PUNCH IT – Service and Email

Punch it! Email and Service together can make for a powerful one-two punch!

Email is definitely coming back stronger than ever. With smartphones, people are looking more and more at their email stream like never before. People are getting tired of going to apps to get information and are finding information contained in emails to be easy to read and react.

  • Emails can offer your phone contact information with a single click of a link
  • People can get to your website in one click.
  • People can easily click on image links and .pdf links.

Great Enhancer to Voice-Mail

Another awesome way to use email is your voicemail message. Tell people to leave a message or send you an email and spell out your email address on your message. Most people would rather send an email these days than leave a voice-mail message.

Let People Know Who You Are

The other key here, is to make sure your email address has your name contained in it. Too many times you will see first initial, last initial and last name all together (How is this being personal?) You should at least have your first name contained in your email name and better yet, your first and last name. If you make your email name personal, people will connect with you. This true both personally and professionally.

Show Clients You Care by Calling them by Name

Make sure you always put the person’s name at the top of the email. People are getting lazy in the text-message culture. A number of people don’t put the person’s name at the top of the email message.  People like to be addressed by their first name and it helps insure that the person you are writing to has their attention.

Give People Your Contact Information to Better Serve Them

Make sure you have an email signature with you company logo and contact information. Give People a way to follow-up with you if they need to get a hold of you.

Mobile Culture

Today’s mobile culture is encouraging all of us to provide service in a more clean and direct manner. Sending information by email helps get our messages across to people and allows others to respond back to us in a very effective and efficient manner.  By making a few little adjustments and incorporating email into other processes, (voice mail) you will find more effective ways to communicate with other people and ultimately you will see improved communication.

Start punching it today, by combining email with the way you service your clients.

 

Why you need to think more about “Team”

TeamsIf you want your project to succeed, you must have a team of people with the same vision and understanding.

This past weekend my wife and I were co-chairs for our high school’s annual fund raising event. The whole process was one where committees and teams were formed under the direction of a leader and her leadership team. The event was a very successful one and it really opened my eyes as to the power of different teams coming together to make a difference for a whole school. All of the teams understood their roles, but ultimately we needed people, (clients) to make it happen. Some of these people were return attendees and others were new attendees, (new parents with their new students attending the school)

During this event, many new processes were implemented: entertainment during dinner, new technology, new theme, different decorations. In addition, many obstacles were also faced: new leaders, Home Husker Game, More parent expenses with student iPad purchase, current economy.

One of the best examples that came to fruition the night of the event was the introduction of a new technology, Text-To-Bid. People would have to use their own phone devices to bid on items during the silent auction. No paper sheets were available. Now, thinking this through as a marketer made little sense to me at first. The majority of the money that was raised from this event were from people over the age of 60. How many 60 year olds do you know that text? The leader of this group assured me that we would have a successful event. He had worked with this technology in the past and had seen some great results. I was skeptical. The night of the event, the leader of this group gathered his team together of about 25 people and made sure everyone in the group knew how to get the technology working on a cell phone, smartphone or tablet device. I actually thought the group looked like a little prayer group. Once the final training was over and people started coming in, the team disbursed and made themselves available to the attendees. Students wearing specialized shirts were instructed to work specifically with older adults in helping them submit their bids. The whole team, worked very hard to make the night a successful experience. People of all ages had fun submitting bids, receiving messages that they had been outbid and ultimately learning they had won or lost items they had bid on.

I asked a number of attendees after the silent auction had closed what they thought about the experience they had just gone through and almost all of them pointed back to the fact that it was a fun experience and that people were so helpful in making it a successful bidding process. Technology is only as good as the people working with it.

This small example helped me look at projects from a different standpoint.

  • How many times do we get so caught up with fear that we spend our time being naysayers instead of looking for ways to make something really work?
  • People are the key. If you have the right team, you will be able to overcome obstacles.
  • If you think of the experience from the client side, you will ultimately be able to show them value.
  • We must always be teachers and learners.
  • If you want to solve problems – seek out the right team players first.

If you ever want to grow as a leader or a team player, consider volunteering for a local fund-raising project in your area. You will learn a lot about what it takes to run a successful event. It is a great experience to connect with others in your community and it will leave you humbled and amazed at what people can do when they work together for a common cause.

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Get Fired Up and Unify Your Team!

Marketing TeamIt is rally time!

Start today and start building not only a better department, but a better company overall!

Rally around the Marketing Cause – Make it Happen

People love to rally around a cause or a direction. It is critical that your employees view the company as a growing one that wants to continue to evolve and get better.Your marketing campaign should carry a component of excitement which draws others together and rallies them around areas like the following:

  • Improved customer service
  • A new product/service being offered
  • Improvements to a current product or service
  • Going after a specific target market
  • What marketing channels will be used to get people’s attention

The key here is that marketing, sales and client service need to work closer together. In addition, these groups need to work closer with production, information technology and upper management. The whole idea of people protecting their positions or departments is really one of the biggest causes for companies to fail.

Be the Difference-Maker in Your Company (What do you have to lose?)

Marketing is the difference-maker. Smart marketers understand the value of bringing everyone to the table in order to achieve results. Marketing is the sum of all departments working together. Each and every person is a marketer for his/her company.

Right now I talk to a number of my executive friends and there is a lot of fear and apathy about what is happening with respect to the economy, the current unstable situations in some  countries and our inability for our government to work together. The one common point here is that all of these issues represent outside influences.

The only way to combat these issues is to make sure these issues do not tear at the core of our own businesses. Companies can weather tough times and find ways to meet client needs, but it is up to all of our departments and employees to continue to work for ways to keep answering customer questions in the face of these issues and providing them with a place where they can go and expect consistent products/services along with personal support.

Break down the Department Barriers?

Marketing departments – It is time for you to set the stage for something great to happen at your company and look for ways to solicit  people across your company to be involved and come together for a common purpose. If you can accomplish this task, your clients will definitely notice and you will ultimately experience success.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is Blogging Worth It?

Blogging - Worth it?A few years ago some studies came out that said blogging may be a waste of time.

Now, blogging is a hot topic again because of terms like content marketing. However, I still see a number of marketers and speakers at conferences who talk about the value of having a blog, but when you go their website they haven’t posted anything for over six months. It is one of those puzzling topics that people continue to talk about, but no one really understands it.  It is for this reason that I am writing on this topic today. I want to talk about two blogs I work with on a regular basis and what I have seen

Professionally Speaking Blog

Currently, I maintain this current blog site, MarkeitngDirectorBlog.com.  This blog site is an extension of who I am. I have read a number of books, attended conferences and listened to a number of experts on different marketing topics. The people I feel connected to the most, maintain some type of marketing or management blog site. It is a great way to communicate and share ideas with others. In addition, it helps keep my professional brand in front of people and let them know who I work for, (Midwest Laboratories) and where I draw upon my experiences when I write.  Through this experience, I have been able to connect with some of the best people in marketing.  It is for this reason that I continue to work at maintaining a blog by sharing ideas that are different than most of the people out there. By the way, Linkedin has a great blogging platform that has taken professional blogging to a whole new level. If you aren’t using this platform, you are really missing out on some great networking opportunities.

Company Blog Site

In addition, I maintain a company blog site, (blogmidwestlabs.com). This site helps me relate different articles, topics, videos and other interesting information related to laboratory testing and our audience. This site has helped me learn more about what our clients are looking for with respect to laboratory testing. In addition, it gives me a chance to write on a topic that may be targeted at a specific sector of clients that use Midwest Laboratories. The analytics for this blog site help me see where this content resonates the most. In addition, I have a way to find out what topics are more interesting and it also helps our company website, (midwestlabs.com) stand out for various topics.

Items for a Successful Blog

It takes a commitment to make it work – I write 3-5 blog posts a week on both sites.

Write on topics that others are not talking about. (There are enough articles on why you should be on social media)

Provide answers to people’s questions – This information is the most helpful to readers

Only get into blog writing, if you have a specific purpose for writing. (General news can be found anywhere)

Talk from experience as much as possible – Why would you want to restate someone else’s ideas

What should you see in return from your blogging efforts?

A way to start communications on sites like Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and others

A great way to build your SEO position on Google by writing on topics that people are interested in.

You will be connecting with the right people who may interested in your company or connecting with you.

Word-of-Mouth is powerful when it comes to blogging. (People know more about you than you realize)

A way to build company brand and personal brand.

In addition, people will see you as a consistent presence who backs it up by what is stated on your blog site.

It is a win-win for the company and yourself.

Ultimately, you will see results in more phone calls, inquiries, new accounts and revenue.

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How Can I Get More New Accounts Online?

If you listen to some people, they would tell you that if you are not on social media, then you do not have a chance.

This kind of thinking really burns me up. Many people listen to statements like this about social media and work so hard to develop a presence online. We are all told to engage and not sell people online. From our interaction with other people, we hope a few will come to our website and take the next step to become a client. This process can be a frustrating one for many because there is much more to it then just “having a presence” everyday. People need to see results. You want results. Your management team wants to see results. We are all results driven. It’s like running a race and not having a finish line from time to time to measure our progress.

Inbound MarketingI want to tell you about one method I use to get more accounts online and it is so simple, you might not believe it.

Online Account Setup

The truth is, you have to make it easy for people to setup their account with you. Let me give you a bit of a background so you see where I am coming from. In 2011, we made a huge move which helped our company go from 1-2 new accounts a day to 8-12 new accounts a day. Before 2011, people would come to our company website, (Midwestlabs.com) and print off the new account form, fill out the information and either mail the form back, scan and email back or fax the form back.

In 2011, we moved the process online with an excel spreadsheet. The new online account setup form was designed to be very simple and easy to fill-out. The information could be saved and sent via an attachment to Midwestlabs.com. This simple change in the process allowed our numbers for new accounts to grow to 5-7 new accounts a day.  From here, another new form was developed to facilitate users who use iPad and other tablet technology. This grew our number from 8 to 12 with this additional form.

If you are a person who is into tips, you may want to stop reading here and see if implementing this tip will help you.  If you really want results in a big way consider this additional tip.

Account Setup – The Next Process

Here is where a majority of companies miss the boat. If you want people to open accounts with you online, you need to return the favor by taking the information they have provided you and put it into your system. This is the key to a successful online account setup process. Typically, our client service staff receive client account information and have their account setup within two hours of receipt during normal business hours. This step is crucial in showing the new client that the information they provide has been processed in a timely manner to allow them to now use services that your company provides.

Ongoing Communication – More Work Behind the Scenes

The process of setting up accounts requires a team effort. Your client service staff plays a pivotal role in talking to prospective clients and answering their initial questions. If you are a company that still uses an automated response system, remember people are looking for immediate attention and throwing up more steps to get to someone really irritates most people. Answer with a live voice.

In addition, your sales staff needs to work hand-in-hand with client service to insure potential clients’ needs are being met in order for new clients to be able to purchase products/servics at your company.

Do you have a greeter at your front entrance? People like to be welcomed. This helps set the stage for a pleasant visit.

Are you sharing information regularly through email, blog posts, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. Keeping a presence online helps people recognize your brand.

Finding more success online

Start with the end in mind. Make sure you have made it clear to people coming to your site that you are easy to work with and that you have showed them the reason for doing business with your company. Keep your communication lines open and build a strong team behind the scenes to help manage the process. It really is the key to success in gaining more new accounts online.

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I am Done with Social Media

no more social mediaI have been doing a lot of thinking regarding this topic and I have come the conclusion that the term, “social media” is stupid. It absolutely has nothing to do with the process whatsoever. I am going to try and refrain from using this term in the future. The executives were right, it is a dumb and confusing term.

Connecting with the right people.

Over the past few weeks, I am using applications like Facebook and Twitter to connect closer with clients and professionals. It is amazing to me to watch people connect online regarding a particular topic or opinion.  People want to connect with people and I have been writing from a standpoint of tactfully speaking about topics that people genuinely care about.  When I look to meet someone else’s needs, in return people will share more about their needs. The end result is a huge list of items all of us need to work at to become better. This list is better than any email list you could ever have. If you know what people want, you can better meet their needs. This is the return that people often don’t hear about.

Blogging saved my life

I am tired of this phrase too. Many people think blogging is the end-all be all. It is not about having a blog and throwing content out there. It is about organizing your thoughts and communicating some information that people will find valuable to them. In the process, you, the writer become a better person and you learn how to communicate better with your clients. The takeaway here is that some way, some how, you need to separate yourself from others to be able to get on people’s radar. Blogging gives you one avenue to do this and it really comes down to writing about answering people’s questions and less about what (you), the writer does at your company.

ROI on Social Media

Sorry, I have to use this term here.  The ROI is the result of the actions you have put into the process and less about having a presence on a social media platform.

I call it the following,”If you… then you will see results in ….”

  • If you are answering people’s questions in a timely manner.
  • If you are writing about topics that people care about,
  • If you are writing to a specific audience,
  • If you listen more and write about those items than your own opinions,

You will see results in the following ways:

  • More inquiries submitted by phone, online, through email, online on other sites,
  • More new accounts – people feel connected when you give them an opportunity to setup an account with your company
  • More revenue – People are smart and will see your company is different then all the rest  of your market

Understand your clients’ wants and desires

If your primary goal is to understand your clients’ wants and desires, start by asking for their input and find out what type of questions they are asking. Look at your company through their world and their business and see if there is a way that you can find a win-win situation, then embrace it and start digging in and doing more. Your job is never done.

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Represent Your Company Today

Company RepresentativeWho are you and who do you represent?

Today, we are going through changes quicker than we can keep pace. More and more I am making company connections with their respective company. When I think of Scott Monty, I think of Ford. I know he left Ford, but that brand connection is so strong. When you introduce yourself to someone, do you just tell that person your name, or do you also mention the company you work for. The two need to be tied together. People want to remember names and the companies their associated with.

It is more than just handing someone a business card. A business card does not breathe and talk. In this  age of the internet if someone just knows your name, but doesn’t know your company, how are they going to remember you?

In the past, marketing and sales were departments. Today, sales and marketers are the direct face and voice of their companies. The internet along with social media is driving home the fact that companies need more brand exposure online. Our message needs to be front and center in front of our targeted audience. Everyone at a company has a voice and is in marketing and sales to some degree.

Top executives have typically been the face of their companies with their presence at local meetings and conferences. Today, the internet is the place people go to the most to find and learn more about company offerings and the company behind them. We are going through a trust period. The consumer wants to find what he/she is looking for and insure they are doing business with a person they can trust.  It really is this simple.

My advice – make it a practice to tie your name and company together when you talk to other business professionals. Your experience with another person may be their only connection and understanding of your company. First impressions are lasting ones.

Make sure you have a content marketing program in place that talks not only about your products and services but the people behind them. Add images and video and make sure you connect this information on social media platforms.

Start becoming the voice of your company in some way. Remember, people connect with people.

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How Much Time Should I Spend on Social Media?

Time on Social MediaWe are all given the same 24 hours each day.  I recently heard a person say they cannot get out of bed without checking all of their social media sites. This person admitted being addicted to following the number of likes, retweets, comments and invitations. This person is also mad that her husband simply reads a newspaper for himself and does not share the information he gains with others.

Can you relate to this example? I think it is a bit extreme, but I think more and more people are spending time on their smartphones than ever before. The better question is, “How are you spending your time on social media?” In talking to a number of professionals this week, I am finding a whole new movement of managing time. A few years ago people were in love with social media similar to the time when the internet became popular through AOL connections and the very first search engines like AltaVista and WebCrawler were coming on the scene. People could not get enough information and were spending all kinds of time online.

Now, people are seeing the value in doing other things: managing processes, effectively processing information, hiring quality people, creating new work cultures that facilitate innovation, improved productivity. Social media is important and it has a place, but I am hearing fewer and fewer companies say they are making money soleley from social media.

For me it’s really about having a presence on some Linkedin,  some Twitter, a little GooglePlus and a little Facebook. There are other platforms, but these platforms are my choice. For me, it starts with a blog, you have to share information from a starting point and direct them to take action with you and your company.  Typically, I spend the most time writing the blog and the rest of the time talking and sharing on social media. Overall, I would say I try to keep my social media experience to less than 2 hours a day.

I need to make sure I am not only listening to clients on social media, but also when they come through the doors and call-in. Obviously, I cannot do this alone and a great client service team is a prerequisite for success.  I measure my performance first and foremost by the number of new accounts brought in.  (Typically 8-10 a day) and number of online inquiries (Typically 10-15) a day. From here, I drill down periodically into Google Analytics and some other tools.  In addition, I look at our Sales Force reports once a week and try to communicate with them on a regular basis throughout the week. These people keep track of their leads, calls and visits.

Marketing is all about the whole experience: marketing, sales and service. When these three are close together, this is where synergy kicks in and results can be experienced.

So back to the original question – How much time should you spend on social media? – Define your priorities and make sure you are looking at the whole picture and not spending all your time in one place.

Marketing from the Heart

Marketing ConferenceThis week, I am working on really opening up my mind to some new ideas. I will be getting a chance to listen to some great marketing presentations and networking with some of the best people in marketing.

In order to do this, I must focus less on my own “marketing knowledge” and open my heart more to new ideas. I am convinced that great ideas come from the heart. Yes, the heart, not the head. I am not talking about implementing an seo tip here and there or adding a piece of code on my website to hopefully attract new readers.

I want revolutionary ideas.  To do this, I am going to focus on the following:

  • Looking at a process from beginning to end.
  • What do other marketing director spend their time and resources on with respect to their marketing plans?
  • Where do people see marketing going in 2015?
  • What successes are other companies experiencing with respect to their marketing initiatives?
  • How can companies get better at facilitating and nurturing client relationships?

Finally, I want to listen more and more and write down key points from discussions and presentations. This information will be used as the basis for developing new ideas.

Think of the best ideas that you have ever had both personally and professionaly. Did it come about as the result of a strategic planning process? For me, no. The best ideas I have ever been able to implemented involved the following:

  • Input from others
  • A heart to heart session of being honest with myself
  • A genuine need to serve clients better (providing value)
  • A way to bring more people together to achieve something great
  • The idea was in and of itself, revolutionary

The next time you go to a conference, take some time and determine what you want to get our of your experience. It will help you maintain your focus and set your activities in a way that will produce results for the future.

Don’t Rely on Your Past Accomplishments

Past AccomplishmentsThis simple act could really stifle your performance going forward.

Right now, I am firmly in the middle of my professional career. I am a Generation X person. I see a number of executives in their upper 60’s and 70’s and some people never stop. Other people’s performance has fallen off substantially.  If you are working toward being a leader, you really need to be aware of how others view performance. This year I have experienced a wide number of views with respect to how people look at their own performance. Too often, I have seen people who frankly are checked out at work and have a hard time doing anything.

Today, I want to really focus on another issue I see with adult workers, those workers who have a mindset of what they have accomplished from their past experience.  This  type of perception can be really damaging to the specific person and those he/she come in contact with.

As a leader, you need to recognize the signs and encourage these type of people to be more productive and kindly remind them that past work was great, but you need them to be more productive today.

Recognize the signs:

If people constantly talk about people they talked to over the weekend or at a conference, they basically are trying to prove that who they are connected to is better than the person who they are speaking to.

When someone talks about how their accomplishments from 10+ years ago really made a difference, listen carefully. Again, they are trying to prove that their worth is based on act that occurred from their past.

People who focus on past connections are those people who go to conferences and trade shows and they only focus on getting together with only those people in their circles.

These type of people also look for ways to discredit other people’s accomplishments.

These people typically believe they already have knowledge based on past accomplishments and are really not looking to grow and learn. These people believe they have already earned their keep and they should reap the benefits of their past accomplishments.

The Takeaway Here:

Make sure you don’t get sucked into a discussion with these type of people. If  you are taking it upon yourself to learn and grow, then you are already making a difference.

Focus on where you want to go in the future, not how great you have been in the past.

Make sure you create a to-do list everyday at work. This way you will always be focused on the future and not the past.

The biggest takeaway here is managing your time. Recognize the signs, and try to associate more with people who want to make a difference in the future. Stories are great if their ultimate ending leads to something in the future. Stories regarding past history are for family and friends for special times of reflection.

Continue to push forward and lead. If you start finding yourself looking back all the time, take a moment and begin to look forward. The best part is you can always start somewhere and learn. Sadly, many people still have a hard time with this concept.

Final Comment for Marketing Executives

If your corporate culture is made up of managers and executives who have these type of characteristics, seize the opportunity to make a difference. People who look forward and not backward are much more successful than their counterparts and can bring new excitement to a staggering culture. Challenge yourself each day to make a difference. Give people a glimpse of what the future can be. Start getting others to buy into your vision and start making a difference. You will see results. Stay out of political backlash talks and look for ways to drive conversation out in the open. This process can be a viral one and I am starting to see the fruits of my own labor because I am experiencing it as we speak.

Keep persevering one day at a time and don’t give in or give up!

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Best Success Quote Ever

help succcessYour Success Is Directly Proportional to the Number of People You Help

Source – How To Move Your Business From 6 To 7 Digits (And Get On The Path To $50M And Beyond) Forbes – September 9, 2014 by Cheryl Connor

This phrase exemplifies an attribute that I have found with every successful person or company I have come in contact with. Everything really points to this particular statement. If you are looking for ways to make others successful, you will see results in your own efforts. Success breeds success. Notice the phrase doesn’t say your success is tied to the size of your audience. The keyword here is “HELP”. Have you helped someone today.

If you were to make this statement your motto everyday, think of the value you would bring to the people you work with. Think about how exciting a place it would be to come and work at. Everyday, each and every one of us has the opportunity to make a difference. We can make a difference at home, at work, at a particular place we visit, online, our church, the opportunities are endless.

Are you seizing the opportunities that are placed in front of you?

What message are you sending people?

Sadly, too many people take this statement personally and feel that there is no one greater than themselves. That is not what this statement is saying at all. This statement to me, focuses on serving everyone as clients and looking for ways to help people out. The only way to do this is to establish relationships. Anything short of that, is self-fulfillment. Today, look for ways to help people out and start a log book, you will see a difference in your attitude and the culture you are associated with. Start today!

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Own Your Marketing Process

Own Your Marketing ProcessRight now too many people are looking for a magic marketing pill, some new process or a way to make a video or tweet to go viral.

Too many people are reading articles and watching how others see the marketing world. It is fine to gain knowledge for others, but when you’ve spent half your day reading other people’s work, what have you really gained. Yesterday, I looked at this topic of marketing and how it relates to technology. Today, I want to focus more on how you need to own your marketing process and make sure you are working as productively and efficiently as possible.

Write Blog Post

Each day, I quickly scan articles and topics using Google Alerts and other news items. I write a quick post for the Midwest Labs Blog and for this site. I get this information out to various social media channels: GooglePlus, Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook and I gauge the interaction throughout the day. I think writing blog posts should be a managerial/executive responsibility. It is all about transparency and it is critical that the voice of a company come from someone who can see the big picture with respect to the company and its relationship with clients.

Work with Staff

Touching base with partners, client service staff and production people is always a priority to stay informed and make sure your efforts are working in the right direction. Productivity needs to always be a focus

Keep a pulse on your marketing channels

For me this means being aware of the following: new accounts being setup on a daily basis, number of question being submitted online, number of phone calls received each week in client service, number of services rendered each week, client complaints, client feedback.  In addition, it is important to check on web and social media activity using Google Analytics.

Review Company Projects

This last item has worked quite well. I think it is an excellent fit for Marketing Executives to manage company project work. It helps tie company activity with client activity. Read this article, What Marketing Experts Can Learn From Project Management Pros by Cheryl Conner, September 6, 2014

Develop New Ideas

I keep an Idea Composition Book. I use it to write down potential ideas that merit more review and information. The act of writing this information down helps me collect and organize my thoughts. Too many times I have forgotten ideas because I did not take the time to write them down at the time of discovery.

Create Projects

The best approach I have found is to dig in and start working/planning at the same time.  Throughout the course of the day, I will have many ideas that go through my head. I typically receive these ideas through communication with other co-workers and professional contacts. The key here is developing an action plan. Decide what it truly is that you want to focus your efforts on and create a project. Look at these projects based on ideas and determine where these ideas can really come together. Create some small project plans, reveiew, refine and decide if they should be implemented and presented for inclusion with company parojects.

This is a typical day for me.  – In addition, I help out with client calls, manage day to day issues, attend meetings, review company financials and continue to work at completing the daily to-do list.

SUMMARY

My point here is that in order to be effective, you need to be a leader and take control of your own marketing initiatives. There isn’t a magic pill or do-it-all software package that will take care of your marketing needs. The choice is up to you and you literally make that choice everyday you come to work. So stop reading and start creating. Make something happen today. Learn from your mistakes, when stuck on a particular part of your marketing plan, get advice from others at your workplace, through your contacts and online if you still aren’t satisfied. You have lots of resources to work with.

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Marketing Confusion – Stop the Madness

Marketing MadnessMarketing is a very complex mess of channels and consumer behaviors; combined with traditional marketing, digital marketing, content marketing, seo, social media, mobile, snapchat, smartphones and other technologies.

The hardest part is looking at these different channels and topics and trying to integrate these channels into their marketing strategy.  It really is time to take a step back and not get caught up in trying to learn these new technologies. Many marketing agencies and marketing experts focus on developing talent knowledge in these areas. This is their main function. Because of this, most of today’s marketing  blog articles focus on these topics.  These articles try to convince you that you do not know very much about these technologies and you need help.

As a marketer a company

How well do you know your clients?

Start internally and look closely at your client information. Ask yourself, how can I better serve these people so they will remain loyal to our company over time. This really should be the goal because these people are the lifeblood of your company.

Look for opportunities to add new types of clients based on the information you have gathered from your client information. This information will become more apparent as you dig deeper into your client data.

How well do you understand  your company’s product/service offerings?

Everyday, I try to learn more and more about a different process or service that our company offers. Having a better understanding of the company’s products and services really produces more confidence and a better presence with respect to explaining the process to clients. A great way to develop better understanding is to take an actual tour of your own facility and understand the work that your employees perform.

Look for opportunities to understand companies outside of your industry that may have similar processes or similar product/service offerings. Seeing these processes in action has helped me bring new ideas to our own company

How do you tell that story?

This is the final part of the process. After you have addressed the items above, determine how you can tell your story and where do you want your clients to hear. It is an amazing process to look at and it is very simple to apply.

Take a small, niche segment of clients.  (Also, look at new clients)

Add 

The  product or service that affects these clients (Also, think of new products/services)

And Develop

The story that people want to read, share and want more. (People like innovative, new stories)

Summary

Too many people focus on the technology and channel and try to incorporate the story after the fact. In a sense, they start with the technology and work backwards. The problem with this process is typically, a person never gets back to the basic information about clients. I know this because I have experienced this process in the past because I was too focused on the technology. The technology, channels, distribution and measurement are the easy part once you better understand your clients, products/services and have developed your story.

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Watch for Signs of Disconnecting – Disturbing Trend

Disconnecting from WorkI have seen a disturbing trend at workplaces across the country. People are disconnecting more and more from work, their families and friends.

Is it part of this mobile phone, social media culture. My gut tells me it is. I have not conducted any formal study, but I really believe some people are living in a fantasy world and they can’t separate themselves from the real world. Just think how many reality shows we have been exposed to in the last 10 years. What did we watch before reality shows on television? Look at all of the data produced on social media sites in one day. It really is mind-boggling. Remind yourself to be productive and that there is more to life than just reading a bunch of notes, texts and information. Put your mobile device down and so something else. Set some time in the evening or on weekends to disconnect for awhile.

So what is the takeaway here? How do we stay connected in a world that is becoming more and more disconnected

Management

Pay closer attention to worker productivity. I have seen people completely disconnect from their work and ultimately quit their jobs because they don’t like what they do. These people also quit and figure they will find work in the future. It is the Big Lie. Make sure work is organized into some type of project work with deadlines. It is too easy to lose focus these days.

Make sure people are being productive in their work. Some people are not being challenged and have too much thinking time. These people are the ones who may be wasting time on internet sites and social media sites. Hold people accountable and ask them what they hope to accomplish each day. You might be surprised.

Marketing

As with any trend, you can be a part of the current culture or you can be different. The good news, is that “personalization of our messages” is the new in and using older, traditional media like email, hand-written notes, personal visits and phone calls still matter in this world of digital communication. Create some content that is different than all the other information and noise out there.

Be careful about spending so much time on social media sites. It can be a huge time suck and before you know it your day has passed you buy. Consider spending that time in other areas like talking directly to clients and understanding their needs. Client loyalty is huge and it will take more work to keep good clients.

Focus on Professional Development

There are so many resources at your disposal to grow in your education. Take some time to get healthier. Find ways to become closer to your family. Become more active in your local church or school. People who continue to develop themselves outside of work are usually the people who find success in their work. Focus on being a leader.

Your Response

Do you see people disconnecting more  from their work life and at home? It really is disturbing? How can we stop this trend?

I would welcome your feedback on this topic.

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Have You Considered Becoming a Leader Today?

Become a LeaderBeing in the Moment!

No matter where I am or what I am doing, it is all about connecting with people.   It really comes down to listening more and talking less.

Online

Think about it. The best people on Twitter are not those people who send out tweets all hours of the day and night. By the way those are scheduled, not a live person if you are still wondering.  The best people are those who actually share some great information and respond to other people who ask questions or comment on an article you may have written or shared.

On  Linkedin, more and more people are getting involved with groups and sharing updates. A number of these shares offer people some valuable information or quick reminders. I actually think some of the comments are better than the articles.

Facebook is another great place to share some information with family and friends.

Office

Connecting with people on a daily basis is very healthy and shows that you take an interest in their day-to-day work and life. On days where it is one meeting after another, those people with whom you’ve made strong connections with will still seek you out .

In addition, it is always a good idea to connect with people outside your department. Find out what is happening in their respective areas and stay in tune with how those connections fit with the overall company direction.

Home

Make sure you stay connected with your spouse and children. It  is critical that you know what is happening at home so you are there as a listening ear to share advice or assist with homework or activities around the house.

Become a Leader

Develop yourself as a leader in all aspects of your life. Spend time getting yourself prepared each day to “Be in the Moment” . Keep informed of important issues facing your family and company. Ge in touch with the world around you and have an opinion in these areas. Continue to work on building up your knowledge in areas you are strong in. Look to develop other’s. The best way to to do this is take a step back and listen. Listen to people’s concerns. Listen to their ideas. Listen more to find out where they can best use their knowledge and skills. Leaders take on responsibility and find ways to delegate responsibility to others.

Right now there are many managers. Maybe an overabundance of them. Many are getting laid off and losing their jobs. One reason, I believe this is occurring is because they did not take their careers to a higher level by becoming leaders. We need more leaders at home, at work and in our community.  Consider working more on your leadership skillset instead of your management skillset and you may start to see a whole new world in front of you.

What is your take on leaders? Do you see many at your workplace?

Would welcome your comments on this topic.

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Performance is Everything

Performance ManagementDefinition of performance – “the action or process of carrying out or accomplishing an action, task, or function”

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Too many opportunities are started and never completed. Right now, many people I talk to cannot even talk about projects that were started and completed in 2014. It really comes down to documenting the process and managing the results along the way. Some projects may never be  completed because of lack of resources or changes in direction. In these cases, old projects should be closed and new projects opened.

Over the past few weeks, I have talked about setting a new tone. That new tone for me started externally by listening to clients and it is quickly turning internally to update current processes and continue to work to be in a position to meet client needs.

Those needs include the following:

  • going after new client markets
  • developing innovative ways to improve current client relations
  • investing in employees and technology for continued innovation
  • continue to identify better communication techniques
  • continue to listen more and more both internally and externally
  • learn something new everyday

Focusing on performance helps organize ideas and processes into a manageable process that focuses on taking action and accomplishing tasks.

Start by doing the following:

  • Keep a Daily To-Do list for Yourself – It will help you see where you are spending your time and if you are accomplishing basic tasks
  • Start a Project List – Get all of your company projects on paper. This action will help you see which projects to prioritize, stop roadblocks form occurring, help you maintain proper time frames to make sure projects get completed. (You will learn a lot about your company and see areas for improvement)
  • Communicate accomplishments with everyone at your company. Make sure people buy-in to where the company is headed. It is always good to keep people informed of progress.

This process is the result of strong leadership in an organization. Companies need leaders and as I review and share these topics with you, I am seeing a whole new culture of leadership. If you are a leader, start setting a tone in your own company and start listening more and focus on achieving results. More information to come on this topic over the next several weeks.

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Learning Everyday

Continue to LearnAs I reflect on today’s Labor Day Celebration, I see many people who continue to persevere and make a difference in their companies. It has been a great experience to connect with some of the best business leaders, and up and coming stars in companies.

If you are trying to persevere and succeed with respect to your career, you need to make it a point to learn something everyday. In this day of no guarantees, it is more important than ever to continue to gain new knowledge from articles, books and conferences, but the best learning really comes from directly learning from others.

People who learn everyday have the following characteristics:

Listen more than talk – Too many times, people listen just enough so they can come back with their responses to what they just heard.

Have an awareness of news happening around them – You don’t have to know everything, but if there is a major issue facing the company, you should know enough to have some opinion on what is happening.

Build your knowledge in areas you work with everyday – In this day and age, it is hard to know more than your clients, but you should look for ways to build your products or services around needs of your clients.

Surround with people who know more than you do – The last thing you want to be is an expert on a number of subjects. You need to build a team which has knowledge experts in different areas.

Listen more to clients and start finding ways to meet their needs – These people have some of the best ideas and you can gain a lot of knowledge by working and serving others.

Make sure you connect yourself with some strong mentors – These people can be invaluable as references. In addition, they often share their own tips in running and managing their own businesses.

Summary

Don’t expect companies to offer great training programs to help facilitate your new learning. Take it upon yourself and be responsible for your own development. There is a lot of information online, but often the best insights come from interacting with others. This can be accomplished through online connections. I have connected with some great people online. However, don’t forget about the people you work with and make sure you connect with other professionals in your community. These relationships are invaluable when it comes to new learning and growth.

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