Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Ilene Rosenthal is the CEO of White Space Marketing Group, fulfilling her aspiration to bring hybrid marketing expertise to the mid-market. With a deep love for the brand, and a practical passion for marketing that delivers results, Ilene runs the Strategy Lab at White Space, and serves as a fractional CMO for small and mid-sized businesses.

Author's Posts

#FOBO. Not a Typo.

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

You’ve likely heard of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), but have you met its close cousin, FOBO--Fear Of Better Options? It’s so prevalent in marketing, that we made it our own hashtag! #FOBO

Here’s the deal: When it comes to crafting a marketing strategy and plan, options abound. We’ll often make choices based on:

  • What the competition is doing
  • Who has been recommended
  • What we’ve read last in the business press
  • What on the biz dev “to-do” list is the longest

The options start to blur into one muddled orb of uncertainty. Just like the Sham 69 song goes, “Everybody’s right and everybody’s wrong.”

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, channel strategy, business strategy

What Went Wrong? Saying “Yes” to the Gaps in Your Marketing Strategy

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Students of improvisation are very familiar with the concept of "Yes, and..." If your scene partner sets the environment as a cruise ship and passes the baton to you, you can't say, "No, remember, we're on the moon." You go with the bit, and help your fellow actors create the story.

But, marketing should never feel as “spontaneous” as improv appears.

In the Strategy Lab, I meet with a lot of CEOs who are all too used to saying, "Yes, but..." They understand the value of marketing, yet efforts have proven unsuccessful. Even though they’ve bought into building their own “story,” something has gone awry.

  • "Yes, we tried that Martech solution but it didn't pan out."
  • "Yes, we contracted with [several] marketing experts but are no closer to our goals."
  • "Yes, we tried using our internal resources but have gotten nowhere."
  • "Yes, we hired extra sales people but we still haven't seen any revenue growth."
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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, channel strategy, business strategy

Retention As a No-Risk Marketing Strategy

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

COVID-19 threw a big monkey wrench into many B2B companies’ business and marketing strategies. These brands had to carefully consider changes in how they communicated with, sold to, and served their customers.

Some took a savvy step back and transitioned from acquisition to retention. However, this is not always an easy move to make.

Hitting Pause on Acquisition

It’s difficult to beat the rush (or the revenue) that comes with the “victory” of securing a new customer. Acquisition validates that your prospect-driven marketing efforts are working.

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Topics: marketing strategy, "marketing spending", strategy, marketing, retention

How One CEO Overcame “Household Name Syndrome”

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Being known doesn’t guarantee growth.

Meet Marjorie: She’s a brilliant CEO, invested, has a solid reputation, and remarkable revenue in an innovative space.

Despite her ambitions, her marketing wasn’t generating the momentum she expected… Even though she actually was the household name in her sector.

Was she too ambitious? 
Too aggressive? 
Unrealistic?

We didn’t think so. Marjorie didn’t think so. She believed in the mastery of her products and service. She saw the uniqueness of her product line. She knew her reputation had influence.

So, what was the issue? Why wasn’t she seeing growth?

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing, business strategy

Focus Pocus: It’s Not Magic, It’s Strategy

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Concentrating your marketing dollars on a single initiative is hard. It’s like choosing which of your kids you like best.

But I promise you, unlike in parenting, it will be simpler in the end (take it from a mom of two newly minted adults…).

It’s All About Sharpening Your Focus

Focusing on a single core audience, with a single message, around a single offering helps you make real hay with your restricted marketing resources. Even when you need to support more than one part of your business with marketing investment, focusing on growth one-by-one can lead to more responsible spending.

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Topics: marketing strategy, "marketing spending", strategy, marketing, channel strategy

When Random Acts of Marketing Turn Risky

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

Randomness is sometimes enticing; there’s a spontaneity about it that feels creative and bold. 

Until, that is, you’re faced with burning questions around tepid results: what went wrong? Why didn’t the plan yield return? It’s like eating too much cake or drinking too much champagne.

The spending hangover is hell to pay.

Do You Know Randomness When You See It?

Many of the companies I work with have indulged. The promises from marketing specialists, the lure of new MarTech, or sheer envy around what the competition is doing have spurred activity that didn’t deliver.  

There simply wasn’t an organized set of objectives and sound strategies to bring it all home.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing

Tipping My Hat to 2020, Giving a Cheer to 2021

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

It’s always good to start out a brand new year with a clean desk, but it’s even better to find something that validates the hard work—and lessons learned—of the previous one.

While sorting through a pile of papers to prepare my office for 2021, I came upon a real gem. 

It was a notepad with scribbled musings inspired by one of my business coaches. He asked us to list the mutual mindsets and beliefs that identify a perfect collaboration. 

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing

Are You Stuck in a Cycle of Wasteful Marketing Decisions?

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

One of the most common questions I get from CEOs and business leaders is, “How can I get unstuck on marketing decisions?”

These companies are usually fighting one of two battles:

  1. Frozen in place—not making any decisions because they have no idea where to begin (or begin again).
  2. Making ineffective marketing decisions; the infamous “random acts of marketing.”

Often, the second is accompanied by fears relates to budget. “I’ve already spent the money to fund this X, Y, or Z marketing tactic, so I best just stick with it.” But, clinging to past marketing decisions just because you spent time, money, or resources (or all three) isn't a strategy. 

It's stagnation.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing

“Before” Can Be the Most Important Planning Word in Marketing

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

When a CEO is running a growing company, the taste of success is intoxicating; we want to keep the growth train fueled by expanding to new marketing approaches. But, when the markets are uncertain, it can be tempting to spread limited resources across a bundle of channels to see what will turn the tide.

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Topics: "marketing spending", strategy, marketing

One of My Marketing Strategy Lab Participants Reported, “It’s like having a personal trainer for your business.”

Ilene Rosenthal, CEO

I tried to spend as much time outdoors on my exercise regimen before Daylight Savings time ended. During those outings, I kept returning to the power of consistency. Will I let the imminent winter weather dictate my health? Absolutely not. I already have a plan for what I’m going to do to keep moving as the temperature drops and daylight fades. 

What does this have to do with business strategy?

Marketing is so hungry; the machine needs to be fed consistently, strategically, week in and week out. Sharing relevant content, managing paid channels, evaluating ROI... it can be a drain, particularly if it requires last minute pivots, adjustments, and refinements. Someone has to be watching the store every day.

It’s no wonder many business owners revert to a “best guess” approach to planning and implementation.

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Topics: marketing strategy, strategy, marketing

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