Are You Productive?

AreYouProductiveI remember once when one of my direct reports told me “This has been one of my most productive weeks.” He told me about all the projects he’d worked on. He was doing a lot of good work.

I’ve always worked on teams full of talented people who work hard to be productive. Good teams focused on being productive, not just busy. But, the definition of productive often is misconstrued.

(Warning – football analogy)
A “productive” football may chalk up amazing stats – tons of rushing and passing yards, passes completed, yards per carry, 1st downs and more… and yet, all of those stats don’t mean a thing if they lose the game.

Great teams focus on results!

In football, there’s only one stat that matters – the final score. That’s it. Did you win or did you lose?

To win, everyone on the team needs to focus on how their role contributes to overall success. Their focus should always be helping the team win.

The first question to ask is:

“ARE WE WINNING OR ARE WE LOSING?

If you don’t know – that’s where you start:

  • Determine if you’re winning or losing
    • And by how much
  • Document what it will take to start willing –or- increase your lead
  • Develop strategies accordingly
  • Ensure everyone on the team understand how what they do contributes to overall success
  • Then go and do it!

Strategies, projects, marketing plans, and sales materials should all be driving results that contribute to the overall success of the team.

Do the work that drives results. Have the courage to turn down work or projects that don’t contribute to success.

Why focus on being productive, when you can focus on being GREAT!

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A Marketing Department is Born

It Starts NOWMy lack of focus on writing has led to a lack of article this year. I’m hoping to turn that around and start writing more frequently.

Weekly? Hopefully. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Two months ago I transitioned from my role in product marketing to a new role taking over marketing for a sister company. Same parent company. Same building. Different business unit. Different floor.

A great opportunity!

Coming to work each morning is…

  • Exhilarating
  • A Rush!
  • Stressful
  • Nerve-wracking
  • A Roller Coaster
  • Exciting
  • Totally Awesome!

Our parent company is great to us giving a sense of stability, while as a business unit we are like a start-up. Every day new challenges come up. Each day is different than the one before.

So yeah, I‘m loving it.

The new marketing department consists of me…. and me. A department of one. I continue working with my old marketing group as they support our efforts, almost like an internal agency. They continue to be great to work with.

The focus here isn’t on projects and staying productive. It’s all about results! Building brand awareness to drive revenue. That’s it.

So I’ll be writing more, documenting the process of marketing and branding – from the ground up!

It starts now!  

3 Ways to Separate Yourself

separate-yourselfEach summer I attend my sons’ youth soccer games. Little kids’ games are extremely entertaining. They play what I call “the huddled masses” soccer, where a herd of children swarms the ball tripping over each other in the process. It’s wildly fun to watch.

Parents shout at their child to “kick harder” and “run faster”, hoping their kid can separate the ball and themselves from the pack. Any time a kid accomplishes this feat he or she generally is seen racing toward an open net and for an easy GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!

Businesses face a similar frenzy, getting lost in the masses while attempting to claw, kick and scream to be recognized. Having a good product or quality service isn’t enough; you must find distinct ways to separate yourself from the pack.

Here are 3 ways to separate yourself:

Understand the Business You’re In

Years ago I worked for a minor-league sports team. We started with the misconception that we were in the football business. We were wrong. As a sports team, we competed against movie theaters, concerts, amusements parks, miniature golf and other sporting events. We were in the entertainment business.

We needed to convince customers to spend their money attending our games over other forms of entertainment. Once we understood the business we were in, our marketing improved, each game became an event, and eventually ticket sales increased.

Be Known for Something

What do you want to be known for? What makes people think of you first?

When I want sushi, I think of Simply Sushi in Salt Lake City. To me, they are the best value for good sushi. There are cheaper sushi restaurants. There are higher quality ones too. Simply Sushi decided they would be known as the best value. This definition often wins my lunch money.

McDonald’s is known for the Big Mac. Burger King is Home of the Whopper. They offer other menu options, but they’re known for one main thing.

Trying to be all things to all people may result in not being known at all.

Be Social

Many professionals and businesses still struggle to know what to do with Social Media. It’s okay to start simple and build your strategy from there. Social Media should be used to entertain, educate and engage.

Think of social media as another communication channel. Yes, it requires an investment in time, resources, and creativity. Your investment will be part of what separates you from your competition. Find ways to be different. Be interactive. Be memorable.

 

What other ways have you found to separate yourself?

– DJ

True stories, truly connect us

Came across this quote while looking back at notes I made from Hubspot’s Inbound 2015 conference. Couldn’t find the source to reference which session or author used it in their presentation.

True stories move us – and motivate us to take action.

Simple, yet profound. Connecting with our audience through storytelling is one of the most powerful marketing concepts we should be implementing more effectively in 2017.

How are you using storytelling to connect?

true-stories-move-us

5 Steps to Starting Your Marketing Plan

Started your 2017 Marketing Plan?

Did you even have a 2016 Marketing Plan? Did you follow it?

I’ve worked for start-up companies, mid-size businesses, and large companies with hundreds of employees. It is shocking how different each company approaches building a marketing plan. There’s always a lot of discussion around how and where to get started for developing a new plan.

Here are 5 steps to get started:

  1. Review what happened in 2016 (1 hr. 30 minutes)
    1. What worked?
    2. What didn’t work?
  2. Segment your 2016 Marketing Plan into two buckets (30 minutes)
    1. What should I keep? (do again)
    2. What needs to be scrapped?
  3. Determine “What else” (2 hrs.)
    1. What should be added for 2017?
  4. Let it sit for 48 hours
    1. Let it simmer – more ideas will come to mind
  5. Evaluate the new plan and answer the following questions: (1 hr.)
    1. If we accomplish this what will be the outcome or result?
    2. If we don’t accomplish this what will be the consequence?

Very simple, very basic – but it’s a structure that will give some direction. The goal is to come up with a general outline for your 2017 Marketing Plan.

This outline can be shared with other departments and the management team. Remember, you’re showing them the picture of the forest, don’t try to paint every tree yet at this point.

After you get initial buy-in, further develop the specific strategies, initiatives, and campaigns.

This may seem overly simplistic, but for many businesses getting started doesn’t need ot be more complicated than this.

It’s not Me, it’s You

i-me-i-me-iiIf you want to be more successful with your sales and marketing stop making it all about you.

Here’s a novel idea:

Make it about the customer!

Otherwise, I can guarantee you that:

  • I won’t respond to your emails
  • My company won’t consider your solutions
  • My company won’t ever buy from you
  • We will find someone who cares more about us

Yes, people send me two to three emails a day just like the one I screenshotted above. No, I don’t ever respond to them.

The Sales and Marketing Gap

pablo-3Why is there a large gap, a seemingly unfillable chasm, between sales and marketing?

Does it stem from different goals (or the perception thereof)?

  • Marketing’s view on Sales’ objective: They just want to earn a commission, and could care less about anything else.
  • Sales’ view on Marketing’s objective: They just want to make things look good, and could care less if it drives sales.

Bridging the gap means having the same objectives – real and perceived.

It starts with larger corporate objectives that individual team goals align with.

Sales and Marketing must explicitly understand how their goals help the overall company, and how they support the goals of other teams.

Sounds simple, right?

Way too often, in companies large and small, this isn’t happening.

Now is the time to develop your 2017 goals.

Corporate strategies must first be developed by executive management. Then team goals can be created to support the larger strategy.

Throughout the year, transparency via regular reporting will give improved visibility into how all teams’ goals support one another – thus bridging the gap.