Monthly Archives: August 2010

That “One Thing”

If you asked 100 seasoned marketing professionals what they want the next generation of marketing professionals to know you will probably get 100 answers. Sure, there will be some relatively universal answers but everyone has that “one thing” they learned and want to pass on. In this season of my career that “one thing” would be to discover your client’s passion for their business.

I frequently mention passion in this blog.  For me it is most definitely a key element. Without passion we would not have many of the items we have today that enhance our lives and the lives of those around us. Without someone’s passion we would not have things like prosthetic limbs for those who need them, special schools for the blind or deaf or even everyday things like a vacuum cleaner.  At one time someone had a passion to build these things.

There are many businesses that just seem to be “going through the motions”. For companies such as this a good marketing plan may not be able to solve all the problems but perhaps it could reignite the passion that started the business in the first place.

So new marketers – discover your client’s passion.  It will make your strategies and campaigns much more successful.

If you are a seasoned marketing professional what is your “one thing” you would pass on to the next generation?

Passionate about making a contribution…

-KK


“Gut Check”

Sometimes we need to stop and take inventory. 

If appropriate for our business we don’t seem to forget to take a physical inventory at specified times. How often do we take inventory of our effectiveness?  This should be at regular intervals as well.  I asked an executive last week what he thought were the weak spots within his 21 year old organization.  He was surprised by the question.

  1. Do you know how your customers feel about you?
  2. How about your employees?
  3. How effective is your communication?
  4. How effective is your marketing strategy?

This is a key element.  How does your effectiveness inventory look?

Just Checking…

-KK


Chop and Grind

My husband and I have a blended family with four teenagers. When we married over 3 ½ years ago: our kids were teens and pre-teens. We went into it with eyes open knowing it would be challenging and did everything we could to prepare ahead of time.

We were not prepared.

Whoever came up with the phrase “blended family” obviously never had one.  To me blending conjures up images of a smooth fusion of two or more elements.  My blender is broken – sometimes it is stuck on chop and grind.

Sometimes small business owners have a blender that is also stuck on chop and grind. Blending “old school” marketing and the new social marketing world of today can be messy and many get it wrong. Having a well-planned social media strategy out of the starting gate can help that blender move past chop and grind into smooth fusion.

Here are some tips to help you blend more smoothly:

  1. Define who you are trying to reach (old school)
  2. Identify the social media platforms in which you wish to engage (new world)
  3. Research your audience on those platforms (old school and new world)
  4. Listen to (read) what they are saying (old school)
  5. Find your “voice” for the medium (old school and new world)
    1. Note: Do not just push your product or business – remember you must contribute value to the conversation)
  6. Learn from the mistakes you will make (old school and new world)
  7. Review and revise your strategy as you gain more knowledge and followers, fans, friends, connections, etc. (new world)
  8. Seek help in getting started if you need it (old school and new world)
    1. Find a social media coach to guide you

Still blending…

-KK


Thursday Threads

Blinding flashes of the obvious… 

  • It is difficult to deliver a good product for your client if everyone on your team is unhappy
  •  Poor communication will not make your team happy
  •  Communication is not effective if no one understands what you are talking about
  • Communication is not effective if you do not listen
  •  People like to be heard
  •  If you ignore your clients, they will move on
  •  If you ignore your family, they won’t be happy
  •  Everything in your life does not have to be about work
  •  Finding balance is a good thing
  •  If you are passionate about something (God, your family, your work, a cause, etc.) it becomes contagious
  •  Apathy can also be contagious
  •  Apathy can kill an organization
  •  Passion can bring an organization to life

Got Passion?

-KK


Communication is Critical – DUH!

Communication is critical. How many times have we heard or written statements like this? If it is so critical then why are most of us so poor at it?

As a small business owner communication is a key element to the overall health of your company. Effective communication takes work. Effective communication is also multi-directional.

It is important to communicate with each of your stakeholder groups:

  1. Your employees – employees are internal customers. If you do not communicate information about the company, projects, clients and other vital information they will begin to feel unimportant and undervalued. There may be many sub-groups within your company, i.e. sales; production; IT; accounting, etc. that may need to receive differnet messages.
  2. Your clients – some might say “duh” but precious few actually do it effectively. Part of effective client communication is consistency and clarity. Do a quick spot-check with your clients to find out how well you are communicating – ask them!
  3. Other Stakeholders – when managing projects it is essential to clearly communicate with all stakeholders – not just the ones who write the checks or do the work. There are other affected by your project and deserve to be informed. Effective communication can be tricky when there are multiple stakeholders but it is an important group that is sometimes excluded.

The message you communicate may need to be modified to fit your audience. This extra attention to detail can prove invaluable. Clear, consistent communication informs your audience. Clear, consistent communication builds trust and credibility with your stakeholders. Clear, consistent communication coupled with consistent follow-through can set you apart!

Effective communication can mean the difference between just fulfilling the client’s requirements and a client that is so ecstatic about their experience they cannot stop talking about your organization.

That’s what I want! How about you?

-KK


Oozing Passion

In today’s hyper-transparent, social media world you can find thousands of people and companies who are passionate about something. Companies that are not passionate about their mission, their product, their employees or “something” will get lost in the crowd never to be heard from again.

Some organizations are oozing with passion.  It is obvious to almost everyone.  They broadcast it just by doing what they do. Conspicuous passion for something is easier to build a marketing strategy around than a lack of passion. You may have the best product or service and the best employees but if the passion of the organization (or the individuals) is missing it will be apparent in your marketing campaigns as well.

As marketing professionals we are trained to find out the company’s mission.  I believe the challenge is to dig deeper – discover the passion behind the mission? Someone at some point had a passion for this or they would not have started the company.  Find out what that is and build on it. Why did they start the business in the first place? Or why did they take the job? 

Companies with no passion need more than just a solid marketing strategy to get back on track.  However, some just need to be reminded of their roots and the passion that started their company in the first place.

As a small business owner are you oozing passion or getting lost in the crowd?

Oozing passion for helping small businesses…

-KK


Listening or Spouting Solutions

Not every marketing coach or firm is a good fit for every client.  As a small business owner it is important to look for a marketing professional who has marketing experience.   More importantly, however, is to find a competent professional with whom you have “synergy”.  An overused word, yes, but an effective description nonetheless.

If you cannot get “on the same page” with your marketing team (internal or external) chances are you will not have an effective marketing strategy in the end.

A key element in the planning and execution of an effective marketing strategy or campaign is communication.  If your marketing coach cannot communicate well with you then how will they communicate well with your audience?

Ask yourself these questions to see if you and your marketing coach are on the same page:

  1. Is he or she asking questions about your business? (this is basic stuff)
  2. Is he or she asking what your passions are? Are you asked about what drives you to do what you do?
  3. Is he or she actually listening to your answers or just spouting off “solutions” before understanding the entire picture of your organization?
  4. Is he or she communicating with you during the process (during building of the strategy or during campaigns)?
  5. Add your questions here…

There are many more questions that can be added to the list. The point is that your campaigns can be wildly successful if you have a marketing coach who understands you and your company and keeps the lines of communication flowing in both directions.

Looking for synergy…

-KK


Money in the Trash

Marketing and advertising can be difficult to measure. Especially campaigns designed to increase awareness for a brand. However, there are success metrics that every company can put in place to help determine the ROI.  If you are not measuring your marketing efforts in at least come way then you might as well open the trash can and just throw the money you are spending directly into it.   

Marketing is part art and part science.  Both parts are necessary.  A key element to an effective marketing strategy is measurement.  Here is a brief overview of my process for measuring success of a campaign.

  1. Create the campaign plan (many steps in this process not being discussed here today)
    1. Include how you plan to measure the success of that campaign
  2. Review the campaign success during the campaign whenever possible
  3. Revise the campaign strategy if it is not meeting the success criteria
    1. Or revise the strategy for the next time

The point is the review and revise method can save countless dollars spent and time wasted on ineffective strategies that do not yield the desired results.

Mini Case Sudy: This morning I was talking to a business consultant who said he had a client that was spending $30k/year on a certain type of advertising.  He just assumed it was bringing him business. He began to really look at where his business was coming from and none of it was coming from the advertising investment.  This is an extreme example of what can happen if your organization does not have success metrics in place and a lesson we can all take to heart.

If you need help in figuring out ways to measure the success of your marketing efforts talk to a marketing professional who can coach you through the process.

Always revising…

-KK


Thursday Threads

Thoughts from Kerri (every Thursday)…

  1. There sure are a large amount of social media “experts” floating around. Some are innovative but most are just copy cats (including me).
  2. Even copy cats have valuable things to share with their Tribes.
  3. If you have not read Tribes by Seth Godin, you need to do it NOW!
  4. The word integrity is thrown around often.  It is not displayed nearly as often as it is mentioned.
  5. However, there are people in this world who do have integrity.
  6. I have more God-given blessings in my life than I can count. I need to remember that on days when things are not going my way.
  7. I am blessed to know the few things I am good at and the multitude of things I am not.
  8. I am also blessed to know what I am passionate about. I am passionate about using my expereince to benefit others both professionally and personally.
  9. Passion is contagious.
  10. I am blessed that you are reading my blog and would be more blessed if you’d pass it along to others (shameless plug, I know!)

Blessed beyond measure,

-KK


Awareness is a Half-measure

As a small business owner you undoubtedly know about some areas of your business or marketing strategy that need improvement.  Awareness is half the battle.  We cannot change something unless we are aware of it.  However, if we stop with awareness nothing will change. Action is a key element for change.

Time is a major factor.  We all wish we had more time in the day to complete everything we feel we have to complete. Still, putting off changes that need to be made to help your business grow may not be the wisest move one could make. 

Here are five steps you can take to turn awareness into action:

  1. Write down what you are aware of that needs to change (just make a list)
  2. Identify who can help you make those changes (spouse, staff, outside consultant, marketing coach, etc.)
  3. Give them the power to help you (ask them, engage their services, etc.)
  4. Create a plan of action to make the changes (prioritize them)
  5. Take the action!

These may sound simplistic but sometimes we overlook the simple actions we take to make a significant impact in our lives or our business.

Taking the action…

-KK


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