I realize that this blog has been a bit quiet lately. I also recognize that one of the last posts I wrote – a post dated a little over two months ago – referenced my search for a new job. I am happy to report that the fact that I have been in a new role as a digital marketing strategist has contributed to the relative silence of this blog.
I have been in my new role for a month. I am enjoying learning a lot of new things about my new company, my colleagues and the ways I can contribute. I am excited about going to work every day, and I look forward to what is to come. Even with this new employer, the thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog remain my own.
Thanks, again, to everyone who helped me during my job search.
What do you see when you think “entrepreneur”? You probably don’t think of that friend who has worked for the same huge corporation for years. You probably don’t think of that friendly checker at the local grocery store. But, why not?
Entrepreneurs can be found anywhere. Not all of us can exercise our entrepreneurial spirit when and where we might like. Maybe it’s due to a lack of funding. Maybe the right big idea hasn’t hit us just yet. Maybe we’re working out our strategy before we go all in.
Whatever the case might be, there are things we can do to keep our inner entrepreneur on its toes.
- Read – I read a lot of business books and non-fiction, but great ideas can come from anywhere. Reading, whether it be fiction or the top of the list, everyone’s talking about it business book can inspire new thoughts or that next great idea.
- Blog – Blogging (or really any type of writing) can help us think more clearly, it can help us develop ideas. Of course, blogging can also be a great way to get feedback that will prompt us to think in different ways.
- Think Big – The power of limitless brainstorming can be huge. We never know when that seemingly out of reach idea can really be just what the market place needs. Even if our initial ideas are a bit too grandiose, it’s always possible that they will lead to something more realistic and attainable as the ideation continues.
- Network – Build relationships. Talk with people. You might meet someone who has a problem you can solve. You might meet someone who would be willing to support that idea you have. You might meet someone who has a different skill set from you – one that they could use to help you make your dream a reality. You’ll never know, if you don’t make new connections.
- Get Serious – There comes a time when you have to give your idea a go. It helps to have a solid plan and a good strategy, but eventually it’s time to make things happen.
What do you think? What’s most important in keeping the entrepreneurial juices flowing?
Photo credit: Vermin Inc
I am learning first-hand what far too many people know – it’s not an easy thing to lose your job. Despite my disappointment when I learned on Tuesday that my job was being eliminated (effective immediately), I had to do something. So, I did about the only thing I could do. I started reaching out to individuals in my network. I started seeking opportunities for which I am qualified. I started getting some leads. I started applying or sending resumes for some of those opportunities. But, all of these efforts are still a work in progress.
That is why I am writing this post and sharing my search a bit more publicly. I am looking for a new position in which I can leverage my marketing communications skills. I am confident that there is a great new opportunity out there — one where I can help an organization that has a need – I just need to find it.
A few of my interests are in digital marketing or digital content strategy positions, in using my project management experience in an account executive role, in strategic marketing communications roles, or in general marketing roles. I am all ears, if you know of anything in these areas, or even something more loosely related that would allow me to leverage my skills.
Please feel free to take a look at my LinkedIn profile for a more detailed picture of my background. You can always reach me by tweet, by sending a LinkedIn message or by that handy dandy “Contact Me” form (Admittedly, it’s a bit of a nuisance, but I’m not a fan of spam. I’m happy to share my email address with real people who contact me via Twitter or LinkedIn).
Thank you! I hope to be reporting soon that I have a new position.
Just imagine, you’re recently engaged and you have just walked into a bridal show in a huge convention center room lined with aisles upon aisles of vendors. You have done little planning to date – all you really know is that you’re going to be getting married, you’re about 12 months out from the wedding, and you have a few potential venues in mind. Your two main goals at the show are to get some ideas and dodge the Bridezillas.
(Bear with me as the bridal show scenario continues, I’m going somewhere with this…)
As you enter the show, you quickly assess the vendors nearest the door with the briefest of glances so as not to be lured in by their strong sales pitches. You look for the one vendor you know, needing some starting point in all this craziness. After a brief conversation with that one familiar vendor, you venture out to see what else the show has to offer.
After exchanging brief smiles with a few of the more easy-going vendors…POUNCE!
“Let’s get you signed up for our deal? Rent five tuxes and you’ll get one free.”
Does this salesman know whether you are completely overwhelmed by the show and just trying to find your way around? NO
Does the salesman know whether your wedding is 14 days away, 14 months away or if the date hasn’t been set yet? NO
Does the salesman have any idea how many men will be in the wedding party? NO
Sure, this vendor may have had a few bites on its deal, but I’m guessing they had more people rapidly walking by trying to avert their eyes, for fear of being pounced on.
When you’re trying to sell your wares, strive to first understand the customer.
It would certainly help to know when my wedding is – If I don’t have my tuxes arranged at 14 days out, I probably have some more significant problems with organization. If I’m 14 months away, tuxes are probably one of the last things on my mind.
As a vendor, wouldn’t it pay off to differentiate your company from others selling the same product? Wouldn’t it help to better understand your customer’s needs, so you know how and when it will be appropriate to pitch the sale?
To that unsuspecting recently engaged couple, it could be far more effective to start with: “Do you know what you might be looking for in a tux?” or “Can I show you some of our most popular tuxes?” Further down the line, that offer of a free rental might come in handy, but first, you need to understand the customer.
What strategies do you use for better understanding the needs of you customers and clients? What would you recommend?
I’m a vegetarian, have been for about 15 years. I don’t eat like this for religious reasons or for health reasons. I do it because I don’t like the taste and texture of meat. Even as a small child, I didn’t eat much meat. There’s something about it that my body doesn’t handle well.
The reason I tell you this is not because I think you care about my dietary preferences (unless you’re offering to bring me lunch some day). I bring this up because I think there’s a lesson here that relates to word of mouth marketing.
I’ve always had people questioning me about why I don’t eat meat and imploring me to try “just one bite”. It seems like, over the past year, these questions and pleas have been as intense as they have ever been. I have to admit that sustained efforts by my family and boyfriend have led to me trying “just one bite” on a few occasions. But, I definitely won’t be abandoning my meat-less ways to order a steak anytime soon!
The circumstances leading up to my meat nibbles do offer a few lessons for marketers hoping for employees, clients or consumers to contribute to word of mouth efforts.
- Easy access. My tastes of meat have not come with out the food being right in front of me (often pushed toward me). Just as I’m not going to go out of my way to try something I don’t really want to eat, most people aren’t going to seek out information to share about your company or initiative. They’ll share it if it’s easily accessible (and easily shareable) to them. Get it in front of them.
- Bite-sized pieces. My meat consumption has not come in meal-sized portions, but in very tiny bites. Similarly, people want to share things that are easily consumable, easily digestible. Shareable information is in chunks that is easy to stick in a tweet, in a Facebook status update or easy to send an email with a “Hey, check this out”. Shareable information is easy to understand and interesting.
- Ask. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking someone to try something or asking them to share the information you want to get out there. I never would have eaten meat without someone else asking me to.
- It doesn’t hurt to offer an incentive. While people who are willing to get the word out there for you don’t usually expect a reward, offering one can be extra incentive or a nice “thank you’ gesture. These incentives don’t have to be huge. For me, the incentive in taking a bite was getting people to (temporarily, at least) quit pushing me to try “just one bite”.
What other principles do you find foster strong word of mouth efforts?
Photo credit: Martin Cathrae
Let’s get this out in the open at the beginning – yes, it has been seven months since I have posted on this blog. Yes, there were times during that period when I thought I should post (we all know that consistency is the key to a successful blog, even if I do blog as much for myself as for anyone). But, I am okay with the fact that it has been that long. Things ebb and flow in life, and there are often things to which we want to give more attention than our online presence. Things like the people we love and the job that supports us.
That being said, I like writing, thinking and strategizing and the medium that this blog gives me to do that. This will never be the most frequently posted to blog in the blogsphere or have the highest traffic of any blog out there. That is not the goal or the purpose of this blog. There will, however, be more frequent posts. Marketing, social media and business will still be part of this blog, but you might see other things you haven’t really seen previously. Posts with book or product reviews and other posts that are less business related.
Happy 2011! Stay tuned for what is to come.
As I wrote in my last post, storytelling is a huge part of the way we communicate, but we don’t often consider the stories that impact our own lives and therefore how we tell our stories.
There are plenty of stories that have impacted me and shaped my perspective. Some of them are seemingly small or insignificant. Some of them are personal. But here are a few stories, covered at a national or international level, that have in some way shaped me.
• Persian Gulf War – As a child in the 80s, war was something that I learned about in textbooks or that primarily involved other countries. Albeit brief, the Gulf War was different.
• Hurricane Andrew – About the time I was beginning fifth grade, Hurricane Andrew was slamming into southern Florida. My uncle, aunt and two cousins lived in Miami at the time. They were all safe, but the Hurricane devastated their home and their community. While this event taught me something about natural disasters, it taught me a more powerful lesson in compassion and caring for others. In the aftermath of The Hurricane, the Miami community in which my relatives lived was not a suitable environment for children. There was plenty of work to be done to make their home safely inhabitable. My parents opened our home to my two cousins (ages seven and nine), who, at the time, we rarely saw. My parents enrolled them in our school; made sure they were cared for; and ensured they had food, clothes, and a roof over their heads. Having our two cousins live with us was a new experience for my parents, my brother and me, but it was also one that had a big impact on me.
• Columbine – I remember sitting in my AP English class during my junior year of high school watching the breaking news coverage of the school shootings at Columbine High School. In the weeks following the shootings, I remember all the comparisons that were made between my high school and Columbine High School. The attacks on that April day changed the way we think of safety and security in our schools.
• 9/11 – There’s not much explanation needed on this one. September 11, 2001 changed the lives of many people as well as the way we fly, the way we do business and in some respects, the way we live.
• Michael Jackson’s death – While 9/11 needs no explanation, this one is at the opposite end of the spectrum. This has little to do with my feelings toward Michael Jackson or his music; it has much more to do with how I learned of his death. This was the first major news story I saw break via Twitter. There were other stories I had seen develop on Twitter, but this was this was the first for which Twitter was my initial news source. Twitter has become an increasingly important medium for me since that time – as a news source, a relationship builder and more.
These events are not unique to me – they have affected others, perhaps similarly. These stories aren’t all the most significant events of my lifetime. There are plenty of huge stories that didn’t make this list. But in some way, each of these stories has affected me.
What stories have impacted you? How do they influence your storytelling?
As we prepare to share our stories, we spend time thinking about our audience and our community. We think about what they should know and about how we can make that information accessible and easily digestible for them. We try to think about their life experiences and potential biases, as well as how our message will be interpreted as a result.
An overlooked factor in storytelling?
One thing that isn’t given much attention is what influences how we tell the story – our background – the stories that make up our own lives. Whether it happens on a personal, local, national or international level, if a story or experience affects us, it can also impact how we tell our stories. How much time do we spend thinking about ourselves as we strive to tell a good story? Probably not as much as we spend thinking about our audience.
In order to be good storytellers, we need to be aware of the stories that affect us. We need to understand how they change our perspective and the stories we tell.
What stories have impacted you? How do they influence your storytelling?
My next post will share some stories that have shaped my perspective.
Photo credit: DirectDish