Focus on Sharpening that Ax

I read a really great article that probably didn’t even need to be read.  I say that not because it was useless but because the title says it all. Are You Too Busy Chopping (Marketing) Wood to Sharpen Your (Marketing Operations) Ax?

After those first 90 days are over, those of us who are lucky enough to be in management are constantly asking ourselves, how do we stand out? how do we not take on the baggage and stay above water?  how do we continue being those thought leaders we were hired to be?  The author of the above linked article has some easy steps that I will take note of and wanted to share:

1. Focus on impact vs. activity:

  • Which business outcome does this activity support?
  • Do you know how this activity is expected to move the needle for the business outcome?
  • How will you know whether the activity had the desired impact?

2. Make metrics count:

  • How is Marketing having an impact on and contributing to the business?
  • What is and isn’t working?
  • Does the data enable course adjustments?

3. Embrace insights:

  • Purposefully collect and analyze your data.
  • Establish a data infrastructure.
  • Implement a process for collecting and using data on a regular basis.

4. Run marketing like a business:

  • Ensure marketing strategies are executed seamlessly
  • Create, manage, and track marketing processes
  • Analyze and develop metrics to improve effectiveness and reduce inefficiencies

4 quick steps to success! Good luck and keep that ax sharpened!

Digital Marketing

It seems like this word is all the rage now.  When in reality, it’s just a buzz word for all those familiar things you are probably already doing – email campaigns, social media, web, etc.

Mobile does play a huge part in it but all the things, and more, listed above can be found on mobile.  So in reality, what do we need to think about when it comes to “digital” marketing?

For me, a clear strategy needs to be set in place before anything even happens.  Assess the things you are doing today and look at the metrics to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t.  Next, you need to identify your target audience and how they want to hear from you.

After all that evaluation has been done, you can actually think about how to improve on the things that are working, but could also do more for your business.

I found a great article on MarketingTechBlog.com about digital marketing that I think might be interesting to you all as well.

“What is digital marketing? It is the use of new media to market a brand/product/organization and so on. Though there are a lot of activities that can be done, but digital marketing these days relies on the internet.”

P.S. You can even subscribe to a 5 week email crash course, through MarketingTechBlog.com, on inbound marketing which I recommend doing.

Spring Forward to Q2

In honor of the time change this weekend I’m thinking spring…but at the same time lamenting the fact that I haven’t even been out to ski once during this epic winter.

The time change brings with it tiredeness, hopefulness for better weather, as well as the reminder that the first quarter is almost over.

Metrics should have been monitored every month but this is when crunch time should really happen.  What has happened in the first quarter of the year that needs to be reevaluated or reinvested in?  What have the combined efforts of the marketing and sales department achieved?  This is the time to maybe take a look at some goals and see which ones need to be reeled in and which ones can be taken up a notch.

Take the next few weeks to really begin evaluating your roadmap and consider turning some things around, if you need to.

P.S. Here are a couple of great online resources:

7 Ways to Evaluate Your Marketing Plan

How to Evaluate a Marketing Strategy

MSRP vs. MAP – Why Determining Minimum Advertised Pricing is Important

Manufacturer Suggest Retail Price (MSRP) vs Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) - Explained

In my second job out of college I was tasked with, in some instances, creating a luggage collection and working all the way through from concept to design to sourcing to pricing.  When it came to the latter, I have to admit that I was pretty green in understanding retail vs. wholesale vs. MSRP vs. etc. etc. pricing and how it works.

I can by no means say that I am any more well versed in it but it does make more sense now.  But, it never hurts to look back and learn more about that thing you used to do and see how you could have understood it better.  So to google I went.

Well, I happened upon a great article that talked about MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) vs. MAP (Minimum Advertised Price).

Here are 5 key take-away’s:

1. “The price resellers pay is determined mostly by your MSRP (Manufacturer Suggest Retail Price). But once they’ve paid, they can then sell at whatever price they deem profitable to them. So if your MSRP is $50.00 and you sell to a retailer at 50% discount, they have the potential to make $25.00 profit. But if they’re willing to make less they can undercut the competition.

When this happens, and the price war kicks in, your MSRP goes out the window and your phone starts to ring off the hook with complaints from resellers.”

2. “A minimum advertised price is just that – it’s the agreed price a reseller agrees to advertise a brand or product at. There may be some wiggle room, but generally, when a reseller accepts the agreement, they’re stuck. They can’t advertise a product for sale any less than the agreed price. This means in print, online, or any where.”

3. “While collusion to maintain a fixed price or profit margin is illegal in most circumstances MAP policies are legitimate and valid – if done correctly…here’s the big differentiator – MAP pricing does not limit the actual selling price. It simply sets the minimum price a product can be advertised at – whether that’s in print or online.”

4. “Resellers are adverse to risk. They certainly don’t want to take on new brands and products that they’ll be undercut on by other resellers. They want to have some cost control and profit assurances. MAP affords them some protection. They know that if they buy your product to sell, they won’t necessarily see it online tomorrow advertised for way less.”

5. “MSRP is what you’d like everyone to sell your product at – and you’re discounting levels are based on it. While MAP is the price resellers agree to advertise your product at – provided you’ve had them sign reseller agreements. So, make sure you have reseller agreements in place.”

Readin’ Up

A little while ago I decided to take a night off from walking on the treadmill and reading my book club book and instead follow some sage advice and leaf through more business books. I decided to pull out four books that cover a variety of topics.

1. Leading Out Loud, Inspiring Change Through Authentic Communication

*Another similar book you may want to check out is: Leading Out Loud: A Guide for Engaging Others in Creating the Future

2. The First 90 Days

3. The Culture Code, An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do

4. Consumed-Rethinking Business in the Era of Mindful Spending

Below are some quotes from each book. I have numbered the quotes according to the number next to each book above. But I do encourage you to leaf through your own versions and learn a few things you may not have known in the past or had not thought about.

“Mindful consumption will flourish if consumers embrace it en masse. If enough of us change the way we buy, businesses will have no choice but to adapt. As the Internet has taught us, when tens of thousands of people band together to work toward a common end, it quickly gets the attention of corporations….The shift toward mindfulness maybe gradual. For most of us-including those who aspire toward mindful consumption-there is a wide gap between how we would like to consume and how we actually do consume…but consumer habits, however and grain, can be influenced by various means-a fact of which marketers are increasingly aware. “-4

The change that is now required for success in many institutions is no longer merely incremental, it is discontinuous, radical, frightening to those who participate. And fields as diverse as economics, medicine, biological and physical research, social and political structures,and certainly business, we are not simply being asked to do better than our predecessors, we are being asked to do different. Leaders are faced with inspiring followers to take the same kind of risk; to jump this chasm with them…experiencing conviction of what changes required calls for personal reflection-not merely reading good management books. An authentic vision for progress doesn’t just appear out of the ether, nor does it [come] from what others believe to be important. Your passion about what you want to change the gross from the foundation of values that have been formed by your life experience.”-1

“Communication that moves committed action includes both passion and reason. Both are necessary general trust infection from others, so that the mind is as fully engaged as the heart. Accordingly, writing is imperative to communicating authentically. Writing reveals fuzzy thinking, exposes slurred distinctions: it clarifies. That’s why it is so difficult. And it takes time, more time to write them to make a few notes…Any leadership message you construct will be the basis for most communication you have about your plan to change things for the better. Others can help, but finally, it is your own values, your own commitment to an issue that will determine the power of the message to you, and therefore to others. Whatever response you want from others must happen to you first.”-1

Method: structured interviews with the organization. Uses: identifying shared and divergent perceptions of opportunities and problems. You can interview people at the same level in different departments or bore down through multiple levels. Whichever dimension you choose, ask everybody the same questions and look for similarities and differences... Useful for: most useful for managers leading groups of people from different functional back rooms. Can be useful at lower levels if the unit is experiencing significant problems….Your learning priorities and strategies will inevitably shift… As you start to interact with your new boss, or to figure out where to get some early wins, or to build supportive coalitions, it will be critical for you to gain additional insights…What is your learning agenda, based on what you know now compose a list of questions to guide your early inquiry. If you have begun to form hypotheses about what is going on, what are they and how will you test them? How might you increase the efficiency of your learning process? What are some ways you might extract more actionable insights for your investment of time and energy?”-2

Poke around any of these books and you are sure to learn a few new things!

5 year anniversary!

Oh my goodness!  It’s been 5 years since I began this blog!

In honor of that day…I point you back to my original post that started me on this journey of writing over 470 blog posts!  It was also interesting going back in time to February of 2010 and seeing all the cool things I used to be able to do.  Go to events, volunteer, visit San Fran on a moments notice…ahh, the life of a single, unemployed, gal :) How far I have come.

Thank you all for reading.  next week we’ll return to our educational posts :)

Blizzard Prep

We’re hunkering down for a major Nor’Easter here!  here are some tips I thought I’d share:

Tip 1: …It’s easy to make heat without running the engine, and you can put together an emergency automotive heating kit for less than five dollars. You only need three items: an empty metal coffee can, metal-cup “tea light” candles, and some matches. (Well, make that four items: you’ll want a resealable sandwich bag, too.)

Photo

Tips 2: Top 10 foods to stock up on: Wheat, rice, dried milk, salt, beans, tomatoes, canned fruit & veggies, peanut butter, oil, dried pasts, sugar & honey.

top 10 foods for stocking up

Tip 3: Blizzard Survival Tips – Insulate Your pipes, be prepared (technically speaking), stock up your pantry, stock up on bottled water, prepare an emergency kit, know how to use an alternative form of heat, watch out for frostbite, layer up, keep active indoors, stay indoors!

blizzard, blizzard survival, snowstorm, emergency preparedness, emergency preparedness plan, emergency preparedness supplies, emergency preparedness list

Stay safe out there my dear readers!