Day 25 – Social Media Plan – Personal

November 5, 2010

Define how social media can help me to blend the personal and professional facets of my life.

A couple of decades ago, workers were encouraged to compartmentalize their lives. “Don’t bring your work home,” admonished spouses of workaholics. Meanwhile at the office, supervisors would counsel employees, “Keep your personal life separate from your work.”

Today, things are different. We live and work in a 2.0 world where our personal and professional lives are inevitably blurred. It’s now impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.

I’m okay with not having a clear line of demarcation between who I am as a person and what I do to earn a living. There are key advantages to not having to role play and to compartmentalize the various dimensions of my life. I’m at ease living in a 2.0 era that demands transparency because I can always be my authentic self. I can live and work comfortably “in my own skin” without trying to pretend to be something I’m not.

The social media revolution invites us to live with greater integrity—with transparency, authenticity and openess.

On a personal level, I will continue to be authentic and purposeful as I connect with others using the various social media platforms at my disposal.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Manifesto for Marketing Success

August 18, 2010

Marketing is not as complicated as some want you to think. Good marketing is based upon common sense, though such sense is uncommon.

With a commitment to successful marketing, I invite you to join me in believing  that:

  1. Marketing will flounder when not in pursuit of a measurable goal.
  2. If a product, service or even a person cannot be differentiated, it cannot be marketed.
  3. Marketing will fail unless strategy drives tactics, not vice versa.
  4. Marketing must be based upon the concept of exchanges. Without a quid-pro-quo exchange, we will never have a solid marketing program.
  5. Value can be defined only by the customer, not by the company producing the product or service. (Nonprofit organizations especially have trouble with this.)
  6. The social media revolution is the best thing to happen to marketing in a long, long time, even though the tools for achieving marketing success have forever changed.
  7. Old-school marketers who try to control the message will become increasingly frustrated, disoriented and ultimately obsolete.
  8. You are still functioning in a 1.0 world—even if you’re using 2.0 tools—when you are not creating community and engaging people in conversations.
  9. If we aim our message at no one in particular, we shouldn’t be surprised if no one in particular responds.
  10. Communications comes at the end of the marketing process, not at the beginning.

 


What We Have Here Is a Failure to Converse

February 24, 2010

Perhaps I was wrong. In this new 2.0 era, I thought communications was all about having conversations.

Conversations require interaction where people talk and listen. Maybe I’m missing something, but I observe a lot more talking than listening. It seems everyone has something to say and everyone is clamoring to be heard. To me, it looks like the talkers far outnumber the listeners.

Was I mistaken to assume that things would be different with the arrival of the social media revolution? Am I naive in thinking that people would connect with each other because 1) they were genuinely interested in what others had to say and 2) they actually had something of value to share?

As we interact, as we share information, we connect with each other. Social media give us the tools to connect and converse. Sometimes during our conversations we’ll encounter negative or inaccurate information. Does that mean we should immediately end the conversation? Should we refuse to talk because the conversation may be a little awkward or uncomfortable? Absolutely not! Read the rest of this entry »


What Is 2.0? A New Era Defined

February 17, 2010

We hear a lot of people talking about the 2.0 world we live in. Marketers refer to social media tools as Web 2.0. The titles of business books increasingly contain that magical number—2.0.

But what does “2.0” mean? How are things different now than they were before? What has changed?

For starters, let’s agree that the social media revolution has created an entirely new landscape—a 2.0 world. The changes are so profound that those who do not understand it will soon find themselves on the sidelines, confused and perhaps even angry that the world has passed them by.

The social media revolution is really not that confusing. The more we understand and embrace the changes, the more powerful social media will become. Here is my brief comparison of the differences I see between a 1.0 and a 2.0 world:

Let’s look at the nuances between the two. Read the rest of this entry »


How to Think Strategically in a 2.0 World

February 10, 2010

I believe the social media revolution may be the greatest advance in communications since Gutenberg invented movable type.

A critical mass of people has joined the revolution. Their enthusiasm has prompted them to talk about their “social media strategy.”

There is nothing strategic, though, about either movable type or social media. Both are tools—means to an end. They are inventions that help people communicate quicker and better.

At first, I loved the phrase “social media strategy” because my mantra has always been strategy before tactics.

I’ve often criticized people who act before they think. I have little patience for people who try to communicate without first asking themselves some very basic questions.

Non-strategic communicators don’t really communicate. They just make noise. They write news releases without knowing why. They produce brochures without having a target audience in mind. They bore us with PowerPoint presentations because they have not given thought to what they want us to do with the heap of meaningless, irrelevant information they’ve just dumped on us.

Just because we’ve moved into a 2.0 world doesn’t mean things have changed much. The proliferation of noise continues. People tweet without having a clue who they’re talking to. Too many bloggers ramble on without thinking things through.  Nonprofits create Facebook fan pages with no real understanding of why. We live in a world where too many tactics are not tied to a strategy, so the clutter and confusion accumulates. Read the rest of this entry »


How Does Marketing Do It?

November 12, 2009

The mission of my marketing department, as described in a previous post, is to 1) build interactive relationships, 2) increase community support and 3) generate revenue. How do we actually do that?

My marketing team here at the American Red Cross accomplishes its work in these three steps: Read the rest of this entry »


Why Do We Need a Marketing Department?

November 10, 2009

As a marketing professional, I often ask myself why my organization needs marketing. Why does my marketing department exist? What impact do we really have?

Sometimes I think it would be fun to remake the classic movie A Wonderful Life so we could see what the world would look like had we never come into existence. What would the company look like if marketing never appeared on the organization chart? What would be lost if my marketing group “went out of business?”

Read the rest of this entry »


10 Marketing Tips for an Effective Job Search

September 1, 2009

In these tough economic times, I know too many good people who are between jobs. It’s a noisy, competitive job market and as I observe the chaos, two things become apparent:

  1. Too many people are clamoring for the same few jobs.
  2. Only a small minority of those people are doing a good job of marketing themselves.

Having been in a job search myself, I feel great empathy for job seekers. From my personal experience, I’ve learned more about career transitions than I ever cared to know. Therefore, I’m often asked to network with job seekers to help them brainstorm strategies for a job search.

I’m always willing to share what I’ve learned if it can help someone else along the path. Most of my advice, though, can be summarized in the following 10 items:

  1. Think of yourself as a “product” to be marketed in a noisy, competitive marketplace.
  2. Have a personal marketing plan.
  3. Differentiate yourself. I can’t stress this enough. Be memorable. Be unique.
  4. Be findable. Create a large digital footprint by using sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Profiles.
  5. Know who you are. Develop an effective “elevator speech” or “30-second commercial.”
  6. Know where you are you going. Describe your destination so others can visualize you once you’ve reached your destination.
  7. Let people know how they can help. Be specific. Generalities usually do not generate the desired results.
  8. Use stories to describe your achievements.
  9. Talk about the benefits you offer, not the features described in your resume.
  10. Believe in yourself (or no one else will).

Okay, I’ve shared lessons I learned along the pathway, and I’d like to hear from someone who has navigated a career transition. If you’ve successfully emerged from a job search, what did you learn? What worked for you? What advice would you share?

On the other hand, if you have recently hired someone, what additional wisdom would you share with a job seeker?


Why the Red Cross Launched a Facebook Page

August 27, 2009

In my opinion, too many nonprofit organizations have Facebook fan pages.

They were probably created because 1) everyone else was doing it 2) the technology was available or 3) someone with influence told them they needed to be on Facebook. The problem is they don’t know why they have a Facebook page.

At the American Red Cross of Greater Kansas City, we decided not to launch a Facebook page until we could tie it to our strategy. As marketing director, I did not want to naively launch a traditional 1.0 tactic using a new 2.0 tool. Though I’m a huge proponent of the social media revolution, I wanted to understand how a Facebook page would fit into the smorgasbord of all the communication tools available.

We had just redesigned our Web site (kcredcross.org) and I wanted our Facebook page to be complementary rather than redundant. Our Web site would continue to serve as a useful reference in the 1.0 world of broadcasting or pushing information, whereas our social media activities would hopefully spawn interaction, provoke conversation and ultimately engage members of our 2.0 community.

The strategy came into focus as I re-read Seth Godin’s book Tribes. The Red Cross Facebook page could become the place where our “tribe” would gather to share information and rally around a common cause. Read the rest of this entry »


10 Things I’ve Discovered about Marketing

August 20, 2009

Having earned a master’s degree in marketing, I feel confident in asserting that marketing is not really all that complicated.

When I taught marketing at a local university, the CEO of a major company invited me to speak at the planning retreat of his regional managers. He sheepishly asked, “Can you condense into 15 minutes everything you teach in a 16-week class?” Tongue-in-cheek, I replied, “Actually, I only have 15 minutes of marketing knowledge. The hard part is stretching that over an entire semester.”

In more than 20 years of working on projects and coaching others as they engaged in their own marketing endeavors, I have learned the following 10 things about marketing:

  1. Marketing is based upon common sense, though such sense is uncommon.
  2. The social media revolution is the best thing to happen to marketing in a long, long time—even though the rules for marketing success are forever changed.
  3. Old-school marketers who try to tightly control the message will become increasingly frustrated, disoriented and ultimately obsolete.
  4. If you’re not creating community and engaging people in conversations, then you’re still living in a 1.0 world—even if you are using 2.0 tools and technology.
  5. Communications comes at the end of the marketing process, not at the beginning.
  6. If you aim your message at no one in particular, don’t be surprised if no one in particular responds.
  7. Marketing will always flounder when not in pursuit of a measurable goal.
  8. If a product, service or person cannot be differentiated, it cannot be marketed.
  9. Without a quid-pro-quo exchange, you’ll never have a solid marketing program. After all, marketing is the exchange of something of value for something you need.
  10. Value can be defined only by the customer, not the company producing the product or service. (Nonprofit organizations especially have trouble with this.)

From your experience, what additional observations can you share? Can you elaborate on any of these axioms? Do you disagree with any of them?


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