Quickly Learn Business Development & Marketing

To Help Learn Business Development, Marketing and Branding;


Utilize Your Observation and Analysis with All Products, Services, Businesses in All Markets



Even though this is written from the perspective of the US, it applies to all businesses in all countries, globally.


Many businesses spend millions of dollars in acquiring staff, advisors and consultants with such expertise.


You can easily study what they are doing, learn from it and then apply it to your own business.


This approach is very affective in learning and will help you identify ideas that can help you grow your business.


This should be done with all products and services in all markets and industries.


Excellent business development, marketing and branding efforts cross over to all products, services and markets.


Uncovering much of this information is quite simple.

1. Study businesses’ literature, promotional materials and their website


2. Study all advertisements; radio, TV, internet, newspaper and print


3. Study news articles on businesses


4. Study signage


5. Study their products; sizes, colors, quantities, packaging, etc.


6. Study service offerings


7. Study warranties and guarantees


8. Study distribution channels, sales channels and retail channels


9. Study company and product literature


10. Study their packaging


11. Study their sales channels and how they go to market


12. Study type of customers attracting or not attracting

Study what businesses are doing and not doing.


Study the results of their efforts and lack of results.


Study time frames and possibly any cycles to their efforts.


Study changes in their product and service offerings.


When studying company literature, product literature and advertising; analyze the messages that they are trying to convey and who they are trying to target.


Continue with your analysis of such to uncover other target markets that they may be missing and possibly important information that they are missing as well.


Studying both what others are doing and not doing will teach you important things.


Try to use ‘selective perception’ to help focus your attentions to how businesses are marketing their products and services.


When you think about a specific business, product or service, focus on how they market themselves and their efforts to grow the business.



Your efforts doing so should be on all products, services, businesses in all markets.


After all, products and services of all types surround us in our daily life.


What you learn can be utilized to grow your business.


To illustrate all of these simple concepts we will discuss some examples.


Keep in mind that ALL companies and businesses no matter what market they are in can learn something from each example that they can apply to their own business development and marketing; business to business and business to consumer.


If you struggle to do so, there-in lies the problem and you may need some outside professional executive consultants to help you.

Example 1


Using a drive-through lane at a local bank, at the teller window I noticed a bowl of candy and a bowl of dog milk bones.


When customers with children come through the drive-through the teller offers candy and if the customers have their pet dogs in the car they offer dog milk bones.


Why would they do this?


Maybe to develop customer relations and build loyalty that leads to retaining customers and possibly expanding business within the customer base?


In your business, can you utilize this concept in some way?


Example 2

A coffee shop serving gourmet hot and cold coffee drinks is located in the middle of a mid size city business district. They are on the main street and close to multi story business buildings.


They rely on customers knowing about their shop by walking by or passing it in their cars.


One of the owners comments about how their business is slow.


When they discover my expertise in business development and marketing, they ask me for suggestions and ideas.


My suggestions and ideas were:

1. Develop special coffee catering programs for the local businesses within walking distance.  There are many businesses.  Then market them.


2. Offer gift cards for purchase and market them to the local businesses for employee incentives and special appreciation programs.


3. Develop a loyalty program where customers get a card and for each drink purchased they get the card punched/marked and after so many purchases they get a free drink.


4. Possibly develop a relationship with the bakery 2 blocks away to put fresh bakery goods in the coffee shop on consignment at no upfront cost or risk.  Negotiate a reasonable price based on quantity sold.  Charge a small profit margin on top of cost to move product.
This can help attract more customers and increase sales and profit revenues.

How can these simple concepts be utilized in your business?



Example 3


The owner of a local used car lot with an auto mechanic on the premise comments to me how their business is slow.


They are located on a main street, on a corner near major retail businesses and shopping.


They ask me for suggestions and ideas to attract more potential customers onto their car lot and possibly increase their business.


My suggestions and ideas were:

1. Develop exterior signage to post on their lot near the road to advertise the mechanic services available


2. Package mechanic services.  Examples like, get a oil change and get free windshield wipers;  buy 4 tires and get free life time tire rotation; buy 3 tires and the 4th tire is 50% off; etc. etc. etc.


3.  On the new signage advertise free services that they normally would do for free anyway.  Examples like; free brake inspection, free tire inspection, free battery check, free safety check, free exhaust system check, free winter coolant check, free suspension system check.


4. On the signage say things that they normally do such as; trade-ins welcome and they purchase used cars.


5. Mount signage to the inside and outside of the building listing all of their mechanic services available


6. Possibly advertise on the back side of the local stores receipts with some discount offering.  Some of the local business doing so are attracting new customers and repeat business.


7. Offer themselves to the local high schools and local colleges as a guest speaker to talk about running your own business and possibly how to buy a used car.


8. Print their business card on a refrigerator magnet to pass out and to send to all past customers.


9. Develop a simple promotional flyer or literature about their car lot, their mechanics services and a useful how to purchase a reliable used car.  Use as a pass out, mailer and place in all of the local insurance agents offices and in any local business that will allow them to leave such on display.  Many of the local businesses will allow it such as, barber shops, bakeries, restaurants, pizzerias, take-out food places, and many others.


10. Mount a large business card holder on the wall that can hold many different cards.  Purchase some additional small to medium size business card holders.  Visit all of the local auto insurance agents’ offices within a 5 to 10 mile radius to give them a business card holder and of course make sure they have many of the car lot/mechanic services business cards in the holder.  Develop a business relationship with these agents to possibly recommend their clients to visit the car lot and use the mechanics services.  The top prospect would be a client with teenagers needing their first car.  Ask the insurance agents to visit the car lot and place their business cards in the large business card holder that is mounted inside the car lot’s business office.  This can promote business to the insurance agents.  Personally revisit the insurance agents office regularly to check on their business cards in the holder and continue to develop a business relationship

A few months later the owner told me he actually proceeded with many of the suggestions and that his mechanic service has significantly increased and he is now the number one used car lot in sales in the area.

How can these simple concepts be used in your business?


Example 3


An owner to a fence installation business comments to me about his business being slow and asks for suggestions and ideas on how to increase business.


My suggestions and ideas were:


1. Place advertising with a discount offering on the back of the local stores receipts.


2. Mount small signs of their name and telephone number on all sides of fences that they install.  This is free advertising


3. Print their business card on a refrigerator magnet and send out to all past customers


4. When installing a residential fence, distribute promotional flyers to all houses within 4 to 10 block radius indicating that they are in the neighborhood installing a fence and available to easily drop by to give them a free quote.  Offer a special discount if a fence is installed within next 30 days as an incentive.


5. Visit all local veterinarians to develop a business relationship.  Ask to leave promotional literature in their office about fences and how it can make life better for pets and their owners.  Possibly offer some discount or incentive if the customer mentions they were referred to them by the veterinarian.

How can these simple concepts be used in your business?


Example 4


I saw a display of Starbucks cold coffee drinks near the check-out counters in a Wal-Mart store.


This increases sales for Starbucks, expands sales to new customers and helps increase the brand image of Wal-Mart carrying Starbucks products.


Seems like a win-win situation for all.


How can this simple concept be utilized to grow your business.


Example 5


I commonly see retail stores of all types package several products in one package.


Sometimes this is done all year round and other times it is done during a special holiday.


Buy a shirt and get a tie included in the package.


Buy a pair of shoes and get a free pair of sox.


Buy a specific women’s perfume set and get lipstick included inside the package.


Buy a women’s purse and get a scarf is included


Buy a dozen something and the 13th item is included free.  This is similar to the old bakers dozen approach where you buy 12 of some bakery item and get a 13th for free.


Buy winter scarf and gloves set in one package and at a reduced price.


Buy a pair of shoes and the second pair is discounted 50%.


Buy a car and get new floor mats included and free oil changes twice per year for next 3 years.



How can you use these approaches and ideas to help grow your business?


Example 6


I now see the unique coca cola bottle shape that is popular being used in more sizes.


This is helping to increase their sales.


How can you use this idea to help grow your business?


Example 7


I see a local optomologist and an eye surgeon develop a partner arrangement where they are in one office calling themselves a full service eye clinic or eye center.


They offer full service eye care of exams, eye glasses, lasic eye enhancement, lense replacement/cataract surgery, and other eye procedures and surgeries.


They refer customers to each other.


Their promotional literature and advertising incorporates all of their services and offerings.


They even offer delayed payments and payment terms over months and years to help customers pay for the more expensive eye procedures, surgeries and enhancements.


When the eye surgeon does any eye surgeries or eye procedures, the doctor personally telephones the patient the evening prior to the procedure to answer any questions and calm down any nervousness.


Immediately after outpatient eye surgeries and procedures while the doctor is in their surgical gown, a picture of the patient with the doctor is taken. 


The patient goes home with a coffee mug with the doctor’s office information printed on it and their medications; but is seen again by a doctor later that day and seen again within days.


Within a week a thank you letter is sent to the patient along with the picture of them with the doctor immediately after the eye procedure/surgery.


A week after this, another thank you letter is sent out to the patient with a short customer/patient survey asking about the service and care and asking for suggestions and comments.  They even include 50% discount coupon on all sun glasses from their office.


When at the doctor’s office they utilize digital video to explain eye ailments, procedures and surgeries.


To promote the business / organization they utilize;


1. Literature


2. Various promotional materials


3. Digital videos in office


4. Local television, cable and satellite advertising


5. Local newspaper advertising


6. News stories in local newspapers and magazines


7. And more


They have developed strategic alliances and relationships with many of the local physicians / doctors to refer patients to them.


They travel voluntarily internationally to other needy countries to offer their services for free once per year and advertise this.


How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?



Example 8


An equipment manufacturer asked me for marketing and development suggestions.


I asked the management and the sales staff what things do potential customers comment about once they know more about the company and products.


I also about what things the competitors Do Not want customers to know about the products because it would influence buyers/customers to purchase from them instead of the competitors


We listed many important things that customers need to know so they can decide to buy from them instead of competition.


Then we looked at their current literature, advertising, promotions and website with this list.


They were surprised to see that none of the important information was mentioned in any of their communications.


We also discussed expanding their efforts internationally.


Advancements were made with all suggestions and ideas.


How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?



Example 9


Screws, nuts and bolts


They come in many sizes.


They are made from many materials; steel, stainless steel, zinc, brass, aluminum and plastic.


They come in different colors.


They are packaged in different quantities and have different packaging.


The packaging and the products target different applications and uses.


How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?


Example 10

Noodles and pasta


They come in many shapes; flat, round, spiral, square and others.


They come in different sizes; long and short, widths and thickness.


They come in different colors.


They can be made from different ingredients but similar.


They are packaged in different quantities.


They come in many types and colors of packaging.


They can have different brand names on the packaging.


They can have different types even though very similar:  Soup noodles, spaghetti, angle hair, vermicelli, linguini, gnucchi, lasagne, elbow macaroni, bow tie, farfalle, mostacciole, shells, penne, rotini, rigatoni, manicotti, cannelloni, radiatori, actinide pepe, tortellini with cheese inside, multigrain, whole wheat and more.


Recipes on food dishes and how to use the specific types can be printed directly on the packaging.


The pasta and noodle can be used with many other ingredients including; tomato and meat sauces, cream sauces, cheese sauces and others.


Packages that include the pasta, all ingredients and easy instructions to make a meal are available.


We can say the same with the many rice food ingredients available

How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?




Example 11


There are many methods to fasten things together.

1. Glue and there are many types of glues
2. Adhesive Tape and there are many types and sizes of tape
3. Screws and bolts of all types and sizes
4. Velcro
5. Buttons
6. Zippers
7. Nails
8. Wire
9. Staples
10. Rope and string
11. Thread
12. Plastic ties of all types, sizes and colors
13. Interlocking design that eliminates all of the above

How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?


Be creative to answer this question.


This applies to marketing, business development and product development.



Example 12

Here in the US, DVD home video rentals can be obtained from many places and at different prices.


1. On the internet through a company called ‘NetFlix’ for a monthly membership fee, unlimited rentals. 
You order the DVD video rentals on line with your computer; they send you the DVD home videos in the mail with a return envelope included. 
When you are finished with them, you mail them back and order some more.
There is a large selection of different videos to pick from.


2. From video rental stores. Cost may be higher and return of the DVD differs from next day to one week depending on the store.


3. From an automated machine called ‘Red Box’ found outside of various stores.
Video rentals are for one day to be returned the next day and the cost is $1.00 per video.
A personal credit card gives you access to the DVD video rental in this automated machine


4. If your home has cable TV or satellite TV service hooked up, you can order video rental movies directly onto your television.
You order the video movie directly from your remote control/electronic handheld TV channel changer and it is billed to your monthly service bill.

How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?



Example 13


Electric coffee pots


They come in many colors and sizes.

Some will automatically grind fresh coffee beans before brewing the coffee keeping it fresh.


Some have clocks and timers that if you set up and program will automatically turn on and make your coffee at a specific time of your choice.


You can set them up to make coffee before you get out of bed in the morning.


The pot can be of many sizes; 3 cups, 6 cups, 10 cups, 12 cups and larger for home parties and restaurant use.


Every size targets a different application and type of customer.


The small 3 cup size targets single people, possibly the elderly who need to restrict their coffee consumption and hotel rooms.


These are all different markets.

How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?


Example 14


Beverages, things we can drink


There are hot and cold


There are sodas, colas, un-colas, with caffeine and non caffeine, with alcohol or no alcohol, energy drinks, diet drinks, sweet or non sweet, with calories or with less calories, alcoholic drinks, beer, wine; coffee, tea, ice cream sodas, cream sodas, fruit drinks and more.


They come in all types of packaging; plastic, can and others.


They come in all sizes and shapes.


They come in many quantities.


The packaging is all different.


They target different types of customers; young, teenagers, adults, elderly, professionals,
diet conscious, weight conscious, health conscious and more.


There are many advertisements for each type and for the many brand names.


They can be purchased from all types of stores.

How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?


Example 15


Loyalty programs


We see these at food stores, department stores, restaurants, fast food restaurants plus other places and businesses.


Stores can give you a special plastic card that entitles you to special customer discounts if you return.


Stores give a special discount certificate or cash certificate.  Example, a clothing store gives you a $20. credit certificate or 15%  discount for future purchases when you have purchased $100. of merchandise.


This encourages customers to return and purchase more.


Restaurants can give you a special card with places to mark off or punch a hole.  After so many purchases you get a free diner.


Gas stations can get you to sign up for their credit card.


If you use the credit card to purchase your gas you get a special customer discount even if you pay off the monthly bill in full.


Here in the US there are all types of customer loyalty programs being offered to customers to get them to return and spend more money.


How can you use these ideas to help grow your business?


We can continue with thousands of examples from all types of businesses, products, services and markets to analyze and examine to get creative product and service ideas; marketing and business development ideas.


No matter what products, services or market that you are in; business to business or business to consumer, after each example you should be able to answer the question “What or how can you use these ideas in your business to help improve business development and marketing”.


If you are struggling with this, you need to get more creative and open your mind up with the possibilities for improvement that are possible in so many ways.


You can utilize outside senior executive consultants to help you with this as well.


We can easily learn marketing and business development ideas from others and then apply to our own business.


If you have further questions or need some help, you can give me a call or email.


Michael P. Marshall, PhD
Senior Specialist and Executive Advisor for Business Development, Marketing and Sales
Tele. 920-734-8678
Email:  michaelmarshall@new.rr.com
Michael has more than 30 years of business experience focusing on business development utilizing extensive skills in marketing, sales, and communications; both national and international.

This experience comes from starting at field staff level positions and then progressing up to senior level Director and Vice President positions in several industries and markets.

His expertise is also utilized in special advisory and consulting situations, as well.

Prior to his extensive 30-year business career, he studied advanced engineering and then transitioned to psychology and social human behavior.

He was a mental health counselor for several years in some major medical institutions prior to a business career.

In these endeavors he learned what makes people do what they do, what influences others, how to motivate positive behavioral change; and the importance to a strong foundation and the individual components in a structure.

Among the senior level positions held during his 30-year career, Michael has held director and vice president level positions in marketing, sales and business development in several industries and markets including medical.

Michael’s education and trainings include a PhD in business concentrating in marketing and business development, an MBA, bachelor degrees in psychology and social human behavior, advanced post graduate certification in marketing from UCLA, formally trained in ‘Creativity and Out of The Box Thinking’, federally certified in international business, and being an alumnus of six universities.

He has over 35 formal trainings and certifications covering the fundamentals of business development, marketing, sales, communications, management and leading a business to significant sales and profit growth.

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