competitive advantage, good will creation, marketing consultant, sales, traditional marketing

Why I Love the Marketing Term “Shoe Leather”

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Now more than ever, I love using and hearing the term “shoe leather”.  The minute I speak it or hear it, I conjure up the image of a pair of slightly worn, lace-up brown shoes. I don’t recall exactly when I first heard the term used, but I liked it immediately because it made me think of the old way of doing business, of a time when businesspeople called upon other businesspeople and introductions were made in-person vs. LinkedIn.  “Shoe leather” makes me think of hard work, of pounding the pavement, of my father’s and my grandfather’s generation, of keeping moving and never giving up.

As a marketing professional, I often see and hear too much emphasis being placed on newer marketing tools and vehicles, and not enough emphasis being placed on what I call the “traditional” ways of doing business. While I’m sure there are those who may not agree, I do believe that there are still profitable deals being made and relationships being formed the old-fashioned way — during a cold call drop-by,  or an invite to lunch or coffee.  And, that’s a good thing.  Newer marketing vehicles such as social media play their role in connecting with certain audiences regarding certain products and services, but they’re never going to give a prospective client that warm, fuzzy, welcoming feeling of a handshake, a smile, or a lively, but friendly, debate about how the Boston Red Sox or Bruins are playing.

My father always told the story of how, as a very “green” office equipment salesperson, he persistently pursued one client.  Despite being turned away several times, my dad continued to drop by the office of the individual responsible for making furniture purchasing decisions.  The older gentleman became so impressed with my father’s tenacity that he eventually placed a very large furniture order with him and the two began a relationship and friendship that lasted many years.

So, the next time you think about e-mailing or calling a prospective client, think about invoking the “shoe leather” philosophy, and consider paying that client a visit.  You may be surprised by the benefits you’ll reap besides getting some good old-fashioned exercise.

brand promise, community involvement, good will creation, marketing consultant, mission statement, public relations

Why Goodwill Is, Well, Good

During my thirty years of working for various sized organizations in a variety of industries, there’s been one activity that has worked consistently well regardless of industry or company size to both create awareness and effect sales growth, and that is the creation of goodwill.  But, what I really love as both a marketing professional as well, as the decent human being that I believe myself to be, is that goodwill is good for all.  While it helps organizations succeed, it helps the communities that the organization serves prosper, so everybody wins.

good·will

 noun \ˌgd-ˈwil\

: a kind, helpful, or friendly feeling or attitude

business : the amount of value that a company’s good reputation adds to its overall value

As the above definition from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary supports, I believe creating goodwill is all about being helpful.  Since there are many ways to be helpful, there are many ways to create goodwill.  I’ve listed below some of the more common examples of how businesses (and, of course individuals themselves) can be helpful, but any organization that really understands and fully participates in the communities it serves, can think of lots of other innovative and unique activities.

  • organize a group of employees to volunteer their time to assist with a community event — whether it be helping with preparations for or promotion of the event, or simply helping to staff the event
  • solicit a group of employees to pitch in on manual tasks that need to be done at a particular location operated by a non-profit/community organization — such as a homeless shelter, park, or school
  • purchase a table/booth at a community event such as a health or street fair, or purchase a table at a breakfast, lunch, or dinner event which senior leaders at your organization can attend to show their support
  • donate tangible new or used goods that are on the “wish list” of a particular organization such as new gloves and socks for a homeless shelter or used coats for a coat drive
  • donate $$ that can be used as needed by the non-profit/community organization; sometimes, these donations will be reciprocated by the non-profit/community organization via the opportunity to have a display table of informational and promotional items at an event and/or a program booklet ad, or to be listed as a key sponsor on any event promotional materials the community organization produces

I’m sure you’ve found, as I have, that most individuals want to make a difference in their communities.  By providing employees with an opportunity to donate or volunteer, you are likely to enhance their engagement — another of the many reasons why goodwill is “good”.   And, most non-profit/community organizations are more than willing to share via a press release, an announcement at the podium, their web site, and/or some other activity your organization’s contribution to their success.

I’m always glad to brainstorm with you about what type of goodwill creation activity might be the most effective for your organization as well as best serve the communities in which your organization operates.

Make today the day you do some “Goodwill Hunting” by starting to research upcoming community activities you or your organization might support.

 

brand promise, competitive advantage, differentiation, Enjoying What You Do, good will creation, making time for things you value, marketing consultant, Passion

The Power of Passion

My Dad was a man of great passion. He gave his utmost attention and energies to whatever or whomever he loved.

While my wonderful father passed away in 2012, just after his 85th birthday, as I undertake leading and operating my own business, I know it is his success and love of entrepreneurship that has inspired me to do so. My dad, O.V., never ran from a challenge. In fact, he embraced them.  For most of his career,  he was employed in businesses of his own creation.  Using a small inheritance from an aunt, he started an office equipment business at 1019 Farmington Avenue in Bristol, Connecticut.  While its origins were those of a church, 1019 served for years, and continues to serve, as the home for my Dad’s ventures, including the real estate firm my father ran most of his life, his beloved O.V. Resources.

While my dad originally was involved in both residential and commercial real estate, owning and selling commercial properties was his true love — behind my mother, of course.  Because of his passion for this business, my dad grew his firm to be one of the most successful and most well-known commercial real estate firms in Connecticut.  Due to his kind and friendly nature, my dad acquired what my brother calls a circle of “followers”.  They still stop by to visit with one of  my brothers who assumed responsibility for leading O.V. Resources in 2012.

In keeping with having been in the navy and a lover of sailing his whole life, my Dad successfully navigated the choppy seas of tough economic times during his forty-plus years in business.  He valued his ability to operate his own business and serve other local businesses, and he somehow always found a way to keep the business afloat.  In fact, his innovation and never-give-up attitude caused the business to have, overall, a very successful history.

Like my dad, my two older brothers have brought great commitment to O.V. Resources.

 

Image

My Dad brought great passion to other interests beyond his family, his business and sailing and boating.  He loved  cars, and just being out in the fresh air doing yard work — hence, the photo above.

Because of my love of research and analytic work, executing communications and marketing plans based on findings, and my Dad’s never-give-up attitude and creativity, I plan to bring great passion, commitment, and empathy to all the clients I serve.  And, like O.V., I hope I will soon develop my own circle of followers who will come to me for advice, compassion, and camaraderie.

Thanks, Dad, and to my brothers for your inspiration!  I look forward to following in your footsteps.

 

 

Acceptance of Circumstances, Enjoying What You Do, marketing consultant, Understanding Your Environment

Dance to What Is

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“Dance to what is” is an expression I apply to and share with individuals in all aspects of my life — family, friends, and co-workers.  A co-worker from my days as a marketeer at the former Bay State Federal Bank, a community bank acquired by a larger bank in 2004, shared this with me.  The expression wasn’t his invention, but he told me the story of how a friend of his found himself on a business trip in a less-than-glamorous location.  While the friend would have rather been in NYC or some place more exciting, he decided to make the best of being in a rural town by fully engaging in the activities going on at the local bar.

I loved this story and expression so much, I started sharing it with co-workers in situations where I felt we needed to “dance to what is”.  For example, as many of us have learned throughout our careers, senior management at an organization have the final say on various matters.  We may not always agree with their decisions or pronouncements, but we have to execute them.  “Dancing to what is” means not spending a lot of time trying to change things we can’t change, i.e., accepting things and moving forward vs. spending time crying over what employees may consider “wasted” work or time.  But most importantly, “dancing to what is” means “making the most of whatever situation you find yourself in”.  You wish you were in Paris, but find yourself in a much more modest location.  Make new friends, visit the local ketchup museum, and learn what makes that area special.  There is fun and learning to be had in almost all situations if you are open to them.

As I look to establish my own marketing, communications, and research firm after 30 years employed in the financial, healthcare, market research, and higher education industries, and to launch successful marketing and communications activities for clients, the foundation to my approach will be recommending strategies and tactics that “dance to what is”.  I believe any strategy and tactics selected should be founded on research, i.e.,  on an understanding of what is really going on;  in other words founded on “what is”.  For example, are sales off because of pricing, quality, poor service, or undesirable product or program features?  Are the wrong prospective customers being targeted?  Are the wrong media being used to reach those target audiences?

Saying “it is what is” has an air of resignation to it, but “dancing to what is” means enjoying and celebrating as you really pay attention to the music that is being played.