Featured Post

Content marketers aren’t just strategists – but tacticians

blue-313937_1280There is no room for individuals that work purely as strategists in mid to small sized marketing organizations. Everyone must be skilled at something, and strategy itself, I would argue, is not a skill.

Good strategy is nothing without the means or abilities in which to actually implement it.

Your “strategic skill” is overrated if you cannot write, design, curate or create anything worth promoting in the first place as a content marketer.

Content marketers can only master their craft through developing advanced proficiencies in creating a particular type of content. One does not have to claim to be a writer, designer, videographer and developer, but please, pick at least one specialty and stick with it long enough to be experienced in its production.

Here are some skills that I hope will be incorporated into the new found content marketing curriculum starting to turn up at Integrated Marketing Communications programs like Emerson and Northwestern:

  1. Being a “good writer” is not enough – know how to copyedit.

How embarrassing would it be to write a post on your company’s blog and have your grammar be so egregious that no one can suffer through it? Having issues that aren’t caught by spell-check are just as awful. If consumers have less time to read content, why would they want to read your content if it is awkwardly written? Take a few courses in copyediting before you show up to the job.

  1. Project follow through – get stuff done.

Project management is a serious skill, especially in the hustle and bustle of any company’s campaign. Content marketers are great for coming up with ideas, but not finishing. As sometimes is the case with creative types, some content marketers lack organization. However, one’s “right brained-ness” is not an excuse for lack of structure. Use that creativity to solve the problem of organization. Utilize Real-time board, a google doc, outlook’s calendar features or the abundance of other resources at your disposal to stay on schedule.

  1. Scrappiness – be willing to roll up your sleeves.

Too often I’ve heard a strategist say that they can’t assist in this or that initiative because they are best geared towards theorizing and coming up with new ideas. They sound like the bourgeoisie of marketing. Don’t put yourself in this typecast. Prove yourself through being a team player and being willing to help your team with whatever they need. There is no room for wining.

  1. See the big picture – keep the end result in mind.

Creative individuals sometimes get carried away in thinking about the look, feel and design of their latest initiative. Before getting lost in the details of your masterpiece, first understand what impact this work needs to have. What are your objectives? What are your performance indicators? How are you measuring them? How will this piece of content get you to your end goal?

What are you thankful for?

Watch MultiView’s Good Company – Documenting the entrepreneurial spirit of American Business.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 1.06.31 PMIn today’s stressful, technologically-connected world, it’s often difficult to find time to stop and reflect on the blessing in our lives. And while each of us face challenges every day, there’s so much to be thankful for – our family, our health, our freedom. Life is indeed precious, but you just never know what new, unexpected hand you might be dealt. Just ask the 1 in 10 American soldiers that, according to Veterans Inc., were disabled by injuries sustained in combat. Or talk to someone in the 15 percent of the world’s population that has some form of physical or mental disability and the people who consider themselves blessed to take care of them.

Some of the best entrepreneurial stories come out of unexpected challenges that life has dealt. Be Adaptive Equipment in Columbia City, Ind., is one such company. The mission behind their products is to help physically-challenged outdoorsmen enjoy the activities they love, such as hunting, shooting, fishing, archery and riding ATVs. The physical and emotional impact this company has on so many people can be seen in the second episode of “Good Company,” a documentary giving viewers a first-hand look into some of the most unique businesses in America.

The idea behind Be Adaptive Equipment began with a simple gesture by owner Brian Kyler. After a friend sustained severe injuries from a motorcycle accident that left him as a quadriplegic, Kyler used his background as a fourth generation fabricator and welder to find ways for his friend to regain the ability to participate in outdoor activities he loved. As the number of products Kyler was able to create grew, so did the interest – most of which was garnered online – and Be Adaptive Equipment was officially born.

Like most good entrepreneurs, Kyler was able to recognize a problem and find a solution for it. However, it’s not every day that the products of a small family business are able to make such an enormous impact. Whether Be Adaptive products allow people to do something that they’ve never done before, or let them return to their favorite hobbies, the sole purpose of this business is to improve the quality of life for their customers. And with a mission that that powerful, there’s an understandable ripple effect of happiness that reaches the friends and families that are able to watch their loved enjoy their favorite pastimes.

“Be Adaptive isn’t just a good company – they’re a morally good company,” said director Daniel Maitland. “What they are creating and how they are helping people completely transcends profit numbers and monetary figures.”

At MultiView, we’re thankful for the entrepreneurial spirit that drives businesses across America. It’s this sprit that has built this great country – a spirit that we take the time to celebrate every day.

Overcoming your sales fears

 

people-314481_640

Sometimes, the thought of selling strikes one with fear.

What do I say?

What if I mess up?

Am I the right person for this?

They don’t think they have any experience.

Clearly, this person is in denial.

Keep in mind, most people probably sell something every single day – whether they realize it or not. How did they convince their friend to try a new idea? Get their parents to do x, y and z? Didn’t one have to ‘sell’ themselves to get a job?

We are all sales people to a certain extent, and one don’t necessarily have to work on the sales floor to know how to communicate and persuade.

Here are some pointers for getting over sales fears.

  1. It’s all about the attitude.

One can’t always control what happens in life, however they can control how they respond. Attitude is 90 percent of how one copes with the universe’s hurdles. If one has a winning attitude, success will be just around the corner. Have confidence – believe you can and you will.

  1. Sales is a discussion before it is a sale.

Every time a person meets with someone, they are having a conversation. An individual may have hundreds of different conversations every day, ranging from in-person encounters, to IM conversations or chats over the phone. The only difference is that in sales one has a conversation with the goal of listening more attentively and helping someone resolve their business issues.

  1. Every stumble is a step on the stairway to success.

Barbara Corcoran on Shark Tank once described the difference between the people who are successful in sales and those who aren’t on an interview. Those that succeed brush themselves off and get back up on their feet right after every fall. They don’t spend time brooding over failure, as they are too busy chasing after success.

Striking similarities: millennials and baby boomers

This article is in response to the Huffington Post’s Who Will Win Out Between the Millennials and Boomers

What if marketers sought strategies that leveraged what millennials and baby boomers had in common rather than pitting one against the other?

marketing to millennialsSocial media, news sites, TV and many other media outlets are rife with conversation about marketing to millennials: how they differ from the generations before them, what and why they buy, and how they buy differently.

The New York Times highlights that the millennial population is now slightly larger than the baby boomer population – consisting of 26 percent of the total U.S. population as opposed to 24 percent.

Given the wide circulation of articles like NPR’s Why You Should Start Taking Millennials Seriously and all of the hype surrounding the younger generation it could falsely appear that the millennials are all that matter to advertisers.

Something to keep in mind is that the baby boomers are going to be here for a while – and still dominate America’s purse strings.

According to Bloomberg the baby boomers still outpace millennials in consumption – spending $3 trillion in the U.S. alone compared to the millennial’s $600 million, dominating 70 percent of disposable income. With the federal government predicting people to live well into their 80’s and Americans retiring later than ever, the marketing community as a whole can’t afford forget this audience.

Sure, some products and services are most definitely geared towards younger audiences, but we have noted that the dividing line between the “millennial mindset” and the baby boomer is not as thick as it seems.

Boomers are echoing their younger cohorts and millennials are influenced by older boomers. Advertisers should take note of their similarities rather than just their differences.

Older populations are heavy consumers of online media, too.

According to the Pew Research Center, at least 65 percent of baby boomers aged 50-64 use Facebook. Google’s Reaching Today’s Boomers & Seniors Online suggests that the majority check their profiles daily.

Google’s study shows that the population is an active participant on social media – with more than half engaging their community at large through video, following/joining groups or supporting causes.

Additionally, boomers are device agnostic like millennials – utilizing multiple screens at once, i.e. texting, posting and/or watching TV at the same time. Thus, opening the door to compelling mobile programmatic opportunities.

Conversely, millennials are more like the older generations than marketers may think.

Every younger generation is described as being radically different from its predecessors as one witnesses ‘shocking’ expressions of youth – like Elvis’s notorious hip-gyrating on national TV in 56’ (gasp).

However, some of these generational differences may be more perception than actuality.

For example a study referenced by Millennial CEO reveals that, like baby boomers, millennials are also heavily swayed by the input of their family and friends when choosing a product.

MediaPost reveals that 72 percent of surveyed younger millennials (18-25) stated that they are loyal to all or many of the brands that their parents use. 56 percent of older millennials reflected this same loyalty to their parent’s selections.

Furthermore, according to Accenture, both millennials and baby boomers are notoriously frugal – bargain hunting and showrooming to locate the best deals they can possibly find.

Could it be that the so-called “millennial” mindset isn’t strictly defined to millennials at all, but more a product of life in today’s recession-wary, increasingly digital society?

Marketers may have a lot to gain in recognizing these similarities and marketing to millennials and baby boomers in tandem.

6 tips for handling difficult clients

By Mariama Holman and Kate Buhr

At one point or another, everyone runs into a challenging client. They are rude, demanding, curt, and maybe even curse over the phone.

Here are a few quick tips for turning those sour lemons into lemonade.

  • Don’t take it personally.

Oftentimes, when a client is upset, it’s not you at all. It’s actually them. Their life might have taken an unfortunate turn for the worst. Perhaps they’ve had one of “those days” – their car broke down on the way to work. They spilled coffee all over their dress. They were late dropping off the kids at school.

Sometimes a customer service representative is just the trash can for the clients’ emotional issues. Realize that the client is just struggling to manage the challenges in their life. Handle the situation with empathy rather than picking up an attitude yourself. Always be aware of your tone of voice, as clients’ tones will often reflect what they hear over the phone.

  • Patience isn’t just a virtue.

Patience is not an ethereal quality relegated to Mother Theresa-esque characters. It is an action to be put into practice every day, every moment. Before becoming irate at the client or the situation, recall all of the grace and patience you might have received in life. Remember the mischievous little things your caretakers had to endure from your childhood? Or the perpetual bad-attitude you rocked as a teenager? Someone was patient with you and now it’s your turn. Retribution.

The first step to patience is actually tuning out emotions and tuning into what the client is saying. Clients want to know that their complaints are heard and acknowledged. They appreciate good listening. If you take the time to actually practice active, empathetic listening, they will be more inclined to give you the same courtesy. Clients will respect you if they feel that you are not the enemy, but a partner who understands their point of view.

  • Change your mental filter.

This chorus sung by Ella Fitzgerald that describes the response perfectly:

“You have to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative…latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with mister in-between…” The chorus begins at 1:10 in the video below. 

Look at the good, not the bad of the situation. By drawing attention to the positive, it not only helps you cope with a tense moment but eases other’s frustrations as well. Hum, chant and whistle Accentuate The Positive to keep a clear head in the midst of conflict.

  • Suggest a (good) solution.

Clients are not just calling to complain – they want results. They want a solution to their problem. Be the clients’ problem-solver. This is always the best course of action and the clients will definitely appreciate a solid fix. Do not be afraid to be creative and think outside of the box. Utilize any opportunity that will benefit them and their businesses. Just make sure the solution is timely, efficient, and of course, actually resolves the problem.

  • Keep it candid and carry on.

Sometimes clients are completely disrespectful – yelling, cursing and insulting. The best way to handle this situation and get the client to actually listen is to be honest. One can be candid without being rude or raising their voice. Confidence is important, as it reflects how the client will respond to you. If one portrays themselves as having low to no-self esteem they will never gain the client’s respect.

  • Kill them with kindness.

Unfortunately this saying is not practiced as often as it is heard. Even when a client is flipping tables in rage, treating them with respect, civility and tact will always pay off.

See Previous M Blogs Posts

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,434 other followers