Archive for the ‘Random’ Category
Guest post by Megan Totka.
`Tis the season, right? I’ve noticed a recent trend when shopping during the Christmas season. People are very un-jolly. After asking around a bit, I realized this unhappiness was actually bottled up confusion. Are workers allowed to wish their customers a “Merry Christmas?” What if that customer is Jewish or a Jehovah’s Witness? Is it offensive? Maybe you should just wish them “Happy Holidays” instead. That covers everything. But Witnesses don’t celebrate any winter holidays. So that could even be construed as offensive. Your best bet is to just say nothing. No, that won’t be offensive at all.
Depending on the industry your business is in, Christmas and the holiday season in general is a hugely important time of the year. For me, the more festive a shop is, the more likely I am to make my purchases there. When I’m buying food for my holiday feasts, or stocking stuffers and gifts for my loved ones, I have Christmas music playing loudly in my car and my energy level is high. I’m on a mission and I have the Christmas spirit in me. The last thing I need is someone afraid to wish me a “Merry Christmas” for fear that I’ll get offended. Is that what the country has come to?
For b2c businesses, Christmastime usually means a huge increase in revenue. Sales are typically much higher. Promoting holiday joy through marketing may just seem like a marketing ploy to some, but, in my opinion, it’s pretty important and a rather easy way to help shoppers feel more generous towards their loved ones by spending more money with your business. It’s a win-win for you and them.
There seems to be a trend to keep the holidays politically correct. There was even a rumor that President Obama had begun referring to the White House Christmas tree as a holiday tree. Is the tree representative of any other religious traditions? Is there a Hanukkah tree that I’m not aware of? Calling the tree a holiday tree does nothing. Your customers are still going to get the indication that you are displaying a Christmas tree whether you say “Christmas” or not. If you are going for a more generic winter wonderland, skip the tree. Decorate with snowmen or gingerbread men. Or be multi-religious by having both Santa and Christmas decorations and a menorah and dreidel to represent more cultures.
Obviously, not all businesses are retail based. This doesn’t mean they aren’t affected by this time of the year though. Just remember that employee morale at this time of the year will also be affected by how you treat the holiday season.
No matter what your choice for holiday decorations (or avoiding them all together), be true to your beliefs. If Christmas is a religious holiday for you, feel free to display a manger. If you are Jewish, don’t be afraid to display that or share that with your customers. This time of the year is all about being genuine. If you stay true to whom you are and what your business is, that will come across to your customers and leave you and your business happy, healthy and thriving this holiday season.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on writing business advice pieces for a variety of sites. ChamberofCommerce.com is the most trusted online resource for all your business needs.
In just a few days, we’ll be celebrating Christmas, the feast commemorating the birth of the man who taught all who would listen, “Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another.”
Less than a week ago, 26 people were brutally gunned down by a man so narcissistic and depraved he felt his internal pain justified inflicting terror and death upon the innocent.
The juxtaposition of perfect goodness and unspeakable evil is jarring.
It leaves us all with a host of questions. We watch the news, think of the families who lost precious little lives, and want to do something, anything, to help alleviate that pain. Yet there is little, really, that any of us can do directly.
But here’s a thought: in this time of darkness in what should be a season of light: do something—one little extra thing—to illuminate the season.
Give an extra donation to the Salvation Army. Donate a few more items to Toys for Tots. Buy a poinsettia plant and deliver it, personally, to an elderly neighbor who may not get a lot of company. Remember a solider serving overseas. Call your local food shelf and offer to help load or unload donated food items.
It may not seem like much, or even a completely original thought, but if enough people do it, it adds up to something. It’s a little more light in the darkness.
Evil is, sadly, eternal. It can never be completely defeated or eliminated. But as long as there is goodness in our hearts, minds and actions, it will never prevail.
After 32 months (time flies when you’re having fun!) and 300 posts, here is a quick look back at the 10 most-read posts on the Webbiquity blog to date. This is an update of the looking back at 100 post in July 2010.
Again, thank you for reading the MarketingSherpa Readers Choice top b2b marketing blog for 2012. Without further ado, below are the 10 most-viewed posts on this blog to date. Some of the entries are surprising, but life and the web can be unpredictable. These are the posts that Webbiquity readers have “voted” as the best by their traffic so far.
10. PR Monitoring and Management Tools: Which is Best? Vocus vs. Cision (November 8, 2011)
Vocus and Cision are both powerful and popular PR monitoring and management systems. Both provide PR and social media professionals with extensive capabilities for tracking and growing media coverage of their organizations or clients. So which is best?
9. How to Write an Effective Business Blog (January 8, 2010)
Helpful advice on choosing a blogging platform, authors, topics and frequency for an effective business blog. This post is starting to show its age, but the guidance is still useful to beginning bloggers.
8. 33 (of the) Best Marketing Strategy Guides and Insights of 2010 (February 14, 2011)
Sometimes it’s essential to step back from everyday marketing tactics to ask the bigger questions, like: What conceptual models are we basing our marketing assumptions and practices on, and what new models should we be thinking about? Which emerging trends do we need to keep an eye on? While you won’t find much in the way of “tips and tricks” in this post, you will find guidance on answers to these big-picture marketing questions and more here in some the best marketing strategy guides and insights of 2010. For a more up-to-date look at marketing strategy, check out the Best B2B Marketing and Sales Strategy Guides and Insights of 2011.
7. The One Effective Use of Facebook for B2B Marketing (March 9, 2010)
The intimate, informal nature of Facebook makes it the ideal venue to showcase the human side of your company, with content that may not be appropriate elsewhere. While I’d write this differently today, the post holds up pretty well considering there were “only” 350 million users on Facebook when this was published.
More than six dozen of the best, most bookmark-able articles and blog posts about social media tactics, tools and strategies written in 2010, by leading writers like John Jantsch, Lori Dicker, Lee Odden, Lisa Barone, Jay Baer and many more. You can find a much fresher version of this type of content in the recently posted 33 (of the) Best Social Media Guides, Tips and Resources of 2012 So Far.
5. 50 (of the) Best Twitter Guides, Stats, Tips and Tools of 2010 So Far (October 5, 2010)
What are the best ways to use Twitter for business? How you can use it most effectively? Which tools are most helpful? You’ll find the answers to these questions and many more here—or check out more recent thought on the topic in Best Twitter Tips, Tools and Tactics of 2011.
4. The Nifty 50 Top Women of Twitter for 2011 (May 3, 2011)
50 of the most remarkable women on Twitter, from B2B marketers to social media experts, journalists, PR professionals, or just plain fascinating personalities. Though this list is almost timeless, The Top #Nifty50 Women in Technology on Twitter for 2012, published just last month, honors 50 remarkable women on Twitter who work for or with technology companies.
3. What’s the Best Social Media Monitoring Tool? It Depends (October 13, 2010)
The explosion of social media has led to a corresponding need for more sophisticated monitoring tools that can crawl the hundreds of social networking and bookmarking sites and millions of blogs across the globe. A rapidly proliferating collection of tools are being developed to meet the need. This post highlights nine tools at various price levels that may or may not be the best but are certainly among the most popular and capable social media monitoring tools currently available.
2. Best Email Marketing Tips, Tactics and Metrics of 2010 (February 21, 2011)
How can you use email marketing most effectively and avoid overloading your recipients with information? How can you grow the size of your email marketing list? Avoid mistakes that will cost you readers? Integrate your email and social media marketing efforts to improve results through both channels? Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than two dozen of the best email marketing guides of 2010. Or get more current email wisdom in 17 (of the) Best Email Marketing Guides of 2011.
And the number one, most viewed post of all time so far on the Webbiquity blog (imagine mental drum-roll sound here) is…
1. Best Social Media Stats, Facts and Marketing Research of 2010 (January 17, 2011)
Learn how buyers use social media, which platforms are most effective, and more here in the best social media marketing stats, facts and research of 2010. If you crave social media stats and data (clearly a popular topic), check out the much newer collection of such in 79 Remarkable Social Media Marketing Facts and Statistics for 2012.
You’re smart, hard-working, and loyal as a dog. So why hasn’t your career taken off the way you had hoped?
Note that if you are already at the top of your game, this guidance will seem old hat (though you may want to share this with younger colleagues). If you’re struggling just a bit, it may help. And if you are just starting out or early in your professional career, it is vital.
Care about your company and industry and show it in your work and speech. There is no such thing as a “boring product” or service only bored employees.
I gave a presentation a while back to staff at a company that made rubber gaskets. One of the attendees asked how he was supposed to get excited about rubber gaskets. I asked where the company’s gaskets were used. “Oh, different applications in high-performance motors, like generators, pumps, NASCAR engines…” NASCAR engines??!! How can you not be passionate about that? The rubber gaskets may be only a small part of the equation, but races couldn’t be won without them.
The best ideas are good ones, of course, but even interesting ideas that don’t ultimately make it into production are important and show that you have, well, passion for the business. New products typically account for as much as 25% of revenue and an even higher percentage of profit.
New ideas, whether for new products or services, enhancements to existing offerings, or just better ways of doing something, are the lifeblood of future success. Particularly when it comes to new products, only a small percentage of new ideas actually make it into production—but all new ideas have value.
Never ask your boss / co-worker / colleague what they think of a specific color, font, tagline, headline, product concept or anything else—instead, present alternatives (at least two, preferably three, no more than five). People prefer to choose between different options rather than just a give a thumbs-up or down to an idea in isolation.
Obviously, being linguistically bilingual (e.g. able to speak/write/read Spanish and English, or Chinese and English, etc.) is valuable in many business contexts. But it’s also helpful career-wise to be departmentally bilingual. For example, I got one of my first promotions based on being able to “translate” engineering jargon into language that a marketing team could understand.
And no matter what function you work in, it’s crucial to be able to translate your department’s internal jargon into business language. For example, in social media marketing, measures such as Facebook likes, LinkedIn followers and retweets on Twitter are meaningful—but your CEO and CFO couldn’t care less about these metrics. However, being able to say that social media produces sales leads at x% lower cost than other sources and furthermore that these leads have a y% higher close rate will get C-level attention.
Most people in marketing today will interpret this suggestion as applying to social networking, and there’s no question that it’s important for marketing, SEO and PR professionals to be active (in a professional manner) on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn at a minimum. And having an active presence on sites like YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ doesn’t hurt.
But don’t neglect the most literal meaning of this recommendation either. Working through lunch can be interpreted as a sign of your dedication—or give the impression that you don’t care to interact with co-workers. If you’re on a tight deadline, go ahead and spend your lunch time hunched over a keyboard, but if not (and presuming it’s an option), spend that time getting to know those you work with better, and letting them get to know you. Join an office happy hour once in a while. “Office politics” isn’t a nasty term, it’s a fact of life.
Never Stop Learning
For most of human history, odds were that you would end up doing whatever it was your parents did (in most cases, farming), and in pretty much the same way.
In The Logic of Life, author Tim Harford quantifies the acceleration of technological change as it relates to population growth. “The…Homo erectus population in 300,000 B.C. would have been coming up with on (brilliant, life-changing) idea every thousand years. By 1800, the dawn of the Industrial Revolution…the innovation rate would have risen to one stunning idea every year. By 1930 it would have been one world-changing idea every six months…we should now be producing this kind of idea every two months.”
The development of the Internet wiped out a wide swath jobs but created many new ones (webmasters didn’t exist twenty years ago; social media consultants have been around for less than five), and changed the way almost all other jobs are performed (including farming).
For the most part, the college textbooks on my bookshelf are now more of historical interest than practical use. My daughter, for the most part, won’t even use printed textbooks.
Staying ahead of the curve is tough, but essential. As columnist Thomas Friedman recently noted, “if you want a decent job that will lead to a decent life today you have to work harder, regularly reinvent yourself, obtain at least some form of postsecondary education, make sure that you’re engaged in lifelong learning and play by the rules.”
Take on New Projects
New projects are often a test. Even if you’re already very busy—say yes. Employers are looking for you willingness to embrace new challenges and evaluating how you handle them.
Never Present a Problem without Suggesting a Solution
Finally, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got from a CEO. Management has no interest in whiners, but they do value problem-solvers. If you see a suboptimal situation, think before just complaining. Come up with at least one (preferably two or three) potential solutions before approaching your boss. Even if, in the end, none of your recommendations are put into place, your supervisor will value you as a person with ideas—rather than just grievances.
Bottom line, the world is changing faster than ever before. The rewards for innovation are high, but the penalties for falling behind are tough. Keeping these eight recommendations in mind can help you win the rat race, without being a rat.
In April 2011, Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess, author of the Blue Focus Marketing Blog) and I first decided to acknowledge some of the phenomenal men and women we’d gotten to know through Twitter. After a bit of discussion, the #Nifty50 award was born.
This year we made the lists more specific, focusing on engaging women and men on Twitter from the technology sector. With the increasing focus on innovation and STEM education in our schools, it seemed an opportune time to recognize these inspiring leaders.
Once again, the selection process was challenging and no doubt a few deserving names were left out. There’s always next year (probably). But no question, the #Nifty50 top men on Twitter and the #Nifty50 top women on Twitter are special.
#Nifty50 recognees can showcase that honor on their blog or website using the badge code below. Please contact @TomPick if you need a different size badge.
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