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 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.
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.
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.
With these factors in mind, Marketing Eye undertook the challenge to create three very unique website rebuilds.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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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Wise words Mel. Very timely indeed...thank you x
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