Small Business Marketing Strategy & Process Development

The Office

Leadership vs. Management: Why It Matters to Marketing

on December 4 in Authentic Culture, Strategy, The Office | 0 comments

For some reason, I woke up this morning with an awful memory of the most negative, hard to please, fast-paced-without-logic-or-specialized-marketing-knowledge-or-metrics boss I’ve ever had. My pervasive thought was: “You, sir, are the antithesis of a leader.” The internal dialogue continued. “Although you may be deemed by some as a good manager, mostly from the ability to be hard-driving and cost-conscious (aka cheap), to me that’s not management at the level of leadership.” With that said, I brushed off the negative feeling and got on with my day. Next up: the cursory morning email check. I usually stick to opening the emails that will most impact my schedule but today’s SmartBrief on Leadership caught my eye. Oddly enough, two posts’ headlines, “Generosity is the real marker of a good boss” and “Sometimes slowing down is the best way to reach your goals,” seemed to summarize to my beef with the former boss perfectly. Essentially, when you care about connecting with people (a requirement for generosity and extraordinary leadership according to Dan Rockwell, The Leadership Freak) and are mindful about your speed and the unnecessary pressure you create as a result (especially when you’re operating with the “Ready-Fire-Aim” approach Allan Milham advises against), you can lead more effectively. Why does a marketing person like me care about leadership? Why am I even writing this post? I’m a strategist first, marketing person second. You can’t have effective strategy execution without the kind of capable leaders defined in these articles. Drilling down, all the marketing effectiveness and external brand strength in the world won’t help (it will actually be a waste of money) if the culture (as defined by leadership) does not support it. Finally, a culture can retain competitive advantages–one of which can be leadership!–by being generous with people and calculating about its efforts (thanks to the power of that pause). This is why I look holistically at businesses, to help them maximize their marketing efforts via alignment. And why I advocate having executive teams that are committed to building brand and culture at...

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Someone Has to Be the CMO

on July 26 in Small Business, Soapbox, The Office | 1 comment

Many small businesses or even mid-to-large-sized businesses with geographic dispersion have marketing people in-house or at least marketing-minded employees, whether at the top or within the company’s ranks.  But oftentimes, there’s not a dedicated, experienced resource at the C-level.  The lack of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or equivalent leadership role often results in a task-based approach to marketing, which means energy and resources can get expended based on assumptions, whims, and good sales pitches vs. data, analysis, and strategic goals.  The result?  Unknown value and potential waste of profits. For every company, it may not be feasible to bring in a marketer at this level and caliber; the costs of an executive search alone could be more than what is usually allocated in a market budget!  Bringing in an outside firm is also not always a smart economic investment.  So what is the internal champion of strategic marketing to do? My advice is find an ally–someone you trust who knows what questions to ask to put the potential for a marketing strategy into perspective, can help that get traction within the organization, and will assist with implementation at a cost in line with expected outcomes.  Large companies know that, for effective marketing results, there has to be a CMO at the helm; in small business, someone has to be the CMO (even if acting or undercover) so it might as well be you. Ready for your new role?  Let’s talk.  ...

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Friday Fun: Job Description Mad Libs(R)

on July 9 in Soapbox, The Office | 0 comments

Sometimes I’m really surprised by how a company’s job description can totally alienate or ignore its audience, be redundant, contain silly mistakes/typos/punctuation mistakes, and ultimately sound ridiculous.  So I thought it would be fun to TRY to make an existing job description even more ridiculous by turning it into that famously fun game of entering random words, fill-in-the-blank style.  So grab a coworker, friend, or better yet someone looking for a process or analyst job and ask them to provide you with the answers.  Have fun and feel free to post your funniest lines in the comments! Or just read through for a laugh. Happy Friday! (Adjective Form of Country’s Name)  (Type of Train) This position will be in the (inane acronym, meaningless to anyone outside the company) Group within the (another acronym that is meaningless to you and everyone else who doesn’t work there) and will be (misspelled adjective) for: Real-time management of (something you find in an office) and service levels for the (adjective describing size) group of call centers Implementing and (Gerund aka “ing verb”) a daily dialing strategy Serving the organization in a consultative role in the area of (Title Cased, Important-Sounding but Questionable Buzz Word) Reporting performance of all business units to Business Operations management team on an/a (made-up or obscure hyphenated adjective) basis Managing (adjective that can also be a noun) flow between Operations, Short Term Forecasting and Long Term Forecasting teams, and Service Delivery teams to ensure service level and outbound dialing objectives are (passive verb) Ensuring all queues are staffed to cover (length of time) across the network. Monitoring (adjective) volume across sites and queues based on (another adjective) (adjective, same as first blank) arrival and (adjective, same as second blank) staffing levels across the network. Analyzing data and assuring (2 of the 7 deadly sins divided by a slash) of operational data produced including daily updates, events logs, commentary, and all reports (past tense verb) within the department. Communicating and managing any escalated issues that involve system (plural noun), routing (same plural noun as previous), weather related (same plural noun as previous), and other center impacting (same plural noun as previous) to all site operations (new plural noun) and (same plural noun as...

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Maritz: Employee Sat, Trust Critically Low

on May 6 in The Office | 0 comments

An article today in Incentive magazine covers poll results from market researcher Maritz regarding “record lows” for employee satisfaction and trust of management and coworkers based on a national sample of 2,004 full-time employees. Selected Findings 11 percent of respondents strongly agree that their managers show consistency between their words and actions 7 percent strongly agree that they trust senior leaders to look out for their best interests 7 seven percent strongly agree they trust their co-workers to do so 20 percent (one-fifth) do not agree that their company’s leader is completely honest and ethical 25 percent (a quarter) disagree that they trust management to make the right decisions in times of uncertainty  3 percent of respondents with weak management trust look forward to coming to work everyday vs. 50 percent with strong management trust The Recommendations Rick Garlick, senior director of consulting and strategic implementation, Maritz Hospitality Research Group, recommends the following (my comments in parentheses): Don’t make promises you don’t keep. (Absolutely.  Sometimes management tends to forget the small things that are promised and these can add up. For large decisions, such as pay issues, don’t make any announcements until all alternatives for win-wins have been considered and details have been ironed out.  It’s also a good idea to prevent information about major decisions from leaking out and creating expectations.) Have open and transparent communications, and keep employees updated on the company’s progress and goals. (There is an art form to internal communications.  If you have trouble putting yourself in employees’ shoes or have had memos backfire before, seek a professional opinion when writing or revising these messages. As a leader, you set the bar for the organization; get clarity on what you expect of others and yourself. Establish a regular communications plan and stick to a schedule.) Do things that bring people together and eliminate worker isolation. (This will only work if people enjoy each other’s company in the first place. Create a culture of fun, respect, professionalism–whatever works for you as a leader, your employees, and your brand–and ensure values are created, communicated, and carried out within the organization.  If you haven’t done the important work of developing values, vision, and mission, get started on that and get processes in place to...

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