Monday, October 21, 2013

Everyone is a Coach These Days - Hire a Trusted Adviser

My wife and I recently attended Experts Academy and I was surprised by the number of coaches in the room.  A lot of people were calling themselves a coach and some of them were just starting.  When I first got into coaching back in 1995 I was the only Canadian coach in the ICF.  The Americans decided that coaching needed to have some form of organization and certified training since law suits were running rampant throughout the industry and those with professional credentials resented that fact that coaches were basically unregistered and that anyone could call themselves a coach.

So 25 odd years later we have more coaches than ever before.  I call myself the Marketing Coach since I felt I have earned the right to say so with my 30 odd years experience in advertising, sales and marketing. I have owned two marketing companies and built another family run enterprise in marketing and it is still one of Ottawa's largest and most successful advertising and marketing companies.

The key to coaching I think, is the experience someone has.  I have a post graduate degree in marketing which is good, but the real experience I can provide is being in the trenches and fighting a good marketing battle for a variety of clients including, government, retailers, advertisers, B2B, consulting companies, trade shows and special events, non-profit organizations and specialized and branded retail products.

The key to hiring a good associate and someone that is going to make a difference in your business life is empathy.  A good coach needs a sharp sword, a sense of purpose, a better understanding about the real world they are working in and a deeply rooted knowledge about the customer, client  or purchaser. He /she needs to fully understand what makes a customer tick. He /She also needs to know what to do with a client and how to help.

A good coach listens, advises, consults, reacts, takes some risks and pushes the client towards developing a strong sense of purpose on the way to achieving their revenue or sales target.

Next time your company needs the advice of a third-party to give advice in the marketing area remember what it takes to be a good coach.   A marketing coach should have been in the battle, understand the needs of the marketplace, the needs of the client and the needs of the customer purchasing the product.  Its part brain power, part knowing, part research and part risk taking. 

Marketing is the biggest cost any firm makes in regards to actual expenditures and therefore a good ROI model should be developed well in advance of going into battle.  In a market where traditional and social media collide, its important for a client to better understand who is on his side.  Too often the trusted agency is working for the agency, while the coach is always dedicated to bringing out the best for the client.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Social Media Business and the Future

Today I wanted to talk about social media and the future.  A friend of mine, Geoff said the other day, "you know you can learn a lot about a person by following them on Facebook".   I agreed with him and went on to tell him a few stories about how Facebook has changed my life and the lives of millions of others.Today we hear the news and see the weird stories that the news provides including, a killing here, a break in there or a fire or accident.  News reported like its always reported.

On the other had you go to you network and you see that that life is progressing pretty naturally.  Parents passing on, children being born, vacations, and people just doing day to day things.  Its pretty reassuring really.  I have found out more about what people do and how they do it than having long chats with them over coffee or some other libation.  So what gives?

Social media is just what it says it is.  Social and its your channel on the world.  In Canada we are pretty lucky, life goes on from day to day without too much confusion and without too many issues.  World-wide however there is still the problem of one religious group and or group of terrorist trying to take over specific countries.  We are very very lucky in this country.

The future of social media is here to stay. I believe that more people just need to be aware of just what it is that makes the world a better place and some day I hope that social media will help do that.

At the moment social media properties are just getting momentum, like Apple stock ( which at one-time I owned at $33.00 and is today over $500 dollars) Face book ( $37.00) will continue to grow. 

The business model that everyone is complaining about was earnings of $2B in the first quarter of 2013.  If that's not performance then tell me what is.  They have some hard costs, low cost of customer acquisition and millions and millions of participants.  Who says social media isn't here to stay.

The next round for companies and organizations is to figure out how to capitalize on this amazing free resource and get a seat at the table and we think our mission is to help clients figure that out, learn the skills and grow old gracefully integrating new and traditional media. 

Television and radio has still has not figured it out and is sitting on the sidelines thinking they are doing something, but rather than progressively market and gain viewers through multiple integrations, Bell Media and Global in this country cut programs, take unique personalities off the air and discard audiences like match sticks and then complain when viewership is down.

Social media on the other had has used an attraction marketing strategy and made their mediums more interactive, user friendly and participatory and this means a whole lot of individual participation.

For the customer this is the future, for companies selling products, you need to get it together and for traditional medias trimming all the things that made them great, good luck with that, you will continue to lose viewers, listeners and money.  The model is changing and its time to get on board.

So the future is bright and like that song, the future is so bright I need to wear shades, social media will become an integral part of our business environment ( as it already is) and will continue to grow. The time to embrace it is now.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Inbound Marketing and Marketing, The Battle Continues

Well I am in the midst of a major event in the Nation's Capital and for the first time I hired a inbound marketing specialist to help generate traffic to our website for ticket sales.  I expected that we would be infiltrating a number of blogs, communicating with people online and generally increasing our ticket sales so much so that I could reduce my traditional marketing budget.

For those of you who have been using the web, web metrics and web marketing techniques this is probably nothing new. For a nubie like me however my needs, my perception and the outcomes were not what I anticipated.

First of all I thought that by developing an inbound campaign I was doing everything correctly. We hired the firm, a list of blogs was presented along, emails to a database, a Facebook page and a very robust website that was both regular computer and mobi friendly was developed.

Our inbound guy was pretty enthusiastic about the number of blogs we could reach, the types of incentives we would need to provide and the outcome and generation through our online ticket window.  A few months went by when the Mr. Traditional media guy here, says how are we doing with this inbound stuff.  Are we getting into any blogs and was our website traffic increasing and most of all were we selling any tickets?  Our web designer got active and setup a Facebook page and secured likes in return for entering a contest.   We encouraged our partners of our show to buy into the online inbound campaign for a really small amount of money expecting that the would see the value in it and provide the content, pictures and motivational promotions to make the program meaningful to the ticket audience.

After four months, limited input in the blogs, no support from the partners and limited exposure on the web we took a step back.   Why where we paying a guy to do anything more than what was already being done by those interested would do themselves and that was to find us.  Were the blogs and name mentions really doing anything for us or did anyone read the blogs or care.  Similar to this blog, I bet that its read by 20-30 people every month mostly those in the marketing field that are interested enough to consider the drivel I write as meaningful and important.

Our organic search continued as people interested in our industry found us and ticket sales while ahead of last year at this stage in the event did not get the surge we thought should happen since there was no real pickup by the market.

Our show is just starting this week, ticket sales are increasing due to our radio, print, Facebook pages and public relations campaigns.  Our online campaign has really not generated the results I expected and was told that " well its long-term" you can't expect it to generate what traditional media would do during the same time period however in the beginning I was enthusiastic and thought I needed it.

So for me the jury is out. I know I need to be progressive, be on the ball in regards to looking at what can be done and generate as much exposure online as possible.  I think we need to be consistent and continue with what we are doing, since the size of the market quite frankly is just too large.  However I think I need to look a lot closer at this whole online environment, and inbound campaign and consider it a lot more closely. 

Its not the be all that ends all. Its a support mechanism, another channel to market another approach to take.  For me, traditional media is not dead and is now a part of this bigger online market place.  The challenge is that the consumer has so many options to participate and is now getting their information from somewhere but where. Is it where from Google Ads, or are radio ads doing the job.

I think its a bit of everything. So I will keep experimenting and hoping I can find the right amount of online and offline and traditional media to get the point across.  The question is what do I do for an encore. Keep you posted, looks like this is a long term project after all.