Drew's Marketing Minute header image 1

Entries Tagged as 'Small business'

In marketing the constant is change

May 29th, 2013 · Strategy, Trends

ChangeSwitchYou know, the annoying thing about clichés is that they’re based in truth, even though that truth may be a bit worn in places. And lately I’ve been very aware of the idiom “the only constant is change” as it relates to business and especially to marketing.

Maybe it’s always been this way and our parents and grandparents had to wrestle with constant change too, but it seems to me that the acceleration curve has gotten incredibly steep over the last 15 or 20 years.

For example, when I started my career, computers were certainly a part of the mix but we never showed a client a computer-generated layout. We’d take mock ups that were drawn in pencil and very rough. Today, we upload PDFs to our extranet and they look practically finished before we’ve even begun.

I get it…I’m the first one to espouse the convenience of our new way of doing business. I love that we can work with clients (and partners) from all over the world – digitally sharing files, ideas and collaborating.

So while I long for the showmanship of the old days, I do appreciate what we have today. But sometimes it also makes me a little tired to think about.

Here’s our reality as business people. It’s never done. No matter how successful your business is – it’s in transition. Every day.

There’s a new technology or a new consumer trend right around every corner. And to stay relevant and profitable, there’s no hiding from them.

Today and tomorrow, I am leading a marketing workshop and one of the things we’ll talk about is mobile and how quickly it became a key element in any marketing strategy. I know what I’ll see. While some of them were anticipating this tsunami of a trend, others were either not ready for it or aren’t looking forward to facing it.

So how do we keep up? How do we stay current and able to anticipate what the next change is going to be so we can get a running start?

Read. Do you know that most business leaders don’t read anything more than their local newspaper? Are you kidding me? Turn off the TV and read a book a month. Find the top ten blogs in your field and subscribe to them. Find the most controversial, far out there publication or blog in your industry an subscribe to that too. It’s better to anticipate too much than get blinded by something.

Attend. Trade show and professional development attendance has been dropping since the recession took a big bite out of everyone’s travel budgets. It’s time to put some money back on that line item. You need to go and listen to experts. You need to hang out with peers and share stories and resources.

Teach. One of the best ways to learn is to commit to teach others. Make sure your entire staff is ready for what’s coming. More important, teach them how to recognize the trends and track them, so you don’t have to be the only one doing it. If you know you have to conduct a class, even if it’s an informal one, you’re much more likely to keep sharp.

There are lots of ways to stay current but it all starts with the attitude of recognizing that it’s a part of your job and it’s one of the ways you keep your company relevant and profitable.

In our world…you either keep up or you quickly become irrelevant.  Don’t be the marketing pro who is still spouting off about the latest and greatest — from 5 years ago.  Find a way to stay current and keep your clients/business there too.

Enhanced by Zemanta

→ 2 CommentsTags:······

So you want a career in advertising?

May 21st, 2013 · Agency Life, Employees

Fired businessman searching for a job isolated on white backgrouI was recently contacted by a college student who asked if he could interview me for one of this classes.  One of the questions he asked is one I get a lot, so I thought I’d share my answer with you here.

If you aspire to be in our business — I hope it helps.  If you’re already in the business — what did I miss?

What advice would you give to anyone who was aspiring to enter the field of advertising?

Yikes… there are lots of things to know but here are some of the biggies.

  • You cannot do it alone so surround yourself with really smart, good-hearted people who you can count on.
  • The day you stop learning is the day you begin to become irrelevant. There is always more to learn.
  • Before anyone will give you their business, they need to know you care about them/their company.
  • When you make a mistake (and you will make a ton) be very quick to call attention to it, own it and work like a dog to fix it. And never forget to say I’m sorry.
  • If you help other people whenever you can, when you need help – there will be someone there to offer it.
  • There’s nothing wrong with making money. Don’t be ashamed to charge what you are worth.
  • Owning your own business means that when times are tough, everyone gets paid but you. So be very smart about not overspending your money and build up a nest egg for those tough times.
  • The smartest person in the room is not the one who knows all the answers. It’s the person who asks the best questions.

When I hire, I don’t worry too much about the degree the person has or things like grade point averages. I can teach them about marketing but I can’t make them honest or hard working.

I look for people who have a passion for helping other people. I hire people who volunteer their time, have a passion for a cause and instead of whining about it – do something about it.

I definitely want good writers, no matter what position they might fill. In today’s business world, with email etc. – everyone needs to be able to communicate clearly and be well spoken, both in face-to-face encounters and in writing.

I also look for someone who gets that our business is not 9-5 and isn’t going to freak out if they have to work late or over a weekend. Our business is very demanding and depending on what’s going on with our clients, we can put in some incredibly long, grueling weeks.

I also want someone who is willing to do “grunt” work. In a small agency, everyone pitches in and does what it takes to get the job done. If I can stuff envelopes or whatever – so can they.

I want someone who is a self-starter, a lifelong learner, a reader, someone who is funny, ethical and someone who resonates with our company’s core beliefs, which are:

  • Passion cannot be ignored.
  • Breakthrough thinking breeds breakthrough creative.
  • The guys in the white hats do win.
  • We take our work seriously. Ourselves, not so much.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Photo courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

→ 3 CommentsTags:······

What have you learned lately?

February 11th, 2013 · Growing & Learning · 5 Comments

One of the sure signs of a person who is going to be successful is that they wholeheartedly behave in lifelong learning. I didn’t say believe in life long learning because I’ve found just about everyone believes in it. But few actually act upon that belief. If you are someone who gives lifelong learning more [Read more...]

One Page Business Plan Template

December 3rd, 2012 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Strategy · 3 Comments

Most businesses don’t create a plan for the upcoming year because it’s too daunting a task.  Which is why I’m a big advocate of the one page business plan and why I am sharing our one page business plan template with all of you. It’s based on a couple of assumptions.  First — no business [Read more...]

5 Marketing To Dos to get done before 2013

November 28th, 2012 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Marketing, Strategy · 13 Comments

This is the time of year where work grinds to a halt. We have another two weeks or so before the holiday frenzy, parties, hangovers and the general professional apathy creeps in and productivity becomes a dirty word. But don’t give up hope yet.  I think there’s still a few things we can get done [Read more...]

Desperate makes us both feel cheap (pricing strategy)

October 5th, 2012 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Psychology · 6 Comments

Your pricing strategy should never be accidental.  It’s a vital element in your marketing mix. Let me give you an example:  We use an outside vendor to provide extranet services for our clients.  We’d been with them for over five years. We recently discovered a better solution.  Not only is it better, but it’s also [Read more...]

50 top entrepreneurial blogs for your reader

May 27th, 2012 · Growing & Learning, Marketing, Web/Tech · 5 Comments

Every year the team at Evan Carmichael round up some of the best blogs out there and put together a top 50 list.  This year’s list for the 50 best blogs for entrepreneurs is a doozy. Here in the States, we have a long weekend for Memorial Day…so why not use a little of that [Read more...]

What can you learn from a small town?

April 30th, 2012 · Books, Business Owner/Leader Stuff · 14 Comments

Turns out, quite a bit. The whole concept of having a marketplace is blurry today.  It used to be — you sold stuff to your neighbors because they were the only ones close enough to buy from you. But today the world is one “global small town” where all your customers can talk directly to [Read more...]

Can packaging help you sell in a new way?

March 27th, 2012 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Psychology, Sales, Strategy · 24 Comments

How we package our products and services often communicates more than we think. Sometimes — a fresh look at packaging can introduce you to a new buyer, make you more attractive to prospects you’ve known for awhile or reinforce a buying decision for your current customers. I was in Walgreens the other day and a [Read more...]

The 5 things that will derail your marketing in 2012

February 8th, 2012 · Marketing, Strategy · 11 Comments

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but the truth is — most organizations’ marketing efforts stink.  And they stink for reasons well within the marketing department’s control. If you’re worried that your own efforts might fall short — beware of these five danger zones that can derail you in a blink! Inconsistency:  Does [Read more...]