Seven months ago my daughter was 1; 1 day old, that is. It still feels like she just got here, but the differences between a newborn and a 7-month-old are significant. She has changed a lot in that time. Comparing now to then it is easy to see the differences, but not so much along the way.
Things change, often faster than not, and if you don’t pay attention you’ll miss it, which could mean missing out.
For example, 7 months ago Pew Research reported that 35% of U.S. cell phone owners use mobile banking1. That was up nearly 20% over the previous 2 years. Just 1 month ago they updated their statistics on mobile technology noting that 55% of U.S. adults own a smartphone2 – up approximately 10% from 1 year previous, and over 20% from 3 years ago. Tablets are rising even faster with 42% of U.S. adults in the tablet ownership category – up from just 3% in May 2010.
In many ways mobile still feels fresh and new (and no doubt it still is compared to other media formats), but it has already become ubiquitous. My wife and I have never been “early adopters”, yet she got her tablet (which I still consider relatively new) 2 years ago, putting her in the first 20% of tablet ownership. Ownership has over doubled since then! It is no longer a matter of “if” or even “when” for mobile – the question is “what”. What are you doing about mobile now?
Seven months ago, mobile was here. It was not a fad or a trend. But it is changing, growing, evolving. More people than ever are using smartphones, more are using tablets, and even more are going to in the weeks and months ahead. If you are not doing something about it now, you are missing out. So the question you need to ask yourself about your online advertising is:
Is it mobile?
I think it can be said that the measure of a person or even a company can be seen in how they react to mistakes. I think we can all say that there was quite a big oops during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics when that pesky fifth ring didn’t light properly. Yes, it was a mistake and it was embarrassing, but there was no going back and fixing it. So what to do?
It would have been easy to lash out at the critics and comedians that got quite a bit of airtime in dishing about the failure. But instead the director of the games turned the tables and made fun of himself and in turn took a negative and turned it into a positive.
During the closing ceremonies several ice dancers took the stage and lit it up to reenact that oops, it was brilliant. You can see the picture here – http://www.olympic.org/photos/sochi-2014-closing-ceremony-41. Immediately I thought, I would love to meet that guy or work with him.
We all make mistakes, personally and professionally. If you don’t, then I want to meet you too and know your secret. Sometimes those mistakes are monumental and they take a lot of smoothing over, but regardless, the best thing we can do is acknowledge them and refrain from becoming defensive and, if appropriate, try to find some humor in it. Hopefully, you can help the recipient of your mistake find some humor in it too (again if appropriate). And remember mistakes are unintentional. If you’re intentionally messing up, then this blog probably isn’t for you.
If you’ve made a mistake with a customer, apologize immediately and try to remedy the situation as soon as possible. I think you will find most people will be understanding when you take this course of action. Of course, there are always those few that will take you through the ringer, but just remember it was a mistake and not to beat yourself up over it. Learn from it and move on.
And just remember to be thankful that our mistakes aren’t televised and publicized for the whole world to see.
Doesn’t that make you feel better?
Hang by your thumbs, and write if you get work! That was Grandad’s sign off when he wrote letters, or his “farewell” when he left our house or we left his. He always said it with a grin on his face – a funny thought if you consider what the saying literally infers. But for Grandad it was just a humorous way to say “Hang in there! It’ll all work out! You can make it, and when you do, I want to hear about it and celebrate your success!”
As marketers, are we connecting on a personal level? Are we offering encouragement to and building trust with individuals? Are we trying to put a smile on their faces, and when they buy what we’re selling, are we celebrating their successes?
It’s a new year, and that brings a new opportunity to market with purpose and meaning; to create and share something remarkable and worth sharing. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t give up. Just hang by your thumbs, and write if you get work!
I recently came across an old proverb that really struck a chord with me- “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” I thought it was very fitting for the New Year. I think I also liked it since I will be married for 20 years this year and as I look back, I can see the fruit of the trees that were planted 20 years ago, but as always I wished I would have planted more trees in my orchard of life or maybe pruned and cared for some of those trees a little better.
But the proverb is hopeful. Just because we didn’t plant a tree 20 years ago, we still can. And there is no better time than the present. 20 years may seem like a long time. I know I thought that 20 years ago as a young bride, but looking back it seems like 20 years has flown by.
So, if you could look into the future 20 years from now, what would you like to see both professionally and personally? And what do you need to do now to make sure you realize those dreams or goals. Maybe you want to become an industry leader or innovator. Maybe you want to retire or get a better paying job. Maybe you just want to be a better person or less negative. All of these items start with planting a seed or seedling.
A first step would be to write it down and then map out a plan and then keep that out where you can see, even better tell someone else about it too. Someone you can be accountable to. I have a friend who, when she sets a goal, she always tells a few of us and she expects us to ask her about it. It has worked well for her. Then don’t look back unless it’s to see how far you have come. Remember it takes a long time to grow a tree, especially if you’re starting from a seed.
So what seeds are you going to plant this year?
Grateful! When Grandad was a young boy living on a ranch in the mountains of Colorado, his dad gave him a pony to ride. Grandad felt like a real cowboy. His younger brother Robert got a pony, too, and it didn’t take long for Grandad to notice that Robert’s horse was thinner and faster than his own. As the older of the two, that didn’t seem right; he should have the faster pony, and his baby brother the slower, fatter, safer horse. Determined to improve his situation as he saw it, my grandfather approached his dad about making the trade. He made his case about being older and needing the faster horse, and his father agreed to the trade.
Not long after the trade, Grandad was made aware that Robert’s pony was pregnant. She gave birth to a colt that was sold, and the money from the sale was deposited into an account for Robert. Poor Grandad! Not only was Robert’s pony now thinner and faster, he also had money in the bank that could have been Grandad’s. Grandad recalled that Robert got even richer selling 1 or 2 more colts from that pony.
It was a hard lesson but one that stuck with him: it pays (quite literally) to be grateful for what you have.
At this holiday season, are you showing gratitude for what you have? Do those who have taken a chance on you feel that gratitude? Take a minute to say thanks. Make an effort to show it all year, and it will pay dividends in the end.
P.S. Thanks for reading! One last “Marketing Lessons from Grandad” is coming in December.
Now that Movember is coming to an end, I thought I would do a poll in our office as I happen to be the only female that works here. You see, none of the men in my office grew moustaches in November and I wondered if they even knew about Movember? (Or perhaps their wives nixed their participation.)
- Have you ever heard of Movember?
- Do you know how or why Movember began?
- Only 50% had ever heard of Movember. It may be good to note that it was the younger half that had heard of it. Those that frequently use social media.
- Of those that had heard of Movember only half of them knew that it began as a way to bring awareness to men’s health issues like prostate cancer. And this was the even younger half.
This was obviously not a scientific poll, but I believe there are a couple of noteworthy things to learn from this. First of all, the effects of social media – we know this is how the younger generations communicate and receive information. I wouldn’t consider myself a younger generation, but social media plays a role in my life especially since I have teenagers and lots of cousins that are younger than me and this is their preferred method of communication. I had quite a few male cousins, all younger than me participate in Movember and I have thoroughly enjoyed the postings of their moustaches through the month.
I should also note that the older men in my office were not aware of Movember at all and do not use social media frequently, if at all . While I agree social and digital media are the best and most economical ways to reach audiences, we shouldn’t discount traditional types of advertising all together. In the end, it’s all about who your target audience is.
Of course these younger generations are only getting older and the generations coming up will only be more entrenched in social and digital media, so there is no time like the present to jump on that bandwagon if you haven’t already.
And just for fun, here are the rules for Movember:
- Once registered at Movember.com each Bro must begin the 1st of November with a clean-shaven face.
- For the entire month of November each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache.
- There is to be no joining of the Mo to your side burns. (That’s considered a beard.)
- There is to be no joining of the handlebars to your chin. (That’s considered a goatee.)
- Each Bro must conduct himself like a true country gentleman.
So I moustache you a question:
Did you, or anyone you know personally, participate in Movember?
I think as humans one of our greatest fears is the unknown. Unknown means not within the range of one’s knowledge, experience, or understanding; strange; unfamiliar. It’s no wonder we fear the unknown. Isn’t amazing how, as we gain familiarity with something that may frighten us or we gain more insight, our fears dissipate. That’s not to say we completely overcome our fear, but when we have knowledge, we’re better able to cope and deal with things that may be unpleasant to us.
During this Halloween season there is one thing we needn’t be afraid of anymore…our customers. Sure there will always be a scary few we want to avoid like the plague, but for the most part, the more you learn about your customers, the happier you both will be.
Why? First of all, your customer will be less annoyed by the pesky mass market emails you send out, especially the ones they receive about products they already have and may have just purchased at a higher price than you’re advertising now. No need to rub that in. Think how giddy they’ll be when they log in to your website and see only digital display ads for products they actually qualify for and want.
Secondly, when you get to know your customers and they actually become people to you, it will change how you serve them, and you’ll end up liking them even more. It’s a great paradox, but one that actually works. I dare you to try it!
So, quit hiding behind your desk and your excuses this season and boldly go where few are willing to. Dive into the deep pools of data and take a few laps around. You’ll find the exercise quite invigorating and probably even healthy for your bottom line.
Happy Halloween, Y’all!
You better have the horse to match! A cowboy in his youth, Grandad often repeated that quote with a twinkle in his eye. As much as he enjoyed the humor of it, he was completely serious. He married his teenage sweetheart at 19, and they celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary just 3 months before he passed away. Loyalty was not just a word or a good idea to Grandad – it was a way of life.
It’s easy to think about customer loyalty (or lack thereof), but what about loyalty to the customer? What did you promise them when they chose you over your competitors? Are you going the extra mile to deliver on those claims? Doing so is sure to inspire loyalty while making promises you cannot keep will likely do the opposite.
Sometimes we’re quick to forget about our customers, members, or subscribers that have already invested their time, attention, and/or money in our products or services. We tend to focus on the new sale and increasing our reach leaving our current clients to fend for themselves. Ironically, securing and increasing their loyalty could be just the ticket to getting that next sale whether through selling new services to the client or recommendations from that client to new potential customers.
Delight your existing customers. Market specifically to them based on their needs and wants. Be loyal to your customers the way you want them to be loyal to you and just maybe you’ll never have to wonder about a hair on their coat.
Previously I wrote about what a milestone year this would be for our family. We had a child leave for college, one received her driver license, this is our youngest’s last year in elementary school, etc. I also had a pretty big birthday. Needless to say, I have thought a lot about ages and aging this past year. Age doesn’t just mean a number or getting older. The word age also means a distinct period of history. I’m sure in the future when I look back at this age, I will consider it a significant time period in my life. This is true, not only because of the above mentioned items, but because I pushed myself personally this year, having a milestone birthday kind of does that to a person. I felt like I needed to prove that I was still young and capable and that I could try new things.
So, is this a distinct period of history for you, whether it be personally or professionally? Will you be able to look back and think this was a great age? If the answer is no, then what can you do to change that? How can you challenge yourself?
Here is a list of ideas you can use, personally or professionally, to make this the best age:
- Learn a new skill.
- Do something that scares you.
- Mentor somebody.
- Write- whether it is a blog, a journal, a letter etc.
- Form new relationships and network.
- Own your mistakes and learn from them.
- Try new technologies.
- Step out of your comfort zone.
Now go make some history!
When you’re dead, but now get up! My parents used to say that to me in the not-so-wee hours of the morning when there were things to be done that I would have rather slept through. I learned after my grandfather passed away that his mother had said the same to him. That was kind of amusing to me seeing as how Grandad was an early riser since he was 4 years old. Grandad got things done!
He grew up on a ranch in Colorado in the 1930′s, and everyone had a job to do. At 4 years old, Grandad’s job was to get up at 4:30am and make sure the firewood bin for the wood-burning stove in the kitchen was filled from the woodpile outside so that his mother could cook breakfast for the ranch hands and the family. It was a small chore but one that left an impression on him and on me.
In later years he would continue that habit of getting up early so that he could exercise and read before heading to the office. Reminds me of an article I read about What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.
But early morning is not the point. The lesson Grandad taught me is that if there is work to be done, now is the time to do it! What do you want to accomplish? Go for it! Waiting around, taking a nap, sleeping in – that might feel safer, it might seem more comfortable, but you’re only cheating yourself (and maybe your customers). Now is the only time you’ve got, and there is no time to waste, especially when it comes to marketing. Whether you start your day in the early morning hours or finish it then, make the most of it right now.
Sure a little R&R can be good, even deserved, but don’t make it an excuse for failing to get the most important things done when they need to be done. Get to work and leave it all on the table – you can sleep all your life when you’re dead!