Thursday, February 19, 2015

Are you reading Guy? Three business books to read now.

Are you reading Guy Kawasaki right now? If you're not, you're missing out. I read a lot, and it's not often that I find a book that I have to stop every page or two and take action, but this is one of those. If you get it on Kindle, it's even better because then you can follow all the links provided (and when I say all the links, there are up to 10 on some pages). For me, this hasn't been a quick read, but I swear there's a takeaway every page or so worth noting.

Some of the top tips I've found so far are in the directories and the need for personalization of your blog and Twitter feed. The feeds are helpful keeping a pulse on the news, and the Google tips are great if you're more of a Google person. That's just in the first chapter!

As I said, I read a lot, but there were two other books that had an impact recently. They were both personal/professional, but highly beneficial on all fronts.

The first is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I sent a copy to several people I know, made my husband read it, and even orchestrated the purchase for some of our customers. What I love about this book is that he combines so much of the wisdom against a 24/7 worklife and the idea that we have to be all things to all people. Really, you can only do one thing well, so do that better than anyone else. This book is all about focus, and it is reminiscent of Stephen Covey, who is one of my favorite authors of all time. (Best book? Seven Habits of Highly Successful Families. His wife is amazing as well.)

The second is The Alliance by Reid Hoffman. We were just speaking today on how to manage employees, and the old models are truly not working anymore, especially on Millennials and remote workforces. This book allows employers to recapture the energy they themselves had when starting out and harness it in their people. Even if you're not in HR, it's a great read because it makes you think of where you are in your employee lifecycle and if it's where you want to be.

Happy reading! I'd love to know what your favorite book was in the past 18 months.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Normally I'd be blogging, but my infobesity got in the way

For the past two hours, I've been completely drawn into the black hole of analytics for marketing, and it's been amazing! I have to admit, my fascination with analytics is probably best described by a word I first heard from +William Tincup today: infobesity.

So, where have I been on my black hole journey? I've visited...

So, I'm going to indulge my infobesity for a bit more. As G.I. Joe used to say, "Knowing is half the battle". And, now that I have better insight for my clients, I can leverage that for better results.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Do you realize what you've got?

If you can write a blog post without revising at least 60 times (and it's more than a paragraph), you're unlike most people.

If you can stand in front of people and speak in a compelling way, you're unlike most people. 

If you can calmly teach and engage a room full of preschoolers, you're unlike most people. 

If you can fix a sink, you're unlike most people. 

If you can bake your own cookies, you're unlike most people. 

Chances are, there are ways in which you're unlike most people. But, do you realize what you've got? And are you using those unique gifts and talents to their full potential, or do you simply assume that everyone else functions like you do? 

You are unlike most people, and that's a really good thing. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Inspiration or paralysis by analysis--where does your marketing fall?

Image: The Huffington Post
This evening started with a great post by Bret Starr, the CEO of The Starr Conspiracy and one of the people who got me started in B2B marketing. His post reveals the why behind what he does--the passion for the business. When you work with Bret, you can see that same passion.

But, when you think about most B2B sites or white papers (the name itself should give this away), there's little emotion, only facts. Part of that is because we assume that buyers are engaging in the sales process because they have to solve a business problem or that they have to justify the purchase, and the other part is because frankly, most of the products in a B2B transaction are quite complex and it is challenging enough dealing with the facts. But, this is where we stumble.

The Harvard Business Review published "When to Sell with Facts and Figures, and When to Appeal to Emotions." In the article, all the examples are B2C, but the focus is the complex sale--and, that we tend to puzzle through the more complex sale with our emotions first. They lead. And, when is a sale more complex than in B2B?

Marketers, the really good ones, know the emotional reasons why the customer buys their product because they know the case studies--they have heard it from the customers themselves. And yet, they often fail to lead with this emotion because it is difficult to quantify, it isn't universal, it doesn't speak to all the benefits of the product, etc.

After hearing from Bret tonight, followed by the HBR, it makes me want to yell from the rooftops. The reason why I work for the company that I do, KRESS, is because I believe in what they do, They are protecting people every day, And, they are some of the most ethical people I know, working harder for their customers than most. I admire my co-workers and my boss, and anyone who chooses to work with KRESS has made an amazing decision they will not regret. I felt this way when I worked for the Starr Conspiracy as well.

Marketers, tell your stories and the stories of the brand. Companies can be inspiring, especially in B2B. I can't wait to hear what you all have to say.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

PicMonkey and the art director in all of us

I love PicMonkey.

For years, I watched graphic designers play in the magical sandbox of Illustrator, doing precisely what they wanted to images, picking exactly the right CMYK color and making art. Now, I dabbled in Illustrator, and I can do some basic things, but the cost of the program made it prohibitive to bring home and experiment with to go beyond the basics.

Enter PicMonkey.

Now, I can illustrate text or basic images to my heart's content. But, there's a problem. I am not an art director. Even with PicMonkey, I am not an art director.

So, what's a content writer to do?

When I was working at agencies, there were the inevitable art director who was forbidden from speaking with clients (and even sending emails) because client interaction was not his or her forte. But, the art directors who rose above, who led the creative element of the company, always managed to find a voice. How? It was hard, but they realized that what they had to say, their ideas and their vision of the concept in art, was so necessary to the clients that they built the skill set to come into the room. True, they always had a unique style, and it was always clear who the art director was, but he was the one person who stopped the noise when he spoke.

So, what does this leave me with? Maybe art direction isn't my perfect match, but the content writer and the marketer in me gets the message. I see what the client needs to feel and experience when he or she is interacting with the piece. So, in that way, I am leaning in the right direction.

While PicMonkey doesn't make everyone an art director, in the same way that Word didn't make everyone a writer, it is a great tool as long as you don't get lost in the pretty and remember what you have to say.