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Recently, I have had a crash course in marketing. As the editor and publisher of several business magazines including Business First and executivetrader.com.au, I had always taken marketing for granted. I knew there was a purpose, but I always felt it was more sales pitch than substance.

Having recently taken on the role of Media and Content Manager for Marketing Eye, I am realising how wrong I was. I took the job here because I felt it would be a different challenge, after all we see the value in life when we chase goals that are foreign to us and push our boundaries.

The queues for new Apple products still number the thousands.

The expectation for brilliance placed upon Apple with each new product release is disproportionate to what the company can deliver. We have known this for quite some time, yet the anticipation surrounding the launch of the iPhone 6 and the coming iWatch is astounding, particularly when we understand that while the technology may be good, it will not be ground breaking.

It seems we hold Apple to higher standards than any other major brand. While scrutiny over Samsung and rival products is high, it is nowhere near the levels afforded to this particular technology giant. Take Forbes’ 2012 article ‘Apple Maps Six Most Epic Fails’ or Business Insider’s ‘10 old Apple products that totally flopped’ for example.

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In the past few days I have felt humbled by the number of long emails people have written me in relation to a post that was published on Monday. It clearly struck a cord with many people; in fact tens of thousands.

There are wonderful organisations out there like the Entrepreneur Organisation that help support entrepreneurs building businesses. They provide a network and program of support that ensures that entrepreneurs are not alone. I was in this organisation for many years and saw great benefit in it. But unfortunately, at some point I out-grew it and the partner organisation for those in that boat was very family orientated, and as a single woman, YPO didn't seem to fit. Some people may differ from this opinion, but through my own experiences, I thought that it would only make me realise how unique my situation is.

On top of that, I found for around 10 years, I spent so much time with these wonderfully inspiring entrepreneurs, that somewhere down the track I missed spending time with family and friends. 

Then of course, I made some strategic business decisions to catapult my company's growth into new markets, diversifying our offering and creating something that was so unique, that it would be hard to replicate.
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We are at the pointy end of the year, and it's without doubt my most reflective period. It's 10 years since I registered the Marketing Eye business name, and it's been a long, arduous journey, but one that I don't regret.

Marketing Eye started with investment money. The first few years, we had some tweaking to do, which was stressful, because I wasn't just playing with my money. Bringing a new model into a mature market is just a case of rolling the dice, seeing how they fall and hoping for the best. But I believed in it with all of my heart. I thought I knew something that others didn't and that was that all small businesses need to manage cash flow with no surprises and they all need marketing. This is a formidable combination, capable of allowing small to medium sized businesses the freedom to do what they do, without being held to their next invoice.

There were changes that needed to occur in the business model, but the day we got it right we never looked back. In the time leading up to this moment, I doubted myself, cried myself to sleep because I felt like a failure and constantly put myself in situations where I was uncomfortable. I was stressed off my head and didn't know how to deal with it. No one taught me how to do this. Often, a simple thing that would go wrong, would seem to me like the end of the world. Once, some hackers hacked into our bank accounts and emptied them. I had a public speaking engagement only an hour later. Instead of dealing with it later, I cancelled the engagement. I didn't know what to do and I didn't have the hindsight to know that it could wait an hour or two. It was the wrong choice and something that I now realise was not how an entrepreneur acts. They are supposed to suck it up, put on their good shoes and show the world how things are done.
Website design requires certain considerations. These include aesthetic, functionality, audience engagement, content interactivity and responsiveness. Then of course there must be a clear call to action.

With these factors in mind, Marketing Eye undertook the challenge to create three very unique website rebuilds.
Why our parents made better employees - and what you can learn from them
When I was a child, my father left for work at 5.30am and didn't return until the early evening. He was a builder and, for that profession, long hours were quite normal.

When he arrived home, my father completed his chores. He took out the rubbish, mowed the lawn and fixed anything that needed to be fixed. He then sat down to dinner, where each of us Smith children told him our daily, animated stories followed by an update about what we did at school.

We then watched an hour of television as a family and it was off to bed.

When my father talked about his work, which was physical as much as mental, his only complaint was that an employee turned up five minutes late – it was never that they didn't work hard enough.

For anyone that doubted Baz Luhrmann's ability to bring elegance, style, sophistications and desire to the latest Chanel No.5 advertising campaign - it is now clear that there is only one Director capable of making Chanel No. 5 remain relevant.

New brand for investment fund : check out this logo
A client called and asked for a new brand for his new investment fund this week. We were particularly excited by this request because our Art Director had told me just the day before that his favourite part of his job was to develop new brands from scratch.

Our client didn't have any preconceived ideas about what the brand should look like, so for Marketing Eye this was a huge plus, however, we did not have any idea what his taste was like and knew that the logo would be approved by not one, but half a dozen senior executives.
When Michael Reed first came to me with his idea, it was before its time. He enthusiastically shared his desire to build an online platform where consumers and businesses can get all of their logistics needs at a click of the button, and for the most competitive price.

Not too indifferent to when Expedia launched onto the marketplace, Michael wanted a transparent platform - where people could move everything from their dog, through to their house, a container of furniture, through to bulk handling products. A place where it all can be done, with full visibility of the competitive landscape.
Don't confuse Big Brother with a social experiment. It is merely a game show.
Once labelled a social experiment by its producers, Big Brother really is nothing more than a manipulative attempt by a network to win ratings. Unfortunately, for Channel 9 this 2014 incarnation is losing viewers. And any marketing expert will tell you there are several very apparent reasons why.

Firstly, if it is a social experiment, it is a failed one. The best experiments take time. They are designed so that empathy is created with a product or person; we develop a taste or distaste, we feel engaged, we want to see success and feel part of a character’s growth. In reality it takes longer than three months to be able to do any of this. I think most people are attuned to the fact the people within the house are potential DJs, or television hosts playing with a false sense of identity. Don’t try to tell us otherwise. 
I remember our meeting fondly. He walked up to me, introduced himself, and said, "what do you do?"

I replied, "marketing."

"No, seriously, what do you do?" he said with a smirk. "Nobody really does marketing, they do sales or something else." 

It wasn't necessarily what he thought, just what he said. He wanted to provoke a reaction and he sure got one! Within minutes we were firm friends, and he was officially one of my first friends I had met since I had moved to Sydney, the big smoke. We both kind of got each other coming from small rural towns in Australia.
When Your Ex-Boss Haunts Twitter
I am sitting in my hotel room in Atlanta reading the New York Times, as I do most Sunday's.

For me, it's the best newspaper in the world, with no other comparing to the ability of the NY Times to cover intelligent, thought-provoking stories that are based on facts, rather than a publicist's spin or worse, a journalist that is just trying to make headlines.

As I read through the business section I came across this:
Cut off your nose to spite your face?
Ever heard of cutting off your nose to spite your face? We have all done it at some time in our lives, and others like me have done it far too many times that I don’t care to remember.

After watching House of Cards in what can only be described as a bedroom coma over one long weekend, I was deeply enthralled and quite fascinated to be honest, in the way each and every person conducted themselves.
The Australian Financial Review's front page headlines "$3b online advertising industry spooked" is in fact old news. Anyone in marketing knows that clients are paying for clicks that they shouldn't be, but for some absurd reason, everyone seems to be playing a blind eye to it.

On a regular basis, companies come to me and say that their website is getting thousands of unique visitors, but no sales inquiries. This could be for a number of reasons, or quite simply due to their SEO company manipulating Google Analytics to show results that don't exist.
Why death defines us

Why death defines us

Sep 05, 2014 Written by
I woke up this morning at 4am as I normally do, and decided to read the news online. Usually, I lay in bed for a few hours and think about the world, tossing and turning, hoping that by some miraculous occurence, my eyes will shut and I will sleep that extra hour.

What I read, shocked me. Top headline: "Joan Rivers Dies". Now, I did not know her, and I can't remember seeing much of her work, other than a snippet here and there, acknowledging her acid tongue jokes, or the fact that she has had a tad too much plastic surgery.

Why I was shocked is because this vivacious woman, with her wits about her, was fine one week, and had passed the next - almost without warning. You may say that she was 81 years old, and had a good innings, but she also was a very active woman with a lot of life to live and had a job doing live television when most would be resting in their rocking chairs.

Only weeks after getting over the reality that a childhood favourite, Robin Williams took his own life, I feel that death has all of a sudden become a part of my life - and to be honest I don't want a second of it.

It seems that I don't go a day without hearing about someone dying, which I believe kind of goes with the territory when you get a bit older. Whether it is someone you know, someone from afar or a friends uncle, cousin, brother, mother or companion. 

What I have come to realise is that in death, we somehow get defined in a way that is final. That's who we are- or more precisely were. The outpouring of grief from Robin Williams' friends and fans was heartfelt. My friends relative died last week, an important father figure to him, and when asked about it, my friend said "he was a gentleman". Steve Jobs, was defined as one of the world's greatest entrepreneurs - the person you would want to be in your top 5 people at the dinner table. 

How people see us in our final resting place is the way we are remembered and each of us have a different story to tell.
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