Vickie Sullivan

Market Strategy for Thought Leaders

Tips, Trends & Tirades. ®

Vickie Sullivan's Color Commentary for High-Fee Experts

When A Competitor Blind-Sides Us

July 22, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

A volatile marketplace is a double-edged sword. Sometimes we are the underdog and surprise ourselves with a win. Sometimes we think the deal is in the bag and lose it all when a competitor comes out and surprises everyone. Talk about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Which is why I enjoyed… Read More »

Let’s Shake Things Up

July 17, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

Check out this big change in the tradeshow market.  Industry giant Americas Incentive Business Travel and Meetings Expo (AIBTM) is re-inventing their show but cutting their 1800 in attendance to an invitation-only 500.  Wow! My favorite line from the exhibition director: “It’s not about taking the money of anyone who wants to pay.” Their strategy… Read More »

Clients Hate It When We Do This

July 15, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

A potential client calls you for help. You assess their situation, give them some options (even writing them down) and promise to follow up. Then…radio silence. They’ve disappeared into thin air. What just happened? They were so interested in working with us! According to this interesting research from Barry Schwartz, they were overwhelmed with too… Read More »

The Top (And Almost Fatal) Mistake Big Agencies Make

July 10, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

For years, I have preached the value of doing the deep-dive into the marketplace and the players. Here’s a short trip to the dark side on why this analysis is important. For 40 years, the National Speaker Association (NSA) has been a cool community for professional speakers. Like many industries, things have changed and leadership… Read More »

Find Your Most Profitable Place

July 08, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

In my market strategy work, I look for one thing: the gap between what buyers want and what other competitors think they provide. Right below any crack between those two points is a fabulous opportunity. If my client has the expertise, that opening becomes the focal point of all brand and messaging. An excellent example… Read More »

What Independence Really Looks Like

July 03, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

We in the U.S. are taking a long weekend to celebrate our country’s independence from Britain. While relaxing by the pool or barbecue, let’s ponder what independence looks like now that we are not under the control of another government. My take: our dependencies are now internal. We have become too reliant on the mental… Read More »

Two Hidden Competitors Every Thought Leader Has

July 01, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

As a market strategist, I look at every business model, every brand and ask myself: who are the competitors here? Who do buyers consider when looking for expertise? After reading this Wall Street Journal blog, I find that I’m not alone. Chris has a great point: competition is not just other folks the buyer is… Read More »

How to Win in a Weak Market

June 26, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

Do you think weak markets hurt everyone? Not according to this study of almost 7,000 global firms in 64 industries. The upshot: every industry — even the slow-growth, weak-market segments — can still have top performers. The smoking-gun stat: Between 2003 and 2013, 30 percent of organizations with top shareholder returns were in slow-growth segments.… Read More »

Why Buyers Are Skeptical

June 24, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

Wonder why there are so many skeptical buyers out there? Because there is too much smoke and mirrors in the thought leader segment. Too much selling the dream and too little practicing what we preach. Examples from both ends of the spectrum: an expert getting out of your comfort zone uses past stories to make… Read More »

Find the One Thing That Changes Everything

June 19, 2014 | Vickie Sullivan | Leave a Comment

This strategy+business interview with author Rita Gunther McGrath is a great example of thought leadership in action. This Columbia Business School professor is out promoting her new book strategy. Favorite quote in this article was about the growth outliers; they were “pursuing strategies with a long-term perspective on where they wanted to go, but also… Read More »