't really the complete picture. Real product understanding comes from knowing more than the specifications, size, color and so forth. You need to know how the product is used in the real world and what the stumbling blocks are in the wild.

Which parts break most often? I remember a laptop I had once had a broken keyboard. When I called the support line and started to explain what I needed, the technician said "Ah, no problems. You need your keyboard replaced, we'll send someone out. The keyboards are easy to replace, it'll only take them a moment."

Apparently, people's keyboards on this laptop were always falling apart! The support technician knew this and knew how to take action. I'm sure he passed this on to the manufacturing department, but the point is - he knew the stumbling blocks for his product and he knew that the modular design meant it wasn't going to be hard to replace. This was a big plus, since I couldn't afford to not have my laptop for long.

By getting your hands dirty with customer support, you get to see your products in the wild, being used or consumed by real people. You'll see what they complain about, what they really love and what they hate. You'll begin to see your product through your customers eyes and understand its flaws, limitations and qualities.

That’s it for this time – next post we’ll follow up with the second reason that marketers should get involved with customer service!

Increasing Online Conversions: The Window Shopper Syndrome

- Sunday, June 15, 2008
Every business owner wants to increase conversions. Whether it's trying to get browsers in your street level clothing store to buy, or website visitors to add a product to their cart, we're all playing a game of converting browsers into buyers.

Naturally there are some browsers in your shop that are really quite serious and almost ready to buy. And there are also various degrees of browsers. I'm going to bunch all the browsing customers and call them Window Shoppers - ranging from completely uncommitted passers by to browsers in your shop tugging at a new sweater.

Recently I was in a store that I had no intention of buying anything from. As I walked through the store casting my eyes around, I started wondering:

How could this store's owner turn ME into a buyer?

Which leads me to a second thought. If I'm in your store I'm 1000 times more valuable than someone in the street, even if I have no intention of buying today. Why? Because you have my attention. It's your shop, your staff and your message. You should have a pretty good chance of converting me. Maybe not today, but one day. Buying decisions are often cumulative things.

But before we get too deep into this, let's try and get inside the head of a window shopper.

The Window Shopping Syndrome

While this would apply to both online and offline stores, I'm going to focus on ecommerce, or online stores. In this context, a window shopper is someone browsing your ecommerce store.

Window shoppers, the lovable little creatures that we are, share some similarities in the way they think. I've identified two things that are true of online window shoppers (By Brett's hand-waving theory of common sense and reasoning).
  1. They're actually looking for a product they want that you have, but they're not ready to buy yet. This is sometimes called pre-shopping - finding out information and prices etc before the purchase.
  2. They're interested in some information that you have, or just like to look at the latest widget thingy-ma-bob. They're a fan. In any case, they're not buying anything in particular, but you probably sell products or have information that they're generally interested in.
Thankfully when your shop is online your visitors are usually fairly targeted already. You're not so likely to get people wandering onto your website who are just waiting for their tardy friend.

So if that's what they're, how can we keep them happy? How can we convert these browsers into buyers - even though they're not really thinking of buying?

I think there's two things to accept up front:
  • They probably won't buy today.
  • They might buy in the future, but you can't be sure.
With that in mind, we've got to come up with ways so that they remember us when they DO want to buy.

3 Tactics to Increase Conversions: Recruit the Window Shoppers

Use Email Newsletters to Snag Future Customers

Have you got an email newsletter? Throughout your site, think about how you can prominently display your newsletter. Explicitly ask your website users to subscribe to your newsletter.

Use wording to incentivize the sign up - remember, you have to answer their inevitable question "why should I sign up? Phrases like "Sign up to receive updates on our products" are okay, but not as good as "sign up and receive discounts inside our monthly newsletter". Make sure you follow up on these promises though!

Give the Fans Even More Great Content

Search engines love content; so do fans. If you have reviews and comments on the latest iPod, it will be of interest to iPod fans. Write honest reviews of your products. Take photos and post them. Make videos showing you using the product or service if possible, and put them on YouTube. These things make your site a hub of information for people, and make you their top-of-mind store to buy their favorite widget from.

Build a Community

People like to hang out. They like to discuss and post their thoughts. Give your visitors a reason to stay! You can use Forums - why not link your forums to your products, so that people can discuss particular products? Or you could simply enable comments on your online store so that people can tell others what they think.

The 4Cs

Most of these ideas are easily derived out of the 4Cs framework - it's all about Content, Credibility, Conversion and Customer. Remember to keep what your customers are looking for right at the top of your list of priorities, and you'll be heading in the right direction.

Growing Your Business By Solving The Broccoli Problem (III)

- Friday, May 23, 2008
I've been writing for the past few weeks on a problem I've called the Broccoli Problem. Broccoli problems are everywhere, and if you want to grow your business, you need to find them and remove them. The classic Broccoli Problem is embodied by my aunt and her son's objection to eating Broccoli:
Broccoli may be good for me BUT it tastes terrible.

Last week I wrote about Removing the Negative - how to remove the problem altogether. This week I'm going to discuss my third strategy: how you can simply embrace the problem and move on.

Embracing Your Broccoli Problem

This is probably my favorite strategy. It's super simple: that guy doesn't like the taste of broccoli, no problems. Just go and find someone who does! This strategy is about finding a better target market - the possibility is that you've just landed in the wrong market, and your product is better suited to another market. 

This one's rather interesting, because sometimes you don't necessarily need to embrace the problem itself, but rather you need to find people who at least  don't care.

Unfortunately though, it doesn't always work; my aunt couldn't exactly go and swap her son. That said, there are many Broccoli problems that can be solved this way.

Think about Diet Cola.

Diet Cola may have less sugar HOWEVER it doesn't taste as good as regular Cola.

You can fix this Broccoli problem by simply finding people who care more about the health benefits and less about the taste. Most broccoli problems can be solved this way, although sometimes it's not optimal to do so. 

Consider every single statement I've written about in the past few weeks - all of them could be solved by embracing the problem. You just need to find the niche of people who care more about the positive side and much less about the negative side. Problem solved.

Fixing your Broccoli Problem

So, what's your broccoli problem? Chances are you have a whole bunch of them and they all sound and look different. The key is to pick out the most commonly repeated ones, the ones that you think are holding your business back the most, and address those issues with the appropriate strategy.

Good luck broccoli hunting. Next week I'm going to end my affair with Broccoli with my final post on the subject - how to choose the right strategy for YOUR broccoli problem. 

Your Business and The Broccoli Problem (II)

- Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Last week I wrote about how you can grow your business by identifying the "Broccoli Problems" in your business. To quickly recap, a "Broccoli Problem" comes about when you're selling your product - the product has an obvious benefit that the prospect accepts. But the prospect also has an objection, which you need to overcome. So for my aunt and her son, the Broccoli Problem is:

Broccoli may be good for you, BUT it tastes terrible.

Now, onto the second strategy for dealing with a Broccoli Problem...

Removing the Negative.

Sometimes you can entirely remove the objection after the "however". This is impossible with Broccoli -my aunt couldn't exactly genetically engineer a broccoli plant to taste like french fries. Generally, you should always consider removing the negativer first, before any other strategy.

Think about this Broccoli Problem:

ABC software will help you grow your business HOWEVER it's difficult to use.

The best way to tackle this one is to remove the "However" factor altogether; fix your software so it's not difficult to use. This requires effort and is difficult and costly, but it's the honest-to-god best solution as well. There is a caveat here however. What about this Broccoli Problem:

ABC software will help you grow your business BUT it's too expensive.

"Ah ha!" one might say, "I can remove that one!" 

Whoa. Slow down Tiger.

Pricing is part of a larger picture, with positioning implications and cashflow impact. Maybe you SHOULD make it cheaper, but be careful - perhaps Repackaging the Negative is more suitable.

Overall, Removing the Negative factor should be considered. These factors (the removable ones) are often the hardest to fix and the hardest to even identify, but they also carry the most rewards.

Next week, I'll move on to the third strategy: Embracing It.

Your Business and The Broccoli Problem

- Wednesday, April 30, 2008
My Aunt Susan, being a good mother, wants her son to eat Broccoli because it's healthy.

My cousin Ben, being a typical boy, doesn't want to eat Broccoli because it tastes bad. 

This gave me an idea, which I'm going to call "The Broccoli Problem". My aunt has very valid reasons to give her son broccoli - it's for his health. But her son resists - also for valid reasons that are relevant to him. The son will say:

Broccoli may be  good for you BUT it tastes terrible. 

Now Broccoli problems are everywhere, always contain a 'However' or a 'But' and are nearly always subjective (you complete the sentences) :

Lower taxes may stimulate a stagnant economy, HOWEVER ...

Your girlfriend may have a wonderful personality, BUT ...

George W. Bush may be a great leader, HOWEVER ...

I'll remain silent on how I'd complete those sentences, but here's where I'm going with this: The Broccoli Problem is a marketing problem that you probably need to think about. Complete this sentence:

Your product/service may be of great benefit to the market, HOWEVER ...

That's why I'm writing this post. Every business has, or once had, a Broccoli Problem that they have to solve. So, how did my Aunt solve hers?

Easy: she diced the broccoli up and baked it into a tasty Lasagne. To this very day, her son still doesn't realize he's eating a plateful of Broccoli Lasagne. 

This is one strategy of dealing with a Broccoli Problem - repackaging the broccoli to counteract the negative after the HOWEVER. I can think of two more strategies and I'm sure there's more:
  1. Repackaging the Negative.
  2. Removing the Negative.
  3. Embracing the Negative.

Repackaging The Negative

This is what my Aunt did - she put the broccoli in a tasty Lasagne, which negated the broccoli's taste while still passing on the health benefit. That's repackaging the negative. In business, a classic case of a repackaging the negative is the age-old payment plan. Think about this Broccoli problem:

The Prius is an eco-friendly, stylish car, BUT I can't afford it right now.

Imagine you're on the car lot saying this to the saleswoman. She'll shoot back "Ah, but have you heard of our payment plans?" By doing this, she's effectively negated your 'however' factor by repackaging the car in an easy to digest payment plan. 

When you repackage something, you're not changing the product itself. You're not changing the broccoli - you're changing the way it's presented, the nature of the deal or how the product is sold. Repackaging strategies nearly always revolve around ideas like:
  • Cost amortization (payment plans)
  • Bundling (selling X + Y + Z together)
  • Splitting (Selling X + Y separately instead of as one)
So you can see we're not changing the product. We're changing the way it's sold. That's repackaging. 

Repackaging a Broccoli problem isn't always the best solution, but sometimes it's the only solution you can feasibly implement. That's where the other two strategies, Removing the Negative and Embracing the Negative, come in.

I'll cover the other two strategies in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.