There has been one consistent marketing platform that has been more central to a marketing strategy in the past couple of years, than any other marketing activity bar social media.
Content MarketingIf you have been hearing this buzz word for some time, and haven't done anything about it, then you are in a minority. Unlike the phases of social media platforms and apps popping up into our strategies then quickly falling to the way-side, content marketing underpins all online marketing strategies, whether we like it or not.
"We have a client that is 100 per cent focused on using content to drive leads in the next 12 months and this trend is catching on with many other small businesses," said Julie Schoneveld, CEO, Marketing Eye.
"It's not difficult to out-perform your larger competitors through mileage out of content marketing that is useful, targeted and information rich."
"People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of a challenge and in every area of your business, you will show improvement if your brain is positive" said Achor at a recent speech to 800 global entrepreneurs.
In fact, sales people who were happy outsell their less positive colleagues by more than 37 per cent and positive people in organisations are not only happier, they perform better and live longer, healthier lives.
When it comes to brand, it is important to have a brand that is timeless. Yes, it may evolve, but you wouldn't change it year-on-year and hopefully not within 5 years.
An Australian brand that always comes to mind when talking branding is VB. "You can get it walking, you can get it... " voice over on all of their television and radio campaigns played with exactly the same voiceover decade after decade. I remember it, my mother remembers it and my grandfather remembered it. It lasted the generations and VB will never be the same without it.
When developing a new brand, think about how long you can live with it and whether it will be timeless or not.
Today, I'm on day two in the marketing industry and have been given the chance to pick the brain of Marketing Eye founder, Mellissah Smith – it’s a slightly daunting ask, especially when you consider that she was little older than I was when she first branched out and went solo in her first agency.
“I’ve been in marketing for 20-odd years and was 25 when I started my first agency – what inspired me to start was an account opportunity falling in my lap,” Mellissah said.
But... it's over. I am calling it a day.
And here is why...
I don't in any way think that Alan Jones comments on the death of Julia Gillard's (Australian PM for those who don't know) father. He has been made aware by the Australian public, the media and the social media enthusiasts that his comments were not acceptable. Slap over the wrist. Wake up call. You name it - he got it. But when does the punishment stop?
Then, when I thought I couldn't stomach another day of media both traditional and online slandering the poor old guy that has just got verbal diarrhea at times, it did get worse and this time it was personal.
Mercedes PR people got on the bandwagon. Not only did they profess to cancel their advertising because of the comments, but they also gained millions in publicity over "taking away the Mercedes that Alan Jones was given to drive".
And it was all lies. Some dumb PR person or manager who instigated the PR activity trying to leverage the Mercedes brand should be sacked. Not Alan Jones. He makes a living out of being controversial and saying stuff that either the general public really want to say but don't, or that is plain ridiculous and happens to be either his opinion or a cause of generating publicity for his show. David McCarthy from Mercedes is who I am talking about. Generating PR spin is one thing, but stay within your brand guidelines and brand values. Mercedes isn't a brand that is known for "trolling" or "gutter tactics".
I thought and bought a brand that was reputable. That stood above the rest. Was quality, stylish, reliable, decent and the brand that everyone wants to own, but not everyone can. I am not sure how lying to generate publicity as reported in the media in the past 24 hours is something that is in line with the Mercedes brand.
Here we have an example of a PR person generating publicity only to fall flat on their face and while they may have millions in mileage in terms of column centimeters, they are no doubt going to lose a lot more than that with loyal brand followers turning off their brand.
My next car may have cost Mercedes between $150 to $250k. I am sure I am not the only one that has now got a distaste for the Mercedes brand over one very fatal and very stupid PR stunt that has clearly backfired.
As a woman entrepreneur, there has been many advantages:
1. If you are half decent looking, people of both sexes want to do business with you. After all, how many people really want an unattractive PR chick or marketer?
2. If you are young and female, better still. Everyone wants to help you. Men over 40 want to father you and help you be successful. Men your own age want to assist because they are proud that you are having a go.
3. When things are not going your way, it's easy to put on the female charm.
4. You can dress to impress or dress down when need be.
5. You can see the human side in every situation.
6. You know why people are making decisions like they do because you are interested in how people think and feel.
7. You have more compassion and empathy for those around you.
8. You don't necessarily have to be the richest. Instead, being the best will do.
9. It's very easy to blame irrational decisions or behaviour that was momentary on PMT.
10. There is no such thing as failure. Worse case, you can get married and have children.
There are many disadvantages in being a woman entrepreneur but they are often two-fold. For instance, being a mother; if your child is sick, your husband usually expects you to leave work first and what mother wouldn't want to do that anyway? Back at the office, your male colleagues who may not have children, nor understand this predicament may then think that you are unreliable or not focused enough on the job at hand.
With only 12% of women owned companies seeking angel capital, it is easy to generalize that perhaps women should take a leaf out of their male counterparts books. Why is it that women don't seek capital upfront for their businesses? Why do women put the hand brake on at $1million turnover, with most failing to be more than a one-man-band or go over the million dollar mark? Are women afraid of success? Is there too many influencers that affect their ability to succeed? Are women too emotional?
Women are 50% more likely to start a business than men yet men are deemed more successful all round in business. When a woman hits the top of a big corporation, even men label them as being more like them than a normal woman. And it's true. Seriously, women that hit the top of many businesses often are strong willed, dominant, fearless women who will do anything to succeed. A bit like their successful male counterparts, don't you think? Men are far more willing to focus on the end goal of making money while women entrepreneurs often spend more time thinking about the process.
Downsides on how people view successful women aren't too favourable either. Women's assertiveness is considered bitchy and they are considered to self-limit their ambitions. Even if I look at myself, I am aware that many people think that I am single, mildly successful and financially independent at the expense of being a woman. "You're more male, than woman" said a man at a recent conference. How do you think that makes me feel? I want to be a woman and I want to be successful but being likened to being more like a man is not the most flattering comment of the week.
Another interesting fact is that women turn away from satisfying and meaningful work, but less glamorous businesses can make a contribution to society and also make you rich. For instance, Marketing Eye has a majority of clients in the "unsexy" space like mining, logistics, supply chain, stevedoring, transport, sustainability and technology while many of my marketing friends who are women focus on fashion, food and restaurants.
Women are also their worse enemies - against each other. You would not believe the amount of times I have heard other women entrepreneurs put each other down both in areas of business and then taking it personal to the point of what they look like or what they perceive one would do to be successul. ie. sleep with anyone including clients. While there are many groups out there celebrating women in business, often women can feel insecure about another woman's success or failure for that matter.
So, I took it out to Twitter and asked "what can women entrepreneurs learn from their male counterparts" and this is what came up:
@JeremyScrivens nice one Mellissah - I would add 'and how are we contributing to theirs?' cheers
@Jenna_Goudreau Confidence. Willingness to go after funding.
@feraldogstudio Generally women tend to be less agressive in biz than men. Don't know if it's good or bad, but aggressiveness has its place
@zahrasays in 140 characters? We both have a lot to learn from one another....
@mattygeorge change is good, people are people and relationships are everything
@twilli2861 Nothing and everything! It depends on the starting point
@gemichelle Saying no isn't the end of the world & could be the most important word you say all day
@tartancat Simply that they're not different. An entrepreneur is an entrepreneur, not dependent on boobs or balls!
@gemichelle That understanding basic accounting and cashflow is important to keep control and make correct strategic decisions
@jasongreenhalgh Be confident and network, network, network (old school style)
@mwiings I reckon harnessing aggression, turning into a positive force without coming across as a whiner/nagger.
@irish_in_la identify, commit to and protect your corporate culture. Breath it in and live it! Your biz will ultimately fail if you don't.
@sarahsside Admit/apologize - without explaining yourself. Give credit to others and take a compliment with gratitude
@irish_in_la negotiate from a place of strength, not emotion and surround yourself w/ppl that share the same system of values as you do
@sarahsside Realize - best solutions/processes/results are a combination of diverse perspectives. Lead with head and heart
@theamandarose - Support each other literally not in names sake. Team work. Take the lead! Network.
@duckduckjoey "Don't be too naive when talking to people. Most people want their two cents out of you"
@theamandarose No emotions stay focused all about ROI no bitching confident take risks
@Meredithmobley I think women #entrepreneurs can stand to learn how to remove emotion from business
@polentamcphee stand by your decision, own it even if it fails
@polentamcphee Don't lose your femininity - we are are not men, we function diff cont.
@beckysueolofin hmm that's really something to ponder on. Responding and not reacting
@heidimyers Eckes comparison of gender body language applies to women in business
@_debrasinclair Taking risks in business
@summerboag choosing battles wisely and not as an immediate reaction. calculating various ways to get results
@heidimyers what about gender specific communication (body language when presenting or negotiating)
@fleurbrown an old male boss taught me that. Had no idea I was doing that. Being nice gets in the way of being effective
@fleurbrown don't make apologetic opening statements in meetings and keep things simple
@johnkelly1 Word entrepreneur never had male or female attached. Individual believing in their idea
@debbiethompson being ok with talking about your success rather than playing down your own success, for starters...
@launch_group don't make apologetic opening statements in meetings and keep things simple
@mickfromvic drive your enemies before you and hear the lamentation of their men
@irish_from_la my advice is to negotiate from a place of strength, not emotion and to always build a culture around you based on values
@davidbassanese start small with a nub of an idea that makes money and expand from there. Don't try to get it right first. Dave
@digital_sydney persistence. men are persistent w/out apology. Women are more aware of stepping on toes and hesitant to ask and ask again
@sarahsside compliment others for their gifts - it creates great synergy. criticize only if it improves the results/outcomes
@sarahsside if something is said - ask what the person meant without assumptions then draw conclusions (communicate)
Men's successes come after their disappointments. Henry Ward Beecher.
If you think about the fact that there are only 7 billion people reportedly on the planet, Facebook has a staggering 14% as friends.
In July 2010, they had half that. 500 million registered users to be precise. So, how in 26 months have they increased to double that size excluding China, because its banned there?
When you ask someone who has had a business fail, why, they usually give you one reason. We all know that there is never one singular reason why a business fails, it usually is combination of things; market size, competition and demand all feature highly on external factors while operations, leadership, complacency, technology, marketing and lack of investment feature highly as internal reasons.
But the real story that we all should be following is 'why businesses grow and succeed' because in that, there are lessons and patterns we all can follow.
EVERY small business should have a prospect list - a database of existing and potential customers where the business can focus its marketing efforts.
But it needs to be more than just a list of names and email addresses. It has to contain people who are in the target market for your products.
Here are tips on how to build up a prospect list.
As I readied myself for the excursion, I packed a bathing suit, took off my makeup and put on some comfortable clothing attire. That's what you do, right? Well, almost.
The bathing suit is not required. In fact, if you bring it along, and you go to a traditional hamams you may be confronted with an old Turkish woman telling you to put the bathing suit away "not needed". Then what do you do? You are there for an experience, right?
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