Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Marketing Insight: Watch your trademarks and linklove mojo

(If you go to that link, you'll find the entire story of how this trademark dog, Nipper, came into being.)

If you read up on Robert Kiyosaki's books and lectures, he infrequently tells of creating a line of "surfer wallets" made up of nylon - and building a factory in Hawaii to get them made, only to see his product be undercut by foreign manufacturers with knock-offs. Lost the factory as he couldn't compete in price. He hadn't trademarked his products and so could actually have blocked those imports into this country if he had.

Lesson here: make sure you trademark along with your keyword strategies.

The advantage of trademarks is that they don't expire, like copyrights or patents. You can keep renewing them indefinitely - which, for Burrough's Tarzan, was a nice little inheritance for his descendants.

- - - -

I remember someone got a lot of traffic during the last presidential election with isobamamuslim.com and had a simple one-word site: "No". But that person went further and also grabbed the variation, isobamamuslin.com - and the answer was: "No. Muslin is a fabric."

If the guy were really smart, he would have set up t-shirts with just his domain name on the front and the answer on the back. And link to Cafepress where people could buy his product.

Monetize, always.

So watch your defenses closely. Most big (and smart) corporations will actually tie up all the domain variations of their brand names. And if they are really smart, they'll hire someone to build some static mini sites which link to their main site.

When you are working to develop your linklove mojo, you build it by sharing.

But you have to think entirely outside the box regularly - or hire people that do. And if you do have a person like this, give them rein and don't just load them up with work to solve. Let them try things out - give them a small budget to try experiments, plus a percentage of those profits to expand their experiment-budget when they are successful. That will fine-tune their genius. And your profits will grow exponentially.

The point in "Marketing Warfare" is never to take on the competition directly, but take them on by developing a very narrow front - one torpedo in the right spot may not sink a ship, but it can stop it dead in the water while you keep steaming right along and get to that port ahead of them to sell your product.

A final point. Competitions are never won by going head-to-head. The more creative person wins. Period. Don't buy how you were trained in school, with equally-matched teams on two sides in different-colored uniforms. Doesn't work that way. Ask Microsoft. Or Apple.

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