Showing posts with label communications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label communications. Show all posts

Friday, October 19, 2012

Connecting Across the Social Media Universe

A majority of the people I work with are small business owners. One of the most common concerns I hear about revolves around how to manage all of their social media marketing efforts in the most time efficient manner.  

My response typically involves explaining the difference between Social Media Marketing and Social Media networking. Both involve relationship building, and both are crucial to business success. However, Social Media Marketing is about helping the business as a whole grow, whereas Social Media networking is more about helping the individual grow.  

Focusing on Social Media networking is a great place for small business owners to start. It sets the stage for personal growth, but it can also lead to establishing the individual as a thought leader. So how does an individual make the most of Social Media networking? 

Be Accessible

Recently, I communicated with a friend of a friend through facebook messaging. She is applying for a position that requires knowledge of social media marketing, and she wanted to know if I had suggestions in how to show the employer that she possesses solid Marketing acumen. I looked for her Linkedin profile and couldn't find her. I then asked if she could forward me the link for her Linkedin profile; she never responded. Additionally, I sent a facebook connect request. She told me that she didn't like to connect with people she didn't know online.

The first step of effective Social Media networking is being accessible. Employers, customers, professional acquaintances - anyone and everyone should be able to see your personal and professional profiles across social media platforms. As a small business owner, you are your business' first and best marketing resource. Chris Brogan & Julien Smith refer to this concept in their collaborative book and now coined phrase, "Trust Agents". Other terms exist as well including "thought leader" and "expert", but what is most important is that this is how others perceive you and not how you should refer to yourself.

Participate

Years ago, when I first became actively involved in construction, I started noticing CSI and other initials behind various people's names. As it turned out, being a CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) member was held in high regard by construction industry professionals. Moreover, other certifications one could get through CSI were held in even higher regard because they demonstrated a person's knowledge of the construction industry and a thorough understanding of the construction documents.

I also started seeing that people (including an ex-employer) were paying dues to be able to use the initials but then never participating. Yeah, sure, they might show up at an event or two throughout the year, but they would never volunteer to be on committees or boards.

Social Media, like industry specific groups, isn't just about connections; it's about how you engage with other social media participants. With social media, the old adage, "if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem" holds true. If you only have social media profiles because everyone does, then you're only creating online clutter. Why would anyone want to connect with someone who only wants to friend, circle, or follow other people to build up their contact list but then not engage on any level?

There are various ways to actively participate online: posting questions and articles that you think others might glean knowledge from, joining groups and giving insightful perspectives, writing white papers / technical papers for your industry and sharing them, and blogging are all great ways to stay engaged and involved. 

Building Relationships

Whenever I connect or am asked to connect with a person on one social media platform, I always cross reference their name across other platforms. There are several reasons to cross reference, not the least of which is determining if they are spammers or a real person or business entity. I also do it to see how innovative they are. Lately, my measurement tool has been Google+, the largest, newest social media platform. If a person is on facebook but not Google+ and they claim to be a progressive thinker, I have to wonder if they're being truthful.

Not all social media platforms function the same way or serve the participants in the same ways, but all of them can be used to build meaningful relationships. Additionally, there's no reason you can't have business messages on facebook and playful banter on Linkedin. And now, with smartphones and tablets, there's definitely no reason that concise communications can't be achieved through instant messaging on social media platforms as opposed to, say, emails.

Connecting across the social media universe is a rewarding and life-enriching experience.  It has become just as important as networking face-to-face; not more important, just another great step to successful relationships. Whether you're a student looking to learn from a business professional in your field of study, a product representative looking to connect with an architect across the country, or a follower of a blog from someone on the other side of the world, online connections set new bearings for relationships.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Marketing Class Meet & Greet in Albuquerque!


Marketing Class Meet & Greet in Albuquerque!

Market Integrations & Tech Love are partnering to offer Marketing Development Classes in Albuquerque!

Marketing Class Meet & Greet 

with Stirling Morris, Owner of Market Integrations, Marketing Instructor
and Tom Carlson, Owner of Tech Love & NM PCMD

Have you ever wondered, "What's the difference between a Google+ page and a Google+ profile?"  Or "What the heck is Google+ and how can it possibly benefit my business?"

Come meet Stirling Morris of Market Integrations on Tuesday, October 23rd at 5:30 p.m. at Tech Love, 3901 Central Ave NE, find out what he has planned for the upcoming Marketing Classes, and discover ways to improve your business' Marketing Strategies.  This Meet & Greet event is free!
Stirling Morris, Marketing Executive

Market Integrations | Marketing Development & Communication Management

Marketing for Beginners

No matter how proficient you may feel in marketing, marketing resources change as often as the computers, smartphones, and tablets that carry them. Learning how to integrate an actionable Marketing Plan with effective Marketing Strategies will help youand your business evolve through a process of continuous improvement.

More advanced classes coming soon!

Although the focus of this Meet & Greet will be to discuss the current class objectives and to learn about the instructor and the venue, information about more advanced classes is coming soon.  Private orcustomized marketing tutoring is available now!

General learning objectives will revolve around:

Classes are planned to begin on or around October 30th with pricing and exact dates and times to be announced at the event.  There will be options for lunch-and-learns as well as evening classes.  You do not have to attend the Meet & Greet event to participate in the classes.

Interested in this Meet & Greet?  Please register on facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/events/442475045794498/?context=create

Light refreshments will be provided by Tom CarlsonTech Loveand NM PC MD, servicing Mac and PC systems in New Mexico since 1987!

You won't feel a thing! NM PC, MD, You won't feel a thing!
Marketing Class Meet & Greet in Albuquerque! - Market Integrations

Friday, October 5, 2012

Marketing Strategies Are Only Part of the Marketing Plan

In my marketing experiences, I find it scary how often businesses don't have a formalized written Business Plan, much less a formalized Marketing Plan. I talk to a lot of business owners, particularly small, that say they have it all up in their head. But how can a business be effective without a standard to measure themselves by?

As part of a formalized, written Business Plan, the Marketing Plan (a supplemental, formalized written document supporting your Business Plan) sets the precedence for the year's marketing goals.  At a bare minimal, a solid Marketing Plan will include objectives and strategies to measure the results.    Assessing and evaluating the results for financial and inter-departmental alignment is also important to revamping a Marketing Plan, but these considerations are completely dependent on a business' planned aims and Marketing Strategies.


Like other small and independent business owners, I make lots of mental notes in addition to more carefully, thought out marketing strategizing. In today's evolving marketing world, however, this is not enough.  It is necessary for businesses to review and manage their marketing strategies, objectives, and action items daily or even multiple times a day.  

A basic outline of meaningful Marketing Strategies should at least include:
  • having a predetermined tracking & measurement system in place
  • analytical resources to measure audience engagements & marketing trends
  • a system of interpreting these trends and engagement measures for re-alignment and continuous improvement
With these and any other effective Marketing Strategy considered, revamping the overall Marketing Plan can be part of revamping the Business Plan which at least needs to be annually.  If a business has the personnel to make Marketing Plan adjustment more often, there are ideal times. These vary by market and industry, but might include:
  • Nationally recognized holiday, election, & vacation seasons
  • Changes in principal personnel and key decision makers
  • Significant market and industry changes that might have major financial or legal ramifications
Changes to the Marketing Plan in these situations need to be assessed and revamped both before and after these adjustment periods.  More importantly, these changes assume that a business, business owner, or key decision makers are in touch with their market and industry enough to see the need for change ahead of time and act accordingly.

Managing Marketing Strategies is just as critical as developing a Marketing Plan.  However, it is important to understand the difference between having effective Marketing Strategies and having those strategies support the Marketing Plan.  Understanding this distinction will help a business make timely & effective determinations that impact the overall Business Plan.

Marketing Strategies Are Only Part of the Marketing Plan - Market Integrations

Friday, September 28, 2012

Social Media Marketing Classes at TechLove Coming Soon!

Social Media Marketing Classes at TechLove Coming Soon!

posted by Stirling Morris
Market Integrations is partnering with TechLove to offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced Social Media Marketingclasses in Albuquerque!

Located just east of Nob Hill, TechLove is a great venue for these classes.  The facility offers the Albuquerque community a place to share their love for technology, innovations, business, music, and art.  

Find more information about TechLove visit them at www.techlove.us, and for more information about the Social Media Marketing classes dates and times, subscribe to Market Integrations Events.  

Social Media Marketing Classes at TechLove Coming Soon! - Market Integrations

Opening Doors in Marketing

There are so many doors I have opened in my life and my career. Remarkably, the one that changed my business perspective the most was being a window and door salesperson for commercial buildings. That experience opened my eyes to sales & marketing in ways that I still think about today.
You can have a building with expansive walls of glass, walls with only a few punched openings, or even (on rare occasion) no windows. However you can never have a building without doors.  Doors can serve multiple purposes, but like good marketing, each door represents a gateway of opportunities. On one side of the door, there is a business that is ready to work with and serve the world outside, and on the other side is a world of possibilities.
Opening doors in marketing means going beyond just opening doors for business - that's the easy part.  As a successful product representative, I learned two main strategies. First, that Sales & Marketing are unconditionally intertwined. Second, I learned that there is always a door to open if you know where to look. And, man, oh man, are there all sorts of doors to fit any given marketing situation.

Doors for Prospecting
Salespeople are typically the first face a prospect sees outside of direct marketing. More than cold calling or leaning on existing clients that treat you well, sales & marketing starts with networking. And, I'm not referring to the online networking.  Successful sales & marketing people join industry specific (and in some cases non-industry) organizations and groups.  
Taking it a step further, successful sales & marketing people also get involved on Boards & Committees. By doing this, customers and prospects perceive them as attentive and caring thought leaders and not someone looking to market their business' name by just showing up.

Doors for Educating
As a sales & marketing person in the construction industry, I learned the best client is the one that never pays you - the Architect / Engineer / Designer. By marketing your product and services to the key decision makers, in any industry before final plans are made, you will ensure more opportunities. This could be through online webinars, being a key note speaker at a professional event, or with a focused lunch and learn style presentation.
Doors for Rewards
Direct marketing is great, but when it involves giving a prize, well, nothing beats that. This could be done through a direct mailer scratch-and-win game piece or online with a check-in promotion from a location-based social media platform. Additionally, marketing doesn't stop after a business sells a product or service to a customer either. Effective marketing is continuous and catches the customer both immediately after their purchase and even months after.
A business can't discount Internal Marketing either. Continuous improvement programs are great, but opportunities for rewards, recognition, and advancement will help ensure marketing success.

The revolving door of marketing spins so fast that some businesses find that they're on the way out quicker than it took them to step in.  When considering marketing improvements, it seems that if a business isn't always on the cutting edge of marketing options, they're bound to be left behind. There are always new doors to open.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thinking About Tomorrow's Marketing

Finding the right person or outsourced business partner to effectively market a company is critical to business success. Marketers represent the constant public face for a company's brand and image even before salespeople get involved.

So what does a business consider when conversing with a person or company that claims to live and breath marketing?

Being on the cutting edge of marketing

Marketers, in today's technological world, need to be on the cutting edge of what’s coming out the day after tomorrow, not just tomorrow.  When conversing with marketing partners or marketing employee candidates, a business shouldn't let the conversation spin around how to leverage today's technologies and online resources. This is an important consideration, but, even more importantly, a business should also ask what technologies and online marketing resources are coming the day after tomorrow.  

An effective marketing person needs to have gone beyond just reading and conversing about tomorrow's resources. Marketing people need to be using online marketing resources in Beta form. Even if the technology or online resource goes bust, at least the marketing person was there to see it rise and fall and learn from it. Innovation and technology are so intertwined any more, that this will give a business insight into whether the person they're talking to has marketing know-how.

Letting go of fads and fashion

It's not about Android being better than Apple or Google+ being better than facebook.  Each of these corporations pride themselves on being innovative and are continously working to strengthen their Research & Design departments to improve the technological world of tomorrow.  

It is, however, important that a marketing person or company understand all of the technology and resource options that each one of these corporations offer, even if they don't use them personally or professionally.  Apple makes great products and has done a tremendous job on being at the forefront of tablets.  So much so, that I know many business people that refer to all tablets as iPads in conversation.  Beware of fashionable technology.  Blackberries were considered the cat's meow in the business community but where are they now?

Networking, online and off

Being engaged online is an obvious must for marketers.  A good marketing person or company should be on, if not just aware of, every engagement platform online.  Like volunteerism, an effective marketing person will be actively interacting, not just signing up for the sake of signing up.  

But, when it concerns marketing without the internet, it seems a lot of marketers may fall short. Holding clout online is important, but it doesn't mean they can represent a business in face-to-face situations. A marketing person needs to write well, speak well, and make effective presentations. If a marketing person can meet this minimum criteria, everything else will fall into place.


There are many important considerations when trying to incorporate the right marketing employee or partner for a business.  The best marketing fit is the one that is actively engaged, not married to one type of technology, and one that never stops thinking about tomorrow.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tech vs Tech and the Effect on Innovative Thoughts

With so much information online, funneling through news, blogs, and social media, it amazes me that any one person in any given industry can stay caught up with innovative changes, much more ahead of the game.  But does this saturation of news and opinions have a negative impact on how even an average person perceives & discusses technology and innovation?

Recently, I listened to a speaker discuss moving beyond cookie cutter blogs and ideas.  In one of his slides, the speaker compared a Verizon commercial to an Apple commercial.  The general idea was to describe the power of words and pictures over an audience.  This was not necessarily an apples to apples comparison (no pun intended . . . ok maybe a little one).  
A commercial comparing Apple to Google's Android technology would have been a far fairer comparison considering that Verizon sells models from both companies.  And, even then, it's not about Apple being better than Google or vice versa.  I find it ridiculous when people do this.  Both companies are awesome and are making tremendous strides to show us all of the wonderful,innovative places technology can take us.

When a company starts to place its business and financial well-being ahead of its innovative practices and passion to explore ways to improve human lives, then they start to struggle.  Microsoft and facebook have done bang up jobs of this in the last few years.

Ultimately, though, it's not about Android being better than Apple or Google better than Microsoft.  It's about humanity shedding itself of its competitive nature in business to help keep technology evolving.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Internet is the Conduit of Social Change

Has there been one day in the last week that you haven't accessed the internet? How about the last month or even year?

When I went to college in the early 1990s, the internet was not yet available on my campus' library computers. The only thing plugged in to the computers were the dot matrix printers that were ready to send dozens of students into a litany of profanity that would make The Old Man in A Christmas Story blush. Cell phones were an alien concept to most people and those that did have "mobile" phones had to use two hands to manage the weight.  

Internet Timeline created by Miguel Todaro, www.migueltodaro.com
I only a knew a few people that were majoring in Computer Science, and the INTERNET was just making public appearances on larger campuses. Since those formative years of my life, I don't know if I'm more amazed that the power of the internet has grown so much or so fast. Both are mind boggling considering that was only 20 years ago.

Today, we each use the internet daily for multiple personal or professional purposes. And even if we aren't accessing the internet through our personal or work-related smartphone, tablet, or laptop, you can be certain that you will be impacted by that the person using it beside us.

What each of us says across the internet and the social media universe matters.

Individually

For the individual this may mean connecting with a person, cause, or job that he or she may not otherwise find. Whether it's an argument provoking sentiment on facebook or a well thought out white paper, what we say is potentially awakening a connection in the world you may not know - but should.

Community Sharing

Our daily interactions on the Internet go far beyond connecting individuals. For communities, locally and nationally, the internet gives us the chance to see, learn, and grow from the successes and failures of others.

Worlds Colliding

When we connect and interact as one world, this gives us the chance to “fight for the future" and "boldly go where no man has gone before”. The science fiction of yesterday creates the technologies we use today with the internet as the conduit. Both Science Fiction and Science explore two of humanity's greatest reaches - our inward search to acquire knowledge in the universe as we know it and our outward search to share knowledge to make this world a better place to live.

The world is growing rapidly, and the internet can be our greatest asset to connect. How can we better leverage the internet to make more positive connections?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Internal Marketing for Prospective Employees

How often do businesses think about or utilize Internal Marketing?  If you aren't familiar with the term, it is essentially the process of marketing a business' mission and vision to its staff.  The goal is to foster positive employee morale and core competencies and, ideally, improve external customer relations through a variety of measurable methods. But how often do businesses practice marketing to prospective employees?

Businesses should want prospective employees constantly knocking on their doors

In growing a business, it is as important to market to prospective employees as it is to market internally. Taking the thought a step further, marketing to prospective employees is tantamount to marketing to prospective customers.  Businesses should want prospective employees knocking at their door every day as much as they want customers to contact them on their own.  If a business can't convince someone to want to work for them, how can they possibly hope to be perceived as the business that customers want to call on?  

The interviewer and the interviewee are interviewing each other

Have you ever been uncomfortable in an interview?  It is an "inter"view; not an employerview.  An interviewer should feel just as much in the hot seat as the interviewee.  If the interviewee has no response to questions or comments, little response, or doesn't exude a sense of excitement about working for an employer during the interview, then the interviewer has failed.

Creating a welcome and comfortable atmosphere

As valuable as it is to create a fun & friendly working environment for a business's staff and customers, it is equally important for interviewees to feel this as well.  If a business allows for casual dress and a generally happy, jovial atmosphere where employees are free to express themselves, then express this before, during, and after the interview.

Offering the right tools to do the job

No matter what position a business is hiring for, it is critical to offer the right tools to do the job.  If hiring for an internal position, a business needs to have up-to-date technologies and technological devices.  I recently talked to branch manager of a national corporation that offers IT training solutions to businesses, but doesn't arm any of their sales staff with laptops or smartphones - HELLO!

Adopting technologies to adapt to the marketplace

Like every other aspect of business and marketing, evolving technologies and a rapidly growing world are impacting every aspect of any business in any market and in any industry.  When a business struggles to adopt the newest innovations and technologies, it fails itself, its customers, and anyone that might want to work there.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating Independence in Marketing


The internet and online marketing has allowed us the freedom to be able to access, maintain, and manipulate projects and campaigns in an instant.  We are able to find the right application for any given marketing task, and when we can't, we know that we can either work to create it or find someone else to help us with it to create positive and successful changes. 

As the US celebrates the 4th of July today, I am reminded how these innovative changes in marketing are similar to how the founders of this country looked at change.  I'm not referring to the circumstances that led up to the US claiming independence, but rather how the founders of this country looked to future and the positive changes that developed from their efforts.

The founders of the US worked hard to escape persecution and to start a new life.  They wrote proclamations and declarations that focused on what was right & just at the time with high hopes of creating a better future.  But have US citizens become too focused on celebrating what the founders of their country did rather than what they dreamed?

I believe that they wanted us to move on and to not get too settled on traditionalism, that we shouldn’t march to the beat of someone else’s drum beat so many years ago and for so many past issues (resolved or not), and that, no matter what your philosophical, scientific, or religious stance is in life, that we should grow and evolve.

Marketing, like many other facets of the business world, is constantly evolving to help us sustain growth.  These constant changes in marketing allow us to claim independence from each older marketing effort.  Celebrating this independence in marketing is helping to create a more innovative and fruitful future.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marketing Know-Meow: Love the Dog, Trust the Cat


We can learn a lot by looking at the world around us.  In architecture & engineering, there is a concept called biomimicry which examines nature's elements, systems, and processes as inspiration for creative design.  In marketing, we can develop a lot of marketing know-how by examining aspects of the natural world.  For example, we can learn a lot from our canine and feline family relationships to further understand marketing concepts.  

On the feline front, a cat will be smug and make you work hard to win its affection, and then, ultimately, do what it wants anyway.  This is comparable to what keeps us on our marketing development toes - always looking for the next innovative idea no matter how it may be received.  These popular marketing ideas may be short lived or long lasting.  But, either way, these ideas are successful until they evolve into the next great concept.  Like the Egyptian's perception of a cat, this allows us to see other worlds and other possibilities.

Conversely, you don't have to work very hard to win a dog's love and affection.  Once a relationship is established with our canine cohorts, a dog will return that love and devotion without question.  In marketing, or even business in general, this is tantamount to having positive relations with customers.  Your devotion for each other is ensured once established.  However, there is a danger that this will ultimately stymie creative thought and new marketing ventures.  We can get too comfortable with the tried and true.

So, what does this teach us?  Love the dog to create and maintain positive marketing relations, but trust the cat to bring new and improved thought.  Meow, what do you think?