Acceptance of Circumstances, integrated marketing, keeping up with trends, Objectives Setting, online advertising, social media, staying current, Target Marketing, traditional marketing, Uncategorized, Understanding Your Environment

Happy (I think?) 25th Anniversary to the Internet!

As with all national days and unique holidays celebrated via social media, I’m going to take the news that “today marks the 25th anniversary of general public access to the internet” with a grain of salt; however, it’s fitting that I learned of it via Twitter.

I didn’t grow up as a “digital” marketeer. I’m proud and glad to date myself. I broke my marketing teeth in the world of traditional advertising and public relations. Think “Mad Men” vs. Mark Zuckerberg. While my very first marketing-related position was at a national market research supplier, Market Facts, where I oversaw or was involved in conducting primary research for large consumer brands like Stop & Shop and Gillette, all subsequent positions have been more marcom (marketing and communications)  focused.

My earliest marcom roles were at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MA and Bay State Federal Bank — back in the early 1990’s through early 2000’s — when companies were just dipping their toes in the promised power of the internet. Companies felt compelled to launch and maintain Web sites and set up e-mail addresses at which they could be contacted, but I don’t believe marketing professionals, or any professionals for that matter, appreciated then the extensive impact the internet would have on traditional marketing, the role of a marketeer, or life, in general, as we knew it.

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I have to digress and take my fellow marketeers down memory lane for just one minute. Remember the days when advertising options consisted only of print, radio, network T.V., and vehicles like billboard and transit? And the days of needing to mail camera-ready ads aka slicks to media for publication? Yes, those days when e-mail blasts, social media influencers, pay-per-click and banner ads, and vlogging and blogging didn’t exist?

I’m guessing the majority of my readers will agree that there are pro’s and con’s to a world ruled by the internet. Below are what I believe to be the most critical impacts of the introduction of the “World-wide Web” (for those who don’t remember or know that’s the origin of “www.”). Given my profession, I focused on those that affect marketeers, but obviously, there’s been immeasurable impact on the day-to-day lives of all human beings.

Pros

  • It’s easy to find like-minded people or individuals facing similar challenges or opportunities, and to hold a conversation with them.
  • The opportunities to target individuals who enjoy certain hobbies and interests, belong to certain demographic groups, and/or who serve in particular business roles seem endless and are abundant.
  • Smaller organizations without deep marketing pockets can play the advertising game as well as, and sometimes even better, than larger advertisers via integrated online campaigns that are much less costly to execute and run (partly because of low or no production costs associated with online ads vs. the higher production costs often associated with print or broadcast advertising).
  • You can use the internet to research or locate just about anything or anybody.

Cons

  • Advertising $ have become quite diluted. The size of average marketing budgets has held steady and marketing monies now need to be spread across numerous media since target audiences are no longer listening to a limited number of radio or TV stations or reading a limited number of print publications. Per my Getting More Bang For Your Marketing Buck post, this means an advertiser’s marketing spend may not be as impactful, making it harder to achieve wished-for awareness or sales objectives associated with an ad campaign.
  • Marketeers may be pressured by external and internal clients to put the bulk of their time, energy, or budgets into online advertising and communications, such as social media or pay-per-click ads, when that may not be the most-effective vehicle for reaching a client’s business-to-business or business-to-consumer targets.
  • Maintaining an online presence on social media, blogs, vlogs, etc. is time-consuming, and marketing staffs may not be large enough to support the appropriate time expenditure on both traditional and digital marcom activities.
  • It’s become almost impossible for public relations (PR) professionals to know who and how to outreach to regarding covering certain topics and stories. Some publications employ different staff to handle their online vs. print communications and won’t share e-mail contact information. Instead, they encourage you to communicate with staff online. This evokes another “con”– it’s hard to have a private conversation these days as some social media users and bloggers don’t offer the capability for you to e-mail or message them, thereby forcing you to share your message with both them and the rest of the world.

What’s the key takeaway? As you set budgets, develop marketing plans, and hire staff for your next fiscal year, give a lot of hard thought to the target audiences for your products and services — not only where do your target audiences hang out, physically and virtually, but when and how do they best like to be communicated with? For example, they may be hanging out on LinkedIn because they’re conducting a job search or trying to do business development there, so that may not be the best time and place to bombard them with an ad about your business services. You and they might be better served by a more traditional marketing activity — a direct mail piece delivered to your targets’ physical office mailbox.

I’m always available to discuss any and all of the above and look forward to your thoughts. Depending on your feelings regarding the internet, take this 25-year celebration as motive to post and tweet away, or to take a walk outside and say “hello” to your neighbor in-person.

 

 

Acceptance of Circumstances, Enjoying What You Do, keeping a balance, making time for things you value, marketing consultant, Passion

Attitude Truly Is Everything

While you’ve all heard my blog post heading said and written numerous times in numerous ways, I think it’s a message that bears regular repeating. It’s a timeless message relevant to everyone in every situation and in every century — your attitude can and will make or break you.

I was reminded of this late last week when a friend told me that as part of consideration for a newly created position — one that would initially require a lot of mundane, repetitive work, but that was expected to grow to a much more diverse, and challenging one — she had to submit her favorite quote. She submitted the following: “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind” – Author Unknown. A perfect quote for my “Keep Up the Fight” page.

I do believe if you go into any situation — whether it be business-, social-, family-, or health-related focusing on the good — and if the good is not easily identifiable, hunting for it, you are more likely to be both successful and happy. I speak from experience as someone who has dealt with serious illness that if you look and give thanks for whatever silver lining you can related to the situation, such as the ability to help others dealing with the same illness, a greater appreciation of the simple things in life, the forcing of one to have more life balance, etc., you will fare better mentally and physically.

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The same holds true for any business situation. Thirty years of work experience has taught me that a positive attitude is infectious. If you are proposing or beginning a project with a strong belief that it will have positive outcomes, others will believe and approach the project with the same belief. This is one of the many things I love about being a consultant (and a leader, in general), and where I think consultants, regardless of their field of expertise, can really help. We aren’t battle-weary from internal and external politics and other challenges impacting a particular department or organization.

Consultants are like fresh troops who come into a situation with brand new ideas and eyes that bring renewed enthusiasm and energy to a situation because we believe that we can be effective and help lead individuals and teams of individuals to the best possible outcomes. If we didn’t believe that we wouldn’t do what we do for a living.

Belief that great results can be achieved and no challenge is insurmountable is a powerful thing. I’d love to hear how you’ve seen it work in your lives.

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

Dance to What Is

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-amazing-dance-red-flag-beach-female-dancer-image31641336

“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.