As I sat around a table laden with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and finished off my Thanksgiving dinner with pie and wine, I couldn’t help but reflect on all the blessings in my life this year. To explain, I’m going back to grade school projects with something I am thankful for represented by each letter:
T– Time. Though there is never enough, and I’m always wishing for another hour or another day or a little more time to finish that project, I’m very grateful for each day I’ve been blessed with.
H– Handfuls. Yes, when I was kid I was a handful. Now I have three wonderful “handfuls” of my own. Many days, this business is a “handful,” but as my grandmother would always say, a full hand is a blessed hand. (more…)
We established in our first entry that tough economic times call – not for cuts in marketing – but for a more strategic and calculated investment in those marketing dollars. Essentially, to be successful, you must be relevant. Sounds simple enough right? But how do we build relevant marketing. This entry is designed to explore the very first step: Understanding your audience.
You may all say you already understand your audience and know who they are. Check. Accomplished. Move on. But not so fast! Before you stop reading this entry and move on to other things, pause for a moment to consider not the high level picture, but the details. Don’t use a 6 inch brush to paint your market. Drill down and understand not only who they are but also the details about them. Below is a small sampling of the simple questions you should ask yourself: (more…)
As marketers and businesspeople, we like to think we’re in charge of our own destiny. Okay, let’s be honest, it’s part of human nature. No matter who or where we are, we like to think of controlling our destiny. We plan. We forecast. We evaluate and reevaluate. Ultimately, we expect things to work out as planned. But if we’ve learned anything in the last several years, it’s that we need to plan for the unexpected. There are many things beyond our control. The true “control” comes in how we choose to respond.
This week, I attended the APWA Snow Conference in Milwaukee. It was painfully clear to manufacturers in the snow industry that there is an element of their destiny well beyond their control – Weather! With the record warm temperatures and low precipitation this year, manufacturers and service providers in that market received an unexpected jolt back to that painful reality. Adding to that difficult awakening was the failed forecasts of everything from the Farmers Almanac to forecaster after forecaster who predicted record snowfall and an incredibly harsh winter.- Consider this: We went from a winter last year in which 49 out of 50 states received snow, to this year where virtually no state had snow of any significance. And with uncertainty in what next year’s weather may hold, it requires making some basic business decisions on faith. (more…)
“Hey, know why I ride my bike?” A boy of about five yelled this to me last night as I was on my walk with my iPod listening to Kenny Chesney. His bushy brown hair stuck out from beneath his helmet, which made his face look round and his cheeks pink. I smiled and yelled over the sound of the music in my ears, “Nope.” “Because I can get where I am going really fast! See, I’m already at my friends house.”
I had to chuckle to myself. You see, I had passed this boy playing on his driveway during my initial lap through the neighborhood. Upon seeing me walk by again and realizing I hadn’t made it home, I’m sure he asked himself, “Why is she still walking?” and wanted to introduce me to a “better “ way of achieving my objective. The only problem was, he didn’t realize that my objective was different than his. It wasn’t about speed in reaching a destination. It was about physical exercise.
I couldn’t help but think about how many times this happens in marketing. There is no (more…)
“I am only one. But I AM one. I cannot do everything. But I CAN do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can.” – Edward Hale
The power of one has been demonstrated many times, but I never tire of hearing the stories and meeting those heroic people who have the courage, the integrity and the honor to change lives. And sometimes you meet them in the most unexpected places…like the AGG1 show.
I’ve always loved the equipment industry because it’s filled with remarkable people. In my 16 plus years in the industry, I’ve made many friends and learned from so many brilliant and inspiring individuals. Perhaps no lesson more moving than the day I met Neil and Jennifer Hise of CEMCO, Inc., a manufacturer of vertical shaft impact crushers. A client introduced us at the AGG1 Show a few weeks ago, and I took an immediate liking to this pair. In fact, when I returned from the show, I teased my husband by saying I had fallen in love with another guy! Kevin only laughed. But what is not to love with Neil.
In our brief conversation, I discovered Neil was a pilot. That was interesting enough. But the conversation then took a turn (more…)
Okay, we’ve all read that famous poem about everything you needed to know about life was learned in Kindergarten. True and poignant. Got me thinking. There are so many crossovers in life where basic rules and lesson apply.
I recently directed the Christmas program at my church. Trust me, working with 40-plus kids under the age of 13 to pull off a meaningful program is about as far from my normal day-to-day life as you can get (though I do often accuse Mitch and Kevin of acting like children!). But, in the process of practice and directing, I found myself conveying messages that aren’t uncommon to what I tell clients and staff on a frequent basis.
So here are the marketing lessons (more…)
Last year, I “suggested” everyone write a Thanksgiving blog. (Those of you who know me, know that suggest may be a “mild” term for it.) Everyone – even the designers traditionally opposed to copy – found a way to communicate those things for which they are thankful. If you recall, Mitch’s blog entry was quite clever. Check it out. This year however, Mitch put his foot down and said, “No Thanksgiving mandate.” Every once in a while, Mitch has to win a battle, so I gave him this one. No suggestion. No prompting. Not even a polite request was made. But you see what happened? They (the Thanksgiving blog entries) still appeared. They came without mandate, begging or prompting. Perhaps because none of us can let this time of year pass by without being grateful.
I too can’t help but express my gratitude. I know I’m truly blessed – with a wonderful husband, three great kids, good health, strong faith and a myriad of personal blessings that leave me filled with gratitude no matter what challenges arise. But it’s even more than that. I feel (more…)
Ten years ago yesterday marks a memorable event for all Americans. It was the day our vision of the world changed. Our sense of security shattered. Our resilience and sense of humanity tested. Just as the assassination of JFK was a minute frozen in time for my parents’ generation, the September 11 attacks will forever be frozen in time for this generation. No doubt all of us can remember where we were, what we did. I remember leaving work to pick up my young children and meet my husband for a mass and prayer vigil for the victims of the attack, and I recall that helpless feeling – like things will never be the same again. I remember thinking “How can we ever feel safe again?” “How will we know Joy again?” But out of the most contemptuous and vile event came the most coveted and reviled response. (more…)
When we name our children, we labor over the perfect name. One that has family or social relevance. One that will encapsulate the child’s looks and personality. One that will be appropriate for the young woman or man the child grows into. A name with the right amount of dignity, respect and professionalism to accompany a doctor, lawyer, President or marketing executive. We study books for meanings and make endless lists narrowing and narrowing the pool until we finally decide on the perfect fit.
Clearly a name is very important. Companies agonize over the right names for products and divisions and we’ve been part of that process – that labor of love – to
find the perfect name. Perhaps the most close to home – other than the naming of my children – was the naming of IRONCLAD Marketing. Over the past 18 months, the question that always arises is, “How did you arrive at that name?” But the more important question to me is what is the significance?
First and foremost, I am very much a “follow your heart” kind of person and something about (more…)
You may recall, in an earlier blog, I pondered how the characters of Tigger and Eeyore could be used to classify most personality types. On one hand, you have the eternal optimist – full of energy and seeing no boundaries. On the other, the eternal pessimist, always waiting for the rain to start and sure of his or her bad fortune anytime it does. However, as I was once again reading the Grand Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with my son, I realized there was one character and defining personality type that I neglected to recognize – Rabbit.
Okay, Rabbit is not the strongest character in any of the stories and isn’t one of the first characters you would name (more…)